The pain went through his head again. It was nothing like the first shot he took, the alcohol didn’t make him dizzy, it created pain. Joe felt the back of his head towards his neckline release a strong wave of pain that went to his head like stinges of sharp needles. He stood still and tried to ignore the pain in his head . He had drank the drink to drive away the fear that he would fail, that re-occurring voice of his silenced conscience. The voice kept on ringing: 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘱 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦 ! As if waiting for the voice, his body would tremble and his legs would begin to shake violently as if they won’t support him anymore or they would cease to be a part of him.
𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘪 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 , 𝘪 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘩𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘢𝘯, 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘺𝘢𝘭.
Joe couldn’t believe how james got the video. He had planned the whole process well and everything fell into place as he had planned. The files he stole were the only things he took, but like the proverb says: one oily finger brings stain to the whole palm. He stole the research documents and the secret cctv camera recorded the process ! How come ? Joe stroked his head and sighed. If his master finds out, his jail term is sealed, then who would feed his aged grandparents?
But this war on an honest man by his mentor. 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯’𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦 𝘪 𝘢𝘮 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘺, joe thought sadly. ******
” we have an edge over them , from the last seating, it is quite evident that this would be clear victory” he
said. The entire chamber members of Vault Of Justice ( VOJ) chambers sat in awe and delight in the conference room as this young and talented lawyer and activist present his research results in preparation for what the daily news tagged in their headline: THE SECRETS OF ILLEGAL OIL EXPLORATION REVEALED. The law firm had become popular after Lawyer Toju sued a couple of top business men who had been milking the public owned cow . In accordance to the law enacted, no one should venture into exploration of crude oil in the state, erring to the law would only earn the offender a lifetime behind the bars. Lawyer Toju on his part as a savvy lawyer, launched into research that would throw light into one of the darkest abyss of the state.
” thanks to the local phographers we hired, they did their job well. All the illegal areas the exploration is been made were snapped undetected. We owe those guys our credits for this victory, they went as far they could inland to get more photographs, one even as a picture of senator Jamil” joe paused and surveyed the crowd, the conference room was taken again in applause. James heart skipped a beat but he managed a dry smile and stroked his grey birds. 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘦, 𝘧𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴? He got up and excused himself for some minutes, as he was leaving, the gaze of Toju followed him .
𝘏𝘦 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘦, 𝘪𝘧 𝘸𝘦 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺, 𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥, 𝘪 𝘤𝘢𝘯’𝘵 𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘭𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 , Toju smiled at his thouggt and continued on his research reports.
Outside the conference hall, the head and founder of VOJ chambers —james—held his phone to his left ear. His whole life now depends on the dial. The only room opened that he won’t be disgraced alongside Senator jamil was to move his best lawyer and son in this noble work of justice is to kill him.Trust Toju, once he is determined on anything, nothing can hold him back. 𝘚𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘪 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘮𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘢𝘵𝘤𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘺𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘢𝘻𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥?
” hello, i am there” the voice at the reciever’s end said.
” i am telling you, make sure you do this thing well, if you make any mistake i would upload the video “
Joe’s hand shook when he heard ” upload” another reference to the original transaction files of oil exploration made by Senator jamil .
” what if i decide to confess?” joe said, awaiting the impact of his threat to the old devil.
James laughed hysterically. Somewhere in the depth of his heart a voice told him not to joke with joe.
” we in this together, we would serve our terms and you know me, we run this state. Ondo state is ours, after some years i would be out” james replied.
” No problem, let us see, i won’t do this thing. I am leaving” joe replied still contemplating what he would do to erase his past, just a stain and all this problem. To make matters worse he had given the file he stole to Senator jamil’s secretary.
” remember i am not the only one in this mess, senator jamil won’t forgive you, you and your people” he said viscerally. ” i transferred money to you, do you remember? That is enough proof that we are partners. I would print the transfer detail and you know where it leads…… For the last time you do the job or not. and dont forget to bring the documents”
Joe’s hand fell, he knew they were fused already. The bound to the crime is strong.
” i would do the job” joe replied and ended the call.
James felt relief, he turned and returned to the conference hall. When he got there, the presentation was over. He bid everyone good bye, and when he met Toju , the young lawyer was so grateful that VOJ helped him.
” Till tommorrow ” Toju said as he was leaving.
” ok” james said, but he knew there won’t be any tommorrow.
It was seven o’clock in the evening. The tall masquerade trees and traveller’s palm stood like giant columns of a classical roman building on both sides of the road that leads to Toju’s estate. Joe stood by the side of the road and surveyed the trees . 𝘪 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘥. He sniffed and dipped his hand into the pocket of his jacket. He touched the blade of the dagger , it felt cold.
Toju was smiling when he got into his car, over several years of practice this victory would be a milestone in his career. Though he had had couples of victories in the past, they came with their various challenges. His parents had expressed their concern on the latest case his pursuing.
” just leave this case alone, don’t you fear for your head? Think about your kids” those were the words of his father when he called him to break the news that he had completed the file. Deep in him he knew he wasn’t safe. The people needs a voice, every one in the riverine areas of odigbo must have access to an healthy life. Crude oil everywhere, in their water, killing their fish, breeding different disease break ups. Senator jamil in his power covered everything perfectly until he was alerted to come to their aid. Toju made a turn and drove straight to the tar road that leads to his estate.
𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴? 𝘫𝘰𝘦? Toju drove to the side of the road metres to Joe, Joe waved. He opened the door and Joe stepped into the car . Joe’s face was downcast.
” I thought you took a break?” Toju asked.
” l know , i am sick , so i came to take permission for a long leave” joe said, his heart started racing .
” sorry, but you know that is not neccesary, you should have gone. let me drop you at your house, won’t you have lunch with…. Joe why are you sad? “
𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘬𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘺𝘰𝘶, he wanted to say. He dipped his hand into the jacket pocket.
“Joe why are you silent ….joe talk to me….Jesus!”
” get down!” Joe shouted . He held the curved handle of the dagger with the sharp point at Toju’s direction.
” Joe if this is a joke, stop it!”
” down i said”
Toju removed the seat belt from his side . 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘫𝘰𝘦, 𝘮𝘺 𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘥?! Toju stepped slowly on the asphalt road and Joe followed with the dagger in a striking position . Like a lightening flash , joe kicked at his testicles, the man howled and went on his knees, then the world became dark, then pitch dark.
—ghosts of 7:00—
After few days after the death of Toju, the time remained within it’s shell like a chick, then it hatched and released it’s spirit into the dusty archives of Joe’s memory. Joe had recovered from his private sorrow of killing his master and friend then it began…….
Joe sat on his bed, he had just resigned from VoJ, his pay however remained in his account. He stood from his bed and went outside into the street to buy bread. The woman sat on an high stool and sold her wares to her customers. He stood waiting for his turn. He took out his phone and checked his gallery .
” which type of bread?” the voice said. The words climbed into the lobes and down to his ear drum.
He looked up and Toju held out the research documents.
” don’t you want it? take!” he trembled and ran as his feet could carry him. When he got to his house he was panting. He took out his key and opened the door in fear. 𝘏𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦. He surveyed the room, everything was in perfect order. He dropped his phone on the glass center table.
” seat Joe” the voice said like a resounding echo in an empthy room. Joe turned his head slowly to the direction of the sound and on a chair with the research documents before him.
𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘨𝘰 𝘐 𝘨𝘰𝘵 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰? He sped out of his room into the hallway. He ran into a black curtain and screamed. He jerked and pulled the black bed spread from his body.
𝘈𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘦, He said with fear, the bed he slept on was wet with sweat. He glanced at his watch it was 7:00 Pm.
𝘚𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘪 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘪𝘵, 𝘛𝘰𝘫𝘶 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘦. He stood from his bed and wore his jeans trousers with his polo shirt. It was almost dark outside, bikes and cars drove on high speed on the road. He took a bike to his aunt’s house to pass the night. He ate late and went to bed after he told his aunt he was sick. He took a torch and went to the guest room to sleep, the fear lingered in his heart. Joe sat on the bed and the first time after many years, he decided to pray, but as the words sled out of his mouth, his guilt however made him to stop his prayer , after a while he was asleep again.
Joe stood near a tall tree , a heavy stench filled the air, he covered his nose with his palm and tried to locate what filled the air with stench and towards his back, flies were buzzing around. He took his hankerchief and covered his nose. He turned and faced the tree, there at the base of the tree was swelling and half decayed body. His limbs were exposed and he could see the side ribs of an innocent man who died for the truth. He screamed and ran into the mangroves towards his left and their again, Toju stood wearing a white garment with the documents in his hands.
Joe’s heart skipped a beat, he ran further into the mangroves, casting at his gaze to his back to be sure and to his atstonishment the body was coming on two unsteady feet, he doubled his speed and as if was about to make a turn, his leg got stuck in something in the swamp. The body was coming and he screamed with all his might.
” uncle what his wrong?” a young boy asked by his bed.
” where is your mother?” He asked panting.
“She is outside”
“What is the time?”
” what have i got into”
Oladejo Victor Olayemi is a budding artist and a secondary school
graduate. He lives in Ore, Odigbo, Ondo state and wrote in via email@example.com