Ashley entered Warri with a blank look in her eyes. She went straight to Tega’s brothel, where she had been working some weeks before. As soon as she entered the premises, girls started hailing her, hugging her and welcoming her back; the same girls that had stood aside while she had been thrown outside naked. She smiled and chatted with them with reserve. She only showed true warmth to Ehis who had been considerate enough to let her have her bath and keep her bag at her place. After a brief chat with the girl, she climbed the stairs to the lounge.
As soon as she entered, loud music hit her like a blow, flashing coloured lights rotated all over the place, giving the place the look and feel of a disco hall. Several men were seated on the different chairs scattered all over the room. Most of the men had a girl or two seating with them. The air was cloudy with weed and cigarette smoke. She ignored the noise and smell and walked to the bar. She sat down on the bar stool and waited. Some few minutes after, the bar man, Tony nodded his head. She immediately got up and opened a door by the side of the bar. She entered and closed the door behind her and the noise immediately reduced to a manageable level.
Tega: “hmmm…Ashley, my love. Look at you. You look stunning. Where have you been?” he asked, smiling at her.
Tega used to be a really dark handsome man, very tall and muscular but now he was looking like a roasted mango and big overripe one at that. Bleaching cream and soaps had removed the chocolate beauty of his skin, leaving the remarkable mismatch of colours that bleaching brings. His muscular frame was now flabby with fat. He was a disgusting sight.
Ashley ignored him and took her seat. She placed her bag on the table and dropped her phone beside it. She brought out a pack of cigarette and lit it.
Ashley: “who is the target?” she asked.
Tega smiled, his teeth, stained with nicotine, glinting in the poorly lit room.
Tega: “there’s a lady in town. She owns several businesses here and outside the state. She is single and she is rich. She adopted a daughter not too long ago. The child is deaf and dumb. The woman is our target.” He said.
Ashley: “we are kidnapping the woman?” she asked, coolly.
Tega: “no. we are kidnapping the girl.” He replied, as he opened his drawer and placed a stack of pictures on the table.
Ashley picked the pictures and looked at the girl then at her mother. She dropped them back on the table then she looked at Tega
Ashley: “the woman is known as Madam Stella. You might not know her.” He said, smugly.
Ashley nodded her head. “Life is for those willing to take risks. This is for the best.” She thought to herself.
Ashley: “my five hundred thousand naira then we will discuss plans.” She replied, stretching her hands forward.
Tega smiled. He opened the drawer again and brought out a cheque already filled and signed. He handed it over to her. She looked at it and nodded her head. She picked her bag and phone and got up
Tega: “sorry for the other time. You have been too long in the game. It’s time for you to move on to bigger things, you know.” He said, opening his hand, in something that he thought to be an apology.
Ashley: “and the wife you never told me about? The kids?” she asked, staring at him blankly.
Tega: “you know we could not be together now. You and I, we have gone too far together to find love in each other arms. Besides I needed to settle. I am not getting any younger. I knew you will be angry, that is why I didn’t tell you.” he replied
Ashley: “after making me lose my womb, you settle down happily shey? No wahala sha. Make I dey go. I have places to be, people to see.” She replied, and then she turned and left.
Brukeme entered the room several minutes later to meet Lisa dressed and seated on the bed. She was visibly angry. As soon as he entered the room, she stood up angrily.
Lisa: “I want to take my leave.” She said coldly.
Brukeme: “ha…relax now. I am sorry I delayed.” He replied, smiling.
He walked close to her and tried to hold her. Lisa gave him a slap and he staggered back in shock, his hand on his cheek.
Lisa: “I said I want to go home. Do you want to rape me now?” she asked, hotly
Brukeme: “baby relax now, I said I was sorry now. See I have the condoms here.” He replied, rubbing his cheek.
Lisa: “so you looked at me up and down and you felt that I have an infection abi? Why didn’t wear condom on your lips when you were eating me like my pussy was made of honey and chocolate?” she asked.
Brukeme stepped back and looked at Lisa closely. He was surprised at the personality she was displaying.
Brukeme: “are you okay?” he asked.
Lisa: “guy I say I wan bounce! Abi you want make I control police come here now now?” she asked, loudly.
Brukeme tried to wrap his head around the change in Lisa’s behaviour but could not. He sighed and opened the door. Lisa pushed passed him and started walking away. He followed her slowly. As they got to where her car was packed, he saw his two roommates strolling down, each had a newspaper parcel of roasted corn in their hand and they were eating as they walked. Lisa opened her door, entered and closed it with a bang.
Kevwe on seeing them rushed forward to the car.
Kevwe: “hello, you must be Lisa. We have been hearing so much about you.” he said, smiling; pieces of corn sticking to his beard.
Lisa looked him up and down, then she hissed. She started her car and revved it, splashing mud on Brukeme and Kevwe, then she zoomed off. Jerry immediately burst into laughter. Brukeme turned to look at Jerry, his eyes red with anger. Jerry stopped laughing but a small smile played on his lips as he focused on his corn, chewing with enjoyment.
Kevwe: “wetin make you dey laugh?” he asked angrily, looking at the mud stains on his trousers.
Jerry: “shey you wan friend rich man pikin. Shey she don change am for you now?” he replied laughing.
Brukeme bit his lips to keep from saying something he will regret. He stared at the car that was already disappearing from view. “God, this na test? You go give me small taste of better thing then you go remove am from my mouth. Wetin I do? Wetin I do?” he thought to himself sadly.
Fidelia entered the room on quiet feet. She closed the door slowly without making a sound. Her hand was shaky and moist as she removed it from the door handle. She wiped her hands on her jeans and adjusted her glasses. She tiptoed to the bed and stared at the sleeping form of Voke. She had left her father’s private room after she had finished reading the notebook and the poems.
She looked at the tube fixed into his arm and the monitor reading his vital signs. She did not know what had brought her to the room. Maybe it was to see if the face of the criminal, Friday, could be found in his younger brother’s face. Maybe it was curiosity, maybe it was anger. Maybe it was hope that within the boy laid the answer to the numerous questions in her head which her father has refused to answer or actually had no answer for. Maybe it was fear at what the future had in stock for her family with the boy still alive. She was in the room though, and her heart was heavy with pain and hate.
Fidelia: “your brother has brought misery to my family. Whether you are my father’s son or not, I do not care; you will not continue the evil work, your brother started. It will end today.” She said.
She turned around and saw a pillow lying on the only chair in the room. She picked it and stared at it. She looked at Voke as tears blurred her eyes, then she stepped close to the bed and raised the pillow over Voke’s face. “No one will ever know. He will take the memory his presence brings out of our lives and maybe then we will start to heal.” She thought as she held the pillow with all the strength she could gather, tears blinding her to her desperate act.
Question: Will Brukeme still go to the party? What do you think Fidelia wants to do? Why do you think Ashley is getting involved in this deal?
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