“Honey, I asked what you think?” Kemi nudged me.
“I…uh…I just think you need to see a professional.” I stalled.
She made an unlady-like sound and said. “Am I that crazy?”
“No, no. That’s not what I mean. I just don’t know if Pastor Barry is in the best of position to…you know…talk to.” It was a lame excuse.
“He has a degree in Psychology, for God’s sake.” Her voice was low but I could sense the anger creeping in. “Really, I don’t know what you could possibly have against him. He’s our friend and I trust him; so whether you like it or not, I’m going to schedule a counselling section with him.”
There was a note of finality in her voice and I knew it was time to give up this fight.
“I think you’re right. He’s our friend and we trust him. As long as you feel better, then I have no objections.” I kissed her to keep her from hearing the tremor in my voice. “Now, can we have dinner? ‘Cos I’m starving.”
“You know baby, these days I feel like there is something you’re not telling me, like you’re hiding something from me. I just hope I’m wrong.”
I wish she knew how right she was. But how could I tell her such a thing and hope for her to forgive me? I just knew that if she found out, she’ll leave me and I don’t think I could bear that. Losing the two most important women in my life in such a short time was more than I could bear.
“Sweetheart, I just…want you to know that whatever happens…I love you more than my own life. You’re one of the best things that ever happened to me and I’ll do anything to keep you.” At that moment, I meant every word I said.
“Now you’re scaring me, what’s going on, Mo?”
“I guess I’m just realising how much you mean to me.”
“You’re not going to do anything stupid, are you?” I heard the fear in her voice.
I had no reply for that so I pulled her into a tight embrace.
The nightmares had gotten worse. I saw the girl everywhere I went. I hardly slept well at night. She kept showing up, sometimes in my dream at other times, I saw her in the flesh…like she was real.
She kept looking at me with those accusing eyes.
I’d never believed in ghosts, but I found myself changing that opinion as the days went by.
I recognised her alright; she was the little girl I had run down weeks ago. I was now beginning to realise what a mistake it was taking the job in the first place. I should have known that it spelled trouble the moment I saw the girl’s picture. She was a child.
Yes, I had done other dirty jobs in the past, especially when I was in dire need of the cash. This was not different.
Big J was the one who’d linked me up for this job…so I had no idea who the real employer was.
It made me wonder what sort of sadist would want a little girl run down.
Big J had called me that day, and I remember how vividly our conversation had gone.
“Hey man.” He had said.
“Big J. What’s up?”
“Heard you got some pretty huge debts.”
I remember wondering how he’d gotten that information. It was very accurate. I was in a financial jam.
“I need not ask how you know that.” I said instead.
“Well, I might be able to help. I gotta job for you.”
Big J’s jobs are never desk jobs or nine-to-five jobs. They’re never permanent employment and even if they were I won’t be qualified to do them. His jobs however paid well; because they were the kinda things other people reject.
“I ain’t doing anything cheap this time.” I said carelessly.
He laughed a deep rumbling sound. “I hear your chick’s working down at the bar. That’s crazy, man.”
“Stay outta my business, Big J. Now, you have something to say…say it or get off my phone.”
He cleared his throat. “It’s a hit-and-run. Nothing serious.”
“I’ll have the details over at your place in ten minutes.”
“A clean job is what I want. Can’t be traced to you or me or…”
“The original employer.” I couldn’t resist adding. “How much?”
“Like I said, the details are on their way to your place now. Let me know what you think.”
He hung up.
True to his words, the details arrived at my doorstep in the form of a brown envelope.
Inside was the picture of a little girl, the time and date of the hit. And fifty-thousand dollars.
I had to admit the girl was beautiful…her face was angelic… she had a very engaging smile and cute dimples. Who would want to harm her?
As much as I felt she was beautiful; it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Fifty-thousand dollars was an answer to my immediate financial issues.
I remember vividly; my orders were hit to damage. Not to kill…
It was Monday again and somehow, it felt strangely different. Mo had gone back to work and I was to begin my counselling sessions with Pastor Barry.
Mo and I had gone to church yesterday, for the first time since Shirley’s demise. Almost everyone had avoided us, probably in a bid to not say the wrong thing.
The ones who had spoken to us had picked their words carefully. It was an emotionally draining exercise for us but we’d sailed through.
I had mixed feelings about this meeting with Pastor B. I was dreading it in a way and at the same time looking forward to it…perhaps, I would get the answers I needed from him.
I arrived at the office fifteen minutes early. My appointment was scheduled for ten a.m.
His secretary, Mrs March, an elderly lady informed me that he was attending to someone and would soon be done.
I nodded and sat down to wait.
At exactly ten a.m. the door opened and I looked up.
Delia emerged with Pastor B right behind her.
I wonder why, but I saw a look of fear cross Delia’s face and it was gone instantly.