Man: “Where is the daughter of the man who murdered our president in cold blood” the man whom the red eyes belonged to, said. Najim began to stutter, and then he was hit hard across the face. That was when he noticed that the man with the red eyes was not alone, but with other young men as scary looking as he was. He also noticed that they had cutlasses.
Najim: “Please there is no murderer’s daughter here, it is just me and my sister” he said, holding his left eye which had taken the bout of the blow to his face.
Man: “You are lying” he said and carried Najim up by his shirt neck, as though he weighed nothing. That was when Nabila came in, shouting.
Nabila: “Leave him alone, that was the deal” she said in Hausa, walking up to the scary looking man.
Najim: “Deal?” he choked out, not believing his ears.
Nabila: “if you know where Nene is, say it. They are not here for you, but for Nene” she said. She did not expect what Najim did next. He rolled his tongue and came up with as much spittle as he could muster and flung it at Nabila’s face.
Najim: “What has come over you, when did you become such a villain?” he asked, as the man holding him threw him down.
Nabila: “If you are not going to produce Nene, we will find her ourselves. She doesn’t know that I am not helping her, so she will call me. All we have to do is create chaos in this room and take you away.” She said, and then turned to the men and instructed them to beat up Najim, but not hurt him more than was necessary. They beat him up, just enough for him to bloody the room, while Nabila watched with satisfaction.
It was true that she had loved Najim, but then he had not noticed her but her friend, Nene. Even when her manipulative skills had gotten them betrothed, and she had confessed her love to Najim, he had thrown her love back in her face, as he wanted no other love, but that which Nene offered. They say hell has no fury like a woman scorned. Nabila was ready to punish him and make sure he paid for her cries at night. She hoped that his suffering would make him surrender to her.
Nene had gotten a pack of bottled water and was heading back to the apartment. She had even been lucky to find any store open as most sores were locked, for they were either owned by Igbos or their Hausa owners were too afraid of the crisis. She had rounded the corner and was almost in front of the apartment when she saw Najim being led out, his face was swollen, and his shirt was bloodied. The most shocking thing was seeing Nabila come out of the house with the men who were holding Najim. She made to run to him but something stopped her. Nene knew enough now to know that Nabila would never hurt Najim, but if they did that to Najim, they would probably kill her if they found her. She took about five bottles of water out of the pack and fled that vicinity.
Nabila waited in vain for Nene to call her. She felt that Nene would have seen the room and not finding Najim, she would be so confused that she would call her, and then they would capture her. She knew that if Nene was found, she would be killed because things had reached a boiling point since the assassination of the president, but she didn’t care.
“She didn’t care when she flaunted her relationship with Najim whom she met through me. Why should I care now?” she mused.
She went to Najim’s house, and she told his parents of how she had found him lying on the street beaten to a pulp because he had been sighted with Nene.
Najim’s mother: “You mean my Najim is still seeing that murderer’s daughter?” she asked incredulously.
Nabila: “Yes, sadly. But I don’t care about that, I love Najim too much to care about his relationship that has no future.”
Najim’s mother: “Thank you for saving my son” she said and embraced Nabila.
At that moment, Najim descended the staircase that ran through the side of the large living room. His fist clenched when he saw Nabila, but there was nothing he could do, his hands were tied. Nabila had threatened to kill Nene if he said any word about her role in the whole debacle.
“I will tell my father to hasten up preparations for our wedding” she had said to him, in hot pursuit of the threat.
“Wherever you are, I hope you are fine, my Nene. I said I would protect you, but I failed. I am sorry, my darling” He thought as he descended the stairs one at a time.
Nabila: “Dear mother-in-law to-be, I should be on the way now, my father must be worried” she said and blew a kiss at Najim. After she left, a thought nagged at Najim’s mother, she did not fail to realize that Nabila had lost all her inhibitions, she seemed so in control, where everybody was losing their minds because of the crisis in the country.
She was further confused when her son rushed into her arms and began to weep. Her son was not a weepy man, she could count how many times he had wept all his life, on one hand. He looked like a broken, helpless man.
Najim’s mother: “What is going on Najim?” she asked, but her son did not reply. He only wept.
At that moment that Nene had seen Nabila with the men that had Najim, a light bulb had switched on in her head. The comment made by ‘Mistletoe’ suddenly came to the fore of her mind, and somehow, she found the connection between Nabila and Mistletoe. She remembered when they were in Secondary school, Nabila had read a novel by Nora Roberts ‘Under the Mistletoe’, and from that day, she had begun to use Mistletoe as her alias because she said in the book, it related to murder. If it was Nabila who had really made the comment, then she must have made it because she was privy to information. Nene also knew that Nabila was a member of one Hausa Youth forum, and seeing the kind of men she brought to the apartment, she wondered just how much her best friend was capable of. Nene decided there was only one way to find out what lengths Nabila could go. Nene brought out her phone and created a new Facebook page. She went ahead and filled it up with the pictures of a beautiful Hausa girl, and began to write anti-Igbo speeches on her wall. When she was sure that she could not be found out, she contacted ‘Mistletoe’ via inbox.
“Hi, Mistletoe, I like your spirit, saw your comment in that useless Facebook group owned by that murderer’s daughter. She really has some nerve, I wish she could be caught and skinned alive” the message read. She waited and waited for a reply.
When she had given hope that Nabila would bite into the bait, she decided to focus on finding her family. She also thought of going to see her father. But how could she see him when he was locked up in Kuje prison, with heavy security?
“First things first, Nene. Find Mother and Nma. It is time to go home” she mused.
Nene went and booked a hotel with her credit card, where she could sleep for the night. She kept up her Hausa disguise because she knew that in these times of war, even hotel staff could turn informants. When it was morning she got a message from Wale, a friend of hers on Facebook. They were close before, but he began to like her too much, and Najim was not comfortable with it. So, she stopped communication with him.
Wale: “Hey beautiful, a little birdie told me you are still stuck in Kano. I can help extract you, I have got connections you know” the Facebook message read.
She stared at the message and then an idea suddenly flashed in her mind. Wale was a youth activist and his activism had opened many doors for him in the corridors of power. He was also a Facebook celebrity, and many times when they were still good friends, he had lent his voice to her Facebook group. So, she believed him when he said he had connections.
Nene: “Can you get me into Kuje Prison?” she asked.
Wale: “It is about your father, right? Do you think what they are saying of him is true?” he asked
Nene: “I think my father is innocent, my father only cared that his people were given a better footing in the country that they called theirs. When he saw that the government was not ready to change the way things were run in the country, he leaned towards a new country for his people. But never had he thought of killing the president or staging a coup. My father is not a troublemaker nor a murderer” she replied.
Wale: “Kuje is kind of hard, but I can help, if you can wait a day or two for me to come down to Kano” he said
Nene: “You would do that for me?” she replied with a ‘wow’ smiley.
Wale: “Yes I would. But I also want to be close to where it all began. Lagos is peaceful, thank God. The Hausa tried starting a riot but it was curtailed by the Lagos State government. You should come to Lagos, I can arrange it, of course after you see your father”
Nene: “I cannot leave Kano, I am still looking for my family, and I think there is something sinister going on here and it is connected to this crisis”
Wale: “Tell me, what is going on?”
Nene: “When you come, there is so much I can talk about on phone” she sent back.
She leaned on her bed after chatting with Wale. Somehow, she felt relieved and not so helpless. For the first time since this crisis, she had someone who could really help, in her corner. Nabila had deceived her into thinking she wanted to help, but had turned around on them.
“Why does she want to get rid of me? Could it be about Najim or is there more to it. How did her father find out that my father was being investigated when it had not been publicly announced?” These thoughts kept running though her mind, there was more to the way things seemed and she was determined to find out. Something told her that if she could get to the root of the matter, she could be able to exonerate her father.
Question: Is this how friends turn enemies? What role is Nabila playing in the turn of events, and what does she have in store for Nene? Also, what could have befallen Nene’s mother?
Stay tuned for Episode 8 (You don’t wanna miss this!)…Adelove Stories…Premier Naija Inspirational Blog!
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