There was no more sleep for Cas. He sat on his favourite couch in the sitting room with a half empty bowl of soaked garri in his hands. He had been told that the perfect cure to a raging hangover was soaked garri. He’d tried it a couple of times and it had worked flawlessly. The store was in a mess – pools of puke on almost every area of the floor, in it’s stinking best. He thought of cleaning it up but just thinking about it drained him. He was not strong enough for the task yet.
He dropped the bowl of garri and held his head in his hands. Fragments of the dream crept into his mind. He analyzed the dream, focusing more on his role. He had done well enough for a guy who had screwed up things. He had helped in the best way he could. But what about the feeling that if he didn’t do anything he would die? The dream was significant even in it’s insubstantial quality. It pointed out a certain attachment with Sandy, one which he had severed.
He got off the couch and lumbered to the bedroom. He needed to wash himself. He didn’t like that he reeked of alcohol; even his sweat seems to have been flawed. He arrived the bathroom in his clothes and turned on the shower. The cold splash of water on his head was relief. He placed both palms on the white tile and hung his head out and low, letting the fusillade of water droplets assault his neck and back.
The dream was inconclusive!
The thought came as a shock, like a blow in the dark. He reached out and turned off the shower. He felt treble good now.
How inconclusive was the dream? He wondered. He slowly got off his shirt, trousers and shorts. He sat naked on the wet tiles with his knee braced. In the dream, Sandy not acknowledging his help felt odd, but the fact that it was a dream settled that. Or, dream aside, he had screwed up. He earned her ignorance. But that was not the point.
The point was that at the end of the dream, Sandy’s safety was uncertain. Riding off like that on the back of a lunatic bull was in its own way as unsafe and fear provoking as being pointed a pistol with the safety catch off. That interpreted to him to mean that there might be something awaiting her at the other side of the wall. Something beyond her dangerous bull’s might. An unpleasant surprise.
He could remember telling her she needed to hurry up to save a dying man. What was responsible for this unknown man’s agony? Well, the man was not entirely unknown. He was almost sure it was Ochuko. He was the one Sandy had gone away with as revealed by the doctor. If truly the man was Ochuko, then was it his business worrying about him?
No. He was worried for Sandy, only he didn’t know why.
“Just a dream.” He muttered to himself, getting off the floor. “Just a dream after all.”
He walked out of the bathroom and found he could do a lot better than lumber. He felt a little refreshed, the way a little nap left you after working laboriously for hours. He selected fresh underpants, shorts and tee-shirt from his wardrobe and put them on while facing the standing mirror.
He thought he didn’t look terrible for a drunk. His eyes didn’t look red and dazed. He went back to the sitting room and picked up his half finished meal. The garri had soaked up water and solidified but he felt lazy to get water. He ate it that way and the thought crept in again.
“It’s a dream, Cas. Just rest!” He said to himself.
But he couldn’t. He strongly upheld that there was nothing spiritual about dreams. They were simply the result of a pumped up mind. Only fetish people and christian crazies who tenaciously clung to the old testament rather than the new read meanings to dreams. He was neither.
He believed his mind was pressured, and it wasn’t unexpected. He was ripped after all.
Casmir carefully placed his folded legs on the table in front of him, dropped the now empty bowl beside the legs and reclined on the couch. He would just wait for sleep to take him away on a date.
But his mind never discarded the thought of Sandy being in danger.
* * *
The first Aid box had been easy to find, but not the phone. The box was, as Ochuko had said, in the bedside drawer. The key to the drawer was in it’s hole. She had turned it, but only then locked it. The locker had been open. She had reopened it and retrieved the box. The phone was not on the drawer. It wasn’t inside any of the drawers. It wasn’t on the bed.
She snatched the sheet from the mattress and flapped it; hefted the big mattress from the bed, and searched the pockets of every cloth in the wardrobe. The phone wasn’t still found.
Things had gotten worse in her head. Some other voice had spoken up, or so it seemed, and she had been choked with a feeling that time was running out. There also was the feeling that something was preventing her from getting the phone, and an entirely different one that upheld that Ochuko was about to be killed.
She had tried to hasten up then and tripped on items on the ground thrown there by herself, which should be visible, but for some unknown reason wasn’t. She had tried to get up but only then began to cry. This shouldn’t restrain her from forging on but for the same unknown reason, she remained on the floor.
Then suddenly, a wave of inspiration rushed into her. It was a suggestive kind of inspiration. Why not try the bathroom, it said. She found strength then to lift herself from the ground and make for the bathroom. That, like the locker, wasn’t locked. The door stood ajar. She almost slipped on the tiles from her speed but held firmly to the door. The phone was there on the sink, in the depression reserved for soap.
She had walked carefully to retrieve it.
Now, standing before the door of the room where they could’ve been killed, she thought everything that had happened in the master bedroom was a figment of her imagination. She took a deep breath before pushing open the door.
Metallic fetor of blood hit her as she entered the room. She wrinkled her nose and casually took in the condition of the room. It was in disarray. It looked like a battlefield, and yes, a battle had happened here. The aftermath of which…
“Ochuko?” She asked unbelieving, taking slow, short strides into the room.
Her thoughts flew wildly, contemplating every possible explanation to his disappearance. He had gone to fetch himself a drink, he had gone to puke in the toilet, he had…
“Doc Al!” The words escaped her mouth unconsciously and accompanying it was a thought.
It clicked shut then and she whirled towards it. The doctor was standing there with a maniacal grin spreading his face. He wedged a bloody arm firmly under Ochuko’s jaw, that way, keeping his head from lolling to one side. The rest of his body hung loose and lifeless.
Fear like she had never experienced gripped her and every sane thought fled from her. Sandy ran to the almost lifeless body of Ochuko, ignoring that he was being supported to his feet by his assaulter. She dropped the phone and First Aid box and went to embrace him.
Doc Al kicked her hard on the belly and she went sprawling to the floor. He then dragged the body of Ochuko close to her.
“I bet you like your man this way. Don’t you?”
Sandy shook her head and tears streamed down her cheeks. She looked into the doctor’s eyes; what she saw there frightened her. She looked down at the unmoving body of Ochuko and was certain he was dead. This was where her life ended. The last person that mattered to her had been eliminated.
“Answer when I ask you a question.” Doc Al kicked her on the breast.
She howled, more in fright than in pain.
“Oh yeah!” He said joyously, a new spark appearing in his eyes. “You love being tickled that way.”
He kicked her on the other breast.
“Say you like it, Slut. Say it!”
“You scream back at me?” He bent and grabbed a fistful of her hair. “You scream at me because you want to get dirty. You want to fuck me, right?”
He dragged her to the bed so abruptly that she ripped the part of Ochuko’s short she’d been holding on to. Her mind was thrown into confusion. It was a rat chased into a corner in the wall by four determined, blood thirsty kids. Rape, which she had feared all her life, was coming to her on a speeding skateboard. No forewarning, no negotiation.
She screamed as her dress (a light cotton pyjamas top she had selected from Ochuko’s wardrobe while searching for his phone) mopped the blood on the ground. She was helpless.
“You know you’ve got the body of a slut. Don’t you?” He barked.
Doc Al threw her to the bed. Her back struck the wooden frame and she screamed.
He clinched her lips shut with two strong fingers.
“If you dare utter another word, I’ll break your neck. You know it’s very easy for me to do. Don’t you?”
She obeyed his command. She didn’t say anything in reply.
The doctor’s fingers left her lips and frantically undid the buttons on her nightshirt. He pinned her hands to the bed with his knees and pushed his weight on her. She could feel his penis harden. It got her heart ramming on the bars of her heart. At the moment, she understood how sentenced thieves felt when tied to poles with soldiers pointing the guns at them.
Doc Al began to unbuckle his belt.
“I’m going to show you a different meaning of fucking. You’re so going to feel it, slut!”
Sandy shut her eyes and provoked tears hurried down her checks. As much as she wanted to scream, she didn’t. The doctor meant his words, he’d take her life with an abrupt twist of the neck and rape her still.
She bit her lips as he forced his hard penis into her. The metallic taste of blood filled her senses, she welcomed it as a distraction to what was being done to her. She wondered at the size of his member. It seemed to split her vagina.
“I told you slut, you’re going to feel it.”
He forced the length of him deeper inside her and drew it out suddenly. He forced himself in again, deeper this time.
“Do you feel it now?!”
His voice almost rose into a scream but then there was another sound. A dull, hollow sound, like a knock on concrete block. The doctor went stiff and silent and then (almost instantly) fell off Sandy with his back.
Sandy opened her eyes and saw two figures peering drown at her. Her first impulse was to scream but one of them held both hand up. He had a gun in one hand. She didn’t know what to deduce from it.
“Put on your clothes.” The dark figure not raising his hands said.
She scrambled away from the bed and snatched her nightshirt from the floor.
The other replaced his gun in his holster and brought out a walkie talkie.
“Situation has been contained, Sir.”
He walked off to the window and looked out of it. A draft of chilled early morning air drifted in.
“No, Sir. Not our man.” He said.
Sandy dumped the nightshirt and fished her clothes from the wardrobe. She wore it in no time and went over to the almost lifeless body of Ochuko. She prayed he was still alive. He had to be alive.
“We need to take him to the hospital.” She announced.
* * *
Cas had drifted off while palavering with his thoughts. The sudden bang of the door as it crashed open didn’t just get him awake, it rocked him to the floor in his panic. He cursed under his breath as he jumped to his feet.
Standing in the door was Officer Chikadibia. He stood there stern and unsmiling as an ugly monolith. Cas was struck with fright at the sight of him. He wondered what he’d done to earn such an entrance.
He wished to censure the policeman for intruding his home and invading his privacy but found it hard to fix himself into the right mood. His heart kept hammering in his chest.
“What have I done this time?” He asked in a voice that was nothing like his.
“I came to congratulate you.”
The policeman walked away from the door towards him and the stern expression dissolved to a smile. Before he reached Cas, the smile had metamorphosed into a toothy grin.
“I think I like you.”
Cas frowned. The man was a strange one. Asking questions wouldn’t help him, it would further indicate the obvious.
“Whatever that means to you.” He went back to his favourite couch.
“You saved your ass from rotting in jail, young man.”
The visitor walked past him towards the kitchen. Cas got up from the chair and followed behind.
“What? How do you mean?!”
“Someone was busted in Ochuko’s place. He was about to molest our girl.”
Cas wrinkled his nose.
“My girl.” He corrected
“I thought you had put up blocks in your head after my warning and gotten your head-strong. But here you were, carelessly sleeping away the night.”
“Who was the molester, and where’s Sandy?”
The policeman drew out two bottles of beer from the fridge.
“Let’s celebrate your wisdom first. Here?”
“I’ll die if I have one more of that tonight.”
“Then stop stocking your fridge with it.”
They went back to the sitting room, Cas took his favourite couch, the Officer maintained the one he’d chosen in his earlier visit, and then narrated the incident at Ochuko’s house to Cas as told by his men.