******************************************

 

Another man behind a steering wheel followed the follower. He wound up all the doors and was smoking marijuana in excess. The interior of the vehicle was smoke filled. On the passenger’s seat beside him were different kinds of guns. He was there throughout the fracas but didn’t lift a finger. He had relaxed and lit stick after stick as he watched the men kill one another.

 

As he followed, he reached into his breast pocket for his phone. As he took out the phone, the button of his shirt released, exposing a tattooed identity…FAN.

 

He made a call.

 

******************************************

“Walk faster,” Tobi advised. They walked under the glare of the streetlights. Everywhere was quiet now. They had walked past the bridge and were now walking towards a street. Tobi had to do something fast about Irele’s situation. He must find her something to wear; he could see that the towel and her barefootedness was making her uncomfortable. Her feet must be blistering for the long time she had spent walking on a hard ground. He knew that she was not totally comfortable with being almost naked around him. They were walking in gloomy corners; animal lust might possess Tobi’s mind and cause him to rape her. These were all that was going through her mind, not even the fear of getting killed. Tobi wanted to tell her not to be scared of him but he couldn’t; no word might assure her now. She was afraid and suspicious.

It was dangerous to expose themselves to the publicity of the roads. The enemies were everywhere. They would scour every street, every corner, to find them. Apart from that, they couldn’t just continue trekking forever. Sooner or later, they would have to stop and pass the night somewhere. They walked past different slums before they found different clothes spread on line in front of a bungalow. Tobi selected a pair of ladies jeans trousers and a shirt for Irele. They went to a quiet spot for her to change.

“Turn around,” she said when she realised that it hadn’t dawned on the killer to give her privacy. He was staring at her as he waited for her to change.

“Why?”

“For goodness sake, be a gentleman. You can expect me to dress up while you watch.”

“But I’ve seen your nakedness already. What else are you trying to hide?”

“Stop acting like a pervert. I’m never going to be naked in front of you again. Turn around now!”

Tobi stared at her for a moment. Women. He shrugged and turned around. “You have just thirty seconds. We have no time to waste.”

“I’ll know if you peek.”

“I’m not peeking. I have no reason to. I know you aren’t armed.”

“Okay, I’m done. You can look at me now,” she said, “The jeans is a little bit short for me but it’s part of fashion, anyway. The shirt is perfect, I wish I had a bra on. My chest feels heavier.”

“You look nice with clothes on.”

Irele flushed hotly at the statement. She knew an insult when she heard one, and she felt insulted; Tobi thought he gave an honest compliment.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Rather than answering, he bent down, unlaced his shoes and gave them to her.

“Here, take,” he said, “wear this.”

“You can’t expect me to wear your boots. They’re too big for me.”

“You have to do with that for now.”

“What are you going to wear?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. Now let’s get out of here. We’ve got to find where we’ll pass the night.”

“But I’m hungry.”

“What are you two doing here in the dark?”  An elderly man suddenly appeared. Tobi turned swiftly and, almost magically, his pistol was aimed at the man’s head. The elderly person shrank back in fear, “Please don’t kill me! Please don’t! I beg of you. I have a wife and six children. Please!” He shut his eyes in terror.

“Who sent you?” Tobi asked sharply.

The man opened one eye, “Who sent me? Nobody! I’m just passing by.”

“You’re a FAN, aren’t you?”

“No, no, I’m not a fan. I don’t know any fan. The only fan I know is the one in my room, and it’s a handfan. I don’t have standing or ceiling fan. Please don’t kill me.”

“You’re lying!”

“No, I’m not! You can come and check my room, sir. Please, I beg of you…”

Tobi, with his other hand, ripped open the man’s shirt, buttons flew around like pellets. The man’s chest was clean; there was no tattoo whatsoever. He was just an innocent man. He wasn’t a frat.

“What’s your name?”

 

 

“My name is Jeremiah, sir.”

 

 

“What are you doing here at this time?”

 

 

“I’m just returning from work.”

 

 

“What do you do?”

 

 

“I’m a welder, sir.”

 

 

“Pull off your shoes.”

 

 

The man obeyed immediately.

 

 

“How much do you have on you?”

 

 

“Sixteen thousand, five hundred and twenty-five naira.”

 

 

“Bring it out now.”

 

 

“What are you doing?” Irele asked him, whispering.

 

 

“I thought you said you were hungry. I’m just finding us some food money.”

 

 

“You’re robbing the man. We’re not thieves.”

 

 

“We’ve got to eat, don’t we?”

 

 

“Don’t you have any money on you?”

 

 

“I have none.”

 

 

Irele was appalled. “Who leaves home without any money?”

 

 

“You and me,” he answered her then collected the money from the man. “Now run away without looking back. If you dare look back, I’m going to shoot you in the eye. You may call the bluff of my marksmanship and end up dead.”

 

 

The elderly man, now barefoot, ran down the quiet street like an athlete.

 

 

Tobi smiled and turned to face Irele, “That man is a runner. He should participate in the next Lagos Marathon.”

 

 

“You’re a monster.” Irele declared. She was disappointed in him.

 

 

He shrugged, “Call me whatever, I won’t allow you to sleep hungry. Now let’s find a restaurant. I’m hungry too.”

 

 

*******************************************

 

 

Jeremiah was still running when someone driving a car stopped him.

 

 

“What’s wrong, sir,” the driver asked, stepping out of the vehicle, “Why are you running?”

 

 

Jeremiah was breathless. He had to wait a moment to catch his breath before answering. “Thieves,” he said, “They robbed me. A man and a woman.”

 

 

“Blessed Virgin Mary,” the driver made a false cross sign, “I hope they are not coming towards this way.”

 

 

“No, I don’t think so. I think they were going the other way.”

 

 

“Where did you see them?”

 

 

“In the middle of the street when you take the second turning. Please don’t approach them; they are dangerous people.”

 

 

“I understand. Thanks for the information, and the warning.” He stuck a knife in the elderly man’s throat, wriggled it for a moment before taking it out. The innocent man collapsed to the ground like a cave of sand on a beach. The killer cleaned his hands and headed back to his car. He was going after the two, after the document.

 

 

*******************************************

 

 

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