All Eps

Of Voices and Vermin 2

Hey y’all! It’s Friday, and obviously that means it’s time for part 2 of your MCM’s original series! 😋😋

So you must be wondering what is wrong with Nii Ajei. Well, let’s find out…

Sleeping at night is definitely the worst part of the day for me. It’s so hard to shut my eyelids for more than five minutes without all the memories rushing in in avalanche mode.

And then those voices…

I tried it again last night. Left the TV on in my room as I lay down and tried to get some sleep for tomorrow’s church service.

At first, it felt like my mind was clear, and I might actually have a good night’s rest after such a loooooonnng time.

But before I could say ‘Kwɛmorr’, I found myself on the way to the office all over again…

“What the hell is wrong with you! I put up these reminders about the meeting this evening, and you’re still at home?” Mr. De-graft Johnson whispered furiously over the phone, clearly seething with rage at my absence.

Stuttering as my tie hung around my neck, I silently said, “I-I-I-I’m sorry, sir. I’m on my way right now.”

You had better be! Goodness gracious, I can’t believe this! Of all the people to be slacking at such an important time, it’s you! God have mercy!” he continued to angrily whisper. Seemed like he was in a corner of the conference room and didn’t want the others to hear him spazz out.

He hung up.

I quickly adjusted my tie, grabbed the folder on the living room and rushed out of the house.

Chale, Mr. De-graft Johnson was usually a calm person, but when you messed up badly, there was this lion that would show up, and it could be really scary. Memories of how he practically roasted Hanna to tears for treating one of our customers rather rudely flashed in my brain. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken advantage of that rare half-day he gave us and gone home to rest. Smh. Stupid alarm on my phone can be such a disappointment…

Anyways, I opened the gate, drove out of the compound, went back to close the gate, and sped off.

It was 5:40. The meeting was due to begin at 6 pm. Given how traffic-laden Accra tends to be, it was quite likely Mr. De-graft Johnson was going to rip me to shreds.

As I move up to one junction, I looked at the left side. A new road had recently been cleared there. Rough road, of course. Super dusty, but at that point, it seemed quicker to pass there. Doing a quick calculation in my head, I noted that I’d cut off about 6-7 minutes if I passed there instead of the usual right turn.

So I did it.

Moving at top speed, my little plan was on course. I nodded as I thought of the queue I was successfully avoiding.

Then I got to the area where there were a few kiosks and sellers around. The kenkey sellers. The gɔbɛ sellers. The fried yam sellers. You know, all those sellers. I knew they’d complain loudly if I maintained my speed, but I had to stay on schedule. So I dropped it sliiiiiiightly. By about 10km or so.

This boy, probably about seven years, was playing with some other kids ahead of me.

Suddenly, he jumped right onto the path on which I was. Must have been part of the game they were playing or something. I dunno.

My eyes widened in horror as I saw him, clearly in my path.

“JESUSSSS!!!” I screamed, slamming my right foot on the brake, desperately trying to stop before I got to him.
Within a matter of seconds…

The loud impact his body made with the car made it clear I stepped on it too late.

***
As soon as the doctor stepped out of the room, I noticed the stooped shoulders and the look of disappointment on his face, and my heart began to sink.

This had to be a dream. It just had to.
“Doc?” I called weakly, already anticipating he had nothing but the worst to say.

He sadly shook his head. “We tried our very best. But it wasn’t enough.”

I sank to the floor, face in my hands, stupefied by the doctor’s announcement.

“His body could not handle the resulting trauma. I’m very sorry, but he didn’t survive. He couldn’t make it. I’m sorry.”

Do you have any idea how it feels to have to live with the knowledge that you killed someone? Do you know how difficult it is to sleep at night, knowing a mother has to go to bed knowing that her little boy’s life was cruelly snatched from her, and you are the cause of it? Do you?

His mother flipped out on me when she heard the news, as you can expect. Her only son, third of six children. And she’s not very well-to-do. And I just came along and killed him because I was in a hurry for a stupid meeting.

Do you know how it feels to constantly deal with these voices reminding you of what you’ve done? Constantly reminding you that you’re a murderer and a terrible person?

That’s my plight. Every freaking day.

Oh, by the way, that wasn’t the end of it. Of course, it became a criminal issue. I was charged with gross negligence manslaughter. I know my family did everything they could to, at the very least, get me a minimum sentence or something.

Well, to an extent, they succeeded. My offence is a first degree felony, and I was supposed to get a sentence of not less than five years.

I got five years.

I still remember how devastated my parents and siblings were as the sentence was read out. They kinda knew it was coming, but I guess it still really hurt them to know their son and brother had fallen foul of the law.

Already, the thought that I’m the reason a young one will never be able to achieve his dreams and aspirations is enough torment.

But that day, what really broke my spirit was not the judge handing out what was a deserved sentence. It was what happened outside.

Something that I’ll never be able to fully understand…

As the policemen led me out of the Circuit Court complex, I had my head bowed down, feelings of shame and guilt engulfing my mind. It was time to pay for my utter negligence.

Stepping out onto the car park, I heard a familiar voice. Loud and clear.
It was Eugene. A.K.A. Razzmatazz. Or Razzie, for short.

If there’s any guy who knows me inside out, it’s him. Known him since class 2. We were cool with each other as kids then. It was when we both made it to Ghana National College that we really became close friends. We went to different universities, but the bond remained as tight as ever. I mean, we were the best of friends. We knew each other’s deepest secrets. Vulnerability with each other was never an issue. If not for something, I’d probably bet my life on it that our friendship was miles ahead of David and Jonathan.

A bit of a heretical stretch, I know. Forgive me.

Ever since the drama started, he had seemed rather distant. Unwilling to talk to me. He sometimes claimed he was distracted by serious issues at home, so I figured it would be really stressful having to deal with this issue in addition to whatever was going on at home.

He was virtually absent during the entirety of the trial. Practically never called, never texted.

But as I was being taken away, it was his voice I could hear. A pretty piercing moderate voice. One I’d never mistake.

And what were the words that were adorned with this familiar voice?

“You deserve what you’re getting, you shameless killer!”

I was shocked to hear that. What??!! How?! Razzie and I may have grown distant during this period, but there was no fight between us. I hadn’t said anything offensive to him, didn’t have any memory of us having any squabble. Surely this had to be a different voice or something like that?

I looked behind me.

It was him, all right. Razzie was behind me. Looking all wild and stuff.

“Shame on you! Useless murderer! I hope you rot in those prisons! I hope someone stabs you in the intestines…”
“Hey, hey, hey,” the policeman on my right interrupted, clearly unamused by this public rant. “Move away from this area.”

He continued hollering his head off, clearly aiming to muddy my already-damaged reputation even more.

“Because of you, Maame Becky doesn’t have her little Bobby anymore. Are you not a pathetic piece of sh…”

The policeman, quite incensed by his downright disregard for his orders, delivered quite a devastating slap which silenced him and put him on the ground.

That was nothing in comparison to the slap Razzie had just delivered to my very soul and spirit. Left me totally oblivious to the subsequent scuffle that ensued behind me.

My best friend. In a time when I needed his support the most. In my most vulnerable hour. He just spat on me and made me feel like the most worthless thing on the planet.

Unbelievable…

All those horrid moments spent in that awful prison. Getting pushed about by bigger inmates. The terrible food. The voices. The voices…

“You’re a terrible person… you killed a young boy, how could you… how do you even live with yourself… what kind of sick human being are you… you’re a monster…”

THE VOICES JUST WON’T LET ME BE!!!!!

I opened my eyes. And sat up on my bed.

“Alright, that’s it. I’ve had enough,” I said to myself.

Enough trying to be strong on my own.

I grabbed my phone, scrolled down the contacts list a bit, and dialed.

First ring. Second ring. Third ring.

Then he answered. “Ah, chale, you no bed yet? Wossop?”

I was silent for a second or two, then I sighed and muttered the words.

“Tell Ewurabena I’ll do it.”

Hi, my name is Nii Ajei Allotey. I knocked down and killed a young boy by mistake. I’m an ex-convict. My best friend turned his back on me when I needed him the most. I’ve tried to ignore my demons, thinking they’ll just leave. I’ve tried dealing with them myself. But it’s all to no avail.

I’m a mess. I need help.

Wow, chale! That was pretty intense. So dark, and we’re just getting started! Well, let’s discover what’s next for him on Monday!!

Got something to say? Go ahead and drop it down there!!

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