Iye Oz came home tired. She had been at the hospital all day. She went to the bathroom at the back where all the compound people had their bath and had her bath. As she bathed she thought about a lot of things that had happened in her life. How she lost her husband to assassins sent by a business rival. She could remember been driven from her marital home by her husband’s people who called her a witch. How she started the bush market that allowed her the funds to pay the rent and feed her children. How the children had to drop out of school because of there was no money; with Ozegbe going on to become a mechanic and Osamudiamen giving her body to men so she could pay school fees. We don sufa too mush. Na so we go kontinu to sufa? Osalobua abeg help us. We no kill o. Na to live naim we dey. Ma fine pikin don ton wood for bed…God abeg. Do dis miracle, I go go church. I go bon all d juju wey dey my room. Abeg, make I no bury my pikin. Na my pikin go bury me. She silently wept and prayed as she bathed.
Doctor: “where is the patient in this room, Nurse Esther?”
Nurse Esther: “doctor, I don’t know o. she was here when I checked last o.” the nurse said worriedly, checking the room. There was no sign of the previous occupant. She had simply vanished into thin air.
The doctor looked at the nurse in irritation.
Doctor: “call her mother and inform her that are daughter has woken up.”
Nurse Esther: “ok sir. Do I also tell her that her daughter had disappeared too?”
Doctor: “no. let her come first. We have to have a plan in other to search for her effectively.” The nurse nodded her head and rushed out of the room. The doctor walked round the room and went to the window. He looked out of it and saw the bedspread tied to the window. He smiled. You are alive and rational then.
Bimpe packed her books and left the lecture class. She was thinking on how to go about the assignment she had to submit the next day. As she walked, her head was bowed. Someone called her name but she didn’t hear, so deep in her thoughts. Her name was called again and she still didn’t hear. Someone tapped her shoulder and she jumped in shock. She turned and sighed in relief when she saw her friend, Nnenna, pretty ibo girl. Nnenna was beautiful and intelligent but she like man too much. Bimpe have had enough of men; they came with too much trouble.
Bimpe: “see how you made my heart skip. You know I don’t like shock na. You ehn.”
Nnenna: “sorry. I called you but you were deaf to the world. Sorry.” She replied laughing.
Bimpe turned and started walking away from her, angrily. Nnenna noticing that her joke did not go down well with Bimpe, went after her.
Nnenna; “am sorry na. I was only kidding.” She apologized as Bimpe’s phone rang.
Bimpe brought her phone out of her bag and saw that it was her mom. She had not spoken to her since she left Lagos. Her mom’s actions had hurt her too much to bear. She reluctantly picked the call.
Iya Bimpe: “Bimpe! Bimpe! So it has come to the point when you will not call me or pick my calls ehn? Look at this ungrateful child. I have struggled and hustled to make you comfortable and you cannot send common sms or call me. No problem, shey you will be broke soon and will need money? Shey you will call me then? Anyway, I called you to ask if you have seen or has Osas contacted you?”
Bimpe: ‘How will Osas contact me? Is she not in Uselu again?” she asked surprised. Nnenna’s ears perked up on hearing Uselu and Osas. Bimpe had poured the painful tale to her as soon as she resumed.
Iya Bimpe: “well it seems she woke up and ran away. They found a bedsheet tied to the window frame.”
Bimpe:”so she’s awake. Eh… thank God o!” Bimpe asked excitedly.
Iya Bimpe: “eh we thank God. if she contact you, please call me or your aunt in Benin, okay?”
Bimpe: ‘okay mom. How are you?”
Iya Bimpe: ‘mtschew… now she asks. Call me with your credit and ask me. Stupid girl.” Bimpe sighed and dropped the phone back in her bag.
Bimpe: ‘my cousin has woken up finally.”
Nnenna: “That’s good news.”
Bimpe: “She is missing.”
Nnenna: “Oh… that’s bad o.”
Bimpe nodded. They got on a campus shuttle and the bus drove away.
Iya bimpe dropped the phone on a stool. Everything is happening well to God’s glory. The police are now on the track of those criminals and her niece had woken up. She was happy. She looked through the window and saw Iya Olayinka, Jide and a little girl walk pass. She looked lean, the poor woman. What was I supposed to do? Those her children, especially that Kola were no good. She sighed, her good mood evaporating. I pray God to take charge sha, I was just protecting my own.
John sat with Chinenye in the police station. They wanted her to identify some people. Kunle and Segun had been busy and quite useful. Thugs were all hiding now as the police had descended hard on all their hangouts. She sat quietly and pointed out the remaining two men who were among the three men who tried to rape her months ago. The police though were not satisfied with the people they had in their net. They still had a case to solve. To solve it they needed the big fish; Attila or Kola. They sent John home with his sister after thanking them for their contribution to the solving of the case.
Detective Calixtus had just turned to enter his office when he saw John running back and calling his name. He turned and waited for him until he could make out what he was saying. He was shouting “officer come, officer wait, come. Come officer.” Thinking something bad had happened he ran back to where John was coming from. A female police officer was standing with Chinenye.
Detective Calixtus:”what is the problem?” the little girl pointed at a picture on the wall. It was a picture placed on the board where they put pictures of wanted criminals. He looked at the picture and it was a picture of Kola; his scared face making look like a demon come to devour. He turned to the little girl.
Detective Calixtus: “that is Kolawale Oluwaseun AKA Stone-cold. He is one of the leading suspects in our investigations. Do you know him?” Chinenye smiled.
Chinenye: “that’s my guardian angel. “
John was surprised. He looked at the picture closely again. Detective Calixtus looked at her and the picture in confusion.
John: “if you question the two men, she pointed out today, they will tell you that it was only one of them that managed to penetrate her. They will tell you about a stranger who came out of the darkness and laughing, beat them up blue and black, after which he carried my sister and dropped her at a hospital. Nobody knew him and he didn’t say his name or stay. The only thing the nurses said, he said was, “she is a woman. No woman should be treated so.” They all remembered his scared face and the way his lips lifted up on one side. This man is not a criminal.”
Detective Calixtus looked at the picture of the brooding menace that was Kola and shook his head. He turned and ordered a junior officer to arrange the interrogation room immediately. He intended to find out the truth of this matter today.
I don’t like this girl’s presence here o. what proof does Bunmi have that she is my kid? Jide thought to himself as he watched his mom plait the girl’s hair while telling her a story. She was laughing happily. Even with the dimples…she looks more like Kola o. hmmm….did Kola still go back to Bunmi after we started dating? No! I know Kola. Once he is decided, he is difficult to influence. Mtschew… Which kind rubbish be this now? And Shelley is coming in two weeks time. A car horns outside. Jide got up and looks outside and behold, a taxi driver was bringing out boxes from the booth of his car and a familiar redhead stood looking at him with dark shades on. Shelley was in Lagos. How did she get my address? A pair of long legs stepped out. Jide opened his mouth wider as Craig came out smiling.
Craig: “Hi Jide. Brought ya love to ya. She won’t let me be. I know you must have missed her a whole lot?” he looked him all over. “You look real healthy for someone who was admitted in the hospital, my man. I hope you were not tryna avoid my sister, dude?”
Shelley had rushed to hug him close as soon as she saw him.
Iya Olayinka: “Jide introduce us to your friends now?” she said stepping out to the veranda. With her was Princess hiding behind her skirts. Jide swallowed and swallowed again, his eyes darting from left to right. The shit had hit the fan. Am dead… am dead, he screamed inside his head in frustration.
Shelley: “I am Shelley, Jide’s fiancée. This is my elder brother Craig. You must be Jide’s mom. So good to see ya.” she said hugging the amused Iya Olayinka.
Iya Olayinka: “fiancée? Jide you didn’t tell me you were engaged. Please come in… come in.” she moved aside to usher them in and in the process, the shy Princess is seen by Shelley for the first time.
Shelley: “hi.” She said, looking at Princess curiously. Princess returns the curious stare.
Princess: “my daddy will marry my mummy. That is what my mummy said. You are not my daddy’s wife.” Everyone went still except Jide who groaned as if he was dying. Craig smiling face became grim and he turned to Jide
Craig: “Jide I warned you. I asked you if you loved my sister, you said yes.” He said, approaching Jide, who moved backwards slowly.
Jide: “come on Craig, look at the child. you will believe her over me? I just heard that I was a father, I am still trying to wrap my head around that fact.”
Iya Olayinka: “you people should come inside and stretch your legs. Young man, Karagi, you cannot come and beat a man in his own home. Enter inside the house. You people are calling attention to yourselves.” She ushered them inside. Shelley’s face was red with suppressed tears and Craig’s was red with anger. They entered the house except Jide who stood looking at the sky with his hand on his head. His mother watched him through the window, shook her head and laughed.
Iya Olayinka: “Let me get you cold water. Or would you prefer something stronger? Jide has some hot drinks kept somewhere in this shelf.” She said, walking towards the shelf in the sitting room that held pictures, expensive cookery, awards and bottles of drinks.
Question: Will Jide Marry Shelley or will he marry Bunmi?
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