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Added: Aug 08, 2017
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Must Read: The Brand Of X - Season 1 - Episode 1
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The invisible and tiny bugs sU-Cked the men dry. More especially, the floor irritated their skins. They were restless.

For Benedict, he wanted to believe it was a dream as he tried to adjust his shirt and boxer, but the pain under his left leg reminded him he was in the last place he wished for. ' It was supposed to be the last hit 'he kept on reminding himself since the night he got confined to a police cell. ' Benny see what you caused'

The keys to the cell door gave a metalic cry as the IPO stood gloriously in his shirt and jeans . Ben wondered if he was here to remind them of the court threat or make his usual comments' when are your people coming? Its another day yet nobody is here to make bail'

Ben folded himself into the corner where he had been for five days. An act done to accommodate other seven inmates. He wondered if some of them enjoyed the dungeon with two hefty guys sleeping on the thirty year -old German floor. He knew this place of peril used to be an estate for government workers. ' It was probably the store room' according to biggy_ a fellow inmate_ the building now mutated into a place for soul and body torture.

Nothing felt or smelt right. Ben could tell the disgust on IPO Matthews face as the man squinted his nose.

Ben had lost any sense of smell. He was practically stinking more than a dead pig unlike when he was fresh meat for the inmates, five days ago when he arrived with John.

' John ' the officer called out .

' Yes sir' john said and sprang up with hope.

Ben knew that John was elated to be called in such situations.

Probably his father whom he failed to reach because of fear, had somehow got the news from john's friend. A younger boy who brought him food twice in the last three days. Now he was being bailed . Ben thought as he scratched his shirt , tugging a bug that drained him.

' Benedict ' the chain-smoking officer said.

He limped up and came closer to the light. His skin appreciated the sun for the first time in twenty two years. He had enjoyed free gift of nature and took it for granted but after five days and four nights, sunlight became priceless.

' Your elder brother and uncle have abandoned you. What is happening ? The officer said.

It was a salah holiday morning. The police worked 24/7.

' I don't know ,Sir'

' How is your leg?

' Getting better '

' Good' the officer shook his head.

' Where is your house? The both of you stay together? He continued as he stared into John's face then back to Ben's.

' No sir! John opted as he stroke his dirty bare chest.

His only piece of clothing was the rubbish around his waist which had been ruined by the inmates. Ben had pity for him, but it didn't matter now. They had designed him but forced Ben to wash the toilet.

' Okay .' The Ipo said ' come out. Both of you . We are going to your houses'

' Move ' he ordered.

Ben felt pain shot up into his brain. They were going to disgrace him in his apartment. All his friends would know where he had been for the past few days; Benedicta would be so ashamed of him as her boyfriend; she wouldn't care if he did it to insure her birthday. These were the least of his troubles. They would uncover evidence to infringe him the more.

Ben wished so dearly that Ekhian _ his elder brother, would leave Owerri and come straight to Benin city. He wanted him here, not his uncle who had arrived the first day and ever since returned just once with food instead of bail .

' I for bail you today ' his words flashed through Ben's mind .

He had been so serious that day that Ben thought he would be free after hours.

' But the IPO in charge of your case is not around. And... Even the money sef no be here, Things hard as you know it...'

The only thing Ben knew was that he was already a convict if he survived till the next day. That is if the Badoo gang he owed money doesn't get to him first.
Worse still, his doctor had told him he had a chronic diabetes type 2, an incurable HSV std. The options were open.

As they moved down the corridor, Biggy's voice came . He talked to another cell mate.

' Chai. This boy wey no do anything. He go still suffer.. Naija eh... Oya see now, they wann go search for exhibit and een uncle never.....'

Biggy's voice faded into the background and back into the inferno.

When they arrived the counter. Inspector Mathew ordered them to wear their clothes.
Ben turned his polo inside out. He put on his trousers and wore his leather sandals. He was watchful of the bandage round his left foot. Just at the middle of the foot.

After their ' cell movement papers' had been cleared by a female constable , they went outside and then to the back of the main building.

Every police officer in the precint, except the D.p.o who had never met Ben , had pity on him. They gave him preferential treatment, after he sustained the wound.
His uncle hadn't noticed the wound. Probably he did, Ben could not tell but the pastor was never his favourite. It was even a matter of urgency that made their paths cross again.

' Sit down here' the officer ordered John and Ben when they entered his office.

His aid , Mr John Aremu was writing some protocols on paper. He had been the one taking care the duo. But it was rather unfortunate that Ben got injured under his watch.

What a marred achievement , Ben had wondered. Mr John had been so kind that he had even been the one who allowed him wear his shirt during the cold nights while his cell mates were exposed to mosquitoes, chills and bugs.

They were not allowed to use bread packets to lay their heads. It had been terrible and somehow , Ben was happy to breathe in fresh air.

He knew John was too. It was obvious until Mr Matthew cut them short of temporal joy.

' Aremu' he called out to seargent John' please be fast with their paper works. Tomorrow we are taking them to court and from there , white house'

' But for now, the head of field ops will accompany me to search their houses.' He turned to Ben whose heart was already skipping ' When did you say your uncle will come again? What work does your brother do? I don't know what to do for you again. I have tried my best'

' Sir let me call him'

' With whose phone' Matthew asked him.

Ben told him he would like to use his phone.

' My airtime ? Matthew asked.

' Yes'

' You told me before, that you forgot a digit'

' I remember it now'

'Call the number' Matthew said when started to dial.

He hadn't been the one talking to Ben's brother so he had not stored Ekhian's number.

After some minutes on the phone with Ekhian, the officer dropped the mobile on his table and picked up a pen. He pocketed it and his face lit up.

Ben wondered if he could ask the content of their call before Matthew walked out without a word.

What's going on? Ben thought.

He turned to Mr Aremu. ' Sir please did you speak with my brother yesterday?

Aremu dropped his pen ' your uncle came yesterday.'

Ben didn't know that. He was shocked that the devil had visited without even dropping by to say hello.

' But he left after some minutes of talking to the IPO. Mr Matthew'

' Can I talk to my brother . Please'

' Sir , me too' John begged.

' You , that your brother's number is a dead end' Aremu hissed ' Are you sure your name is John?

' Yes sir . John Okadigbo'

' You are not serious' Mr Aremu continued as he gave Ben the mobile ' Take , its ringing'

'Hello. Big bro'

Ben hesitated after some seconds before telling Ekhian what was at stake.

After some anxiety and unrest in Ekhian's voice, Ben knew what he had discussed with the IPO.

' But he is not here '

' Okay. Thank you' Ben said as he breathed in air of relief.

The fear he had was diluted. He feared death, but rotting in jail was heart drenching and scary.

The mere thought of being confined to a place of solitude for months , tamed the demons in him. He could bear anything but not that. It would drive him mad. He had already lost most of his senses in the cell, he was empty inside him. It was both as a result of malnutrition and mental anxiety.

' What did he say? Mr Aremu asked when he collected his phone.

' Sir please can I call my father?' John interrupted.

Ben kept silent as he listened to their conversation.

'Look My friend , don't disturb me'

' Please sir'

' You don't know where this will take you to' Aremu intercepted ' by the time you get to white house prison yard, you will realise'

Mr Aremu continued to scribble on his paper. He brought out his phone and gave it to John.

' No sir. Please talk to him. I can't stand his... Please talk to him. Let me call the number for you'

Why ? Mr Aremu asked
He has done terrible things in the past. That's why. Ben said in his mind. John had disclosed it to him in the cell.

Ben had kept the innocent face. It was his first time stealing as he had told John . He had stood his ground and since everyone believed him, nothing else mattered to him.

'Sir.. Please just ...'
John still pleaded without the right words.

The frantic mood progressed as Pastor Osas walked into the office.

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