11th August, 2010
Dave didn’t know when he had been more confused. He had tried to fathom how a corpse ended up in his office but each time, he had come up blank. The boxes were another mystery. He was gone for barely three hours and everything had gone haywire!
“What is going on?” He thought.
He rubbed his hand over his jaw and he was reminded that he had not shaved in three days. He stared at his surroundings one more time. He was in a police cell with three others – two young men and a middle aged man. They were all stripped to their shorts. Dave had never experienced anything so degrading.
The middle aged man slept most of the time. From what Dave had gathered, the man had been drinking and driving. He had hit another vehicle in his drunken state two weeks ago and the lady who was driving, died instantly. He had been in the cell for over two months. One of the young men had been arrested for stealing. The other maintained his innocence. He said he had been accused of rape. This one fascinated Dave. He was so quiet and assured that he would be released soon. Also, he had a Bible that he read almost all the time.
“Good for him”, Dave thought. “At least, he has something to believe in.”
Dave unconsciously rubbed his jaw again. “What am I going to do?” he pondered. “Where is Damian? He should have come to effect my bail by now.”
The most annoying thing was that since the day he was arrested, the police had not given him any further information or called him to tell his side of the story. He had heard stories of the ills of the Nigerian justice system but he had no idea that he would one day be a victim. He had done nothing wrong for crying out loud! His mind travelled back to five years ago. “I have done nothing wrong”, he repeated in his mind. “Or have I?” He asked himself.
“Dave Daniels”, a police officer called out as he walked down the cells.
“Yes.. Yes?” Dave answered and jumped to his feet. The man came up to the cell and looked him over.
“Fine boy… Ajebo…” he smiled wickedly. “We go see how this your fine face go fit save you.” He hissed.
Dave swallowed. “But I’ve done nothing wrong”, he said in his mind. If only the words would come out of his mouth…
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Dave recoiled as he was led into a dark room with only one source of light – a dim torchlight that was turned upwards on the table. The dim light showed the rugged scowling face of a police officer who sat at the other edge of the table smoking a cigarette. Dave swallowed. This was the room he had heard so much about. This was Replacement 101. The place where there was no telling whether it was day or night.
The room had been so named because, according to his cellmates, even if someone survives the treatment meted out in that room, the person would require replacement of some body parts.
“This is Replacement 101”, Dave thought as he looked at his limbs. Although he had emaciated a bit, his limbs still looked fine and strong.
“This is where the sounds usually come from. The loud screams and deep groanings. This is the place”. Dave’s insides churned as he looked again at the face of the officer. The man frowned at him and put out his cigarette by pressing the end to the coarse wooden table. His eyes never left Dave’s face. Dave swallowed again and did something he had not done in a long time. Dave prayed.
“God, help me”.
11th August, 2010
As soon as the words left his mouth, Dave jolted.
“What made me say that? But…but, there’s no God”, he reasoned, as though trying to convince himself.
“Well, what if there is?” Dave looked up suddenly to find the police officer staring at him oddly. It was obvious the police officer had not spoken. “So, who just spoke?”
“Who is that?” Dave hazarded in his thoughts.
“Who are you?” The Voice replied.
“I must be going mad”, Dave thought.
“Maybe you are”, the Voice answered.
Dave couldn’t bear it anymore. He held his head tightly with his hands. “The lack of good food and adequate sleep must be wearing me out. I’m delirious!”
“David”, the Voice called.
“Oh…I’m going mad!” Dave screamed as his knees buckled beneath him and he crumbled to the floor.
“David”, Dave heard the Voice call him softly. He opened his eyes and looked around. He was in his condo. Small. All white. Just the way he had always liked it. Clean and Immaculate. He abhorred dirt so he paid his housekeeper extra to clean up the entire apartment every week.
Dave sat up. He was on the couch where he usually slept off most of the time.
“How did I get out of the police station?” He wondered as he looked round his apartment again. Everything was quiet. Too quiet. He remembered he always played soft music. Always. Even when he was not at home. He loved walking into a clean home with soft music playing at the background. Now, there was no music. Only a sort of eerie silence.
“Who’s that?” Dave jumped and picked up the TV remote unconsciously. He looked at his hand and realized his mistake. “What will I use the remote to do? Hit someone?” He hissed quietly and dropped the remote on the couch.
“Who’s there?” Dave tried again, raising his voice a notch.
“David”, he heard from behind him. Dave turned 360 degress and came face to face with…a man. Dave stood transfixed. The man looked to be in his fifties and looked very familiar, but for the life of him, Dave could not remember where or when they might have met! The man smiled and called again, “David”.
“Who are you?” Dave asked in a whisper.
“Ebenezer”, the man replied softly.
Dave swallowed. “What are you doing in my apartment?”
“I came to aid you David”.
“Stop calling me that! I’m Dave, not David! How do you even know my name?” Dave shouted.
“I’ve known you for as long as I remember. Of course, I know your name”, the man laughed as he walked to the couch and sat down.
“Come sit David”, he tapped the empty end of the couch and picked up the remote. “Let’s watch a movie, shall we?”
“Stop calling me!” Dave shouted. He had no idea who this Ebenezer was. He had no idea how he gained entrance into his apartment. But, he was not frolicking with a stranger who might very well be a serial killer!
“You”, Dave pointed at him in anger and then gestured towards the door, “Get out!”
“David”, the man called softly but sternly.
“I said STOP CALLING ME!” Dave shouted at the top of his voice.
“Why? You called me first”.
“What?” Dave blurted out, surprised.
“You called me to help you so, here I am”, the man retorted as he started sorting through TV channels with the remote.
“I don’t understand…” Dave began but stopped short as he saw himself on TV. It looked like a movie but Dave knew it wasn’t. It was very real. It had happened to him!
Dave saw himself in a dark room with a dim torchlight. The police officer’s rugged scowl and cigarette told him he was in Replacement 101. The man frowned at him and put out his cigarette by pressing the end to the coarse wooden table. Dave swallowed and did something he had not done in a long time. He prayed. “God, help me”.
The man’s words struck Dave like a thunderbolt! “You called me to help you so, here I am”. Dave moved his eyes from the TV to the man sitted on the couch smiling at him broadly. Dave swallowed.
“Who did you say you are again?” He asked slowly.
Dave recalled his Sunday school knowledge in children church. “Ebenezer. Helper”.
He had to be sure. “Ebenezer who?” He asked softly.
The man smiled at Dave again and crossed his legs. “Jehovah Ebenezer”.
To be continued next week. Thanks for reading. You rock!🥰