Voke sat in the interrogation room in just his boxer shorts and singlet; what he had on when the police burst into his room like commandos in Sambisa Forest. His wrist was handcuffed and his ankles were chained to the table. He sat quietly, his face blank of any emotion, while his heart beat thud against his ribs in irregular rhythm. The door opened, a sad looking police officer entered the room and closed the door behind him. The man drew a chair and sat down, facing Voke.
Detective Hamza: “my name is detective Hamza. I am the investigating police officer of this case. You do not need to be scared. All we, the police, want is information. A crime was committed at Serene Estates last night and in the process of our investigation, we discovered that you are related to one of the men involved, one Friday Okpako, now deceased. In fact, you are his younger brother. Is this correct?” he asked.
Voke: “yes. He is my elder brother.” He replied, his voice shaking with emotion.
Detective Hamza: “In fact, he took care of you, paid your school fees, and bought your medical textbooks, which I hear are quite expensive. Where did your brother get the money for such magnanimity?” he asked.
Voke: “Friday was a programmer. He studied computer science in Delsu. He always had jobs because he was good at his job.” He replied, softly; staring at the table.
Detective Hamza: “so are you saying that you did not know that your brother was a notorious armed robber?” he asked, looking at the boy speculatively.
Voke: “No. I didn’t.” he lied.
Detective Hamza: “do you know two men named Obaro and Orezi, presently at large?” he asked
Voke: “I have seen them several times with my brother.” He replied.
Detective Hamza: “what did they do for a living?” he asked
Voke: “sir I do not know. I never really liked them and I always complained about them to my brother but he never listened. See what it got him.” he replied bitterly.
Detective Hamza looked at him closely and sighed. He found it difficult to believe that the boy did not know what his elder brother was up to.
Detective Hamza: “we have sent a message to the victim of the robbery. He will be here soon, pray he doesn’t identify you as one of the person’s present that day. pray.” He moved his chair backwards and got up.
Voke: “he was dying. He was a sickler and his kidney was failing. He told me he was going to get some money to make sure that I have no needs when he is gone. He knew what he was doing was wrong but it had nothing to do with me.” He said, softly staring at the table.
Detective Hamza had stopped to listen to him. When he had finished talking, he said nothing. He just walked out of the room and some few minutes later, a corporal came and took him to the holding area.
Ese was rushed quickly to the hospital, after her father did a little first aid on the bleeding wrists. The whole family tagged along on the ride. At the hospital, Ese was quickly taking in to get her hands stitched. Mrs Anigboro, still in her night wear and wrapper, murmured prayers with tears in her eyes. Kate came to seat down beside her and rest on her shoulder like she used to do when she was younger. Fidelia stood apart, staring at her father coldly. Her eyes followed him as he paced from left to right, his hand folded on his chest, his head bowed.
She breathed deep and walked to where he was and stood before him. He stopped his pacing and stared at her.
Fidelia: “this is all your fault you know. If anything happens to Ese, I will never forgive you. You have been lying to all of us for years.” She whispered harshly.
Dr Fejiro looked fearfully at his wife and other daughter. They had not heard a word. He grabbed Fidelia and dragged her to the side.
Dr Fejiro: “what are you trying to do? How do you think your mother will react if she finds out that the man who sat last night in our home while his cronies defiled her and her children, was my son? Would she care that I didn’t even know he existed? Would it even matter? Listen, everybody is in a fragile state now, bringing this issue up now, is not ideal. I know you feel betrayed and I wish I could take it all back, everything that happened last night but I am as shocked as you are. Please help me save this family. If you reveal this now, it would destroy us, please.” He pleaded.
Fidelia: “this is not right o. I am giving you one month. Meanwhile, I think you should encourage Kate, mom and Ese, when she awakens, to go for tests for any disease or even pregnancy.” She said; then she turned to walk away.
Dr Fejiro: “what about you? Won’t you do the test too?” he asked; relief on his face.
Fidelia: “I was not raped. I was the one who raped a stranger. I am fine.” She replied, her voice shaking as she spoke the lie.
At that moment, her father’s phone rang. He picked it and listened, his eyes widening in fear as the other person spoke. The call ended and he looked at Fidelia, his shoulder slumped in defeat.
Dr Fejiro: “the police have arrested the brother of the man that claimed to be my son.” He said slowly.
Fidelia breath caught in her throat. She looked from her father to her mother and sister.
Fidelia: “not one son but two sons, and you claim to know nothing about it? What sort of rubbish story are you telling me? How can you have two sons and not know, father?” she asked, her eyes flashing with anger.
Dr Fejiro: “I don’t know. I swear, I don’t know. I need to get to the police station. I need to see the boy with my own eyes.” he said, fishing for his car keys in his pocket.
Fidelia: “I am coming with you.” she said, moving along with him.
Dr Fejiro: “no. you are the only strong one here. Please stay and watch them. I will be back in a moment. Please.” He begged her then he rushed and kissed his wife’s forehead and rushed out of the hospital.
Fidelia watched him go and turned to see her mother still whispering prayers, her eyes open but unseeing. She sighed and shivered. An avalanche indeed.” She thought.
After breakfast, Ashley had her bath and got dressed in the best clothes, she could find in her bag. She finished came downstairs as Stella walked in through the front door.
Ashley: “I am ready to go look for him but I need money to make it possible. I rejected the twenty thousand naira, the price of my stupidity, so I am penniless.” She said, softly.
Stella: “no my friend, you are not penniless. God will never let his child suffer. Do you have a bank account?
Ashley: “yes, with Zenith bank.” She replied.
Stella nodded and brought out her phone. She quickly took Ashley’s bank account number and did a transfer of one hundred thousand naira into her account. Then she counted twenty thousand naira in notes and gave it to her.
Stella: “use this to start. When it is finished then you can withdraw from the money I just transferred to you. Also get better clothes. Call me with progress reports okay. Oya come let me drop you off. Where are you starting your search?” she asked, finding her car keys inside her bag.
Ashley: “Benin. I will start my search in Benin.” She said, softly, holding the twenty thousand naira tightly, as tears slipped out of her eyes. “Thank you my friend. God will bless you. Whatever you want in this life, God will give it to you.” she added, praying for her as the tears increased and flooded her ravaged face.
Stella: “ahn ahn…do na. You never do pass like this for me back when things dey go well for you? God has blessed me, if I don’t help the people around me then what kind of person am i? God’s blessings are meant to be shared, to be used to help people. Come make we dey go, you have a long day ahead of you.” she replied, smiling.
Question: so many things happening, chill with me, we are getting there. Do you think it is right for Dr Fejiro and Fidelia to hide the truth from their family? Do you think Voke will be able to get out of the police net?
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