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by - April 16, 2019

what happened on 3rd by chika onubogu

Mbene moved silently through the room hoping not to wake her mother. Before bed, she slipped a dose of Nyquil into her tea hoping it kept her asleep. Taje had suggested they used something stronger but she refuse to administer anything that might be harmful. She wasn’t the target.
Despite the darkness that swept across the room, light wasn’t necessary to find what they needed. Both of them had been in the room countless times, Mbene was chosen through a game of eenie menie.
Crouching, she made her way under the bed where the shoe box that contained their late father’s Smith and Wesson was hidden. The steel pistol felt just as cold as the body that dropped at her feet an hour from then.  
Before she left, Mbene leaned over her mother’s chest to check for any irregularities in her breathing. As important as this operation was her mother’s wellbeing was still a priority, although she doubted her sister shared the same enthusiasm.
Now armed, she slipped out of the house. Taje was already at the gate, she placed a towel in between the gate and the floor creating enough space for her and her sister to slip away without making any sounds.
Their street was fairly lit, lights from the bars on the next street seeped into theirs, making it possible to see without additional light source.  At the end of the road, Taje took the gun from her sister and buried it in the pocket of her black hoody, the agreed dress code.
She checked to see if the gun was loaded before they continued on to the next street, no one had touched the gun since their father passed. He always made sure it had at least two rounds in it. This night it had just one, which was why she couldn’t miss. Just in case, they brought a knife. The thought of stabbing someone nauseated Mbene so she hoped for a clean head shot.
Third Street was silent when they arrived, the winds were stiff and only sounds of faint barking from stray dogs a few blocks away were heard. 
She thought of heading back home where it was warm and safe but she feared her sister’s reaction, the accident changed her.  Every bit of love in her died the evening of the case which divided their family ended. Their mother was on the fence the entire time, giving her loyalty to no one, she thought it best.
Taje told her what she was planning a week after the verdict. According to her it was either them or her, and since her sister was never the type to mince words, she knew not to doubt her. Another reason she agreed to be part of the grand scheme was to protect their mother because despite the single target, her sister always referred to ‘they’.
Getting into the house on third was perhaps the easiest part of their plan. They had been there a few days ago for a family reconciliation, and while the rest of the family was preoccupied with the peace meeting, Mbene slipped one bunch of their house keys into her purse.
The gate had a square hole big enough for someone outside to unlock the padlock. As the gate opened, the light in one the rooms upstairs came on.
Quickly the sisters moved silently to the back of the house, leaving the gate ajar. The front door opened, and from the corner where they stood, the sisters saw their uncle who looked barely awake walk to the gate. He was about to close the gate when Taje broke away from her sister’s warning grip and fired. Without a second thought, they ran.
Panting heavily, they rushed into their home. The sounds of dogs barking rang across their street, soon after they heard banging on their gate. In a jiffy they slipped off their hoodies, revealing the matching powder pink pajamas they wore underneath.
Leaving her sister who wouldn’t stop shaking, Mbene walked into the hallway as though she had just woken up, just in time to meet their mother fiddling with the house keys,
“Your uncle has been shot,” she said with a voice filled with fear.
“Someone has to be home, your cousins are coming here later.”
Afraid her sisters shaking might be suspicious she volunteered to go while Taje stayed back.
He died.
It didn’t matter to them that their uncle was buried as a martyr.  It was only natural since the police investigation ruled his death as a robbery gone wrong.  That morning, they both sniffed a large piece of onion to help garner tears. In her eulogy, their mother wrote her brother died fighting for his family.
Through the ceremony and the days that followed, Mbene watched her sister, hoping their justice was enough. That was her condition, a life for hers. There was no way she was going to let her sister take her life to spare that of the man who raped her.

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