The knock came again.
‘Who is that?’ Loveth said, a quivery hint to her voice.
‘April?’ a male voice came from outside.
Loveth recognized the voice, but still opened the door with shaking hands.
The door open, she threw herself into Harry.
A slightly surprised Harry hugged her back and then released her. ‘Love, are you alright?’
Loveth nodded stiffly. ‘I think I am. But April might not be.’
The receptionist on desk at the Emerald’s didn’t call the room to confirm. She just pointed and said to April, ‘908. Last floor, Madam, please.’
Josh had called earlier to say that he’d be expecting a visitor and that she should be let in as soon as she arrives.
At the topmost floor of Emerald Suites, April came out of the elevator. She walked down the brightly-lit hallway, heading straight to Room 908 as she was told.
Josh opened the door at the first knock. He was still in the same shirt and trousers April saw him in earlier the day.
Now April seemed a little surprised that he wasn’t looking really sick.
He sat down on the bed and asked April to sit.
April sat down on the bed, her sceptical eyes on Josh. ‘You said you were sick,’ she said.
Josh ran his hand over his face. ‘Yes, I was,’ he said, ‘but I am much better now. Thanks for the care, I really appreciate it.’
‘You got better in minutes?’
‘The hotel boy brought me a pill.’
April stared at him, then nodded. There was something different about him now. His forehead appeared reddened and sweaty, even under the coolness of the room. His voice, too, seemed a bit hollower than normal.
April stood. ‘Well, since you are fine now, I should be getting back to the lodge.’
Josh nodded. ‘Thank you.’ He winced, scratching at his head.
‘Are you sure you are alright?’ April asked.
He nodded. ‘Yea, just a nasty headache. I will be fine.’
‘I think what you need is a good deal of rest,’ April said.
Josh nodded again, agreeing.
‘Have a nice night, Josh,’ April said, turning to the door.
She had gripped the door handle to open it when Josh called, ‘Wait, please!’
April turned back to him.
Josh dropped to his knees in her front, holding up a small black box. He opened it and a silver ring cast off a sudden glitter. ‘Please, marry me, April.’
April’s eyes came a little wider. ‘Josh?’
Josh nodded. ‘Please.’
April inhaled deeply. ‘Josh, please stand up, you are making me uncomfortable.’
‘Stand up, Josh.’
April walked closer to him. She perceived a strange smell on him. It was strong, but not awful, something like the smell of new plastic.
She glanced at the ring in his hand with a small smile. ‘Very pretty, but I can’t marry you, Josh. Now please keep that beautiful ring for the right person.’
‘You are the right person.’
The hint of a smile still on her face, April said, ‘I am taken, Josh. You need yourself a nice single girl who would love you as much as you do her. You are a charming man, it won’t be any hard.’
‘So you don’t love me?’
April said nothing.
‘Please,’ Josh said again, his face now a sorry, sweaty mess. ‘Please.’
April looked at the fridge. An opened bottle of wine and a half-filled glass stood at the top.
She turned back to Josh. ‘Have you been drinking?’
Josh sniffled. ‘I just really feel awful.’
April pulled an understanding face. ‘You don’t have to. It will pass.’
‘Why does it have to be him? Why can’t—’
‘I love him, Josh. So much. Though I wear no ring from him yet, I dream of a lasting future with him.’
‘Please don’t say that to me.’
April nodded. ‘I’m sorry, have to go now.’
Josh held her arm. ‘It must really be him, right?’
April took back her hand. ‘It has always been him.’
‘Okay, but before you leave, can you have a drink with me?’
‘As a mark of peaceful goodbye.’ He put the box of engagement ring back into his pocket and walked to the fridge. He bent and poured another glass of wine. He carried his and handed April the other glass.
He raised his glass. ‘To friendship.’
April clinked his glass. ‘To friendship,’ she muttered.
She watched Josh sip from his own glass.
She was slow to drink from hers.
Josh inclined his head slightly in an urging gesture. April continued to stare at the brown liquid in the glass. She swirled it. Then she walked to the table and dropped the glass. ‘I really have to go now, Josh.’
Reaching to grip the door handle, Josh held her and pulled her forcefully back.
She landed heavily on the bed with a groan. She turned to Josh, eyes wide with shock. ‘Josh?’
Josh put one finger to his mouth. ‘You had your chance,’ he said, eyes now a devilish red!
Harry had wanted to surprise his girlfriend by coming in unexpectedly, but now things have changed.
He reached into one of his pockets to pull out his iPhone.
He scrolled down his Contact List and paused at the number saved with ‘Mine’.
He sent off the number.
A few seconds, light came on April’s phone on the bed as it started ringing.
‘Oh, crap!’ Loveth groaned. ‘She’d dropped her phone. She didn’t go with it.’ She bent and picked up her own phone from the floor.
A tiny crack had appeared on the screen.
Sending out Georgina’s number, she put the phone to her ear. The call returned unavailable.
She tried again.
Same response: ‘The number you have dialled is not available at the moment, please try again later. Thank you.’
Harry was staring at her. ‘Where did your friend go to exactly?’ he asked.
‘Emerald Hotel? To do what there?’
‘Please don’t think something else, she only got a call from a friend who is sick and needed to be taken to the clinic.’
Harry left his eyes on Loveth for some time. ‘This friend, a guy or a girl?’
‘A guy,’ Loveth said, and then quickly added, ‘They are just friends and nothing else, I can swear to that.’
‘Ok.’ Harry’s ok was curt. His eyes took on a tinge of detachment. ‘Let’s go to Emerald and pick her then.’
Harry’s face remained straight as he drove down Station Road.
The girl he once thought was a different campus chic, might not be so different after all.
Many thoughts running to and fro his mind, he missed the big lorry’s signal, only to realize himself a second before the collision.
‘Blood of Jesus, watch out!’ Loveth’s scream bumped into a great crashing sound!
April struggled underneath Josh. He might have been surprised someone her figure would be able to put up such a struggle. He’d had his way forcefully with several women before, some triple April in size, yet they hadn’t kept up for so long.
He knew once that deep sigh of exhaustion happens, his work would be made a whole lot easier.
But April was not ready to give in. She struggled on, and on, and on, now with everything she has.
Afraid she might free her mouth from his hand pressing down on it and give out a scream, Josh lifted the lamp on the short drawer table beside the bed and struck April’s head with the base.
Finally, as she plunged into unconsciousness, her struggle died.
Georgina has never been the one to be easily afraid before, but now that she huddled at the corner of the wall in an empty room, eyes bound, mouth gagged and arms and legs tied up, she couldn’t help the icy packets of fear running down her sides.
She heard the whine of a door opening and stirred in terror.
She prayed they killed her first before cutting off the parts they want. It must be her breasts they want, she was almost sure.
She felt the piece of cloth around her eyes lifted. Her skin stung where the cloth pressed.
Her eyelids fluttered and then opened.
She winced to the bright light that flooded her eyes. Slowly, her vision adjusted and she was able to see.
She saw two ladies standing before her, their faces meaner than stone.
‘So you are the rat that wants to harvest where it did not sow?’ the slimmer girl said.
Georgina did not understand. She added a pleading look to her eyes.
The girl took no notice. She pulled a kitchen knife from the back of her jean trousers.
The clean blade shimmered in the bright light of the room.
She bent toward her and ungagged her. ‘Scream and it will be your last!’ she said, tapping the sharp knife on her palm.
Georgina compressed her lips and nodded quickly.
‘How much you done chop?’ the girl asked in Warri pidgin.
Again, Georgina did not understand.
‘Answer me! How much she done give you?’
‘W-who?’ Georgina stammered.
‘Mummy O, how much you done chop from am?’
‘Please, I do not know who you are referring to.’
The girl turned to her mate. ‘Locket, abeg help me refresh her memory small.’
The other girl, thicker in body and uglier in face came close and gave Georgina two hot slaps.
Georgina whined in pain.
‘You done remember now?’ the one with the knife said. She twisted the knife menacingly. ‘Abi, you want make I comot small blood?’
‘Please, I have remembered!’ Georgina quickly said, even though she hasn’t.
‘So, how much you done chop? We see una go chop for that expensive restaurant, come go shopping after, I just dey smile. How much?’
Now Georgina understood. ‘I..I…we…’
‘How much is the total money wey she done give you, answer me!’ She raised the knife again.
Georgina pulled back in fear. ‘Just hundred thousand, hundred thousand, please don’t hurt me!’
An ominous smile came on the girl’s face. She turned to her big-bodied friend and that one smiled too.
‘Only hundred thousand?’ the girl said, her smile transforming into a look of disgust. ‘Just 100K.’
Georgina positioned a pleading face at her.
‘Instead of stealing my market just because of ordinary 100K, why didn’t you ask me for the money instead? I would have given you 200K even, but no, you have to chop the cow, drink the milk, come fry the meat after. Girl, you greedy o!’
Not knowing what else to say, Georgina muttered, ‘I am sorry, please forgive me.’
The girl shook her head. ‘Too late for you, my dear. Locket, go carry the communion come!’
‘Sure boss!’ The big girl opened the door and walked out.
Soon, the door whined again, moving back to let in the girl.
She was now holding a glass cup, half filled with a light-yellow liquid.
They held Georgina and together, they forced the tainted liquid down her throat.
Georgina’s body was found the next morning.
This is the first post of a new series, as usual, we’d be needing at least 30 comments to determine if the story will continue or not.
Thanks for the support, DNB Fam.