Being the first day of the week, Mondays was usually the busiest. This was evident in the pattern of behavior of citizens in Owerri. There was obviously no time to socialize as everybody focused on the business of the day each according to their plans.
To Chidi the routine for Monday morning was the same for every other week days. He would normally wake up by 6am, jog for 2hrs, work out in his small gym for 1 hr, take his time to prepare himself a mouth watering breakfast that would surely replace lost calories and prepare for work. All these activities would make him get to work on or before 10am on daily basis.
Today he got to work at almost 10.30am. He wasn’t in a hurry because he had successfully repaired most of the problematic cars on Saturday before leaving for the state gym; going to the gym every evening was a routine for him.
As an experienced mechanic, Chidi was already used to all the pressures that went with the work. So he had devised a strategy that would ensure that he was always calm. That was by being truthful at all times and making sure the work was done. Thanks to his involvement in body fitness exercises where he had learnt how not only to keep the body fit, but the mind too.
Something was not right at the other end of the street where the love of his life lived. He was quick to notice the hysterical behavior of the people around that end immediately he got to work.
“What is happening over there? He asked one of his boys who had come early and was already busy on one of the cars.
“I heard Nkiru’s elder sister didn’t come back last night. Nkiru has been making a scene all morning. She seems very sure that something bad has happened to her.” The young lad replied to his boss.
“But what is so worrisome about Adanna not coming home for just a night? She is a big girl and Nkiru should wait till the day ends before getting herself worked up.” Chidi complained as he tried to make out her figure from the growing crowd. Seeing her every morning had a way of energizing him to work better. The sight of her was also his good luck charm, he believed.
“Well, she has been complaining that her mobile phone is not reachable and to her, that was unusual.” Chidi’s boy replied.
“Have they contacted the police?”
“Yes, but the police told them that they will have to wait till 24hrs elapses before taking necessary action.”
Chidi instantly wished he could help but didn’t know how. He had once tried communicating with Nkiru but didn’t succeed in saying anything meaningful. He had lost his composure when he noticed her staring at his dirty and oil stained cloth disgustingly. She had maintained a civil look which didn’t encourage him to go on talking in anyway. She had quickly walked away and leaving unspoken words hanging on his mouth. He was glad he had chosen a discrete scene and moment.
But he never stopped loving her. She was the girl of his dream despite having so many girls flocking around him. Unfortunately he was short of ideas on how to go about making Nkiru understand how he felt about her.
Sometimes Chidi wished he was a graduate. The only certificate he was able to get before becoming a full time mechanic was just a Diploma in mass communication. This was something a lot of people didn’t believe was true considering the fact that he communicated fluently in English and coordinated himself like a gentleman with formal training.
Well, he was making good money with his present business, he would console himself.
But he hated the society for allowing people without formal educational training to be treated like second class citizen especially in social gathering which he attended much as a result of his likeable nature. He was also sure that his educational status was also a hindrance to him having a meaningful relationship with Nkiru. He wasn’t sure she would want to date a half educated mechanic like him.
He was friends with Adanna but couldn’t just get along with Nkiru. What was it about his feelings for her that made communicating with her very difficult? He always wished Nkiru was as friendly as her sister. The two girls were the opposite sides of a coin. Though both girls were pretty but Adanna was warm and accommodating while Nkiru was cold and always kept to herself.
He hoped Adanna was safe. Chidi decided that he would talk to his police friend when he gets to the gym this evening.
Chidi was a mechanic in the day and a boxer trainee in the evening. This in fact summarized his daily activities. And this was why he was a heavily built young man with strong legs that stood firm to the ground. His broad shoulders always got the girls stealing multiple glances especially with the fact that his tummy was flat, thereby giving an admirer the impression that the packs were tight and complete. Chidi was 30yrs old with an athletic agility of a 24yr old man.
He was his own boss after fifteen years of experience and hard labour. His workshop was big enough to accommodate 20 cars and he had 5boys working for him. He was good at his work and had earned customer’s trust with his ‘no lying to please you’ policy.
He couldn’t wait for the evening to reach so that he could speak with his police friend. Perhaps he could give him one or two information that would help. He just hoped nothing bad had happened to the ever friendly and kind hearted Adanna.
*** *** *** ***
Benson got into his office and sat down heavily on his office chair. He was just returning from the high court where he had defended a notorious politician who was accused of embezzlement. Today was the final session of the hearing and Benson had once again come out victorious for his client.
Benson was the best criminal lawyer in town and as a result, was under the payroll of all the corrupt politicians and businessmen in town and beyond. Benson was also born into the most notorious family in Owerri. The Omenka family was highly dreaded by all; even the police ensured that they did not get involved in any case with them.
Notoriety ran in the blood of every member of the Omenka, starting from their grandfather who was now late, to Benson’s offspring who were the youngest in the family tree. Negative connotations like murder, ritual killings, drunk driving, cultism, elections rigging, street fighting and blatant oppression were always associated with the Omenkas. But the Omenka’s majored in drug business. This was the source of their massive income and they would do anything to do away with anyone who tried to become a hindrance to the success of their business.
The fact that Benson was a 39years old criminal lawyer did not make him a gentleman. Once, his car got hit by a police road warder popularly known as ‘Yellow Fever’ who was trying to control traffic. He had given Benson signal to stop at a junction which had no traffic light, for adjacent cars to move but Benson had refused to stop. The road warder had angrily hit the E-Class at the back causing Benson to stop. Benson made a call to his notorious brothers asking them to come while he made a scene by asking that the policeman must get into the boot of his car so as to spend the rest of his day there. This event almost stopped the economic activity in Owerri as it resulted to heavy traffic for over five hours. It took the intervention of the police commissioner to resolve the matter.
As he sat on his office chair this morning, he continued to stare at his cell phone. He was expecting a call.
The family purse has been going down lately causing them all to cut down on their extravagant life style. This had not been going well with them all.
Suddenly, the phone rang.
“Hello,” he spoke into the phone.
“It’s been done. Chief Orji is dead.” Came the reply from the other end.
“Thank you.” Benson replied. He was about to cut the call when the caller spoke up.
“Papa said I should remind you of the family meeting this evening.”
“I will be there, don’t worry.”
He cut the line and smiled. Foolish Chief Orji had vowed to be an obstacle to the progress of one of his clients. The Chief had claimed to be a man of justice and would never overlook corrupt practices just as long as he was in a political position that would enable him air his view. This has slowed down the business pace of Benson’s client hence the poor flow of income into Benson’s purse as well as his family’s.
He was glad the fool was gone. This will put fear in the heart of all intending obstacles. The Omenka family now had hope after all.
He quickly stood up and looked around his luxurious office. He ensured he didn’t forget anything before leaving the office for an urgent afternoon meeting.
How would Benson have known that a helpless amnesiac lady had unknowingly saved his life from the hands of a vengeful Daniel this morning?
*** *** *** ***
“Look, I don’t know who you are and I don’t care. If you feel your life is in danger, go to the police and leave me the hell alone.” Daniel rudely said as he drove to nowhere in particular.
This lady from God knows where had stopped him from carrying out him plan. How was he going to go through another night knowing that Benson was still alive! He was very furious. He had no plan of being alive today; he never looked forward to today.
She had fainted in his car just after they had escaped those thugs and reviving her had been a task he had angrily and reluctantly involved himself with. He had stopped the car just after the Control Roundabout and sought the help of a woman with a retail outlet nearby. She had come around after fifteen minutes and was just looking well enough to speak.
“Please sir, I am sorry for barging into your life. I really don’t know why you are angry but I didn’t mean to upset you. I was in danger and I believe God used you to…”
“God used me to do nothing! Instead he used you to ruin my plan. He does not ask for my opinion before using people in my life. But he did nothing to help my helpless wife and daughter in their time of extreme need.”
The confused lady couldn’t really understand why this man displayed so much anger. He had saved her life and she was nothing but grateful to him. She had seen what those two killers had done to three nurses at the hospital and was sure that it was a miracle she was alive. But how could she show appreciation to a man that was acting angry for even helping her. She wondered what issues he was going through that was making him act this way.
The head ache returned once again. It was unbearable and she supported her almost bursting head with her hands as she began to feel dizzy once again.
Daniel noticed she was in pain but he was sure that he was feeling worse than however she felt. He prayed she doesn’t faint once again.
“The best thing for me to do is to drop you at the police station so that you can explain your confused self to them better or I take you to the hospital where you can be treated of whatever is wrong with you. “He said.
“I just feel safer with you.” She weakly said.
“With me?” this was unbelievable. “You don’t even know who I am. How can you feel safe with me?”
“I don’t know. I also don’t know why those men wanted to hurt me. I don’t believe I have done anything wrong to them.” She thoughtfully gazed at the side mirror through the cracked up window, “I don’t even know why I was at the hospital in the first place. How and why did they locate me? Who are they? Who am I?” she said to herself but loud enough for him to hear.
He didn’t want to but he found himself feeling pity for her. But that wouldn’t change anything. Her life seemed so complicated for him to handle because his was over.
It was almost twelve noon and he was beginning to hear his stomach rumble. He just remembered that he had not eaten anything all day.
He decided to drive home to prepare himself something to eat; he didn’t have any money with him here. Neither did he have money anywhere. But he was sure he could get something to eat at home no matter how little it was. Then he would really relax and think of what to do with this strange lady and Benson.
He stretched his right hand and turned on the radio, it could help him get his mind of the present situation. The news at noon was about to be read.
“An unknown patient at City Hospital Weatheral had escaped this morning after killing three nurses. She is believed to be suffering from a form of psychotic disorder and is considered dangerous. The public is thereby asked to be conscious of…”
“What?” he quickly slammed the break and stared at her. He was heading towards his house at Area N in World Bank Housing Estate. But with the latest news, he sure wasn’t going to take this lunatic to his home. “You killed three nurses? With what? How did you…”
“I don’t have the slightest idea of what they are talking about. Those men killed the nurses before coming for me,” She desperately explained.
“And you didn’t think it was necessary that you tell me?”
“I have not really had the time to discuss anything to you” she cried feeling her head thump again.
“How did you do it? How were you able to kill three nurses and escaped from those men? Who the hell are you?” he was almost screaming.
How could she explain to him to stop shouting? “look, I don’t know who I am, I can’t remember why I was at the hospital, I don’t even know how I got there, but one thing I can assure you is that I didn’t kill those nurses.”
“Then why the hell are you being accused? Why can’t you even remember anything?” he asked.
“I don’t know alright? I don’t know why I am having serious headache, I might have hit my head on something because I feel pain on the top left side of my head.”
He continued to stare at her for some seconds, “isn’t it possible that you might have killed those people without remembering? Don’t you think those men were just trying to restrain you?”
“Didn’t you see them? Have you forgotten how desperate and dangerous they looked? Besides, do I look capable of killing anyone? Look sir, I saw these men kill those nurses. You need to believe me.” She maintained.
“But why couldn’t they get you? I mean how did you escape?” He probed.
“I… it wasn’t like they wanted to kill me, they wanted me alive, I saw a chance to escape and I did.”
Daniel shoved his head back helplessly, thinking of what next to do.
“I really need you right now more than ever. I need your help. The police are after me, some unknown men are trying to kill me. I can stay in your place and use it as a hideout until I can sort things out and decide on the next thing to do. Please.” She pleaded.
He remained silent for a few seconds that seemed like forever to her and then started the car engine and drove off.