STAY DEAD (Short Story)

STAY DEAD                                              By: Jude Ifeme

Body becomes lead

Blood runs chill

The dead stays dead…

He looks closely at the corpse. The face though thoroughly battered and swollen is entirely alien to him. Hey fool, he thinks; how did you get my number? How did you know my name? How did you… oh, you won’t even know anymore; you are dead! That’s it. You-are-dead…

Six months ago someone started dropping an unusually large stack of cash into the collection box for the poor, every Sunday. It all started with ten thousand, then twenty, and then a hundred. At first the church was impressed. One Thursday morning, they discovered the key to the collection box had been broken, and a briefcase lined with twenty million lay inside. Now the church was concerned. Was this a soul redemption move? Was it just charity? No one could tell.

There are three rules a man must abide by if he is to survive a crazy world as this: first is, protect his life; second is, protect his interests; and third is, protect his life and interests. This, Osan, has always reminded himself. If he ever prayed, those are his little prayers; that whoever is the great one above should give him the courage. Over the years they have become his mantra. And if he ever wished for anything else besides making more money, it was to have the strength to see through his only wishes at all times. And he has never been caught unawares in any circumstance, and thinks he never will be.

That a single call from some joker could make scuttle all that upsets him. Whoever it was had said he will call again, but after leaving behind five silly words; “I know what you did,” which were not so silly after all, if you considered so many things. But whatever is the fellow’s headache is, was done yesterday. And Osan believes the past should stay where they belong, because each time they tried to leave their place something bad happened. He draws in a lung full of air and lets his lungs slowly deflate. That does some good to his frayed nerves. But the bed is suddenly thorny.

“Darling, are you alright?” His girl friend drawls, half asleep and pulls her body over him.

“Yeah,” he mutters and coils away. He should be alright if the jerk just does him the favor of taking away this suspense. He hates it when he is not in control.



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