Mrs. Bakare gazed at Egbe sadly. The girl had been strong, she knew but she deserves a break, something to put a light in her life. Egbe opened her eyes slowly, smiled and then winced on seeing her.
Egbe: “you have been here since?” she whispered. Her jaw hurt as hell when she moved it, so she tried not to move it too much.
Mrs Bakare: “yes I have.” She replied, smiling back. “How do you feel?” she asked.
Egbe: “I hurt all over. Do you know if…if Desmond has been found?” she asked, her voice trembling with the effort to call his name.
Mrs Bakare: “nobody tells an old woman anything.” She replied. “I have taken the liberty to send for your sister. I am too old to be keeping watch.” She added after a minute.
Egbe smiled then winced as the pain flashed on her jaw. The old woman patted her arm in consolation. They stayed like that for some time, each immersed in their thoughts
Egbe: “I told him about my real identity.” She whispered.
Mrs. Bakare: “Hmmm… I wonder what he will think of you?” she said.
Egbe: “I don’t care anymore. I had to do this because he forcefully took my son from me. Let him think whatever he wants, I just want Desmond to be found and found alive.” She replied slowly.
Mrs Bakare’s caregiver came into the room. it was time to go. The woman patted Egbe on her arm before she was rolled out of the room in her wheel chair. Egbe laid in silence, staring at the ceiling, deep in thought. The room door opened and someone stepped in. Egbe looked at the person
Egbe: “I knew you would come.” She said.
Florence: “good, at least someone knows what is to be expected because I didn’t know I was coming here until I got here.”
Major Festus stared at Olamide’s body in the morgue. He felt very sad for his elder brother. the man had walked his own path and it had not ended well for him. he wished he had been able to help the guy become a better person but it was too late now. He sighed and nodded his head. The mortuary attendant covered the body and Major Festus walked out of the chill of the morgue into the cool evening air.
“Where is Florence? Where is Desmond? If it is not Olamide, then Florence is the only person who might have been able to move him… so all this while, Martha had been Desmond’s mother? God! The deceitful thing! and here was I trying to fix myself up, so she could love me. I am a big fool. No woman is to be trusted… none.” He thought to himself as he walked back to his car.
Major Festus: “take me to the police station.” he said to the driver. It is going to be a long night.
Florence: “do you love my husband?” she asked, sitting down on the chair that Mrs. Bakare had just vacated.
Egbe stared at silently and winced as she tried to adjust herself on the bed.
Egbe: “he is a nice man. I don’t know if I love him or not.” She whispered.
Florence: “you do not know my husband well.” She said simply. She got up from the chair and walked to the window. “my father, God rest his wicked soul, placed Festus as my prison guard; a well paid prison guard. His job was to make sure I never strayed too far or I would lose all the things I had come to love; my money, my inheritance. And he played his role well, I almost came to love him but something held me back. Do you know what?” she asked her. When Egbe didn’t reply, she went on; “it was the look in his eyes anytime he looked at me. I have done enough things that will make a calm and understanding man throw me out of the house but he has never done so. He has threatened but no matter what I do, he has refused to grant me a divorce. He always says that he is protecting the good name of my family but what family? I am the only member of my family still alive. I have pondered this thing for a long time.” She continued.
Egbe listened to the woman’s tale with curiosity. Up until this moment, she had never spoken with her, and she found her interesting. She snatched her thoughts back to the present. Florence stood gazing out into the gathering darkness of early evening.
Florence: “the day Desmond died, I was with a man. I have always given Festus the impression that I fuck a whole lot. Don’t get me wrong, I love sex a lot. But on the day my son died I was with a man who told me that he has information about my husband to reveal to me. He said I should come to see him some days later and that he would have pictures and proofs of my husband’s crime. i got home to find that my son had died. At first I thought he had killed him but it made no sense why would he kill him? Then he brought another man’s son to replace Desmond. I began to suspect that he had brought his child outside wedlock to the house. I rushed back to meet the man that had promised me evidence and proof that would have set me free. Do you know what I found?” she asked, turning back to look at Egbe.
She opened her palms and blew into them then she waved them in the air.
Florence: “nothing. My contact had come to his hotel room drunk and he had fallen from the balcony to his death. I had nothing. I was weak with fear when I got home and had already drunk myself silly when Festus came and informed me that we were leaving the country. We had no reason to leave the country but now when I look back, I think he had reasons. I think he had killed the man. I think he knows that I know and he will never let me go.” She said.
Egbe shifted her head a little and tried to follow Florence with her eyes as she move back to her seat and sat down.
Egbe: “why are you telling me all this?” She asked
Florence: “oh… I want you to understand why I can’t let him be happy.” She got up, opened her bag and brought out a syringe already filled with a liquid. She had stolen it from her friend’s place. “I want you to know the reason why you have to die.” She said as she walked close to the bed and bent over Egbe.
Egbe tried to scream but her throat was hoarse from all the talking and shouting. She could not do anything but stared at the needle as it pierced her skin and Florence’s thumb pressed the plunger down. As she fainted, she had her room door crashed open and running feet. She heard Doyin’s voice.
Doyin had been busy all day at the police station attending to questions from the police concerning the disappearance of Desmond. He had just returned to the hospital and had decided to go check on Egbe when he heard the end of Florence words and rushed into the room. He grabbed Florence and hit the syringe from her hands. He dragged her away as Egbe started to jerk. He handed Florence over to a big nurse and rushed back to Egbe. He picked the syringe and tried to detect what it was but it was a transparent and odorless liquid.
Florence meanwhile, raved and screamed in the nurses arms, raining curses on men, on Olamide, on Festus, on her father… the nurse looked with a surprised face, when she even called Doyin’s name in her rant.
She no longer looked like the poised lady, wife of a wealthy man, that everybody thought her to be. Other doctors came and they quickly rushed the thrashing Egbe away, while the nurse with the help of another nurse managed to sedate Florence and took her back to the room she had vacated some days before.
Question: Florence’s story change with every person she tells, I didn’t even know which one to believe when I heard this tale. If you were Egbe will you believe Florence’s story? Do you think Egbe will survive the poisoning?
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