Silence blanketed Emeka and Chris as the car sliced through the darkness like a hunting lion, carrying them closer to the end of their life draining ordeal.
There was nothing to say after they’d agreed on a course of action. As far as they could tell, there wasn’t going to be a happy ending. The only thing to do was follow through and pray for the best.
Emeka pulled up on the beaches of Eko Atlantic City, far enough from the construction site not to be seen, but close enough to get there by foot within a few minutes.
The silhouette of the half-completed buildings stood out starkly against the moonlight reflected by the ocean. The scene was something worthy of appreciation under normal circumstances, but these weren’t normal circumstances.
“Are you ready?” Emeka whispered to his companion
“yea, I think so”
“Chris, if this gets out of hand, I need to know I can count on you.”
“Yea yea, I‘m ready.” Chris said with more conviction than he felt.
“Alright, let’s do this, Cassie would have led him deep inside the construction site to the place we shared our last intimate moment. It’s a decent trek so we have to move quickly.” Emeka explained as he slipped out of the car and closed the door softly.
Chris slipped out behind him without a sound and they both blended into the innumerable grains of sand that made up the beach.
Two men determined to save an innocent child no matter what it cost them set off into the darkness.
They padded across the wide expanse of the beach without making a sound and quickly gained the construction site. Now, all they had to do was locate the three people they had come to find.
Emeka led them on a winding path towards the place he guessed John would be holed up, waiting for the right moment to perform the act of madness his current situation had brought him to.
Luckily, Emeka’s intuition was correct and as he approached the spot he was aiming for, he was greeted by the muffled mutterings of a familiar voice.
He looked over at Chris and muttered his final instructions before they parted ways “remember, get as close to him as possible without being spotted, I’m going to confront him.”
“I remember, good luck” the young man replied as he faded back into the steel and cement jungle surrounding them.
With that, Emeka slowly moved across the last stretch of open ground between him, the place where Jonathan’s voice was coming from.
The place was bathed in moonlight and turned the sand a pale silver color, a beautiful place to consummate a dangerous love affair and an even more beautiful place to take your last breath.
Before he could cover the last few meters to John’s hideout he was greeted by the stinging clarity of his old friend’s voice.
It caressed his ears like an eager snake waiting to sink its poison fangs into his body and watch as the life seeped out of him.
“Well well Emeka, I knew you were smart, but it sure did take you a long time to find me, I was thinking I’d have to end this before you got here. You have my gratitude for arriving in time to see the consequences of your actions first hand.”
“Jonathan, where are Cassie and the child?” Emeka shouted.
“Tsk tsk Emeka, I don’t think you’re in a position to be asking me questions about anything.
“I swear to almighty GOD if anything happens to them I’ll…”
Make my life a living hell?
My dear friend, you’ve already done those things, so what else can you think of?”
“John, what’re you planning on doing?”
“I think you know, I want to end all of it. All the suffering, the pain, and disappointment I’ve had to endure in this life. You should be thanking me because we’re going together. This will be a new beginning for us; we can try again in the next life and avoid the mistakes we made in this one.”
“John, you don’t really mean that. I know it seems impossible now, but we’ll figure out a way to get beyond this.” Emeka said as he edged closer to the man he once considered to be his best friend; a man that had slipped deeply into madness.
Oh, I do, I really do.” John said as he pulled a small revolver from his pocket and pointed it at Emeka.
Emeka froze when he realized he was moments away from death.
“John, please, you can’t turn back from this. Is this the legacy you want to leave after having done so much good in the world?”
“Would you rather my legacy be that my wife fucked my best friend and gave birth to his child? How can I live with that?”
“We’ll get through it, I know we will.” Emeka was running out of time, the way John was talking, it wouldn’t be long until he pulled the trigger. At that same instant, he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. Chris was making his way around the open ground in order to get in a good position to attack John.
“What are you looking at?” John said half turning.
“Nothing.” Emeka shouted while trying to lunge at John.
“Ah Ah, Emeka, that’s no way to behave.” The deranged man said as he danced out of Emeka’s reach.
“Why are you so anxious to die? I was planning on killing Cassie and the child first, but since you’re so eager to start the next life I’ll oblige you.”
John raised his small silver revolver with a practiced hand and pointed it directly at Emeka’s head.
“Goodbye, old friend.” John said as he pulled the trigger.
The explosive sound filled Emeka’s ears shattered the serenity of the landscape they had so rudely intruded upon. As his head cleared he wondered to himself if this was how death felt; where was the bright light, where was the angelic choir, where were the golden gates of heaven?
When he got over the shock, he heard the sounds of a struggle ensuing on the sands beneath him. When he looked, he saw Chris fighting with John over possession of the small gun that should have taken his life.
Emeka jumped into action immediately, at the first opening he could find, he stepped on John’s face with all the strength he could muster.
The force of the kick cause a river of blood to spring from John’s face and stunned him long enough for Chris to knock the gun from his hand.
The desperate man was not finished yet, he used the strength of his madness to throw Chris off him and before either Chris or Emeka could react, John was on his feet and running towards the gun that had been thrown just a few feet away.
Emeka was right behind him and as John lunged over the last few paces to the gun, Emeka lunged with him.
They landed in a heap on top of the life taking weapon. John kicked Emeka in the groin, temporarily stunning him, but Chris was right there to take up the slack.
The young man jumped on John and pinned down the hand he had used to pick up the gun after stunning Emeka.
It was no use, the boy was not strong enough and John was able to wriggle the hand free and let off a shot that produced a deafening sound and hit Chris in the shoulder and stunned him enough to allow John to break free and regain his feet.
As soon as he did, Emeka used all the force he possessed to punch John in the same place he kicked him earlier.
The blow effectively blinded John, but the raging man was undaunted, he began to let off shots sporadically, just barely missing Chris and hitting Emeka in the leg.
The president dropped to his knees, no longer able to summon the strength to face John as his blood poured out of him like a fountain.
“Emeka Emeka, you should have allowed me to end this peacefully, now I’m going to kill you slowly and make sure you suffer. First I’m going to shoot you in your other leg, then your arms, and finally, I’m going to snuff out your life with a coup de grace.”
“You know, if you would’ve said that a few minutes ago I would have been afraid, but obviously, you haven’t been counting your gunshots. You’re using a revolver with only six bullets, you have already fired five and that leaves you with one shot.
You’d better end it quickly or things may not turn out in your favor after all.”
“You’re right Emeka, Things won’t turn out in my favor, I never meant for them to. You’ve made this night a real disappointment. All I can hope for now is that you bleed out before you can get help.
No matter, I know what I must do. I really wish this could have turned out differently” John said with a mysterious glint in his eye.
Without another word, John lifted his gun, stuck it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger.
Emeka’s tired brain couldn’t process what was happening and he passed out from loss of blood, exhaustion, and shock.