DEVIL'S PAWN [Excerpts 2...What happened?]
(This is a random excerpt, not the begining...from the original unedited manuscript)
Eight hours later, Simon woke with a sharp pain in his head. He was on the floor of his room. The bristles of the rug pinched his butt and he realized he was naked.
That scared him. He never slept naked.
Is this a dream?
Noise filtered in from outside, distracting his thoughts. The other occupants of the apartment block were sharing lively banter outside. He could make out the words Barcelona and Arsenal in their conversation.
How can anyone discuss football so early in the day?
Football madness was not his game.
The pain in his head seemed to be racing around his skull like a tireless kid on a skateboard, grating his brain.
Why am I naked?
Still lying on the floor, he looked around the room. He noticed a red patch on his white bed sheet. He got up instantly to look at the stain. It was the shape of a pair of buttocks as though someone with bloodied buttocks had sat on it.
What is this?
There was a pair of blood smudges, one on either side of the buttock patch. They looked like hand prints. Simon concluded there were made by the owner of the buttocks.
Someone with blood on his body sat on this bed.
He bent to touch the blood on the bed. As he moved his body, he felt the sharp pain slice across his head again. Wincing, he straightened up and touched his head instead. He located the source of the pain above his right ear.
He rubbed it gently and looked at the blood on his fingers. He probed the spot again. He wanted to find the wound. His fingers could not find any open wound.
Blood with no wound..!?
He scanned the room the room and stopped when he saw a heap of clothes in one corner. It caught his attention because he never dropped clothes on the floor. Never! Again, some of the clothes did not look like his.
He walked towards the bundle on wobbly feet. He spread the clothes with a foot. They were soaked with blood. He recognized the jean trousers he had on last night.
Last night. What happened last night?
At first, he couldn’t remember anything. Then he remembered being dropped off late at night. Yes. He had been dropped out after… after the…
He closed his eyes as he remembered it all.
Pictures fleeted through his mind and he squeezed his eyes tight as if that would take the images away. He shook his head. The sharp pain that followed cleared the images. He opened his eyes.
He used his toes to separate his jean and t-shirt from the other clothes in the bundle. The label on one of the jean had a crossed sword stitched to it.
It was Oche’s jean. He remembered seeing it.
Oche’s jean in my room…?
Simon shifted his gaze from Oche’s bloodstained jean to the buttocks prints on the bed. Nothing made sense to him. He couldn’t remember anything beyond the time he was dropped off.
Perplexed, he turned back to the crossed swords and stared at it. He felt an itch on his left breast. He rubbed the spot and felt something hard and thick near his left nipple. He rubbed hard to see if it was just stuck to his skin. It did not rub off.
He turned towards the open window and saw that it was a crescent shaped scar. It was long and jagged. Down, under his navel, another scar, like one from a large knife, sat. He never used to have a scar on his body. Now, here were scars appearing overnight.
His heartbeat quickened steadily.
What is happening to me?
“An idiot is calling. An idiot is calling,” his phone piped, jarring him out of his thoughts.
His caller tune always made him laugh. Tonight, it was different, it scared him.
“An idiot is calling…” The sound came from the bundle of clothes.
He picked up his trousers and dipped his hands into one of the side pockets. His hand touched the phone, but there was something else besides it in the pocket. He turned it around in the pocket. It was warm and soft to the touch.
His heartbeat picked up again. Something within him told him to leave the object in the pocket. But his curiosity overcame fear. He gave himself an excuse; he needed to answer the call. Plus the caller may have a few answers for him. He grabbed the phone together with the other thing in the pocket and pulled them out.
Simon’s face took on a strange look as hands emerged from his pocket. It was neither fear nor amusement, he was beyond such emotions.
It could be that his brain initially failed to make a connection between the objects in his hand and what they implied. Or he was just too shocked to express himself. Either way, he just gazed at his open palm, his eyes fixed on the wet bloody object.
The phone went silent for a second or two. Then it suddenly started ringing again. The screen of the phone flashed on and lighted the object.
It was a penis. He held a warm bleeding penis in his hands.
“Shit,” he exclaimed.
Simon, reacted like a vegan would if he were force fed with raw pork. He dropped the penis like it was hot coal. His phone clattered to the floor.
He gagged as the food he had the previous night came rushing out his mouth. He rushed towards the bathroom but he was done before he got there. The vomit left a sour taste on his tongue but he gave it no thought as he bent over trying to recover.
Simon gave the penis another look as it lay limp on the floor. It must have been crudely severed. Some skin from the scrotal sac was visible. It was fresh and was already bleeding out on the rug.
He could almost feel a knife slicing through his own penis as he wondered at the one on the floor.
Blood, Oche’s jean and a penis… What is happening here?
The phone rang again.
He ignored it. He couldn’t trust himself to speak on the phone. The phone rang the second. He looked at it and watched the screen flash on and off.
At the third ring he picked up the phone. The number called hid his id. Simon suspected it was a member of the Black Cats. His hands shook and his voice quavered as he said hello.
He was right. It was Dave and he was hysterical. His heavy breathing carried over the phone. Simon felt his heartbeat quicken again.
“The fuckers have gotten Kunle and Oche they killed them,” He blurted out.
“What…Kunle and Oche?”
“Yes, both of them. And they took away their fucking dicks.” Dave was panicky, “They took away their penis... they cut them off!”
Simon paused to regain his composure. He could hear the quaver in his own voice as he spoke. He hoped Dave had not picked it up. He ran his tongue over his dry lips.
“Which fuckers? Who do you think did it?” That was all he could manage to say.
“We don’t know yet. We will find out. Already the word is out.”
“But, how did it happen?”
“We have no clues yet. They died near the grave so we had to move their bodies away from where they died. Emeka is very pissed right now. Oche is like the apple of his eyes and you know that. Skulls asked me to check on you to be sure you’re safe.”
“Are you checking up everybody?”
“Nope. We checked out on you because we thought you were gone too…,” he paused.
“Gone? Why did you think so?”
Even before Dave answered, Simon knew this involved him somehow. The bloodied clothes and penis meant something. He waited for Dave’s answer with his heart in his mouth.
“We found your wallet there.”