It was a going to be a bright morning. It was only 6:00 AM yet, the morning sun had already risen. That was what helped me to get out of bed early. My wife of three months had woken up earlier than me. She had therefore shifted the drapes, thereby letting in the sun through the glazed windows. That was a ritual she performed every morning in order to wake me up early. If she didn’t do that, I sure would go late to work every day. Not that I was a lazy man, the fact was that my job was very physically demanding. Hence, I came home late every day and therefore needed time to recover from all the stress of the day.
I was a railway engineer. A new railway was being built to connect our town with the neighbouring one, in order to facilitate movement and trade. That was where I worked. Somedays, I worked from dawn to dusk, and by the time I got home to meet my beautiful wife, it was already past 8:00 PM. My wife wasn’t happy with the nature of my job. Several times, she had told me that I should resign and move to another city. I had blatantly refused. However, she was pregnant now, and as a result, I was seriously beginning to consider changing my job.
I wanted to give myself a year or two before quitting. I wanted to pool some resources together, save enough money before moving to a new town. My wife was going to have a baby, and I wanted us to have a comfortable life when we eventually move to a new city. I had had a very difficult childhood. I didn’t want my children to go through the same ordeal. However, something happened to me that made me quit my railway job earlier that I had anticipated.
One day, I was working late. It was almost 7:30 PM now and most of the workers had already gone home. I was the foreman, and therefore had to wait for everyone to close before leaving. I was going upstairs to the main company building to check a few things when I heard gunshot sounds. The sounds were coming from a nearby bush. I immediately laid on the floor so as to avoid being hit by a stray bullet.
The shootout lasted for about forty minutes, and then stopped. I waited for another thirty minutes, just to make sure everything was fine again. When I was sure, I continued my ascent to the third floor of the building. When I got there, I turned on the fog security lights. I peeped through the glazed windows of the third-floor lobby, and what I saw shocked me. There were four corpses lying on the grass. I now realized that there had been a shootout between the police and some armed robbers. Four of the armed men laid dead. I was scared to my bones. I didn’t know how I was going to get home. The police might still be around, and since it was dark, mistake me for an armed robber and gun me down. I sat down on a chair close to the window and contemplated my next move. Then something caught my attention outside, and I shifted the drapes and peeped.
It was evident that one of the robbers hadn’t been killed. He was crawling in the bush, about thirty meters from the scene of the shooting. It was not his crawling that got my attention. It was the fact that he was carrying a bag. The bag seemed to be very precious to him, judging by the way he held it. I watched him intently, wanting to see what he was up to. When he had made a good distance from the shooting scene, he pulled out a knife and started digging a hole. He dug for about thirty minutes, then put the bag in the hole, covered it with earth and put some dried leaves and twigs on top. He dusted his hands, cleaned his knife, stood up and left.
I waited for about an hour, and when I was sure he was really gone, I went down the stairs two at a time, got out of the building and cautiously went to where the bag had been buried. I looked carefully about me to make sure I wasn’t being followed or watched. When I was sure no one other than me was around, I started digging the hole. I removed the bag, opened it and almost screamed. It was full of dollar notes. Hundreds and hundreds of them, carefully stacked. I looked around me again to make sure that no one was watching me. There was no one. I took the bag and ran towards the railway building.
I couldn’t believe my luck. I had wanted to save up enough money before quitting the railway job. However, fate had made me rich beyond my wildest imagination. There was almost five hundred thousand dollars in that bag.
That would make me richer than most of the rich men in town. I couldn’t believe my luck and I was super excited. When I got to the railway building, I collected a few personal belongings and was about to start walking to where I would get a taxi home when I heard a voice behind me.
I looked behind and saw two men with guns.“Drop that bag and walk away if you want to be alive.” One of them spoke. He was big, dressed in black jeans and black T shirt and wore dark glasses, in spite of the darkness.
“Why?” It’s not your bag, is it?” I asked, trembling. The risk I was taking was enormous, but so was the money. I had already started seeing life differently. There was no way I was going to give up that money easily.
“You apparently want to get killed.” The guy with the glasses said. “Look here young man, a lot of people have died because of this money. I don’t want your blood added to it. Kindly drop the bag and be on your way.”
Instead of me to drop the bag, I ran into the building as he fired twice and missed. He followed me into the building but didn’t know how to find me. I worked in the building and therefore knew my way around. I hid behind a huge cupboard at the ground floor conference room of the building. I could hear their footsteps as they moved around, looking for me. When I was sure that they had gone to another room, I left my hiding place and ran towards the backdoor. I as I ran, I tripped over a chair. The sound of me tripping over the chair drew their attention and the came towards my direction. It was already too late for them. I was out of the building, running away in the dark. They fired at will in the dark, but none of the bullets got me.
From the railway building to my house was about three hours distance on foot. I couldn’t take the risk to go into the open and try to get a cab. I would be too risky. The armed men might spot me and end my life prematurely. I decided that I would take a path through the bushes. It was a path I knew very well. I was a railway worker and was very used to the bushes around. However, taking the bush path meant a good deal of trekking. I decided that the trekking was worth it, as long as the money and me were safe.
It was very dark, and my only source of light was the screen of my android phone. I could not use the torchlight of the phone. It was too bright and could draw unnecessary attention to me. By the light of the screen of my phone, I traversed through the lonely bush paths, clutching the bag tightly to my body. Anyone who wanted to get that bag from me had to kill me first. It was over my dead body that I would allow anyone get that money from me.
In my mind, I was already stinkingly rich. I was already deciding the number of cars I would drive. I would build a big mansion and live like a king. No!! I wouldn’t build a house. I would take me too much time to build a house so, I would just buy one. I would buy a big and nice house. Everybody in the city would have respect for me. I will be in the corridors of power in the city. I would start being invited to where all the big people in the city were invited to. I could not believe my luck.
However, another voice was speaking to me. The voice was telling me to go to the police and hand the money to them. I might be rewarded for being a good citizen. I rejected that voice immediately. Why take the money to the corrupt police? They would accuse me of armed robbery, throw me in jail and divide the money amongst themselves. I would never go to the police. The money looked like government money and a lot of government officials do steal government money. Many have been put in jail for that. So, why should I return the money. The money was God’s gift to me, and I won’t part even with a single note.
Another thought came to me. People have died because of the money. That meant the money was blood money. It would be a good thing for me to dissociate myself from anything related to the money. Maybe I should just go to the police or hand the money to the armed men who were after me. But those guys wouldn’t spare me. I was sure they would still want to kill me for putting them through all that trouble. I had seen their faces, and that was enough motivation for them not to let me live. I decided that it was too late to return the money now, even if I had wanted to. The money is mine. I would take the risk.
It had been close to three hours and thirty minutes now. I had left the bushes and was in my neighbourhood. Almost everywhere was quiet. Most people had gone to bed already. I walked cautiously and sneakily as I approached the compound where I lived. Every now and then, I looked over my shoulders to make sure I wasn’t being followed. I rounded a corner and came in full view of my house. What I saw shocked me, and I ran back around the corner. Parked in front of my house, was a Lexus Jeep. Standing beside the jeep, was the guy with the glass, holding a gun.
TO BE CONTINUED…