It’s a still night. No stars line the sky. No dogs bark at wandering passers-by. No cold wind blows away the cap of the snoring guard stationed inside the Adewale house.
Two pairs of footsteps tread quietly towards the main entrance, one faster than the other.
“Jummy, be fast,” Rike whispers to the figure behind her. Jumoke pulls at her t-shirt neck, heart racing beneath her chest. The air is chill, but sweat beads gather on top of her smooth ebony forehead.
“Shut up!” she barks.
From behind them, the guard turns to the other side of his plastic chair, muttering incomprehensible words.
The girls stop, chests rising, gloved hands shaking ever so slightly.
With shut eyes, he wipes away the drops of beer on his upper lip and settles back to sleep.
Rike picks up her pace and so does Jummy. Finally arriving at the house, Jummy pulls out a keychain from her jeans pocket.
“Rike, are you sure?” she whispers.
Rike snatches the keys from Jumoke’s sweaty palm and unlocks the front door.
“10 minutes,” Jumoke calls out, pulling out her phone.
“I’ll be fast. Just wait,” Rike’s deep voice rings out from upstairs.
Wiping away the sweat on her forehead, Jumoke takes in the massive living room. It’s been 8 long years since they ran away. Even in the darkness, she can still make out every family photo hanging on the wall.
The Adewales playing in the house backyard: mum, dad, her, and Rike. Smiling. Laughing. Happy. For the last time.
She turns away before she can make out the next picture. Any picture without mum is practically empty.
“I found it!” Rike whispers from the top of the stairs. Her bare fingers hold onto the strap of an over-stuffed Ghana-must-go bag with money notes sticking out.
“Oya, let’s go before daddy comes back.”
A beam of light streams in from the door crack, barely missing Rike. Their eyes widen to the size of saucepans.
“Did you forget to close the door?” Rike shout-whispers, running back up the stairs and hiding behind a wall.
Jumoke dashes for the back of the couch, pressing her body as close as possible to the carpet.
The door is pulled open and the guard walks in, flicking his flashlight all around the house.
“Anyone dey there?”
He closes the door behind him and moves into the living room. Jumoke shifts further into the back of the couch.
His flashlight lights up the wall in front of her. She curls up into a ball, teeth pressing hard into her bottom lip.
His footsteps get closer and closer. Until he’s standing right beside the couch.
Rike makes eye-contact with Jumoke from upstairs. Jummy gives her a watery smile and mouths “I’m sorry.”
Rike shakes her head vigorously from side-to-side at her, but it’s too late.
Jummy jumps out from behind the couch and tackles the guard.
“Ewo,” he yells as he falls down.
They struggle on the scratchy carpet, flashlight twisting from side to side. Rike rushes down the stairs to help her sister, but the guard has already pulled out his gun.
It all happens so fast.
Rike yells out Jumoke’s name. The guard pulls the trigger. Jumoke’s head falls to the ground, oozing blood streaking across her open eyes.
The guard turns around to face Rike. She crumbles to the ground. He smiles and pulls the trigger.
“Na 3 people wey enter, oga,” he recites to himself, walking past Rike’s cold body.
“I manage kill 2, but the last one don carry your money go.” He picks up the Ghana-must-go bag and walks back to the front door.
“No vex sir. I try my best.”
He shuts the door behind him, leaving the two girls staring at each other through empty eyes.