Read the full opening chapter from my story Honour which is featured in the Love and the Lawless Anthology OUT NOW.
HONOUR by Kiru Taye
A selfless act costs Kane everything and earns him a prison sentence. A power show gains him freedom and entry into the Yadili underworld. Family, loyalty and honour are all within his grasp.
Including Sahara, the daughter of his boss, who reminds him of the love he lost and she’s totally off limits. A forbidden desire could cost him everything again, including his life.
Footsteps thumped along the long, dark concrete corridor. Two uniformed guards flanked Kane Waziri as he walked towards the thick gray door at the end. Metals rattled, and the barriers slid apart. Bright light burst through the opening, almost blinding him.
Lifting his left hand to block the glare, he squinted and crossed the threshold. Another twenty steps took him past the gated razor-wire fence. The clanging barricade behind him announced ‘freedom.’
He inhaled heated arid air and surveyed the area. Pebbles prodded the soles of his booted feet.
The prison stood at the end of a long, dusty, empty road. There was nothing but green shrubs, trees and grey earth as far as eyes could see.
He tugged at his collar, the black t-shirt clinging to clammy skin. The pair of navy denim made his skin itch, considering they hadn’t been his usual daily attire for the past twenty-four months.
No taxi would materialise out of the dusty haze. He had nowhere to go even if he did get a ride out of this no-man’s land. No family waited for his return. No friends to let him crash on their floors until he could find his feet.
At least in prison, he’d had company, a roof over his head and one meal a day in his belly. There had been some normalcy to the grim existence.
Still, he didn’t look back at the dark structure he’d exited, never one to dwell on the past. There was only one way to go; forward and into an uncertain future.
He heaved a sigh and started walking.
In the distance, a cloud of dust billowed in his direction. A few seconds later a black vehicle screeched to a halt, metres away.
“Need a lift?” a male voice called out.
Kane ducked his head to stare at the man visible from the rolled-down front passenger window of the luxury SUV.
“Okey, what are you doing here?” he asked in a disbelieving voice.
His former cellmate grinned, flashing white teeth. “I wanted to surprise you. Get in.”
Kane’s mouth dropped open. He’d long resigned to not relying on anyone but himself. Certainly not ex-prison buddies.
In a post-second-civil-war Nigeria that had become gravely fractured along tribal lines and where allegiances were polarised in a North versus South divide, he had never referred to a southern as a ‘friend’.
Not exactly true.
No. He wasn’t about to bring ‘the woman’ into this.
This was about Okenna ‘Okey’ Odili, the nephew of one of the most influential kingpins south of Rivers Niger and Benue.
He’d saved the man’s life once, and Kane considered his early release from prison sufficient payment for that favour.
The man owed him nothing, and they weren’t friends.
Kane had no friends. He didn’t need them.
He was a lone wolf.
Okey hadn’t turned up here to give him a free ride out of the goodness of his heart. Something was up.
Regardless of his suspicions about Okey’s motives, he would take the lift in a comfortable car rather than trek for miles fuelled by nothing but principles.
Principles were bullshit anyway. His had earned nothing but trouble so far.
“Thank you.” He muttered and slid into the black leather back seat, pulling the door shut.
“The look on your face, though.” Okey chuckled.
“I’m shocked. How did you know this was my release date?” Kane asked.
“I asked your lawyer.”
“You mean your lawyer. You paid for him.”
Kane couldn't have afforded the top tier advocate who had gotten his case reviewed, resulting in his prison sentence being commuted.
But with a cellmate like Okey, anything became possible.
“No more than his usual retainer. He’s the family attorney. And after what you did for me, you are family.” Okey tapped the driver’s shoulder. “By the way, this is Nnamdi.”
“Good to meet you,” Kane said, meeting the man’s curious gaze in the rear-view mirror.
“Same here,” Nnamdi replied. His dreadlocked hair packed in a stylish top bun, he appeared younger in the button-up long-sleeve shirt, similar to his front passenger’s. But while his was sky blue, Okey’s was white with blue stripes. They both wore dark trousers. They looked like business execs.
This only reminded Kane of how out of place he was in the outfit he’d acquired from the prison store.
“Where to?” Nnamdi glanced at his front passenger.
“Back to the city,” Okey replied and twisted in his seat to look back. “Unless you have somewhere else in mind.”
Kane shrugged. “No.”
He didn’t know anyone in the state, and he wasn’t in a hurry to go anywhere else. Right now, sitting in the comfort of the cool car rather than doing the long trek to civilisation under the hot sun was enough for him to relax.
Nnamdi spun the car around and headed away from the prison, stone crunching under the wheels, dust flying.
Another chapter of Kane’s life was closed.
But was it?
Okey adjusted one of the knobs on the central diamond-cut controller disc, and Afrobeats filled the space. Radios had been luxury in prison, so the music sounded beautiful coming from the illuminated speakers on the door panels.
They drove for about two hours. Okey and Nnamdi occasionally spoke in Igbo. Kane didn’t understand the language. But he could translate some essential words—something about a guy at the seaport customs.
He didn’t blame them for excluding him when they talked business. He was little more than a stranger.
Which begged the question? Why had Okey turned up outside the prison today?
The music changed to a familiar up-tempo track. His heart battered his chest.
“Please increase the volume,” he said before he could think better of it.
“Sure. You like the song?” Okey grinned as he turned the knob.
“I haven’t heard it in a long time,” he said.
Conversation receded, replaced by music. Kane was transported to another space and time.
Sitting on the bed and watching her sway to the rhythm of the song. He’d never been much of a dancer. But he’d been happy to watch her, every move, every smile, every curve, and every pore. Her hair messy and wild, as she smiled seductively, bewitching him. The time he’d spent with her had been the best of his life. Then everything had changed.
“What do you want to do first?” Okey’s voice drew him back from his daydream.
Kane stared blankly at the man, working his brain to figure out what he’d missed.
The scenery outside the car had changed from brown arid rural grasslands through dense green vegetations to concrete, smog and city lights beckoned in the distance as the cloudy sky darkened to dusk.
“When I came out of jail, I wanted sex, sustenance and then sleep, in that order. What about you?” His prison mate continued and turned in his direction as the car joined the start-stop evening traffic across the business district.
Kane chuckled. “You did?”
Okey grinned. “Yeah, man. Three months in there was just too long to go without a babe. And you were in there a lot longer.”
“True.” Two years was a long time without the soft touch of a woman. A good night’s sleep had been in short supply too. However, he craved something else. “I would really love some seafood okra soup.”
“Sustenance, it is. I know where to get the best food in town.”
Introducing the antiheroes of the Love Africa Press collections:
Dauntless and indomitable, brutal and lethal, these dark heroes take no prisoners in their quests for retribution. And when love shines a light into their lives, they will protect their beloveds no matter the costs.
PURPLE AND WHITE by Emem Bassey
THE MESSENGER by Julie Onoh
TEMENOS by Obinna Obioma
HONOUR by Kiru Taye
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