“All In A Night’s Work” by Jermaine Kudiabor.

Innocence breathed deeply, then tugged his black jacket closer around his shoulders. It was a chilly night. There was a full moon, and it provided the only light along the tarred road. The street-lights had long been destroyed by the wayside robbers who prowled this route, and had not been replaced by whoever was supposed to be in charge. Once in a while a taxi would roar by, its headlights making it look like some amber-eyed monster. The bush on one side of the road was filled with the music of crickets, and the occasional sound of some creepy-crawly moving within the undergrowth. This was the scene for a perfect horror movie. Or a mugging.

“Hey you”, a voice said. “You know the directions to New Ejisu?”

Innocence looked towards the bush and had his view almost fully obstructed by a massive chest in a black and white stripped muscle shirt. Innocence wasn’t a shrimp, but this guy reminded him of WWE matches between Great Khali and Rey Mysterio. He could smell the heavy scent of weed in the air. The figure stepped into the moonlight and Innocence, much against his own will, gulped. The guy’s dark, hard face had a long scar from the right side of his forehead to his cheek. His red eyes quickly went over Innocence’s jacket and black knapsack, his Tag Heur gold watch and moved down to the black Levis and expensive Nikes he had on. A sly looking grin twisted his already dangerous looking features.

“You’d have to walk along the road till the get to the crossroad junction, then you turn right.” Innocence croaked.

“Since you seem to be going there I hope you don’t mind if I tag along?” the smile appeared again, the scariest attempt at affability he’d ever seen. Innocence couldn’t say no, so they set off together. The giant took his time walking, and Innocence had to shorten his stride to accommodate him. His name was Gideon, but everyone called him “Shotta”, he said. He inquired after Innocence’s name, and where he was staying. He also said he was from the nearby nightclub and had gotten lost on his way home, and that Innocence was the only one he’d seen that night. That last statement put him at rest somewhat, but he still didn’t let his eyes of the huge man. Was it a trick of the moonlight, or did he see a grin when he told Shotta he didn’t stay anywhere around here?

“Don’t move!” Shotta barked.

Innocence froze, just as he asked. The moon had chosen this time to hide her face in a cloud, as if terrified of what was to come. Even the crickets in the bush had gone silent. They were alone.  The blow to his head wasn’t hard enough to knock him out, but he still saw stars as he fell to the ground.

“That’s so you don’t have any funny ideas. Give me your watch and other valuables before this becomes more painful. For you.”  He added as an afterthought. A kick in the ribs made Innocence grunt in pain.

“Please I beg”, Innocence said weakly as huge hands grabbed him by his jacket and hauled him to his feet.
Innocence let the jack knife he’d palmed as he lay on the cold road slash across the man’s throat. Shotta stepped back as his blood started to trickle down his neck like a waterfall of wine, his eyes opened in shock. Innocence followed a step, plunging his knife into his chest over and over again, even as the man lay still on the road. He knelt by the thug, his arms shaking and breathing hard with exhaustion, but with a maniacal grin on his face. He ripped open the man’s shirt and placed the tip of the knife under his left breast, and pushed downwards…
By the time Innocence was done cutting out the heart and testicles from the dead man, he was covered in blood. He took out the spare clothes in his knapsack and changed into them, wiping the blood carefully of him. He wrapped the body parts the fetish priest required for the ritual which would make him rich with the soiled clothes into his bag. He dragged the body into the bush and continued walking along the road to New Ejisu. The moon was back out now, so he could see better.  He tried to whistle an accompaniment to the crickets’ symphony, and there was a spring in his step as he walked, his sneakers crunching on the gravel.

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