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Betrayal by Humble Ogbonna.

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“You are just a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, Max. I curse the day I met you. I really loved and trusted you with my life but betrayal and a stab is all I get in return”

“Enough of this romantic sermon!” Sammy barked. “Now Max, complete your assignment,” Sammy said while pointing a gun at Max’s head as he threw another gun at him.

Max pointed the gun at Tina and told her he was very sorry. Tears trickled down Tina’s face as Max made to pull the trigger, just then two shots were fired…
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It was around 1pm when the atmosphere began to change, the sun which had been shinning mercilessly on helpless human hid its malevolent face in shame at the sight of dark clouds approaching. Rumbling thunders as loud as the sound of an earthquake could be heard with everyone scampering to safety from the impending storm.

It soon began to pour heavily. It was as if the floodgates of heaven was opened at ones in fury. Tina looked around for a place to shelter, her car was parked at the car park which was a five minutes’ walk from where she was. Her eyes caught sight of a little shop adjacent to her where only an old man was standing to escape the rain.

She quickly made to go there when her shoe mistakenly stepped on a banana peel, the resulting contact flung her into the air and she landed with a thud. Her attempt to get up was futile. It then occurred to her that she had twisted her ankle. She was getting drenched by the rain with no one coming to her aid as the street had become empty. Her mind flashed back to the event that happened a fortnight ago; John had called her that evening to inform her that he was no longer interested in the relationship, he was neither making a request nor was he trying to see if there was a way forward, he was practically saying that it was over.

“It seems we were never meant to be together Tina,” he had said.

Those words pierced her heart like the stab of a two-edged sword. She was gobsmacked as an avalanche of tears flooded down her cheeks. She had literally given her everything, her very best to John and all he could do was hurt her by ending the relationship without any reason. She could still feel the pains in her heart and in her ankle as tears began to well up in her eyes again. It was still raining yet she wasn’t getting drenched anymore, when she managed to open her eyes, they met another pair on the face of a dashing young man holding an umbrella over her.

“Hello Ma’am, it seems you’re hurt. Do you need help?”

His voice was pleasant to the ears and melodic. He was about 5.7 feet and dark skinned. His gap tooth was revealed as he smiled at her.

‘Who on earth is this handsome figure standing over me? Are men as attractive as this still in this country?’ These were the thoughts going through her mind, but she was cut out of her unheard soliloquy by his voice again.

“Do you need help Ma’am?” He asked again, this time stretching out his right hand to her in order to help her get up.

“Yes, I… I do” she stammered, “I can’t seem to stand on my own, I guess I must have sprained my right ankle.”

“Oh! Sorry about that, do you live nearby or should I take you to a nearby clinic?” He asked.

“My car is actually parked in the car park. I think I’ll be fine if I apply some things to it when I get home,” she said.

“Alright then let me carry you to your car if you would permit me since your leg hurts,” he said.

She would never say no to this amazing offer, her eyes lit at his request and she nodded in instant approval.

“Please put your arms around my neck and hold the umbrella from behind while I carry you, ” he added.

His arms were big and strong like an African baobab tree, his chest was firm and sturdy like the impregnable wall of ancient Babylon. She wished the distance to her car was farther so she could enjoy his company all the more.

“Ma’am, I don’t think you’d be able to drive with your hurt foot. I’ll advise you get a taxi to take you home,” he said when they had gotten to her car.

“It would be difficult to get a taxi here. That’s always the case here on weekends. I might have to sit here for almost two hours, that’s if I’d be fortunate to even get one. And by the way, my name is Tina. Tina Williams”

“Okay Tina. It’s nice meeting you. My name is Max,” he replied

“Thanks for your help Max, I’m grateful. I’ll just stay here and hope a taxi comes by,” she said.

“I will feel bad leaving you here just by yourself. Uhmmm… If you don’t mind, since you can’t drive in this condition, can I drive you home?

A sudden surge of excitement enveloped her heart. She didn’t want it to become so obvious so she declined the offer, but he persisted much to her delight and then she finally agreed to let him drive her home.

Birds were singing in harmony on nearby trees when they got to her house – an exquisite two bedroom apartment, well-furnished to modern taste. Max helped her get inside and made her rest on the couch. He got a bottle of calm and bandage from her First Aid box.

He gently applied the balm on her sprained ankle and bound it carefully as Tina fixed her gaze not on her ankle but on him as he gave her painkillers to relieve the pain. He tried to help her rest her back on the couch so she can relax and he can go, but at that, with faces just four centimetres apart, they could feel each other’s breath as it caressed their faces. Her lips were beautifully painted red and she seemed irresistible, they could feel their hearts pounding loudly as the gap between their faces narrowed. She closed her eyes gently waiting for the pleasant impact of his lips…

“I don’t think this is proper” Max said as he quickly stood up. “I’m so sorry, I need to be on my way now, do make sure to rest. I’ll give you a call tomorrow to know how you’re feeling” he added as he made for the door and out into the moonlit night. Tina could only watch as his silhouette disappeared into the distant darkness.

“This is a man who isn’t only physically perfect and caring but also morally upright. Max is definitely a rare gem,” she thought to herself.

Stars soared in dark flocks when Tina woke, she thought she had heard a sheep bleat in her garden. It sounded hurt and weak, like it was going to die in a few hours.

“How did it get into my garden,” she wondered.

She managed to find the helpless animal by the apple tree. On getting closer, to her surprise it happened to be a wolf using a mauled sheep as a decoy. The ferocious beast looked menacingly at her with bloodshot eyes and sharp canines ready to devour. She screamed and started to run with the wolf hotly in her pursuit. She was getting close to her door when the wolf pounced on her from behind. With just one effort the beast plunged its teeth into her neck. With a loud scream, she woke up panting and sweating.

“Oh! What a terrible dream that was”

The sun was already smiling beautiful from the heavens when she woke up. She was no longer feeling pains in her ankle. She reached for her phone and saw four missed calls from Max and a text from him asking if she was feeling much better.
Her eyes lit with excitement at the thought of him being genuinely concerned about her as the text message suggested. She placed a call to him and they talked at length. He asked her out for dinner which she gladly accepted.

Thus began a romantic relationship that in Tina’s mind was ‘made in heaven.’ Their intimacy became so deep as they grew ever fonder of each other. Six months had passed by swiftly without notice and their future together looked good.

Tina sat inside a coffee shop that evening while going through her phone, she immediately sent a text to Max.

“It seems I am being stalked”

“Why did you say that?”

“Two suspicious men have been watching me closely since they came into the shop a minute after I did.”

“Where are you?”

“At Ollie’s Coffee Shop”

“Do not panic, I’ll be there in two minutes. If they come any closer to you, just scream”

“Okay”

She was shivering but managed to act cool while avoiding their suspicious gaze. In a few minutes, Max came in, he saw the men but pretended not to see them and went straight over to Tina’s table and hugged her. Together, they walked quickly into his car and zoomed off. They could see the men following them too as Max made his way onto the highway. He was a skilled driver and could possibly have been a multiple Formula One champion if he had gone into that sport.

Tina was fidgeting when they got to Max’s place. Max managed to get her calm and inquired if she knew why she was being trailed.

“Can I trust you Max? She asked as she looked fearfully and innocently into his eyes.

“On my life Tina, you can,” he replied reassuringly.

“For the sake of my love and sincerest feelings towards you, I am going to trust you because this probably means my life”

“You have my word Tina”

“Okay…” She hesitated a little but then continued. “I think it has to do with a former business partner of my dad. Dad gave me some documents to keep, telling me that someone ruthless might come for it. He told me to safeguard it carefully. That evening, he was murdered in his office by an unknown gunman,” she concluded.

“What? That’s horrible! That means you’re not safe either” Max said

“Yes, that was why I moved to this city to hide but it seems I have been found.”

“We need to run far away then”

“Not necessarily, my dad had a secret house somewhere in the mainland and that is where the documents are. I’ll need to move in there immediately.”

“I’ll go with you. I’ll protect you with my last breath”

Tina hugged Max and said “Of course, you will, that was why I asked if I could trust you”

“Tina, I would be visiting old friends across the country next week” Max said, one week after they moved into their new home.

“I hope all is well”

“Sure, I just need to pay some old friends from long ago a visit and I’ll be back”

“It’s okay, all the best honey. Kindly extend my warmest greetings to them”

“I sure will”

Molten stench of tobacco wafted from the room that Max was headed, at the other end was a man in his mid-fifties with a pot belly. His mean gaze clearly depicted his violent disposition. This was the Big Boss – the one eyed Sammy.

“Good day boss,” Max muttered.

“Maximus Max” Sammy howled. “How is it going?”

“I don’t understand Sammy. Why did you send the boys after her Sir? Max asked.

“Will you shut up!” Sammy thundered.”How dare you question my actions? You were given just two months for the job and to finish her up, but here we are six months later with no result. You have just one week to finish up this job or else? You definitely know what I can do” Sammy threatened.

“It’s under control boss, I won’t disappoint” Max answered.

He was troubled. His heart was torn between his love for Tina and his loyalty to Sammy. It was Sammy who had taken him out of the streets after the death of his parents and had taken care of him albeit introducing him into a world of crime. This particular assignment was a difficult one. In it he had found love, his life was starting to have a meaning but it seems this fairy tale will come to an end – by his own hand.

The weather was clear as the chirping of birds could be heard from distance. Tina came to sit beside Max on the sofa as she placed her head on his chest.

“I think it’s time I tell you about the documents” Tina said.

“I’m all ears dear,” Max answered as his heart raced a bit.

“The documents are not actual documents but rare diamonds stolen and smuggled into the country by my father and his friend. His friend had wanted all the diamonds for himself but was unlucky as he died while they were trying to escape from security forces, or so my dad thought. Few days before his death, my dad told me that it seems that friend of his was still alive and searching for him, so he instructed that I hide the diamonds here. It is in a vault in the room upstairs.”

“Are you for real? That’s unbelievable!”

“Of course I am, and I’ll show it to you”

She led him upstairs to a secret room and opened it using her password. Immediately, the vault opened. Max could not believe his eyes, therein laid diamonds of the rarest beauty.

“Muahahaha”… It was Sammy.

“You have done well Max, well done,” Sammy said.

Puzzled and confused, Tina asked “Max what’s going on here and who is this man?”

Max bowed his head in shame without uttering a word.

“Don’t worry dear. I will give you the benefit of understanding everything before the end comes,” Sammy said hysterically.

“Excuse me Sir! Who are you and how did you get in here?”

“I am the Big Boss Sammy. Your father and I smuggled some precious diamonds years back into the country. But instead of being fair with me, he wanted everything for himself, and so he shot me in the head. Fortunately, the bullet missed my head but my right eye wasn’t fortunate thereby making me the one-eyed Sammy you see here. I fell into the gushing river and was saved by a local fisherman after your dad thought I had died.”

“You’re a liar!” Tina shouted. “And how does that involve Max?”

“You see, Max is the man I sent to get the job of collecting the diamonds done after John your previous lover failed and had wanted to run away. He had forgotten that no one can escape from the claws of One-Eyed Sammy. He has been erased from the face of the earth though, so I decided to send Max and he has impressed me thus far. Just so you know, he is the unknown gunman who killed your dad,” Sammy said.

Tina couldn’t believe her ears and eyes. So, Max was all a set up. His love was just a façade.

“Tell me this isn’t true Max,” she pleaded.

Max couldn’t utter a word as his head was bowed in shame.

“You are just a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, Max. I curse the day I met you. I really loved and trusted you with my life but betrayal and a stab is all I get in return”

“Enough of this romantic sermon!” Sammy barked. “Now Max, complete your assignment,” Sammy said while pointing a gun at Max’s head as he threw another gun at him.

Max pointed the gun at Tina and told her he was very sorry. Tears trickled down Tina’s face as Max made to pull the trigger, just then two shots were fired, and both Sammy and Max dropped to the ground cold, as blood gushed out of their bodies.
The policemen whom Tina had secretly dialed immediately Sammy started his explanation, touched them, and ascertained that they were dead.

Tina just sat on the floor weeping. It was too hard to bear.

Humble Ogbonna, a Diction and Phonetics Instructor with a passion  for writing sent in this entry from humbleoogbonna@gmail.com