The Watchmen by Kehinde Olu Osuolale

The Watchmen by Kehinde Olu Osuolale

Chapter One

In the cold of the night, he dashed out rowdily holding tight his towel round his waist. He stood by the pole on the veranda and gasped for breath. He had been smoking for two hours. He held the forth bottle by his right hand and supped off the remnants of the bottle. He gasped, coughed, and spat a downpour of silver. He then drew back and sat on the stairs before the bungalow building. He dripped his head in the hollow of his folded arms rested upon his knees and by and by he dozed off  

Very early in the morning, just at the cock-crow, around 4:00am the front door opened and a tall and heavy guy came out of the house, yawning heavily. He held the door handle by his right hand and holding a torch by his left. He was sweating profusely. He left the door handle and reached out to his loins, standing right by the door. He zipped down so that he might do the convenience. He left the door ajar and stretched forth. The urine lashing hot upon Sai-Moon woke him up and he staggered on the stairs and rolled downward to the dusty ground. 

“Tycoon…you’re there? Why you come dey sleep for toilet?”

Simon stretched his arms and was now fully awake.

“Wilder…where your brain dey? Na toilet be this? See as you don wet me with your salty and alcoholic metabolic waste…”  

“Tycoon…wettin you call am?

Simon came into the veranda and walked up to him by the door.

“Simon na my name be, I don dey tell you. Be like say weed dey worry you?” He dashed inside.

“Me, Wilder, weed dey worry me? Who e worry pass? You wey make sleep for out, na water worry you?”  

Wilder joined him inside. He was brooding.

“Alaye, wettin sup? You no dey sleep? Day never break nah. Na my urine wake you…”

Simon was lost in thought. He was unconscious.
“Simon! Si…mon!
Simon came back conscious…weeping all along.
“Why una dey do like pickin now…see as una dey cry for no reason sef. You for don grow pass this nah!
“Wilder…make una leave me abeg…just lemme be!”

“Let you be? For wettin nah? Na sleep I suppose sleep now I still dey reason your matter. Una no dey commend me? How I for leave you for this low current thing wey you dey? Charge up man! The day go soon break and hustle go resume. Street wait for no one…”

“Can you see? no dey tire? Ehn…I ask you seh una no dey tire? Na this kind life we go dey live for life?

“Me, Wilder, dey tire? Na motor tire wey go tire. As you dey see me so, I don sign up for the street, Omo…make I tell you bro, no retreat no surrender!”
He reached out for a pack of cigarettes and lit a piece. He smoked.
“Wilder, Wilder! Make una stop this thing for once abeg! E no dey do us any good at all. E no dey safe for body na burning we just dey burn am!”
Wilder burst into laughter
“Look at you, Simon. Who told you that kind thing? No be the smoke wey you smoke na im make you sleep last night? E no good for your body, if una no smoke, una go sleep? Una go go gaga? Una go high? No dey spoil my fun for me abeg.” He smoked off
“Must we have to take these things before we go dey normal? We live on drugs, we work for drugs, we feed on drugs and even sleep on drugs…can’t we ever live without these things? She na like this we go dey dey?”
“Simon! Na like this we go dey dey! Na Satan pikin wey go fear, a no dey fear anything. No harm for street. Forget am. Life goes on!
“What have I got myself into? How am I gonna break free from this bondage?” Sai-Moon cried.
“Simon…take...” He offers him a piece of cigarette
“What for?”
“Just take it from me. Do the thing again and your head go correct.”
“I’m done! I can’t continue with this life. Smoking, drinking, robbing, raping all of such am tired of it all! I don’t have peace anymore…I can’t continue to live without peace. No more!
“Simon?...” Laughs hysterically, “you’re playing with hunger!” 

“To hell with hunger. It was hunger that put me into this mess. I’m still battling it. We do not eat to get energy and grow strong. We smoke and drink to get high…it’s no way different. I’m done!”
“Simon…” Wilder took a new piece of cigarette and lit it up. He looked upon Samoon piteously, “You must be joking, guy! See, wait, you’re playing with fire!”
“Yes, let it burn! I’ve been smoking for a while now. Is it anything different from swallowing thongs of burning flames? I’m just so tired right now! I said I’m done!”
“Are you really serious about this, Simon?”
“Yes, I’m dead serious. I want back my normal life. I’m tired of the street. I’m tired of the brothel. I’m tired of robbery and thuggery, raping and killing. I’m so tired of the street. I want to work and earn a living. The street isn’t a safe place. The street is bloody. It’s over between us!
“Well, Simon. I don’t know where you get all these lies from. But one thing I will tell you is that you don’t just turn away from the street. The street rescue you in the dry and wet season, time of need and scarcity, time of heat and of the cold seasons. The street covered you, fed you and guard you. The street gave you honour and pestige. The street gave you an identity. The street gave you a better life. Now, you want to betray her. You want to betray your helper. You have forgotten, forever is the deal? Once a soldier is always a soldier. The solidarity is strong and ever. Loyalty to the street must forever be! You said the street is bloody. Yes, it is. We both shed it and flooded the street. We both painted the street with the blood of innocent people. Do not play with the bloody street. You don’t toy with the devil! The day you stop hunting the street is the day the street turns back to hunt you!” He arose angrily and dashed into the room. 

Simon was perplexed. He was terrified with what Wilder just told him. He got more panic as the words replayed in his head. He cried.
“I have never shed a blood. Why will the street hunt me! Who will help me? I’m doomed! I’m done with this life! Help meee!”  
Simon had fled from home when he was 16. He was such a very calm son of Mr and Mrs Robert. He became the opposite when the family began to experience crisis of domestic violence and financial instability. Mr Robert used to be a well-to-do man. And on the comfort of that, he began to come home late and most of the time sleep out. Whenever his wife challenged him, he raised his voice over her. They used to be a devoted Christian couple and had together trained Simon in the way of the Lord. The family used to be a burning altar unto God. They used to be a good example for the church and the neighborhood. But when the crisis began, everything went down. Mr Robert’s late arrivals increased and the family prayer declined drastically. When Mrs Robert expressed her displeasure with this, he would raise his hand on her. It was someday like that that Mr Nelson began to torment his wife that 
Simon left the house and had never returned over a decade.
Now, Mr Robert had retraced his steps and amended his ways but then the condition of their son wherever he was remained a fearful thorn in his flesh. Mrs Robert had always encouraged him to believe God with her that their son would be safe and sound and God Almighty would bring him home someday. She admonished him to rise up together and pray for his deliverance and homecoming.
Mr Robert had the burden in him to involve their Church pastor, Pastor Nelson, a vibrant man of God. They visited him someday and poured out their mind to him. He had been praying with the family and the return of Simon since he left the house but this time, they would have to deliberately raise an altar of prayer for Simon’s return. They began a weekly day and night special vigil with fasting and prayer. 
They had a full day vigil in a week and full night vigil the following week without fasting. This continued for a long time until this very week they ended the night vigil. Mrs Robert fell ill and it was severe. Then it was advised that they held on fasting but remain consistent and fervent in prayer. Mr Robert continued in the prayer strongly as he took care of his wife. Pastor Nelson also joined Mr Robert in prayer and the potency of the prayer and their conviction remained so strong.   

Chapter Two

Just after a month, a few men from the special task force and the police came into the community and flushed into the street where Wilder and Simon were taking refuge. They burst into few houses and found no one to apprehend. Everyone was calm and tranquil by the terror that flowed behind the special task force. It was a very hot afternoon. But the silence was like a night. 

Wilder was not home. He had gone for a mission to bargain with a drug dealer. Simon had just returned from a robbery scene. He was in all alone arranging the pack of currencies he had acquired. He was going to call Wilder to inform him of his return, then he heard a heavy knock on the door. He was a bit shocked at first.. Wilder should not have returned by that time. Yet the knocking on the door was heavy. 
Only Wilder would knock like that. Then he began to be more suspicious when the knock went wilder than Wilder would strike the door. The pack the remaining cash into the bag and threw it up into the little opening they had cut out in the ceiling. He covered it up and set the room. Then he came toward the door and spoke.
“Who’s there?”
“It’s me, Kemi.”
“Kemi? What’s wrong? Why the heavy knock? You almost threw me out of life.” He opened the door. “ what do you want?”
“Is Wilder around?  
“No. Why?”
“You guys should be very careful and suspicious. In fact, I’ll like you to leave the house now because the police are raiding all over the street. The street dey steam hot as we dey so!” 

“Really? I knew they’ll come around. Do not worry, Kemi. You can go. We’ll see you in the night.”
“Simon Baba! I no say you no dey fear. Bu as e dey so, dem come brutal today oo. Den just dey burst into houses as dem like…”
“Just go, Kemi. Don’t wait too long here! I’ll see you in the night.”
Kemi left the house. Simon shut the door. He raised his head in panic and began to retrospect.
“What a fuck is wrong with these big heads this afternoon? Do they know about  it? I left no suspicion whatsoever. Yes, they shouted at me. But I convinced them I'm innocent. Would that boy had confessed to them I had involved him to get away unaccused and unapprehended? Why are they roaming my abode. I stole far far away!...this is a huge amount of money here…how do I escape with this heavy….”
He heard a knock. Lost in thought, he shouted,
“Who’s that again?”
Now, he heard a bang, and a band of heavy voices by the door

“Open the door!”
He was shocked. “They have come for me!” He whispered.
“Open the door, I say!” He heard again. He ran into the kitchen to take a stab they already moulded beneath the sink. Then he sighted three policemen parading the side of the kitchen on the outside. He heard the voice speak again from the main entrance and came toward the door, very terrified.
“This house has been surrounded by security operatives. You’d better do yourself good by opening the door now and surrender yourself!”
“What do you want? Who are you?”
“For the last time, open this door or we’ll do so by bullets!”
“Go ahead! This is my house. You have no right to invade my house without any offence…! He heard a tread backward away from the door. He brilliantly left the door and stood by the wall. Hardly had he moved from the door way that a gun shot blast the door open. The men trooped in and apprehended him.
“Oh, you thought you have some guts? This is your day of reckoning, you useless rogue and drug dealer.”
“Leave me! You riff raffs. What evidence do you have against me? I’m not…ouch!”
“Keep shut! You’ll explain yourself when you get to the court of law. Idiot!”
They dragged him out of the house and the the other men began to inspect the house. They searched through the whole building but couldn’t find any amount of hard drugs. Wilder must have taken everything for sale. He had not even returned yet should he has remnants on him if he stumbled on the police raid on his arrival.
Simon watched the policemen in great fear for the money he had kept in the ceiling. Nothing mattered to him now than the money he had risked his life to steal. He was crying both in pain of the handcuffs that almost ripped of his wrist and in fear of the policemen not discovering the treasure he had kept up in the roof.
The policemen searched a little while and seemed to get tired. They came out of the house and strike Simon with the gun shaft. He cried loud. There was no one around to see his agony. Everyone was stuck in their houses for the fear of not being numbered with him.
“How many of you dey for this house?”
“Ehiiii….ahhh” He cried in pains
“How many of you dey for this house, una no dey hear me so?”
“Na my house be this nah. Wettin concern you how many of us dey live for my house. How many person you found for there ndan?”
“Eh!,” the head of the task force summoned the other men, “put him inside the car. Let him join the other suspects we’ve got no time!”
“Push him into the car. Hurry, hurry! Time dey go!” They dragged Simon into the car and zoomed off.

Chapter Three

Mr and Mrs Robert had just returned from the central vigil held in the church headquarters that Saturday. It was a very long night of intense prayers. After the vigil ended around 4:00am, the pastor summoned the couple to another round of prayer. They obliged because they had determined to rescue their lost son and restore him unto the Lord in prayer. They had also determined to never in anyway quench the altar of prayer they had already raise to God on behalf of their son, family and even the Church of God. So they joined the pastor in the gallery and began another round of intense prayers for Simon for about an hour. After the prayer, the pastor reassured them that victory is of the Lord and He was ready to fight their battles and deliver Simon from whatever tangles or bondage he had put himself into for many years of his lives. He encouraged them to pray as the scriptures enjoined Christians ought always to pray and not to faint. When prayer is becoming being answered, that is even the time to press more in prayer. The couple were so much encouraged by the pastor’s charge after the prayer. They went home with that mind and spirit and on getting home, they felt the burden again to pray for Simon even though they only had to sleep. 

They joined their hands and began to intercede for Simon. It was in this spiritual exercise they were when Mrs Robert’s phone rang. They continued with the prayer but the calling would not stop. They rounded up the prayer and sang praises to God. The phone rang again and Mrs Robert got to pick it up. It was a strange number as such. But she wasn’t bothered to pick the call. 

“Hello sir…”
“Yeah, hello Madame. Is that Mrs Robert on the line?”
“Yes, this is Mrs Robert. How can I help you?”
“This is Sergeant Kumar, calling you from Areo Police command, Sanjo Divisional headquarters.
“Areo Police command?, Okay…”
“Are you in anyway connected with any man by the name Simon?”
“Simon? Simon, my son? Oh my God!...” She burst into tears as she would reply ‘yes’. Then, Mr 
Robert took the phone from her and continued with the conversation.
“Yeah, this is Mr Robert on the line. Can I here from you?”
“Yes sir. I was asking Madame if she’s in anyway connected to one man by the name Simon.”
“Okay, which Simon is that?”
“Simom Robert, 26year old, 5.6 feet tall, dark, with some birthmark on his face, heavy-voiced with some speech-breaks…?”

“Simom? Simon Robert? That’s my son! I don’t know his height but I know his sound. I know his speechbreaks, I know of his birthmark, and yes, he should be 26 by now?...” he signaled to Mrs Robert who nodded back at him swiftly.
“Oh, that’s a good one…”
“What’s up with him?”
“Well, the man named Simon Robert is acquainted with a charge against him which states clearly with substantial evidences that he is not unconnected with a murder case surrounding the death of one Chief Asala.” 

“Oh, man. Speak to me in a language I understand! In short, where is your police station?”
“Come right away to Sanjo Divisional headquarters, Areo Police command, Lagos State.”
“Oh, very good! We’re on our way!”
He ended the call and summoned his wife
“Dear, we found our son. Glory to Jesus!
“Hallelujah!... Hallelujah!... Hallelujah!...” Mr Robert joined her sing praises unto God Most High for their answered prayers.
“Dear, we have to go now! We have to…!”
“Yes dear…won’t we have to take our bath…”
“Not necessary for now. I can’t wait to see my son. I can’t wait to see Simon again, after all these years!” Mr Robert objected
“I really can’t wait too…let me get my bag!”
The duo hopped into the car joyfully and left for Lagos.           

Chapter Four

After the Church service, Pastor Nelson was in his office holding a meeting with the church executives. He had received a notification from his secretary that Mr and Mrs Robert would be waiting to see him. After the long hour of meeting ended, he summoned them into his office through his secretary. They rushed swiftly into the pastor’s office as they kept him in wonder.
“Good evening, Pastor Nelson.”
“Good evening, Mr and Mrs Robert…how are you? Have your seat!”
“What is the matter? You look suggest something  excitement and curiosity…”
“Pastor,” said Mrs Robert, “ We’re excited really. And we’re very curious too?”
“What’s the good news?”
“We found our son, pastor. We found Simon!”
“Glory to God Almighty! I rejoice with you. Congratulations to you. You can see, I told you, what the Lord laid in my heart when we were having that prayer after the vigil. He said the victory is His and He is ready to fight for you and deliver Simon unto Himself. See the way God works. He is so miraculous in His ways. Thank God for the answered prayers. Hallelujah to the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
“So, how’s he?”
“Pastor, that is the reason of our curiosity. He was found in the cell…”
“Charged with a murder case…”
“Murder case? That’s serious. So…how is it now? Have you taken any step at all?”
“Pastor, this is a mystery before me. My son was charged with murder case but he wasn’t involved in the matter. He is completely innocent.
“Really, Mr Robert? How do you come to know?”
“It was yesterday, we got to the police station and I met the DPO who happens to be an old friend of mine back in the secondary school. He confessed to me that they were actually looking for rogues that they would tie the case upon their neck because the real culprit involved is not to be disclosed for some political reasons. But he got interest in Simon’s case when he saw that he’s of a Robert that he once knew. Reason why he called me because my son had no little detail about his parents. I was so happy at that!”
“Wow, that’s so miraculous of God Almighty! So, Mr Robert, why didn’t bail him and bring him home. Did you leave him in the cell back in Lagos?”
“Oh, pastor, that’s the height of my confusion.”
“Pastor, my son knew that of a truth, he wasn’t involved in the murder case. He knew rightly that the police has confirmed he is innocent. He knew very certainly that we were going to bail him and they’re ready to release him. But my son insisted not to be released. Simon would not leave the cell. Imagine, pastor? I mean, isn’t that strange?”
“Oh my God! Mr and Mrs Robert. This is indeed disheartening. Nevertheless, I want you both to be strong and not be weary. Okay, look at it from this angle, Mr Robert. Your son left home at 16. Now, he’s 26. He might not have had any hope of returning home, neither any hope in a man that he could take care of him. He might not be about to believe in you yet. We’ll give him time as the Lord will touch his heart. He will yield to the leading of the Lord and we’ll have him back fully unto the Lord.”
“Pastor, pastor…eeehh,” Cried Mrs Robert, “ That’s not even the main issue. He could recognize us, actually. But of course, like you said, he might not be willing to just come with us yesterday. I mean we just met again after 10 good years. But pastor, he said something that baffled me and he reiterated it that he would not leave the cell neither will he come home with us because one Waheed…” Signaled to Mr Robert 

“Wilder...I can remember vividly”
“Yes Wilder, “Mrs Robert continued, “duped him and ran away with his hard earned money. He said he didn’t even come to check him up in the cell.”
“Pastor, see. I inquired of him. How much are we talking about? We will give it to you. Your parents are also well to do. But he wouldn’t disclose the amount of money he claimed he was duped. Where is this Wilder guy then? He said he ran away and he didn’t know his whereabouts. Them forget about him and come home. He insisted he would rather go back to the streets. Please, come to my rescue Pastor. We can’t stand him staying one more day in that depleted, horrible dung called cell.
“I can’t watch him spend one more night in that cell, pastor. What do we do?” Inquired Mr Robert
“Be calm, Mr and Mrs Robert. Don’t be too impatient and too forwarding with the work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Himself has fought this battle up unto this stage. He himself will fight till the end and give you that victory we desire. Remember, His words, faithful is He that has promised; He also will do it. He has promised you that He’s going to deliver Simon back to Himself. He is right on it. We are expected not to get tired at this time. We should rather intensify more in our prayers. We should keep the altar that we have raised and ignited burning. That would hasten to deliver the results that we need. Do not be moved by this raging storm. It’s almost over. We need to pray more and keep our altar burning on behalf of Simon. That the Lord will take over his heart and lead him home. You won’t even have to struggle anymore. God Himself will perfect His work unto His glory. Do you understand my point?

“Yes, Pastor Nelson.  We will pray and keep this altar burning. I can’t wait to see my son home.” Agreed Mrs Robert
“Yes, Pastor Nelson. We’re ready, anytime.”
“Okay, Mr Robert. Shall we meet this week, with fasting?”
“Yes, we shall.” Replied Mr Robert
“Pastor, even if we must start today, I’m ready!”
“It’s isn’t that tense, Mrs Robert. Let’s meet tomorrow, by 6:00pm. I’ll be expecting you two.”
“Sure, Pastor Nelson. Thank you for staying with us all the years long. We do appreciate and honour you.”
“Do not mention, Mr Robert. All the glory to Jesus Christ. We meet tomorrow by 6:00pm. Do not be late.”
“Yes, Pastor. Bye sir. The duo left with a spark of happiness in their heart.                    

Chapter Five

Simon eventually became uncomfortable with the condition of the cell. He had refused to follow his parents because he wanted to return to the street and hunt Wilder his friend, who had carted away all the money he stole and kept in the roof the day he was apprehended of the police. He wanted to seek him and bring him to book. He had at the onset lured him into the streets. Now, he himself is seen as one who has betrayed his fellow street man. He must be brought to justice and face the music. He roared in himself and shook the cell gates. 

He had stayed two months in the cell. He was not fed, not cared about. He was abandoned in the cell as the other inmates shared his meal package his parents have always brought. He had refused to eat in order to force the police to release him after all he was innocent. However, his parents had enjoined the D.P.O never to release him without their consent. So he was stuck in the cell, lonely, famished and restless. 

At a point, he became gradually calm and requested for his food. He eat his food to stupor and would not even share it anymore with his inmates. Now the only thing recurring in his mind is a feeling of going back home. But at every point he remembers Wilder, he shook the homecoming feelings off and cried at the same hour. 

His parents had come many times to visit him but had refused to see them. Now, it had been a while they came and he became bothered. He cried and lamented loudly in the cell demanding to see his parents. When, his troubles became more unbearable, the station called his parents to pick him up.
Mr and Mrs Robert had one of the happiest moment of their lives when Simon finally agreed to return home with them. They rejoiced gladly as they drove home from Lagos to Akure, Ondo State. Pastor Nelson had already waited them in the church. They had called and informed they would be branching at the church before heading home.
The Roberts arrived at the church around 3:00pm. The pastor was so glad to see them and to receive Simon into the church after all the years he fled from home. He welcomed them in a thanksgiving song and they all joined the spontaneous praise offering unto God.
After the family praise service, the pastor admonished and encouraged them in the Lord for the good works unto which they have committed themselves interceding for the church of Christ and the missionaries on the field proclaiming the salvation of Christ Jesus. They were very glad and full of great wonders how God was able to restore Simon and lead him home back to Christ.  








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