“Oga, are you sure this is same address I showed you?” I asked the bike man as I alighted from the bike.
“Yes Sir, na number 42 be this” he responded.
I knocked on the big black gate lightly as I looked round the estate. Few seconds after, the gate man opened the gate as I stepped in.
“My Oga say make I take you go parlour, say he go join you soon” the gateman said as soon as he opened the gate.
Ten minutes later, Chris walked in. I almost could not recognize him. Chris & I finished from the same university four (4) years ago. He studied Transport management while I did Business Administration, we were not exactly buddies (more like friend of a friend) but I remember how he was always coming to our lodge to scout for free food. We argued about our political & religious differences often.
“Hey David, welcome to my house” he said as he walked in.
“What should I offer you?” he asked as he sat down beside me.
“I will take very cold water first” I said.
I stood up & looked around. How could he own this house? The size of the sitting room, the setting of the dining, the chandeliers, the furniture were exquisite. Damn! How? How did he do it? This house will be worth over 40 million naira, I murmured.
“I can imagine what’s going through your head David” he said as he walked back in. We have all day to talk, so please sit down & feel at home first.
“See Chris, I am very much interested” I said after few hours. “I have suffered so much & I’ll do anything at this point” I added.
Chris, you know I graduated with a Second Class Upper right? I have two professional certificates I did during NYSC. I have leadership qualities from during my time in the SUG. Is it working experience I want to talk of too? Or is it my numerous personal skills? Man, I have applied & applied for many job adverts. Both those I’m over qualified for & those I’m qualified for. I even applied for one driver job on the island when things got worse, yet no one called me or even offered me a job. It’s been over 4 years and I haven’t gotten one job yet.
The other day you saw me; I just left that Coca-cola depot around that area. I didn’t even go to apply to be a manager oooo, ordinary driver position was what I went to apply for. And still, I still got the usual “Sorry, there is no vacancy here” reply. Like whom did I offend? Why has God chosen to forsake me? If not even for my sake, why can’t he do it for the sake of my aging mother? I kept sobbing.
“Hey David, stop sobbing. Believe me when I say it all ends today. You won’t be looking for employment sef, you will be hiring people of your own. Just relax” he said.
“Is that all I have to do?” I asked him shockingly.
“Yes, that’s all. Look at how far I have come in 6 months” he said.
“Okay, I’m definitely interested. When do we see him?” I asked.
“We would go somewhere on Saturday. I’ll need you to get here as early as 8am” he said.
“Take this Fifty thousand naira” he said as he handed a white envelope to me. “We will be wearing a white on white attire. Use the money to sew something nice before then & keep the rest for your need between now & then” he added.
“Ha Chris, thank you!” I exclaimed.
Saturday came quicker than I expected.
It was just few minutes past 7 a.m. when I knocked on Chris’s gate. I sat in the parlour while I waited for him.
“Hey David, how are you doing? You do know how to drive, don’t you?” he asked as he stretched out his hand to greet him.
“Guy, you don forget say I be dey drive that SUG bus that year?” I answered giggling.
“Oh! Na true ooo” he answered. “You will drive us then” he added quickly.
“We’re going to take the Range Rover & you will be driving to Shagamu” he said as we got to the car park.
Three & half hours later, I parked in front of a black gate as I horned. The gateman opened the gate & we drove in.
I looked round as I got down from the car. The building looked smaller than it appeared from outside. I kept wondering why Chris’s helper would be living in this small house & this vicinity. Maybe he just loved a small lifestyle I murmured as I walked towards the entrance.
“Oga, Baba is waiting for you at the back” I heard the gateman say to Chris while pointing us towards the back of the compound.
There was smoke slightly coming out of a small shabby room, curtain made of beads hung at the entrance, the room looked dark from outside. It looked deserted & I wondered what exactly we were to do in this place. Just then, I heard a voice speaking what sounded like gibberish to me. Chris signalled to him to do as he was about to do.
“Good morning Powerful one” he said as he proceeded to enter the room with his back.
Still in shock, I followed his lead.
We sat on what used to be a mortar as we got in. I looked round and all the memories of watching nollywood movies came to life. I’ve never been in an herbalist house before but I sure could recognize almost everything I saw.
As soon as I was done looking around, I sighed.
“Young man, are you here to admire the surrounding or you are here to find a solution to your problems?” the baba asked me as he looked squarely into my eyes.
I trembled at the sound of his voice as I stammered while telling him I was here looking for solutions.
“Give me your left hand” he said.
I stretched out my hand towards him as he took it & spat on it.
“Rub your hands together then rub your head with your hands & stretch out your right hand” he ordered.
I looked at him in disgust. He looked back at me sternly as he ordered I get done with it.
“Fijabi David Oluwaseun, your case is critical. You are not destined to be rich until you are 60. It’s a generational curse and you can’t break it” Baba said as he looked at my palm.
“Ahhhhhhhhhh! Aye miiiii!!!! Baba, please help me” I wept.
“Young man, they don’t cry in this place ooo. Don’t let that tear drop or else the gods will be angry at you & your generation” Baba said with anger.
I swiftly wiped my face as I sat up looking at Chris.
“Powerful one, what can we do about his case?” Chris asked pleadingly.
“I have consulted with the gods before his arrival. There is a solution, just one solution” Baba said as he looked up from the calabash he held in his hands.
“Ask him if he’s ready to go ahead, because there’s no going back once I say what the gods have said to me”
“He is ready the powerful one” Chris answered as he looked my way.
“Okay then. He has to bring me the heart of someone he loves very well. We will pound the heart alongside a few other concoctions. He will then take the mixture, put it in a calabash & bury it in a virgin land” Baba said
“Once he has done that, he will have riches as never seen before in his generation for the next twenty years” Baba added.
I looked at Chris with disgust as I knew I was finished.
I stood up, looked at both Chris & Baba, shook my head & prepared to take my leave.
“Come back here boy! If you step outside, you will run mad instantly. Madness without cure” Baba said.
“Decide who you are going to use between your mother & your younger sister fast. You have only three days to do as the gods have instructed” he added with an even louder voice.
I froze still.
I can’t believe I have to do all these. How can I possibly kill my own mother or sister? How can I even think of something as cruel as that?
How? I kept on screaming with tearful eyes.
Just then, I felt a hand shake my shoulder.
“David! David!! David!!! Wake up man” a voice said
“Let us take our leave now. We have a three-hour journey or so to embark on” the same voice said.
As I came back to life, I jumped from the couch I was sitting on. Chris stood in front of me looking surprised at my reaction.
I made my way towards the exit as I looked to get out of his house quickly.
“I am sorry Chris, I have no interest anymore. I have to go home now” I said as I moved towards the gate.
“No, I’m not that desperate” No! No!! I kept saying to myself.
How will I slaughter my mother or sister because of money?
What is the usefulness of the money if I don’t have them to spend it on?
How will I sleep at night knowing fully well I took their lives?
How will I ever look in the mirror again?
What will people say about me? I kept thinking to myself.
Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, a car travelling at about 70km/hr was about five seconds away from me. I tried to move quickly but my body seemed to have frozen. I drew in what was my last breath as my heart froze also.