Written by Phatom

Special issue to the string of  Room 24 stories

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“Nigeria’s economy is bad.. now we just experienced it firsthand” – Eze
 ” I just fully understand what the Bible means by ‘like a thief in the night’ ” – Phatom

That mysterious day in the hostel happened to be one of those days ‘NEPA’ decides to keep Nigeria’s electricity for themselves, and as the night came, the sun’s effect on the atmospheric temperature still was not close to wearing off.
Even with the calm tone the night darkness brought, the heat was still unbearable but that was not the only problem the hostelites  had to face, there was no source of usable water and most of the occupants were out of battery on their smartphones, laptops and even reading lamps.
Unlike every other day where an argument must emerge before a productive step could be taken in any decision to be made, a quick decision was made to switch on the hostel generator which was strictly for charging and pumping of water.
“this level of suffering should be illegal” Phatom said silently as he struggled to lift the bucket of water he was carrying up the stairs to his room. “let me chill at eze’s side for a bit, then I will come and have my bath later” Phatom thought to himself ” … there is still suya left to share sef!”.
“guys oya make we chop the suya na” phatom announced as he entered Eze’s room which happened to be Romm 24, the headquarters for the Lxgents.
“where is Aso and Dam” Eze replied in a rather dull and weak tone, which was not surprising looking at the stress he went through that day. It was obvious he was well spent.

“Probably downstairs I will call them when go down to get my phone”
After several minutes of different unproductive talks and jokes, the four were gathered in the room to eat the suya.
Shortly after, they heard the generator gradually die off. It was obviously low on fuel. Before then, the four were through with the suya and Eze went down to retrieve their devices which they left to charge up.
 As he came in, he lazily dropped the extension box with the plugs still connected to it at a corner close to the bed and placed the laptops just beside the reading table. “that’s all for the day I guess. It is time to browse for a little while and then fall asleep” he reasoned…
“ok guys… I am off ” Dam said as he packed up and walked towards the door.
Dam’s exit from the room was followed by a sudden change in the tone of the atmosphere. It was quiet and calm. The remaining three faced their personal issues, they were equally tired and all waiting patiently for the second they will have to surrender humbly to sleep. 

Phatom picked his phone  up from where he left it, replied some ignored messages, took a nice posture on the bed, a posture that would allow him concentrate fully on the game he wanted to play. 

Eze kept fighting an endless battle with the temperature in the air that was abnormally above nomal for a time like that, by walking out of the the room at intervals to ‘recieve fresh air’. and ASO felt that taking a cold bath at that time would ease his suffering and solve all his life problems.
A.s.o opened the bathroom door to find out that there was not a single drop of water available , “guys I am going to fetch some water” he said as he picked one of the two buckets.  There was no reply for him as Phatom was deeply engrossed in the game. and Eze at that time was still on his endless stroll in and out of the room and showed no form of concern.
A.S.O hurried downstairs to fetch a pale of water 🙂 “stop there” A.S.O  heard a thick voice with low tone say just as he dropped the bucket beneath the tap. As he turned to look he was already surrounded by five unfamiliar masculine figures. 

Before his brain could consider placing the question ‘who are these?’ his eyes caught the presence of five unfriendly objects,and each one of them had one with him, 3 had with them short handy axes and two had with them short double barrels , and a locally made pistol. Almost immediately he heard “shhh… take us to your room” from one of them as they instantly parted ways for him in the middle so he can lead them through.
His legs moved ahead of his brain as he moved into the building without saying a word or showing any form of resistance. It was clear to him now, he was being robbed. ‘what can i do?’ was the question on his mind as he moved slowly. Finally an idea struck him which was surprising for the kind of situation he found himself in .
He decided to take the second stairs up which would take him closer to his housemates that were seated outside , so they could see him and also the second stairs gave him access to a longer route to his room, he was going to run into his room as soon as he got a chance.
These were the thoughts that filled his head in random fashion. As he turned slowly to ascend the stairs thinking he would get reaction from the housemates seated outside, he was disappointed. There was absolutely  no reaction from them as they kept on talking, it was now clear to him that no one saw him and that plan had failed. Time for plan B he thought.
As he got to the first floor he realized it was time to execute plan b.. ‘run’.!!!!!  it was time to run. As he looked up to face his room opposite his present location just so he can start running towards it, he saw the some of the gang members ascend from the other stairs and face the direction of his room. Running became more of a nightmare than an option, plan spoiled. He walked gently to his room with the armed men close on his trail.
“oya enter your room” Eze heard while standing at the corridor. as he took his attention off his phone by looking up he saw A.S.O with a larger masculine physic at his back. He understood what was happening at once and turned back inside almost immediately.
The both of them assumed a ‘ lying facedown’ posture beside the bed where Phatom was lying. With A.S.O in the middle of Eze and Phatom who at that time still had his full attention on the game he was playing.

A.S.O and Eze were known for plenty weird play, so it wasn’t abnormal for Phatom to think that the two suddenly lying next to him was one of their plays.
“wassup” he said, as he turned at the two with his full attention still on the game.
he hissed and continued with the game after getting no response from them. He still wasn’t aware of the presence of an extra body in the room.
There was nothing the other two could have done to call his attention to the situation. His was still in the same position lying down with his face up  and his phone directly above his face

“commot that phone” was what he heard that finally gave a brief gap, between his attention and the game. He moved the phone a little to the side. This gave him space to see the strange figure with a funny looking face standing close to him and looking directly at him. Probably one of their friends” he thought to himself and he placed the phone back in the initial position that obstructed his view as he continued the game.
“I say commot that phone” the stranger repeated himself in a louder tone. He seemed frustrated already and wanted to drive at a point… that he was in control. Phatom lowered his phone only to see that the strange figure was already leaning towards him with the axe on the strangers arm stretched too close to him.
The sight of the axe made phatom take the situation seriously, he dropped the phone face down at his side on the bed. Suddenly he was calm and quiet, with his mouth sealed he flattened his body on the bed and crossed his arms on his chest.
“better do well, gun dey our hand, we go burst your head if u no do well” the stranger said as he took his standing posture back to phatom all that was ‘plenty talk’ as he was more than terrified of the axe already.

 He turned face down and placed his face on his palm.
now the three were all lying face down in an obedient manner like innocent bullied puppies. literally they were being bullied.
Phatom got the last glimpse of his phone as the stranger picked it up. It was then he knew the true worth of the phone. He got the last glimpse of the phone and the game which at that time was still visible on the screen, before the phone was put away.
The stranger searched the room and started picking other valuables as he found them. Apparently he was the only one in the room . The three were filled with different emotions, Eze had anger written all over his face, A.s.o disgust, phatom was dissapointed and afraid, then he was only concerned about his life. 

The room was quiet but the compound was not, their hostel mates seated outside were still talking and the three could still hear their voices, so they knew other occupants of the hostel were not aware.
‘they can’t be taking all our stuffs and we will be lying down like this” Eze thought to himself
“guys, its only one guy in the room, let’s take him down” Eze said, as he tried to convince the two to reason along with him and take action.

“ehn”  was A.s.o ‘s  reply. A.s.o  has a way of saying ‘ehn’ in a sarcastic manner when he feels someone said something foolish, just to make the person repeat the sentence and get the flaw in it without him having to say it. But why A.s.o chose to be sarcastic at that time still remains a mystery.
It’s only one guy in the room let us take him down” he repeated, fully unaware that his roommate was just being sarcastic. Eze’s plan was for two people to attack while the third person locks the door. but it was a null thought. Aso wasn’t ready to face an armed person in a physical combat and phatom did not even hear a word that Eze said. But that wasn’t the only thing that nullified the plan, as soon as Eze repeated himself two extra strangers entered the room and went to stand by Eze’s side catching him unawares.
“wetin you talk now now” one of them said as he leaned toward him to hear his reply.

“I was telling these guys to keep quiet” he replied instantly while moving his hand in a gesture to shut A.S.O and Phatom up.That smooth lie came out due to fear rather than of intelligence.
“U want make we burst your head abi” another said facing Aso and Phatom.
after a while of quiet ransacking it was time for the strangers to leave. They had taken everything of value in the room.
“who get car for this hostel and who dey use gold?” one asked, it was clear that they had a mission and wanted to know the room of the richest occupant of the hostel, the one that has a car or wears gold. 

unfortunately there was none. but how can they relate the information in a way the strangers will understand and believe.
“we don’t know who uses gold or car in this hostel. we are new occupants”. Eze lied again. after hearing this Phatom now had respect for Eze’s lying skills.
“wetin u talk”
“we are new occupants we don’t know who uses gold in this hostel”
“kini eleyi so?”(what is this one saying). it was now clear they were not interested in the tush english
Eze spoke. Then all of a suden Aso and Eze turned to face Phatom who had since been staring at Eze after he heard the first lie. They did not have to say a word Phatom knew why they faced him. He is the only one that could speak yoruba out of the three of them.
“a mo eni ton lo gold ninu hostel yi”(we dont know who uses gold in this hostel)
“why you dey lie, you want make we burst ur head” one said as he aim the gun at phatom in an attempt to shoot if he did not get the truth
“abeg sir a mo eni to lo gold ninu hostel yi” Phatom said pleadingly “ejo sir”. He placed his face on his arm, waiting for their reaction, scared that they would place a scar on his body.
shortly after they all left the room.
Phatom told Eze to lock the door after noticing that the strangers had left which Eze did immediately. They began to search the room for anything, trying to see if the strangers left any phone by mistake so they could place a call to the police or any other authority that can help. But then room was dry, very dry.
After noticing that, they tried screaming for help, trying to alert the hostel  , to let people know that strangers are in the compound. just as they started, they heard the sound of the door trying to open and almost instantly the window net was torn with a torch and gun pointed into the room through the window. Eze and Phatom moved into the bathroom immedietly while A.s.o took cover behind the door.
“why unna dey cause trouble, come open this door”
The room fell to a state of pindrop silence. Gun and torch still pointed through the window, Eze and Phatom stood at the bathroom entrance waiting for A.s.o’s  next move. As soon as A.s.o got the opportunity he ran to the bathroom passing the line of fire of the gun.

 Soon the stranger left and the three stood in the bathroom, patiently waiting for when it would be safe to go outside , not a single word was said and the only thing there was to hear was the sound of three heart beating loudly and rapidly in a syncronous manner.

 Room 24 had fallen.

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