Night Runs – chapter 4 – Blood

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Chapter 4

Blood

Adio was oblivious to the blaring sirens and flashing lights of the two ambulances that sped past him in the opposite direction. He was focused on reaching the pick-up point for his next rider promptly. His schedule had been slightly delayed by a stop at the vulcanizer’s to inflate two of his tubeless tires.

He suspected that his tires had picked up a nail or screw after passing a construction site with houses in various stages of completion, where he had dropped off his last rider. For once, he was thankful for the company, even if it was a chatty one.

Upon reaching the pick-up location, he discovered it was a high-rise building with multiple apartments and a vast parking lot. He found a vacant spot and waited for his rider.

Sitting alone, Adio admired the architectural marvel that allowed such concrete giants to stand for decades.

“Impressive, isn’t it?” Don remarked.

A sudden knock on the rear car door jolted Adio from his reverie, and he quickly unlocked the door to let the rider in.

However, this rider was not alone; he had a companion, a young man in his mid-twenties with eyes swollen over and bloody spit drooling from his slack jaws.

“He’s a bloody mess, Adio. He can’t be seeing a thing out of that left eye and he won’t for a while yet.” Don cried.

Adio’s eyes widened in utter shock as he looked at the two youngsters that dragged themselves into his backseat. The same backseat he had thoroughly vacuumed after the last incident with the dreadlocked and fake accent drunk that left his car stinking for days.

“No way!” He protested.

The other passenger didn’t only have a slack jaw, but his nose was so badly smashed in that he’d be lucky to remember his own name. He had his arms wrapped around his guts like he was holding them in and to be honest he was so badly beat he could as well be.

“Oh my God! What is this? Who are you?” He shouted more out of fear than confidence.

His passenger’s response was the feel of the cold barrel of a locally made pistol stuffed up his nostrils. It was close enough to sniff the residue of gunpowder.

“They must be armed robbers.” In one shattered moment Adio’s heart and breathing stopped all at once.

“They must have fired bullets from this gun, Adio.”

He suddenly felt a warm wetness around his crotch that spread rapidly around his seat until he was sure he had lost continence shamelessly.

“Drive!” The first word from his rider was an order and he wasn’t missing words “Now!”

Adio fumbled with his car keys just as the back door shut with a thud. He sensed that the pistol was still aimed at his head even though he didn’t look back and he froze as the car revved to life.

“Hand over your phone now!” was the next order. He did without a word.

“Where, where…”he stammered.

“Just drive, bastard!”

His nose twitched as the stench of his own urine mixed with the distinctive metallic scent of blood started to fill his car.

“What are you going to do now?” Don’s voice was now calmer.

Adio looked into the rear mirror without turning his head. His eyeballs hurt as they darted between the mirror and the windscreen. The badly injured passenger groaned loudly as he thrashed his legs wildly within the cramped space.

The one with the gun kept staring at the back window as though expecting another vehicle in pursuit, while his partner thrashed about beside him in a bloodied mess, nose smashed, and eyes almost shut with swelling. Even if he made it, those scars will be there forever. But he didn’t look like he would make it down to the hospital.

Adio’s compassionate instinct kicked in. If only he could find a hospital to take the injured passenger to.

“I know a hospital down this road where we can take your friend to.”

Turning slowly from his view of the back window, his aggressor spoke. “Did I ask for your opinion? Drive towards Ajah.”

“That dude won’t make it bro. If we head to Ajah.”

“That is none of your business. Drive or I will have this gun firing bullets into your skull.” The cold steel nudged his head painfully as a reminder of the threat he wielded.

“Even if you made it to the hospital before this dude passes out, the nurses would not touch him with a long pole until they get a police report. There is no chance in God’s green earth that you’d find a government run or private hospital to take him in. It’s just the stark reality.”

“What do I do now?” Adio contemplated.

“Take this turn here.” The gun nudged into his skull again. “We must avoid the police checkpoint ahead. If we run into a police checkpoint, I will shoot you first before I kill those bastards.”

Adio’s heartbeat was going riotous, his hands were starting to shake. He could no longer focus on the road after the threat. If the gun went off his head, he imagined his brain matter would be splattered all over his clean upholstery.

He shut his eyes briefly, as though to wish the thought away.

But death was lurking, as he soon realized after he heard a whimper at the back.

This time when he looked into the rear mirror, the injured passenger had transitioned from human to corpse. The soul-spark and skin color that made it once alive had disappeared. It was a moving experience and Adio thought he had just witnessed the soul leaving the human body.

Now he was carrying a corpse in his car. This angered and emboldened him.

When they drove through a long stretch of deserted road, the rider ordered him to park beside the bush.

“Come down and open this door.”

Adio quickly analyzed several scenarios in his head.

“What if I get out of the car and run off in a zigzag manner till I escape?”

Don replied “Your car registration carries your details and the police would trace you. There is no way they would believe you didn’t kill the young man.”

“What if I scream at the top of my voice so that someone may hear and come to help put an end to this bad dream.”

“The dude would fire his gun straight at you till you can’t open your mouth anymore.”

“What if….”

“I say open this door bastard!”

Adio obliged as they both heaved the corpse out of the car – Adio pulled by the legs while the passenger hoisted from the shoulder.

Just about the time they reached the part of the bush where he was ordered to drop the corpse, Adio suddenly lunged at the passenger, knocking the gun out of his clenched fist, before wrestling him to the ground. It was a moment of desperation. He was fighting for his life and livelihood.

It was enough time to scramble into his car and rev off without shutting his driver’s door. He looked into his rearview mirror all the time hoping to get as far away as possible before he emerged from the bush.

When he did, he was only a tiny speck in his rearview mirror.

Don was silence or non-existent all this while.

Adio didn’t stop driving until he was far away from the scene, the rogue, the road and the corpse.

When he felt safe on a street with the streetlights turned on, he parked to catch his breath.

He wondered how much mess his backseat would be in. When he turned to look, the mess didn’t appeal first, it was the flashing light of his mobile phone that had been seized earlier at gun point that gladdened his heart.

He was grateful for this, until he discerned another locally made pistol gleaming in the dark on his floor mat.

“Damn! What a life!”

Follow Adio’s story in the next chapter here.

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