“How come we didn’t see the guy with the camera that day, Douglas?”
“I think we became engrossed with the shoes you saw in that outlet.”
“Shoes ke? You’re sure?” I ask Douglas.
“Yes nau. The ones you said your step-dad would love,” Douglas replied.
Douglas and I are sitting on a cloud, high in the sky. Looking down on the happenings going on in the world. From our vantage point, we can see everyone clearly. Humans, to other humans in air planes, probably see no movement. Whereas ghosts like us see things like they are right before us, even to the tiniest ants – we see them all very clearly. And the interesting aspect of being dead is we get to visit the places we’d never been to while we alive. A few days ago, I was on the Eiffel tower, looking down on French citizens and laughing. I laughed at them because they have a different word for everything.
Douglas died four months before me. His body, what was left of it, was found in the empty pool of an unoccupied mansion in Parkview Estate. I really don’t know whose death process was worse because he had each foot torn from their sockets. I mean, he was stretched beyond limit till they came off – skin first, then muscles and tendons, then the bones. He had wailed into his gagged mouth, but no one had heard him. Very horrible death indeed. I’d asked him to tell me or probably let me into his memory of his death. But no; he always declined. Even after I let him in on my life history. Selfish, both dead and alive, describes Douglas. We died from by the same hands for almost the same reasons.
Anyway, the two of us walked into the mall, two friends enjoying a day out, window shopping at The Palms, Lekki, completely oblivious to the evil lurking behind us. I was walking on the right side of Douglas.
Jovi and Bankole were still watching us on Jovi’s laptop screen. I didn’t need to turn around for Jovi to recognise me.
“No…” he croaked.
“Isn’t that the guy from that… video?” Bankole whispered, also recognising my side view as I laughed at something silly Douglas had said.
Jovi couldn’t answer as his insides were quaking. He couldn’t speak, neither did he blink. He was transfixed, his mind wondering what it all was about.
“Good memory, Bankole,” the caller’s voice came from the cell phone’s speaker. “But don’t you recognise the person walking beside Moyo?” It was the first time he mentioned my name. “Why don’t you take a closer look?” He gave a chuckle.
Bankole’s very audible gasp set the caller off again.
Beside me, as you know, was Douglas, who was – still is my friend here in the great beyond. But Douglas was so much more to Bankole. He was both his nephew and boy toy. Yes, they were fucking! Twisted, yeah? I know. Lots of shitty things happen.
“Moyo, you know they didn’t have to know that,” Douglas grouses.
“Of course, they do. I’m laying my shit bare, remember?” I retort.
“Well, that’s my shit. Not yours.”
“Well, you tried your mouth on my man’s dick while I was sleeping, and then you had sex with him when I travelled. I’d say I’ve earned the right to talk about your shit a little.”
Douglas sighs. We’re walking in the corridors of Jovi’s office. Douglas waves at another ghost-acquaintance of ours who had come to see her husband. I can tell she misses him very much. We meet most times when I drop in to check on my boyfriend.
He’s grown pretty old. His salt and pepper hair is still immaculate as ever. I wish he’d start seeing someone new. I hate that he’s lonely. He’s very lonely and it continually breaks my heart to see him like this.
Anyway, back to my story…
Immediately Bankole recognised Douglas, he rasped, “Oh my God. What do you want?”
The caller gave another laugh. “Why? To kill them of course.”
The older men’s throats constricted as what they were in for dawned on them.
Then Bankole lost it. “I swear to God, if you touch him, if you so much as fucking come close to him, I will kill you. I’m going to find you and I’ll kill you. You hear me? I’m going to fucking kill you. I’ll bring hell and all its occupants to you. You fucking hear me?! YOU HEAR ME?” He was practically shaking. Every inch of his body was fuelled with rage. From the look on Jovi’s face, I’m sure he’d never seen his business partner in that state before.
The caller merely laughed. “He’s a fine young man. How come you have only tapped that ass twice?”
“Fuck you!” Bankole spat. “You have no idea why what I can and will do to you, you fucker!”
You’re wondering why so many expletives were dropping, yeah? You see, Bankole grew up in the USA. He went to high school and college there. He returned to Nigeria because he wanted to give back to his nation. He’s quite familiar with the expletive scene, if such a term exists.
Jovi was taken aback by his partner’s outburst. Yes, he was scared for me but he actually wasn’t expecting the outburst. His desperate stare moved from Bankole’s Blackberry to the laptop’s screen. And as he reached for the phone, the caller, as if predicting their moves, spoke up.
“Here’s how it’ll work. If I see any of them reaching for their phones and turning around to look at me, you’ll never see them alive again. Ever! I’ve maimed before and my last victims will look like Valentine’s Day compared to what I’ll do to them. You can’t get here fast enough, and you don’t have help here like I do. Trust me, I’m not bluffing. Are we clear?”
“Again, are we clear?!” This time, there was an edge to the caller’s voice.
“Yes…” Jovi muttered as he gently placed the phone he had been clutching back on the table.
“Good. As you can see, I can get to people you hold dear. So no police involvement. Unless you want your sex tape all over the internet, Jovi. Fourteen years is a long time, people. It really is. Everyone will abandon you. Your business will fold up. Your lives and the lives of your family will be shattered. Think about it.”
Jovi let out a shaky breath.
“The four of you hurt me. You know, most people believe there’s always a choice, no matter what circumstance befalls us. Sometimes, decisions are made for us by others, and most of the time, we can’t do anything about it except react. For instance, if I choose to kill one of these two young men, my decision, not either of yours, will change your life for eternity.”
Both men didn’t know what to say.
“But pain and anger are good things. They’re good motivators. They show we are living and we still care. Which is why I must commend you, Bankole, for your reaction. You care for your nephew, or should I say, your fuck buddy.” He chuckled. “My job here is done. But I promise you, it’s not over yet. I’ll be in touch.”
The line went dead.
But our images were still online.
The caller had left the camera running before leaving the mall.
Written by Vhar