As soon as they branched to Ijemo street in Abeokuta, they saw a huge crowd gathered and people shouting on top of their voices.
Annie: “1st daddy please park your car I want to see what is happening there” she said pleadingly.
Ralph: “No! it is very dangerous, I cannot allow you to go there. I think it is jungle justice o. kai” he said when he viewed what was happening from a better angle.
Paul: “And on a little boy for that matter. Jesus Christ!”
Annie: “Daddy park the carrrrrrrr…” she screamed angrily stomping her feet on the floor of the car. The car went to a screeching halt at the corner of the road and Annie leapt out of the car before anyone could say anything to her (she was by the window side). She ran towards the scene of the mob action without looking back. They all exchanged bewildered looks and ran after her.
Dickson: “Annie waiiiit!” he shouted after her as she kept running as fast as her little leg could carry her.
Sammy was already very weak from the beating he had already been given while they kept shouting incentives at him. He heard someone call him a terrorist terrorizing the neighbourhood. He heard another calling him a killer, killing innocent people before snatching their belongings. “But I did not do all this. God where are you?” he looked up to the sky but all he saw was blood, blood that had dripped from cuts on his head and eyebrow. His lips had a deep cut too. He heard someone say “set him ablaze to serve as a deterrent to other thieves like him” and many of them agreed with him. Someone brought a tire and threw it over his head, he was too weak to even remove the tire, he just laid there giving up hope of survival. Just as he was closing his already half closed eyes to prepare himself for the pain that was to come, he felt someone lift the tire from his head with difficulty and lifted his head up rocking it on her laps. He was surprised because the person seemed really small. He opened his eyes and with his bad eyes saw a little girl looking down at him with tears all over her beautiful face, she reminded him of his mother. She smiled at him when she realised he was looking at her.
Annie: “It is okay! No one will touch you now, my daddies are here, and they will not allow anyone to touch you. The people around were surprised and kept taking pictures of the scene. The three men who were doing the beatings were angrier than ever.
1st man: “whose child is this? Come and carry her before we set her ablaze with this thief” he ranted.
Annie: “You will not dare it. Who are you to beat an innocent boy like this? There are big thieves out there who has stolen your future, why didn’t you go catch them and set them ablaze? How can you still want to set him ablaze with all the blood on his body? Let me tell you the truth, if you can open your eyes and do this to a young boy and even getting ready to set a living human ablaze then you are a murderer. It’s you who needs to be set ablaze. It’s you who needs to be taken off the surface of the earth” she said daring anyone to come even closer. The people around shook their heads in agreement to what she said and marvelled at her boldness.
2nd Man: “See, this small girl must be his accomplice, let’s set them ablaze together” immediately the words left his mouth, someone from the crowd stepped forward and gave him a stinking slap. Let me see you try that. By this time, her daddies were already standing behind her waiting for anyone who would make the move to touch her and the little bleeding boy.
2nd Man: “How dare you hit me like that you scoundrel?”
The Man: “It’s you who is a scoundrel and for your information, I am a police officer and my team will be here soon, guess who will be arrested? You and not this little boy. Like the girl said, you are dangerous to the society and I will make sure the three of you are charged for attempted murder. I saw the person who stole the phone and it wasn’t this boy, it was someone else…” he was still talking when a police van came to a screeching halt right where the whole thing was happening and sent some of the crowd skittering from the road. The three men tried to run away but people held on to them tightly while the police men disembarked from their vehicle, and bundled them into their waiting carriage.
Sammy was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was taken to the emergency room due to the multiple injuries he had sustained. Annie had wept all the way to the hospital, her hand and body were covered in blood. “Don’t worry friend! You will not die, I will pray for you very hard. I will ask my 2nd daddy to take me to church so I can pray for you there too” she said amidst tears as her entourage watched in awe.
Paul: “Come now let’s go home, I guess there’s no more Olumo rock for today”
Annie: “Please can I and aunty Ewa stay with him here? Please? Give her transport fare, we will come back on our own tomorrow” she said pleadingly.
Ralph: “No way! His parents will come for him, we are all going home together now. I have settled his bills for now. So baby, I am afraid we cannot grant you this wish” he said looking hurt when he saw the disappointment registering on her face.
Paul: “Let’s go now” he said and tried drawing her along but she refused.
Annie: “No! I will not leave him, I will never leave him” she said weeping in a way that tore their hearts apart. Dickson scooped her into his arms forcefully as she struggled and kept struggling, screaming on top of her voice…
Richard became frustrated in his search for his son. People contacted him to tell him his whereabouts but each time he reached there, it would be as if he had disappeared into thin air like he didn’t want to be found. He noticed that ever since Sammy’s disappearance, his wife had gone back to her normal moody self. She blamed him for Sammy’s disappearance and refused to allow him touch her or even talk to him. He stopped going home regularly, he lodged in hotels sometimes or go home with one of his bachelor friends. He kept late nights most times and got back home drunk.
That night, he got back home and found that Ophelia had been waiting for him unlike the other nights when she wouldn’t even act like she cared. She sprang up to her feet as soon as she got a whiff of his presence.
Ophelia: “Where are you coming from by this time?”
Richard: “None of your business” he replied and walked tipsily towards the kitchen.
Ophelia: “How can it be none of my business when I am your wife?”
Richard: “Ahahahah… wife? I didn’t know I had a wife in this life and for your info, my wife is dead and I don’t know who you are” he said with sarcasm apparent in his voice. The alcohol flowing into his veins had made him unusually bold towards her.
Ophelia: “What do you mean by that Richie?”
Richard: “I said my wife is dead and I don’t know who you are or why you call yourself my wife” he reiterated his earlier statement and she burst out into tears.
Ophelia: “Then what am I doing here?” she asked with her left hand on her chest.
Richard: “Even I do not know the answer to that question. What exactly are you doing here? It’s not like you warm my bed at nights, you even stopped cooking for me so tell me what on earth are you here for? I punished my own son severely just to save your dignity and now he has gone missing. Instead of you to lend me your moral support, you are giving me attitude, for what? Did you marry me for me or cos of my son?” As soon as he said this, what Sammy told him came rushing back at him. “Wait! Was Sammy probably right? What he said about you, were those right? You know I never really asked you these” he said with his gaze boring into her.
Ophelia: “How can you ask me that? Don’t you ever ask me that kind of question again. I actually waited for you to make some restitution but I never imagined you’d turn out to be a jerk” she said and walked out on him.
Everything came rushing back at him, the way she was when they were dating. How tight she was when they first made love even though she was not a virgin. How happy she became during the time Sammy alleged was the time she started molesting him and how fast she went back to being moody when he disappeared. “Oh Sammy! Were you saying the truth? I hope not, I am just over reacting. I guess I should stop drinking alcohol, it is mushing up my brain. There is no way she would be a lesbian or a paedophile. Yeah no way! I know her very much, Sammy just wanted to get her out of the way” he said
Question: Do you think Richie will ever catch Ophelia’s bad acts? Should the Daddies leave Annie and Ewa behind like she requested?
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