Caught up

On the 15th day of August last year, the rain had Aliyu trapped in his parent’s house at Kubwa in Abuja, causing him to pass a night having payed a visit after a very long time. Though not a welcomed development for Aliyu, he had nevertheless enjoyed Mummy’s cooking, licking his vegetable soup soiled fingers & raining compliments at Mrs. Zainab. “If you like don’t go & marry & allow me to my wife alone” Mr. Hassan had joked during dinner, throwing the family to an uproar of laughter. Few hours later, with the absence of an unoccupied room in the house, Aliyu had no choice but to sleep on the couch in the living room. He had slept off very early because he planned waking up early to proceed to Madalla to get prepared for work the next morning. His father on the other hand was a member of the community vigilante volunteer group and was scheduled for security watch on Sundays. Security in Biaji phase 4 had improved drastically since the men residing there took the decision of doing the security job themselves, after all they had better knowledge of what was at stake. They had drafted a time table & a daily rooster that accommodated every participant so each men took their turns & worked diligently. Mr. Hassan switched on his flash light & pointed to the direction of the wall clock in his room, ’11:18 pm’, he stood up from the bed, walked to his wardrobe & picked a t-shirt, wore it and fished out a thick brown jacket, felt its pocket for a dagger and wore that too having assured him self of the dagger’s presence. Mrs. Hajara turned to the opposite direction to her sleeping position & opened a sleepy eye, “be careful Darling” she muttered & readjusted the Duvet to shield her from the encroaching cold. “I will Dear” Mr. Hassan replied, opened the door & left the room. He headed for a refrigerator that stood at the far end of the passage, opened it & paused. He looked closely at the contents that greeted him, turned to the carriage on the door of the refrigerator, looked closely again & frowned. He closed the fridge, proceeded to the living room & called out “Ali! Ali!!” Aliyu who hadn’t been long asleep sprang up on the couch, “Daddy!” “Who carried my can of beer from the fridge?” Aliyu rubbed his eyes with the back of his left palm, scratched the back of his head & checked the time from his wrist watch. In a croaked voice he replied “is that why you woke me up?” “So its you abi? Better mind yourself o… Oya where’s it?” Aliyu hissed, unstrap his belt from his trouser & made a pillow off it. “If you won’t quit drinking because of Allah, won’t you help your health situation?” He got up, went to the switch of the ceiling fan in the living room & turned the knob to ‘off’, then returned to the couch to resume his sleep. Mr. Hassan stood akimbo looking at his son with disdain, shook his head & turned towards the front door. He opened it to a cold & wet night, proceeded to the gate, unbolted it, took a hanging padlock, went out & locked the gate behind him. – I need a beer badly, Ikenna better be opened – he thought.

 

Mr. Hassan hadn’t arrived Ikennas’ when he discovered he could actually ask his partner to come with a drink for him. He forgot his Identity Card at home & returning to the house to make use of the phone would be an opportunity to pick up the card. As he arrived at the door of the living room that also served as the main entrance to the house, he heard a very faint moan. He paused & listened attentively as the moan that was coming from his house continued. He inserted a key in the door & turned it thrice. The door opened, Mr. Hassan came in the dark living room, the moan persisted a little louder thereby alarming him, he immediately switched on his flash light & pointed to the direction of the moan. Aliyu which he left on the couch was on the floor now, faced up, hands stretched apart, fingers & toes moving, he was the one moaning yet asleep & didn’t even show any response as the heavy beam of the flash light hit his face. “Ali! Ali!!” Mr. Hassan called out to his son who was acting really strange but got no response “Ali!” He called out loud for the third time & Aliyu jerked up screaming “help!” Mr. Hassan ran to his son, “calm down, calm down, its me”. Mrs. Hajara barged into the sitting room switching the light on “what is happening?” Aliyu’s sisters, Fatima & Jamila and the house help came into the living room upon hearing the hullabaloo. Aliyu sat there leaning on his squatting father, panting & unable to speak. After calming down a bit, Mr. Hassan asked “Ali! Are you okay?” Aliyu looked from left to right, feeling a little ashamed of himself “yes I am Sir. Its just that I felt something seized me, pinning my hands & leg,I couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. I’ve been trying to scream ‘help’ but it only came out as a moan.” His mother sat on a chair while his youngest. Sister knelt beside Aliyu & her Dad. “Sorry, it was a dream” “mummy! This is no dream because I had barely dozed off, is it not just now Daddy left the house? I was the one that switched off the light after he left na” “well, you’re okay now, just go and perform ablution & pray two rakats, God will protect us” responded Mrs. Hajara, “okay Ma… Its alright Fati… You can go sleep now” he turned to his sister who was kneeling beside him & had fear written all over her face. His parents proceeded to their room followed by the house help & his sisters. “That means Mallam Yunusa was right about this house help” Mrs. Hajara said to her husband as they shut the door to their room behind them. Mr. Hassan picked his mobile phone from a bedside table “right in what sense?” “Since his medicine now protected us from her, she decided to attack a new person na” “go and sleep joor & let this girl be” “what brought you home sef?” “My phone, I have a call to make… I think God brought me home because of Aliyu” “toh! Thank God you came” they talked a little, he made the call, went out again, nodded as he passed Aliyu in the living room on a mat, saying prayers & went outside the gate. Having locked the gate behind him, Mr. Hassan paused to light a cigarette, drew in a lung full & slowly exhaled the waste, a dog barked somewhere, followed by “shut up & sleep my friend” Mr. Hassan smiled, Emeka his partner would never seize to reply this dog.

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