Bisi may be in love with a beast but I love her, I know. It’s wrong, and heaven knows I tried my best to control my feelings. If I am discovered, I could repeat a whole year because if the practice period is cancelled, I’d have to take the year again. I am ready to be penalized because I love her. On the other hand, with Steve’s death and Toro’s attack, I may be taken out of the village too, if my department hears about this, coupled with the previous assault on me.
I return to Abagboro earlier but don’t feel inclined to go to school. It’s just noon. School is in session, and the parsonage is deserted too. Probably Pastor is in the church office. I don’t know what his wife does but the house is locked. I sit outside and contemplate. I need to listen to the recording of Toro’s account of the events but I don’t want to be disturbed.
I take a walk to the stream, notorious now for all the evil stories. I find my imagination going wild, thinking of Bisi and Babatunde having an affair, kissing maybe or doing other things.
To make my life more miserable, I go over to the secluded area Bisi uses and sit on the ground.
Toro’s voice is thin but clear. “Is Steve okay?”
The response comes from a stronger version of Toro’s. I assume it’s her sister. “Yes, dear.”
“Why hasn’t he come to visit me?”
“He’s not family, dear. They won’t let him into ICU.”
“But he can come with you.” She pauses. “They cut his head. Are you sure he’s okay. Have you seen him?”
My heart beats fast.
“Yes, I’ve seen him. They stitched the cut so he’s also in the hospital.”
“But you said he’s fine.”
“He is, Toro dear. He is.” Pause. “I need you to tell me everything that happened that night. So the police can arrest the bad boys.”
“But Steve knows.”
“Yes. He has told us his part. After they took you away, what happened?”
I listen with stiff attention. My palms sweat and I shudder at how well Toro recants. Can she ever get over this? Poor girl. I wish I had pursued the application to be removed from this hell-dump, like Toro will put it.
I am sure our departments never investigated the village before sending us here otherwise they would have known about the murder of Babatunde Ajala and any other atrocities committed by Ade.
I tuck my phone into my pocket and stand. I am pushed down. I fall on my back and lift up on my elbow. I didn’t hear anyone approach. I look up and stare into the deadly cold eyes of my worst enemy. Ade.
He is alone and I figure I can tackle him in combat. He is a little shorter than me and not much bigger. I dart my eyes around. He is alone. Good.
“They tell me you’ve been hanging around the princess,” he says.
His voice is as cold as I remember. Colourless.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He lights a crude roll, and puffs several times. I recognize the smell of marijuana. Definitely a beast must have something to get high on. He will kill me too. The ugly thought runs through my mind. I remember my mother and sister. They will be devastated if I die.
“Bisi. Princess Bisi.” He leans back on his heels. “You visited her. Kissed her.”
A huge stone rises into my throat from my stomach. Death where is your sting? If I die, I die. From what I gathered, this evil, ugly thing is my age mate. Why should I be afraid of him?
“I want her out of police custody and you are the only one able to do it. That’s what she said.”
He smiles. A flash of a tilt of his lips that doesn’t near reach his eyes. He takes more puffs. “She knows her man.”
A second person shows up beside him. The whip at my assault. I look at his hand and he has a machete in it.
The hitman’s accent is thick. He looks at Ade. “Should I split him in half?”
I think fast. “Of what use will I be to you dead?”
Ade smirks. “None. You will be useless to my princess too. Alive. Or dead. Whatever.”
“I will leave your village, if you want. But please get Bisi out of the cell.”
He kicks my face and my head rolls into the sandy bank. “Ah, see your blood on my shoe, Tisha.”
I taste blood. I turn my face up. Let him kill me staring me in the eye.
“Tisha, I will leave you for now. Not because you are of use to me, but my princess has an odd respect for you. And right now, she’s confused and unhappy about all that happened recently. If you like yourself, stay away from us. Do your job and respect yourself. You won’t even know I exist if you stay in your corner I stay in mine. That was how things were before you beat my princess. And your friends start to mess around.”
His words swirl around my head. He continues to smoke and talk. I wonder how a man can have so much junk to say. My head feels heavy and I can’t quite comprehend what he’s saying. He rolls another joint and smokes it all.
On his third roll, he says, “I bid you well, Tisha.” And leaves with his executioner.
I get back to the parsonage several hours later. News has it Bisi is back home. I fight the urge to visit her. Instead, I apply to Mr. Akande and the state department for my transfer.
Whether it is approved or not, I’m done here. I count my losses and move on with my life.
Watch out for Season 2 of TISHA
Image of man courtesy of Photo stock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net