The hot afternoon couldn’t become worse than it already was, or so she thought. The road was filled with cars fighting a mechanical battle of the fittest. The gridlock stretched over five bus-stops with contestants trying every possible manoeuvre in order to reach their destination.
Her unborn baby kicked against the walls which protected it, triggering a gentle smile on the face of its host as she pushed her way through the overcrowding sidewalk of Agric Bus-stop. Vehicle drivers did what they did best; yell profanities at each other. The transport tax collectors fought with bus conductors who refused to pay the ever-increasing toll fee. Commuters who wanted to alight kept shouting ‘Owaa!!!’ over the heads of other passengers.
At the other side of the road, sporadic shots were fired, making everyone scampers for safety.
They came out of the bank. Unmasked, Five in number and armed to the teeth. They looked like the biological children of Hades.
A uniformed policeman unbuttoned his shirt, revealing a pot belly which jiggled as he ran for his life. Stray bullets flew in all directions, penetrating the protective skin of pedestrians of different ages.
Vehicles opposite the bank were ridden with bullets, injuring and killing some of its occupants. A convoy of armed policemen was attacked, leaving no survivors as the armed robbers trudged on along the unending Ikorodu road wreaking havoc in their wake.
The pregnant woman lay on the floor, unable to get on her feet. She sustained various injuries from the fall which also triggered a free flow of blood from her private part. She pleaded for assistance, but no one stopped to give her a hand.
He stationed himself in a gutter along the road. Listening patiently for a sign to bring him out of hiding. Patiently waiting for the shootings to subside. The money he collected so far from the conductors were nowhere to be found. Earlier, before he resumed work at the bus stop, he had been in a big fight with his wife over their son’s school fees. Now, all he could do was think about them.
He heard a distress call not far from where he hid. It was the voice of a woman. Weeping, weak and in pain. She continued pleading for assistance to no avail.
He thought of his son. He thought of his wife. Should he risk his life to help a damsel in distress? Should he remain in the gutter in order to be reunited with his family again? If the lady died there, would he be able to live with the fact that he could have saved her but didn’t? What if it was his wife pleading for help?
A hand rested on her shoulder. She looked up and saw a scary looking man with burns on his cheek, he smelled like – gutter. Was she hallucinating? Maggots stuck to his gutter-soaked shirt. She heard him speak. Swiftly putting her left arm around his neck, holding her firmly by the waist and helping her up. She heard him utter reassuring calm words to her
. He looked scary, but she felt safe. Safe in the arms of the ‘gutter man’. Safe in the arms of the scary monster.
The last face she saw as she fainted, was the face of the scary looking man. The face of her saviour. The face of the gutter-man.