She picked up the towel from the hanger and wrapped it round her body as she stepped out of the bathroom. She goes over to the mirror and dried her body whilst watching herself in the mirror.
“Who is calling at this time of the night?” She asked as she wrapped the towel again and walked to where she was charging her phone on the side table close to the bed.
“Oh my God,” she uttered as she saw the caller. She quickly readjusted herself and sat on the bed.
“Really? Video chat,” she picked, “Good evening Sir,” she greeted. She seemed uncomfortable seeing he was not on the screen.
“Evening Niniola,” he said as he took a seat in front of the camera. “Where are you?” He asked her as he furrowed his brows.
“Sir,” Niniola said.
“I will not ask this again. Where are you?”
“Sir, I’m in Enugu,” she replied.
“What are you doing in Enugu?” he asked her.
Faking a smile, “Sir I’m on leave. I’m just here to…”
“Niniola,” he cuts her short.
“What are you doing in Enugu?” This time, she felt the sting in his voice.
“Niniola, you dare to cheat on me?” He thundered as he hits his fist on the table.
Immediately Niniola jumped on her feet as she let out a frightening cry.
“Sir, it’s not like that,” she said with total fear in her voice.
She continued, “Mr Udeh just wanted me to do a one time job,” she explained, stammering.
Not saying a word, he sniffed, still gazing at his screen.
“Please Sir. I didn’t mean it like that. I didn’t think you’d find out.”
He was still mute.
Niniola went down on her knees. She wholeheartedly wished the ground would open and swallow her.
“Please Sir. It will not happen again. I beg you. Please Please Please,” She apologised. “I’m sorry Sir.”
Niniola bit her lips as she looked away from the camera, making the sign of the cross.
“It’s all right, Niniola. You’re right. You are on leave,” he stood up in front of the camera. “Your leave ends tomorrow. See you on Monday.”
“Yes Sir. I’m taking the first flight back to Lagos tomorrow. You’ll see…” she was startled as he abruptly hung the call on her.
She swallowed hard and sat on the floor with her head buried in between her legs.
“Would you mind holding my hand?” Niniola stretched her hand to the terrified little boy who was sitting beside her. He looked across to where his mother and brother were sitting and then back at her. He took her hand. She smiled at him as she held his hand tightly. She looked into his face and saw his eyes were tightly shut as the plane made to take off. She bent over to see his mother and they both exchanged smiles. Niniola rested back in her seat.
“Don’t worry. We will arrive before you know it. Just hold on tightly.”
“Kemi,” Niniola screamed as she saw her friend. She waved excitedly and Kemi ran to her. They were locked in a tight hug for some seconds before Kemi playfully carried Niniola up.
“Gosh I missed you,” Kemi commented.
“You miss who? For how many days?” Niniola asked her.
“Is one week not enough to miss my best friend and roommate?” Kemi asked and a smirk appeared on Niniola’s face.
“Anyway give me your bag. I know work will not even make you miss yourself,” Kemi stated as she took the box from her.
“Haba na, shebi I hugged you,” Niniola said.
“Story,” Kemi uttered and Niniola laughed.
“Bye Aunty. We are leaving now.”
Niniola turned around and she saw the little boy. She waved at him,” Bye darling. Be a good boy and study very hard,” she responded as he walked to the school bus with his mother and twin brother.
“Who’s that?,” Kemi inquired.
“The little cutie? He was my seat mate in the plane. He was so scared so I held him all through the journey. He’s so sweet,” she explained while watching the twins board the bus.
“Okay. He has entered. It’s time to go. Come on, the car is over there,” Kemi told Niniola.
The school bus started moving and almost immediately a blast followed.
Niniola stood up from where she had been thrown to by the explosion. She staggered and as her sense of hearing returned, screams and cries of people filled her ears. When she moved forward, she saw the mother of the twins, wailing and running towards the blast. Niniola turned slowly and with goosebumps all over her body, she lets out a shocking gasp. Tears dropped from her eyes. In a twinkle of an eye, she was down on the floor again as a gunshot followed but this time Kemi was on top of her.
Niniola caught sight of the car with the shooter and tried to sit up.
“Stay down,” Kemi screamed.
A little bit excited she gave her friend a quick hug. “I’m so glad you are okay.”
“Me too,” Kemi responded.
“Yea but what was that?” Niniola asked frightened.
“Come on,” Kemi roared as she helped Niniola up. She dragged her and they ran towards the car.
“Kemi, what was that?” Niniola asked again.
“I don’t know. I just saw them pointing a gun at you. They wanted to shoot you,” Kemi told her.
“Shoot me? Why would anyone want to shoot me?” Niniola asked, shocked at the revelation.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Kemi replied as they kept running.
As they got closer to the car, Niniola looked back.
“Kemi, Kemi, the car is coming back,” Niniola cried out.
Kemi who was about to stop by the car dropped Niniola’s box and continued running.
“My box,” Niniola exclaimed still running.
“My life is definitely more important that your damn box, Nini. Keep running,” Kemi yelled at her.
“Oh my God. What is happening?” Niniola, crying, asked no one in particular.
They kept running and screaming like mad woman on the streets as the car chased behind them.
Kemi sighted an “Aboki” selling oranges from afar and she began to search her purse as they got closer.
“Nini,” she yelled.
“Yes,” Niniola answered from behind.
“You see those oranges, right?” Pointing in the direction of the orange seller. “We’ll pick them,” Kemi informed her.
Surprised, “why?” Niniola asked.
Kemi got to the the aboki, dropped two thousand in his hand and then she picked up his tray of oranges and turned to Niniola.
“We’re throwing them,” she added.
“Are you insane?” Niniola asked her still surprised.
“I’ve never been more sane. Now,” she roared and began to throw the oranges at the car, Niniola joined but when she saw it wasn’t really helping, she poured them on the floor. She took another tray as the aboki had already ran away, and poured it too on the floor.
Seeing the car was coming slowly towards them because of the oranges on the floor, the ladies looked at each other and gave a little smile of satisfaction.
They looked back at car and saw it was making progress. Fear replaced their smiles.
They started running again. After like a minute, Niniola screamed, “Kemi, here,” she pointed to a very narrow lane in between some buildings and immediately they headed for it. They kept running without looking back until they got to the end and could no longer see the car. They stopped and painted like their lives depended on it.
“At least he can’t go through,” Niniola commented.
“But it won’t be long until he find us. That’s for sure,” Kemi said.
“But it’ll give us time to rest.” Seeing the look on Kemi’s face. “What?” She asked her.
In anger, “What is what?” Kemi tutted. “There was an explosion at the airport. You almost got killed at the same airport. That wasn’t a mistake because who ever it was still wants you dead. Now because I’m here, I’m caught up in your mess. Is that not enough reason to want to kill you myself? And you’re asking me what? Look at me running on the roads of Lagos like a lunatic being chased by a bear,” Kemi complained angrily.
“If you look at it. It kind of look like we’re being chased by a bear,” Niniola giggled trying to be funny.
Kemi rolled her eyes, “it’s not funny,” she said with a straight face.
“Sorry,” Niniola apologised, covering her mouth.
“Seriously who would want to kill you? I mean, do you have any idea of who might want you dead?”
“Me. No o. I have not offended anyone. Besides I don’t do anything illegal or dangerous so I don’t know why anyone would want me dead,” Niniola told her.
Kemi thought for a while and then snapped her fingers.
“Your boss. What about your boss? Does he know you went for a job in Enugu?” Kemi asked her.
Niniola looked at her in shock.
“Kemi. My boss? No. He knows but come on. My boss is not like that. I know he acts crazy sometimes but he wouldn’t be crazy enough to want to kill me for something like that. Besides I’m the best staff he’s got right now. What am I even saying? It’s not him. Period,” Niniola expressed but then…
“Is there something you forgot to add?” Kemi asked as she had noticed her mood.
Stammering, “the people I went to work for. I think they are dangerous people. I think….”
“You think, you think. Seriously Niniola?” Kemi cuts her short.
“Okay fine. I overheard them discussing something,” she paused and looked at her friend,” something bad,” she added as she looked away.
“Niniola,” Kemi shouted.
“The pay was good. I was perfect for the job and I didn’t know they were bad people. I don’t even know if they know I overheard them,” Niniola said trying to clear herself.
“Really? Are you kidding me? So this looks like what to you? Huh?” Kemi asked.
“I didn’t plan for any of this either. I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry? That sorry would have made sense after this whole bullshit. But guess what? I might never get to hear you say it again because we may never get out of this mess you put us in,” Kemi hissed and walked away.
Niniola looked around, frightened and remorseful, she ran after Kemi and caught up with her. She sulked. “Where are you going to? He might see us,” Niniola asked her.
Reluctant to answer, she pointed towards a place with her index.
Niniola looked, “What? The dustbin area? Are you kidding me Kemi? The bad odour will choke us to death.”
Still angry, Kemi stopped and turned to her then she faked a smile, “that would be much better, wouldn’t it?” Then a frown appeared, “we will stay there till nightfall. Then we’ll move,” Kemi told her and continued walking.
Niniola ran to meet her again, “What if he finds us there?” She asked.
Kemi paused, exhaled and turned to her again, “would you have ever considered hiding out in the dustbin area?” She asked.
Niniola didn’t respond.
“Exactly,” Kemi added and walked away.
Niniola watched her, feeling defeated.
“You better come over before you attract him standing over there,” Kemi told her from afar.
Niniola lets out a grunt and goes over.