With trembling hands, she unlocked the shop and stepped back for the ushers to search it. After ransacking the whole place and it was seeming like the money was not there, Mummy Lebechi had to interfere again.
Mummy Lebechi: “Search it very well. I don’t know what you people are doing there sef” her tone sounded so sure.
Head Usher: “Are you sure you saw her bring something suspicious into this shop? It does not look like there is any money here. We have even searched her bags” he said in frustration.
Pastor: “If it’s not there then leave it. We cannot brand an innocent woman a thief when we haven’t found any evidence” he had prayed in his heart that the thief would not be her and he found himself heaving a sigh of relief when it was nowhere to be found there.
Mummy Lebechi: “Pastor I really saw her. oya check the back of those crates of mineral or under it. I noticed you haven’t checked that place. You people don’t even know how to search for something” she said pointing at the crates of minerals.
The head usher bent down and removed the crates one after the other until it got to the last one. His eyes lit up in surprise when he checked the floor and saw a bundle wrapped with brow envelop. He handed it over to the pastor who opened it and found the money in it.
Pastor: “Hmmmmmmmmm. Is this the money?” he asked the head usher who nodded in the affirmative.
Mummy Lebechi: “I told you. This woman is a thief. I wonder why pastor will allow her to stay here in the first place” she hissed.
Morenike: “I don’t know anything about this” she said looking up at the pastor with tear-filled eyes.
How did the money get there? Who could have set me up like this? She asked herself.
Pastor: “You know I trusted you and really hoped and prayed you were not the culprit. I am highly disappointed in you”
Morenike: “You have to believe me pastor. I am not the culprit. Someone is trying to set me up” she cried.
Mummy Lebechi: “Who will want to set you up in this place? This is the house of God and we don’t do something that evil. You are simply a greedy woman despite everything the church has been doing for you” she eyes her contemptuously.
Morenike: “Mummy Lebechi. I thought we were friends?”
Mummy Lebechi: “I thought we were too until this incidence. I never knew you could have the mind to do something as hideous as this. Pastor see, anyone who has he mind to steal in the house of God will surely also have the mind to kill. You have to do something about her fast”
The next day, the officer knowing the woman was not going to take care of the children secretly went out to get food and drugs for him. Kemi didn’t go to school that day too, she knew she had to stay behind and keep her brother company and so while he was on bed, she sang and danced for him, making him laugh heartily.
The officer soon knocked on the door and Kemi opened it.
Officer: “Are you not harvesting potatoes today?” he asked smiling down at the little girl who looked confused.
Kemi: “Erm…let me ask Abiodun” she said and ran off then returned few seconds later with her brother whose hand she held protectively.
Mary: “You people should better not bring sand into my kitchen o or hell will be let loose in this house” she screamed from the room.
They all ignored her and went over to the back of the house. There, the officer brought out the drugs and food he had bought. They both looked it hungrily and a smile creased the sides of their faces at once.
Now my brother will eat good food and take medicine then we can start playing together again. Kemi thought.
Now my sister will get to eat good food and not that cold one in the fridge, thank God. Abiodun thought.
Abiodun: “Thank you very much policeman. I am not hungry. Let my sister eat it” he said weakly.
Kemi: “Thank you policeman. Let my brother eat first. I will feed him” she said the same time with her brother and the officer smiled pitifully at them. He had never seen siblings stick together that much in difficult times not even adults.
Officer: “Dont worry kids. I got just enough for the two of you. Abbey you need to eat so you can regain your strength and take your drugs. Don’t worry, I will be here for you now even if I have to borrow money to feed you two, I will” he said touching her cheek fondly.
Kemi: “Thank you sir” she smiled back at him innocently.
Officer: “Eat so you can go back inside fast okay? I will be at the gate” he said stood up and left.
Abiodun: “Don’t worry, I will feed you today since you fed me yesterday. It’s been long I fed you” he protested when she tried feeding him again.
Kemi: “But I am not sick today”
Abiodun: “Just open your mouth jor. Oya say ah” she did and he dished the beans and rice into her mouth making her laugh happily.
Mary stood at a corner watching them jealously and angrily.
“How can they love each other so much? Looking at them makes me even angrier than I already am. Besides who gave them the food?” she mumbled to herself then walked over to them and snatched the plate from the floor.
Mary: “Jeesus Christ! This children have started stealing outside. Where did you steal this rice and beans from?” she shouted.
Kemi: “We did not steal it” she stood up facing her defiantly but she slapped her across the face. The girl held her cheek, tears stungs the sides of her lids but she refused to shed them.
Abiodun: “Why will you slap my sister like that?” he stood up and went over to his sister checking her cheek.
Mary: “I will slap you too if you fail to tell me where you stole this food from” she threatened.
Abiodun: “Kemi are you okay? Sorry you hear?” he ignored her.
Mary: “Are you not the one I am talking to?” she yelled louder.
Officer: “I bought the food for them” he replied, walking over to them from behind.
Mary: “You are a liar” she shot at him.
Officer: “I said I bought the food for them. How do you think these children will be able to step out on our watch to steal food? Are they allowed to go anywhere on their own? Or didn’t you hear when I came to call them out? What reason do you have to treat this children like this?” he was behind himself with anger.
Mary: “You dare talk to me like that?” she walked closer to him, reached out her hand to slap him but he held her mid-way and flung it back. “Heiii…you will kill me today. You just slapped me just because you are an officer. Kill me o” she flung herself at him, holding the collar of his uniform tightly. Other officers soon arrived the scene and all efforts to loosen her grip on his collar proved abortive.
The pastor called the two women into his office. He had perceived something was not right with the way mummy Lebechi was hurling accusations at her.
Pastor: “So what is all these about?” he asked looking at mummy Lebechi.
Mummy Lebechi: “Pastor you should be looking at her not me” she pointed at her.
Pastor: “My spirit tells me there is more to this than meets the eye. I have seen how cordial the two of you have grown so your action today is surprising. Madam, did you give the key to your shop to anyone?”
Morenike: “Yes pastor. She volunteered to help me with sales whenever i’m not around. So I gave her a spare key yesterday before going out”
Joseph: “So you had the guts to lay your hands on my wife? Officer you are done for” he raged.
Officer: “But I did nothing of such”
Mary: “I was only asking my children where they had gotten the food they were eating from. He had been asking me out but I kept spurning his advances, he must have used that opportunity to avenge his being rejected” she cried.
The commissioner of police who was Joseph’s good friend was also present and none of the officers ever claimed to have witnessed the incidence except for the two children whom she claimed connived with the officer to beat her up.
Mary: “I have done everything in my power to take care of these children but every time I give them food, they pour it away. Even my husband knows this i true. I have no reason to do or say otherwise, they are my children” she wept even harder.
Question: What will happen to the officer, the only friend the children have in the house? Will the true culprit of the theft be fished out by the pastor?
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