Note: Abandoned means i don’t think I’ll be working on it anymore. Try to enjoy.
That’s what the sign read – bridge closed. I stared at it dumbly, not knowing what to do. Despite running at full sprint for the past 10 minutes, I still didn’t make it.
“But the idiot radio announcer said the bridge would be left open till 5pm. It’s just 4.30pm. Damn it!” I said more to myself than anyone else seeing that no one else was left on the island.
I looked at my wristwatch, and then my cell phone just to confirm it was still working and I wasn’t dulling myself. Both said 4.30pm.
I could feel the sweat wetting my shirt at the back and my armpits felt icky. I probably just broke the world record, covering about half a kilometer in 10 minutes. Too bad nobody is going to be around to cheer. Not unless I get this blood sample to the research lab in Lag.
I fell on my ass exhausted and drew out a water bottle from my backpack. As I guzzled down water, I took in how eerily quiet Lagos Island had become. Cars were abandoned everywhere and nobody was on the streets. The only sounds I could hear was the rhythmic gulp gulp in my throat. That and the distant moaning drifting in from the wind.
They’re getting close.
I unlocked my cellphone and brought up the chat screen.
Me – Just missed my window. Bridge closed. Suggestions?
Dr. Ogechi – Damn it! That’s very bad.
Me – … 😦
Dr. Ogechi – What about the other bridge? I know the zombies had already overrun the barricades over there. So it’s crossable.
Me – Yeah, and so was the Red Sea before the Egyptians raced into a watery grave.
Dr. Ogechi – I see no better option
I know she’s right. Dr. Ogechi is always right.
Dr. Ogechi – I’ll let Captain Balogun know you’ll be coming by that way. He’ll make his men keep an eye out for you. …Hurry. And Simi… be careful.
I searched around the block for somewhere to spend the night. No point, getting munched in my sleep.
High ground. I need to get to high ground.
I jogged along the middle of the street, searching for a building that hopefully would provide safe shelter for me overnight.
I ticked off a mental checklist: Tall building, at least 3 stories tall, no broken windows, walled in on both sides by equally tall buildings… Bingo!
I stood in front of the Ecobank building, craning my neck upwards till I could see the top of the building.
Let’s pray the air conditioning still works.
I crouched at the metal detectors/electric doors and hooked up my trusty old smart phone. The Hackr app came up. It began running algorithms and checking for back channels. Who said hacking isn’t a survival skill? 3 minutes pass, my toes are killing me, my lower back aches and I’m still watching numbers queue up on the phone.
I considered force-closing the app and starting over. Sometimes, these apps fall into a loop and stop responding. Just when I’m about to do so, I hear a low moan. It’s quite low, so low you’d be tempted to ignore it. But I ignored it once, and my brother paid the price.
The bank is near the end of the street. If whatever is making that moan turns the corner, it’ll see me and… let’s just say, I’d rather avoid another meeting with it.
The app’s still running.
Please please please, for once in your life, don’t be a stupid phone. Just break the stupid code.
As though on cue, the phone beeps and displays – Doors unlocked. Code reset in 10 secs.
I scrambled through the door. It wasn’t until I heard the clunk of the door security system resetting that my mind began functioning properly again. I heard my heart banging against my inner ears like a marching band. It felt so loud I was scared that whatever was outside would hear me inside.
Eventually, the independence parade in my head subsided and I started walking around the rooms. The number of times my body had culled up adrenaline that day had me reeling from exhaustion. I eventually settled for one of the big offices upstairs. The office was so big, it had its own toilet. I chose to setup camp in the toilet. Right now, paranoia is safer.
As I lay on the blanket, I took out my phone and pulled up my messenger app again. I scanned first for my wife, Lara, then my daughter, Esther. Both accounts hadn’t logged in since yesterday. Meaning either they were in a telecoms deadzone or they had lost their phones. I didn’t want to consider the third possibility.
I turned on my music app and looked for an audio bible. I looked for the part that mentions God not sleeping or dozing off. Psalm 121. Right. I put that on a playlist along with Dylan Thomas’ poem And death shall have no dominion. I leave the two tracks on repeat and wait for sleep to come.
Everything is going to be fine. You’re going to be fine Simi.
Sometime later, maybe about a half-hour or so, sleep found me.