‘The A Team’, a song by Ed Sheeran, who at the time was a twenty year old British singer that was beginning to gain popularity amongst those who listened to the kind of music he made, was the particular track playing for the sixteenth consecutive time on Martha’s Blackberry Bold. She had only one piece of her earphones on and left the other ear free so the Jehovah witness lady who presently was stressing a point about God’s plan for the earth would assume she had her attention. Her entire attention however, was equally shared between her wonder about what on earth could be the inspiration behind Ed Sheeran’s music and a couple of very random issues just so she wouldn’t have to pay any attention to the lady standing right before her. Just when the song was about to end for the sixteenth time, she heard a series of howls from the top floor of the house that could only have originated from her younger brother’s room.
James Amir Ehidiamen couldn’t wait for the EA soccer game “FIFA 12” to be released in less than two months but for now, even though he and his buddy Karael Amos had gotten tired of playing “FIFA 11”, they played with the vigor of debutants. Anyone who stayed in or usually visited the Ehidiamen residence would already be used to the unpleasant howls which really had no pattern that came from James’ room. Having being expelled from a private university in Nigeria, he got closer to his childhood friend Karael, a Namibian who had lived almost all his life in Nigeria with parents who were foreign workers in the country. He knew Karael since he was two because his parents were the first to pay a visit to the new neighbors who had moved into the bungalow two compounds away. A couple of visits later and the two year olds had a bond that was uncharacteristic of babies at such age. From sharing candy to exchanging Nintendo cartridges, from exchanging ideas for secondary school assignments to exchanging Intel on best locations to smoke marijuana safely; they were closer than brothers.
In 2008, both boys graduated from Tendertouch College, Lagos and immediately sought admission into a higher institution. Naturally, both men went for the same school as first choice and when the results were released, Karael had scored 231, while James scored 195. The University of Ibadan was the school both men picked and it required a minimum score of 200 for those who would take the school’s own entrance examinations, James couldn’t. While Karael prepared for his exams, James obtained the admission form of Covenant University, a private school in the South-West of Nigeria. Karael was not so lucky at his exams and failed to get admission, while James was to resume at Covenant University some months later. James would later get expelled for having explicit pictures on his laptop while Karael would gain admission into the University of Lagos the next year. Now Karael was in his second year of studying Business Administration at the University of Lagos, while James awaited the 2011 admission list of the University of Benin. Since Karael attended lectures from his family home on Aba Johnson Crescent, he was able to spend a lot of time with his friend James; time which they spent on FIFA 11, supporting Arsenal FC and smoking marijuana at the nooks and crannies within and outside the Ehidiamen residence. James’ sisters knew about his habits and while one expressed her disdain for the act, the other got introduced to using marijuana, the other being Martha.
After what seemed to be a millennium, the preacher rounded up her message to Martha whose joy at that moment could not be quantified; she locked the gate behind the preacher and headed back into the house for her recent daily routine of doing absolutely nothing all day. She had graduated from the Igbinedion University, Okada, Nigeria about two months back and would have to wait for about another three months to begin her youth service at whatever state in Nigeria she was eventually posted to. She walked right past the security post by the gate and went straight for the store that was behind the main house to spend some time alone with the half smoked tie of marijuana she had rescued from the pocket of one of James’ trousers. The store contained old and unused property and was one really stuffy place to stay but since it was a place her parents almost never checked, it was her perfect spot; even her brother had no idea about what she had going on in there.
Martha lit the joint after six frustrating attempts with different matchsticks and when she finally got it right, she took a long drag with her mouth and held the smoke in her head for a couple of seconds before slowly but surely exhaling from her nose and her mouth. She let out a sigh that seemed to say “I missed you blunt” and went through her blackberry chat messages, subconsciously mumbling as she read. After her third drag, she began to feel the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) settle in her head, her eyelids twitched, and all five senses worked at an unusual rate with a great deal of paranoia to round the array of feelings up. Clouds were gathering and the wind blew with rage like that of a mother who just saw her child get beaten up by the lady her husband has an affair with. The wind blew into the store and shook the items that its force could budge and also managed to kill the spark of Martha’s joint. That was her cue, but as she had got up to leave for the main house and get in before the rain started, she heard what seemed to be the sound of footsteps behind her. She panicked and in one sudden movement, turned around to find out who or what the sound was coming from; and what she saw, stunned her so bad that she fell backwards and landed on her buttocks.
She looked up at the silhouette of a man who was nothing less than 1.9 meters tall clad in a robe that swayed on the lower region from side to side and seemed to be staring down at her, getting closer with a movement that seemed like it was gliding. She used her bottom and her hands to drag herself to the door behind her with her eyes still locked on the figure, the store was dark and even the open windows could do nothing to direct sunlight to the room. Martha knew that one last surge would open the door then she would have clear vision of the man and also an escape route, so with all the strength she could muster, she threw herself at the door and fell on it as it flew wide open. Martha was an unusually brave and inquisitive young lady and so, instead of running away in fear, she turned to see her predator. She stood there for five seconds in total shock at what she saw.
TO BE CONTINUED…