The cold kept attacking her quaking bones as she lay on the hard-tarred ground trying to maintain as much body heat. The freezing dews dropping frequently on her face was not helping either while she balled up into slow consciousness.
Dians eyes flung open as she jerked up with a lout gasp and hitched breath, flinging her head and budging eyes to all direction, her once perfectly braided locks now flying into her vision. Slowly she began to realize what the red and blue figure lying unconsciously few inches away from her was.
”Kinsley! ” she called desperately as she crawled to roll him of the road. ”Kinsley wake up! ” she shook him continuously.
”Wh..what? ” he answered reluctantly, yawning frost into the air.
”Wake up! ” she repeated.
”Why? ” he asked as he popped one eye open, ”oh no. ” he exclaimed, flinging up as reality hit him. ”Where are we? ”
”I don know. ” She stood up with him to peek over the edge, ”By the looks of it, its like a … oh no. ”
”…a bridge! ” Kinsley finished, eyes round. ”But h… how? ”
”We will think about that later. Now we need shelter. ” She continued with urgency in her voice, ”Help me decide, this way or that way? ”
”uhm… that way? ” Skeptically, he pointed to the right.
”Good, lets go. ” She simply said. Kinsley tagging along.
”I can believe this, can you? ” Kinsley whined, ”Where do all this even begin? The sudden rain? The glowing flowers? The mysterious tree? You talking to who-knows-what? You suddenly turning into thin air? Us waking up at this who-knows-where? What even says the time? ”
”uhm…. Stop asking foolish questions-Oclock. ” Dian snapped with heavy sarcasm.
They walked down the silent frosty bridge with efflorescent lamps hanging on tall poles and passing drivers casting them odd looks. The cloudless sky, purple and freckled with pale specks of stars which send cold dews on their drenched bodies. The twirls of waves on the rippled vast of water that ran its proud current under the endless bridge, dangerous, deep and threatening.
”Excuse us sir, ” Dian awkwardly called out to a man who seems to be in his late sixties, dark, bald and face covered with catish tribal marks, who snored loudly in his equally old taxi.
”Yes….yes ” he startled awake when Kinsley poked him with a finger through the window, ”where to? ”
”Sorry to bother you. We….. Just want to know what this place is called. ”
”My sister and I are playing a little game of ours. ” Kinsley chimed in.
”Games? ” the old man scratched the crown of his head, Dian just as lost.
”Yes. ” Kinsley emphasized. ”Like the game of bet, the looser has to pay the other. To top it all, she has never been on a long travel before. ”
”And what do that have to do with me? ” he exasperated. ”Is this the new way beggars on third mainland beg for money in Lagos nowadays? ”
”Third what? ” asked Dian.
”Have this and don come back. ” he simply said pointing a currency note at them.
”No, we… ”
”Well take that and thanks. ” Kinsley interjected, wasting no time to snatch the money from the man whose eyes were hooded and lips curved downwards. He quickly dragged Dian away with him as he waved to the man who drove off casting them a pointed look.
”What on earth is wrong with you, Kinsley? ”
”Now, we just need to navigate our way out of this endless bridge. ” He said ignoring her.
”How are we supposed to do that? We don even know what planet we
e in? ”
”Just like he said; we are at the third mainland bridge connecting Lagos and Victoria Island. ” He continued. ”And we got cash to fair us just fine. ”
”Yeah, the money we got for being taken as beggars. ” She said trying not to sneeze as Kinsley waved the note at her nose boastfully.
”Fair enough. There is a high chance that we will never cross path with him again. ” He said with the same indifference as he moved on with Dian following suit.
”Games? ” Dian continued, ”Really? Was that the best you could come up with? ”
”It doesn matter, he was convinced after all. ”
”You wish. Only a Waco would believe that. ” They giggled as they walked down the bridge while the night gentle see breeze blew calm and cold.
The sun could not be any harsher, sending screeching heat on the face of the river, which tumbled violently in protest. Even the sun-living birds seem to cower under anything that could serve as shades from the unforgiving weather.
”I am thirsty. ” Kinsley groaned. ”Could this weather get any worse? ”
”I have an idea. Why don we just use the money that we have to buy water. ” Dian suggested with evident glare. ”Or we could take a cab. ”
”I insist we don squander. ”
”Yeah, you are right. We won squander alright, as soon as we die of thirst! ”
”Quit whining, we are almost there. ”
An unpredicted silence prompted Kinsley to turn and realized that Dian stopped for a break as she sat on the sidewalk.
”Come on! ” he rolled his eyes as he backtracked to sit next to her in silence.
”I miss home. ” Dian said breaking the silence.
”Me too. ”
”I wish you stayed back with mom. ”
”I am glad I came. ” Kinsley continued, ”at least to give your sorry ass some survival tips. ”
”You are impossible. ” She giggled as she gave him a playful yet hard punch on his forearm.
”ok. ” Kinsley stood up after some comfortable silence, ”time to go. ” He said extending his hand to Dian.
”Im tired. ”
”Would you rather sit here and sun-grill yourself into a human barbecue or come with me to that shop at stone throw where we can buy cool – even icy – water and have some relaxing shade? ”
”Did I forget to tell you that you are impossible? ” Dian giggled taking his waiting hands.
”Welcome. ” Cheered a tall blonde dreadlock haired man, who seemed to be at his late twenties, standing at the other side of the counter. ”What should I offer you two? ”
”Two ice-creams please. ” Stopping Dian before she could make her request.
”What happened to the cold water part? ” Dian whispered.
”Vanilla for her, chocolate for me. ” Kinsley continued ignoring her.
”We need as much energy as we could get. ” Kinsley smirked as he proceeded to pay. ”Besides, ice-cream has flavor, it is cool and ” he continued shoving an ice-cream dish into her hands, ”it is liquid, while water… is just plain water. ”
”You always have your way with words. ” Dian pinched the bridge of her nose defeated.
”What could be better than ice-cream? ” he rhetorically asked as they proceeded to sit at the table next to a large window.
”So, where do we go from here? ” Kinsley asked, halfway down his dish.
”i…. ” the jingle of the bell stopped her mid-sentence as it announced the presence of another customer.
Silence eloped as everyone turned to stare at the man in a tuxedo and thick-rimmed sunshades as he spoke in a hushed tone to with the attendant before walking to sit at a table next to Kinsley and Dian who gawked at him in awe as he gulped down a spoon of ice-cream which the blonde dreadlock haired man has brought to his table. As if on cue, the chatter continued once more, but quietly.
”Chocolate is my favorite too. ” Kinsley said winking at the man in tuxedo who smiled back as he took off his shades to reveal his striking hazel eyes.
”Have we met? ” He asked Kinsley.
”Please, ignore him sir. ” Dian sighed.
”My name is Kinsley, nice to meet you Mr…. ” Kinsley paused with an extended hand.
”Olaoluwa, but you can call me Ola. ” He proceeded to shake Kinsleys outstretched hand after a moment of hesitation.
”You seem to be a big fan of chocolate ice-cream, huh? ”
”Hush Kinsley. ” Dian warned, ”You just met the man. ”
”Actually, he is right. ” Ola chimed in. ”I am truly a big fan of chocolate ice-cream, more like death by chocolate type of person. ”
”See, this guy gets it. ”
”Guy? ” Dian snared, ”he is a grown man, Kinsley. Where are your manners? ”
”Its okay. ” Ola assured after taking few more spoons of his ice cream.
”No offence Mr. Ola. ” Kinsley apologized with a sheepish grin.
”None taken. ” He assured again. ”Now I wish I could stay a little bit more and chit-chat with you two, but unfortunately…. ” he continued as he stood up after checking his watch. ”Duty calls. I hope we meet again my fellow chocolate ice-cream fan. ” He winked at Kinsley before walking out through the exit as he returned his shades back to his eyes, leaving his ice-cream dish almost untouched. ” They watched through the window as he hoped into a tinted glass limo, which sped off instantly.
”You are impossible. ” Dian snared, tapping Kinsleys forehead who giggled in return.
”I like his façade. ” He commented with mouthful of ice cream.
”Just hurry up we have to go. ”
”People seems to stare at us now. ” Dian observed. ” And it is creeping me out. ”
As if on cue, a wide-eyed woman approached their table.
”Do you know that man? ” she asked in a hushed tone as she sat next to Kinsley.
”Not really, we just met. ” Kinsley clarified.
”My name is Rose. If I may ask, where are you parents? ”
”We came on our own. ” Dian answered with an equally hushed tone.
”You two should know better than to walk around Victoria Island without adult supervision. ” Rose continued, ”didn your parents tell you that it is not safe out here? Especially with that man around.
”Children get missing anywhere he goes. I am not saying this because of the rumor, but because my daughter Lily is a victim too. ”
”Oh. ” Dian exclaimed.
”I don have much to say, but it will be best you go home. Please be careful and remember, whatever you do, ” She warned more to Kinsley who was just as shocked with his mouth agape. ” stay away from that man. ” She concluded as she hurried away with the crowd to the exit.
”Now I am officially freaking out Kinsley. ”
”She can be serious, right? ”
”We should go. ”
”But I am not done with my ice-cream yet. ”
”Don be such a child! ” Dian growled, impatiently dragging him along to the exit.
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