Skyby arrived in Oshogbo the same day that Damilola did. They took separate flights and there was no way Damilola would have known that someone had been sent to snuff the life out of Dayo forever. Skyby stayed in the same motel that Bella stayed, when she was in Oshogbo. Damilola however went to his mother’s place.
His first port of call was Gberan’s mother, Madam Lagos. He went to see her to thank her for taking care of Khadijat and taking care of his son. But Madam Lagos was in sorrow over the disappearance of Dayo. Judging from what Khadijat’s mother had narrated, she was sure that Dayo was in trouble, and it hurt her that she had failed at keeping her promise to Khadijat. So, when Damilola came with his vote of thanks, Madam Lagos rebuffed him.
Madam Lagos: “What are you thanking me for, if I took care of Khadijat, where is she? What about Dayo, do you see him here? You impregnated a girl and you left her to face the shame alone, and now, years later, with the girl dead, and the child nowhere to be found, you come to thank me. Keep your thanks to yourself, and look for our Dayo, perhaps then Khadijat will forgive you and her spirit will rest” she said bluntly.
Damilola was short of words, he stood up from the position where he had knelt to thank Madam Lagos, and left the house, with a heavy heart. How could he have thought that she would be nice to him? He wondered. She, who witnessed all Khadijat went through. He made a vow that he would not go back to Lagos until he found Dayo, dead or alive.
Sunlight escaped through the little opening in the curtain and danced on Dayo’s face. He opened his eyes and he looked at the strange surrounding. The bed was a comfortable king size, whereas he was used to sleeping on the hard floor of the uncompleted building. The room was a beautiful, white painted room, and furnished with beautiful furniture.
“This is not the uncompleted building” He thought and bolted up to a sitting position. Then the memories came flooding back. He was not in the uncompleted building because he had chosen life. He had been given two choices; to join a band of assassins cum armed robbers, or to be killed, and he had chosen to live, even if it meant joining them.
“Mother, what do I do, should I have refused and be killed. I don’t want to die yet, not without fulfilling your dreams. What do I do, mother?” he said to the empty room. Suddenly, the door of the room was opened and Stone, the leader of the gang walked in, with a smile on his face.
Stone: “I am glad you choose wisely, would have been a pain to have to kill you” he said. Dayo did not reply, he just stared at him. Then he told Dayo to follow him, he took Dayo round the massive mansion where all the members of the gang lived. They ended up in the kitchen where the cook gave Dayo a plate of toast, with scrambled egg, and mayonnaise. Dayo ate with relish because, since leaving the house, he had not eaten good food. However, the calm in the kitchen was broken when one of the gang members rushed into the kitchen and grabbed the television remote. He switched on the flat screen television on the wall of the kitchen, and Dayo’s face filled the screen.
Dayo: “What am I doing on television?” he whispered, even if he had shouted, the occupants of the kitchen wouldn’t have heard, they were engrossed in the words spilling out of the television. The television anchor was saying that Dayo was involved in an accident in Lagos, and somehow is in Oshogbo, working hand in hand with a gang of robbers who were known to always kill their victim. She also said that anyone who found him should report to the nearest police station. The question on everyone’s lips was, ‘How did Dayo run away from the hospital and end up in Oshogbo’.
Stone: “So you are a runaway huh, your people must be looking for you” he said looking at the television screen thoughtfully.
Dayo: “No one is looking for me, my mother is dead, my father rejected us. Madam Lagos probably gave up on looking for me now, after all we are not related” he said, as emotions clogged his throat. He missed the family that was not really his, especially his daddy Gberan. Every day, he tried to visualize what he was doing, now that he was no longer with them.
“He has a son, remember, and now that you are gone, he is focusing on his son” the voice inside would say, and it would bring tears, he would wish that his absence had created a vacuum in their lives, but in his heart, he believed that no one cared that much for him.
If only he knew, that not only was Gberan looking for him, but his grandmothers and his biological father had paused their life looking for the son that Khadijat gave birth to.
It happened that, the gateman while talking to Dayo had seen his face when he pointed a torch in his face, while talking to him. So, he had described Dayo to the police and the police artist had sketched Dayo’s face. It wasn’t long that someone recognized Dayo as the boy who was in an accident and ran away from the hospital, throwing his family into confusion.
Skyby had also seen the news and had gone to the place of the robbery, he combed the area around the place, but there was no sign of Dayo. He saw the uncompleted building opposite the lemon coloured house where the robbery had taken place, and went there, hoping that he would find Dayo. He found signs of inhabitation, but didn’t see Dayo. There was no way he could have found Dayo because he did not come out in the day, and only came out at night, and only on nights when the gang had an assignment. He was always cooped up in the house, with the gang.
Skyby began to hunt the places where the gang struck. He stayed close to his television set, and whenever he heard that the gang had struck a place, he would rush there, but he never found any clues. One day he sat down and asked himself why he was chasing after Dayo, did he plan to kill the boy when he found him, just because Tania asked him to?
“Are you really going to be a child killer because you want to save your reputation?” he questioned himself. It is time to pull out of Tania’s web, he told himself. But still Skyby was not ready to have his career ruined so he made a gamble. He called Tania and offered her a deal.
Bella, since her encounter with Tania had been living in fear. She decided to reveal everything to her husband, in a bid to get protected. She hoped that her husband would forgive her part in the disaster, and protect her, for the sake of their son. So, she asked to talk to her husband, one evening, after dinner. Since Dayo went missing, Gberan had become less of a happy man, but however, he became closer to his son, Ken. Ken reciprocated the attention, by doing everything to please his father. He loved all the sports his father loved and learnt all the skills his father was good in. He even decided to study engineering, like his father had done. Seeing the way Ken had turned out, Bella did not regret her actions. After all, they pushed Dayo out of the house, and gave Ken room to be all he wanted to be, without sharing the affection of his father.
Bella: “Gberan, Tania is a killer, she tried to kill me” she dropped the bombshell. Gberan bolted out of the reclining seat where he was, lounging on the patio.
Gberan: “I know you did not have any liquor this evening, so, what nonsense is this you are saying? Are you trying to tarnish the image of your friend? This is a new low, even for you” he said vehemently.
Bella: “Will you just keep quiet and let me talk. She tried to kill me, and if she had not fainted then, you would have seen my dead body somewhere. When she thought I was going to die, she confessed to me that the accident was deliberate, she had meant to kill Dayo because I told her Dayo is Damilola’s son” she said and watched as her husband’s eyes got darker and darker.
Gberan: “You told her that Dayo is Damilola’s son, how did you know that? Even Damilola didn’t know that, until after the accident” he said unbelievably.
Bella: “Remember when I told you I was going to see my mother, I actually went to Oshogbo. I watched Dayo and Damilola together at the lunch we had, and noticed similarities in their looks. I was not sure so I went to Oshogbo. Khadijat’s father had just died…” she explained to her husband, whose eyebrow shot up the more she talked.
Gberan: “I am scared of you, Bella. I cannot believe that you would go this far to fight against an innocent boy whom life had dealt enough blows. My mother was right, I should never have married you” he said. He walked back and forth, thinking hard. The more he thought about it, the more he could not believe that Bella could do all she did. Then he thought of Tania, the innocent faced woman was even deadlier than Bella.
Question: What deal would Skyby make with Tania, and what decision would Gberan make about his marriage to Bella? How would Dayo escape the gang he had been forced to join?
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