Burning Smoke

She told them to pick the time and the place. She didn’t mind―she didn’t care. Anything would be better than sitting in bed with a bowl of cereal with more tears than milk. It just hasn’t been her best week or day. Especially today. She thought back to the mother whose eyes were filled with hope when she’d first saw them this morning. Hope―she’d laid it there, painted a victory picture for the woman who needed that one last thing called justice to hold on to. But when the final result was called, she’d lost. Hope was snatched away. Now grief prevailed. It was her first loss and she was taking it directly to the heart like a gun shot. While driving home she’d bled tears all over her suit.  Nothing was going to change. Nothing changed until she called Abigale to tell Ruth to call Sade to pick the place and the time.

She didn’t mind; anything to get away from this suit of shame. At six, Sade texted her the time and place. She didn’t mind the location. She got into her car and headed to the one place they promised would heal her wounds.

At seven twenty-eight that same evening, Osaze staggered backwards as quickly as he’d stormed into the hall. The stench of weed and cigarette and sweat mixed together wasn’t pleasant, and yet he had to stay. He asked himself a rather serious question: why would anyone sacrifice their lungs just to get high? If they wanted to feel on top of the world, his advice for them was to locate Mount Everest and camp up there for a year or more―however long. Done with his internal speech, he approached the center of the hall where the dancers looked rather mad and immediately spotted his target; the infamous Dele, best known as Chewy, famous for a lot of crimes he never gets directly link to.

He advanced towards him, his gun unnoticed and attached to his side. Chewy was sitting on his throne where a young lady no older than sixteen sat on his laps like a tool he could play with. Another was behind him, caressing his chest as he blew cigarette smoke in the face of the much younger looking girl who really needed to cough. Osaze was interrupted a few times by women who were working extra shifts for free and for the devil. They each came, throwing themselves at him, hoping he would catch them―unfortunately, his eyes were on a rather different kind.

Her back was turned to him. He hadn’t seen her face but he could almost picture her in his head. He blamed the smoke filled room for his delirious thoughts. He could have sworn he saw her calling for him so he pushed closer to where she danced. The beat to the Caribbean dance hall song blasting through the speakers had his thoughts in one ball of tangled mess as she danced. He was close enough now to hear her laughing―breathing. But one-two, one-two she stepped, her hips moving as fast as his racing chest. She snapped her fingers and turned freely around as soon as the music hit its climax, it was then that he realized she was with another man―dancing on him.

He’d allowed himself see what he’d wanted to for the past two minutes―her dancing for him alone―only. He replayed the scene where she turned around in his head again. Full and dark red lips were slightly open from the heat in the room; slender and long caramel fingers playfully pushed stubborn strands of hair away from her face. Her crimson leather skirt clung to her curvy hips and thighs. “Hmmm,” he murmured. She must have noticed him staring too hard, boring hole into the skintight, dark crop-top she had on. She pushed her dance partner aside and approached him, he did the same. She paid no attention to the grumbling young man behind her, instead, all her focus was on the tall man with skin like burnt coffee.

She didn’t care about the time, the place, the smell, the face, or the height; everything went tonight―anything to ease the singing pain in her chest.

His hands were on her waist now, eyes fixed on the reason he’d dragged himself out tonight. He needed to catch this fish but a bigger one was trapped in his net. He smiled to himself. He hadn’t planned on going fishing tonight but, he was definitely on a boat now. He was either going to sail this home or cowardly throw the bait back in the water.  He was tempted to pull her close. Their bodies almost touched as if she’d read his mind. How he could feel her without touching her blew his senses away, or maybe it was her breath against his neck that he felt, not her cleavage on his chest.

“What’s your name?” the husky voice didn’t sound like his, all the while looking out for Chewy who seemed as if he was already bored with the party.

“Asha,” she breathed into his ear, sending heated chills down his backbone. He couldn’t let him go, he couldn’t let this one go either. He just couldn’t. He moaned deeply.

Asha hadn’t felt this way in a long time, hadn’t been in this room in a long time, or in this position. She was tempted to go all in and out―anything to clear her mind. But when the cold truth hit―James, the seventeen year old boy who was murdered last month wasn’t coming back to the family who’d put all their hopes in her; she collapsed.

Osaze blamed it on the heat in the room; he immediately removed her from the noise and took her to his car. Everything had gone downhill. He was stuck playing knight in shining armor to a girl who he suspected had come to the wrong place at the wrong time and for the first time.

He handed her a bottle of water when he heard her groaning. He found a spare jacket in the back sit of the car and threw it on her chest.

“You cost me a lot tonight,” he said, looking away from her.

“And who are you?” she asked groggily.

Osaze chuckled, a bit disappointed, she didn’t even remember him. How much of what they’d done did she remember then?

“A little too much. I should be going.” She answered, reading his thoughts yet again.

“Oh no, not so fast. You’re not going back there.”

“And who said I was?”

“Then you’ll follow me to the police station.”

“The police station? And why would I do that?” she waited for what seemed like an hour for him to answer saying, “because I need a good reason and luckily, you’re one.”

To be continued.

2 thoughts on “Burning Smoke” by Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

  1. TheWhisperer (@Mayree)

    Next! i hope there’s more….

    1. Ufuoma Otebele (@ufuomaotebele)

      I hope so tooo

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