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Arinze was the first to notice that John was lifeless when he tried waking him. “Jesus” he screamed. Chiedu heard the scream and jolted. “What is it” he asked. Arinze answered “John” as he held his head inbetween his hands with tears already forming by the corners of his eyes. Chiedu went over slowly and touched the cold lifeless body of John. He couldn’t believe it. He collapsed to the floor wailing uncontrollably.
Arinze sat where he was, calling out to John as he cried. “John please wake up, please don’t die like this. You are your dad’s only hope Biko nu, don’t leave him. Is this how you will pay him for all the sacrifices he has made for you? Remember we planned to open a company together, won’t you be part of it anymore? John please…. “. He rushed to where John’s corpse was lying and shook it violently. “Wake up please, please, you can’t die like this”. “This is not the promise you made to us”, he wailed.
Chiedu stood up in anger and yelled. “I hope you are happy now that you have killed him? Come and carry his corpse and eat. You stupid ghosts, I dare you to do your worst”. He vibrated and cried as he dared the ghosts to do their worst. In that rage, he (Chiedu) rushed into the room and started packing his belongings. As he packed, he dared the ghosts to kill him if they can. When he was through, he carried his bags to the sitting room to leave the house but the door refused to open. All his efforts to opened the door failed. He became weak and collapsed to the floor crying again.
As he sat on the floor crying, he heard some noise in the kitchen. He stood up and rushed to the kitchen, probably to catch the ghosts and deal with them. But instead he saw a note which read: “Please don’t go, if you go you die. HELP ME”. After reading the note, he became more angry and confused. He couldn’t understand why the ghosts which were tormenting them begged him not to leave to avoid dying. More so he didn’t understand the help they were supposed to offer to beings which were obviously more powerful than they were. He just sat there and cried the more.
Back in the room, Arinze had wrapped John’s corpse with the bed sheets and covered his nostrils with toilet paper. He walked out and met Chiedu who had become tired from crying and was lying on the floor in the kitchen. They deliberated on what to do, whether to call John’s father or the police. They finally agreed to call his father first.
When they broke the news to him (John’s father), he couldn’t believe his ears. “What did you just say?”, he asked Arinze who was on the phone with him. In tears Arinze replied “sir we woke up this morning to prepare for school but John didn’t wake up, when we tried waking him up, he was dead. The voice of John’s father could be heard on the phone as he cried and said some heart wrenching words.
After crying for a while, he asked about his son’s corpse and what had been done to it. Arinze told him all he has done to preserve John’s corpse. He (John’s father) asked them to wait until he comes before doing anything else. They did as instructed and waited for him while they pondered individually, on the potential effects of John’s absence in their lives. Probably their lives will never be the same again.
While they waited, they thought of all the possible ways things could play out.”They could be accused of his death, forced to give account of the events that led to his death or made to take oaths. Whichever way, they were not bothered, John’s death dealt them a huge blow. It took John’s father four hours to make the interstate journey to where his son had died. From the park he used the address sent to him to board a tricycle to their house.
Finally he arrived in the company of another average aged man (say 50). Chiedu went to bring them in. “Where is he?”, John’s father asked in a teary voice. “In the room, inside the house Chiedu responded. As they (Chiedu, John’s father and his companion) stepped inside the apartment, the man (the companion) screamed and staggered while shutting his eyes.
As he opened his eyes, he said “my children you have been living with ghosts. One of them is held captive while the other two are tormentors”. After saying that, he left the compound instantly.
What happened next?
By Tochukwu Anozie
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