Panting, I turn the corner and fling open the door to the house. There’s nothing much, just a jumble of clothes scattered all over the ground. The exact same way I left things. I practically tear off the shirt in my haste to get rid of the evidence. Squeeze and drop on the ground. I pick one of the shirts in the ground and pull it on.
I can hear the faint sounds of pursuit, quickly growing in volume as the mob from the bar incident approach my place. I take a deep breath and walk outside.
My plan? I’ll simply find somewhere to hide and then join up with the mob. Together we’ll yell and scream and finding no one, eventually disperse.
Hopefully, no one would remember my face- the lighting in the bar was dim.
On the way out, I bump into Oluwadamilola, and I keep going.
On my way to a friend’s, I remembered I promised to give her a carved wooden bracelet, which happened to be at home at the time. So I had to turn back for it.
On my way in, I bump into my brother Akin. His eyes are wide with fear, his breaths quick and shallow. Without explanation, I know he’s in trouble. He won’t meet my eyes and mumbles something about being late. I can hear a crowd coming close, it sounds rowdy.
It sounds like they’re hunting someone.
Now alone in the small one bedroom apartment that I share with the only family I have left, I can see the blood soaked shirt on the ground, proclaiming to all and sundry the truth of my brothers current situation.
I can hear the crowd now. Sounds like they’re in the street. Soon they’ll start bursting into rooms and searching. Surely someone must have seen my brother.
He’s most likely doomed. Unless someone does something. I move close and pick the shirt. I’m just buttoning the last button when someone forces his way into the room.
It’s been six years now.
Oluwadamilola, my brother, took my crime on himself.he was beaten to an inch of his life by the mob. He said nothing in his defence.
They handed him over to the police. Driven by guilt, I ran from pillar to post, trying to find a way to get him out of prison. I failed.
He was charged to court. He admitted to the murder, and got sentenced to death. I couldn’t take it and I shouted out that I was the guilty party. I did it. I was the man they wanted, I killed the victim.
The judge dismissed it as a nervous breakdown and I was bundled out of court.
With tears in my eyes I watched my brother die in my stead.
My life has changed. A lot.
I have a job now, a well paying job. I try to make my life have a meaning. I speak to juvenile delinquents warning them of the error of their ways. I volunteer for all the community service initiatives I can find. I’m now a respectable person, a ‘pillar of the community’.
To some people, I have it all. Money, respect, status in society.
It doesn’t matter. I would give it all up, my life even, just to have my brother back.