The soldiers arrived at the house only to find it empty. They questioned the neighbours, and they told them that they saw Egbe and her sister, Benita, leaving the compound with bags. The soldiers returned to Major Festus with this news. The man said nothing for some time; he just stared at Sergeant Osunbor and shook his head sadly. He got up and left the hospital.
Sergeant Osunbor stared at the ceiling, wondering where a savior will come from; someone to get him out of the mess he had gotten into. There was no one; nobody to help him. He turned his head to the side as tears slowly fell from his eyes on to the pillow.
Major Festus, despite his military background, considered every man to be as dangerous as he can be when pushed. He expected deceit in every transaction, every deal as long as the other side is desperate. Once he had to face someone desperate, he always did his research before attacking so he would have means to counter and win. This method had worked for him time and time again. He had survived the military and retirement with this knowledge. So before he left Europe, he had investigated the Osunbors; he knew everything there was to know about them, maybe more than they did themselves. For example he knew about Nkechi, but Mrs Osunbor did not know. He also knew about the friend in Ebrumede that had just built a five room bungalow, which Sergeant Osunbor didn’t even know about. He had his men wait for them there.
As he drove into his duplex along Orhuwhorun road, his phone rang; it was one of the men, calling to inform him that they, the mother and sister, were yet to arrive there. He talked with them, gave them orders then he drove into his home.
He sat in his car staring at the entrance door for several minutes. Going into that house was like trekking to be hung. He could not bear another night with his wife in that house; it bothered him so much, how much she had changed. He sighed and stepped out of his car and closed the door behind him. He entered the house and the scent of alcohol wafted into his nostril. He stood at the door for a minute, unsure whether to go in or to go back to his car and drive off. He squared his shoulder and walked in.
His wife, lady Florence Olayinka was an army brat; the daughter of late Air Vice Marshal Paul Adegbite. She was not someone one treated lightly and he had always respected her ability to be ruthless when pushed; always. She was seated on a chair, staring at him from the bar mirror, a bottle of Vodka half full standing before her. He dropped his car keys and cell phone on the centre table and waved away the greeting of the maid, who stood obediently waiting. He sat on a chair and stared at the smooth skin of his wife peeking from the low neckline of her gown.
Florence: “did you see the man?” she asked, without turning back from the mirror.
Major Festus: “I did. His wife just put to bed, a baby boy.” He said, staring at her intently.
Florence: “and so? I don’t care if his mother was dying of kidney failure and his kidney was the only possible replacement, I want him dead.” She replied, her eyes filled with venom.
Major Festus: “I have laid claim to the baby. He will replace Desmond. I will not kill anyone.” He replied softly.
Florence: “I don’t want no dirty baby that came out one dirty hole, I want my seed, my own child. I will not bring up a genetic disorder as my son, never… Darling…” she came down from the barstool and swayed towards him, then she leaned into him; “I don’t need another man’s child, I want the man dead, simple. Do that for me darling, please… I am going to bed.” she whispered and placed a kiss on his forehead, then she walked away.
Major Festus: “I am selling this house and we are moving back to Lagos.” He replied, watching her.
Lady Florence’s back stiffened on hearing his words but she did not turn back; she kept on walking until she climbed the stairs and disappeared from view. He sighed and shook his head. He picked his phone from his pocket and placed it in front of himself, waiting for the call.
Egbe bathed the boy and dressed him for bed then she had her own bath and stepped out of the room to join her friend and her sister in the sitting room. They were watching a movie on TV. At least, Obianuju, her friend was watching the TV; her sister was glued to her phone. She joined them and stared at the TV distractedly.
Benita: “sister, I just read say the boy papa na very big man o; both for political circles and even for military sef.” she said on seeing her take her seat.
Egbe: “so wetin I go do? Make I give my flesh and blood to stranger because he get money pass me?” she asked, angrily.
Obianuju: “that reminds me, I wanted to talk to you but I said you should settle down first. These big men can be messy when they want something desperately. I suggest you find a way to come to an agreement with this man. You cannot continue to run for the rest of your life. Find a middle ground with him then you can find some spot of happiness in your life. Besides, whatever care your son will receive under him, can never be compared to what you would have given him. Look at this as a way for your son to get a better life than you would have given him.” she said, turning away from the TV to look at Egbe.
Egbe stared at her friend, her mind turning over what she had just said. “God, why I need to choose? I no strong enough for this o. No other way dey? God abeg come to my aid.” She thought to herself.
The door burst open and two soldiers stormed into the flat, their guns pointed at them. The three women raised their hands and laid on the ground, afraid for their lives.
First soldier: “where is the baby?” he asked.
First Woman: “baby? What baby?” she replied.
Second soldier: “where the pikin? Go bring the pikin come out!” he shouted.
Second Woman: “I no get baby o. my pikin na eleven years old boy o!.” She replied, from the ground.
The second soldier moved to hit her with his gun but the first soldier held him back.
First soldier: “search the house.” He said.
The second soldier moved away from the women and entered the different rooms, searching. He soon returned and shook his head. There was no new born baby in the house. The first soldier looked at the women curiously;
First soldier: “are you not Mrs Osunbor?” he asked, pointing at the woman he had seen come down from a keke in the evening, carrying a bundle in her arms.
Second Woman: “no o. I be Mrs Okugbe o. I no be Osunbor o.” she replied.
First soldier: “is this a joke? Are you not Obianuju Okwudili?” he asked the first woman
First woman: “Obianuju don pack o. she sell the house give my husband. She no dey stay here again.” She replied.
Second soldier: “you know where she dey stay?” he asked.
The lady shook her head fearfully. She explained to them that she had never even met the woman. The transaction was carried out between her husband and the woman in question. The soldiers angrily left the house. The first soldier called Major Festus to inform him of their inability to get the boy.
At the hospital, sergeant Osunbor hopped off his bed and managed to wear his shirt then picking the crutches by his bed side, he walked slowly to the door and came out to meet the policeman on guard sleeping beside his gun. He went to the man and picked the gun by his side. He placed the rifle on his throat and smiled sadly as he saw the doctor and nurse running towards him. He pulled the trigger as the policeman woke up to the noise and tried to hit the gun away from him. The bullet blew away his jaw, his nose and the front of his skull. He was dead by the time he hit the floor.
Question: Egbe has found herself in a tight spot now; her husband is dead. Should she take her friend’s advice? Florence does not want the child, why is Major Festus still determined to take the child?
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