To read the first episode of the story, please click HERE
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After the successful mission of carting away some things in bags, and in the process killing us softly, they left the building. We waited for a few minutes and then followed suit. It was like World War Z; everyone scrammed at different directions to safety.
The ATMs and walls were already thoroughly perforated and there were no security men to maintain order; they must have done the bolting first. Order can only be maintained when there’s at least an existing trace amount of order in the first place. I was so clueless I didn’t know what’s next to do. . . but something told me exactly what to do. It sort of commanded me.
Noise soared again, louder than in the previous episode. The fleeing robbers were confronted by policemen some far away distance from the bank and a fresh shooting spree ensued. Gunshots sang bass, tenor, and lots of terror. I was more confused as my reflexes betrayed me. I ducked and covered my head with my hands, as if they were made of Kevlar.
In my crooked position I saw a big man well fitted right under a low saloon car but I wasn’t mused, only God knows how he made it there. Someone fled past me at full throttle. Right before my eyes a man speeding on a bike crashed; he was hit by a bullet not really meant for him and that was all.
Immediately, fresh shots of adrenalin invaded my bloodstream. Apart from the fatal force of bullets, the accompanying sound in open air was capable of deregularizing menstruation or inducing a purge. A friend confirmed the former, I did the latter. Without further thinking I tarzan-ed into a very deep gutter legendary for its horrible smell, slimy viscous rubbish and flies the size of kolanut. Who cares? This was the same gutter I couldn’t even cross on my way to the bank.
Although I’d hit my leg in the course of my stunt, I felt nothing. Truly, superhuman abilities develop in the face of crisis. The slimy inconvenience rose to my ankle but I didn’t feel it a bit, neither did the nauseating smell get to me. Apparently my brain had prioritized, survival in this current danger ranked highest, other conflicting senses died.
Somewhere in between the bank and my present location I must have lost my shoes. I couldn’t even fathom where the Phantom phone I got two days earlier was. My wallet was AWOL too. These were the leasts of my worries though, safety is all that matters.
I was in this state for almost half an hour or more, wading through the thickness and crawling under culverts the entire time. A few others joined and trailed behind me. I felt them but I didn’t look back to count or say hello. I must have covered what seemed like half a kilometre sub-surface, sometimes near submerged, doing the path-finding and clearing my way with the only available tool—my hand.
Finally, I got through and crawled out. The fresh clean air at the surface almost knocked me out but reality held me in place. I surfaced at a market and it was all scattered, literally. Fresh red peppers ventured into meat stalls, palm oil connived with vegetable oil in a flowing spree, vegetables padded the ground for onions to roll over, containers upturned and freed their contents, grinding machines continued attrition with no one to put them off. . . everywhere was in a mess. I was mussed myself. The market was deserted, its occupants in a hurried journey of later return.
Kelechi later told me she said Psalm 23 for nothing short of twenty-one times while she was in the bathroom. She was soapy the whole time. Her heavy pregnant sister became energetic after the first round of repeated shots. Third trimester is just a term, energy and agility findeth all.
Who would’ve thought that the 116kg—if not more—Mr Kunle could climb the kind of fence he climbed? Who would’ve thought Mama Chisom would scurry away from her dear provisions store leaving everything? The same woman who won’t sell a tin of rubbish on credit. She later claimed she did it for her child’s sake, but she left Chisom behind in the first place. Weird.
Who would’ve thought I could be stoic enough to withstand odours at least forty-two times stronger and more pungent than Pa Jones’ (name changed) ground-tearing
fart releases? Who would’ve thought my claustrophobic self could fit conveniently in gutters and culverts? And My Vivian in prospect. Chai! Who would’ve thought I’d let her go, just like that? Painful!
I did the ordinarily un-ordinary. The possibly impossible things. But I know why. They were necessary.
Bullets. Fear. Survival. . . and the magical connections.