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Chapter 10

"...Gravity is Matter's response to Loneliness."

Hey! Hey! Hey! Pass the ball down here! Don't be a clown! The shouts of boys as they trained echoed down the half empty football field. The Higher Institution Football League(HIFL) was still in it's off-season. But the players kept playing anyways to keep in shape. Mr Bayo watched through the chain link fence as one the players tried holding the ball and doing it all on his own. He laughed at the audacity and his thoughts were drawn to another matter entirely.

Mr Bayo is the Chief Security Officer of Obafemi Awolowo University. A post that he seemed to be too young for. The post was handed to him after his voluntary resignation from the Nigerian Police Force, he had been part of a task force assigned to resolve kiddnappings and armed robberies in some Local Government Areas of Lagos state. His resignation came as a result of a botched assignment, he had missed some vital clues and overlooked evidence which resulted in the death of a Family of four. It was one hell of a tangled mess. The only ray of hope was a recommendation from a senior colleague in the department. The recommendation that got him his current job.

Mr Bayo was not dissatisfied with his current job. In fact his surbordinates felt he took it too seriously, as surveys and investigations have pointed to the fact that the university community was under no imminent threat. But, when compared to where he came from, he felt like he was a grand nanny in charge of little kids. So far the highlight of his day is usually when he coordinates the convoy of the Vice Chancellor on any of his various engagements. But the recent cases of students that went missing bugged him. Two missing kids in the space of a week? He didn't believe in coincidences and this didn't feel like one. But his policing days were over and he already made his report to the Police Headquarters in Moòrè. It was their problem now, not his. But first, he was going to call them to assuage his conscience.

Detective Kola of Moòrè Police Division has led a pretty simple life so far. His assignments involved escorting visiting dignitaries or settling land disputes or in some cases, fatal home accidents. Ile-Ife is generally peaceful and after the Ife-Modakeke civil war had ended, hasn't seen any form of bloodshed or strife so far. He causally dropped into the office and was surprised to see Inspector Jobiowu rounding up a call. They jokingly called him Job in the department, he was pretty much a glorified receptionist. "Who was that?" Detective Kola asked. "Shun sir!! That was the University CSO asking about some files he sent in" Job replied. "Which of the Universities and what files?" Detective Kola probed further. "Sorry sir it's OAU sir, Oga (meaning The District Police Officer DPO) said we should just put the file in the missing persons cabinet sir." Job replied again. Detective Kola smiled to himself. Job always acted like he was still undertaking a job interview. But a missing persons case? He hadn't seen that in years. These students and their palava. Maybe they just absconded from school, who knows? But it might be worth taking a look at, an excuse to stay away from his troublesome wife back at home at least. "Bring the files to my office let me take a look at them" He instructed Job as he made for his office. But Oga said... "You heard me Job, I won't ask again!" Detective Kola barked.

The white wall. I wasn't talking about the one that kept the wildlings and white walkers out in The game of thrones. The white wall was popular for one thing; it was a place where people came to pray. Located in the school's sport center and originally built to be a squash court. The initial purpose of this court has been forfeited entirely. Not a day or night goes by without you meeting a soul pouring out essence to God. Nife had always laughed at the fervency at which each individual seemed to pray. Now he wasn't laughing, if he had listened to his parents and had spent more time in the school fellowship he wouldn't be in this mess right now. He needed to clear his head, this seemed like the right place. Maybe by some divine hand he had been directed down here. Adulthood sucks he thought. When he was a kid, all he worried about was playing football in the streets and ensuring that he wasn't caught by his Mom or Dad as they came back from work. That seemed like a lifetime ago. Now he was caught in between places he didn't even imagine existed. He stopped his walk, and leaned against the balustrade lining the walkway to watch people and drown in his thoughts. But, his mind was ready made up. "Hello, sorry to disturb you sir, but would you like to join us?" A lady came into his frame of vision. "Oh no sorry not today, right now I need to talk to someone" He absently replied. He turned around and started walking briskly, letting his feet carry him towards someone he knew so well but had ruined all his chances with.

What defines a man? Money? Power? Dominance? Man's quest for definition has been since the inception of time itself. We all as individuals have struggled to find our place on this planet. We seek purpose and most often than not we don't find it. We just exist.

If Lanre(Skodo) had been thinking for himself, he would have known that he had just been existing so far. He had no purpose, if he couldn't buy his way into somewhere he wanted, he had Egbon threaten him in. Even the Toyota Camry SE he owned was a gift from their father. Well not an outright gift, but more of a bribe to smoothen the relationship between the two of them since he wasn't around for most of the time. He never knew his mom and Egbon hardly remembered her, all they had was pictures of her. She died due to complications while giving birth to Lanre(Skodo). Their father, who had not mastered the art of parenting just gave them everything they wanted. He would buy them a house in school if they requested it. Egbon was not always around either, he was never home and he only showed up when his mess needed to be cleared up. He was a lonely kid that had all he wanted except the love of a family. But that's where his squad came in. Tope, Nonso and Nife the boys. They are family to him and they always had his back.

He still had nightmares about that day. Egbon had entrusted the handgun to him, asking him to use it in extreme cases only. Could Ahmed's case be described as an extreme case. He couldn't confide in any of the boys so as to avoid being week. But he hadn't be sleeping well, if only he could just get the nightmares to stop. The drugs helped dull the pain, but not for long though. He was drowning and he couldn't even scream for help. What do you say to a drowning man without purpose?

Paula had woken up riding the waves of a mini orgasm. She had been dreaming and it had been a very good one. It would be a very good day, she wasn't going to let anyone or anything ruin it. It had been weeks since she saw FM but that didn't matter because, he called and they usually exchange texts all day long. So she was feeling awesome on that front. Nife seemed to have taken her words and had decided to give her the space she so badly needed. She didn't need any sort of negative energy around her right now. She went about cleaning her room and was halfway with the cooking when she heard a knock on the door. She wasn't expecting anybody, but FM had been acting weird and she had been suspecting that he wanted to surprise her. She hurriedly put her hair in order and applied a little bit of powder so as to not look shabby. She then threw on his hooded sweatshirt too but, left the zipper quite open to create the desired effect; sexy without trying too hard. "Please hold on I'll be right there with you" She didn't bother asking who it was. Plastering a wide smile on her face she opened the door.

Nife couldn't take it anymore. The events of the last 4 weeks had been so overwhelming, his psyche had been shattered to pieces. Why he was here, he didn't know exactly. He needed to talk, he needed a safe space and he only had one; Paula.

He didn't exactly take notice of the lady asking him to join them but his subconscious had registered that information for future use. When he got to Paula's flat, he inquired from James if she was home and he answered in the affirmative. James wanted to start a conversation and was fishing for information. "My good man! It's been long I saw your face." "Not that long actually" Nife replied. "Ohhhh! So you are the one that usually bring her back late at night with that white Benz bah? Boss! I hail ohhh!" James jested. Nife was taken aback but he didn't let it show. He knew all about that white Benz, he had spotted it at the restaurant that other day. It was too nice a ride to go unnoticed. So Paula was seeing someone else already? He realised that James was still smiling and waiting for a reply so he smiled and made his way to Paula's room then knocked on the door.

Paula killed the smile she had on her face as soon as she saw who was at the door. With fury she wanted to slam the door shut but, Nife already anticipated that and held on to the door with his arm and feet. He was stronger than her but she didn't let up, it didn't even look like he was putting any effort to holding the door. She looked into his eyes they seemed more sad than usual. His sad eyes were what drew her to him in the first place but now they look like he had been crying. Her fury intensified "Are you high right now? Did you smoke again before coming here?" She screamed at him. Paula please I just need someone to talk to... His voice broke and he let the floodgates open. He sank to the floor right there in the doorway and was shedding tears. Paula was taken aback, she had never seen Nife cry in all the years they had been together. She urged him in and then shut the door. What could be so bad that Nife would be shedding tears like a kid. At that moment she made the fatal mistake of comparing Nife and FM and she felt so guilty that she killed the thought immediately. All the fight and anger she had held against him had been taken away from her. She had never seen him so vulnerable.

"Baby talk to me, are you okay?" Paula asked soothingly. She had to wait for a while before she got her reply though. When he finally spoke she couldn't hear him well and she had to tell to stop and speak up. "Your food is burning" He said. She rushed into the kitchenette to take care of it. Then came back to the room and sat down on the only plastic chair available in the room.

"Why did you send that text?" He asked. "What text?" Paula replied with a question of her own. "The one where you said you never wanted to see me again?" He replied. The look on her face was...

Firstly, I want to apologize for taking so long to get this Episode together. Then I'm going to apologize for leaving you with another cliffhanger. Have fun y'all!!!

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