“Saul, you have been avoiding me”, “who are you show yourself” “You know who I am, let us stop playing these games Saul”, “If I really knew who you were, I wouldn’t be asking now would I?”, “Why are you so stubborn, so adamant, so strong headed?” “Maybe it is because I took that from you… Just maybe”, “alas!!! So you know my voice after all”, “well, if you have noticed I am doing all I can to avoid you”, “I am done cutting you some slacks Saul, you know I have so much plans for you but you prefer the ways of the world”, “the way of the world you call it? Let us not go through that again”, “you have been blessed with so much gift, why waste it?” “You call that a gift or a curse? My brother passed away in my arms and I cried to you, did you answer me?” “Do you think my plans and purpose for him was not for good?” “What did he ever do to you? What did he ever do to you? You talked about a gift that I could not use to save him?” “DID YOU BELIEVE?!”
The room Saul was in went quiet, he had never heard the VOICE so thunderously annoyed before. For the first time since he started arguing he felt the chills all over his body. He had overstepped his boundary and he knew all too well. He had pushed his luck for far too long and it seems this was it, for the first time his heart felt the supremacy of the unseen personality. “Now that I have gotten your attention, I would advice you to listen you stubborn boy. I knew you from a tender age. I had plans for you and I have watched you make a waste of your life. Oh, you have done so much evil. If not for my mercy, I would have consumed you, but alas you are there still feeling proud of your wicked ways, how long would you continue Saul, tell me how long?” “L….ord!!!…..Lorrrr!!..” “Oh, you know my name now, I am surprised the god that brings everyone to their, kneels, as a Lord, or is it not you again that makes men beg? Is it not you that make men choose between the rock and a hard place or you have suddenly forgotten how you take advantage of women and make children cry? You should feel the heat of hell for all your trespasses” and suddenly a blazing hit engulfed Saul and burnt him without scarring his skin. “Lord, I am sorry! I am sorry, please!!!” Saul cried out in agony, “the god man begs, do you beg because you are truly sorry or because you are powerless to control the situation right now?” The blazing heat goes out “Saul find me before it is too late” and the VOICE fades away.
Saul sweats profusely and the bed is soaked, he touches his skin and still felt the burning sensation and knew it was no dream. He was still lost in his thought when someone enters, “Boss! Boss!! Time don reach for the raid oooo”.
LATER THAT NIGHT…
Saul and his gang headed out for another raid, ‘Boss! Boss!! After this deal we go rich die. I hear say the guy na oil guy ooo and the money he carry enter house go reach 50million in hard currency oooo.” Saul was still lost in thought when his gang member nudges him “Boss na you I dey follow talk now!” visibly irritated by the lack of focus “Sorry Small, my mind is not here at all” “where he con dey now Boss! Boss!!” “Don’t worry I am strategizing. Anyways guys, this would be my last raid with you. I think I have come to the end of this aspect of my life. Once we take the money you two can share it while I walk away, my cup is full now”, “but Boss Boss!! No dey talk like this now, you be our god, na you dey always know when hit go dey successful and when he go burst, you no see how Fela go die when you warn am say that mission no pure but he put head inside? Na you be the chairman ooo; the god man” At the mention of god man by Small, Saul flinched remembering the episode with the VOICE. “If you truly consider me your leader then I will advice that after this one, you pack it up. Get an honest business to invest in and stop causing tears to families, I am done! you should too” Small eye balled him for a while, “But I no get any other skill apart to dey steal now, no play this kind rough play”, “Oh leave him small. He that has caused the biggest of pains amongst us, you now want to turn all repentant now, I laugh at you” Kazi finally spoke. He had been quiet all through the conversation slowly getting angry. “Kazi watch your tongue!” Saul fired back feeling insulted. “I have watched you Boss. I have watched how you have enjoyed the spoils alone. Gone down into the sweet honeycomb alone and lord it over us. I have watched you kill and make widows of numerous women, I have watched you force the hands of children to end their parents, so do not come now and form holier than thou attitude. Even if there was a God, He will not forgive you because you have surpassed the level of forgiving Saul” “You dare call my name, Kazi” “Oh yes Saul I did, what are you going to do about it? Kill me like your numerous victims you have left in your wake?” “Thank God, God is not man?” Saul murmured under his breath trying to control his temper” “Even if he is not, some of those people were innocent and you will definitely face the repercussion you twisted insolent man” “Stop this car this minute I am done here!!” Saul ordered. “I do not take orders from you anymore Saul. You have become soft, so why should I listen to you?” Kazi countered “Small tell Kazi to stop this car now before something drastic happens!” “Boss! Boss!! No vex, I like you but you must finish this one ooo even if you go leave us ooo, abeg no vex but I no fit allow you come down for this car, you fit don even set us up na why you don dey get second mind since I come your room this evening” “I cannot believe both of you right now”.
As they continued to argue, immediately they could see flashlights of a police checkpoint and for the first time in all of Saul’s operation real fear crimped into his heart and the words of the VOICE kept playing in his ears “Find me before it is too late” and the Policeman fully armed shouted “Stop the Car this instant!”
“Doctor you better come back here!!” Chidi shouted, He could not believe his ears, “what do you mean by she is alive? Speak to me” the tears rolled down Chidi’s face, Dr. Olubiyi looked at Chidi, with tears in his eyes, “I shouldn’t have said anything, I am sorry”, “You have already spilled the beans, so you better finish it”. “Tell me Doctor and don’t toy with my emotions. Is my wife alive or not?” after a long silence Doctor Olubiyi finally spoke, “She is very much alive, glory be to God. We thought we lost her and already took her to the morgue when she sneezed, it was the thinnest of sneeze but the most relieving one. We quickly took her to the operating room and I personally led the team that extracted the bullet from her. She is in the Intensive Care Unit as we speak but she is definitely alive. The bullet just missed vital organs in the brain by inches”. Chidi burst out in more tears but Dr. Olubiyi could tell it was tears of joy, he could see hope in Chidi’s eyes. That hope that could someday resurrect his dead faith and he wondered how he was going to break the rest of the news to him. He prayed inward for strength to carry out this difficult assignment. This was a man who totally lost all hope and faith in God and then miraculously was given hope only for the hope to be extinguished again. Dr. Olubiyi prayed even harder.
“Doctor what is it? I can sense there is more and do not patronize me”, “I think you should rest now Chidi, enough news for one day”, “I have been through a lot already nothing else can move me Doctor”, “Chidi do not force my hand, let us sleep over this good news”, “Doctor I am in sane mind and the woman in ICU is my wife and I deserve to know. What more are you hiding from me? Is she not going to make it? How long does she have left? Would she be a vegetable forever? What is it Doctor?!” Dr. Olubiyi put down his head, shook it slowly, then look dead straight into Chidi’s eyes. He turned from the emotional man just few seconds ago. To an emotionally devoid professional doctor and unleashed the bombshell “She is HIV POSITIVE!!!”. Chidi’s brain spun as he went unconscious on the bed.
Categories: Short Stories