I once lived with my uncle on Aralamo street. Residents on Aralamo street were friendly, peaceful and very accommodating. They were always ready to offer assistance to whoever needed such. All the houses on Aralamo street were not fenced and were bungalows except for two that were storey buildings; but there was never a case of petty theft nor robbery. Almost all the houses on Aralomo street had shops attached to it or detached but located directly in front of them. On weekends, young boys and girls would come to play together. The newer storey building on Aralamo street had four flats in it. The flats were occupied by four different families; three of which were married but yet to have children. Some of them didn’t have their spouses living with them.
My uncle was a popular resident on Aralamo street. His residence shared a side of its fence with the newer building. He was loved by everyone. He shared whatever he had with whoever walked in to time. He never discriminated. He was respected by all. Just like every other house on Aralamo street, our bungalow was not fenced. We had two large fish ponds at the back of the house where we reared fishes. Our house was home to all. Apart from my uncle’s biological children, lots of nieces, nephews and other relatives lived in the house. My aunt in-law was a mother indeed. Kind and charitable. She loved all of us equally. She was a great cook. Living with us was my older cousin, Gilbert. He had just secured a good job in town as Operations Manager to a bank, hence his living with us. Also in the house were some other people young and old.
One night, we all watched the Second Chance series till 11:45pm. Everyone retired to his or her room except for Moye and Paddy. Moye was a student of the polytechnic. He had some schoolwork to finish on his Laptop Computer while Paddy preferred to sleep in the living room. I shared my room with my youngest cousin, Hope. She was a careless sleeper and always found it difficult to get out of sleep even when she’s awake. My aunt in-law had long retired to her room because she was a bit indisposed.
I woke up around 3am with a rumble in my belly. I had eaten too much and I needed to express the lump. Shortly after I returned to bed, I heard some people talking. I raised my head to check through the window. I was able to see all that was happening because the curtains in my room were up and the moon was bright enough for a clear view. They were thieves. They came to rob the residents in the newer storey building. I saw four of the robbers on the corridor of the flats on the top floor although about three to five others were downstairs with the other residents. The ones I saw were dressed in black with white tennis shoes. They had torches with them and short guns. They pulled out the man in flat one through the window. Two of the robbers matched him down. The other two went for the couple in flat two. The man and the woman had towels on to cover their nudity.
“Please, don’t hurt her!” The man pleaded.
“Why do you care?” One of the robbers shouted.
“I am sorry sir.” They man responded in fear.
“Nor be runs she come follow you do?”
“And she set o! Chai, see arrangement!” The other robber commented.
“Come on, move!”
The man struggled to hold his towel in place as he walked hastily in fear. The lady kept holding the towel tightly around her. The towel was short enough to reveal parts of her butts and bust. She cried as she walked down the stairs. As soon as they disappeared from my view, I sneaked out of bed. I tried to wake Hope but as usual, she was gone deep in sleep. I tiptoed to my Uncle’s room. We collided.
“Why are you sneaking around?”
“Uncle, robbers are in the other compound!” I said whispering.
I nodded a yes. He was confused. We could hear the residents pleading for mercy. The robbers were shouting and hitting the residents, especially the man who had the towel on. I rushed to the living room where paddy and Moye were. They were asleep. I woke them up to let them into the situation. Moye quickly picked his laptop and held it tight to his chest. Paddy stood up and ran to the kitchen. By then, my uncle was in the living room. He charged after him. As soon as paddy got to the kitchen, he switched on the lamp which earned him a hard slap from my uncle. He immediately switched off the lights. They both walked quietly back to the living room. We agreed not to wake my aunt in-law but went to Gilbert’s room. I whispered in his ears. His curtains too were up. We could see the activities in the storey building through his window because the window was facing the side of the fence that had rails which allowed for such view. He sneaked in fear out of bed and went straight for his side bag. He brought out a long key. He tiptoed to his toilet and came out without the key. We could see each other because the illumination from the moon was bright enough. He wore just his boxer shorts. We went together to the living room. We all sat quietly waiting for what next. My uncle dialled a number on his mobile phone. He reported the situation to whoever was at the other end of the call whom we later realised was the head of the neighbourhood security. My aunt in-law walked in to where we were. I walked quietly towards her.
“Why are you all gathered in the living room?” She asked.
“Robbers are in the next building” I said quietly.
We heard a gunshot. We all went mute. The silence was like that in the graveyard. My aunt in-law rushed to the toilet. I followed. She went to urinate in fear. As she stood up from the toilet seat, another gunshot was heard. This time, the sound came from more than one gun. She sat back on the toilet seat and started urinating uncontrollably. I quickly went flat on the floor and crawled to the living room. Everyone was on the floor too. The fishes in the pond gave a loud thud. I heard Paddy sulk. Gilbert was already crying in fear and praying.
“God, please let them not come here. Please God.” He prayed.
We heard conversations and exchange of gunshots that lasted for about thirty minutes. A stray bullet hit our door. Thank goodness it was a strong metal door; it would have found its way into the house. By the time the situation calmed, it was daybreak.
Residents came out to see the extent of damage. The affected residents were happy to have been saved by the prompt response of the neighbourhood security and the police. The head of the neighbourhood security thanked my uncle specially for doing the call in time. He confirmed that five of the robbers were arrested; one dead and two others escaped.
Back in the house, Gilbert said the first thing that came to his head was the key he went to hide. He claimed the key was one of the keys to the bank’s strong room. Moye said the only valuable, apart from his life, was his laptop which he held close to his chest. I remembered hope. I found her crouched in a corner crying quietly. I went to her.
“Why didn’t you wake me?”
“I tried baby but you were deep in sleep.”
“I woke up when I heard gunshots but I was too scared to come out. So, I crouched here.”
I held her close and tried to pacify her. I could hear my aunt in-law making jest of herself.
It was a long night.
KEYS: Runs – Prostitution Ole – Thief