Read the story so far here :
I heard the voice calling me; soft, scared and urgent. It was Monica’s – she was one of the girls from the Admin and HR department, and the cool feel of her palms rubbing my temple was a soothing relief. It sent tingling sensations down my spine. However, I could also feel the tension and panic in the palms as she rubbed my temples and kept whispering my name. It was like she was in my ears, an ear fairy who lived there singing my name all day long.
Slowly, I opened my eyes to meet her own watery ones. She was standing behind me, her head pushed forward while my face was almost cradled in her bosom. She was on the verge of crying and the sight made my heart do a double take. I moved my head slightly around and found that the other members of my department were crowded around behind her, concern etched clearly on every face. I saw Funbi clearly, where she stood at the back with her eyes more concerned than the rest of the guys. She had her arms around her chest like someone protecting herself from a cold draught. The sight of her standing like that made me even more aware of what must have happened. I attempted a wane smile and tried to raise and free my head from Monica’s touch. That touch was already doing something to me down below.
I needed to be free from it before all the silly thoughts in my head burst loose.
However, she held my head firmly down and in a stern voice commanded that I do not move for another minute or two. “You were mumbling to yourself and it is not good to walk around in such a state. You seemed to have passed out while still in a semi-conscious state. Just relax for a while, take deep breaths and clear your head.”
She continued to rub my temple, her cool palms causing all sorts of immoral thoughts to jump around in my mind. They rattled around in there like pin balls gone crazy. It was crazy, but the thought of pin balls immediately drew my mind to focus on what was happening to my balls below. They were growing fuller, the fullness you feel just before you became stiff. I tried to stamp the rogue thoughts out, but it was a battle I was never going to win. Already, I could feel a stiffy coming. In order to save myself the embarrassment of having a hard-on in front of all my colleagues while being touched by her, I struggled out of her touch and swiveled on my chair to face them all.
“I am sorry guys, but I am okay now,” I flashed another smile to reassure them and when their countenances refused to change, I turned back to my computer system ready to get back to work.
“Why don’t you take an early day off and go home? Relax and try to put out the near disaster of earlier out of your mind. It could have happened to any of us,” Funbi placed her a hand on my shoulder. She relieved Monica of the painful torture she was causing me, removing her hand from my head. I was grateful for the relief. Her voice carried a tinge of something. She was the head of the S & M team, very nice and one of the few girls who had ever been to my apartment. That was a long time ago in the calendar of our relationship. Things have changed since those early, heady days. But, I felt and heard the concern in her voice. It betrayed something I wouldn’t have believed was still etched there, deep in her heart.
I punched my keyboard in deviance and exasperation at their fawning over me. I seethed inside, I couldn’t imagine or explain what had happened to me.
Why did I have a faint?
Then my computer screen came on and all the reasons became clear to me.
On my computer screen was opened a word document, and on it were typed:
IT IS TIME!
I had written the first words of my new story without me even being aware of doing so.
“You can’t come in Funbi,” the car was parked outside my building with the engine running and the A.C. on. It was half past seven and we had been talking for about ten minutes – innocuous chit-chat before she made her offer to come inside.
That offer had been like dropping an anchor into a dried up river bed. The silence that engulfed the car for an awkward ten to fifteen seconds before I found my voice to reply was enough to deafen us both. What had emboldened her to even offer to come in? How she had summoned up the courage to ask me baffled me even more than the fact that she had voiced it.
“I am sorry, but you remember what happened the last time you were in my apartment. I don’t want that to happen again, ever!” It was one of the worst moments in my life. That night that she had been with me… it was an experience that had crystallized all that was wrong in my relationships with the opposite sex. Before then, I had always been shy and tactless around girls, but that night I realized there was a bigger problem.
In fact, it was the night it all started.
But, here she was seated in front of my apartment after insisting on driving me home after work to forestall another fainting spell and to be sure I got home safe. But, the scope of the original offer was now expanded and she was risking to come into my apartment again. In the time we had sat and discussed, it seemed the objective had changed. She was offering to come in and prepare me a meal before going home. In other circumstances, I might have agreed but I needed time and space to think and analyze what happened to me earlier at the office. I also had a burning idea in my head to put down the rest of my story. It had been burning my head and almost frying my brain since when I created the folder on my laptop at the office- before I went into a trance.
Inviting her into my apartment would reduce my potential allowable time to get started on these things. More importantly, I couldn’t allow her come into my apartment again for fear of what may happen this time. I hated that I had to bring up her last visit to my apartment as a strong case for her not to come in this time. But, I was desperate and desperate situations call for desperate measures; moreover, it was the only argument I had left anyway to extricate myself from a potentially awkward and dangerous outcome. I couldn’t trust myself around her considering the last time, and I wasn’t too sure she had completely forgotten or forgiven me for that episode even if it was a while back.
Although I perceived a certain expression of genuine concern and softening of heart on her part, I couldn’t be too sure it was not just out of pity rather than from genuine love. We had that in the past, then we lost it. I couldn’t play with her emotions again and I was not ready to test my own ability to exercise control over the demons that lived inside me.
I opened the door and got out, “thank you very much for the ride and I will see you tomorrow.”
She smiled, waved and kicked the engine into drive as I turned and walked away before I would find myself changing my mind.
As I walked toward the building, the pounding in my head increased. It felt like it had been stuffed with cement. I also felt funny, not like sick funny. I couldn’t even rationally explain how I felt to myself. I just knew I felt different. Every step I took towards the house increased the feeling in my head.
I shut my eyes and tried to focus on other things other than the shrill noise in my head. I was able to make it to the gate without hitting anyone, then I opened my eyes, got into my apartment where I was sure I would be safe.
But, even in my apartment there was no respite. I felt restless and uncomfortable, in my head was this constant humming sound I couldn’t dispel. Even after I raised the volume of the stereo I couldn’t get it off. The noise, like the sound you hear when you press your ear close to the refrigerator was a nuisance that refused to go away. Rather than sit around and wait for sleep, I decided to see if I could wolf down the boli and epa I bought on my way.
It didn’t take long and I was soon done with dinner. Now, I was ready to face my night’s work before the computer. The idea had been itching my fingers since I created that folder at the office, before I slept – I refuse to accept it was a faint. It was like my fingers couldn’t wait to start typing the words that flashed constantly in my mind’s eye. I checked the clock, satisfied it was just past ten.
I removed my laptop from the backpack and booted it. Then I went into the kitchen to get my customary can of chilled FES and my headphone to plug to my blackberry. I like to listen to music while I worked, and also be in touch with all my contacts on BBM and Whatsapp – those who engage me in useful convo or not so useful convo.
With the can of stout and the headphone located, I headed back to my writing desk, sat down and switched off the lights, leaving only the reading lamp and the computer screen to illuminate the room.
I proceeded to open up the folder I created earlier in the afternoon, my fingers moving with precise accuracy like they were on autopilot or something. Then I opened the first document titled – Prologue: TIME TO KILL.
All stopped. I felt the room still and my head emptying of everything in it. It was like I had no head and only my eyes, ears and nose existed. My fingers flirted with the keyboard, like a skilled playboy wooing a skittish belle. It was like I became hypersensitive to everything going on around me, like I was waiting keenly for someone or something to happen.
Then the voice came.
IT IS TIME!
That was the voice that everything stilled for. It was the voice of the devil. The devil that rose and ruled from below.
I must have lost consciousness after I heard it. All that went on after I heard it were patchy, sketchy snatches of memory I was able to piece together later.
One thing though was pretty clear, from that point my book wrote itself. Me, I became only a vessel and an actor. I was no more different from the characters in – TIME TO KILL.
Slowly, I opened my eyes and looked around. The room was a mess and filled with a foul stench. But, that was the least of my worries.
Where did all the blood come from? I got off the chaise longue, my bones creaking painfully and checked the time – 4.13 a.m.
What had happened? I searched the remote parts of my memory to try and make sense of all the mess. My eyes wandered to the computer screen and it caught the blinking light on the keyboard…yes, I had been writing but that was all I could remember. I walked to the computer and tapped the keyboard. I sprang back like I had seen a snake coming out of the machine.
#1 – good job, boyo!
Those were typed just beneath another set of words I couldn’t remember typing last night –
IT IS TIME TO KILL!
The words were alien to me and once again I checked my soiled and bloodied clothes. What was going on here? I checked for cuts. There were none except for a few scratches. Then where did the blood come from? I looked on the bed to see if there was a body or any trace of a struggle, nothing there too. There was nothing – no sign of a body or any struggle. The sheet on the bed wasn’t rumpled. The only sign of blood was the ones where I had slept.
The words on the computer screen and the blood, mysteries I couldn’t work my mind to unravel. As I removed my clothes, my hands touched on a silky material in my trouser pocket. I pulled out the material to reveal a pink, silky ladies’ pant.
The silky pant removed a part of the veil that had blanketed my memory, I remembered the girl…
‘Oh My God!’
I remembered her. The girl in the red dress. The one I picked up at Ikeja, in my car on her way home after a hard day at work. I remembered her. She told me her name, she told me where she worked. She told me about how she wanted a new job. One that wouldn’t require her to be at work till 10 p.m. every night and expect her to be back at 6 a.m. three days a week.
Her name was Yinka. She was pretty and she was single.
I remembered all of this, because I remembered how she had screamed and begged and pleaded. In the end, I’d had to knock her cold and tie her up. I remembered these things – looking at the silk pant was like a moment of epiphany.
But, it was all I remembered. Everything else after the time I silenced her was a blank… But, the memory was enough for me to realize what had happened. I wheezed as I tried to gain control of my errant breathing. Slowly, I changed my shirt and wore new shorts. Then I went outside to check my car.
It was parked where I usually park it every night. But, I knew it had been out with me driving it last night. I took out my key and pinged open the auto-lock system. Immediately, the smell of blood hit me full blast in the face.
My fears were confirmed.
Something bad, really bad happened in the car last night. My brain processed the fact that a crime was committed. How, I didn’t know or could not remember. But there was blood in my car. And someone was with me in the car, someone I had hit and gagged. She was in danger and probably needed help, if it was not too late already.
There was no doubt about it, Yinka was in trouble and I was responsible. And my discovery needed to be reported to the police.
The voice split through my head with the swish of a horse whip:
You will do no SUCH THING!
This is what you will do —
That was how it all started… the devil taking charge and Yinka the lady in red, was the first to fall prey.
===== TO BE CONTINUED =====