“My name is Evil Spirit. I’m a professional robber. Ripping off properties is what I do! So, at exactly 2:00AM this night, I and my people will storm your house sir. We will come for our right, the bag….”
Pa David, who had been extremely worried since he left the bank broke into a slight sweating session. He turned pale immediately as his jaws dropped reflexly revealing a lower set of 60 years old teeth. His legs began shaking and a brown bag pinned between them fell. He immediately bent, grabbed the bag and transferred it to his chest, holding his right forearm over it tightly.
His left hand still held the letter he saw hanging by his doorpost few minutes earlier. He continued reading aloud with a confused expression.
“…We know you have your pension …but what can we do? We want it, and we shall have it. Now this is the deal. No police, no running because if you do, you will have to pay the hard way, your children will go for it. But sure of this, police or not, we will be coming. Be prepared. Yours truthfully. Evil Spirit.” The letter dropped.
Slowly, Pa David went down with his buttocks and sat on the concrete for some moments. He shot a tired glance at the cheap leather watch on his wrist. The time read 8pm. The banks must have closed
Several thoughts raced to his mind, thoughts of asking the police for help, vacating the house that night but he soon discarded them all.
“This must be a of joke or some prank” he soliloquized.
He then waved his hand in a manner that portrayed he wasn’t concerned and stood up, leaving the brown bag near the door. Taking slow strides, he carefully inspected the perimeter of the house after which he proceeded towards the entrance door again. He stopped suddenly with a another thought
“This is not a prank! How did he know I have a bag of money, my pension!”. He broke into a sob with hands on head.
His mind raced to his wife instantly. She was the only one that knew about his schedule for the day.
“or could this be my wife?” He recollected the last time he was robbed on the highway of a five million naira he and her only knew about. The following month she had suddenly become rich, spending lavishly. He kept this observation to himself, but now, something must be done.
He resumed towards the entrance now with a jog as the sobbing accelerated. Getting there, he began knocking violently and severally but nobody answered. He then dipped a hand in his pant’s right pocket. After few seconds of aimless and agitated search, the hand emerged with a key bunch. It took forever for him to separate the door’s own key, he isolated the key and lost it among others many times. His fingers were trembling. Finally, he managed to get it, after which another session of struggle started; inserting the key in its hole. He succeeded again after several tries. Turning the key twice clockwisely, the door opened.
He bent, grabbed the bag and stepped inside hurriedly. The lights were on. He then quickly locked the door with an unusual vigor, after which the expelled a warm breath and resumed with the shout of his wife’s name
“Mama Dav…..mama Dav!” He moved rapidly from room to room with the bag as he screamed
“where are you?… We are in trouble woman! Robbers are coming after us. We can’t go out …we can’t stay in! .. What do we do! ”
He received no answer. He was stepping out of the last of the four rooms in the apartment when it dawned on him that he was the only one around. His wife had not arrived. A shivering current swept through him as he collapsed on his old couch and muttered
“my wife is robbing me again”.
* * *
Pa David jerked up from the couch and ran to a nearby clock. He froze on seeing the time. It read 1:30am. 30 bloody minutes to 2am. How long he had slept, maybe fainted, he didn’t know. He unfroze and turned his head rapidly, searching for the brown bag. He glimpsed it some meters away. He shot towards it, lifted it from the floor and ran towards the door. He stood there for some minutes thinking after which he ran back and sat. He was clearly unbalanced. His knees banged each other uncontrollably where he sat as various sizes of sweat played down his face. He darted out of the chair again towards the entrance and stopped. He soon backed off and sprinted around the sitting room in circles, grabbing his groin with one hand as he rotated.
Finally, he made his decision. He dashed towards the walls and flipped off some switches. Instantly, everywhere became dark in the sitting room. Dipping his hands in his pocket, he retrieved a phone to produce illumination for his way to the storage room, the place the would hide. He pressed futilely, the phone refused to come on. It then came to him that it’s battery had been flat right from the bank. The phone went back to his pocket. Anyway, he had to proceed. Briefly, he switched on the lights again to check the time.1:45am. Darkness took over again as the lights went off.
With an amazing instinct, he began tracing his way to the storage room, the bag stuck tighter to his chest with each slow step he took. One of the most amazing things about human vision is the super range it has. One can see in very bright sunlight, and also in nearly total darkness. Helped by the fear, his pupils dilated incredibly and he began taking fast strides in the dark. Moments later, he arrived the store house, kicked open its wooden door and stormed inside. He immediately went behind a big drum where he sat taking cover and waiting for the hells to fall.
Pa David now had no idea of the time. All he heard was the faint ticking of his watch. Cold chills went down his spine after every sixty ticks. He was counting. Scenes of how his parents were murdered and robbed right in his presence also by the 2am of a night years ago streamed back to his memory. Soon, he lost count but after what seemed like a thousand beats and hell gates flung open. He heard a gunshot in his compound. They had arrived.
Too scared to hide, he jumped and raced towards the sitting room. His eyes had greatly adapted to the darkness as they shone superbly. He got to the main door and heard a distant voice. It was his wife’s.
With one finger in mouth, he kept mouthing and running around haphazardly
“Ah! Wicked world… Vanity upon vanity ! My own wife! ”
His wife’s voice screamed from afar.
“Enter! Enter now and take the money…. Kill him …kill him!”
Confirming they won’t just take the money but also kill him. He unlocked the door and took off. He had initially played along with their rules for his children’s sake.
Another gunshot went off. This propelled him as he bursted out into the main street. He heard thousands of steps behind as he bolted. Looking back, he saw a battalion and his wife, their commander.
He kept running without any idea of where he was heading. All he knew was he had to keep going. He wasn’t ready to stop but he was thrown to a halt against his will not by the battalion behind but by a car he had not seen coming right in front of him. He hit the ground forcefully and for the first time in a long while, the brown bag got detached from him as his limbs twitched fiercely on the dusty road.
* * *
Pa David opened his eyes slowly and quickly shut them again. It was morning already and the light around was overwhelmingly much for them. After several tries, they finally opened. Taking a difficult turn of his head to the right, he saw a man in a white coat, with a stethoscope around his neck. Without thinking much he knew he was in a hospital. He again looked right to his front and saw two police officers. He face displayed confusion but anger set it on seeing the being by his left. It was his wife.
He dragged up lazily and went for her neck. His eyes bulged as he wrapped his hands around the tiny neck screaming
“You! You, I trusted you… Where is my money! Where is it?”
The other three quickly swung into action and released her from the grip after a hard battle
The doctor then started
“Madam, please wait outside” she left crying, without any hesitation.
The doctor then continued, facing Pa David
“You were rushed here by two men 2:30am this morning. They claimed to have hit you on the run and were so generous to have deposited some amount for your treatment after which they vanished. We commenced treatment, but their was a challenge, none of your family members were around for you, so we searched you and saw an ID containing your home address and an uncharged phone. We quickly invited the police and they went to your house. They got there and met no one even though your doors were left opened. But they saw a letter from your wife at the door post that said she wouldn’t be around for the night. She wrote that she had tried calling your phone but was unreachable and some other information she wrote…” he paused, took a deep breath and proceeded
“…We then charged your phone, so we could retrieve her number and it was was successful. That is why she’s here. Now tell us what happened”
Pa David became shocked, but still went ahead to explain all that happened in details. The way he got home and read the letter. How he figured out his wife was after him, the gunshot and her voice he had heard. The letter was showed to him and he confirmed it to be the same he saw. But on reading it, he saw a different content.
The doctor then called his wife in and asked her
“Has your husband ever had any experience with robbers?”
“Yes doctor, he was robbed once of a huge amount… in fact, according to him, his parents were killed by robbers as a young boy…” She replied, weeping profusely
The doctor stood with arms akimbo for many seconds and finally said
“Madam, I’m afraid, your husband might be suffering from a severe case of harpaxophobia, that is the fear of being robbed, going by all his experiences. This might have induced the visual and auditory hallucinations he had coupled with the stress he must have experienced at the bank. It explains the letter, the gunshots, the people after him, even your appearance and your voice… His brain had fed him his fears”.
He moved closer to her talking faintly so Pa David wouldn’t hear
“…We may have to refer him to a psychiatrist for a period of psycho and behavioral therapy”
He was soon cut shut by Pa David
“Ok ok! Stop all these rantings and tell me where the bag is… that’s my pension!”
The doctor turned to him and said
“I’m sorry sir, we couldn’t stop those men that brought you in. Truly, we saw a brown bag with them, out of which they paid your bills… But how could we have known? I’m truly sorry” he then walked out.
Pa David collapsed on the bed on hearing this, with one though on mind. His fear had eventually come to pass.