The thing

Neatly dressed but with an appearance sans colour, she stepped out of the keke, took a deep breath and exhaled. 

She stood on the side of the road waiting to cross to the other side. 

“Do you think you really need to be there?” He asked her. 

Slowly, she turned her head to her left, “Excuse me?” 

He chuckled, “Why are you going there?” He asked signalling with his head to the gym on the other side. 

“Because that’s where I work,” she responded. 

“No, that’s where you’ll die.” 

Flummoxed, she turned to him fully, “What are you talking about?” 

“Enough with the pretentious act. I can see your soul leaving your body gradually and I’m certain you can feel it. They are poisoning you slowly. If don’t act fast, you’d be the next to die there,” he warned. 

“I have people I need to train and you’re delaying me,” she said as she made to cross. 

“Do you want to die?” He asked. 

“We are all going to die one day,” she declared as her heart raced. 

“But not if you have the chance to save yourself. Why are you letting them do this? Listen, you owe them nothing. They gave you a job and trained you. They’ve changed your life but that doesn’t mean they own you and that definitely doesn’t mean they can take your life too. Or do you want to die in someone else’s arms as Tipsy did in yours?” He questioned. 

She shut her eyes and flashes of Tipsy filled her mind; Tipsy had come out of the pool and as she handed the towel to her, smiling, Tipsy fell on her, dead. 

He could see her quivering body. 

“I can help you escape what’s coming,” he revealed to her. 

“It’s useless. I don’t have much time left. Besides, they’re watching my every move. I’ll be dead before I even get to wherever my safe haven might be,” she informed him. 

“If you leave now, you’d have every chance in this world to save you. Let me help you, Chinaza,” he stated as he took her hand in his. 

Hearing her real name for the first time in three years, she turned to face him again, “Okay.” 

He smiled contentedly and handed over the bottle he was holding.

“What is this?” 

“Palm oil for a start.”

And with shaky hands, she took it from him. 

With a grin, he glanced at a jwindow in the tall gym building and with her hand in his, he led her away. 

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