He raised the compass as high as he could but then he heard the shuffling of feet outside his door. He quickly hid the compass under his bed, laid on the bed and pretended to be asleep. The door slide open and Ophelia tiptoed into the room. She sat on the edge of the bed…
Ophelia: “Sammy…”she called his name in a whisper. “Sammy?” she tried again when he did not answer her. He stirred a bit, the right side of his face was swollen and reddish. She had taken with her a bowl of warm water and towel. She dipped the towel into the bowl and squeezed out the water, reached out towards his swollen face with it but he flung her hand away. She tried again and the same thing happened.
Sammy: “Please stay away from me. What exactly do you want from me now?”
Ophelia: “I am just trying to help you”
Sammy: “I don’t need your help. So just leave me alone” he said and turned away from her.
Ophelia: “Hmmmmmm! How can a boy be so stubborn?” she said and sighed again.
Sammy: “You think I don’t know you are the one reporting everything to my dad? You are such a nine tailed fox aunty and I hate you from the bottom of my heart”
Ophelia: “Hate me as much as you want. This is just a tip of the iceberg. Just imagine what his reaction would be when I tell him how you readily gave Annie up?”
Sammy: “I did not readily give her up, she was snatched away from me” he sat up with a scowl on his face.
Ophelia: “Who do you think he will believe? He already knows you as a spoilt little brat. See I will advise you to just thread carefully and start coming home the time you used to before. Don’t even stay ten minutes late otherwise…” she stood up and stepped back from him. Looked at him for a while, shook her head and left leaving the bowl and its contents behind.
Sammy looked at her retreating figure and cursed her in his mind. “Mum even if you are dead, do you have to just stand by and watch our lives ruined by this usurper? I heard the spirit of dead mothers do fight for their progenies but you, why are you sleeping so much? God! I am your child, you did say children are your heritage so why do you watch while I am being tormented?”
Annie, now six years old was just as brilliant and smart as Sammy when he was the same age. Her daddies were so proud of her academic excellence that each time she came first in her class, they got her a mirage of toys and any other things she wanted. She was indeed a princess living a fairy-tale life. Ever since that fever of hers, they took extra care where she was concerned, taking her to the hospital every month for check-up: they did not want a recurring incidence.
It was the end of third term in The Embassy Primary School, her nanny Ewatomi went to pick her up from school. Ewa was a very caring and nice lady of twenty three years. She, like her daddies doted on her and was very attentive to her just like a mother would be. They had to get a nanny for her when she was three years because their jobs became more demanding. At first they were afraid to leave her in the care of an outsider because of all the stories they’d heard and read about evil nannies and maids but Ewa who was Ralph’s friend volunteered to help out since she was not so busy. She wanted to do it free but they insisted on paying her.
When they got home, Ewa was so curious to know what her report card stated…
Ewa: “Now that you have eaten Annie love, please can I see your report card now?” she winked and contorted her face in order for Annie to take pity on her and show her the card but she just laughed.
Annie: “Ahahahahahaha…see your face like rat shit! I will not show you. Never!” she said hiding her card behind her.
Ewa: “Where did you hear rat shit from o. this girl you are getting spoilt fa”
Annie: “My aunty in school do say it to anyone who is crying unnecessarily in class”
Ewa: “Okay o but why? Why won’t you show me? I thought we were friends?” she said pretending to be sad.
Annie: “Yes we are friends but I want to show my daddies first. Even I have not opened it yet. Let’s wait for them you hear? Don’t be sad, I will show you after I show them then I will show myself too” her voice was just like that of Alice in Wonderland.
Ewa: “Awwwww! How can you be so sweet?” she said and gathered her into her arms. “How I wish I gave birth to you, then I wouldn’t ask for anything much in this life again but just a comfortable life for you”
Annie: “That reminds me…Who is my mother?” She disengaged from her embrace to look at her.
Ewa: “Uhmmmm!” she did not see the question coming.
Annie: “Okay don’t answer that. There is no way you’d know anyway” she said and strutted to the front of the TV to watch cartoon on Nickelodeon station. “Can I watch cartoon now please? Since I will not be going to school anytime soon and I have many days to do my assignment?”
Ewa: “Yes baby you can” she replied smiling fondly at her.
The heavy hands of sleep was upon her but she refused to succumb to it, she clutched her report card in her hands waiting for them to return.
Ewa: “Annie, come let me tuck you in now, it’s almost 9 o’clock and you are supposed to be on bed latest 8:30. You will show them tomorrow okay?” she said approaching her.
Annie: “No! I will wait for them” just then she heard their car horn outside. “Tada! They are back” she said excitedly.
As soon as Paul had stepped in, he saw Annie running towards him with an envelope in her hand. He stooped down and threw open his arms as she jumped into it.
Paul: “My ever happy daughter” she gave him a peck on the cheek and went over to the Ralph and Dickson, embraced and pecked them one after the other beaming with smiles. “Why aren’t you asleep yet? It’s way past your bedtime.
Ewa: “She was waiting for you o”
Annie: “See my report card” she extended the envelope to him. He took it and tore open the seal, unfolded it and “wow” escaped his mouth.
Ralph: “Let me see!” he said and snatched it from him. “Wooooow! Our baby is a genius. You got a double promotion to primary three? Come and give me a bear hug jooor…” he said and scooped her into his arms spinning her round and round until she could laugh no more.
Dickson: “But how can a girl be so smart? She got 100% in all of the subjects except Yoruba where she got 95%. Wow! We will go shopping on Saturday. Where would you like to go this time? Shoprite?”
Annie: “No! I don’t want anything this time…” she looked down.
Paul: “Hey! Is anything wrong? How can our Annie not want anything after getting a double promotion?” he said worriedly.
Annie: “I want to know my mum. Everyone in school has a mum and dad but I only have three daddies and no mum. I want a mum too” she said choking on tears.
The four of them exchanged confused looks. That was the first time she ever asked about her mum.
Annie: “Is my mother dead? If she is dead then one of you should get married so I can have a mum. Aunty Ewa is a good person, why can’t one of you marry her?” she said looking from one embarrassed adult to another.
Paul: “Don’t worry, you will know your mum soon okay? I just hope she really is alive and not relenting in her search for her daughter”
Richard could no longer bear the tension between him and his son. The wound on his face had healed remarkably fast but the one in his heart remained fresh. At night when he thought Ophelia was asleep, he sneaked into Sammie’s room to talk to him.
Richard: “Sammy wake up” he tapped him on the shoulder. Sammy jerked up in his sleep thinking it was his step mum.
Sammy: “What is it this time? Why won’t you let me rest? Would you have turned me to your sex toy if I were to be your son?” he said drowsily looking distraught.
Richard: “Sammy what are you talking about?” he shook him vigorously.
Sammy: “Sir? Sir?” he was jerked awake at last.
Richard: “Who is turning you to sex toy and where did you even hear that word from?”
Sammy: “I read it from a novel. It’s nothing dad” he said and tried to go back to sleep but his dad stopped him.
Richard: “Come on talk to me. You did look terrific while saying that a while ago. What is happening?” he asked persuasively.
Sammy: Daddy, I say never mind. I was day-dreaming
Richard: This is unusual. Where did you hear that from? Something is fishy. Talk to me Sam. I’m your father.
Sammy: “Hmm… It’s…it’s…aunty” he started to weep.
Question: Could that be end of the road for Ophelia? Will Richard believe Sammy?
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