Ashley, on arriving Lagos, boarded a taxi and headed straight to the address given to her. With the traffic congestion on the way, she arrived at the area in the late afternoon. She had paid the driver for the use of his cab for the whole day, so the man parked his car somewhere and adjusted his seat to sleep, while he waited for her. She walked down the street, her eyes darting about for someone to ask questions. She soon saw a shop where an old lady sold snacks, food items and drinks. She greeted the woman and asked for the house that bore the address given to her by the director of the orphanage home. The old woman gave her directions and she thanked her and left.
The house was a storey building that used to be white but was now yellow and grey with age and dirt. Electric wires from a nearby electric pole were gathered in a bunch over the low fence that surrounded the house. The roof was brown with rust and the boards protecting the ceiling from rats and other parasites had broken away, giving Ashley a clear view of the sunlight passing through the holes in the zinc to the ceiling. The house was a broken down disgrace of a home. Ashley sighed; she was used to this kind of life.
She entered the compound and saw a little girl seated in front of a flat, weaving the hair of a Barbie doll that had no arms and no legs and only one eye. The girl looked at her curiously, squinting her eyes in the late afternoon sun.
Ashley:”hello dear do you live here?” she asked; smiling.
The little girl nodded her head.
Ashley: “where is your mother?” she asked.
Little Girl: “Mummy, somebody is looking for you!” she shouted in a shrill voice.
Ashley stepped back and looked at the door, as it opened and a fat, light complexioned lady came out. The woman looked at her suspiciously.
Woman: “Agatha, oya enter the house.” She ordered; her eyes on Ashley. The girl got up and walked into the house quietly. “Yes, wetin you want?” she asked coldly.
Ashley: “good afternoon. I am looking for a family that lived here twenty-two years ago; a Mr. and Mrs. Oshodin. Do you know if they still live here?” She asked in reply.
Woman: “I don’t know anybody wey get that name. sorry.” She replied, then she turned and shut the door.
Ashley sighed and looked at the house. There was no sign that anyone was at home in the other flats. She tried the door that opened to the staircase that led upstairs, but it was locked.
Little Girl: “they are not at home o.” she said. Ashley jumped in shock. She had not heard the girl come behind her. “They have gone to work.” The girl added.
Ashley: “okay. Thank you.” She said, the she turned and started walking towards the gate.
Little Girl: “go and ask Iya Benji, she knows everybody in this area. Mummy says she is a witch. That she eats people’s children. That is why I am not allowed to buy ice cream from her. Her ice creams are sweet. Nkechi’s mum said that it is a lie that she is just lonely. Her children abandoned her and one of them is in prison. I believe Nkechi’s mother. Mummy likes to pray and cast. She is always fighting with everyone.” She said, as she revealed everything she knew about her mother and the people living on the street to a total stranger.
Ashley listened patiently, though she was itching to leave. Suddenly she realised that the little girl was quiet. She looked up to see the girl’s mother staring at them with murder in her eyes. The little girl sighed and waved her goodbye. Ashley watched as the mother grabbed the girl’s ear in a vice like grip and dragged her into the house. She sighed and walked out of the compound.
The old woman was welcoming and she remembered Mr. and Mrs. Oshodin. In fact she had been god mother to their first child, Boniface.
Iya Benji: “it was indeed a sad story. You see Boniface was adopted. When they first brought him home, Angela, that was the name of the wife, loved and cared for the boy. He was so smart, Boniface and very polite; a really nice boy. He had the best of everything until she became pregnant. As soon as she gave birth to a boy, Boniface was pushed aside, and from a son, he became a servant. When he was fifteen, I think, I stopped seeing him around. When I asked, Mr. Oshodin said he had been sent to live with his grandmother in the village. I never saw the boy again. Some months later, I caught Angela burning some things and crying. They were his things, things he would not have left behind, if he had indeed travelled to the village as his foster father said. Angela was quick to deny that she was crying but it made me wonder and I am still wondering; what would have happened to the sweet boy? Three years later, they moved away from this area.” She said.
Ashley stared at children rolling bicycle wheels about in the evening sun. “How do I find a child, when I do not know if he is dead or alive?” she thought to herself; depression covering her like a shroud.
Ashley: “thank you ma.” She said, then she got up.
Iya Benji: “I think you should not give up hope. He is out there somewhere, doing great things.” She said, smiling.
Ashley looked at her and nodded. She walked to the car and got in, jolting the driver from his sleep. The man started the car and drove off. Ashley bowed her head and cried.
Brukeme got to the mall, day dreaming about what Lisa had gotten for him. He met her at where he had first seen her; the entrance to the rest room. He smiled as he saw her. She smiled back, her eyes lighting up. She looked good. She was wrapped in a jean trouser that seemed to be painted over her well endowed bum. She had a chiffon top over it, and her natural hair was packed in a bun. She had light make up on, Gucci slippers and dark shades completed the look. In fact she looked gorgeous. Brukeme could not take his eyes off her. As soon as he neared her, she slipped her arm into his and she led him away.
They entered a shop where shoes were sold and she asked him for his size of foot wear. He told her and she moved around selecting different ones; from leather shoes to sneakers, to leather sandals. She put them before him and told him to try it on. When she was satisfied with a brown leather shoe, a brown lace up canvass shoe and brown leather sandals, she brought out her atm card and paid. Their purchase was packaged and they left. They moved around the different shops, with Lisa buying stuff for both herself and Brukeme. She bought matching football club Jerseys and told Brukeme that she will get it customized with their names.
After they were done shopping, Lisa took Brukeme to her mother’s shop, so she could drop her purchase and then they could go and have lunch. He stood at the entrance, unsure of whether to go in or stand outside. After some few minutes, he boldly entered the shop and stood gazing at the different items on display. Lisa’s mother sold lady’s wears, lingerie, jewelry, items like scented candles, roses, greeting cards, perfumes, body cream and hair extensions. The shop was meant for women who wanted to look sexy and alluring for their man or for any man. He stood there with poly-bags of the items bought for him by Lisa, feeling very uncomfortable. Every where he turned, he saw transparent pants, G-string panties of unbelievable sizes. Heat rushed to his face as he saw a customer, quickly push a dildo into her bag on seeing his eyes on her. The lady laughed shyly then she winked.
Lisa’s Mother: “hello young man, you must be Brukeme?” a fair, pretty lady said to Brukeme, as she walked to him.
Brukeme nodded his head, his voice ceasing.
Lisa’s Mother: “let’s step out for a bit. This place is crowded. Blessing! Welcome sir, she will attend to you.” she said, speaking to a man who had entered the shop, his face a mask of calm reserve.
A tall beautiful girl rushed to the man and ushered him around the shop. Brukeme could see Lisa talking to someone seated behind the counter. Her back was turned to them. He followed her mother as she led him to an empty seat on the walkway and they both sat down.
Lisa’s Mother: “I will not waste your time. Whatever you think you are doing with my daughter let it end today. She is my only child and everything I am doing here is because of her. I will not let her squander all my efforts on a nobody like you. I can see she has already started buying you gifts?” she asked, her eyes on the poly-bag between Brukeme’s legs. “Take that as a goodbye gift. Do not come around her again. Do you understand me, boy?” she asked.
Brukeme nodded his head and swallowed, shame rushing through him like a bath of cold water.
Lisa’s Mother: “take this for transport. Now get lost.” She said, squeezing one thousand naira into his hands. She stood up and stared at Brukeme, waiting.
Brukeme looked at the money in his hands then he dropped it on the seat. He stood up straight and smiled, then he walked away, leaving the things Lisa had bought for him there on the ground.
Lisa’s Mother: “do not forget your gift.” She called to him. Brukeme did not look back.
Detective Hamza stared at the sleeping boy. He did not look like he was waking anytime soon. He stood for a moment, thinking, then he stepped out of the room. He walked along the wards, deep in thought then he stopped. Something familiar had flashed past his eyes. He turned back and looked into a room. On the bed was Dr Fejiro, with one of his daughters seated on a chair beside him. He looked at them for a minute, then making up his mind, he entered the room.
Fidelia: “I am sorry this is a private room.” she said, standing up and staring at the stranger with hostility. Her father raised his hand to stop her.
Detective Hamza introduced himself, looking at Dr Fejiro. He brought out the notebook and papers he had found in Friday’s room and placed it on the bed beside Dr Fejiro
Detective Hamza: “the case has been dropped. I guess that is due to your insistence. Now I know why but do you know who your son, Friday was? You don’t. Well here is some of his writing. Maybe it will help. Have a good day.” he said, then he left the room.
Fidelia stared at the notebook for some minutes, her father made no move to touch it. She got up and picked the book and papers from the bed. She adjusted her glasses and settled to read. When she was done there were tears in her eyes.
Fidelia: “I am lost here in this spot/ the carefree laugh of the world whipping my ears/ breaking me into small bits of hate and fear. Don’t I deserve the sweetness of life? Don’t I deserve to be like you/ you who read and cast away, your emotions full with the catharsis my pain reveals?/ My spirit has shriveled to a hateful thing/ hiding in the shadows of smoky bars and broken beings;/ in a world where I am pitied for the crime of daring to live./ I curse my ancestors for daring to make me be.” She read aloud then she looked at her father, “he wrote this poem, five years ago. He was in pain not just for being abandoned but also for being a sickler. There are several poems here, all filled with pain and loneliness.” She added.
Her father said nothing. She turned back to the notebook and saw the note. She read it, frowning in worry.
Fidelia: “he knew he was dying so he planned this. He planned to cause you as much pain as you had unknowingly caused him and to bind you to him forever. How did he intend to do that? Voke is mentioned several times as a tool to be used. But he is not clear on what he intended this Voke for? Who is this Voke, papa?” she asked.
Dr Fejiro looked at her and told her, tears in his eyes.
Question: what was Friday going to do with Voke? Should Ashley give up hope?
See Episode 15 Below (You don’t wanna miss this!)…AdeLove Stories…Premier Naija Inspirational Blog!
EXCLUSIVELY FROM ADELOVE.COM
All Rights Reserved!