You were sitting in a dark place; so vague and unending. You saw nothing there. All you could see was the darkness that covered the whole area. You weren’t sure where you were, but it seemed like you were alive and you were breathing. You looked down on what you were sitting on; there was nothing there, just as dark and vague as the other parts in that place.
“Hello.” You heard a voice, and then you saw a light in that vagueness. You lifted your head and looked toward the direction of the light. You saw no figure there. “Hello.” The voice came again.
“Yes, who is that?”
“Turn around,” the voice said.
You turned around, behind you stood a sickly figure that had a frightening face. The figure was thin, it looked like a human, but you couldn’t really say if it was a human. The figure’s head was large, it had big bulging eyes, it had a hump on its back and head, and it stood on its head. Its thin and hairy legs were up in the air.
“Hello, Donatus,” it said.
“My God, who are you?”
“Do not be afraid.” The figure moved its hands in the air, twisting its fingers. It came closer and stretched out its long fingers. “I am your god. I am you, so do not be afraid. We are one in one.”
“Excuse me. I have no other god. I have the God that I serve,” you said. You were afraid, but you could challenge anyone who challenged the God you served.
“I know you do.” It smiled, and you saw its stained teeth. You concluded that even if you had a god, it would never be as ugly as that. “The God you have rules you through me. I am in you.” It paused. It changed its posture, the head went up and the legs came down, but it no longer stood, now, it floated in the air.
“I don’t believe you.”
”Believe me or not. My duty is to tell you this thing which I have come to say.” It moved in the air. “There is a disaster ahead of you, which can be averted. I want to do what I can to help you. Other gods would not have gone this far.” It paused, and then it continued. “A leopard has spots, which can never be washed off. You can use the whole Atlantic Ocean, but you can never wash off a leopard’s spots. You are who you are. You can never be something else or somebody else. And you should never struggle against who you are, or it would be the worst mistake you have ever made.” The figure vanished after these words.
There was a sudden transition from a vague place to a place of lights. You opened your eyes to the lights of your room. You moved your body and felt the bed cover. You stretched your hands and grabbed the pillows. You sighed. It was just a dream. “Thank God it was a dream,” you said.
You got up and looked at the wall clock. It was two o’clock. You were an hour late to your schedule. You ran to the wardrobe, picked your clothes. You went to the shoe rack and got your shoes. It didn’t take time to put these things on, and next, you found yourself a taxi that took you to Rita’s place before the journey.
Rita was at home when you got there. She would not have agreed to see you if she had not been tricked by the news that you were travelling out of the country. You were pleased and you seemed in control of the situation. She smiled as she saw you, the first time she had ever done that. Rita would have called you a fool and she would have cursed you as she used to do. She would have told you she doesn’t mingle with a poor church rat like you; she would have told you that she is of the higher class. And when you had told her you loved her, she called you a moron who wants to draw her into your web of poverty. But you loved her and you wanted her. You even swore that you loved her more than you loved your mother, yet, she spurned your advances.
Now, you sat with her in her verandah. She smiled, touching the pocket of her jeans trousers. You told her today is the day of the journey. She kept quiet, looked down on the ground. She frowned. She was acting as if she was displeased.
“I don’t want you to go,” she said.
“Don’t worry, I will be back. I want to go for some business related issues. And it is for you I am doing this.” You touched her nose with your middle finger and this made her laugh. You brought out a wad of money from your pocket and handed it over to her. “Take this. Take care of yourself while I am away.”
She gave an excited shout. “All these for me?”
“Yes.” You stood up. “I have to go. I have an appointment.”
“Alright. Goodbye.” She gave you a kiss on your cheek. You thanked her and walked away. You turned, and you saw her waving, you waved back. You would miss her, but you knew she wouldn’t miss you. Anybody could call you a fool for this, but you didn’t care, all you wanted was her attention and you were satisfied.
You got into a taxi. You sat calmly as the taxi snaked through the city’s streets. Your mind went back to the dream that you had earlier that day. The dream did not make any sense to you. Your people believed in the power of dreams, however, you didn’t understand that one. You gasped. Two phrases played in your mind over and over again: ‘the leopard’s spot’ and ‘a disaster ahead of you.’ What could it mean? You hissed, and then brushed the dream aside. It wasn’t worth a worry.
You got out of the taxi. You entered the building where you would take the briefcase. It was an uncompleted building. Some rooms in the building had been completed and awaited the final touch. You entered one of these rooms. It was here you took the briefcase from a man whose face was masked. You didn’t understand why the man wore a mask; you didn’t care anyway, you just had to be finished with this. You took the briefcase and got into the taxi. The taxi took you to the airport.
Your phone rang while you waited for the flight. You brought out your phone from your pocket. It was the boss who called you, whoever he was. “Hello,” you said. You detested the way the boss spoke, you hated his arrogance.
“Remember the deal,” the boss said. “You take the briefcase through all the processes. I have already called those I know. If things go wrong, do not call me. If things go well, you can call me and inform me it is successful. If you call and implicate me, I will make sure you die.” Die was his last word as he cut the call.
You put off the phone. The flight was announced. You stood, took a deep breath and walked to the plane. You bowed your head and every eye seemed to be on you. You cursed yourself that you chose this. You wished you had remained poor.
Your heartbeat increased. Your legs began to shake. A stone was somewhere inside you, it weighed you down and every step looked so heavy. You began to pray in your mind. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallow be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth … No. Hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with you, blessed are you among women …
“Eh, you, stop there!”
You froze on that spot. You looked and you saw the uniformed drug police walking toward you. He came to you and told you to open your briefcase. You said your last prayer, and knew you would die by hanging. Jesus, I love you, all I have is you, so do with me what thy please. You opened the bag.
“Yes.” The drug police used his hands to turn what was in the briefcase. He touched every part of the briefcase. He checked for a lump somewhere, there was none. “You can go.” He smiled. You gave a sigh of relief. You walked to the plane, smiling.
You were surprised that there were so many people in the plane. You were surprised that you were not nervous as the plane took off. You were surprised that a passenger could use the toilet in a plane. You enjoyed your first flight. You didn’t like the food. And you wanted to be through with this and return to your Rita.
The search at the other country’s airport was more serious than the first. They scanned the briefcase with some equipment, tore the leather of the briefcase and called other experts who also checked before they cleared you. “Sorry for the disturbance. We were simply doing our job,” the custom officers said to you. “Welcome to our country.” You smiled at them. You collected the briefcase and left for your waiting taxi.
The taxi took you through the city. You watched the furnished residential buildings, the office buildings, the lawns and the shrubs. You took a deep breath; the air was cool as the city was cool. You rubbed your palms on the glass. You wished you had a camera with you; you would have snapped pictures that you would show Rita, she would be pleased.
The taxi moved into a tight corner of the city. The buildings in that part of the city had blackened walls and chimneys. The roads were muddy. No one had ever told you that a place as such as this existed in a wealthy country.
You followed the driver of the taxi. He went into one of the buildings on that street. You lifted a foot after another. You avoided the mess on the ground, and the giant rats that ran about the whole place. God have mercy, you prayed.
You got into a room with the driver. The driver spoke in low tones to a man whose back you saw. The man was in a suit. The man in a suit faced the open window in the room. The driver spoke in a language you couldn’t understand. The man said a few things. The driver nodded to his words. He turned to you.
“He said that you shall drop the bag and go,” the driver said. He had a poor command of English. “I will gave you the ticket back to you country. You can wait some place and wait for plane. You man in you country shall pay you.”
You nodded. The driver collected the briefcase and took it over to the man. You looked at the man in the suit and guessed that he checked the briefcase to make sure everything was intact. He said some words to the driver. The driver came up to you.
“He said that everything is there,” the driver said. “We can go now.”
You followed the driver out of the room. You turned back to see if you could catch a glimpse of the man in the dark room. The man did not turn. You hissed. You wondered if there was anything in that briefcase after all. If there was something there, the custom officials at the airport would have got it. You didn’t care. Your job was done.
You were happy when the man in your country gave you the money for the job. He called you and told you to collect the briefcase from a taxi driver he sent to you. You collected the briefcase and rushed to Rita’s house. You were not ready to open the package in the briefcase yet. You wanted to surprise Rita and tell her you got the money for the job you had done and you’re surprised the man paid you so handsomely. You sang in your heart as you approached the house. “I have gotten the wealth now. Rita is mine,” you said.
There were people weeping in front of Rita’s house. They were young and old women, and a handful of young men. You were shocked. There had been a disaster. You prayed it had nothing to do with Rita. You searched for Rita; you could not see any sign of her.
You were informed by her brother that Rita was stabbed to death. Rita had gone alone to her boyfriend’s house. You knew she had a boyfriend. She made a promise to you that she would inform him that all was over between the two of them. She had gone to his house, and the neighbors heard a scream from their room. When the neighbors called the police, the police came and found the door of the room ajar. Her boyfriend had fled and the lifeless body of Rita was discovered in the room. She was stabbed on the chest.
You screamed. You wailed. You sat on the floor and placed your hands on your head. You felt like rolling on the floor. You wished you were there, you would have fought that her boyfriend and saved her life. You stood, took the briefcase and walked away.
You walked to the bridge. You opened the briefcase and stared at the money in there. Your tears fell on the money, wetting some of the currency. You closed it. You hissed.
“I would have prevented this. I would have. It is my fault.”
You moved a foot and threw the briefcase into the river below. The briefcase rolled and the currency scattered in the air. When you turned around, a small crowd had gathered. You wished you were them. They were not bothered or disturbed.