Patiently, Namdi stood as he watched the car disappear down the road. He was a few buildings away from his office. You can't be too careful, he thought. It was a strange car ride. He looked up at the now dry heavens, stars hidden away by the bright lights of the city center. Barefoot, he began to walk, soon reaching the gates of 'SHAGARI INSURANCE'. He ignored the surprised looks of the men who manned the gates. With a quick sweep, he found his car still there in a now sparse parking lot. Searching pockets for his car keys, his fingers bumped into his phone instead. He lacked the courage to look at it knowing what he would find.
Car keys in hand, Namdi stopped at the trunk of his car, looking around as it opened. He was alone. Within the boot of the car were sets of clothing. With one last look around, Namdi began to strip. Each piece of clothing he peeled off left his body lighter. From his pocket he brought out his wallet, ribbon and phone; placing them in the trunk. Still feeling slightly damp, he ripped open a dry cleaning poly-bag, grabbing the shirt within as a makeshift towel. Before it reached his body, he stopped. It was the Brioni. First gift she had ever got him. He hadn't thought much of it at the time; that is till he wore it. Nothing he had owned felt so right on his body, giving him a feeling of eminence. Later, with a quick Google search, the price tag had begun their first of many fights on how much she spent on him. With reverence, he folded it, placing it back in the bag. Retrieving another shirt, he began to towel himself down. His phone lit up.
A single message displayed on its screen, "Where are you?" It was nearly 9 PM. Picking up the phone, Namdi began to type. Each line of text he wrote, he would delete seconds later. Over and over he typed and deleted, every answer inadequate. Frustrated, he dropped the phone, quickly dressing up. Grabbing his wallet, he emptied it. Out came different ATM cards and a single photo. With the shirt, he dried the plastic cards in his wallet. With extra care, he tentatively dried the photo, placing it in his pocket. Phone in hand, he got into the drivers seat, turning on the car. Thoughts of lies, of throwing the phone out the window and declaring it stolen were addressed and discarded. Unable to think of anything else, Namdi grabbed the steering wheel and screamed. Over and over he screamed at the top of his lungs. The sound proof Mercedes allowed no sound to escape. Veins on his neck and throat began to bulge and strain; his vocal muscles stretched to the limit. He screamed till his voice was hoarse; till his throat was parched, dry and throbbing with pain.
Pulling out of the building, he headed home. The roads were nearly empty, the recently stopped rain keeping drivers off the slick streets. He gripped the wheel tighter, foot pressing on the gas pedal. Picking up speed, the car splashed rain water to the sides; a man made waterfall reaching heights that would dwarf a masquerade on stilts. The car sped down the street, a traffic light on amber rapidly approaching. He wouldn't make it. Still, Namdi pressed harder on the accelerator. At the point of no return the light turned red. He completely ignored it knowing he would not be able to slow down in time. From the corner of his eye, he saw a truck making its way into the intersection, their paths destined to meet.
Slamming the break, Namdi swung the wheel, fishtailing from one side of the road to the other. The tires struggled to gain traction on the wet slippery road as the car barreled towards the intersection. With a hair’s breath to spare, the Mercedes careened past the truck, coming to a stop just after the intersection. The nose of the car faced the concrete barrier, dividing the express two lanes away. His heart pounding, gasping for breath, Namdi wiped beads of sweat from his forehead. To his right, his phone thrown to the floor flashed. It grabbed his attention for a split second before his gaze returned to what was in front of him. A thought came to him while staring at the concrete barrier. Adrenaline coursed through his veins. Checking to make sure his seat belt was still on, he slammed his foot on the accelerator. Closer and closer the barrier came. He braced himself as metal met concrete. The car hit the barrier head on with a sickening crunch. Metal crumpled, air bag deployed and a seat belt dug into the chest of Namdi, his consciousness rapidly fading to black.
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