Lisa woke up with a start, unsure of where she was. She looked around and noticed the grey curtains draping down the open windows. The strong stench of distilled cocaine mixed with the smoke from burning cigarettes that littered the floor hit her conscious sense like a mighty wave. It looked like a crack house. A sharp pain in her head left her in anguish as a flood of memories rushed in. How long had she been gone for? She couldn’t make out.
‘She’s awake!’ One of the guys exclaimed with a sigh of relief.
The second guy walked towards her, his 6 ft. statue towering over her.
‘What’s your name?’ He thundered.
Fear began to creep into her and she felt nauseous. She wasn’t sure if it was from the fear or from the hangover. She opened her mouth to respond but threw up on his white shoes instead.
‘What the heck!!!’ He yelled, plain disgust lacing his features.
‘I’m sor-‘ Lisa began to stammer before another load of vomit spewed out of her mouth.
Irritated, the man hit her hard on the face as he turned around to go clean up.
‘We should have killed her when we had the chance’ He spat out to the first guy.
‘We still need her. But if she does not cooperate, we can kill her.’ The first guy responded.
Lisa trembled. Her face stung from the slap the surly man had given her.
‘You need to cooperate with us if you love your life.’ The first guy snorted. ‘My name is Sam and he is Paul’ the man continued, motioning to the door where the second guy exited from.
‘My name is Lisa.’ Her voice was a mere whisper.
An evil grin played across his face as he handed her some wipes to clean up the floor.
Lisa remained motionless, pondering what they meant by ‘we still need her’
What did they need her for?
Lisa strained to hear Sam and Paul as they whispered behind the door.
‘It’s going down tonight’ Paul said with gritted teeth.
‘The girl will drive the getaway van while we both go in to get our diamonds’ Sam responded with undisguised excitement.
Were they planning a diamond heist? Lisa pondered. She momentarily glanced around the small house which had only a small window and a single door which she could not get to without passing through the men. She had never stolen anything before and the mere thought of it sent her belly twirling.
As though reading her thoughts, Paul emerged with a silver gun in his hand.
‘Here, you would need this tonight.’ The cold steel dropped on her sweaty palm sending shivers down her spine. She had never held a gun before but had watched enough action movies to know how it was used.
Paul’s back was facing her as she lifted her trembling arms in an attempt to pull the trigger. Snap! The trigger snapped without discharging any bullet. With a sneer, Paul turned around to see her holding the gun aimed at him.
‘You think I’m stupid enough to give you a loaded gun?’ He snarled as his fist united with her cheekbone. Lisa fell with a loud sound.
‘She is trouble’ Paul said to his partner who had just appeared through the door at the sound of the blow.
‘It’s just for tonight and we will eliminate her’ Sam replied reassuringly.
Lisa could taste blood in her mouth from the hard blow she had been dealt. She shivered.
Darkness spread across the sky like a wet blanket. The once busy streets lay deserted as the Van pulled up beside the Jewelry store. Lisa got to the driver’s seat as ordered and her wrist was handcuffed to the steering wheel. She was to be on the lookout for the police and call them if trouble arose. The instructions were clear and curt.
The masked men ran into the store with their duffel bags. With one earth shattering blow, the glass on the front door gave way to the robbers who doggedly rushed in.
Sam and Paul quickly scanned the empty store in search for particular diamonds they had gotten information on. There they were, carefully sealed in a glass case under security protection. Paul impatiently shot at the glass case until it cracked open. They quickly packed the diamonds into their bags along with stacks of money.
Sam’s cell phone rang and he picked it up.
‘We’ve gotten it.’ He answered excitedly.
‘Meet me at the back door.’ The man on the other end replied.
‘Yes boss.’ Sam responded as they quickly packed up the bags.
‘Did you hear that crashing sound?’ A puzzled look played across the policeman’s face as he asked his partner.
‘Yes I did. Let’s check it out.’ He replied as they got into their car.
The sirens of the police car pierced through the stillness of the night skies as Lisa squirmed in her seat, waiting for the guys to come out. She called but no one answered. Using her free hand, she grabbed her gun and shot at the handcuff with the bullet blazing her skin. Dang! She felt the burn on her skin. She quickly started the car in an attempt to run away.
Soon the policemen pulled over and ran into the store which had shattered glass in front. A store personnel emerged pointing at the van driving out of the bushes.
‘There!’ He exclaimed. ‘Don’t let her get away’
In no time Lisa was stuck in a police chase.
‘I didn’t do anything.’ She muttered as the policemen got her out of the cuffs into another. They did not hesitate to press charges including the possession of a gun and cocaine which was found in the back of the van.
She couldn’t believe Sam and Paul had left her as the fall guy. It was clearly a set up. Her heart slumped as she watched from the barred room what had become of her life.
If ever there was a God, he obviously did not care. The darkness seeped through her soul like water through cracks in the pavement. The one whom she once loved went to sleep and in came the thief, stealing away everything-including her very soul. Cold. She coiled up like a ball on the bunk bed, embracing her fate.
Mfon Etuk, 2015