PURE BLACK GREY (Episode 8)

PURE BLACK GREY (Episode 8)

I stared at the toothbrush in my hand, my sleep-fogged brain not coming up with a ready explanation for why I didn’t recognize it before I covered it with toothpaste and used it to brush my teeth. Of course, I’d known Jovi’s brush was also there. There was two of practically every hygiene product in his bathroom since I moved in and since Douglas’s death.

The morning I found out about Douglas’s death, I was swamped with work at the office. Maje was in his corner finishing up some analysis he was computing for his supervisor. We still weren’t on very good terms. Douglas had promised to call back the previous night, after he’d answered whoever was at the door, to let me know what was being said about me in the Facebook group he was a member of. But he never returned my calls and he didn’t acknowledge my text either.

I thought nothing about it until I got an email containing a video file from Douglas’s email.

I had a slight foreboding.

I called his phone immediately but there was no answer. Half an hour later, my phone rang and a voice that wasn’t Douglas’s and which was clearly disguised answered as soon as I took the call.

“Hello, Moyo.” There was a smile in the voice. “Have you seen your friend’s dying video? I assure you, you’ll be fascinated.”

My heart stopped in that moment. I had imagined a hundred different horrible things the caller might say; that I should watch the video of my friend’s last dying moments hadn’t been one of them.

I cut the call immediately. I was shaking so much, my phone clattered to the floor.

“Hey, are you okay?” Maje asked, concern in his voice as he glanced in my direction. He took one look at my petrified countenance and got to his feet immediately to walk over to my desk.

I couldn’t form a coherent reply in my head neither did I utter anything intelligible. My heart was pounding. When Maje shook my shoulder, I snapped out of my jittery state, expelled a breath to calm myself, reached for my phone and went straight to the rest room to call my boyfriend, leaving Maje to wonder what was going on with me.

“Hey, ba –”

“Jovi, I think Douglas is dead,” I overrode him before I could stop myself. However, my tone was calm and measured which surprised even me considering the situation at hand.

“What!” he hissed in alarm. “How do you know this?”

I told him how I’d not been able to reach Douglas all morning, the email I got from his email account and the call I got from the killer through Douglas’s phone.

“Have you seen this…video? Are you sure it’s Doug?” Jovi asked, uncertainty cloaking his voice.

“No, I haven’t,” I whispered.

“Okay,” he said. “Okay,” he repeated, as if convincing himself. “It’s probably just some expensive joke or something.”

“I don’t think it is, Jovi. Why would a disguised voice call me with Doug’s phone? Why hasn’t he returned my calls since morning?” I paused. “Look Jovi, I don’t even know what to think anymore.”

“Calm down, okay? It’s probably nothing.”

“How can you dismiss this as probably nothing? This is Douglas we’re talking about here. My friend!”

“Babe, send me the video.”

“Why?”

“Just send it!” he snapped. He was now grinding his teeth. I could hear the irritating sound of it.

“Okay! Don’t yell at me!” I snapped back. Then I cut the call and forwarded the video to him.

After about a fraction of a second, before I could talk myself out of it, I clicked on the file attachment.

Douglas’s hands were extended and tied separately above his head to two iron poles. There was a gag strapped firmly to his mouth. He was clad in only his sweat-shorts; I know this because I have a matching sweat-shirt back at my house. His entire body glistened with sweat in the sun he was being exposed to. I could see the fear in his eyes as he tried to focus between the camera lens and something else.

His legs were placed a little wider with iron chains strapped to his ankles. I couldn’t see what the chains of his feet were attached to just yet. The camera zoomed in on his face for a bit, and then suddenly, Douglas’s eyes became huge, like he knew what was about to happen. His eyes darted to the camera as he mumbled a frantic plea at whoever was behind the camera, before he shot another look at something else – or someone else.

Still in the toilet stall, I brought my left hand to my face, cupping the lower part of my face in mounting fear. Everything in me wanted to scream, to turn off the phone or smash it and never watch the video again. But I couldn’t. I was transfixed.

The tension within me was pierced when Douglas was jerked by something unseen and not captured at another end by the camera. He was pulled forward like he was a rag doll before been suspended in the air, face up. There was no sound from the video but I could see Douglas’s cheeks puffing like he was breathing really hard and trying to scream for help through the gag. Then the chains started pulling really hard and reflexively, Douglas stretched his neck, like it would help ease the pain or make the pulling stop.

Every muscle, every vein, every cartilage and bones and flesh reacted to the pain he was feeling as they all lost their contractions and human endurance.

Suddenly, the sounds of his Douglas’s pain erupted in the toilet stall; the camera’s microphone had been turned on. The tear of his flesh gradually started and the most basic human reaction to pain could be seen as he twisted this way and that, trying to find a way to assuage the inevitable while the noise of a heavy machine – a tractor, I found out much later – worked past the resistance posed by cartilages and ligaments as two popping sounds could be distinctly heard over the noise. Douglas spat out blood, some went back into his mouth, making him choke on his blood amidst the excruciating pain he was going through.

Blood oozed steadily from his left shoulder as his left hand came off first like it was yanked; the major blood vessels in the upper arm had been snapped after I heard the grating sounds of his bones breaking and the skin around the upper arm had finally come apart. He was left hanging in the air like a rag doll which made it easy for the tractor to stretch him further. By this time, Douglas’s head had lolled backwards. I could see from the video that his life was gradually ebbing away.

Just as his left hand came off, his ankles ripped apart after a final tug from the tractor, and his almost unconscious body landed on the sun-baked ground with a dull thud. Blood gushed from everywhere it could find its way out. Douglas twitched many times before he slowly and finally became still.

I could hear a cackle from whoever had been behind the wheel of the tractor in the background, minutes before the video ended.

It was then I knew this was no blackmail alone. It was definitely more than just some sex video in the wrong hands. I called Jovi right back and he told me he’d seen the video with Bankole. He had Bankole next to him as he switched my call to speakerphone.

“We have to report this to the police,” I said over the phone to my boyfriend as tears cascaded down my face. My friend had died a very horrible death. What fate would ours be?

“We can’t,” I heard Bankole say.

“What? How can you say that?” I screamed into my phone.

“What will we tell them? The killer has sex tapes of all of us. We’ll be arrested before they even open an investigation into this gruesome death,” Bankole argued.

“How do you know that? You don’t even know that!” I raged. I couldn’t believe what Bankole was saying. “This is your nephew! The guy you were fucking!”

“Are you willing to take that risk, because I for one will not!”

“This is fucked up!” I yelled at no one in particular, not caring if anyone in the offices nearby could hear me.

After a beat, Jovi asked where I was.

“I’m in the toilet.” I was shaking with a torrential mix of fear and anger.

“Can you close early?”

“My father owns the bloody company. I sure can leave anytime I want.”

“Alright. Stay put, I’m coming.”

I left the stall, washed my face before leaving for my office.

Immediately I stepped in, Maje looked up from his computer screen. “Are you okay? You were away for quite some time.”

“I’m okay. I just…” I paused. “I just needed to be alone.”

“Have you been crying?” He was instantly on his feet. There was concern registered on his face – and something else. Anger, maybe.

“No,” I said a little too quickly.

“Is he hurting you?”

“Who?”

“Don’t play dumb!” he growled. “Your boyfriend,” he loud-whispered.

“What – no! Not at all.”

“Are you sure –”

“Maje, I’m fine,” I said to calm him. I wasn’t ready for any drama at that moment. “Really, I am.”

I walked back to my seat while he returned to his.

After some minutes, Maje called out to me, “Moyo, isn’t this your friend, Douglas?”

Douglas?

“Where?” I got up and walked briskly to his work station.

On Maje’s phone screen was the video of I’d just seen some minutes ago. The killer had put the video on twitter for the world to see.

I dropped to the floor with my knees drawn up toward my chest, my arms folded across them. Maje was beside me in an instant but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I was so swamped by overwhelming grief. Eventually, Maje got me to look at him and got me to my feet just as Jovi walked into my office. He walked up to us and threw a curt nod in Maje’s direction before taking me home to bed.

I stayed in bed all week, ignoring calls and emails and messages from everyone that knew Douglas as my friend. I was scared and worried, but mostly angry. Jovi didn’t go to his office either, choosing to work from home instead so he’d not take his eyes off me. This explained why the toothbrush I’d shoved in my mouth didn’t belong to me because Jovi had left his in my own toothbrush-holder.

My phone rang in the room. I hadn’t spoken to anyone in days. However, this time, I chose to take the call. I dropped the brush and walked back into the room.

“Hello, Moyo. Did you know you Douglas and your boyfriend were fucking behind your back?” that familiar voice spoke as soon as I answered the call.

Written by Vhar

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15 Comments

  1. Johnny
    November 18, 06:38 Reply

    Let me be straight. I don’t fucking follow these stories. Write like Nigerians for Christ F sake. You guys think you are writing good English but it’s broken English. Write simple English, please.

    Don’t kill me before I die

    • The Vhargency.
      November 18, 07:12 Reply

      And who the flying FUCK are you to tell someone how to write? Are you relevant?
      Why blame anyone if you’re imaginatively bankrupt!
      Fix it or fucking move on.

      • Foxydevil
        November 18, 11:28 Reply

        Don’t be a bitch !
        People like chimamanda, chinuea Achebe etc are highly revered because of their ability to bring down writing to the most simplified format that everyone can follow.
        You can’t lace those people’s boot in anyway or form ,you don’t even measure up in any category, so why the arrogance, why are you insulting him simply because he demanded for something a bit more simple ?
        This is your writing style we get it, but have you ever considered the fact that every writing must have criticism, if you can’t take one here, how do you cope if you ever become a big deal.
        SMH
        🚶

        • The Vhargency.
          November 18, 11:37 Reply

          You obviously haven’t been on this blog long enough to know this isn’t Vhar.
          We are THE VHARGENCY.

          Do you understand this now?

          • Foxydevil
            November 18, 12:24 Reply

            Whatever or whoever you are, I don’t give a flying fuck .you better watch it!

          • Foxydevil
            November 18, 18:56 Reply

            Count yourself that these days, I’m awfully busy, if not, I would have annihilated you with insults.
            But then, I’ll let this pass. Consider this an early Xmas present.
            Maybe I’m getting old or maybe these days I try to focus on more important stuffs and people. Haggling back and forth with inanimate objects, doesn’t amuse me like it used to.
            I might even say I’m starting to turn a new leaf 😂.

    • Pink Panther
      November 18, 08:30 Reply

      Lol. This comment is quite insulting to the reading Nigerian. Clearly you are not even a reader otherwise you wouldn’t have made this comment.

    • Lorde
      November 18, 10:43 Reply

      Pray tell…..how does a Nigerian write? Like you perhaps? I’d like to see what you’ve written….. 😒😒

    • flame
      November 20, 16:41 Reply

      This is a very simple thing to say. You don’t need to flaunt your smallness. Many Nigrians are very literal people (with little or no imagination at all), many more are the exact opposite. You can respect people’s tastes without being so crass.

  2. Mandy
    November 18, 08:42 Reply

    😱😱😱 OHMYGOD! This is the most gruesome thing I’ve ever read! Whoever this killer is, this isn’t a chewing gum beef that he has for these guys. Something very very damaging must’ve happened from them to him to make him this deranged. My God!

  3. Narcissus
    November 18, 09:59 Reply

    The whole thing played in my head and it was gruesome, hopefully the next episode comes soon.

  4. Yazz Soltana
    November 18, 21:01 Reply

    This is one of the most exciting episodes of the series.
    And the series is perhaps the best running on the blog currently unlike the tired and overplayed slut of Nineveh or whatever its called..

  5. Omiete
    November 20, 00:50 Reply

    Am having goosebumps thinking about the gruesome killing. Btw didn’t Vhar already know about jovi and Douglas? Ps loving this series there is nothing wrong with the style of writing.

  6. flame
    November 20, 16:44 Reply

    Great piece. Intriguing! I could literally feel my blood pressure rise. Lol! 👍

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