Monday, 2 October 2017

Bring Him Back (Part 3)

Click here for Part 2

I have always been a ‘do-er’. An action person. This has been the secret of my success as a project manager. Once presented an idea or once I had formulated one, I would construe a plan of getting it done within a short time and would have the machineries running to execute it as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
It was with this same gusto, efficiency and expedience that I executed my wife’s request. I at once started turning things around in my mind as we stood there in Bosun’s room, planning my next steps. I began working out how to get to the Priest’s abode as I was not certain I could recall how we had gotten there that night. I would need to commence the journey immediately in order to get his body to the Priest’s before decomposition set in.

“I’ll go with you,” Folake cut into my thoughts. “Once he's back, we won’t be able to explain what happened to anybody, especially as the doctor had confirmed him dead. They will guess something is fishy. So we all have to go away, leave for somewhere no one knows us, and start a new life. Once he's back.”

I stared at her, confused. What was she talking about.

“We have to, Jide. We’ll take one of the cars, all our money, and the most valuable of our things and never come back. He's more valuable than whatever we leave behind, isn’t he? We can start a new life somewhere far away, just the three of us. You’ll build a new company there. The most important thing is, we’ll have our son back.”

I nodded numbly, as I began to understand her point. No one would believe us if we suddenly told them Bosun had miraculously come back from the dead, so to avoid any unnecessary attention and suspicion, we would need to go away and start a new life somewhere.

“Gather all your things, then – documents, jewelries and ATM cards… cash. I will do so too.”

Within an hour, we were all in my car, having gone through the backstairs without being noticed by anyone. My mother and Dockie had come to check on us while we were still packing up, and we had managed to stage a little show to make it seem like I was comforting my disconsolate wife. I had asked them to leave us alone for some time and they had done that.

We drove away without any drama; no one came running out to the driveway yelling for us to stop like I feared. It was goodbye to life as I had known it; goodbye to the expensive Lekki duplex with Folake’s Kia SUV still in the driveway and tons of expensive state of the art furniture. Goodbye to everything we had built there.

“I can't wait to have him back,” my wife said beside me, something close to glee in her voice. I was chilled, but kept driving. What had I gotten myself into? What madness had I let Folake talk me into?

We stopped at various ATMs along the way, withdrawing as much money as we could. And once done with that, the issue of how to find our way to this Priest came up. I had a very vague idea of where it was from that hazy trip that night. The logical thing to do was call up Tuoyo and ask him for directions to the place, but then, that would also be a foolish thing to do. He would know what I wanted to do, and once he heard about my son’s death, everything would be clear to him. I couldn’t afford to let anyone apart from Folake and I know Bosun was brought back from the dead, if at all it worked.

I would just have to try my best to find the way.

“If this… thing doesn’t work, we still can't go back,” I let my wife know. “Soon they will notice we are missing with his body; there’s no way we can ever come up with a plausible explanation for why we ran away with his body in the first place. People will say all sorts of things about us, the media will be involved. Even now, only God knows what they will say when they find us missing with our dead son’s body…”

“I understand.”

Them, after about five minutes’ silence, she added: “But he will come back. There's no life without him.”

The silence returned and persisted for the rest of the journey to Badagry. I concentrated on recalling the route Tuoyo had taken that night while my wife concentrated on staring out the window, swamped with thoughts of her son, no doubt.

“You don’t know how to find your way back there, do you?” she finally said.

I shook my head in admission, scrunching up my brows as I briefly closed my eyes and tried to bring back to mind that night’s trip. “I know we took that road we just went through back there, and came to a little village-like place with a muddy untarred road, just like this one, but… I guess I have to call Tuoyo and ask him. I really hate to do that though, what do I tell him I am calling him for after all these while. And how do I explain needing directions to the Priest’s place?”

“Nothing. Give him no explanations. Just ask for the directions. Who cares what he thinks we are up to? He can't say anything to anyone, not without casting suspicions on himself too.”

I nodded and reached for my phone, stopping in mid-action when I remembered that I had broken all our SIMs the moment we left the house, to prevent anyone trying to reach us on those numbers. Now I had no means of reaching anyone either.

“Damn it!” I swore, and began looking out for a call centre. But it was past midnight already, no sane person would be out doing business, especially not at a remote area such as this one. Then I froze, as a frisson of déjà vu hit me. I had been in this exact vicinity before, staring out at the same view that was now splayed out before me.

“It’s around here somewhere,” I whispered, almost to myself, as I began driving purely on instincts, following a deep-seated sense of direction drawn up from the stored memory of that other night.

And there it was.

The house. At the end of the village, looking a bit more modern than its peers, but not much better off. Sitting smugly there, its back almost resting on the jagged cliff-like mound of hard-packed sand. After this mound was a stretch of silvery white sand that spread out into the gently lapping ocean, flirting with it as it teased back with the caress of its foamy waves, all brought into clear focus by the illumination of the full moon. There had been a full moon that other night too, I recalled.

“This is the place,” I said to Folake.

She jumped down the car even before I killed the engine, and flung open the door of the back seat where our son lay, wrapped in his thick Mickey Mouse blanket.

“No, leave him first. We can't just take him up there without finding out if the man is home or if he still lives here.”

As we walked to the front door, Folake burst into a run and knocked loudly once she got to the door. I knocked too when I got there. No response. No sound whatsoever from the hut-like house. Undeterred, Folake banged at the door with more force, more urgency; completely fearless.

It was amazing. Folake who was usually scared of mice, was here in the middle of nowhere, at the end of the world, literarily, at this ungodly hour, knocking on some evil Priest’s door without a single tremor of fear. I, on the other hand, was very uncomfortable, and kept looking around, hoping no one would come up to ask us what we wanted. I knew places like this had vigilante groups who were usually very brutal in their dealings; what if they came upon us and took us for thieves? What if they checked the back of our car and found the corpse of our dead son there?

The Story Continues>>>Click Here for Part 4

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