1st Officer: “What is going on here?” he asked as they stood beside Mmesoma, facing the men.
Audu: “Officer thank you for asking. May you not be disgraced…”
1st Officer: “I said what is going on here? You are all under arrest for trespassing and harassing an innocent lonely woman” he said, pointed the gun at them and commanded them to move or he’d shoot.
Gateman: “Officer see, I don work here vepor and this woman here kidnap one girl put for house. I dey tell you na true officer. Make we save that yarinya” he said frightfully.
Audu: “Yes officer. She fired him because he told her husband what he heard inside the house some time ago” he explained everything further when he realised the officers’ interest had been piqued by the gateman’s outburst.
Mmesoma: “It is a lie o. they are lying to you. There is no such girl in this house, do I look like a kidnapper to you? What will I use her to do when I already have everything I have ever dreamed of?” she said, desperately trying to convince the officers.
2nd Officer: “If you really have nothing to hide then why were you reluctant to show them the house? Why did you call us?”
Mmesoma: “If a bunch of hoodlums barge into your house all of a sudden and accuse you of something you didn’t do then demanding to search your house when they are not law enforcement agents, will you agree? What if they are thieves or even something worse? I can’t believe you are also reasoning with these illiterates officer” she said feigning disappointment. “Besides, even officers must obtain a search warrant from the court before they can search anyone’s house” she added defiantly, eyeing the two officers.
Audu: “Officer you are the ones with the gun. You can go inside with only my brother here who worked in this house for ten years before he got fired so don’t let her instil fear in you. You can do anything you want as long as you are saving a life; the life of an innocent child is at stake here officer” he said wondering why he was even that concerned. He had never known the girl in question.
Mmesoma: “I will sue you all and strip you of your every honour if perchance there is no one being held under duress in my house. We can go in now if you want officers” she said, turned to the door and started unlocking it.
2nd Officer: “I think madam is right. We will need a search warrant first. We might have to come back some other day” he looked at his comrade and shot him an approving look.
After they had exhausted all the prayers in their mouth, they went to the reception to rest a little bit before they would resume again. Thankfully, Bolu was with the matrons at the nursery and so there was no need worrying about her too. They were both lost in thought of what life would be without the one they loved. They wished in their hearts that they were the ones on that bed and not she, they wished they could share in all of her pains. The helplessness Ife felt at not being able to do anything while his woman was on the verge of death was beyond comprehension. He kept praying in his heart, calling upon God like he had never done before and sweating like a lamb being led to the slaughter in the process.
Adunni: “I told you not to worry that the God I serve is able. He gave her to me so many years ago, saw me through raising her up and I know He didn’t bring us this far to make me bury her with my hands. Do not cry, do not sweat, my God is able” she untied the edge of her wrapper and used it to wipe his face of mingled tears and sweat.
Ife: “Thank you maami. I have found a mother in you even though mine is no more. Imagine how much I would have lost if I hadn’t snapped to my senses early enough. I could have ended up like her dad right or even worse?”
Adunni: “No my dear, you are nothing lik Gozie, you are a kind-hearted man who didn’t turn his back on my daughter despite not wanting to be married yet. You know marriage is not something you can force someone into, you had to be ready, and you had to see the need for it for it to work. If she had insisted on you marrying her with the way I thoughtlessly pressured her, you could have made her suffer emotionally, the little love you had for her would have waned and you baby will end up being born into a home which has no love but just anguish. I am glad you took your time and at last, Love won. She will be fine and you will both live the kind of life you have envisioned for yourselves so far. Do not worry okay?”
Ife: “Thank you ma” he felt his strength renewed at her words and his hope reawakened. He started thanking God for saving her already rather than asking Him to save her. The doctor suddenly appeared at the hallway facing the reception area and beckoned for them to follow him. They went back to the ward and on the bed was Bola, wide awake though still weak and unable to sit up. She had been saved by grace.
Doctor: “Ma, I must say your daughter is a fighter. We were almost packing up our equipment when she started breathing again. Your prayers saved her” he announced casting Ife a well done look. He admired the guy’s determination and maturity. Another man would have abandoned her and her daughter but he stood with her all through despite not being married to her yet.
Ifeoluwa: “Thank you doctor. Thank you very much for not giving up on her” he shook the doctor’s hand firmly beaming with smiles.
Adunni: “Oluwa ku ise o eeee (God well done)…” she burst into a Yoruba song and started to dance around the room while the rest of them smiles even Bola. “Bola my daughter, you cannot die young, it is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our sight” she grasped her daughter’s hand in hers enjoying the warmth of it.
Ifeoluwa: “Welcome back my love. When we reach home, I am going to be hugging you every morning before I leave for work and night before I sleep. Don’t ever beg for mercy” he said at last “And I love you, I always did love you” he became emotional. She reached out her second hand to him and he took it, kissed it and placed it on his chest.
Bola: “I love you too” she mouthed.
As they turned to leave, they heard the loud banging on the door but this time, it was louder than the one the gateman had heard.
Gateman: “You hear am? No one sufose dey that house so who com dey knock?”
Mmesoma: “I have a new house girl” she returned sharply.
1st Officer: “Then why did you lock her up in the house? Open the door now or I’d blow your head off” his voice became very aggressive immediately. She scampered to the door and with a trembling hand, opened the front door and led the way towards where the noise was coming from while they followed pointing their guns at her. Only the gate man was allowed to go with them, the rest remained outside.
Mmesoma: “Please have mercy upon me o. I told you it is my new house girl. I decided to lock the door since I wasn’t going far and she was sleeping o. you people should believe me please” she thought of what lies to tell them, how to escape if by chance her secret was found out and could think of no way out. Not even her Indian gods would have been able to save her.
As they approached the room, they heard a tiny voice saying “somebody help me please, is anyone there? Please save me I am scared”. One of the officers kicked her in the butt to open the door fast when she started acting like she had forgotten how to unlock a door. One of the officers stayed with her while the gate man and the other officer stepped into the room only to be greeted by a very foul odour. They sighted Nneka at the corner who had apparently hidden there thinking it was Mmesoma again.
Gateman: “Ineka! Ah!! Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. He kept lamenting as he took the now apparently pregnant girl out of the room as the officer scouted the fetish room and took pictures of it before scooping some stuffs into a linoleum bag he brought out from his pocket as evidence.
1st Officer: “Madam you are under arrest for kidnap, child abuse and a host of other which will be uncovered in the course of our investigation. I will advise you not to utter a word because if I didn’t blow your head off, those fetish words of yours will be used against you in the law court. Now move!” he kicked her yet again and she scampered forward looking like a cornered lioness.
Few days later as he stepped out of the hospital for the first time still having parts of his face plastered, he saw a woman carrying a baby with a young guy holding his wife as they bade goodbye to the hospital staff. They looked like they had stayed very long in the hospital judging from the stuffs the errand boys brought out from the hospital and loading into their car. His gaze went back to the woman again, her peculiar features, and the lady who looked like someone very dear from his past. Then he went closer, he couldn’t resist the urge any longer. He felt like he would regret it if he ever let them go.
Charles: “Hey! You have a very beautiful family and I am glad you are all going home at last” he tried his luck with those words but the look on the woman’s face, the way her nose stood erect, the way her eyes spoke into his soul…
Adunni: “Please let’s go fast fast” she said and started acting unnaturally impatient.
Charles: “Adunni? Oh my God Dunni?” his voice quavered uncontrollably.
Bola: “What is going on here mum?” she looked from the man to her mum.
Ife noticed the striking resemblance between Bola and the man immediately despite the plasters on his face.
Adunni: “I said let’s go!” she yelled, baffling her daughter.
Ifeoluwa: “Mama here you come again o. don’t forget this does lead nowhere, will only leave you with regrets” he said knowing fully well she had put on her stubborn and unforgiving cloak again.
Charles: “Adunni. I don’t know what to say or where to start from. I don’t even deserve to say I am sorry but please look at me for once. I am in this state because of how much guilty I have carried for years. It almost choked me to death. Can I make amends? It is too late but I want to make amends please” he went on his knees with his face in his hands.
Adunni: “Bola, this is Gozie your father. Gozie, she is your daughter” she watched his face lit up like Stephen’s when he was about to die.
Gozie: “Oh my God! Now I feel even guiltier. I think leaving you guys alone is the best. I am not worthy to be in your lives” he said and made to leave.
Bola: “Dad I have missed you so much. I cried so many nights praying to God to bring you to me and now that you are here, do you want to leave again?” she said as tears filled her eyes. She went forward and lost herself in his embrace. Ife collected the baby from Adunni whom he knew would want to join in the embrace too. He released Bola to embrace Adunni too, whispering words of thank you into her ears for not giving up, for not aborting the child and promised to make her remaining days worth her while.
Mmesoma was publicly disgraced for many days on the streets of Lagos state as an evil woman who used young girls as her baby factory before she was finally prosecuted. She was found guilty on charges of murder, kidnap and child abuse then sentenced to death by firing squad. But before the day of her death, she could not take the taunting anymore as her inmates abused her both physically, sexually and emotionally. The morning she was to die, she was found in her cell dead. She had eaten rat poison which she somehow got from one of the inmates.
Adunni went to live with Charles in Lagos after Ifeoluwa and Bola’s wedding. She also had a little court wedding with Charles and they both took care of Nneka and her pregnancy. She was sent to school on her insistence not to let the pregnancy delay her education in anyway while the gateman was reinstated to his former position with better remuneration. They all continued to strive to be happy and never to make selfish decisions which would plunge others into anguish.
Angela lived the rest of her life as a prisoner with only one leg. She would have been pardoned since Ife and Bola had pled on her behalf but when the Judge asked her if she was going to turn a new leaf, she had replied that if given another chance, she would do the same things only in a more calculated way. Her bitterness and obsessiveness continued with her but with no one to harm but herself.
NB: Thanks for reading Adelovelies. Please share your thoughts on this story and the lessons you’ve learnt if any.
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