Previously on ONE BAD TURN…
When I was in school, I was into the cosmetic business. I produced perfumes, soap and air freshener and sold to a customer base that I’d started to grow with each year that passed during my education.
So, a week had passed since Nduka kept trying to get me to visit him in Umuahia, a week during which I kept giving in to the bad feeling that caused me to go back on my word every time I agreed to go see him. However, on Sunday evening, I got a call from someone who introduced herself as the manager of a supermarket in Umuahia. She said she’d been introduced to my products by an acquaintance and that she likes them, and would like me to come to Umuahia the next day for us to discuss how I can become her supplier.
After the call ended, I called Nduka to inform him that I would be coming to Umuahia the next day. At first, he was wary, because I’d disappointed him a few times already. But I assured him that I had business bringing me to his town, and so, I’d surely be there this time. He sounded very pleased on the phone after this.
The next day, after my meeting with the supermarket manager, I called Nduka to inform him that I was around. He asked where I was and I told him. He said that it wasn’t far from his house, that I should give him ten minutes and he would be with me. I said okay.
I waited fifteen minutes and he was nowhere. Twenty-five minutes and he was still a no-show. I started getting irritated, because I really do not like to be kept waiting. I called him and told him that I’d be leaving, and he began to beg, that I should give him five more minutes as he was already on his way. Ten minutes later, he still wasn’t there. This time, I didn’t even bother calling him; I just left for the park.
The bus I boarded had one more space to fill in when he called me to say that he had gotten to the place and he couldn’t see me. I told him I was at the park, already in a bus that was about to take off. He began begging immediately, saying that I shouldn’t leave, that I should get down from the bus as he was now on his way to the park. I told him that if he meets me at the park before we take off, then fine. Otherwise, he would have to see me in school.
The bus got filled up and the driver was about to pull out of the park when I saw him hurrying into the park. He saw me in the seated in the front and waved for the driver to stop. Then he came to where I was, opened the door and began begging me to come down, saying he would refund the money I paid for the bus fare. At first, I wouldn’t budge from my seat; then almost all the other passengers began pleading with me to go with him.
So I relented and got down from the bus and we left for his house. On the way, I started feeling sick, this nausea you get when you know something is not right with the situation you’re in. It was that bad feeling again; only this time, it was manifesting itself as a physical sense of unwellness. I told Nduka that I’d had a change of heart and did not want to go with him anymore. He asked me why and I said I didn’t know; I simply didn’t feel like going with him. He said I should forget about whatever I was feeling, that they were normal things for me to feel, seeing as I was about to go visit someone at his place for the first time. The way he talked made me to start feeling ridiculous about my hesitation, and so, I ignored my feeling.
It was about a 10-minute trek, and we were at his place. It didn’t seem far, and I wondered why it had taken him long to come see me, seeing as it wasn’t indeed far. When I asked him, he said he’d been busy. The house was the usual three-story building with six flats and his parents’ house was on the topmost floor.
He let us into the flat and there was a quietness in the house that I felt was unusual. It was a stillness that felt like it was waiting for something to happen before it would burst out into activity and noise. I started getting that bad feeling again; it was all I could do not to turn around and bolt from the house. I asked him where everybody was and he said he was the only one at home, that his parents were at work and his brothers were out. (I would later come to know that he had a twin brother and an older brother.)
As we were talking, I noticed a shadow move in the back verandah through the curtained window that demarcated the living room from that section of the house. It was as though someone had entered the house – the kitchen, it would seem – through the back door. He noticed the movement as well, and left me to go talk to the person in the kitchen. After a few moments of hushed conversation, I saw the person leave and he came back into the living room. I asked who that was and he said it was his youngest uncle who stays with them, that he came back home to collect something and had gone back to work. I asked him why he hadn’t let his uncle know that he had a visitor in the house so I could greet him, and he said the man was in a hurry.
At this point, my sick feeling had increased so much, I felt like a string stretched tight. I was incredibly uncomfortable. I told him I would be leaving now, since I’d gotten to know his house. I could visit him again some other time. He said I shouldn’t be in a hurry to go, that I should at least stay for him to offer me something. I told him water would be fine. He went into the kitchen again and reemerged with a bottle of Eva Water.
He was also now wearing just his boxers.
As I took the water from him, I asked him why he removed his clothes. Wouldn’t he be seeing me off to the park? I asked. He said he would, that I should drink my water first.
I told him that I brought some of my products for his mother, but since she wasn’t around, that I would give them to him to keep for her. I also brought his phone which I got for him from China. I opened my bag and brought out the phone and the products, which I handed to him. He hugged me and thanked me for the phone. As he took the items into where I supposed was a bedroom in the house, I began sipping on my water.
All this time, I’d been standing. Not once had I sat down; I was much too uncomfortable to get settled in a sofa.
When he came back into the parlour, he came close to me and tried to kiss me. I pushed him away and admonished him that we were in his parents’ house, and that anyone could walk in anytime. He said I shouldn’t worry, that he had everything under control, but I insisted that I was not going to do anything with him here.
But he was being persistent, simultaneously trying to embrace me and kiss me, and as I struggled to ward him off, four guys suddenly barged into the parlour. They had matchets.
The second I saw them, terror bloomed inside me as I shouted, “Jesus! What is this!” I turned to Nduka and asked him, “Nduka, what are you up to?”
But he didn’t answer me. He wouldn’t even look at me.
The guy who I would later find out is his twin brother started saying, “Oh, so you are that homo guy that wants to fuck my brother, abi? We go cut your dick today!”
I was so terrified, but I tried not to let them see this as I responded to the guy who had spoken with a forced calmness, “Bro, I don’t know what you are talking about –”
Before I could finish my denial, he lashed out with his matchet, the flat side of the metal landing on my body with a force that made me cry out. The other three followed suit, whipping me with their matchets. Pain ricocheted all over my body as I moved my hands to futilely defend my body from their blows.
And all the while, I was shouting, “Nduka, what did I do wrong to you! Nduka, what did I do wrong to you!”
Realizing the hopelessness of my situation, I broke through them, dashing toward the front verandah in a bid to escape. But Nduka had locked the door that led out into the stairwell. I began shouting for help as they dragged me back into the parlour, and they said that no help will come for me, that I should just cooperate with them. I said okay, that they should stop hitting me and I would do whatever they want me to do.
The one who I quickly picked out to be their leader ordered the others to stop hitting me. Then he turned to me and said that I should call my father and tell him that I have been kidnapped and that he should put together a ransom of 15 million naira if he ever hopes to see me alive again.
I said they would have to give me my phone for me to make that call; they had taken the bag I came with, and my phones, laptop and the 45 thousand naira that the supermarket manager gave me as the advance payment for my first supply were in the bag. They said no, that I will call with one of their phones. I told them that I didn’t know my father’s number by heart, and even if I did and I called him with an unknown number, he wouldn’t answer; my father wasn’t one who answered calls from strange numbers.
So, the leader acquiesced and told Nduka to go inside and get my phone; someone had already taken my bag inside. At this point, they had relaxed their vigilance around me, seeing as I was cooperating so well with them.
As Nduka left the parlour, I glanced out to the verandah, and made an instant decision that I didn’t wait to think through. I dashed outside again, got to the verandah, and amidst their shouts behind me, I grabbed the railing and without looking, I leaped over it. I was telling myself that I would rather die than let my father know anything about what was going on. And so, as I jumped over that railing, I was prepared to fall to my death.
Fortunately for me, I landed on a Volvo that was parked in the compound. Pain rocked through my body but I was barely aware of it as I fell to the ground from the car. I immediately got to my feet and ran. I ran past the gate. There were three guys standing outside, and when they saw me, one of them started walking toward me. I turned the other way and saw a shop on the other side of the road, opposite the house. I ran toward the woman tending the shop, shouting for her to help me.
“They want to kill me! Please help! Help me!” I was shouting as I ran to her shop.
But the woman shoved me away, blocking me off from entering her shop. I turned and continued running, still shouting for help.
Then I saw a uniformed policeman coming toward me. I ran toward him, this time shouting, “Officer, help me! They want to kill me!”
The policeman stopped and asked me what the problem was. I started explaining that a friend of mine invited me here and now, he wants to kill me when I had done nothing wrong to him. As I was talking to him, Nduka and the other guys ran up to meet us. With them was a heftily-built guy – I recognized him as the person I saw outside the compound with two other guys. I would also later get to know that he was Nduka’s older brother. He was the one who interrupted me to tell the policeman that I am a homo who came to fuck with his brother, and that I stole from them and ran, that he should hand me over to them.
As he was talking, I kept shouting that it wasn’t true, insisting that they wanted to kill me, that they kidnapped me and told me to call my father to pay them 15 million naira.
The policeman looked nonplussed, and said he didn’t know what to believe, and because of that, I should go with them.
By this time, a small crowd of people had gathered around and were watching us. I recognized one guy I knew from school in their midst. His name is Samuel. Immediately I saw him, I began pointing at him while telling the policeman that he knows me very well, that he should ask the guy if I am capable of doing what these other guys said I did.
To my greatest dismay, when he was asked to corroborate what I was saying, Samuel started stammering and wouldn’t say anything. He later told me that he couldn’t say anything because he too is gay and he didn’t want to be implicated because he knew for a fact that Nduka and his gang were kito scum.
As this confusion was going on, with Nduka’s gang insisting that the policeman give me up to them and the policeman unsure what to do and me shouting that they want to kill me, a car pulled up beside us. The man who stepped out of the car was Nduka’s father, a former commissioner in Abia State. He approached us and told the policeman not to worry, that he would handle the matter after identifying the boys as his children. The officer looked very relieved to hand off the situation to another adult and couldn’t get away from us fast enough.
Nduka’s father shepherded us back to the house, and once we were all inside, he began by saying that the woman, who owns the shop I’d earlier run to, had called his wife to tell her that her house was on fire. His wife had in turn called him, and so here he was. He then asked me who I am and what the problem is.
I began my story by narrating how I became friends with Nduka and his friend, Eme. I talked about everything, including how his son had tried to kiss me twice, and then how he had apparently lured me here to use me to get money from my father. The man got really furious when I talked about the part where I was kidnapped and his boys had wanted me to call my father to demand a ransom of 15 million naira. He told me to stop long enough for him to make a phone call, and twenty minutes later, four army guys were in the house. He instructed them to take the boys away, including his sons. But his wife (who had gotten to the house sometime before the army men arrived) intervened, saying he should not act without hearing his sons’ side of the story.
So, the man turned to Nduka and asked him if everything I said was true or not. Much to my relief, Nduka admitted that I was telling the truth, but his older brother cut him off, saying that it wasn’t true, that I was the one pushing for Nduka to have sex with me.
Determined to prove my case, I interrupted the guy’s objections and told their father that the boys collected my bag, which contains my three phones, a laptop and 45 thousand naira. That he should check their bedroom and if he doesn’t find the bag and the items I mentioned, then he should dismiss everything I’d said as a lie. Their mother went inside and came out with my bag. Upon going through it, only my laptop and the chargers to my phones were inside; the phones and cash were gone. Their father was incensed and ordered the army men to beat the boys up until they start telling the truth. That was when Nduka began saying that his older brother had taken the money and my Blackberry Bold 10, his twin brother had taken my Nokia Express and one of the other guys – who took off the moment the drama started outside with the policeman – took the third phone.
With Nduka’s confession, the boys had no choice but to surrender the things he said they took – the phones and my money – except of course the phone which that other guy had run away with.
While their father fumed, their mother told the army men that they could go, that she and her husband would handle the matter. I interjected, saying that I would like to go with the army men. Their father told me not to worry, that if he had to, he would drive me back to school.
The army men left.
Then their mother began pleading with me to forgive my “friends” (as if!) and that I should not tell my parents about what happened. Because of his truthfulness, I was already on the way to forgiving Nduka, and I told his mother that. I told her that I would not tell my father, as long as her son stays away from me. I made sure to let her know that should I tell my father, his reaction to this would not be kind. She assured me that they would not bother me again.
Then the woman had the audacity to start advising me to stop being gay, that it’s not good. This woman! The same person whose sons had just shown what criminals they were was able to keep a straight face while lecturing me on how homosexuality is bad. I simply told her that it was her son who had tried to kiss me and who had pursued me and tried to introduce me to it. She shut up after that.
Their father eventually took me out in his car. I told him to drop me at the park so I could take a bus back to school; he didn’t need to drive me all the way to Uturu. He dropped me at the park and left. While I was in the bus, waiting for it to fill up, I spotted Nduka’s older brother and those two other guys I saw him with outside their house drive into the park. Immediately I saw them, I panicked. I told the driver of my bus that I would pay for the remaining seats that hadn’t filled, that he should move at once. He said okay and turned his ignition. As he drove away, I could see the three guys looking into the other buses in the park, obviously looking for me.
Nduka’s number started calling me. I didn’t answer. The number kept on calling me until I got back to school. When I was finally in the welcoming space of my room, I called him back. He wasn’t the one who answered; his older brother did. He was the one calling me with Nduka’s phone. He started with the threats. He told me that if I think I’ve escaped, then I should have a rethink. That he was the capon of the Black Axe cult in FUTO and that Nduka knows my lodge, and so, they will come after me. I told him that I was afraid of him in Umuahia because it was his environment, but he shouldn’t try me in ABSU, that I would kill all of them if he tried his nonsense with me here. I told him that my father is a judge of a Federal High Court and my uncle a serving minister, and that I would use every resource and connection available to me to deal with him and his cult group if he should mess with me.
He cut the call.
Then he started sending me text messages full of empty threats. He kept this up for two weeks, and then stopped.
Eme also sent me a text message during this period to say that I should thank my God that it wasn’t him I visited, that I would not have been alive to tell the story. That if I think I can use my money and family influence to get anyone to fuck with me, I should just know that they are dangerous and stay away from them.
I shook my head with disappointment when I read this text. Use my money and family influence to get them to fuck with me? What nonsense was this guy saying? They all but threw themselves at me after they got to know that I come from money. I replied to his text, telling him that he should not be deceived, that I am more dangerous than he thinks they are, and if they want to stay alive, they should better stay away from me too.
Eme came back after three weeks and kept his distance from me. Nduka however did not return to school all through that semester. In fact, for the remainder of my time in that school, I only saw him so infrequently, it was as though he wasn’t even a student there anymore.
During our final first semester, news began making the rounds that Nduka’s twin brother was killed in a cult clash at IMSU and that Nduka had been in prison. While we were writing our final exam, Nduka showed up looking very sick. When he saw me, he apologized for what happened and begged me to forgive him, that he did not know what came over him, that it was Eme and his older brother who pushed him to do what he did to me after he told them that I come from a rich home.
I told him I’d forgiven him but we couldn’t be friends anymore.
Years have passed and I have lost all communication with Nduka and the past he was to me. Eme recently chatted me up. He is now based in Dubai. When I asked him about Nduka, he said, “I hear from him once in awhile. The last time we spoke, he was in Umuahia.”
I hope he is having a good life. I hope he managed to find peace in the midst of all the chaos he directed the steps of his life toward. And if he’s not, who knows… Maybe he is just living out the consequences of karma.
Written by Jack