woman listening to a sad playlist

Bimbo opened her eyes quickly. The knock came rapidly again. Bimbo was already up on her feet. Her hands now seemed to have a mind of their own – they vibrated seriously.

“If this man gets in here, he’s not going to kill only me, he’ll do the same to you. Do you have anyone that can help us? Maybe your parents, I mean, your mum, or maybe someone else? Your pastor maybe?” Bimbo asked frantically.

Worry showed on Femi’s face as he pondered what Bimbo said.

Femi finally decided to dial his pastor’s number, but the pastor didn’t pick up. He dialled it again, and it rang, but no one answered it.

The knock was heard again. But, more rapidly this time.

“Are you sure it’s your stepfather at the door? It could be anyone, perhaps your friend.”

“I called Sandra a while ago. She would have been here if she meant to come. I guess my story scared her the last time she was here.”

“We should still check,” Femi insisted and went to open the door. Bimbo closed her eyes while waiting. Her hands continued shaking, and despite the ventilation provided by the window, she kept sweating from head to toe.

Sandra ran into the room panting. Bimbo sat on the bed with temporary relief.

“There was a man at the shop. He asked after you. Then, I figured that it could be someone from your stepfather!” Sandra breathed heavily as she delivered the message. It was obvious that she had run so fast to deliver the message.

“It would be wise to leave this house now,” Sandra advised, fear shining vividly in her eyes.

Bimbo instead turned to Femi, “Please, I want to be dead before he gets here. Can you please do that for me?”

Femi sighed as Bimbo still didn’t understand. “I think you should tell Jesus in your own words. With the way I see it, the situation has become urgent.”

While Bimbo closed her eyes, Femi’s phone rang. It was Pastor calling back, so he left the room to receive the call. As he stepped out, he stopped in his tracks. A partly grey-haired man in Agbada looked Femi in the eye, scrutinizing him.

“Daddy,” Femi called weakly after a brief moment of realization.

The man’s face paled. After a while, his face broke into a smile. “My son,” he called, his voice hoarse with emotion. He opened his arms wide, eager for an embrace.

“Stop!” Femi commanded. He had forgotten about the pastor’s call, even though he still held the phone in his hands.

“You-you….” Femi teared up, the words in his heart swallowed up in his emotions. Femi walked away from the house before his anger got the best of him.

Bimbo and Sandra came rushing out of the room, wondering why Gentle Femi had shouted at somebody.

Bimbo gave a shrill cry immediately she caught a glimpse of the man’s face. She ran into her room and closed it. The sound of the lock turning was heard soon after. Only Sandra was left in the corridor with the man. She also walked a few steps backwards before finally running out of the house via the opposite door.

The grey-haired man blinked hard to avoid showing his true emotions. He looked around the corridor. Not knowing what else to do, he put his hands in his pockets and went out to meet Femi. Femi’s right hand was holding on to the unplastered fence for support. His head was bowed, making it difficult to see his countenance. He held on firmly to his cell phone with the other hand.

Femi looked up when he sensed the grey-haired man’s presence behind him.

“Why are you suddenly here, Dad?” he asked quietly, though a lot of emotions were coursing through him.

“I’m here for Bimbo,” the man confirmed Femi’s suspicion.

Femi sighed after connecting the dots. “So, you’re the one who’s been sending those awful pictures to her?” he asked without expecting an answer. His father didn’t also have words to say. Both looked on at each other.

“Didn’t you tell Mother that you’ve left things like that? You sounded so real when you asked her to come back to you. Was that a trick?”

“You need to understand me, old things are passed away. You need to be patient with me. The man you see here is not the one you knew.”

“What’s there to know? You’re now even using Bible passages in your tricks. I’m sure you know that I’m new to Christianity, so you’re trying to use my vulnerability against me. It can’t work Daddy. I forgave you but I’m done with you. Just go back to Ogun state, will you?” Femi said in an even tone, his eyes partially closed as he painfully remembered his childhood with the man that now looked so advanced in age.

“Femi, you saw those ritual materials after I left home, and I understand how difficult it is to believe that I’m now a changed person. For the sake of Bimbo, you need to listen to me. Who knows what she’s doing in that room?”

Femi realized the truth in what his father just said and ran quickly to check on Bimbo. He pounded the door with his fists. The door opened suddenly by itself. Femi’s hard breathing calmed when he saw Bimbo seated quietly by her bed.

“Come in please,” she asked him.

“Are you okay?”

Bimbo smiled. “You thought I was going to harm myself? I’m not doing that.”

“That’s good. Don’t worry at all. That man is my father, he’s not taking you anywhere. I won’t let him touch you,” Femi promised.

“You mean my stepfather? I’m not worried about being used for any ritual. I just want you to finish that prayer so I can be on my way to heaven,” Bimbo continued.

“I don’t understand you? Do you want to die after the prayer? He asked, unsure of his interpretation.

“You heard me right. That’s what I want. I’m already tired of this life. What kind of life completely relies on a music box? Trying to be another person is a hill too to climb. After giving my life to Jesus, I can be sure of heaven. Then, Step-father can do what he likes with me.”

“That’s not how it works. Besides, when you give your life to Jesus, He’s the one who gets to decide when you die.”

“Just say the prayer, please,” she said and bowed her head.

Femi was silent for a while before finally saying the prayers which she repeated.

After the prayer, she stood without another word and left the room. Femi’s dad, who had been outside the room, had to walk a few steps backwards on sighting Bimbo.

“Here I am, I am ready for the ritual,” Bimbo said, while not taking her eyes off the grey-haired man.

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