by Sima Essien
The first bullet hit Sima in the thigh, right above her kneecap. She screamed.
Ada screamed too. Another gunshot, thunder-loud, followed.
The second bullet went clean through Sima’s head, killing her.
Ada ran back into the master bedroom. It was where her father always kept his gun in a box.
A man’s voice was calling her father’s name. “Allison! Come out na! Bastard!”
This story started properly sixteen years ago…
Then, Ada was just a baby. That night, Allison came back home, exhausted. It had been a long day. One of the junior officers in the Naval School had been caught raping a minor. Allison personally beat the bastard to a pulp, before ordering his arrest.
Allison feared for his tiny baby of a daughter. The monsters out there were raping and killing children. He swore he would teach his daughter how to protect herself. For her own good. They lived in the Navy barracks then. Allison was a lieutenant. On his off-duty days, when Ada had grown up enough, he would teach her how to fire a gun, how to fight.
His wife disapproved. “You’re making her a dangerous person, Allison,” she would say.
It happened last week, after Ada turned 16. A boy in school touched her body like it belonged to him. Ada almost killed him. It was messy. Allison apologised to the boy’s parents and paid the hospital bills.
Father and daughter were silent all the way to their new house. They had long since moved from the barracks after Allison retired from the Navy.
Allison almost hit his own daughter. “What were you thinking, enh? Are you mad? You almost killed that boy!”
“It’s not her fault she’s like this,” the mother said.
Ada was turning into something else, Allison realised. People said Adaugo Allison was wild. Only one person positively adored Ada. That was Sima, her closest neighbour.
After Ada’s expulsion, Sima knew her friend would be devastated. She came by that evening to keep Ada company. They laughed, ate, gisted. They watched TV. Ada’s parents had gone out, and wouldn’t be back until late at night. So, when they heard the rude banging on the gate, Ada frowned. No way could that be her parents. She hadn’t even heard their car.
“I’ll check,” Sima said.
Her last words.
Ada paused the television and stood up to get water. Then, she heard the first gunshot, and Sima screamed. And then the second shot sounded, silencing her.
The man who had murdered Sima was now in the parlour, his voice, deep and steely, calling out her father. Ada ran inside her father’s bedroom, reached under the bed and found the box. Blood simmered beneath her eyes. Her heart pounded a frantic rhythm: fear, fear, fear.
The box was empty. The gun, her father’s heavy Sig Sauer, wasn’t there.
The bedroom door exploded wide open from the force of a kick. Something fell to the ground with a metallic clatter. Ada was crouched beside the bed, but she could still see the man’s face, even through her tears.
He was tall, rugged. A wild beard framed his ugly face.
“Please,” she begged.
“Wey Allison?” the man asked. His gun was pointed right at her. “Wey dat bastard dey?”
“Please, I don’t know. He went out. Please, don’t kill me.”
The man laughed.
Your papa tell me say I go die for prison. I dey there thirteen years. Thirteen! On to say I f**k one small girl.”
He laughed again. Ada shivered.
“Wetin be your name?”
“Adaugo,” she said. A dog was barking outside.
“You know wetin dem do me for prison, Ada? Enh?”
She shook her head, warm tears trickled down her cheek. “Please, please-“
“E get two men wey bin dey f**k me every night, until the day wey I chook one of them broken bottle. I don dey tell myself say, any day wey I comot prison, if I no finish Allison make I know why.”
The gun he held was a locally made one. It would fire shrapnel, Ada knew. She would bleed to a painful death. Nothing her father had taught her mattered now.
“Oya, knee down. I say make you knee down!” He barked.
Ada lowered herself. The floor was cold, too cold. “Sir, please…”
“Make I shoot you now, abi make I f**k you finish?”
Ada felt the barrel of the gun on her forehead, pressing into her skull with a sharp finality.
She closed her eyes.
Please, she cried. Please.
The man pulled the trigger.