Fera tucked her phone in a small leather bag dangling on her shoulder. They had visited five places within Jos city. In each place, Dexter had continued to make strange calls, as he surveyed, documenting whatever he was observing in a book. Soon, he became exhausted and averred it was to return to the hotel. The grimace on his face was not what Fera could deny its interpretation. Just then, her phone rang, and the guttural voice that spoke few minutes ago, spoke again. This time, she couldn’t respond a word to the caller.
“Mr. Burton, it’s time to go,” she announced.
They hopped in. Screeches of tires were heard as the car mounted to express. About a kilometer to the hotel, Fera spotted a super market.
“I’ll pull over to get something, Mr. Burton.” Her eyes rolled to Dexter’s face which had now turned pale.
“That’s fine,” he replied.
After some minutes, she surfaced, holding an ice cream. Just as she stretched hand to open the car, a gun barked loudly at her back and the ice cream crumbled carelessly on the ground. A spray of bullets took to the air. Her heart jumped. She managed to crawl inside as quickly as she could, hearts panting, mouths quivering and hands shaking. Everywhere plunged into chaos. People took to their heels, stampeding on one another and turning any angle they deemed safe with their mouths echoing different dirges. Fera toppled and landed on Dexter’ body. He drew her closer.
“Hey, calm down miss. Stay cool, else you’ll hit a flying bullet,” he advised.
He could see the dreadful calligraphies written all over her face. After some seconds, Fera bellowed.
“Hey! What do we do now?” Her entirety vibrated like an electrocuted rat.
“Hey, just lie low don’t raise your head, okay?” Dexter said as he pulled her more close, cuddling her, and allowing her strand hair reclined on his chest.
It dawned on them that staying in the car wasn’t safe. Moments later, they scurried out and sprawled on the ground.
Amidst the screams of the women who abandoned their wares in flight, Fera heard him telling her to keep calm. She bet he was trying to figure out the cause of the chaos. Then came another gunshot and another, bullets were being released carelessly. With Fera holding his hands tight, they took to their heels. The screams of the women and children were deafening. A young man who had ran pass them dropped face down as blood gushed out from the opening a bullet made on his forehead. They all turned back and ran as they saw about four masked men all with gun. Fera wasn’t sure if she was screaming too as he held on to Dexter. A little girl directly beside her fell with blood gushing out from her mouth, she was shot at the back. This time Fera heard herself scream as her heart beat so fast. Dexter dragged her towards a street by the side; they ran to an old car whose tires were flat and seemed to have been packed against the wall for years. They squatted in between the car and the wall in hiding.
“Shush, keep calm, stop screaming!” Dexter pulled her closer, “Look at me, Fera look at me.” She was shivering violently. “We gonna go through this, okay?” Fera nodded still shivering.
Dexter had his arms wrapped around her as they could still hear the screams. Some of the women had dropped their toddlers, and men like the priest and the Levite ran past the abandoned children whose faces were filled with dread.
There was a sigh of relief when Dexter heard the siren of the police car and the gunshots decreased. He chose to believe that the ones he was still hearing were the police aiming at the gunmen. The screams ceased and it seemed the street was deserted. The only sound that could be heard was the sound of the police car at a distance. With a nod, they stood up and left their hiding place. As soon as they came out from behind the old car, they stood face to face with a bleeding masked man pointing a gun at them. Had the police man at their back did not act as quickly as a cat, the masked man would have gunned them down.
Dexter regretted coming Nigeria as a sharp dagger of horror pierced his soul. Hurriedly, they managed to escape the scene, crawling to the main road where they boarded a taxi driver to the hostel.
They got to the hotel by 8pm. Fera went straight to her room, still shivering from the shock of all the experiences she had had. Dexter was now aware the risk of staying any further in the country would spell doom for him. His fingers were as busy as bees, as he packaged his luggage. And his heart plunged into the intention of booking the next available flight back to London. Hardly had he zipped the bigger bag when a hand knocked on his door. The voice that spoke from outside was familiar. He opened only for his eyes to be trapped in a horror.
“Sorry Mr. Burton, I don’t want to die!” Fera bellowed, pointing a shaking hand that clutched tightly to a small pistol.
“What are you talking about Fera?” Dexter screamed with his eyes so widened in surprise.
“Dexter, my dad will kill me if I fail to kill you,” she said.
“Please don’t kill me.” A garment of horror blanketed his innocent looking face as he begged for his life.
“You don’t understand, do you?” Tears rolled down Fera’s eyes.
“Why does your father want me dead, huh? Please drop the gun. I’m a British citizen and I can help you out, please. We can sort this out, okay? I can help you if you agree to drop the gun.” Dexter was crawling on the floor, heart panting and mouth quivering.
“You just shut up!” Fera yelled, mobbing the tears on her face.
“You see Mr. Burton, my dad said you and your people are the problem of this country. You people are the reason my mum died. You people are the reason we don’t have water or food to eat again. You people are the reason the poor continue to get poorer and the rich get richer. You lied with the idea of coming over to study your useless cold, when actually you’re here another business.”
She dived to Dexter’s phone, showing him every monetary transaction he had made with Alhaji Mustafa, who was the governor of Plateau state. She showed him notifications of the billions of naira Alhaji Mustafa had transferred to his foreign account with a little note, informing him to prepare and leave the country.
“Mr. Burton, I know it will surprise to know that I’ve been assigned to you to monitor all your activities in this country. Yeah, that’s my job in the immigration office. And I do it perfectly.”
That was when Dexter realised that Fera’s speech was similar what one of the masked men said.
“Look! I’ve got nothing to do with whatever that’s going on in your country,” he pleaded. “You just have to believe me, please, plea—”
“I said shut up!” Fera yelled as she pushed the trigger and the gun barked. Dexter lay dead with blood spewing from his rib cage. Just then, her phone rang again.
“Is it done?” the guttural voice spoke.
“Then leave there immediately. You have made your father proud once again my daughter,” the voice spoke gently this time.
She leaped over Dexter’s corpse and zoomed off.