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STORY: 7 Days (The Past Came Haunting) E03

I struggle not for the Lilly in the water
Just so, I don’t get drown for it.
– Ikise Atabang
******
EPISODE 03 

+++++++++++++++
Wednesday. 
6:35 AM 
Val 
++++++++++++++++++++ 
I hissed, threw my phone on the bed and started doing some press-ups. 
“Fool, why are you hissing this morning? You’re not happy you woke up?” 
“Idiot, I have said my prayers and I’m sure you didn’t”. I fired back. 
“So why you dey hiss?” I stopped and sat on the floor.
“Its nothing serious. Amaka is yet to reply my chats, her number isn’t available either. In fact it is switched off. Why would her number be switched off since yesterday morning?” 
Paul laughed, “So for your mind, that girl gave you her number? From what you told me, that girl was riding in a Lexus with her bodyguard. She obviously gave you a wrong number”. 
He continued laughing. 
“Fool! I dialed it in her presence and it rang”. I defended myself. I removed my socks and singlet and entered the bathroom. 
“She gave you the number she wasn’t making use of and she must have broken the SIM card by now”. 
“This guy is something else”, I thought to myself, “You seem to be talking from experience”. I retorted. 
I got ready and left for my lectures. 
++++++++++ 
4:15 PM 
“I would be taking a girl out today for the first time in my life and it’s not just any girl, it’s Cynthy my first love” 
I said to myself as I removed my socks. I was fond of wearing socks even while staying at home.
I remembered many occasions people ridiculed me for that. Most thought I did it for the swag but the reason I wear socks is that my feet sweat a lot. 
It was a busy day for me, I had three lectures of two hours each from 8am to 2pm unlike yesterday I had only one. 
My ringing phone brought me back to the present. It was my closest friend-Ebo! His name is actually Ebolue Chibuike but I prefer calling him Ebo. Ebo and I had been friends since secondary school. He got admission before me too so he was a class ahead. Ebo knows almost everything about me. 
“Ebo! Kee way?” I shouted immediately I picked the call. 
“Valcino!, I am cool…” He told me he was close to my lodge. 
+++++ 
[Few minutes later] 
“Guy, how far you and Cynthy nah? Any gist! How did your meeting with her yesterday go?” Ebo rattled off immediately he entered my room. 
“Guy calm down, you too like gist,” I replied him. “I didn’t tell her yesterday, but I will tell her today at Shoprite. We are going…” 
I was interrupted by my friend’s steady gaze at the door, I turned to see three strange guys smiling devilishly at us. 
“Who are you? Wha…wha..t do you want?” I stammered, trying to be courageous. 
“You don’t ask us questions, we ask you”. One of the three guys replied. 
“Now who is Val between you two?” He continued. I exchanged glances with my friend Chibuike but said nothing, same with him. 
“You think we are here for jokes right?” He asked again, still no response. 
Our interviewer who seemed to be the leader of the gang snapped his fingers and the two guys beside him brought out pistols and pointed at us simultaneously. I froze, that was my first time of being at a gun point. I lost it and raised my hands immediately. 
“I.. I.. am the one, I am Val”.  I said at once. I was expecting the worse when I heard my friend say “Buike don’t do this, I am the one they are looking for”.  
“My name is Azuka Valentine. What do you want?” he asked the guys. I was confused. What in the world was he doing?
“Ebo what are you doing? Do you want to get us both killed?” I asked my friend with pleading eyes. 
I saw the confused look on our visitors’ faces. 
+++ 
The Cultists’ Leader 
+++++ 
We came closer and discussed in low tones with our eyes and guns still on the two friends. We were instructed not to harm anybody apart from Val we were looking for.
But unfortunately the two friends were claiming to be Val. I was really provoked so I dialed our boss’ number. I mentioned the confusion to him and was told that the Val we were looking for was fair and always on socks. I smiled, ended the call and asked the both of them to stand up. 
They were both fair but only one of them was putting on socks. I smiled as I set my eyes on our target. 
+++
Val 
+++++ 
I watched the gang leader place a call and enquire into how they could identify Val I guess. I couldn’t decipher what it was they talked about but the familiar words I heard him say was ‘boss’ and ‘socks’. 
I suspected the guy Ijabu I met yesterday, the one that called himself, ‘Boss’ was responsible for this. But none of the three faces could I recognize as the guys with Ijabu yesterday. He sent different guys. The guy must be smart, I thought. 
I was wearing the T-shirt and jeans I wore to lectures earlier and had no socks on as I was about removing my clothes to have a shower when my friend arrived. But my friend Chibuike was putting on a trouser and singlet. (He had removed his shirt the moment he entered my room) and socks too which he didn’t pull out when he removed his shoes outside. 
The leader of the three approached me and said “You be better friend o”, and gave me a hot slap. Hot tears ran down my cheek as the reality hit me. 
They thought my friend Chibuike was the Val they were looking for. And I watched as they pounced on him and gave him the worst beating I had ever seen and would ever see. 
+++ 
Ebo 
+++++ 
When I claimed to be Val, I was surprised. I didn’t know why I did so. Perhaps it was time to show Val that I could be loyal, strong and trusted. 
And so I received each punch, slap and kick and prayed it was the last. All they kept saying to me was “No go near Cynthia again, she is taken…” 
“What’s going on? Could Val be hiding something from me?” I kept thinking. 
When I could take it no longer I let the darkness engulf me. 
It was a new feeling that took over me. There were, no pains, no fears, no worries… 
To be continued… 
Written by: Valentine C. Azuka
Edited by:
Anastasia C. Nwoye
Ekweh Christian
Next Episode drops on Sunday.

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