Saturday, 23 July 2016
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Sean got into Lagos and as soon as he arrived, he called his fiancee.
“Back already?” She asked.
“Yea…I’m back, I actually just got off the plane. How are you?”
“I’m okay…I’m missing you, that’s all.” She said.
“Hmmm…me too…so are you coming over to my place today? Let’s spend a few days together.” He said.
“Well, I don’t know if that’s a good idea…I am at work and I have a lot to do. Can we leave this till maybe weekend?”
“Okay then, but I’ll come pick you up after work.” He said.
“Sure, of course…” She smiled and hung up.
His friend John was by his side all the while he spoke to Cherry.
“That’s Cherry huh? Your lady-love.”
“I love that lady like crazy, it’s almost as though I’m obsessed.”
“Where is she from?” John asked.
“What’s your business with that?” Sean asked.
“It’s nothing really, I just wanted to see if she belongs to the tribe that jazzes their men.”
“Hahahaha….very funny. Cherry is a sweet, down to earth and God fearing girl.”
“I’m happy for you bro.” John said.
“I’m happy for myself.” Sean said. “I have a parcel for her, a very big one , something she won’t believe.” Sean said.
John smiled and patted his friend at the back.
Cherry was at work smiling as she typed into her computer, she loved love, she loved being in love and she can’t remember not ever being in love in her entire life. Sean was her everything, he made her smile, he made her happy and he was very wealthy to boot which means she could get everything she wanted and more.
“Cherry!” A colleague of hers called out.
“What’s up?” Cherry asked.
“There’s someone waiting for you downstairs.” Her colleague said. “And by the way, congrats again on your engagement, your ring is out of this world.”
“Thank you….” Cherry stressed, looking at her finger with the huge diamond ring, Sean had given her. “Who’s downstairs by the way?”
“I don’t know, he refuses to give his name, he says it’s a secret.”
“Are you serious? Okay…” Cherry said, leaving her desk and hurrying off downstairs to the reception.
She got downstairs to see Mitch seated on one of the sofas at the reception, holding in his hands, yellow beautiful flowers. Cherry’s eyes widened, she quickly slipped off the ring Sean had given her and put it in the pocket of her blazer.
“Mitch!” She called out.
Mitch turned to look at her and gave her a big smile.
“Hello baby…” He greeted as he stood up with the flowers and handed them over to her.
“Wow…thank you.” She said.
“I was in the area, I submitted my CV to a company down the road, one of my guys that schooled with me abroad linked me up. His uncle heads the board….”
“Wow, that’s good news! Congratulations.” Cherry said.
“Well, thank you but it’s not yet finalized. I just submitted my CV and they said they’ll get back to me.” He said. "I pray I get the job because it means that we'll work closely and I'll get to see you all the time."
“I wish you all the best dear.” She said.
He looked around the office reception and said.
“You have a beautiful office….”
Cherry forced another smile, she really wanted Mitch to go before her busy-body colleagues came downstairs and started asking questions.
“Errr…Mitch, I’m kinda busy…” She said.
“Oh, I’ll wait.”
“Wait? I don’t think you’ll want to wait…I’m really busy and I have a load of work to last me a lifetime.”
“Look at me baby, I’ll wait for you till closing time and we’ll go home together.”
“Go home together?” Cherry squeaked. She had a date with Sean tonight and there was no way she was ever going to let that slide.
“Yes, it’s almost three pm, so I’ll wait till five and…”
“I don’t close at five besides I have a load of work and I might close by ten today.” She lied.
Mitch sighed and looked at her.
“I really want to wait for you.” He said.
“Wait for me? Naaa…that’s not necessary okay…the weekend is almost here and we’ll err…be together then.” She said quickly.
“Okay then…I guess I have to go.”
“I’m so sorry honey…you know I love nothing more than spending time with you.” She said.
“Yea, I understand…I’ll be off now. I’ll call you this evening…” He said.
Cherry waved when he left and just as she was about heading upstairs, a call came in from Sean.
“Hey baby…” She said. “You just called me hours ago.”
“Step outside your office…” Sean’s voice said.
“Outside my office?” Cherry asked as she headed over to the exit door.
“Yes…” He said.
Cherry stepped outside and walked out to head out through the gate. Sean was standing there with one of his impressive rides and right there beside him was a red brand new vehicle. Sean walked up to her, took her hand in his and dropped the keys in her palm.
“It’s yours baby.”
It was a miracle that Cherry didn’t scream, she stared at the vehicle and jumped into Sean’s arms.
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My goodness! I can’t believe this!” She said.
“You mean more to me that you can ever imagine.” Sean said with a smile as he held her hand.
Cherry hurried towards the car, opened it and got in, it was brand new and she was amazed at the interior of the car. She stepped out and hugged Sean again, kissing him and not caring if people watched.
Mitch walked to the bus stop and waited for a bus to his destination, as soon as he got there, he perched against a pavement at the roadside and composed a long sweet text to his fiancee. It was no secret that he loved Cherry beyond words and he wanted to show it to her anyway possible. He finished typing and pressed the send button.
The bus he was waiting for arrived and he ran to secure a front seat as well as some people who ran behind him. As soon as he got into the bus, he smiled, he was back in Nigeria where people chased buses as though they aren’t paying for transportation. He thought of how Cherry got to work every morning and knew she took the bus, he prayed that he got the job with the company he’d just sent his CV to. The first thing on his list once he got his salary was saving up to get Cherry a car.
Madu waited at the gate for the school bus to drop off his daughter, and soon, the bus was driving towards their gate. The bus stopped and the child minder alighted and carried out his daughter from the back seat, what he saw left his mouth agape. His daughter’s arm was bandaged.
“What happened?” He shouted.
“She was on the swing when it broke and she fell down and sprained her arm.” The child minder said.
“What?” Madu shouted.
“There’s a letter from the headmistress, the school will take care of the bills.”
“Are you guys crazy? How can you place faulty game equipment on school grounds?” Madu shouted.
Kamsi reached out to him and he took her from the child minder.
“We are so sorry sir…” The child minder said, handing over the letter to him.
Madu took the letter and stormed off into the compound with his daughter. They entered the house and he proceeded to help her remove her uniform, he was scowling.
“Are you angry with me?” She asked.
“No…I’m angry with your school management. What if something bad happened? What if you broke your head?” Madu spat.
“They said I don’t have to go to school tomorrow…” Kamsi said.
“You don’t have to go to school? Where will you stay?”
“At home! You lost your job remember? So you’re at home for now.”
“No baby, I got a new job and I can’t stay home tomorrow.” He said.
“And I can’t go to school either.” She said.
Madu released a pent up breath as he studied his daughter’s bandaged arm.
“I wish great-aunt was staying here with us, she’d have been here with me in the house.” Kamsi said of her father’s aunt.
“Yea…but she’s in the village.” Madu said as he walked over to the bathroom to get her bath ready.
Stella stepped into the house and saw Madu cradling their sleeping child with a bandage on her arm and asked in alarm.
“She fell from a faulty swing at school.”
“What? How come? Didn’t the school check their swings before kids climbed on them?”
“I really don’t know…I spoke to the child minder and she said the school will foot the bills.”
“Is that what you should be looking out for? Our child almost died and you’re spitting about bills.” His wife screamed.
“Don’t yell at me! What did you expect me to do?”
“I expect that you would have stormed off to the school and demand an explanation for this!”
“It was already end of school hours and…”
“You’re such a weakling!” Stella fired.
“What did you just say to me?” Madu asked in anger.
“You heard me, you are a weak man! How could you sit here and do nothing when your daughter was almost killed at school? Where you waiting for me to put on my superman gear and head over to the school and demand an explanation?”
Madu was so angry, he had never felt this angry at his wife before, he quietly lay his daughter on the sofa and walked out through the door. He knew that if he sat in the house a moment longer, he’ll do something he’d regret.
He walked out of the compound and kept walking. Nothing was making sense to him anymore, his wife’s degrading tone, his wife’s insults and in fact everything. After spending about an hour outside the house he walked back to the compound. He tried opening the door but it was locked, he knocked quietly at first and after a while, knocked harder.
“Stop wasting your time Madu, you’re sleeping outside today. Since you can't be a man, then there'll be no roof over your head tonight besides, I pay the rent!” His wife shouted from within.
To be continued on Friday….
Friday, 22 July 2016
Thursday, 21 July 2016
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Promise closed her eyes in pain when she received the news of Bernard’s death. His cousin had called her to tell her that he'd found his dead body in his room. She hung up the call and quickly called for a meeting with the church workers. Everyone assembled, including Alice who didn’t care that Gift was giving her side eyes for being at the meeting.
“Something bad has happened to us.” Promise said in an emotional voice.
Alice was surprised to see Promise emotional, this must be something really serious. She thought.
“Bernard…passed away in his apartment. His cousin just found his body in his house.” Promise said.
Everyone gasped. Alice stared at Promise, her eyes were instantly filled with tears and when they fell, another batch readied itself.
“What? Bernard? I spoke to him yesterday, what could have happened?” A worker asked.
“I have no idea, I guess he was sick or something. All I know is what the neighbours told me…” Promise said.
“This is too sad…too sad.” Another worker said.
“May his soul rest in peace.” Gift said with a short sniff.
“When he was with you yesterday, did he complain of any problems? Maybe headaches, dizzy spells or anything like that?” Alice surprised everyone by asking.
Promise jolted, she looked at Alice and said in a snap.
“I wasn’t with Bernard yesterday.”
“But he said he had to accompany you to see the land.” Alice said.
Promise was shocked, she remembered asking Bernard if he’d told anyone where they’ll be and he said he had told no one anything. Where was this coming from?
“Gift normally accompanies me on that kind of mission. I don’t know why Bernard would say such a thing.” Promise said.
“Thank you so much for informing us pastor, I’ll contact his family and see if there’s anyway we could help with his funeral.” Gift said as she turned and gestured that the workers follow her out.
Alice followed them but Promise’s voice stopped her.
Alice stopped and as soon as the door was shut, Promise said.
“Bernard brought so much to this church and you and I know him for who he is. I suggest that you go to his house and send my condolence to his family.”
“On my way to your office yesterday, Bernard saw me and he told me that he was going to get his bag because he was going to see a property with you. What happened to him, Promise? What happened to him?” Alice asked in tears.
“What are you saying? Are you implying that I killed him?”
“Everything in this church has changed. It doesn’t even resemble the house of God anymore!” Alice cried.
“I’ll pardon you because it’s not your words but grief that’s speaking through you.”
“I loved Bernard, he was the only man I ever truly loved and suddenly, Gift came and he turned his attention from me to her. I felt it was a stage and that it would pass then all of a sudden, I hear that he’s dead? The Bernard I saw yesterday was hale and hearty…there must be an explanation to how he died.” Alice said in tears.
Promise advanced towards her.
“Listen to me Alice, people die. We could be here one day and the next day we’re gone! It’s not a new thing! And if you feel that God has left this church, then why are you here? I remembered I fired you and you came back begging to stay.”
“I came back because…your mother…she came to me in the dream…and asked that I return.”
Promise looked at Alice in shock.
“That’s not my mother, my mother is gone and she’s stopped paying visits to me in the dream, talk more you. That woman you see in the dream is someone else and not my mother!”
“I’ve seen your new power in action, I’ve seen you pray for dead limbs and they come to life. I’ve seen you raise a child from the dead. This is Bernard we are talking about. He’s a devout member of this church and one of your most trusted followers. Can’t you pray that he rises from the dead? Can’t you?” Alice cried.
Promise breathed heavily, it was obvious she was trying to control her temper. She raised her hand and gave Alice a sharp slap on her cheek.
“Wake up Alice! Wake up and don’t get left behind! Bernard is dead and he’s never coming back! Get that into that skull of yours.” Promise said.
Alice looked at promise and at that moment she didn’t know what she saw; a woman of God or a devil in human skin, she couldn’t tell. She placed her hand on the cheek that Promise had slapped and turned away, heading to the door and leaving the office.
As soon as Alice left, a choked sob left Promise’s mouth and she placed her palm over her mouth to avoid crying out. She hadn’t been able to sleep through the night as she had kept tossing from one corner of the bed to the other. Bernard’s eyes as he died kept haunting her and she knew it’ll hunt her forever.
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Alice stood and watched as the box with Bernard’s body was being lowered to the ground. Every worker in the church was there except Gift and Promise. They had an important meeting with a Christian organization, they said.
Alice had dreamt of Bernard during the past few days after his death and in her dreams, he didn’t look happy, he looked as one who was betrayed. Alice knew something was wrong, there was something fishy about his death and she hated to think that it had anything to do with Promise. As the dust fell on the hard casket, she made a vow to herself and to God, that she’ll create a space for God outside the church and groom herself prayerfully because the way she saw it, she was a sheep in a den of wolves.
She felt pain in her cheek and touched the slightly swollen face, it's been almost a week since Promise slapped her and the side of her face that suffered the slap hasn't been the same. It hurt and it was very tender and looked as though she was suffering from some kind of toothache.
As they left the cemetery, her phone rang, it was Japheth.
“Hello Japh…” She greeted.
“Alice…how was the burial?” He asked.
“It was fine, Bernard is resting with the Lord now. Promise couldn't be here so one of the junior pastors did the funeral service.” She said.
“I am really sorry for your loss. I wish I knew him and I wish I could be there.”
“You are in town, you traveled for your business, there’s no way you could be here.” She said.
“I’ll be back tomorrow and I wanted to ask if you could come over to teach me more on the bible.” He said.
Alice paused then she said.
“I have a better idea Bernard. Why don’t you come over to my place instead? It’s small and not as luxurious as Promise’s house but I feel …” She said not knowing how to say she felt God’s presence more in her house than at Promise’s house.
“Sure…of course…” He said.
“We’ll also be praying as well. Let’s make it a bible study and a prayer group kinda thing.” She said.
“Sounds like a plan. Thank you so much for your help Alice…I am so grateful.” He said.
“You’re welcome.” She said and hung up.
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Promise sat in a hotel room and stared at the television. She had been warned by the queen and Sir Gideon not to attend Bernard’s funeral. According to them, she killed him and there was no telling what could happen there at the burial site. Her heart broke as she thought of Bernard’s body in the earth, she knew she’ll miss his voice, his singing and his personality. She was still deep in thought when there was a knock at the door. She walked over to open it and Gift walked in.
“The burial is over, we can go back to the church now.” Gift said.
“Just for clarity, if we are asked the Christian convention we went for, it is the ‘Christian Convention for West Africa and it held at one of the churches in town’.” Gift said.
They both had made up excuses to attend a non-existent conference all in a bid to stay far away from Bernard's funeral.
Promise looked at her and said.
“Do you think I made the right decision?”
“Right decision in what? Killing Bernard or not attending his funeral?” Gift asked.
“You have no choice in this. This is what you signed up for and you can never run away from it till your dying day.” Gift said.
“I feel terrible…” Promise said.
“Don’t…you’ll still offer up more, this is just the beginning.” Gift said and when she saw the look of shock on Promise’s face, she continued. “I heard you tried offering me up and found out that I am one of the queen’s daughters.”
Promise looked at her and looked away.
“It gets easy with time, this is your first kill and in order to grow more powerful, you need to sacrifice more. So, if I were you, I won’t dwell on Bernard but start thinking of the next on the list for sacrifice and if you know what's good for you, the next on your list should be Alice. She’s a nuisance and it would do you a world of good to get rid of her once and for all.”
To be continued….
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
It was a Monday morning and Eloise dragged herself off the bed, she yawned and stretched. The clock struck nine am and she was thankful to have come back to Nigeria during the holiday period. Her sister’s kids were ever ready to take care of her kids and from the sounds of laughter coming down the hall, she knew the kids were having a time of their lives.
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Rose boarded a bus and headed home, she needed to get the weight off her chest and confront her aunts once and for all. She got home and quickly entered the house, the door was open so she walked in.
“Lizzie is that you?” Aunt Cassie called out and stepped out from one of the rooms.
She saw Rose and her face broke into a smile as she rushed to hug her.
“Rosie we were so worried…thank God you’re fine…” Aunt Cassie said.
“I needed to clear my head but apparently I discovered that I was being lied to all along. Why auntie? Why did you have to lie to me?” Rose said with tears in her voice.
“What are you saying Rose? I didn’t lie to you…I’d never lie to you.” Aunt Cassie said.
Aunt Lizzie walked in through the door and on seeing her niece, she rushed up to give her a hug.
“Are you guys going to tell me the truth?” Rose asked.
“What are you talking about? We’ve never lied to you Rose.” Aunt Cassie said.
“Yes you have. You lied when you told me that my parents were abroad and had kept me in your care. You even lied that the two of you were in-laws and not sisters and that aunt Lizzie is my mom’s sister and you, aunt Cassie are my dad’s sister.”
Her aunts stared at her in silence.
“Tell me the truth. Did my mother abandon my father for his money or not?” Rose asked in anger.
“Yes…she left him because he had nothing. It was her leaving, that killed him.” Aunt Cassie said.
“I can’t believe you’re so ungrateful. We took care of you, we nurtured you, we gave you everything you ever dreamed of and is this how you want to pay us back?” Aunt Lizzie shouted.
“You didn’t give me everything I dreamt of. You thought me to steal, you thought me to live like you did. I was almost raped by one of your male friends and that’s the reason we had to relocate. Don’t pretend as though life has always been rosy with you because it never has.”
“Rose! How can you say all that about us?” Aunt Lizzie fired.
“You lied to me, you both lied to me and now I’m giving you both the opportunity to come clean. To tell me the whole truth from the very beginning….please…” Rose said with tears in her eyes.
“What truth? The truth is what we told you…your mother is a slut, she left to be with her present husband because she wanted the finer things of life. What other truth are you looking for? We took care of you Rose, we looked after you, we love you.”
“Yes, you did all that…you even made me help snag Clara’s dad…you made me get close to her in order to get to her father.”
“Didn’t that profit you too? Don’t talk as though you haven’t been enjoying her friendship!” Aunt Cassie said.
“My father told you on his death bed to return me to my mother and you refused…” Rose said.
“What? Did Veronica tell you that lie? How dare she? That’s not true, my brother never said that.” Aunt Lizzie started.
Rose brought out her phone and played the recording that Raymond had sent her. The look on her aunts faces was that pure horror. Their eyes widened in shock as they listened to all they had said.
“Who recorded this? Veronica was recording us?” Cassie said in shock.
“No, her son was and he gave it to me to really understand the women I’ve spent the most of my life with. I don’t hate you both but the fact that I gave you a chance to come clean to me and you never did hurts me more than you can imagine and breaks my heart.” Rose said in tears.
“Rose…we…we…” Aunt Cassie cried.
“I’m done with you guys. I’d rather live under a bridge like one without a family than live under the same roof with liars like you.” Rose said and ran out of the house.
Aunt Lizzie and Cassie ran after her but Rose was quicker, she rushed out of the compound and saw Clara’s gate open so she dashed inside and locked the gate.
Clara let her mother and aunt in, she was speechless and had no idea of what to say.
“Who’s at the door Clara?” Her father asked.
Veronica and Camille walked into the house and he stared at them in surprise.
“Yes, it’s me Michael.” She said.
“You haven’t aged a day…” He said.
Aunt Dumebi and mommy stared at Camille and her sister.
“Who are you?” Mommy asked Camille.
“I’m Clara’s mother.” Camille replied.
Mommy rushed up to Clara and held her close.
“No, she’s my daughter.” Mommy said.
Clara struggled to be free from her hold.
“How…when did you arrive?” Clara’s father asked.
“This morning and this is my first stop…” Camille said looking at Clara.
Clara didn’t know what to say, she just stood there and stared at her mother.
“What do you want? Clara is fine here…she has loving parents and siblings who love her.” Mommy started.
“She’s my daughter and I’m here to see her.” Camille said.
“Michael, please don’t let her take her away. We have lost so much in our family and I can’t bear if we lose more.” Mommy cried.
“The last time I checked, we are not a family.” Her husband said.
“What? Are you going to throw all we had in the dust because your daughter’s mother?” Mommy cried.
“I haven’t said anything like that.” Michael said.
Camille turned to Clara and said.
“You’ve grown so much…I can’t believe how big you are.”
Clara tried to smile but her lips felt so heavy.
“Can we have a private moment?” Camille asked Michael.
“Yes, sure…I mean, she’s your daughter too…so sure.” He said.
“No!” Mommy shouted and held on to Clara’s hand. “She’s more of my daughter than she’ll ever be yours so I don’t want her talking to you.”
“Will you stop this rubbish at once?” Daddy shouted.
Clara pried her hands away from mommy’s and walked up to her mother.
“Sure…we can go to my room.” Clara said.
Veronica sat down on the couch as Clara and her mother stepped into the room. Mommy began to cry loudly. The doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it.” Veronica said standing up from the sofa, as she knew that no one inside the house was emotionally ready to answer the door and there was a sudden awkwardness between Michael and his wife.
She walked over to open the door and when she did, she froze. Standing at the door was Rose and she was in tears.
“They lied to me…all my life, they lied to me…” Rose said and launched herself into her mother’s arms.
Veronica felt as though the stars had left heaven to kiss her lips, she clung on tightly to her daughter and said.
“It’s going to be alright baby, mommy is here now…”
Clara stepped into her room with her mother, she really didn’t know what to do or what to say.
“Your room is very pretty.” Camille said.
“Thanks…I shared it with my sister, Kendra.” Clara said.
“Oh, where is she?” Camille asked interestedly.
“She passed away…” Clara said.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry.” Camille said.
“Thanks, we are trying to work past the hurt…” Clara said.
They both regarded each other silently and Clara said.
“That’s my wardrobe and err…that’s my bed….” She said as she pointed to her bed at the corner.
Camille looked at the room and at Clara’s bed.
“Your bed is nice…” She said.
“Yea, the sheets are worn out but hey, they’re just sheets.” Clara said nervously.
Camille sat on Kendra’s bed.
“Your mom, is she good to you?” Camille asked.
Clara shrugged, there were tears in her eyes but she fought them back.
“She’s better.” Clara said.
“I can see the difference in the sides of the room, and I’m not meaning to speak ill of the dead or claim that your parents didn’t give you their best but did Kendra ever have more than you had?”
“It’s all the in past now…bringing back the memories will only cause more hurt.” Clara said.
“Can I hug you?” Camille asked standing from the bed.
“Sure…” Clara said not budging.
Camille walked over to hug her and held her close for what seemed like an eternity, when she broke the hug, they both had tears in their eyes.
“There’s no night that I go to bed without thinking of you, how you’re doing, where you are, what you looked like…I think of you every blessed day.” Camille said with tears in her eyes.
“Can I come with you? I mean, I have to rewrite my exams but can I maybe go with you to wherever you’re headed? I don't really want to stay here anymore.”
Camille took her hand in hers.
“From today, I’ll never let you out of my sight and yes, you are coming with me.” Camille said.
Clara smiled and ran to open her wardrobe.
“I’ll pack a few things and we’ll go…” Clara said as she pulled out a bag and packed her clothes.
“You’re rewriting your WAEC?” Camille asked.
“It’s a long story but the good news is, I’m sure I’m going to pass this one.” Clara said with a smile.
James and his father sat at the clinic and waited for the doctor.
“Where have I gone wrong with you, James? Where?” His father asked.
“I’m really sorry dad…I…have done a lot of bad things, and I regret them all.”
“Do you know what a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea could do to you?” His father asked.
James shook his head.
“As soon as you’re done with your WAEC exams, you guys are relocating to join me. This long distance family thing hasn’t really worked for us.” His father said.
“Do you hate me dad? Do you?”
“No, I don’t…we all make mistakes in life and if we hated everyone we loved, who will we love?” His father said.
“I feel so guilty about Kendra, she was a good girl and I got her pregnant and denied the pregnancy. I don’t think I can forgive myself, it’s as though she died because of me.”
“Well, the both of you share in the blame. You had evil intentions, and she liked you enough to have sex with you even though she shouldn’t have. Teenage sex is not the best…” His father said.
“I didn’t get this STD from Kendra but from…”
“A woman called Jezebel…she’s a…” James started.
“I don’t want to know.” His father said looking grim.
“I’m really sorry dad.”
“Yea, me too. When we get home, we have to sit together like a family and discuss the way forward. I won’t have your mother continue to play a deaf ear to whatever complaints people make about you. She should be firmer.” He said.
“I’m really sorry dad.” James repeated.
Soon the nurse ushered them into the doctor’s office and they both walked in.
Rose left her aunts and moved in with her mother’s family, her aunts were hurt but they couldn’t stop her from moving forward. She still kept in touch with them and six months later, Aunt Lizzie married her long-time boyfriend while aunt Cassie relocated from the estate and soon started a trade.
James turned a new leaf and he and Raymond grew closer as brothers than before, and now that they had Rose as their elder sister, they were happier. After the WAEC exams, the family moved to their father’s base but Rose didn’t move with them, she still had her OND to complete. Her mother and new father helped her get a hostel and during the holidays, she paid her family visits. She also visited aunt Lizzie and Cassie too and forgave them for all the lies they’d told her, anyway, it was all in a bid to keep her and she was glad that they considered her worth fighting for.
Clara’s dad and step-mom reunited just for the sake of their two remaining children and they are still working on their marriage as they enrolled for counselling.
Clara got a visitor's visa to stay with her mom for a while and when her WAEC results came out and she passed, her mother began processing admission for her in a good university in the UK. Her parents split her tuition costs.
Accidentally, the school she had registered in was the same with Oliver’s. Imagine them bumping into each other on the school grounds, they couldn’t be more happier.
Rose and Clara were closer even now that they were cousins and Rose came visiting during one of her holidays and the girls went about shopping and having fun. Clara’s step-mom made it a duty to call her and check on her every week and Clara could tell that she wanted to make up for all the years she’d hated her and she was grateful.
Kendra was never forgotten as Clara took a picture of her sister wherever she went and paid visits to her grave whenever she came home to Nigeria.
Camille was so grateful to have found her daughter and finally said ‘yes’ to her longtime boyfriend. She had formerly refused to get committed with any man till she reunited with her daughter and her daughter approved of him. Even though Clara wanted to have her mom to herself for a while, she did approve.
Love is patient, Love is kind, Love does not envy, Love does not boast, Love is not proud, Love is not rude, Love is not self seeking, Love is not easily angered, Love never fails and Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Let's all learn to live in love.
Monday, 18 July 2016
Judith thought she couldn’t go any further, the wound on her leg hurt so bad and she wasn’t seeing clearly.
“Oh God! Please…help me…please…” She cried as she stumbled down the road.
She had no idea of where she was headed, or any knowledge of her environment. She knew she wasn’t in Ibadan but was close to it. She was still limping when she heard prayers coming from a church, she looked up and saw a church ahead, so she headed towards it.
Once she reached the gates, she fainted.
Dakota didn’t know where to begin so, she started with Nancy. Nancy had been in her family for many years, in fact for as long as she could remember and she knew Nancy loved Judith so much. What if? She thought, ‘What if Nancy didn’t want the wedding to hold? She could recall that Nancy always said to Judith that the house would never be the same with her gone. Nancy had loved Jude too and Jude had died and no one was more affected by Jude's death than Nancy. What if Nancy was trying to protect her own interests by working hard against the wedding.
She made her way into the compound and heaved a deep sigh, coming back home held so much memories for her. She went round the back and saw Nancy sorting out the garbage bin.
“Nancy…” Dakota called out.
“Yew!” Nancy started looking angry.
“Hey…wait, I’m here for peace and not war.”
“Gew end peck yer remaining teeenz end get ewt eef here!” Nancy said in command.
“Yes I am here to pack my things but Nancy, do you really want me to go? Where do you think I’d run to? I have nowhere to go…”
“Yew hev a faether!” Nancy said.
“Yes, and he has a family. This is my family. I don’t know if his family will ever fully accept me but all I know is, this is where I grew up. I had happy memories here, at this backyard where Jude, Judith and I would run round chasing one another.”
Nancy wiped the tears from her eyes.
“Nancy, you have to believe that I had nothing to do with Judith’s disappearance.”
Nancy nodded and looked at her.
“I came to make things right with you, and with everyone in the house. I know I must have disappointed everyone one way or the other but believe me, I wasn’t thinking of hurting anyone when I chose the kind of life I wanted to live.”
“Yew dreeged femily neeame in med!” Nancy said.
“Yes I did and I’m sorry, I have began working on myself and I have thrown away the phone I used in contacting those clients of mine. Right now, I just need Judith to come home so that everything would be alright.” Dakota said.
“Gew tew de keeethen. Heeve yew eaten?” Nancy asked.
Dakota smiled and shook her head, indicating that she hadn't eaten. She entered the kitchen and sat down on the wooden chair. Nikky walked into the kitchen and was startled to see her.
“Dakota! What are you doing here?”
“What do you think I’m doing here? I’m here to find out once and for all who's behind our sister's kidnap.”
“Are you nuts? Mom disowned you.”
“Well, I’m back.” Dakota said.
“Don’t cause further harm Dakota, go back to where you came from.” Nikky said.
“Listen to me Nikky, and listen good. We can’t trust anyone…no one at all. Judith hasn’t been found yet and I’m sure that…”
Madam Zeena walked into the kitchen and saw Dakota.
“What are you doing here?” She asked in anger.
‘Who’s your mother? I’m no mother to a shameless whore! Get out of my house now!” Madam Zeena said.
Mr. Gregor walked in, he was with a walking stick. Dakota saw him and her face fell.
“What are you doing here Dakota?” He asked.
“I came to see all of you and ask for your forgiveness.” Dakota started.
“Leave this house now!” Mr. Gregor said.
“You’re not my daughter, you never were and you never will be. Get out!” He said.
Nancy walked into the kitchen and saw what was happening.
“Whaet eez wroeng weet all eef yew? Dakoteee eez here tew esk fer perdone! Whee ere yew sendeen her ewey?”
“Keep quiet Nancy, you know too well how wicked Dakota is…” Mr. Gregor said.
Ese chose that moment to walk into the kitchen, she was surprised to see the whole family in the kitchen. Richard followed closely behind, he had just come into the house to see Judith's dad and had seen Ese in the sitting room, and she'd informed him that Mr. Gregor had stepped into the kitchen.
“What are you doing here Dakota?” Richard spat.
“Is this your house? Why are you asking me what I’m doing in my house?” Dakota fired.
“This has ceased to be your house. You are not welcome here.” Her mother said.
“If you all threw daggers at me or arrows even, it would be much better than these words of hate.” Dakota said, fighting the tears from falling.
“Mom, please…Dakota has a point.” Nikky said.
“Go to your room Nikky.” Her father said.
“No daddy, I won’t go anywhere, I’m not a child.” Nikky said.
“This is a family gathering, I have to go and see my husband at the hospital.” Ese said as she turned to leave.
“Please send him our love.” Madam Zeena said. Then addressing Dakota, she said. “Leave! Now!”
Dakota nodded and left the house through the back door.
Two women were on their way out of the church when they saw Judith on the ground unconscious. They quickly alerted the members of the church and they took her away to the church clinic.
“Who are you? What is your name?” The doctor asked her.
Judith didn’t speak, she watched the drip flow into her veins and sighed in relief.
“Can you remember your name? Who you are? What you’re doing at the church gates?” The doctor asked.
Judith didn’t speak, she wanted to but something told her to keep silent for a while.
“You are lucky to have been found at the entrance of the church. The wound on your leg has been cleaned and we’ve given you a tetanus shot. You are very lucky. A wound like this could lead to amputation and even death but it seems God’s on your side.” The doctor said.
Judith still didn’t speak.
“You’ll rest here for a while before we let you go. Don’t worry about the cost or charges, this is a church clinic and medical care is free of charge.” The doctor said and left.
Judith stared at the small room and breathed in relief, she was so grateful to be out and alive. She made herself comfortable on the bed and felt a something hard touch her stomach. She pushed her hand into her wrapper to retrieve the small album she had taken from her captor’s place. She opened the album and flipped through.
There were pictures of young men, pictures taken in a university campus. She saw pictures of Capi and the other men who had held her hostage including the one whom she’d stabbed. She flipped through the pictures and as she did, one of the pictures fell out. She picked the picture. It was a picture of Capi and about twelve other young men. She turned the picture to the back and saw the scribbled words.
‘Capi, our second in command with the members of the gang.’
There were also the full names of everyone in the picture as well as their nicknames, written in small letters at the back of the paper. She saw Capi’s name and surname and instantly felt a jolt of recognition. Tears clouded her eyes because at that instant, she knew exactly who was behind her kidnap and she knew why.
To be continued tomorrow…