As the sun rose on the horizon, it soon became clear what had happened. All through the night, we heard different sounds, a baby crying, voices of adults raised in anger, alarm, and panic.
Shouting from the next house was not strange, we were all used to the couple in the next house fighting each other. We previously used to go over there and settle misunderstandings, but everyone was tired. The people in the community have tried to arrive at a permanent resolution to their frequent quarrels at least for the sake of their children, the youngest of whom was an infant to no avail.
Each time, they promised to change and do better, but no, they had to fight at least once a week. It kind of seems like they were marking attendance, and if they don't fight at least once a week, they won't fill their quota.
Frankly, I could care less as long as they weren't fighting in my house, how is it my business? I just want to rest after a long day of hard labor. But that was the problem, their fights always started at night. It was almost as if they used to target the time so, they could frustrate well-meaning neighbors and deprive us of sleep.
I have found a coping mechanism though, I would simply plug in my earbuds, use my pillow as the first line of defense against their noise, and drift off to sleep.
Only it was different that night, yes it was. The noise was different, it was loud. My earbuds and pillow couldn't guard me against this particular noise. I tossed and turned around for several minutes, and finally gave up on sleep. I sat up in my bed, flung my pillow away, and removed my earbuds. I tilted my head to the side window that opened out to the next house and tried to make out the cause of the noise. I could usually see into their house because I was living in a storey building, and their house was a bungalow. It wasn't a modest kind of bungalow, it was the type that only an experienced, expensive, and brilliant architect could design. As far as I can tell, the house sits on about 10 acres of land. It is surrounded by trees by their design of course. They have a pool in the compound and the ground is decorated with well-maintained carpet grass. They lived in luxury, and you could tell that they had lots of it by the dozen, expensive cars in their house.
I had always wondered what usually made them fight, they were rich and had excess money to take care of themselves and their three kids. I know money is not everything, but it is almost everything. If I had half the money they had, I wouldn't even be fighting with anyone. I'm just going to enjoy the peace that comes with having money and being wealthy.
This particular noise was like a remix of different sounds, I couldn't make out a particular one, but one thing was clear, the couple wasn't having their regular fight, it was different in a way I have yet to determine.
I stood up from my bed and walked to the window, trying to get a peep into their compound. It was dark inside their compound, and that was the second mystery. No matter how bad the electricity was in the neighborhood, you could always count on their compound to be well-lit. They had solar, inverter, and generator for their light sources. The compound was always bright even during their numerous quarrels. Something was wrong.
I walked to my door and opened it, I peeped left and right in the corridor before stepping out. I made my way to my next-door neighbor's apartment, and knocked quietly while whispering his name, "Bayo, Bayo, are you in there?"
Bayo opened the door only slightly and peeped before opening the door all the way. "Sola, why aren't you asleep?"
"The same reason you aren't too," I replied searching his face for any sign of sleep.
I entered his house and he told me he had been unable to sleep due to the noise from the next compound too. We both concluded that surely something was wrong.
Three more neighbors from the other apartments in my building came to knock on Bayo's door and said the same thing, they couldn't sleep as well. The noise coming from the next compound wasn't regular. We decided unanimously that two representatives should go and investigate to find out what was going on.
I was the first volunteer, I wanted to get it over with and get back to sleep as soon as possible, i had an early shift the next day. We debated for a few more minutes to select a second representative as no one wanted to go. Most people like mystery, it's just that people hardly wants to be the one to unravel it, anything could go wrong.
Bayo eventually decided to go with me, he was the caretaker of the house after all, the reason why we were all gathered in his apartment.
We were set to leave when out of nowhere, we heard the roar of a lion, followed by the sound of something similar to a bomb coming from the said compound. Could it be a bomb? We all ran to hide, under the bed, behind the curtain, and in the bathroom. I was just telling my girlfriend last week that nothing could ever scare me, I didn't know the universe would set me up.
A few minutes later when everything was calm, we all came out and converged beside the bed. It was around 3 am by this time. No one dared to suggest that Bayo and I should proceed with our investigation, everyone stayed put.
We were like that till daybreak, each one of us lost in his or her thoughts. I dozed off a bit and woke up around 6 am. Everyone was still there, no one made any effort to step outside Bayo's room, it was still dark outside.
A few minutes past 6 am, the sun began to set, and daylight tuned in. The gate to our next-door neighbor's house creaked open, and we all trooped to the window to see who it was. The couple came out, crying profusely and comforting each other.
We waited for a few more minutes to ensure the coast was clear before we filed outside to speak to them. The incident was unfortunate, but it still didn't engulf the funny elements.
Our neighbors were robbed by sophisticated thieves who ordered them to switch off the generator so as not to activate their security protocol during the robbery. They came heavily armed with guns and knives. "Did they bring a lion and bombs too?" I couldn't stop myself from asking, I had to know.
They didn't, they brought speakers with loud sound effects that created the roar of a lion and the sound of a bomb to prevent people who might want to display courage from coming near. I couldn't hold it in, I burst out laughing. We were all fooled. Everyone turned to look at me with scorn and I closed my mouth.
The million-dollar question is, how come no one among us thought of calling the police???