Leke knew it was a matter of time before Nora found out his true identity, so he went back to that neighborhood in Agege to see Femi.
Femi: “Ha egbon, what is it again?” he asked. I told him I wanted him to hack into the network of the mental home where I had been held for years, and erase every file they had on me. So that if Nora ever went to the mental home, they would not have pictures of me, and she would have no idea of my current looks.
Femi: “That’s plenty work, but I go do am for you. You will give me 1 hour” he said, and since I didn’t have anywhere I could stay and wait around the neighbourhood, I stayed with him inside the small room, which stank. Within minutes I was perspiring, the small ceiling fan was making so much creaking sound, but was doing little to ventilate the room, as it circulated hot air. After a while, when it felt like I would suffocate, he announced that it was done and showed me proof. I paid him a sum of two thousand naira and left. I was almost done to my last one thousand, but I told myself that it was all worth it.
Two days later, I was in the office pretending as usual that I did not know that Nora was aware of what I did, when she walked in wearing all black, she was smiling but the smile did not reach her eyes. I knew why this was so, I had Banke to thank for this, and I was going to get my pound of flesh from her.
Nora: “Mikhail, you did not bring any proof as I requested” she said, with her gaze intent on my face.
Leke: “Well, I have an identity card from the NIC, I had to go search it out from my luggage. I will get it to you as soon as I can make photocopies” I told her, feigning excitement that I didn’t feel, my lips spread in a grin that did not quite reach my eyes.
Nora: “Let me have a peek now” she said, very interested and trying to be passive, like she was not interested. I dipped my hand in my pocket and felt the card I had gotten from Femi, but I told myself I would make her anxious, so I did. I removed my hands again.
Leke: “I didn’t bring it with me, I think I forgot” I said and watched her face turn pale like she was going to faint. It occurred to me that she was nursing the idea that I was Adeleke, the only survivor of the Aboderine family.
Nora: “Alright, make sure you bring it to me personally” she said and walked away briskly. When she left, I slipped my phone out and began to scroll through the pictures on my phone; they were mostly Banke’s nude pictures. She was the reason I was in this mess, she put Nora on my tail, she destroyed my comfort zone, Prisca, and she acted the way she liked, not even thinking of what I was capable of. It was time to make her know that I was just not stupid or spineless. I went to a Facebook group I was a member of, and posted the photos there, with the caption “See the nudes of Lagos Slay Queen”. I watched as people commented and shared, in thirty minutes it had over a hundred shares. I knew before the end of that day, it would have gone viral. I felt a sense of calm, yes, she would never recover from this, I told myself. I began to pack the few things I had into a storage box, I was getting ready to go underground.
Unknown to me, Nora had gone straight to the mental home, but she met new faces she didn’t know. When she asked for me, they told her I had been discharged from the home, she asked for my records as my guardian, but there were no records to give, they told her the system did not have any records of me, they explained that it was a year since I was discharged, perhaps the system had deleted old archives. Nora was restless, there was no way for her to confirm or dispel her fears.
Meanwhile, on my way home, the private investigator called me on my cell phone.
Benita: “Hello, kiddo. I am really sorry to tell you this, but I cannot continue with your work. There are no concrete evidences. The video you got can be pulled apart by any defense attorney worth his mettle. It is better we stop now, than get thrown out of court.” She said in a calm voice that was an antithesis of the raging storm I felt inside.
Leke: “So I should just let everything go, she killed my mother, my father and put me in a mental home, and you are telling me, there is nothing we can do?” I barked into the phone.
Benita: “You are still young, leave the matter to God, live and let live. The truth is like candlelight, it cannot be hidden under the bed. I have transferred your money back into your account. Do have a nice life and seek Jesus, he is ready to carry your entire burden” she said, and I angrily hung up on her. I felt like I was back to square one, do I release the video to the internet? I pondered as I walked home.
It was evening of the same day; I was falling into depression owing to the anticlimax I felt after the private investigator called. I was in the toilet doing my shit, with my ear buds stuck to my ear, and the music on the high. Unknown to me, Banke had come to the house in her bid to continue her charade after the stern warning Nora gave to her. She probably knocked and when I did not respond, she entered the apartment since the door was open. On my bed were my WAEC and Jamb results, I had brought them out to peruse, the only evidence of my real life, not the fake life I lived. I was not expecting any visitors, so when the urge to defecate came, I rushed to the toilet without packing up the credentials. When Banke came in, she picked them up and looked through them, she realized the double life I was living, and quietly left the house after snapping photos of the credentials. When I came out, I smelt her perfume, but I did not pay any mind to it, I felt it was just my restless mind playing a fast one on me.
Banke on her way home, googled the name, and found out everything about the death of my mother, the attack on Mary and how I have been in the mental home. She began to piece one and two together; she remembered Mary calling that name the day we bumped into Nora on our way out of the company, she also remembered what Mary had said, like she had knowledge of something awful that Nora had done. Could it be? She asked herself.
Nora was the executive secretary and she turned into a wife very fast after my mother’s death. She realized that perhaps I was trying to make Nora confess to something she did, perhaps my suspicions were right. There was only one way to find out, she decided to work with me again on the project, and this time she was determined we would find the truth about Nora.
Banke: “Thank God, I didn’t tell her about the evidences Mikhail has, Mikhail or Adeleke…oh God” she said in her head as she jumped into her sister’s car and drove off straight home.
Getting home though, Banke was met with the biggest shock of her life. Her sister Kunmi had her eyes swollen from crying, she shoved her ipad at Banke.
Kunmi: “See what you have made of yourself, is this the life I was building for you?” she wailed. She starred at the screen unable to connect her brain with what her eyes were seeing.
Banke: “Was this what Prisca felt when I distributed her photos online?” she asked within herself. She was unaware that I knew about her deal with Nora, so she concluded that I did it to avenge Prisca. Well, it was true, but not just for Prisca, but for myself too. Her face contorted in anger as she picked up her phone and called a famous blogger she knew.
Banke: “I want to tell you the biggest story of the century” she said.
Question: What does Banke plan to do, what story does she want to tell?”
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