Mr. A**** never recovered from his madness.
Nina was allowed to resume her duties at the firm following some pleading and kind recommendations from those she had previously helped out at the office.
Nina’s parents informed Mr. A****’s close relatives of his predicament and after some hesitation and argument they came one day and carried him from the psychiatric hospital where we had admitted him for his own safety.
On that day I had followed Nina to the hospital to meet Mr. A****’s son and relatives. Obi appeared to be a changed person after his father became insane. He was kinder, more courteous, and even I had to admit that he was indeed a nice person to be around. Previously spiteful, he now exuded a friendly aura that made it difficult to hate him. At the hospital he called Nina aside for some private discussion. She went with him and they spent a long time together. Well, for me it was long, in reality it was about 30minutes. When they came back they were both smiling at each other and Nina stopped for a moment from pushing his wheelchair and held his hands and as I saw the look they exchanged my heart sank. She said something to him then walked over to where I was sitting.
‘Hi.’ She said.
‘We came here together remember?” I replied, forcing a grin.
“Yeah I know.” She said, and sat down beside me.
We were silent for a while in the waiting area and watched as Obi and his people moved around, settling the bill and signing all the required documents. The silence grew longer and more awkward. Finally she said:
“Chuks, there is something I want to tell you…”
“Okay.” I said and closed my eyes. Here it comes, they’ve made up.
“Obi has called off the engagement.”
I kept my eyes closed and slowly digested what she had said. Obi had called off the engagement? I remained silent and she continued.
“He told me that he had stopped loving me a long time ago. It was his father that continued to put pressure on him to involve me in a blood pact. He said he was coming over to tell me our engagement was off the day he had the accident. He knows his father is to blame for his predicament but says he has forgiven him. He asked that we end our relationship but that we could remain friends if I wanted and said he was sorry for all that he and his father had put me through. He doesn’t know anything about the kidnapping of course and I don’t think I want to burden him further with it. I guess he just wants to move on with his life.
“How do you feel about that?” I asked.
She sighed and looked up. “Honestly? Relieved. I always felt I was the reason for him being on a wheelchair. I couldn’t imagine leaving him after indirectly crippling him for the rest of his life. But now that he has absolved me of all responsibility and even says he has been seeing someone else by the side, I guess I don’t feel guilty anymore.”
When I remained silent and didn’t respond Nina got up suddenly. I didn’t need any special powers to know she was upset. “Well, I just thought you should know, not that I expected any big reaction from you or anything, abeg let me go and see if I can help them with anything…”
She made to go away when I grabbed her by the hand and pulled her to me. She sat down on my thighs with a surprised gasp and I kissed her on the lips. This time, she didn’t hesitate and kissed me back. And we didn’t care if anybody was around or if they would walk in on us. When finally I released her, she had a wicked smile on her face.
“Easy there, sir. Remember you are still my boss. This is sexual harassment.”
“Then file a complaint,” I replied and kissed her again.
Bullet proof. Nothing to lose. Fire away, fire away…
The song played loudly in the large BRT bus as I made my way down to Jibowu. I had planned on entering the bus that came to the bus stop before this one but something made me wait. When I saw it pulling into the bus stop, I knew I was destined to enter this bus today. Even as I entered it, I saw strange spirits hovering over and around it, dark spirits that had no misgivings about taking human life. I might have avoided the bus altogether if not for the old man that had appeared within their midst, pleading for me to come inside. As soon as I was in, I could feel her eyes on me, the bearer of the deadly orb. I ignored her for the meantime and took a seat in the middle row of the bus as it started to move again.
I waited patiently, listening to the old man’s story of how his little granddaughter had disturbed their sacred ground at home, finding the orb in its secret place and taking it to school with her. It had already taken 9lives that day and had made the little girl witness every grisly death. When she tried to throw it away it had caused the soldier it hit to fire accidentally at a passerby, killing him instantly. The soldier himself had been lynched by an angry mob before help could arrive. And the orb had rolled peacefully back to her feet. And now the little girl was afraid, carrying such a heavy burden and trying to run away from home, far away where she wouldn’t cause any more harm.
I asked the old man what he wanted me to do, and he told me the incantation to use when I held the orb in my hand. The incantation would destroy the power of the orb, then I could dispose of it by throwing the remains into the sea.
“Please help me, help my granddaughter, Chuks the stronger.” He said.
I sighed. Nina would be expecting me home in an hour. I hoped this wouldn’t take much of my time. I got up and turned slowly, looking for her. And then I saw her, sitting alone at the very back seat, a frightened but pretty, slim bodied and fair girl of about 10years old wearing a blue t-shirt, black skirt, worn socks and shoes with a light blue beret covering her cropped hair. My heart went out to her immediately. Nobody else was sitting beside her and I saw the reason why. Beside her was a small round object and it was emitting a nasty aura, so nasty that its effect was being felt in the physical, causing a very unfriendly atmosphere around her. I walked down to her and sat down beside her, ignoring the alarmed look on her face.
“Give it to me” I said.
Tears streamed down her face as she looked at my outstretched hand. She seemed to hesitate and so I said
“Don’t worry, I know what to do with it. Don’t say anything, just give it to me.”
She finally gave me the orb and I smiled and wrapped it in a white handkerchief, muttering the incantation under my breath. I felt it glow and then crumble. Then I stretched my hand out the window of the bus and threw the contents of the handkerchief into the lagoon.
She asked for my name, awestruck, and I told her. I returned back to my seat, noticing that the dark spirits had disappeared with the orb and the unnaturally tense atmosphere in the bus had lifted, with hitherto quiet passengers suddenly finding themselves laughing, enjoying the music and making smalltalk. As I sat down the old man appeared before me again, he didn’t need to say anything for me to know he was grateful.
“You’re welcome” I whispered and he smiled and disappeared finally.
I listened to some more music from channel O as the bus headed down to its destination. I looked around at the passengers, chattering away, arguing about the latest football match, laughing, browsing on the internet. Most of them would go through this life not knowing, not believing that there was something else beyond what they saw in the physical. Some of them however, a very privileged few, would know, feel, see things that others would never experience. Whether they would be the better off for it, the wiser, and used what they experienced for the good of themselves and others around them or whether they would follow the path of evil and end up with the repercussions just as Mr. A**** had, was something that even I would probably never know the answer to.
My name is Chuks B. And someday, maybe I’ll be seeing you.