The house was big but poorly furnished. He sat on a chair when she came in holding a bag. He got up, grabbed her and asked, “is this the money?”
She was tall and slim with long straight legs. Two big earrings hung on her ears, with a fully painted lips. She stained his lips as they kissed. She opened the bag and poured the money on the floor. Two million dollars!
A dream come true.
“I can imagine the looks on their stupid faces.” She said.
“Yeah.” He said. “Before we talk about the queen stuff, I hope you realise that Tula slept with you for two months.”
“A’aa? Was it not your plan? Why are you bringing that up now?”
“ Because you are useless to me.”
He removed a knife and stabbed her in the chest while he quickly and professionally covered her mouth. She dropped on the floor. He bent over her and stabbed her continuously until she died.
“Yar iska (insult)! After giving a local guy like Tula your body for two months you want to spend two million dollars with me. Am I cursed?”
The door burst opened and two men burst in with grim looking eyes. The man who just killed his woman was shocked and fear splashed on his face. He was confused. Was this real? How?
“I knew it was not Jezebel” Amaar said. “Where is the antidote?”
“What are you talking about?”
Ameer made a dashing rush. The man swung his knife but it was a move Ameer was waiting for. He swayed, and then sent his knee into his stomach. He bent over him, pressed his pistol to his knee cap then pulled the trigger.
The man screamed.
“Where is the antidote? “ Amaar screamed. “You? So you could go this far, Yusha’u? You chased us out of your house, because she refused…..”
“Amaar forget that. We have no time! Let his bring it now or I will chop him bit by bit!” Ameer said.
Poom! Poom! Poom! Poom!
Thirty nminutes more.
Could they make it?
“Please don’t kill me!” Yusha’u cried, excruciating pains making him whimper, blood oozing from his leg. He never thought it could result to this. He had succeeded, and the money was gotten. How did they get him after all his meticulous plans?
He never forgot Ameena. How could he when her images were stuck to his memory? All those times he would hide and watch her come out of the bathroom, or when she bent washing. All those times she would be with him, while he taught her.
How much he fantasized about her, seeing himself with her on bed, and he was so optimistic it was going to happen. He even felt she would marry him but he realised she was not so naïve. And he developed hatred for her. He made sure his mother felt uncomfortable with her until Amaar was diplomatically asked to take her away.
He was happy when he heard Ameer was in trouble and was sentenced to death, and they sold almost all they had. When Amaar resorted to hard laboured jobs and Ameena was taken to a house for the less privileged and orphans, Yusha’u switched into action. He met her and told her he would assist her. He said even if she would not marry him, they could be friends with benefits. He would assist her financially.
“I understand what you mean Yusha’u.” She had said and the ‘Ya’ she usually put before his name was gone. “Can you give me a little time? I am on training. When I am given certificate and license, then I will reach out to you.”
“Training?” He had asked.
“Yes. I am in a training session for prostitution and we would be given license and certificates. When I graduate, then I will call you to be my first customer. The form is still on sale. You have two sisters. Please bring them to join us so they can be friends with benefits with some guys.”
“This should be the last time you should ever talk to me. I guess you don’t know what a woman is capable of. If there are things you see in me that you want, I am sorry they belong to Amaar insha Allah. Kwalelenka (your tantalizers)! Nan gani, nan bari (you see, but can’t have).” And she left him standing there.
That was when he began to stalk them. When Ameer’s case was reopened, he found out more details because he followed the court hearings. So he knew about Jezebel. He also knew Jezebel escaped.
He also knew she was a medical doctor who had a hospital. So he nursed the idea of using her as a cover. His aim was to kill Ameena. If he could not have her, then Amaar should not.
Lantana whose real name was Hauwa was his bed mate but made her felt she was his girlfriend. He used her, knowing she had the potentials he needed. He knew Tula for his satyriasis. A man who was way more hypersexual than him.
Tula sold his late father’s farms in the village, came to the city, and bought a house, furnished it and made sure it was sequestered to have enough privacy. He specialised in all kinds of women. His favourite were small under aged girls who hawked.
He would buy almost all their goods and keep them for the day. Some of these girls came to him when their money got missing, or didn’t meet the target of sales as stipulated by their guardians or parents, and he would defile them and give them money. Girl child hawking was a menace. It was a gargantuan beast devouring innocence, proliferating debauchery, and making paedophilia prevalent.
Tula also allocated some of these girls to big randy old.
“Samo mana yan shila (get us fledglings)” the old men would say. There were a lot of them. Groundnut sellers, gurasa, kunun zaki, chin-chin, tuwo da miya,panke, goruba, kpalla kwabo, and so on. Sometimes, the whole goods do not worth more than five hundred naira.
And these girls became so bold they didn’t fear men. They were used to sleeping with men of their fathers’ age or older. And the idea of doing it for money is inculcated in them, and they see it as a means of gathering money to buy kayan daki (house furnishings).
Some of the parents, especially the mothers never bothered to ask how they get the money. Girl-child hawking was dangerous.
Yusha’u used him and convinced Lantana to sleep with him. Well, for two million dollars, and a life with him, she was ready to go to Kano Road and lay all those beggars. Now that the operation seemed to have been successful, the twins appeared.
“I will count three. If I don’t get the antidote, I swear we will chop off your body bit by bit. She will die of poison. You will die a death that you will not forget even in death. You would beg for death, but no one would be merciful enough to kill you. One……two…….” Ameer threatened and he meant it.
“I will give. It is on that table. Please don’t kill me.”
Amaar rushed to a table and picked a small bottle containing a liquid.
“How is it used?”
“Injection.” Yusha’u said.
“Now listen. I will stay here with you.” Ameer said. “Amaar will go. If you are giving us the wrong thing or she dies……know that you are dead.”
“I swear it is.”
Amaar knew Yusha’u was a biologist and had a passion for making poisons and antidotes. And one of his dream projects was to use a rare species of snake to make poison and antidotes. He spent over fifteen years on this project. His sole aim was to create a market where he would spread the disease and sell the cure.
Then Australia was mentioned. Amaar now remembered how he was making a move, contacting some Australians via internet for this venom. It was then he called one of their friends and asked after Yusha’u. The twins also realised that the document Lantana left was done intentionally to derail their attention. Why would she forget something so implicating?
Then Amaar saw in the car one guy he recognised to be Yusha’u’s boy. They suspected him. Amaar put the bottle in his pocket and ran out. The way he drove the car made people wonder. He was over speeding. He had about fifteen minutes more.
But the traffic would not let him get there. There was no way he could make it. Unknown to him, Ameena was dying.
Doctor Mansur stood, trying to look calm but deep inside, he knew she was about to die. Hajiya was there, taking care of the baby. Ameerah and Sa’adat were there. Ameena was beginning to gasp, her breath seizing, and her eyes rolling.
Hajiya was crying, saying the kalimat shahada, to encourage her say it. The doctor asked Sa’adat and Ameerah to leave the room, as they were crying profusely. The doctor moved to her, checked her pulse, and temperature. They were going too low and the electrocardiogram which was monitoring her heart scared him. She would be dead soon and it was sad.
Ten minutes more.
Five minutes more.
Three minutes more.
She was dying, her eyes rolled, the breath seizing, and the electrocardiogram got the doctor weaker. There was nothing anyone could do now.
Two minutes more.
Ameena. Her baby was just a day old.
It was time.
The door burst open and Amaar ran in like a mad man. He was panting and gasping, soaked in his sweat. He could not have made it now if he had kept on to his car. He had to drop the car and collect somebody’s bike.
The doctor knew there was nothing he could do. But he quickly collected it, and got a syringe, and then injected her.
Amaar was crying. She was no more moving. The breath was not audible if at all she was still breathing. Her temperature was low, below normal.
No! This was Ameena. She was dying and there was nothing he could do. Hajiya was still crying and saying salat. The doctor injected her but she stopped moving and the electrocardiogram showed that the heart had stopped beating. The doctor tried to keep her breathing but the look he gave Amaar told him it was done.
She was dead.
“Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun!” Hajiya exclaimed and cried softly, making sure she did not cry out of the confines of sharia. Amaar could not cry. Ameerah and Sa’adat ran in and saw the world crashing before their eyes. Ameena lay calm with her eyes closed. They began to cry.
The doctor tried to console Amaar who was as still as a pole. He was not thinking. He was zonked. Hajiya picked her phone just as two nurses came in to cover her body.
Ameena was dead? Something began to stir in Amaar’s brain. The baby, as if aware of the situation, began to cry. Amaar turned at her, pity and pain, he now burst into tears.
Ameer called Amaar who was too carried away to hear the ringing tone. The he called Hajiya who picked the call crying and said, “ Sai dai hakuri ( all we can do is to be patient).
Ameer nearly fainted.
Ameena was dead?
The girl who was orphaned, went through hell and waited ten years to marry his brother. Now dead? He looked at Yusha’u.
“She is dead! And so you are!”
The nurse was covering her body.
“Wait!” Sa’adat shouted. “She moved her legs!”
The nurse quickly ran backwards. They saw her move her hand. The doctor looked at the electrocardiogram, it was reading and improving.
“ She is alive!” He said.
Ameena opened her eyes.
The antidote worked.
Ameer was told at once and that saved Yusha’u’s life. And there was no more Poom! Poom! Poom! poom!
Ameena looked at her image before the standing mirror. She had put on more weight, her skin was lighter, and looked more beautiful. Her pigtail gave her a cheerleader funky look with a royal touch. Her Varsace silk dress accentuated her curves, while she observed her enlarged bosom. Ya Allah. Just after having a baby, her breast produced milk. How could this be a coincidence? Who said there was no God?
She was going to give her child exclusive breastfeeding. She would not be part of those girls who deprived their children of something that has no complete supplement. No synthetic milk had all the nutrients breast milk had. Some even said they were scared of getting their breast flabby. She was going to breast her baby for at least one year and three months.
She left the bedroom and took the short ambulatory part that linked with the living room. She paused as she saw Amaar and Ameer in the livingroom. Humayra (their daughter) was laid on the sofa, and both men were bending over her.
Ameena watched the men.
“What is wrong with you?” Amaar said, “ watch me again.”
He removed her diaper and fixed it slowly, teaching Ameer.
“I told you that you are a small boy.” Amaar said. “I am teaching you so that when you grow up like me, you won’t have difficulties doing this.”
Ameer was now fixing the diaper.
“Shut up. It was my fault. I got you married early. If I had refused to let you get married on the same day with me, you would have said your BIG brother is wicked. Children of nowadays, I can’t understand. This generation of yours is addled.”
Ameena shook her head. These men and their drama.
“Assalamu alaikum. Good morning Uncle Ameer.” She said as she walked into the living room, smiling.
“Good morning, Umm Humayra.” Ameer replied.
Umm humayra? Ameena wondered. So it was true. She was a mother.
“Who is Uncle Ameer?” Amaar retorted jokingly. “It is you who makes him disrespect me. If you call him uncle, he will start saying he is my elder brother. Call him kanin miji (husband’s younger brother).”
“Mallam, you want to instigate me. Me and Uncle Ameer will not fight.” She said smiling.
“Okay.” Amaar said. “He will go and leave us. All the clothes you make me wash, the way I go on my knees to greet you every morning, the way you ask me to sit down and don’t go out, the way you order me to wash the baby’s poo will be stopped.”
“Now my brother is resorting to blackmail.” Ameer said. “You want me to go and tell Hajiya that she has turned you to a mijin Hajiya (henpecked husband). I know the lady I married for my younger brother. I chose her for you, and thank God, you obeyed the elders.”
It has been all honky dory for the family since Ameena’s miraculous survival. And her quick recovery was astonishing. Quick recovery? Yes, but not the recovery of resuming full marital duties. The joy experienced in the family was beyond description. While Amaar was driving his Toyota Land Cruiser to deliver the antidote, and he realised that he would not make in forty minutes so he pulled up before a shop, begged a man he saw with a bike to let him use it saying he has an emergency.
The man refused just like two others. Then one man volunteered. Amaar dropped his car and used the bike. The next day, he returned the bike and gave the car to the man with a gift of five million naira, and a job. The other men regretted when they heard.
Ameer was at the verge of killing Yusha’u when he received the good news. He simply called the police and he was taken away. There were clear evidences against him. Lantana’s body was there, and the money.
“If you call the police, Sa’adat would be implicated.” Yusha’u had said.
“No. We got Tula’s confessions recorded. She would be exonerated.”
Yusha’u was taken away. Envy, promiscuity, wickedness, greed led him to self-destruction.
Sa’adat came out of her room and greeted Ameer.
“Ya hakuri (condolense)?” Ameer said.
Sa’adat looked confused.
“Your aunty mana. Aunty Lanatana.”
After the incidence, even when Sa’adat was cleared of any wrong doing, she still felt very bad. She would not talk to anyone, or mix up. She would not go near the child or any edible thing. She felt so chastened and started planning of leaving the house.
Ameena was worried. These were the only two siblings she had. They all knew it was not her fault and she would never hurt her sister on purpose. So the twins calmed her down, and they began to joke about it. They even teased her about it until the matter was settled.
“I am mourning her.” Sa’adat said. “She really had good plans for my life.”
It was at that time Ameer’s phone rang. It was his house help.
“Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi Raji’un! Aunty Ameerah! Aunty Ameerah!” She screamed.
“What is wrong with her? …What?”
The line went dead.
He tried to call back but it was switched off. He tried Ameerah’s number but it was switched off.
What was going on? Why was she screaming?
“It is Ameerah.” Ameer said lugubriously, looking confused.
“ I heard.” Amaar said. “Let us go check her out.”
The happy mood was gone at once.
They rushed out.
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