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The Dead Street (a short story)

OnyenkuziMar 27, 2019, 6:07:23 PM

 "Do not let her go," muttered a voice from the corner of a parked vehicle "She is one of the girls who refused to pay their dues," the voice continued; "Let her drop or we do the needful". The lady in question was on her knees begging a young man who looked adamant to whatever she was saying but rather looking around for something that was not clear.

"Obi where are you and Omole Naa", another voice shouted in obvious anger over the phone. "If una no wan show we go release her..oo", the voice threatened in pidgin Enlgish. An old man riding a bicycle stopped by the side of the girl who was kneeling down and inquired about what the problem was, but one of the boys known as "Area boys" cautioned him to mind his business and leave the scene. "Baba you be JJC here?" the Area Boy questioned warning the man to leave. The lady turned to the man to both explain and indirectly plead for him to intervene but one of the boys gave her a very loud slap and she went quiet for a while before bursting out into a sob. The cyclist sensing danger quickly jumped back to his bicycle and rode off.

It was around 8 o'clock on a Saturday morning. Many people were still in their houses so the street was empty except for a group of over six boys who were molesting a young woman at the end of the street. At the other end of the road was the OnlyNight Hotel that was very popular in the area for obvious reasons. It housed one of the cities most notorious prostitutes and as the saying goes, "vultures will always follow carcass"; the hotel was also reputed to be a hide out for all the drug addicts and Area boys in Panama Street.

On a normal day, Panama Street would appear like every other street in Lagos. That would change immediately when it was five o'clock on evenings. This was when the street buzzed into life owing majorly to the activities of street bars and Shisha-smoking joints that lined up the road. This was patronized majorly by touts and women of easy virtue who parade the street during this period. It was at these joints they smoked, drank and got high for the real activities that followed at night in the nearby hotels of which OnlyNight Hotel was the most prominent of them all.

Lisa's tone changed after the sob into a defiant one: "Why are you doing this to me? Leave me alone because I am not owing you." "Ahh.... Showw this babe don open eye for meooo. Who born you? Waka there. You think say we dey play here? Drop or we go obtain you here right now. Omo come see this ashawo dey open eye for Omo Ale" One of the area boys shouted in a mix of both Yoruba and pidgin English. Lisa was new in the area. She was told by Alexa that every new comer in the area needed to meet the head of the Area boys to pay homage. This homage was paid with a gift either in cash or kind. No prostitute survives one week in the area without fulfilling this initiation rite.

Lisa had disregarded Alexa's advice thinking that she was just blabbing. After all, she was feared as the queen of the night in Ajegunle Street where she operated before relocating to this area. She had even given Alexa a proverb that 'a king who had not traveled would not know that there was a higher king in another domain'. Unfortunately for her, the event of the morning had taught her a bitter lesson. She was conversant with the pidgin English "Drop or we go obtain you here right now" which the area boy told her which translated to a lot of things hideous ranging from rape to killing if she did not pay up. She knew that nobody would ever come to her rescue in that area even if she had shouted on top of her voice.

Panama Street was like a wild jungle where only strong animals thrived. It was notorious for everything bad. Criminals operated without being challenged by any security agent. It was like a country of its own with its own laws and rules. The police and other security agents only visited around twelve midnight and when they do, they only came to collect their share of the criminal proceeds in the area and not to fight crime.

"Remove her shirt and skirt idiot", A deep baritone voice muttered to the other guys who were listening to receive instruction from their boss, Kapo. His instructions were never questioned. Hurriedly the boys yanked off the ladies top and skirt leaving her with only underwear. "Go and  make sure you pay before this night or I do not ever want to set my eyes on you in this area", Kapo continued waving at the girl to leave his sight. Shivering Lisa thanked him and went with her hands covering her bra in obviously embarrassment. An old woman coming out from the adjoining road sighted her and beckoned on her to come after which she offered her a wrapper to cover herself........

To be continued... If you like this story and and would want to read more of such story, kindly upvote, like and remind. Thanks

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