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The driver swung into the front of the fenceless Okwurah house and with a hitman’s agility he jumped down to open the door for his boss. Usually, Conrad would wait for the driver to get down and open the door, but today, the car had hardly stopped moving before he shot out of it. His wife was right at his heels and the driver was right behind them. Then a thought occurred to him and he paused and ordered his driver.
“Okon, take the jeep to the mechanic and call me when you get there.”
Okon looked like a premiership fan who had been looking forward to a star match who had now been told he couldn’t watch the match. He knew there was nothing wrong with the car and that oga was just trying to deny him seeing what was inside the house.
“But oga,” he responded “I just carry am go last week for servicing and nothing do am.”
“Will you do as you are told and stop arguing, you imbecile!” Conrad bellowed. He wasn’t sure what was waiting for him inside but if what Jason said was true, then he didn’t want Okon seeing it. These boys got greedy once they felt they had a hold on someone and he didn’t want to give Okon anything that might tempt him to be greedy.
Okon reluctantly turned around and went to the car. Conrad stayed to watch him drive off. As he got to the door of the house, he heard Adaku’s scream. He nearly kicked the door down as he fumbled to open it quickly and made a mess of it in his anxiety.
As soon as he got in, he could smell it. No Ibo young man who had lived through and fought in the civil war could mistake it. It was the smell of death, and it hung heavy in the air of his living room even before he saw the body. Adaku was wailing at the couch and when he got there, he saw the stiffened body of Clara on there. Rigor mortis had already begun to set in with the blood on the couch caked already. She had been dead for some time.
“Have you seen any of the children?” he asked brusquely. Adaku shook her head and Conrad turned and began to call out for both Jason and Brian at the top of his voice. The reality of the seriousness of Jason now dawned on him. In the US, this would have been handled properly and sympathetically by the police and maybe even spun by PR people to boost his career. But here in Nigeria, if it got out that his eight year old had murdered his househelp, his political career was over before it even began. But why the hell did Jason murder the girl. When no one answered his call, he went to Brian’s room. The door was open and he could see Jason’s back now.
“Jason, why aren’t you answering? Didn’t you hear me call your name?” He said angrily.
Jason simply stepped aside to let him in. Brian had heard his father’s voice and he sat up immediately, now alert, with his gun in hand. Adaku entered after her husband. They both got the shock of their lives when their eight year old pointed a gun at them. Jason was at last relieved that he was no longer the one facing the barrel of the gun. It was amazing how a gun changed the balance of power in human relations. Here they were, three adults, held hostage because of a gun by a boy they would otherwise have easily overpowered.
“I had warned about this gun but you would not listen,” Adaku said under her breath to Conrad. He simply grunted his disagreement at her and then faced Brian squarely. With as much authority as he could muster, he bellowed
“What the hell are you doing with that gun? Did I not tell you it is bad to enter our room? And what got into your head that made you point a gun at your brother, and now at your mother and I. Are you mad?”
Brian withered away before the imposing presence of his dad, in spite of being the one holding his gun. He had been hoping he would finally be able to tell his dad how alone he always felt and how Aunty Clara had hurt him repeatedly. But now, he was not so sure anymore, his dad was so angry, and not with Aunty Clara, but with him.
“Daddy, I wanted you to come back home, Aunty Clara was doing things…” Brian managed to mutter before Conrad shut him up angrily “Shut Up! Do you know what you have done? The kind of trouble you have caused for everybody? Why didn’t you use the mobile phone with Clara to call me if you wanted to tell me something? So you think that shooting people and killing them is how to get attention? It makes you feel bigger than this? Jason!”
“Yes sir!” Jason answered. He would normally not add the sir, but he was so shaken right now.
“Get the gun from Brian now! I need to call the commissioner. I have an idea as to how to make this go away but it’s still going to cost me tons of money, but I don’t have a choice. Adaku, I don’t know what you are doing with this children,” Conrad said.
“Please don’t dump it on me! Is it not you that says your wife must be on the campaign trail with you? Do I share myself into two? Or do I wait for you to accuse me of being an unsupportive wife so that you can marry another wife on top of my head as your people have always wanted you to?” Adaku shot back.
Conrad wanted to respond but didn’t have a comeback. Angrily he turned to Jason “didn’t you hear what I said? Nonsense.”
He stormed towards Brian. Brian’s finger pressed the trigger as panic rose in his heart as his dad got closer. But he just couldn’t bring himself to apply enough pressure to fire a shot.
Conrad took the gun out of Brian’s hands and it was only then that Jason relaxed.
“Maybe I should even hand you over to the police to see what they do to killers in Nigeria. But I have to think about how to kill this because it will affect the family.”
“But Aunty Clara was always hurting me, always touching me here and making me touch her there,” he touched his genitals and chest to explain and then continued “and she said it’s because Jason and Stanley do the same to her that she does it to me. She cut me here,” he said indignantly, touching his face.
When he looked up to see if his dad was listening, he realized that he had been talking to himself. Dad was already on the phone, talking to some policeman.
“Yes, there was a robbery in my house overnight.” Conrad was saying. “Unfortunately, it was only the maid and our eight year old boy that were at home. They shot the maid, made away with my wife’s jewelry and even hurt my boy with a knife.”
He listened in briefly and then replied “yes o. I hope it was an ordinary robbery and not a calculated plan by my political opponents. Maybe they thought I was at home and wanted to get me. But God pass them. Don’t worry, I will make sure your logistics are taken care of. Just keep it quiet and no press. Elections will soon be here.”
Brian got off the bed. His dad didn’t even notice he had left. His mum was already in the living room with Jason. they were both on the phone when he got there. No one would still listen to him. Nothing had changed, really. They all still acted like he wasn’t there. He quietly went back to the room.
Adaku was rounding her call off. She had started calling the busybodies amongst her friends to spread the robbery gist as soon as she heard her husband’s line of conversation with the police commissioner. They would spread the word faster than any press could, and it would be more believable. Then she heard the explosive sound. She raced from the living room to Brian’s room where it had come from.
She saw Conrad looking at the shelf where he had kept the gun and then looking to the bed. Brian, or what was left of him lay on the bed. He had blown off his own head.
“So you went to tell on Uncle Idris to Aunty Aisha, en? You have been a very bad girl,” Idris said as he lifted Inya off the bed and made her stand in front of him.
“I didn’t mean to Uncle. I just wanted to know and you told me she knew things, so I thought to ask her,” Inya said defensively.
“Then why did you have to sneak behind my back to go and ask her then? For you to have been sneaking around, you meant to cause trouble,” Idris pressed.
“No. I just wanted to know what more was after what you showed me.” Inya insisted.
“Well, why didn’t you ask me then? I would have gladly showed you,” Idris said lasciviously.
“Uncle, I wanted her to just tell me. When you show me, I don’t like it. It leaves me tired and makes me feel dirty. You sneak around to show me, and like you said, if you have to sneak around, then it’s bad, isn’t it.” Inya said.
Idris was angry. “Have you been talking to Oyiza? Has she been putting smarty pants ideas into your head, because you are sounding like her. Come here and learn what you were asking!” he commanded.
“Do I have to? I just want to sleep,” she said.
Idris assumed a threatening stance. “Do you want your mummy to find out what you have been doing with Brian in school?”
Inya sighed deeply, resigning herself to her fate. Idris read her body language and sensed his victory. He began to undress her.
Oyiza pounded away at the keyboard furiously, taking out her frustration with the situation with Uncle Idris on it. Frustration they say is good, and in the twenty minutes she had spent punishing the keyboard, she could hear the song come out more fluidly with each run. But something niggled her mind. Uncle Idris. Inya. This insecticide mess. The way he hung it over her. Idris. Inya. She kept going over it repeatedly, running it through the mill of her young mind, until suddenly it struck her. Idris had seemed interested in knowing where Inya was. He had been interested in making sure no one else was in the house and that Inya was alone. She sprang up from the keyboard and raced towards their room. The door was not shut. She pushed it open and held her breath. Uncle Idris was butt naked with her sister on top of him. Her eyes locked with his for a moment and she froze. Then she grabbed her diary and ran.
Idris knew he was in trouble. He shoved Inya off him and grabbed his shorts, hurrying into it. Quickly he ran after Oyiza. First he checked the piano area but she wasn’t there. He searched everywhere he could think of in the house but didn’t find her.
Oyiza hid in her parents’, scribbling furiously into her diary. She didn’t think Uncle Idris would look for her here. She would wait until her mum or Aunty Laraba came before going out.
Idris was frustrated. He went back to the girls’ room and met Inya there.
“Where is your sister?” he asked angrily.
“I don’t know. I have not left the room since she ran away.” He hissed and began to get dressed. “You are foolish Inya. You are protecting her. Do you know she was the one that sprayed an insecticide on you and caused your last asthma attack? She wanted to kill you, the witch, the jealous little witch. Keep on protecting her there.” Inya shook her head vigorously “you are lying Uncle Idris. I don’t believe you, Oyiza would never do that!” “Dey there!” he said to her pointing derisively. Then he said out aloud, hoping that Oyiza would hear him “Wherever you are, I will find you and get you!
His phone beeped and he realized he hadn’t taken it out of his pocket. He brought it out. It was a message from Aisha. He selected “delete” from the options. He didn’t want to read her begging, the hoe. The phone asked him if he was sure he wanted to delete. He looked at it and decided he would read it before deleting it. This is what the message said;
“Dear ex-boyfriend, I realize I didn’t get to tell you what I came to say before I found out about your filth. I got tested yesterday and discovered I was positive. HIV positive. Go and get tested. And get that little girl tested too. Don’t drink Harpic o.”
Idris fell heavily on the bed. “she must be lying, she must be effing lying. She’s just trying to get to me, trying to screw with my mind. I cannot have AIDS, this Aisha cannot have given me AIDs.”
“What is it, Uncle?” Inya asked.
“Shut up! Your Aunty Aisha has gone to get herself HIV and is trying to screw with my mind that I have it too. But she won’t succeed, that hoe!” he spoke forcefully, trying to convince himself that it couldn’t be true.
But try as he may, the fear gripped his mind. He had been having unprotected sex with Aisha steady and if she was positive, there were many occasions he could have contracted it. Every other thing that had been happening paled in significance. He forgot about Oyiza, about Inya and everything else. He had to go and get tested. He left the room hastily.
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