Femi had heard the names of the passengers of Boeing 746, and had known that Mathias was among the passengers. He cried with a loud voice, mourning the loss of his friend, and the loss of Yvonne’s savior. He tried reaching out to Yvonne because he could imagine the hopelessness she must be feeling. However her number was no longer connected and he didn’t know how to reach out to her. He felt like he had lost control of his life; his father and Mira were busy planning a marriage he had no desire for. Mira was already going to all the television stations to advertize their upcoming nuptials. Despite the side talks about her marrying her friend’s fiancé, did nothing to faze her, she was in her own cocoon of happiness.
Even though Mira wanted to reunite with her twin brother, it came secondary to getting married to Femi, so she decided to keep the business of looking for her brother till the marriage ceremony was over.
“Just two more days and my dream of marrying Femi will be realized. Just two days, and then Femi, you will see the other side of me. You will beg for my love, I swear it” she ruminated, in the recesses of her mind as she looked at herself in the mirror. “You are great Mira, you are just great”
Yvonne did not eat throughout the day, she hoped to starve herself to death. Mathias’ face kept floating in front of her subconscious. The passion in his eyes when he talked about her case, always mesmerized her. She always wondered why he believed her so explicitly, even more than she believed herself. But now that he was gone, she was sure that any flicker of hope for her was gone now.
She was still thinking about Mathias when a knock came on her door, she peeped through the peephole and saw it was room service. She opened the door to a neatly dressed floor attendant. He had a white envelope in her hand, and Yvonne was quick to see that the envelope had the seal of the Federal High court. Her heart skipped a beat. What did they want now? She wondered. She collected the envelope and thanked the floor attendant, grudgingly. These days simple courtesy was a chore for her, because she was angry at the world for allowing an innocent suffer for crimes she did not commit. She blamed the justice system, she blamed the society and she blamed herself.
Yvonne slammed the door on the floor attendant before he could reply to her gratitude, and tore the envelope open, with shaky, sweaty hands. She perused the single sheet of A4 paper inside the envelope. The letter was from the High court condoling with her over the tragic loss of her lawyer, and assigning a new court lawyer to her. The court also wanted her to know that the date of her trial had been moved up a week, so she had five days to prepare for trial with the new lawyer. She smiled bitterly at this piece of information, but it baffled her that instead of the court shifting her court date to allow for time for the newly assigned lawyer to acquaint himself with the case, they moved it up. It was like they didn’t want her to have a strong defense, and would have loved to sentence her without trial, but for the love of formalities. She also wondered why the tone of the letter sounded like the government was happy that Mathias was dead. She was still pondering this when her cell phone rang, it was a strange number, but she picked anyway.
Yvonne: “Hello” she said simply. Before going to prison, Yvonne would have answered any call with a cheery voice, but now, she sounded like someone who was bored with life. The caller told her that Mathias was alive and wanted to meet with her.
Yvonne: “Don’t you people have better things to do than play with people’s lives? Did you call me to mock me?”
She listened to the caller try to convince her that Mathias was alive and hiding, “He wants to see you urgently” the caller said with desperation. She got the address and hung up. Yvonne convinced herself that the person could not be saying truth and left for the address. The caller had told her to make sure no one was following her, so she kept looking behind her, even when she was inside a cab. But she wondered how Mathias was alive, if there had been no survivors, and if he was alive, why he was hiding.
The address was a small house in a run-down street in Nyanya, Yvonne looked around her with wide eyes. She watched the taxi driver, speed away and she wished she could have asked him to wait for her, because she suddenly realized that she could have stupidly walked into a trap. She turned to go, but was stopped on her tracks by the sound of her name. Yvonne turned abruptly and stared at Mathias.
Yvonne: “Sir, Mathias?” she walked back towards him. She couldn’t control her joy at seeing that he was alive, she flung her arms around him in an embrace.
Mathias: “I am alive by providence” he said. They went inside the house, but not before he had looked around the street, to be sure that no one had followed Yvonne.
Yvonne: “What is going on, why are you hiding?”
Mathias: “I am hiding because, I want to surprise the government. They think I am dead, and I know that the plane crash was orchestrated” he said and the door of the inner room opened and a young woman came to join them
Yvonne: “You mean, somebody purposely killed 100 people?” she asked incredulously.
Mathias: “Yes, this woman works at the airport, she is an air hostess and she was supposed to be on that flight. I had gone to receive an important call from my firm, it was about a case I was supposed to handle. I was just about to board the plane, but I stepped aside to receive the call. I went all the way to the restroom because I wanted privacy. I had made the call and was coming out when I heard crying from the female restroom” he said and looked at the young woman.
The young man took up the narration and told Yvonne that Mathias had come into the restroom asking if she was alright. Then, she had broken down and told her that she had just watched the chief pilot of the plane she was supposed to be on, killed. The man who killed him had been wearing a NSS uniform, but had exchanged it for the pilot’s uniform. That she believed something sinister was going to happen to the plane, and it did.
Mathias: “If they could kill 100 people just because they want me dead, then they must really want you to pay. There is no guarantee that they will not try again, that is why I have to be in hiding till the date of the trial”
Yvonne: “The trial has been moved up, it is in five days” she announced
Mathias: ‘I am sure this trial would be short, they thought I was out of the way, that is why they want to rush you to the gallows, that is not happening, if I can help it. However I need you to go to Macy Hospital and ask for Doctor Benson, tell him I sent you”
Yvonne: “Why do you want me to see a doctor?” she asked, puzzled.
Mathias: “There is something you need to know, after you have met him, we will talk. Also the people I put in charge of the investigation into what happened at your birthday have turned up with something. I don’t know what it is, but I know I have to be careful” he said.
Yvonne: “You are giving me hope, I hope it doesn’t get dashed. Thanks for all the effort you are making and I am happy you are alive” she said and hugged him once more before she left.
On her way back to civilization, her phone rang again, it was her foster father. She was beginning to regret giving him her new number, for he was calling every minute asking after her. She always wondered why he was showing her love now that she knew everything about her roots, why did he show her this love before, why now. She pondered as she slide the receive button to receive the call.
Yvonne: “Hello, sir” she said.
Prince Ngegwu: “Yvonne, I know how you must be feeling. I am sorry about your attorney, but I can get you another set of lawyers if you want. Allowing the court pick a government assigned lawyer is the worst decision you can ever take” he said earnestly.
Yvonne wanted to tell him that she didn’t need any lawyer because Mathias was not dead, but she thought better than that. She didn’t know if she could trust her foster father, or if anyone was listening to their call. She could not afford to jeopardize Mathias’ life.
Yvonne: “Thanks father, but I think I got this handled” after trying to discourage her foster father, despite his insistence, she hung up and flagged down a taxi to take her to the hospital. She still wondered what Mathias was all about, but she was sure she would be clarified when she got to the hospital.
When she got to the hospital, she asked for directions to doctor Benson’s hospital and was told to go the fourth floor. She took the elevator and realized that everyone in the elevator cabin was looking at her, some had frowns on their faces, while some just looked at her with wonderment.
“Oh my God, they recognize me” she thought as she averted her eyes uneasily.
When the elevator reached the fourth floor, she was more than happy to exit it, as she feared being lynched. With anxiety she located doctor Benson’s office. Before she could knock on the door, the door flung open and she stared face to face with the balding doctor.
Doctor: “I was just on my way out, how can I help you?” he asked, taking a good look at the beautiful lady before him.
Yvonne: “I am Yvonne Ngegwu, Sir Mathias sent me” she said, wondering what the doctor could possibly tell her.
Doctor: “Oh come in” he said and opened the door wider, when she was seated, he said, “I don’t know why Mathias wanted me to do this, but perhaps it was the best decision”
Yvonne: “What are you talking about, doctor?”
Doctor: “Mr. Mathias conducted a DNA test, with a hair sample he took from you” he said and paused, watching the growing apprehension on Yvonne’s face. Yvonne was wondering why Mathias would conduct a DNA test using her hair, she was puzzled, but there was more surprise coming for her.
Doctor: “The result shows that Mr. Mathias is your biological father” he dropped the bomb. Yvonne shot out of her seat and gaped at the doctor.
Question: What piece of evidence was discovered by Mathias’ investigators? Would he be able to outsmart the government and free Yvonne? Would Yvonne accept her biological father?
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