Archive | December 2013

Write Right – The Top 5

Write Right

All the judges remarked on how difficult it was to pick this finalists. All the entries were that good. However, we now have our top 5 Write Right Two Finalists. I’d like to thank everyone that entered. From Ukraine to Canada to Benin Republic and all over Nigeria, the response has been superb. Do not stop writing and I look forward to hearing greater things even more than from the 1st Write Right.

I’d also like to thank the judges. It was hard, difficult work reading all the many entries and you all came through. You are good people.

We are finally moving to the next phase of the competition, the phase where they will need your votes. Over the next 4 Weeks, they will battle for the N250,000 prize. I foresee an exciting competition ahead. We will contact the finalists via email and communicate the procedure for submission of their 4 part series shortly.  As a reminder of the competition format, read the announcement HERE

So in no particular order, here are the entries  that made the cut. I have deliberately left them unedited or improved for presentation sake. I enjoin the entrants to pay closer attention to editing, spelling and presentation going forward. Here is a list of the top 5

  • Ifeoluwa Watson from Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Akinwale Agbaje from Lagos, Nigeria
  • Jeremiah Nzere from Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Miracle Adebayo from Abuja, Nigeria
  • Opeoluwa Olubode from Ibadan, Nigeria

The first episode of the finalists’ series will be posted here on tlsplace next Tuesday, and voting on each episode will last for a week. Remember that the entrant with the cummulative highest votes from both readers and judges wins the prize. Congratulations to the finalists.

TL

A SILHOUETTE OF LIGHT by IFEOLUWA WATSON from IBADAN, NIGERIA

Sitting in the conference room, Agatha was perplexed. Rasheed who had gone to the doctor’s office entered with an attaché case. Bintu stretched her neck, as if to peep into the case even through its sealed seams. Rasheed seemed to be taking his time. He whipped out his rarely used spectacles from his pocket and spent some minutes wiping each of the lenses while the women waited with bated breaths. He opened the case and retrieved a brown envelope which contained the will.

Rasheed cleared his throat and began to read. “My dear friend, Rasheed, I hope you’re the one reading this will and you have outlived me. I also hope you followed my instructions and have Agatha in attendance.” At the mention of her name, Agatha’s eyebrows rose higher forming half-arcs on her forehead. Bintu dragged her feet, dismayed that she had not heard her name.

Rasheed continued, “It’s said that a pact made between two people ends at the grave and in this case your husband, Adeoye, had crossed to the other side before me and by the time of this will’s reading, I would have joined my ancestors too. Agatha, I know you will remember your visits to my hospital for the first three years of your marriage and the three operations we performed to remove your fibroids.”

Agatha was listening in rapt attention and Bintu now drummed her fingers on the table, her pulse rate having quickened within those few minutes.

“Agatha, this is the truth – You had no fibroids. You were in perfect health and could conceive. Adeoye could not. He had mumps as a boy which left him sterile. During those staged operations, in your induced sleep state I had intercourse with you. Adeoye had begged me to keep his shame…” Rasheed paused, too dumbfounded by the contents of the will. It wasn’t the will he’d prepared.

Bintu gnashed her teeth as she cursed the memory of Ajanaku. Agatha’s reaction was more temperate but the shock in her eyes showed the depth of her pain.

“Adeoye… Adeoye… How could you do this to me?”she muttered as if talking to her dead husband in the room. She stood up in slow motion, suddenly weary and feeling all of her years in her joints. She exited the room, deaf to Rasheed’s pleas to wait and hear it all.

***

Awazi had been pacing the living room for over an hour since her return from Samir’s place.

“How will I ever be able to face Derin now? I am now as guilty as he was – maybe even more,” she mumbled to herself. Overcome with shame and guilt, she clasped her hands on her head and wept.

When Derin returned home that night, Awazi pretended to be asleep. It dawned on her as she listened to his loud snores that she would have to live with her guilt, just as she’d lived with the pain of his unfaithfulness. She comforted herself with the thought that every marriage had its own share of secrets and drifted into a fitful slumber.

She felt Derin’s eyes on her before she opened her eyes. She panicked as she thought he had somehow found her out, but calmed as she looked into his pleading red-rimmed eyes.

“Derin, yesterday, I thought you had gone back to Ope and I was so angry. But now that I know the truth we can…”She prattled on before Derin laid a finger on her lips. He pulled her up to a sitting position and held both of her hands in his palms. “Awazi, I made a mess of everything and I’m so sorry.”

“Derin, I…”she tried to interrupt but he stopped her again.

“Please let me speak first. Yesterday, I tried to drown my sorrows in drinking but it didn’t stop the realisation that I had failed you again. When we reconciled, I promised to always support you but when you needed me the most, I neglected you.”

Awazi’s heart skipped a beat. She felt her shame anew.

“I also agree that it was wrong to bring Ope into the case given our history and I won’t lie to you that it didn’t come without some consequences.” His eyes shifted from her face to the red roses patterned on the bed sheet. Awazi removed her hands from his and tipped up his chin. “I’m listening Derin,” she said, biting on her lower lip as she anticipated what was coming.

“I did not sleep with Ope. I couldn’t do it,”he said, looking into her eyes trying to gauge her reaction.

“So, nothing happened?”she asked.

“Well, the main thing didn’t…”

Awazi’s guilt weighed heavily in her chest like a sledge hammer and she found breathing difficult. Derin almost mistook her discomfort for anger. “Babe, I know this is hard for you but please we can…” It was Awazi’s turn to silence him in a frantic kiss, pushing her tongue deep into his mouth as if her sustenance depended on it. When they both came up for breath, they giggled like two heady teenagers.

At that moment, they heard loud persistent knocks on the door and they both grumbled at the person’s bad timing. “Who could that be this early in the morning?”Awazi asked.

When Derin opened the door and saw his mother standing in the early morning mist, his heart jolted in his chest. “Maami, what are you doing here at this time?”

Awazi wrapped her robe around her as she came out of the room to see her mother-in-law walk in wearily and sit down.

“Dr Ajanaku is dead,”Agatha said, her voice flat.

Derin ran his fingers through his crewcut and then rubbed his eyes. “I guess things can’t get any worse. Now I would be accused of pushing the son to suicide and also killing his father. Oh my goodness!”

“Aderinsola, please sit down. There is more.” Derin didn’t need a second invitation because he knew anytime she used his full name, she meant serious business.

“Dr Ajanaku was…was…your father,” she stuttered.

“Whaaat!”The duo of Derin and Awazi screamed in unison. As Agatha explained the details of the situation to them, their eyes kept widening until they appeared like 100 watts bulbs.

***

Bintu was fuming. She’d grabbed the will from Rasheed’s hands when he’d pronounced the reading would be postponed until Agatha was present. She’d quickly scanned the aspect of the shared properties. “The ungrateful old fool! All these years I stood by him and all I get is the miserable bungalow at Molete and he gave the whole hospital to Derin, who has no knowledge of medicine. Yet he had the guts to say, I should stay at the hospital functioning as the administrative head and reporting to Derin. Iyen emi na? Is that what I deserve?

She sat for a moment in contemplation before she decided and began to dial a number on her phone.

***

It was evening and they all sat in the sitting room. Derin flipped absentmindedly through the channels on TV. Agatha was in the room but her mind was in a faraway place. Rasheed had called in the afternoon to inform her of the rest of the will she hadn’t waited to hear. Derin had flared up when she related the details to him. “I want nothing from that conniving old man! Who told him I want his hospital? What will I do with it? Am I a doctor?” He’d ranted.

Derin’s cry startled Agatha and Awazi out of their seats.

“What is it my son?”

“Are you okay?”Awazi asked.

Derin pointed wordlessly at the screen. The television showed a building warped in flames and some people pouring sand, and others, water into the raging fire. The reporter shouted above the din in the background. “The building ablaze behind me is the Omega hospital whose owner, Dr Haruna Ajanaku died only yesterday after a stroke, an aftermath of his only son’s suicide. In recent developments, the police have captured two hoodlums who claim the chief matron of the hospital, Mrs. Bintu had instructed them to destroy the hospital…”

“Ah! This Haruna must be suffering for all his evil. He experienced bad luck alive and it has persisted even after his death,” Agatha snapped her fingers and shrugged her shoulders.

Awazi’s tight face relaxed into a grin as the screen changed, showing Bintu in handcuffs being hassled into the police station as news reporters and their camera men ran after them. “Now let her come and ruin us from the prison she will rot in,” Awazi scoffed.

Yeye woman, ashewo like her. If you had seen the way she’d called and given threats to my son’s life. Now she has gotten what she truly deserves. Mscheew,” she hissed.

“Yes o! Mama,” Awazi agreed and they slapped each other’s hands in a high five.

Derin watched the pair in amazement. Who would have thought the broken shards would mend so quickly and love would dimly reflect in the mirror?

—————————————————————————————————————-

NO GREATER ACCOMPLISHMENT by AKINWALE AGBAJE from LAGOS, NIGERIA

OMEGA HOSPITAL – CONFERENCE ROOM

“Dear Derin, I hope you are happy. I hear you are doing well with Omega Hospital now. The attachment should interest you. All the best in life.”

Reading the email had become a matter of routine since receiving it three days ago. Pointless now, though, as even without opening it, the words came at him anyway in a relentless rush, a permanent tattoo in his heart.

And the picture … Derin traced a finger on the screen of his blackberry. The boy was everything he ever wanted, and more.

‘Mr Banwo?’

Derin wrenched his gaze from the phone. Professor Charles Acha, his legal representative, stared at him questioningly.

All around, the same odd look, trained at him. For a moment, he pondered where he was and what was going on.

‘He’s not even listening!’ Korede worked his jaw, seething.

Derin’s brow furrowed. Korede Adams, the current bane of his life.

Korede was flanked by two savage looking lawyers in tacky suits, at the opposite end of the table. They took down notes and whispered dark secrets to their client. What were they saying now? Well, whatever it was, Korede liked it – he nodded eagerly to their every word.

Derin straightened, curled his lip. A watery smile.

‘I’m with you, Mr Adams,’ he said, yet his voice lacked that essential conviction.

‘You know what your problem is, Banwo?’ Korede leaned forward, exuding confidence, and why not? After all, he had Derin by the balls. ‘You think you can get away with everything. You do as you please and it doesn’t matter who gets hurt in the process.’

Derin’s smile faltered. Korede wasn’t far off the mark. He had done as he pleased in his marriage and it had cost him.

‘Well,’ Korede leaned into the armchair like he owned the place, ‘today is Judgment Day.’

Dr Shem – young, ashen faced, eyes down – groaned as though constipated. This whole ugly dance was the upshot of his careless actions. Constipation was nowhere near sufficient a penance.

Derin interlocked his fingers, eyes zeroing in on his blackberry.

His past, senseless transgressions had nagged at him ever since Awazi left him, and yet somehow he had found a way to push it aside, burying himself deep into his work – a convenient distraction. Now, with the fate of the hospital dangling from a precipice, the guilt was ever present, a constant heartache.

His face fell.

Korede raised his eyebrows, surprised and glad at the supposed effect he was having on Derin.

Derin shut his eyes briefly and heaved a sigh. The time had come to confront his demons. He snatched his blackberry and composed a text message, thumbs flying swiftly across the keypad.

After sending the text, he focused on Korede.

‘I’m sorry about your wife.’

‘That’s not enough.’

‘No, it’s not.’ Derin slipped the phone into his breast pocket. He placed his hands flat on the table and rose to his feet. ‘Life’s too short, Mr Adams. We all make mistakes, and we must all learn to live with them.’

Korede turned to the lawyer at his right for interpretation. The balding man shrugged, as if to say, “Don’t look at me. I’ve got no idea what he’s on about.”

‘It’s yours,’ Derin said.

‘What’s mine?’ Korede said.

‘The hospital. Everything.’

Dr Shem looked up from his hands, stupefied. Professor Charles Acha did a double take.

‘Mr Banwo, let’s not be too hasty here,’ Charles said, desperate.

‘Sir, please-’ Dr Shem began.

‘No,’ Derin said.

‘Are you … mad?’ Korede said. His lawyers were just as stumped as he was.

‘No. Actually, for the first time in a long time, I understand what I need to do. I’ll have the necessary documents signed and delivered to you. Excuse me.’

‘Mr Banwo… Derin!’ Charles stretched forth to grab Derin’s arm, but Derin had moved beyond his reach.

‘I don’t want your hospital!’ Korede called after him.

Derin breezed out of the conference room.

A long, awkward silence descended upon the rest.

INSIDE KAMAL’S CAR

Kamal waited patiently behind the wheel, fingers tapping. On occasion, he glanced here and there.

The passenger door opened. Kamal turned. Derin got in and shut the door.

‘Are you OK?’ Kamal said.

Derin kept his eyes on the dashboard.

‘Do you have it?’ he asked.

Kamal showed him a folded piece of paper, held between two fingers.

‘It’s all here.’ He frowned, worried. ‘Man, are you sure you want to do this? I mean, what if it goes wrong?’

Derin looked at him, eyes haunted, weary.

‘Whatever happens, it can’t be worse than this, can it?’

Kamal nodded and patted Derin’s shoulder. He started the engine and they were off to Lagos.

PRIVATE KIDS PLAYGROUND, LEKKI, LAGOS

Shrill, excited cries carried across the air. Little feet pattered about.

Adults assisted with the swing-sets.

Merry-go-rounds spun.

Seesaws swung, up-down, up-down.

Sandboxes were ceremoniously occupied by little geniuses who felt it was within their civil rights to build wonders out of sand. Results varied from crap-but-cute to not-nearly-crap-but-still-crap-and-cute.

The kids who went down the slides couldn’t wait to get right back up.

Awazi sat on a bench, Little Jacob in her arms, and together they watched the animated activity. She grinned from ear to ear. Little Jacob squirmed. He didn’t understand what was happening on the playground, but he wanted to be a part of it.

‘That’s you in a few years,’ Awazi said to him.

Little Jacob was having none of that. Him in a few years? How about him now! He kicked in protest. Awazi chuckled. She returned her attention to the playground.

And that’s when she saw him. Derin.

At first, she thought it was her mind playing tricks on her (this wasn’t the first time she had allegedly seen him). But unlike those times, he didn’t disappear when she blinked. He really was here, in the flesh, staring right back at her … a lost soul.

‘Oh, no…’

Awazi put Little Jacob against her chest and stood. Her heart galloped. Breathing became an arduous task. A million thoughts raced through her mind. How long had she yearned for this day?

Their eyes stayed locked as Awazi trod off on unsteady feet, away from the heart of the gathering. Whatever they had to discuss wasn’t for public consumption.

They met at the edge of the playground.

‘Hi,’ Derin stammered.

‘Hi,’ Awazi said. She assessed him. He looked thinner than she remembered. ‘You’re not eating well.’

‘I can’t cook.’ He shrugged.

‘I thought … you’d have got someone-’

‘No,’ he said quickly. ‘There’s no one. Not since you.’

‘Oh…’

Derin stared at Little Jacob nestled against Awazi. Something sharp twisted in his chest.

‘May I?’

‘Yeah. Sure.’ Awazi carefully handed Little Jacob to him.

He held the boy … his son … gazed in wonder at the small, round face and big brown eyes, and it was almost like looking in a mirror.

Little Jacob gurgled and waved at Derin.

‘Thank you.’ Derin gave Little Jacob back to Awazi.

‘Derin…’ Awazi dampened her lips. She had so much to tell him. Where to start?

Before she could utter her next words, Derin dropped to his knees.

‘Derin?’ Awazi said, baffled.

Derin’s shoulders trembled. He grabbed her waist and pressed his face on her stomach.

He was crying.

Awazi was stunned. She glanced about. They were starting to attract onlookers.

‘Derin…’ Awazi smoothed his head. Her throat was tight.

‘It was so dark. So, so dark…’ Derin sobbed. ‘And then you came into my life … and there was a bright light. And I was happy. But I … I took you for granted-’

‘Derin, it’s OK-’

‘I was a fool. I was wrong. Please … forgive me. I love you. I’ve always loved you. Please-’

Spectators be damned. Awazi lowered herself to her knees and kissed him.

‘I love you too. I’ve missed you so much.’

Among the observers were Kamal – all smiles, the owner of the playground, Mrs Oyin Omotosho-Clegg, and her husband, Femi.

‘Awww, love! I love, love,’ Oyin said, squeezing her husband’s hand affectionately.

‘Yep. Someone’s definitely getting some tonight.’ Femi grinned. He gave an oblivious Derin a thumbs-up.

‘Seriously?’ Oyin elbowed Femi in the ribs, lightly. He chuckled.

Awazi shed tears of her own and laughed, delirious. She kissed Little Jacob and told him, ‘Look, it’s your daddy.’

Mummy, that’s great, and I’m happy for you, but can I play now? Little Jacob only had eyes for the playground.

‘Let’s go home,’ Derin said. He had got his family back. There was no greater accomplishment in life.

—————————————————————————————————————

WHOLE PIECES by JEREMIAH NZERE from IBADAN, NIGERIA

Derin sat staring at his sixth Heineken bottle. Even though it was early, alcohol seemed to make him think rationally when his mind was in turmoil. How had he allowed things to degenerate to this extent? He had never hit Awazi before. The look of hurt on her face had cut him to his marrow. He had to make things right, starting with his wife. He reached into his pocket for his phone, and found it empty. He paid for his drinks and walked unsteadily to his car. The phone wasn’t there either. He must have left it at home. He switched on the ignition and headed home.

************************************************************** Samir whistled happily. Finally, Awazi was going to be his. He had been shocked when she had appeared on his doorstep. Then, desire had overtaken reason as she surprised him. Now, it was his turn to surprise her. She had looked so beautiful after the act that he had unobtrusively taken a picture of her as she lay in bed. He had wanted to preserve the moment. Now as he sent the picture to her BBM, he was waiting to hear her squeal of surprise when she saw it.

“Saaamiiirr!” he heard her scream his name. He smiled. So she had seen the picture. He walked into the sitting room. The smile disappeared as soon as he saw her.

She was dressed and standing by the door.

“Where are you going to?” He asked. “Is it because of the picture you’re doing like this? Don’t you like it?”

”Which picture?” Awazi asked, frowning slightly.

“Check your phone. I just sent it on BBM” Samir replied.

”I don’t understand. My phone is not here. I left it at home”

Samir told her what he had done. It had seemed a good idea at the time, but now he wasn’t so sure.

Awazi put her hands on her head, mouth open in disbelief. “Haba! Samir! What did you do? How could you be so foolish? Iskanchi! You want to destroy my marriage ko?”

Samir couldn’t let things end this way. He covered the distance between them, and brought her hands down, cradling them in his.

“Come with me Awazi. We’ll go anywhere you desire, get married, and start again. Or is this what you call a marriage?” he asked, pointing to the slight bruise on her face where Derin had struck her earlier that day.

She drew away sharply “I was a fool to come here. I should have known when you picked my husband’s call and kept it away from me. Now, you’re taking nude pictures of me. Ah! You’re a devil Samir.”

She spat at him, as she left the house. She ran to her car mumbling, “I’m just a fool”. She drove furiously fast, tears running down her face and clouding her vision. There was only one thought on her mind. She had to get to her phone before Derin did thinking it was his, or her already fragile marriage would be broken beyond repair.

**************************************************************

Agatha sat at one end of the table, keeping the farthest distance from Bintu, who had a faraway look in her eyes. A grim-faced Rasheed Sanda placed the safe deposit box on the conference table, as he entered the combination to unlock it. There were two documents in the box. He looked at each. There was the will, and a letter addressed to Mr. Aderinsola Banwo. What was in the letter? Ajanaku had not told him about this. The confusion must have shown on his face as Bintu asked him,

”Is anything wrong?”

“No” he replied. Could any of them have known about the letter? He couldn’t read it as it was sealed. He opened the will, and cleared his throat.

”This is the last testament of Haruna Ajanaku.”

**************************************************************

Derin arrived home. Awazi’s car was not in the drive-way. Where had she gone? He hurried inside and found the phone on the bed in their bedroom. He had purchased the same Blackberry Bold 4 for himself and Awazi last Christmas when one of the network service providers had sold Bold 4 pairs for couples at a discounted price. The message light was blinking. Perhaps Awazi had sent a message to him. As he opened the BBM, he realized it wasn’t his phone. This was for Awazi, but he had already touched the message icon. He saw the first message.

**************************************************************

Agatha stood in the corridor outside the conference centre. She dialed Derin’s number for the sixth time. She wanted to intimate him of the surprising content of the will and inform him of the letter Haruna Ajanaku had written him. This time someone picked it.

“Aderinsola, where did you keep your phone?” she asked, slightly miffed.

A strange voice replied.

”Madam, the caller ID says you’re the mother of this person. The owner of this phone just had a ghastly accident o.  Please come now to General Hospital, Ikeja”

Agatha fainted.

“Madam, did you hear me? Hellooo, madam are you there?”

She spent the first five hours as the new owner of Omega Hospital as a patient.

**************************************************************

Derin’s shocked anger at Awazi turned first to impatience, and then gradually gave way to even greater anger. So she was still at that Fulani boy’s house. He had seen the picture: a very naked Awazi lay on a bed in a strange room, a satisfied smile playing on her lips. Obviously, the Fulani boy had shared the picture on BBM. He had recognized the name: Samir. His mind was made up. He was going to divorce her. Pictures like this could go viral. He was not going to be the husband of a woman whose nude pictures were over the internet. Infidelity was a no-no. He would have left the house to a bar if he didn’t want to see the look her in the eyes as he told her to leave his life. After that, he never wanted to see her again.

The phone rang. The number was unknown number. He picked it.

“Am I speaking with Awazi Banwo?” the caller asked politely in a tired voice that Derin recognized. It was Rasheed Sanda. Did Awazi betray him to Rasheed too?

“No. this is Derin.” He replied curtly.

“That cannot be. I’ve just spoken with someone who said you were wheeled into a hospital theatre three hours ago. In fact, your mum fainted while receiving that call” A bewildered Rasheed replied.

Their conversation was short, both men still bearing wounds from their recent battle. Rasheed informed him of the ownership of Omega hospital by his mother, and the letter written by Dr. Ajanaku.

Derin smiled. If Awazi was in an accident, then karma was on time today. He felt no pity for her. But he couldn’t let his mother spend a night in that cursed hospital, and he had to see the contents of the letter Rasheed left for him. He had his mother and wife, scratch that, ex-wife; he corrected himself, on two hospital beds in two cities. He could spend the night with only one of them. He would have completely ignored Awazi, but he had to retrieve his phone. He made his decision. Two hours later, he was on his way to Ibadan.

It was almost impossible to believe that merely four hours ago, he had been contemplating going on his knees to apologize to Awazi.

**************************************************************Aunt Jamila sat at the bedside, holding the hand of a sleeping Awazi. She had arrived Lagos as promised two days ago, and had spent two hours making calls before she had finally traced Awazi. She had immediately had her transferred to Wellington Hospital on the Island. That Derin was an irresponsible idiot. Who else abandoned his wife like this without any explanation? He had refused to pick her calls and had merely sent her a text message. Awazi stirred and her eyes fluttered open.

“Where am I?” she whispered weakly. Jamila rose, and quickly offered a prayer. This was the first time Awazi was opening her eyes since the accident.

Her eyes focused on Jamila. She looked at her without recognition.

“Who are you?” she asked

Jamila Shehu called for the doctor.

**************************************************************

Awazi was discovered to have amnesia. She cannot remember anything from her past. Aunt Jamila took her to Abuja, and nursed her to health. She was delivered of a baby boy nine months later, but she doesn’t know the father.

Agatha Banwo renamed Omega Hospital as Isaac Banwo Memorial Hospital. That was the only condition Derin gave. He never opened the letter Dr. Ajanaku wrote him. He had stared at the letter that was supposed to explain everything. Could it explain why his wife had cheated on him? Could it explain why his son had died? He had put it in the paper-shredder. After he divorced Awazi, he never remarried; his faith in women was completely shaken. If Awazi as righteous as she was, could betray him, who couldn’t?

————————————————————————————————————

TRUTH by MIRACLE ADEBAYO from ABUJA, NIGERIA

Agatha felt her throat constrict as Rasheed read the last of the will. She knew her day of reckoning had come.

She tried to ignore the sudden attack of sweat on her armpits. It was her nervousness kicking in.

“He left the hospital to that boy? For God’s sake!” She heard Bintu exclaim.

Agatha couldn’t move. She stood, frozen to the spot. She hadn’t known that this moment of truth would ever come; she had thought her secret will remain with her till she died.

“There’s also a letter addressed to you, Mrs Banwo.” Rasheed, handed her a folded sheet of paper.

“A personal letter to her? What is going on here?” Bintu asked, incredulously. “Her son killed my Haruna!”

Agatha didn’t wait to hear anymore. It was like the letter was burning in her hands. She mustered all the dignity she could and spoke:

“I have to go now. I will inform my son of the latest development.” She turned to Bintu. “And once again Madam, e joo I am sorry for your loss.”

“My chambers will inform your son formally of this…er…inheritance. Have a good day.” Rasheed was shaken. He couldn’t understand what was happening. He could understand Haruna’s rationale behind leaving the hospital to that boy, but what about that letter to the boy’s mother?

He had a few ideas, but he didn’t want any to linger in his head.

As soon as she could, Agatha hurried away to find a private place to read Otunba’s letter. It was only when she was in a stall in the women’s toilet did she realise that her hands were shaking.

Won’t it be better if she destroyed the letter without reading it? She asked herself. What exactly did Haruna want to tell her?

Her curiosity won though, she unfolded the letter. It read:

Agatha,

 

You’re now Mrs Banwo and a very happy one at that, although I know your husband is late. If you’re reading this, then I’m dead. Did you ever think I would forget you, just like that?

     It might have been just one night but it held a lot of meaning for me. I know it was wrong timing, since you were already dating someone but I don’t regret it one bit.

     I’m glad you’re doing fine and I have purposely stayed out of your life so you can have peace. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know that Derin Banwo is actually mine.

     The resemblance, although very little, is there. And you remember one time he was sick as a child and you brought him to the hospital for treatment? I did a DNA test on him and the result confirmed my suspicions.

     I decided not to interfere, but it hasn’t been an easy decision for me. When this hospital saga started, I so much wanted to put an end to it by telling him the truth.

     But somehow I knew it was the wrong time and that he’d end up resenting me than loving me. I don’t know why I’m writing this to you now, maybe it’s because of this sense of foreboding I can’t seem to shake off.

     If anything happens to me, please at least tell him the truth. I beg you. Don’t let him go on without knowing his roots.

Thank you Agatha, for that time many years ago, and for raising a fine albeit hard-headed gentleman.

 

                                             Yours, Haruna Ajanaku.

 

Suddenly the tears came in torrents. Why she was crying, she didn’t know. Perhaps because the illusion she’d built for herself for years had just been shattered. And how was she going to tell Derin that the owner of the hospital he wanted to destroy was his real father?

************************************************************************

He needed air.  He wanted to clear his head. He didn’t want to think about how his wife had just betrayed him with that man.

He’d only been sitting in the veranda for a few minutes when a cab pulled up and his mother alighted from it.

“Derin. I need to talk to you.” She didn’t mince words.

“Mama please, can this wait? I’m not in the mood for your chit-chat now.”

“No. It can’t wait. It is very important. It has to do with the will of Doctor Ajanaku.”

He froze.

“Okay ma. What is it?”

She fidgeted. “Let’s sit down and talk. I’m about to tell you something very sensitive.”

Maybe it was the grave kook on her face that caused him not to ask any more questions.

“Today was the will reading of Doctor Haruna.” She started. “He left you his hospital.”

It didn’t register at first. “What did you say?”

“He willed the hospital to you.”

“What? Why would he do that?”

“Calm down my son. I think the main reason is that he wanted you to learn a lesson. The same hospital you want to destroy is now yours.”

“But I don’t want it! That place is cursed! I can reject it, abi?”

Agatha buried her face in her hand, willing God to give her the strength to do what she ought to do.

“There’s another reason I think he did this. But I have to tell you a story first.”

“Mama, what is it this time?”

“Years ago before I married your father; I had a one day relationship with someone. I had already started seeing your father by then but I wasn’t serious about him. I met this stranger one day, a strange attraction brewed within us and one thing led to another and…we…er…had relations.”

Derin blinked. He wasn’t sure he wanted to listen to stories of his mother’s sexcapades.

“Where is this going, Mama?” he asked.

“Just listen to me. I won’t be telling you if it isn’t important.” There was a pleading look in her eyes. “After that day I was so ashamed of myself, that I left the house of the stranger and never turned back. It was something mindless and youthful. It was a mistake I told no one about. A month later, I became sick. It didn’t take long for me to discover that I was pregnant…”

Her voice took on a quiver.

Somehow, Derin couldn’t speak. It was as though he knew that what was coming next would change his life forever.

“I told your father the truth. I couldn’t hide it. He was such a kind man. He offered to marry me and be a father to my child. I agreed, after all I had no choice. So we married, agreeing to keep the baby as ours…Derin, you are that child. I’m sorry I…”

“And who is the stranger? Why are you telling me now! You could’ve kept your secret till you died!” His voice was shaking with rage.

“Derin please don’t hate me. I…”

Oh. My. God.” He stood. “It is the dear Doctor Haruna abi? That’s why he left me the hospital! Answer me Mama!”

Agatha was weeping openly.

“Answer me!”

“Yes.” She whispered.

“All the women in my life…have betrayed me and lied to me. I don’t want to see you right now!”

He didn’t wait to hear more. Before she could protest, he was racing to his car like a maniac.

He drove away, muttering to himself as the tears flooded his eyes. He’d been indirectly responsible for his biological father’s death!

He felt a clenching in his chest and suddenly he couldn’t breathe. The road before him blurred and he lost control of the steering wheel.

*********************************************************************

The first thing he saw when he woke up was a lady in white.

“He’s awake, ma.” She said.

And suddenly his wife’s face loomed over his. “Thank God!” She gushed.

He opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. His throat was parched. He began coughing…

“Water please!” Awazi barked to the nurse.

When his coughing spell was over, he found his voice.

“What happened?” He asked.

“You had an accident. The doctor said your chances were slim.  But God brought you back to us.”

“And my mother?” He asked, as the memories came rushing back.

“She’s waiting outside. She’s been sleeping in the hospital for two weeks now. We’re both here to ask you to forgive us, Derin.” Awazi pleaded. “She told me everything.”

Derin weighed what he was about to say before he spoke. His accident had been like an eye—opener. Life was too short to hold grudges.  And he realised that he still loved these two women the most in his life.

He held out his bandaged hand to his wife. “I forgive you. Please call my mother.”

Mrs Agatha Banwo was more than pleased to wrap her hands around her son.

“And now will be a perfect time to make my announcement.” Awazi beamed.

“What announcement?”

“I’m pregnant. For you.” Tears of joy clouded her eyes.

“Come here lovely Mrs Banwo.” He encircled her waist with one hand. “I love you.”

———————————————————————————————————-

THUNDERBOLT by OPEOLUWA OLUBODE from IBADAN, NIGERIA

Rasheed came out of the doctor’s office with a small fireproof safe. The weight of the item made him sweat despite the chill of the corridor’s air conditioning. He entered the conference room as the two women stared intently at him.

He carefully placed the safe on the table and dialled the combination which he retrieved from a piece of paper in his pocket. The safe opened with a click and Rasheed removed a large brown envelope from it.

He opened the envelope and extracted the document from the it. The look on his face said a million different things; none of them positive.

“This is not the will I prepared!” Rasheed shouted.

The force of the statement drew a shriek from Agatha who couldn’t quite comprehend the various expressions fleeting across his face.

“So is it genuine?” Bintu asked.

“Yes, it is. The combination of this safe was known only to Haruna. It was by following specific instructions that I retrieved it. The will is dated last week Thursday. He changed his will without even telling me! ”

*************************************************

“I heard you scream, what’s the matter?” Samir asked.

“Samir, there’s fire on the mountain. I need to head home. I am going to my husband. I need to…to…” Awazi mumbled.

“Which husband? That impotent fool? The same husband who didn’t listen to you on a matter that concerns your only child whom you lost while paying a silly visit to his parents? The same husband who appointed his mistress as his lawyer?” Samir interrupted her.

“Don Allah, you will not talk about my husband in that manner! For your information, it wasn’t that my Derin couldn’t get me pregnant. I was the one constantly having miscarriages. I must have missed that part out when I opened up to you. It is not your fault. It is my stupidity that has made you talk to me like that. In any case, please excuse me because I have a husband to go home to.”

“Young lady, you are not going anywhere! This is the first time I’m having sex and enjoying it in over ten years! Anytime I have sex with a woman, I imagine myself being with you. I’ve gotten married on more than three occasions thinking marriage will take away my feelings for you but it didn’t. After I left you, I messed up every single relationship I found myself in. Awazi…I’m obsessed with you. ”

“Menene? See you oo! It is not your fault, it’s my fault. So because I took excuse from you to leave your house, your brain has started sparking abi? It was just a courteous act. I am leaving now!”

The anger in Awazi’s voice prevented Samir from replying her or blocking the doorway. He just stood where he was and let her go. Awazi got to her car in next to no time and drove away with a screech of tires.

***************************************

“Ogbeni, you may like to keep calm. Awazi probably went out to get foodstuffs for dinner or something. I personally don’t believe anything has happened to her. Just keep calm na,” Kamal said to Derin.

After Derin left Ope’s place, he had gone to fetch Kamal. He wanted Kamal to plead with Awazi on his behalf on account of the way he had pushed her earlier. The knock on the door jarred him. He hoped it was Awazi but he knew she wasn’t the one because she would have opened the burglary proof herself. Kamal was at that moment in the kitchen making coffee for both of them; Derin had to get the door himself. He was very sure he had never seen that face before so he asked the stranger for his name.

“I’m Samir and I’m looking for one Mr Aderinsola Banwo.”

**********************************************

As soon as the reading of the will ended, Agatha tried Derin’s number several times but was unable to get through. Crazy network, she thought. She knew she had to reach Derin fast. She headed for the door. It was time for a drive to Lagos.

***********************************************

There’s that light-bulb moment in Tom and Jerry when the despicable  Tom is ardously meditating on how to catch Jerry and suddenly gets an idea? Well, I think we can say that Samir had one of those moments; it led him to his car barely five minutes after Awazi left his home and then led him to where he had dropped her off a few nights before. Being a man who knew the town, he didn’t have trouble getting there well ahead of her. He got out of the car and strolled to the gate. A quick rap brought the gateman out. ‘Na who dey dere,’ the gateman asked. Samir ignored the man’s question and instead, asked one of his own. Armed with directions to Derin’s house, Samir headed away.  Okay, so now you know how Samir got there.

“What are you doing in my house?” Derin bellowed.

“I came to find out if Awazi came here after leaving my house.”

“In your mind, you’re talking sense abi? What would Awazi come to do in your house in the first place?”

“Ha!!! She came and I gave her the ‘boom boom boom that will get her pregnant; seeing as you have failed to do so.”

“Ogbeni, leave my house! You can’t just come here and be telling me bullshit about my wife. Leave my house!”

“Fine, I will leave. But ask your wife where she went to when she returns.”

***************************************

Ope lay on her bed surprised. Why on earth would Derin give his wife his phone to call her? Why would Derin’s wife end the call so abruptly? So after he had come to her house for the second time in a row, that stupid dick of his had still refused to stand despite that she had been standing there in all her naked glory. What point was his wife trying to prove? That her husband belonged to her? They must both be mad. She needed to see Derin and she needed to see him fast! He had a few questions to answer.

She got up from the bed and changed into something proper, picked her car keys from the centre table and headed for Derin’s house.

**************************************

Kamal was heading out of the kitchen with two cups of coffee when he sighted Samir. Had he been a woman, the cups would have dropped from his now shock-frozen hands.

“What is this son of a bitch doing here? Kamal asked Derin.

“So you know Samir? He was Awazi’s boyfriend when she was in 300 level oo.”

“Who is Samir? That dude standing before you is called Ahmed. That’s the man who married my sister, Tammy in the US and abandoned her when she was six months pregnant.”

Derin was still trying to process it all when Ope barged in.

“Derin, what rubbish did your wife display this morning ehn? She called me with your phone and then hung up on me. What was that about?” Ope said immediately after she opened the door.

“Babe, are you sure? I’ve been looking for my phone since morning, I don’t know where it is. It was Awazi’s phone I found in my bedroom. She probably took mine out.”

Just then, she spotted Samir.

“Musa, we meet again! Derin, you remember when I went abroad for my masters program? This bastard and I courted for almost a year during that period. He ditched me on our wedding day. I stood at the altar like a fool.”

“Ahhahn you people need to chill. Wetin be this na? Dude, wetin be your real name?”

The commotion reached its peak as Awazi walked in. I’m sure you’re all are wondering where Awazi went to. Well, she got stuck in traffic. Now, you know.

“Derin, what is this? What are Samir and Ope doing here?”

“Woman, you better hold it. You still have a sex case with Samir to settle.”

“Derin, I’m sorry. I thought you had gone to seek solace in Ope’s arms, that was why I wanted to pay you back in your own coin. Little did I know that it was your phone that was with me.” Awazi said as she went down on her knees.

But Derin replied; “So it had to be Samir right?” dodging the section where Ope was mentioned.

One would have thought a family meeting had been called when Agatha herself walked in.

“Derin, Doctor Ajanaku has left his hospital to you.”

“What? Doctor Ajanaku is dead?” Samir asked.

“How does this ‘famzer know Doctor Ajanaku?” Awazi asked spitefully.

“My real names are Usman Adedotun Ajanaku. My mother’s maiden name is Mogaji.”

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A Little Bird Said – 4

The top 5 Write Right Entries have been selected. The stories that made the final cut will be posted tomorrow by 7am. So all entrants should make sure they check tomorrow Tuesday December 31, 2013. We will reach the top 5 by email and they will be required to send in the 1st Episode of their 4 part Series by noon on Sunday 5th of January. Voting will commence once we post the 1st Episode. Read the Competition Format here to understand how the voting will go. There’s N250,000 at stake here. May the best writer win. https://tlsplace.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/write-right-two/

To a year where writing will become explosively profitable. Happy New Year People. Enjoy today’s episode of A Little Bird Said.

TL

A Little Bird Said 3

Inspector Senayon fumed in his office, mentally kicking himself over and over again. He always lost nerve at the most annoying of times. When the brash young lawyer had threatened earlier, he should have called her bluff. But no, not timid Senayon, he told himself. He replayed the scene in his head now. She had threatened that she would make him a scapegoat with all the women’s groups and human rights groups for Sumbo’s treatment and he had held out until the last moment, WHEN SHE WAS ALREADY AT THE DOOR, before calling her back and releasing the lady to her.

“If I intended to kill you, DPO, you would be a dead man,” he heard a female voice say.

Without looking up, he quickly reached for his gun, wondering how whoever it was had gotten past all the men at the counter with such quietness that he hadn’t heard a thing.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” the voice said, and he looked up. He found himself staring down the barrel of a gun.

**************++++++++++**************

Fuad thought he would feel a searing pain after being injected, but he felt nothing. In fact, he found himself strangely feeling more relaxed than he remembered ever being. He tried to say something but what he heard was some slurred speech that didn’t make sense to him. He knew clearly in his head what he wanted to say; the problem was actually saying them. With each word he tried to say, the next became even more difficult to frame. He gave up on trying to speak. Interestingly, he could hear everything and see clearly. He just couldn’t move a single muscle.

The lady threw her head back and laughed now, a high pitched piercing laughter. And for the first time, he didn’t see a sexy laugh. He saw the psychopath where he had seen the sexy just a few moments ago.

“Mr. Fuad, let me explain something to you. You cannot move an inch for the next ninety minutes. There were two options I considered injecting you with, Anectine and Pavulon. I decided to go with Pavulon since it’s effect is quicker, and lasts longer, without affecting your involuntary muscles so you’ll be able to breathe fine. See, the injection isn’t meant to kill you, or you would be dead by now. Let me read from Wikipedia what Pavulon does,” she said with a smile.

Fuad could hear her loud and clear but even as he tried to move, he found the effort futile.

“The part I really want to read to you is this one – the controversy section. Pancuronium bromide has no hypnotic effects, and, if the anaesthetic agent used in lethal injection is ineffective, the individual may never achieve unconsciousness, and thus be able to feel all of the pain associated with the procedure, but unable to cry out or move due to the pancuronium’s complete paralytic action. Oh and Pancuronium is what Pavulon is made from. So, let’s test that assertion.”

With that, she retrieved a large scissors from her pouch. A thought occurred to him as his mind drew up images of his exposed genitalia being cut with the scissors. He tried to gather his strength to wriggle free but the drug was too strong. He was thankful when she went past his waist but his respite was only short. She placed the point on the exposed inner side of his left elbow joint and began to push it into the soft skin with increased pressure. The pain shot through him like a bolt of lightning as he felt the blood begin to seep out. He winced inaudibly and hot tears poured from his eyes.

“Good,” she said as she observed his tears. “You might wonder, why me? Who is she? What have I done to her to deserve this?” she asked and then paused as if waiting for his response. She chuckled and continued “well, I ask you to think, is there anyone whom you have made ask these questions sometime not too long ago?”

She retrieved a small case from her bag and climbed the bed, careful to avoid touching him with any part of her body other than her now gloved hands. She opened the case and there were three engagement rings inside it. He didn’t understand. He had been engaged to only one woman all his life, so three engagement rings didn’t make sense to him. True, he hadn’t been kind to his ex, but who could marry such a girl? She slapped him hard “you still do not understand?”

She stood up from the bed and straightened herself up. “You are obviously a blockhead. Anyway, I won’t waste my time explaining anymore to you. You are one more ring collected.”

That raw fear crept up his spine again. Had she killed three men already, with each ring representing one man? He cursed himself internally for being so stupid as to allow a stranger tie him up. And then he cursed himself for realizing his stupidity too late. He remembered what had trended on twitter the day before, the gruesome image of popular twitter personality Charles Obaro with his head on his laps. Oh my God, oh my God, he thought.

She was observing his eyes keenly. It was the only part of his body that still had expression. She knew fear when she saw it, and the fear that comes when a man realizes he’s about to die is recognized by only the few who have actually killed a man before. She saw it creep into Fuad’s eyes now. Finally, she thought to herself. To him, she said with a smile “the Ring Collector has come for you, Mr. Fuad”.

*************+++++++++++++**************

“Is this what you have fallen to, Senayon?” the policewoman said scornfully to him from the other side of the gun.

He was angry. First, with himself for being so occupied with those annoying thoughts that he hadn’t heard her come in. second, because of all the people who should  have one-uped him like that, it had to be her. Acharu Gyang had been his course mate in the police college. Beautiful, bright and ambitious, there had been chemistry between them from the start. But she had quickly seen that being with him would hold her back and she had made the pragmatic decision of ending their relationship. Now, she was the Police Public Relations Officer for Lagos State and he was the divorced DPO of this station. He forced himself to stiffen and salute her, since she now outranked him in all parameters.

She smiled that smile that told him she was looking down at him again and said “at ease, officer”.

“To what do I owe the honor of this unexpected august visitor when it isn’t August,” he said, attempting some humor which he suspected sounded extremely lame. She ignored it and responded in a businesslike manner

“Senayon, there is a case in your station that has significance to the top brass.”

There was only one case that could fit the bill so he volunteered “the murder case of this Charles Obaro, I presume”.

“Yes, that one. It has set all these activists on fire, is all over the news and they are already protesting a government cover-up of something sinister since he was a thorn in the government’s side with his activism. And that fit quite nicely with how you have handled the arrest of his ex fiancée without any concrete proof. Where is she?” she asked.

As such things go, Senayon was now glad he had lost in the battle of wills to that activist lawyer and released Sumbo. “Well, I have released her already. Her arrest and questioning was merely a routine part of the investigation. And after we were satisfied she couldn’t be guilty, she was released first thing this morning. I’m sure your office job has not made you forget the rudiments of casting your net wide and then eliminating the impossibilities from such scenarios. Basic investigative work,” he said smugly.

“Ow,” she said with a raised eyebrow. “So which part of not letting her have access to a lawyer or torturing her with sleeplessness and harassments all night did you pick up from these investigative classes, en, Senayon?”

“What! You have been talking to my men to get information? Quit being sneaky Acharu” Senayon shouted, before bringing his anger under control. It was her smugness that got him. She always had a way of getting under his skin. She smiled in that goddamn manner of hers now and responded “You are just living in the stone age, Mr. Flintstone. You haven’t heard of the internet and social media? Well, it’s one of my portfolios, as the PPRO, and I take my job seriously. She took to twitter along with her lawyer and what they call twitter overlords as soon as she left here and together they captured the lucid details of how you treated her all night. You are just an embarrassment to the force, but you are unfortunately the one in whose laps this case has fallen.”

Senayon’s face tightened in anger and that vein that had an annoying habit of suddenly appearing on his forehead graced it now. He searched for a comeback but he couldn’t find one. This twitter business was getting under his skin. It was how they had gotten the picture of the body. It was how they had gotten his number and disturbed him all night. It was how that annoying lawyer had found out about where and who was holding Sumbo. And now it was what equipped Acharu with the information that he thought was secret, in order to torment him. Couldn’t someone just ban the thing?

“Anyway, since you’re involved, let me brief you on what we must do. These twitter activists, with people like Charles Obaro and Sumbo have been tools in the hands of the opposition for very long. We have been looking for an opportunity to scatter them, we even tried to push a law through the senate, but it has all backfired so far. We’ve only succeeded in making them more popular and they have become quite skilled in riding on the crest of the waves we throw at them to become even bigger problems for the government. It is annoying to say the least.”

Senayon was listening with rapt attention now. It was one of the gifts that Acharu had. She knew how to make any subject she spoke on come alive and you would be drawn into listening to her whether you liked her or not. It was what got her the PPRO job. She continued “We raised our own crowd, but apart from their general incompetence save for a few, there was a problem we noticed. The fact that people could link our crowd clearly to us while these twitter activist couldn’t be linked publicly to anyone made them look selfless, while our own people looked like what they were, paid lackeys. We put our resources into finding their sponsors, with evidence.”

She dumped a thick folder on the table. It was still very new, not the typical paper case file that the police used, or the dusty folders from the police archives. This was clearly something new, current and important. Senayon reached out to take it and began to open it.

“You’ll have all day to go through the folder. For now, listen.” She said sternly. Senayon felt like a child who had been rebuked while stealing candy. He closed the folder, clenched his fist in anger and listened.

“We found a treasure trove. Frankly, we had been so stupid not to have looked in the past. They were simply not being very discreet. That folder contains documentary, voice and picture evidence of exchanges of large payments from opposition figures, agents and other shady people within the government who are backstabbing to these supposedly clean activists. But there was a challenge.”

She had him again, waiting for what the challenge was when they had all this information. Why didn’t they just make their move and nail these people.

“Our experience had taught us how masterful these people are at spin. They’ll take whatever we throw at them and ride on it if we stupidly do it the way we have been doing it before. So we needed something special. Like an answer to a prayer, this murder happened. We have in our hands the tool to start the perfect storm that will sweep all of them, the activists and their sponsors away. The president can easily ride on that same wave to a win in the next elections.”

Clarity was coming to Senayon now, but he played dumb and asked “so how is this? Why is the murder so important?”

Acharu rolled her eyes. This DPO work had dulled this man up. The Senayon she had known years ago would have picked the plan already. She spelt it out to him plainly.

“We are going to use this murder as the cause belli. We will use their own tools and methods against them. First we release insinuations of a political undertone to his murder without mentioning any specifics. We do the usual not leaving any stones unturned to bring the perpetrators to book speech. His colleagues on twitter will jump on it, sensationalize it and make it very popular for us, without it coming from us. They will fall over themselves to look like they have an exclusive. Then we will begin to release the evidence linking him to his sponsors in succession and finally pin the murder on a couple of them. Then someone will anonymously release the documents and images linking the rest of them to their sponsors. They will be destroyed, we will be seen to do our job and one of the government’s key opposition figures will be in the docks for a gruesome murder. All I see is win, win, win for us. Your part should be clear to even you by now.”

Their phones beeped almost simultaneously and they both jumped for it. The 21st century and the reflexes it has brought to humans. They both laughed at the other, seeing from the other’s actions how they must have looked to each other. “Text message, the twitter activists,” he said.

“Phone call. Ogas at the top,” she said as she got up and walked to a corner to take the call.

He heard her saying “yes sir” repeatedly to whoever was on the other end of the phone and then returning to the table to pick up her other phone without hanging up mumbling “damn twitter” as she did.

Since he had nothing else to do while he waited for her to finish her phone call, he opened the text message. He wished he never did.

A Little Bird Said – 3

Our Write Right Judges are going through all the entries as we speak. Expect to meet the top 5 writers next Monday. Christmas is in two days. Here’s me saying Merry Christmas to you guys. TL Singing :d https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1edJUsU5x8AS0NaeXExdXRBSUU/edit?usp=sharing

tunde

“Why did you kill him!” the interrogator shouted at Sumbo. At first, she had shouted in defiance and told them that her social media friends would mobilize and create all sorts of trouble for the police until she was released. And her people had done just that. The inspector had come in and harangued her when he started getting a deluge of phone calls and text messages from anonymous people demanding her release since there was no evidence linking her to Charles’ death beyond her being his scorned ex.

“How did all these people get my number? What did you do?” he had hollered, clearly disturbed. She had smiled and reminded him that they had seized her phone the moment they arrested her, so she couldn’t have been the one that shared his number. Plus she didn’t have his number anyway. But she guessed what had happened. Someone had found his number and shared on social media the way they always did for politicians they wanted harassed by the public when they were crusading against one of the nonsensical things the politicians did thinking no one would be able to reach them. After the phone harassment began, they had become even more forceful in their interrogation, trying to hoodwink and browbeat her into saying something that somehow implicate her in the murder and justify her arrest and incarceration. The night had been terrible, with four different officers coming to her every two hours to question her, depriving of sleep in the process. They were trying to break her down, but she vowed to be strong. Yet, her mind kept replaying that image, Charles’ severed head on his laps. She would prefer to be held here than go out there. Whoever killed Charles was on the prowl and she didn’t know why. She didn’t want to live with the kind of fear she had felt when the police had knocked her door the night before and she thought the killers had come for her. They might not have forgotten she had been billed to marry him and think she knew something, whatever it was that had caused them to kill Charles like that. There were too many shadows in Charles’ world, away from the eyes of his adoring public and there were a few of them she suspected could murder him like that to protect themselves.

“So you will not talk abi?” the voice was cold and she recognized it as the DPO who had led her arrest. She recalled his name.

“Detective Senayon, good morning to you, I see you instructed your boys to ensure that I didn’t get any sleep.”

Senayon looked at the lady. She attempted to smile at her own satire but the effect of the lack of sleep and interrogation were beginning to show on her.

“Like you instructed your minions on that your social media thing to ensure I didn’t get any sleep?” Senayon spat the words out, vexed.

“Oh, you didn’t?” Sumbo asked, genuinely surprised but coming across as sarcastic to Senayon.

“Well, unlike the accused murderer that you are, I have the liberty of turning my phone off so that their disturbances were cut off. And of course, they would not dare come disturb me physically away from that your social media.” Senayon knew he should not switch off his phone as a senior police officer, but those people had simply not let him sleep. Anyway, no one would know he had switched it off. They were still not resting; the moment he had turned it on this morning, the messages had started pouring in. He put the phone on silent. The bloody civilians would not intimidate an officer like him, he thought.

“You do know you are yet to let me speak with my lawyer, detective? And that is illegal,” she said.

“When you murder a man with the brutality you did simply because he refused to marry you, you are a monster! All civility and legality should go out of the window with the likes of you!” Senayon shouted, banging his fist on the table.

“Then charge me to court immediately if you are so bloody sure I am guilty!” Sumbo found the strength to shout back.

“Oh, I will, after you confess to your heinous crime,” Senayon retorted.

“Then you will be ready to wait until cocks grow teeth,” Sumbo responded.

*************++++++++++++*****************

Fuad couldn’t believe his luck. They had made small talk for some minutes, but it was obvious the lady had different ideas for the time they had to spend together. He decided not to waste any time.

“I wonder what this fit body of yours looks like without the clothes on,” he cooed as she sipped on the water like it was a glass of wine.

She raised her eyes to meet his and responded coolly “well, show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”

He smiled coyly. “Let’s play a game. I’ll take off one item of clothing at a time and you have to take off one piece for each one I take off. Let’s see whose body gets revealed first.”

She threw her head back and laughed, a sultry laughter that oozed seduction. Fuad needed all of his willpower to restrain himself from jumping on her immediately. But he sensed that he would spoil the chances if he did; she was one of those types that liked to play games and all. Since he had suggested this game, he would play it.

“Okay, Mr. Fuad. I’ll play your game, but on one condition. When we’re done with your game, we’ll play my own game and you’ll have no choice but play. Otherwise, we won’t start your own game at all,” she said with a twinkle in her eyes.

There was no way in hell he was going to say no to that. “I’m game!” he responded enthusiastically, grinning when he realized he had made a pun.

“I hope you live alone and no crazy girlfriend will come in while we play,” she asked.

“Naa, I’m not married, dating or even flinging at the moment. And it is just me in this my palace, not a single other soul” he said, waving around dramatically as he said palace.

She smiled as she said “okay, shall we begin?”

**************++++++++++**************

Senayon was having a heated argument with the lawyer. First he hated lawyers generally. Then he hated young lawyers who thought they were activists and need to jump on any case the public thought the police was being unfair, their sole purpose being to shine. This one was a combination of all the things he hated in lawyers, young, obnoxious, activist and loud.

“You denied my client the right to reach her lawyer for a whole night! Seized her phones so she couldn’t be reached. You didn’t arrest her detective, you kidnapped her!” she shouted now, while Sumbo looked on amused.

“Your client is under arrest with respect to a very gruesome murder and you don’t expect us to treat such a person with kid gloves,” Senayon shot back.

“And what evidence links her to this crime, detective, beyond your conjecture? Do you think you can detain citizens for crimes without any physical or circumstantial evidence linking them to it? You detain citizens for crimes now on your own whim and caprices? She wasn’t physically there. Nothing was found at the crime scene linking her to it. Nothing has been found in her house so far linked to the crime. Yet you not only detain my client, you torture her!”

“The law is clear, and madam lawyer there is nothing you can do about it. A suspect in a murder case cannot be released on bail, it is a capital offence. So there is nothing you or I can do,” Senayon responded smugly.

“You then have to charge her to court or else you have to release her. You have no right to keep her indefinitely without leave from a magistrate detective. No sane magistrate will give you such a leave on such a flimsy reason for keeping her locked up as a suspect and we both know it. So don’t let’s go through the trouble of arguing this before a law court. My client is definitely not running anywhere, and will cooperate with you for any investigations you want to carry out. We are not asking for bail, we are asking for her release until you have concrete evidence for which to detain her and charge her to court. And we both know you are running out of time”

Senayon knew the lawyer was right and he hated it. He had hoped they would be able to break Sumbo down and get a confession out of her before daybreak and before any meddlesome lawyer got involved in the case. But she had refused to balk and now this annoying lawyer was in the mix. Plus newspapers were carrying the story already and referring to her detention as illegal detention. The text messages and phone calls had not stopped; in fact they had gone into overdrive. He would not be surprised if he soon got a call from his superiors over the furor and he would bear the brunt of whatever wrath it had raised with them. This social media thing had a way of getting information out that he would rather keep out of the public view. He still didn’t know how the images of the body had become available to the public so quickly the night before. And how his number had reached so many people so quickly. And how the newspapers and even radio had gotten the info so quickly. This was meant to be a straightforward murder case he became personally involved just for some excitement beyond the rote and routine work of being a DPO. He hadn’t bargained for this. The truth he was unwilling to admit to himself was that he had no leads, no real suspects, nothing but grasping for air.

“Well, madam lawyer, we will just have to wait and see what the magistrate says,” Senayon said with finality.

***********+++++++++************

Fuad was down to his boxer shorts, and he could tell that she liked what she saw. “Looks better in person than in the pictures on Instagram,” she commented with a chuckle, looking at him hungrily as if she wanted to touch him like she had dreamt of doing through computer and phone screens in the past. She was down to her underwear too and he was ready to take the shorts off so she would have no choice but to take off either the bra or the panties. He dropped his shorts to the floor, standing stark naked before her, grinning. “Your turn,” he said.

Smiling, she slowly raised her hands from her side. He smiled. It was the bra that was going off. Then her hands went to her ears and she removed her small earrings and said with a foxy grin “game over, Mr. Fuad. You’re naked, and I’m not.”

“Earrings? That doesn’t count now, it’s cheating,” Fuad responded impetuously like a baby.

“Isn’t it something I have on? And is it a part of my body?” she asked teasingly.

“No jor!” he responded, almost stomping his feet in protest

She laughed at him and said “Calm down mister. There’s still one more game, and you just might get me naked.”

Fuad smiled and relaxed. She was just being naughty, he thought. “So pray, tell one about this game,” he said.

“Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey, Mr. Fuad?” she asked, a glint in her eyes.

“Yes I have,” Fuad responded. Images from the book flashed through his mind and he began to have ideas. This was going to be more fun than he thought.

“Have you tied someone or been tied up before?” she asked.

“No. My ex was such a prude she wouldn’t agree to be adventurous in bed,” Fuad responded. It was a lie, but it was lie he thought would increase the chances that she would give him adventure today.

“Well, most women are that way when with their own man. They don’t want him thinking them to be sluts, as many men would if they agreed to those things. But with another man…” she let the thought trail off with those words hanging in the air and was happy with the response she saw him give physically in his loins. Good, she thought.

“Here’s the game,” she continued. “I’ll tie you up for one hour and do anything I like with you. You cannot stop me until one hour is done. Then you tie me up and can go Christian Grey on me for one hour. No cameras though, there was some sextape gist onto you and I don’t want any of that. Are you game?”

Fuad wanted to protest the sextape rumor and then he thought better of it. What was the point of protesting that right now anyway? He said “you bet.”

She had guessed right, she thought to herself. He would not protest at being tied up first, because he wanted to be the one to tie her up last. She was sure his thinking was that she would be powerless to stop him after his one hour had elapsed anyway so better to go last. She smiled.

“Hope you won’t mind wrecking four of your neckties for our game?” she asked.

He didn’t need to be told. He raced to his wardrobe and returned with four fine silk ties. She pushed him onto the bed and spread his hands and legs out. Then using one tie per limb, she tied him to each of the ends of the bed, so that his whole body was exposed.

“Now we begin,” she said with a smile. What Fuad saw was a sexy naughty smile. Desire colors perception in such ways. She turned around and picked up her runner’s pouch which she had discarded during Fuad’s game. Slowly, she unzipped it and retrieved an already prepared syringe and needle. When she turned back to face Fuad and he saw what she had in her hands, fear and confusion registered on his face for the first time that morning.

“What is this? Are you a junkie or something? Look, I don’t do drugs so that’s waaaay off limits in this game.” He struggled to break free of his bonds but it seemed that the more he struggled, the tighter the necktie squeezed around his wrist and ankle.

“Struggling is hopeless, Mr. Fuad. You cannot break free. I tied you with a double constrictor knot. Not only is that a super strong knot, but it also has the characteristic of tightening when you struggle. So keep calm. This is not going to hurt and you won’t feel a thing,” she responded in an even voice.

“What! Who the hell are you? What are you trying to do to me?” Fuad shouted at the top of his voice, but the position he was tied in made shouting difficult and with effort.

“Ah, you have been a patient man all morning Mr. Fuad. I’m sure you can be a little more patient. Let me tell you one thing though. Your worst nightmare is about to begin”. This time when she smiled, it didn’t seem sexy to Fuad any longer.

With that, she darted to his side and before he could say a word, she administered the injection.

Announcing NS Publishing

Hi everyone, got an email from Myne Whitman of Naijastories that made me smile today. For those of us that grew up reading the Pacesetters series, it is music to our ears. Myne has been using her platform to drive story telling in Nigeria for a while now, and it was one of the platforms that gracefully agreed to put some of my writing up in the early days of blogging. So for everyone, here you go.

TL

Naija Stories is now an imprint of NS Publishing Ltd, a new publishing and marketing company dedicated to developing and distributing Nigerian written content through eBooks, paperbacks, audio, websites, mobile apps and other channels. NS Publishing believes that by nurturing writers and readers, it will help develop engaged, empowered and educated Nigerians, as well as contribute to the economy through their business.
Many people say Nigerians don’t read, but NS publishing begs to disagree based on the evidence of flagship website,naijastories.com, and the rate at which foreign fiction and non-fiction books are sold in the markets. What may be underrepresented is the production, distribution, and sales of quality Nigerian leisure books outside of what is demanded for educational purposes through school curriculums.
To change this aspect of Nigerian reading culture, NS Publishing has developed our special branded Naija Stories genre series, which feature romance, horror, mystery and crime, all in easily accessible language that will draw in readers who want to read for enjoyment. With relatable stories, the short length of the books and their recognizable characters will keep readers coming back for more.
Using home-grown authors – 100% of NS authors are Nigerian and 80% live in Nigeria – means that writing will become a profitable career for young talented Nigerians in this sector. NS Publishing intends to replicate, in the leisure books publishing sector, what Nollywood and Afropop has done in making Nigerian movies and music globally popular.
After being comatose for decade since the demise of the Pacesetter series, NS Publishing is kickstarting a publishing industry that will not just throw up literary stars every five years, but one that’ll support writers, graphic artists/designers/illustrators, cover models, and will prooduce works that can be translated to the stage or adapted to movies, or given life by voice-over talents in audio books. They see a billion naira industry in the future, and are heading there.
NS Publishing will produce great stories and books, and other literary content targeted at a broad base of emerging and established readers, and across different age groups and mid/low income communities. Their paperbacks will be pocket size and pocket friendly, and they promise never to sell a book more than N500.
The success of naijastories.com website has informed this current project, to bring selected Naija Stories to paperbacks, selling and marketing books – pocket-size popular fiction books – directly to Nigerians where they can be found. Some of these places include intra-state or inter-state bus stations, higher institutions, fast food locations, and more.
Look out for the Naija Stories books and if you would like to order please contact info@naijastories.com. Check out their website www.ns-publishing.com for more details.
Here are some of their titles.
wiping-halimas-tears-front Icatha-Front Lagos Hanky Panky Front Our Ram is Haram Front Rachel-Academy-Heroes-Front Reflections of Sunshine Front seeing-off-kisses-front The-Best-Laid-Plans-Front

A Little Bird Said – Episode 2

Curtains were drawn on the entry receiving stage of Write Right 2 at 11:59PM yesterday Sunday 15th of December. So, the N250,000 is gone for those who haven’t entered yet. We move to the next phase now. The Judges will select the top 5 entries over the next two weeks and we will post these on the blog. Then the top 5 finalists begin their 4 Part Series which we will post weekly for you to vote for your weekly best. May the best writer win.

Enjoy the 2nd Episode of A Little Bird Said.

TL

A Little Bird Said

Detective Senayon heard some commotion coming from the counter. He couldn’t be bothered; his boys would handle the matter. He was already rounding off for the day and all that was on his mind was the grilled fish he was going to eat at Iya Simi’s place on the way home. He packed his things, made sure every drawer was locked, and went to the counter. There are decisions that one makes as part of daily routine that in retrospect, one wishes something had happened to change our course on that specific day. When Senayon would remember that day in future, he would have wished that he didn’t go to the counter on that ocassion.

When he got there, he saw a tall young man explaining frenetically to officers whose body language was all yawns and boredom. The thing is, many of these people came to the police with things they thought was so unique and horrific, but they couldn’t phantom the things policemen saw regularly in the course of their jobs. What seemed a great issue to them was routine, run of the mill stuff to most policemen. He was bored anyway, so he decided to involve himself. The moment his guys saw him, they stiffened and saluted. The young man took the cue and guessed he was the DPO. He turned all his attentions to the Senayon.

“Sir, my brother has been murdered, in cold blood, inside our house,” he said.

“Oga,” Ofor said to his boss “we were questioning him on the matter, but he was being uncooperative, saying we should follow him immediately.” Ofor was the stringy one whose black was so dirty it was becoming brown. Senayon ignored him. If someone came to report a murder in the hysterical state the young man was in, what was the sense in questioning him before going with him to confirm if there had truly been a homicide?

“Mister…” Senayon said in question to the young man.

“Korie sir, Korie Obaro.” Korie responded eagerly.

“Mister Korie, we will go with you immediately. I apologize on behalf of my men,” Senayon responded. Ofor and the other officer, who was just as skinny as he was, looked at each other in confusion. Their boss was usually the withdrawn and distant one, uninterested in things like this.

Senayon could see the confusion in his men’s faces. Well, he didn’t care. He was bored, and a murder investigation would at least be more interesting than the regular stuff that came here.

“Ofor, you and I will go along with Mister Korie. Saliu, put the evidence people on standby as we might be needing them if there is anything to Mister Korie’s claim. I believe you came with your own car,” His last few words were more of an assertion than a question since Korie’s car key was in his hands. With that, the two policemen left the station with the citizen to perform their duties. That grilled fish was far from Senayon’s mind by this time, he just looked forward to some excitement from this case.

***************++++++++++++++***************

The young lady lay in her bed in nothing but her underwear with a throw-pillow on her chest supporting her hands. If she didn’t do that, her hands would tire quickly from holding her phone the way she did. Soft classical music was playing from her home theatre and she hummed some of the lines along with the recording. She was reading the story of a celeb who had just left his fiancée of eight years to begin dating another woman who was her friend. Messy celeb things, she hissed. The trips on the blog were the comments though. They told the rest of the story, the messy details that the blogger didn’t post herself. And the details of this particular story were very messy. She went to twitter to troll the guy’s timeline. True enough, she saw all his rants about the girl not being good enough and all, the girl being materialistic and all. “Idiot,” she hissed. “You keep a girl on is coming for eight years and you have the guts to say she isn’t good enough and wants only your money. Are you Dangote?”

What was worse, he was a whiner. On his timeline, apart from his tweets ranting about his ex, the assortments of his tweets included the following

  • I’m so lonely and bored
  • Check out my abs and my tanned, toned body along with a twitpic or instagram link to show off the body. She had to admit to herself that he was a fine man with a fine body. And all his female followers fawned and favorite and retweeted every tweet with religious dedication. She rolled her eyes
  • Ow, I’m about to wake up and run on Lekki-Ikoyi bridge at 5am along with Foursquare links to prove this. At intervals too, he tweeted his Foursquare checkins to show the restaurants he was eating in, the clubs he was in and so on.
  • Checkout my pix with this or that celeb. Famzer oshi, she thought

“This guys is just a kid, how could a woman stay with this one for eight years. That girl should consider herself lucky he broke it off sef, it has saved her from rubbish.” She mumbled to herself and then rolled out of bed to fetch a drink without taking her eyes off the phone in her hand. She nearly tripped over the pizza delivery uniform she had dumped on the floor as soon as she got home some hours before that time. She picked it up and dumped it in the polythene bag she had brought home and smiled as she remembered the things she had done with the man she had gone to deliver the pizza to.

***********+++++++++++*************

Senayon had never seen anything like this in his entire life. As a policeman, he had seen all sorts of terrible things, but hell, there was nothing like what was before his eyes now. The naked young man was propped into a sitting position with his head hacked clean off and placed in his hands on his outstretched legs. He could understand Korie’s state of mind and why he had been so agitated at the studio now; this was a gruesome sight. They had seen that much with his torchlight when they came in and he thought that was all, until he asked Korie to turn the generator on so that they could take a closer look and collect what evidence they could. But when the light came on, they saw what was above the headless torso. The killer had obviously had a lot of time after the murder. Above the body, the killer had painted a large image of a bird on the white wall with what seemed to be the victim’s blood. Inside the bird was written the words

“A Little Bird Said…”

And on the right of the bird, the whole image was signed

“The Ring Collector”,

All the words were written in the bloody red. The writing was deliberately written in block so that every trace of a unique handwriting was erased and replaced with a machinelike print. It meant the killer had not just killed the man, but had been calm enough to hack the head off, position it, and then use the blood as ink to methodically write the message calmly. This was not a mere murder, Senayon realized. The killer was making a very clear statement. But to whom and what did it mean, he asked himself.

“Call the evidence people and tell them to get here pronto!” he ordered Ofor and the officer jumped into action from his equally shocked state.

Korie sat on the edge of the bed, unspeaking. He could not even weep, he was numbed. Senayon led him wordlessly to the living room to interview him while they waited for Ofor to return with the team.

“I know this might be hard, but I will need to ask you a few questions, Mr. Korie,” Senayon began.

“Go ahead,” Korie responded in a surprisingly calm voice in spite of the fact that he was shaking mildly all over.

“This was definitely not an armed robbery or random killing. It was an assassination. And you say there was no sign of forced entry when you came in?” Senayon asked.

“No, there wasn’t any. The door was left unlocked the way it would be if he was at home and so I assumed he was in.” Korie responded.

“Well, that means he let the person in himself. That reduces the sample space for suspects remarkably. If he let the person in, it must have been someone he knew and trusted enough to let in while he was alone in the house. Where does your brother work that he was at home at that time or does your brother run his own business?” Senayon asked.

“He is a popular blogger and social media specialist cum activist,” Korie responded.

“Huh? What is that?” Senayon asked, brows raised in confusion.

Korie had faced having to explain what his brother made so much money from severally before and would have laughed if the situation hadn’t been so grave. This time, he simply explained his social media and blogging and how his brother used his activism to push certain agendas.

“So you are saying he gets paid to write these things and use this social media you are talking about?” Senayon asked.

“Yes, that’s basically it,” Korie responded.

“He could have made enemies from that,” Senayon commented.

“He made plenty, amongst his fellow social media activists when they were on opposite sides of the fence, and of course powerful enemies in and out of government that he exposed through his activism. In all honesty, my brother can be an annoying imp a lot of times.” Korie stated.

“Okay, we can look at that angle. But there is one thing that makes such a theory not fit,” Senayon got up and began to pace like he always did when he the thoughts became clearer as he spoke them out aloud. “If it was any of his opponents, the entry would have been forced. I don’t think he would have trusted them enough to let them in.”

Korie nodded his head in agreement. He knew Charles very well, and his brother was one of those people who prided themselves in being over careful, sometimes bordering on paranoia. He would not have met any of those his twitter people at home. His financiers were also a no-no, he could not afford to be associated with most of them and kept them in the shadows so that his activist credentials could remain spotless. “You are correct sir,” he mumbled to the DPO.

Ofor arrived with the team now and they quietly got to work in the bedroom, leaving Senayon alone with Korie a few moments later. A lone officer went around the living room to see if there was anything to glean from there. Senayon continued “like I was saying, it had to be someone he would allow in. Let’s look at his personal life. Does he have any enemies in the family? Amongst friends? Or women and lovers?”

“A woman could not have done that to Charles now, he was a rather strong man,” Korie responded with some edge in his voice.

“Calm down young man, I am not calling your dead brother’s manhood into question. But you would be a fool to assume a woman couldn’t kill him. So answer the question – on a personal level, does he have any women that can hate him enough to do this?” Senayon asked firmly.

“He has,” Korie began and then corrected himself. “He had a lot of women all over him because of his popularity as a social media person. It was one of the points we didn’t agree on, and one of the points of quarrel between him and his fiancée”.

“Fiancée you say? Where is she?” Senayon asked.

“I meant to say ex-fiancée.” Korie corrected himself again. He was more uncoordinated than he cared to let off.

“Hmm, interesting. Who broke the engagement off, when and under what circumstances?” Senayon asked as an idea gripped his mind. It fit with the theory he had formed.

“Actually, Charles did rather callously, and theirs was a very public relationship, so it really affected her,” Korie responded.

“Ah, really? Please tell me how this engagement ended, in all the detail that you can recall.”

Korie began to tell Charles and Sumbo’s story to a patient Senayon.

**********+++++++++++++**********

“Men, I have worked my ass off today while you went to go and stay with man, ashawo like you,” Sumbo said over the phone to Sandra. Her “it’s complicated but we sha have a thing” guy was in town from his base in Abuja for the day and Sandra had abandoned her, work and her senses and gone to roll in the haystack with the dude.

“Go away, witch.” Sandra responded, laughing.

“So what are you doing now, now that your ashawo-ness has been satisfied? Sha don’t come back to this house with belle”

“You won’t stop abi? You won’t leave me alone. Don’t worry, I will get some, and some extra to bring home for you. But…” She stopped mid sentence.

“What got your tongue? Did he jump you from behind?” Sumbo asked mischievously. Still Sandra remained quiet. “Sandra, are you there?” Sumbo asked again. “Oh, these networks!” she exclaimed and was about to end the call when Sandra’s shaken voice came over the phone.

“Charles is dead.” She said flatly.

“What? Come off it. While I have killed him in my mind severally in the past, I really didn’t mean it now. Stop this joke jo!” Sumbo responded.

“It’s all over twitter and the image is a bloody one. I’m not sure you want to see this,” Sandra said.

“You’re really serious about this Sandra?” Sumbo asked, expecting Sandra to laugh and tell her it was a joke.

“Check @kObaro’s timeline. It’s all over twitter and trending already.” Sandra said.

Sumbo quickly picked her tab and went to twitter. The moment she saw the trend, a fear that it was really true gripped her heart. She clicked on the #RIPOBARO hashtag and saw the gruesome picture. Someone had picmixed it with a picture where he was speaking from a podium in Kenya. She let out a heart-wrenching scream. At the same moment, there was knock on her door. Her heart jumped in her mouth as raw fear shot up her spine.

**************++++++++++**************

Fuad checked his DM again. She said “I’ve seen you jog on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge. You’re frigging hot!”

He knew he was good-looking and his body was his pride, but it always made him feel super cool to hear a very attractive woman say it. And men, was she attractive? He responded to her DM

“I’m sure it’s wash. And you haven’t seen me. No one is out that early when I jog. I like the peace and quiet”

He waited for fifteen minutes before her response came in.

“Oh, okay. Have a great solo jogging experience hottie. Gotta go”

That was it? She had left him hanging! He didn’t want to look desperate, so he just let it slide and went back to the series he was watching.

***********+++++++++++*************

The news broke on twitter that the police had arrested social media personality and activist Charles Obaro’s former fiancée, fellow social media activist Sumbo Ajala in conjunction with his gruesome murder. Twitter was abuzz with the news and their activist friends had taken sides on the matter with fires being stoked and feminist rhetoric flying all over.

The girl in bra rolled off the bed and ran a quick Google search to see if there was more news on the murder case. The internet was a blessing. She found what she was looking for within a few minutes. Good. “Interesting,” she mumbled to herself. She launched multiple tabs on her browser and opened Instagram on one, Facebook on another and Google Maps on a third. It was amazing how much information one could get on a person by bringing all that was scattered on these media together.

*********+++++++++++*************

The next morning, Fuad was returning from his morning jog even before most of his neighbors had woken up. As he got to his gate, he saw a lady in knee length tights and fitted top waiting at his gate. She looked like she had gone jogging too.

“Hello, how can I help you?” he asked her, keeping some distance between them.

“Hello Fuad, how are you?” she said pleasantly.

“How do you know my name and who are you?” he asked. He wanted to be wary but his eyes refused to cooperate with him. The jogging outfit she wore clung to her figure and his eyes stayed fixated on her luscious body. She smiled and exposed even white teeth.

“Maybe you should check your DM, Mr. Fuad,” she responded, smiling mischievously.

He looked at his phone and noticed it was blinking. Indeed, he had a DM.

“I’m right in front of you Mister Fuad” the DM said. He began to laugh as he went to her.

“You are one crazy babe, you know? How did you find me?” he asked.

“I told you I saw you when you jogged everyday. Didn’t it occur to you that someone else jogs and might like the peace and quiet just like you?” she asked, smiling.

“Since you are here, I might as well offer you my water if you won’t mind coming in,” he said with a twinkle in his eye and a prayer in his heart that he would be lucky today.

She smiled that her mischievous smile again and responded “I thought you would never ask”.

ff on twitter @tundeleye

A Cross and A Crescent

Hi people. Got this from one of the blog readers just before I ended Burnt and since we’ve been promoting Write Right and then debuted A Little Bird Said, I had lost it in the mix. Thankfully, she remembered that I asked her to remind me which she did today. It’s always my pleasure to introduce new writers to you guys. Here’s Fatima’s short story. Follow her on twitter @midnightsun84.

TL

balance_yinyang_symbol

It was Ileya day, and that meant I was going to eat lots and lots of ram meat, not because I was a Muslim, but because my (best) friend of many years was. The families of Qamar Adedeji and mine had been friends from the moment we had moved next door to them seven years ago. Since Qamar and I were about the same age, we hung out together all the time and an amazing friendship was forged, our friendship was one of my most prized possessions. Qamar was a true friend in every sense of the word; he always had an encouraging word whenever I hit a rough patch. His shoulder had been there for me to cry on through two heartbreaks, he always lent a listening ear, and I couldn’t even imagine what I’d do without him. Once or twice when friends joked that I had kept him firmly in the friend zone instead of dating him, we’d both laughed off their silliness. We didn’t simply see each other that way, and even if we did, a Chychy and a Qamar know better than to date each other.

 

Ileya that it was that fateful day, my boyfriend understood that I was going to spend the day with Qamar and his family. In fact, he knew it was possible for me to spend the night there if Qam’s sister, Royyan was around, she schooled abroad and whenever she came home, she liked to ‘kidnap’ her friends whenever she could and catch up on all the gist she’d missed while she regaled us with New York gist as well. But standing in front of my mirror, I thought I look extra hot, so I decided to quickly pop in at Uche’s place before going over for my Ileya groove. What boyfriend wouldn’t love a surprise visit and a very likely unplanned roll in the sheets on a public holiday? I didn’t think there was any.

 

As I stepped into the compound, I used my fingers to lightly comb my hair and smacked my lips to make sure my lip gloss still had its full luster and swung my hips towards the building. I liked to go in through the kitchen entrance, I didn’t like to risk going through the sitting room entrance just in case they had guests or whatever. Besides it was easier to slip up to his room that way, instead of playing chit chat for long minutes with his sisters or whoever was around before I escaped to the privacy of Uche’s room.

I opened the kitchen door to find it empty, but as I moved towards the stairs, I heard several raised voices including Uche’s; it seemed I had stumbled in on a family meeting of some sorts. I didn’t know if I should go up and wait in his room, because they might not finish soon, and I would be late for Ileya groove if I decided to wait. I didn’t know if I should just turn back and go, but then the gatekeeper was sure to mention my visit, and I didn’t want to appear ‘one kain’.

So I was standing at the foot of the stairs, trying to decide what to do, and my name just jumped out at me from the conversation going on in the sitting room. Huh? I inched closer and for the second time, and more distinctly, I heard it, Chychy.  Chychy kwa? Why was my name coming up in a family meeting at my boyfriend’s house?  I inched closer and listen in on the conversation for several minutes……and I wish I hadn’t.

I turned around, distraught, and went back the same way I came in. I didn’t even care if the gatekeeper reported that I came around, I didn’t care about anything. All I needed to do was get to Qam’s house and speak with him immediately. Still dazed, I managed to find a taxi and I scrambled out immediately the driver dropped me off at his place. I was certainly in no mood to socialize, but luckily for me there were a lot of guests milling about in the compound, so I managed to slip into the house and up to Qam’s room almost unnoticed. I only had to say a quick hello to his cousin, Aunty Risi. He was around attending to guests downstairs, I knew. So I picked up my phone and texted him “Qam I’m in your room. Please I need you here NOW. It’s urgent, I have to talk to you!”

I had barely dropped the phone before Qam breathlessly pushed the door of the room open; it was obvious he ran up the stairs. He slammed the door shut and the latch fell in place with a loud click. “What is it Chy? What happened? Talk to me, dear.” He got no response from me, so he just sat beside me on the bed and put his arm across my shoulders “come on, talk to me Strawberry”

That’s when the dams burst open, and I wept buckets into the neatly ironed buba of his beautifully tailored ‘ileya cloth’. I punctuated my tears with words, explaining what had happened at Uche’s house earlier today. Moving close to the doorway of the sitting room, I had overheard Uche’s mother scolding him for bringing Chychy home and introducing her as his girlfriend when he knew he was going to end up impregnating Nneka. If he knew he was interested in Nneka, what had stopped him from dating her in the first place, after all she was from their local government area which was even  good thing. So why had he spent a year leading Chychy on? How was he going to explain himself to the poor girl now? Because he was going to have to marry Nneka, and that wasn’t a bad thing but the person she felt sorry for in all of this was Chychy.

I was brimming with so much anger as I recounted the story, the lying, cheating bastard! He had claimed he and the girl were not even friends, just colleagues, yet he went and knocked her up. The pig! Through the fog of my anger and tears I was aware of Qam’s strong arms around me, his fingers stroking my hair and his whispers of “I’m so sorry baby, you deserve better anyway”. Lost in the comfort he offered, my tears subsided and I held on to him tightly; this was the third time I’d cry on his shoulder- literally, over boy trouble.

“Come on, let’s get you freshened up, there’s a party downstairs!” he said as he raised my head from his chest to give me a forehead kiss. I didn’t understand what was happening, or how it was happening, all I know is that I pulled his face down to me and fused my lips to his. I could feel his shock and surprise, but I didn’t pull away, I kissed him slowly, tentatively, hesitantly.  This was new and uncharted territory for both of us and I didn’t even know what I was doing, just that I must do it and before my head could remind me that I shouldn’t be doing it, I kissed him more brazenly and opened my mouth to his.

That’s when he lost the battle. He released an audible sigh and he kissed me back hungrily, pushing me onto the soft mattress as he explored my mouth thoroughly. I found myself pressing my body against his in a silent plea for more, when he moved his hand away from my face and cupped my breast in his palm, I could hear my own gasp as shockwaves of pleasure ran through me. When he trailed kisses on my neck and my ears, I whimpered and shivered in reaction; I was already half delirious with pleasure. All of a sudden, I felt I must touch his body, his warm, bare body. So I grabbed the material of his buba and hoisted it up, breaking the kiss so I could get the offending cloth over his head and out of the way, but I looked up into Qam’s eyes and saw that he had other plans.

There was hesitation in his eyes; Qam had changed his mind about this “Look Chy, we shouldn’t be doing this. You’re distraught and I shouldn’t have touched you. I can’t take advantage of you like this”. “Mscheeeew” I hissed so loudly that he turned to look at me with bewilderment.”Rubbish”, I thought, “what is this one saying? He shouldn’t have what?”  Without stopping to think, I pulled down the zip at the side of my dress, slipped out of it and threw the garment aside. Fire blazing in my eyes, clad in only my flimsy undergarments, I faced him “Qam I WAS distraught, now I’m ANGRY. What do you mean you shouldn’t have touched me? In fact, you should have touched me long ago and if you had, maybe I wouldn’t have been chasing shadows with that bastard Uche”

Filled with righteous anger and determination, I straddled him and plastered my mouth to his again, pressing my curves into him, plundering his mouth with pent up desire that I didn’t even know I had. I felt the fight leave him slowly and I gasped as he grabbed my derriere in both hands and pushed my core against his erection, and then he suddenly flipped me over so that I was lying on my back, with him on top of me as he proceeded to do things to me that made me gasp and moan and shiver alternatively.

We completely divested each other of our clothes and he looked down at me tenderly, lovingly as he gently and slowly inserted his phallus into my warm sheath, so slowly that it caused excruciating pleasure, and with that very first thrust, I blurted out ”I love you Qam, I love you.” And I realised that I meant it. Qam was everything to me, I just hadn’t realised how much he meant to me because I had blinded myself to the possibility. But then, with his lips causing wicked delights as his tongue darted in an out of my ear and the rhythmic strokes of his member in me, I knew just how much I loved him.

 

Legs locked around his waist and bodies fused in that dance that is as old as man itself, Qam took me to the heights of heaven and held me suspended there. When I began to shake and whimper and speak in languages foreign to even my own ears, he increased the pace of his thrusts, put his fingers between our joined bodies and touched some secret button somewhere there. That moment, we both spiraled downwards, into a vortex of ecstasy that ended back here on earth, on his bed with the Arsenal football club themed bedspread, in his house that was next to mine, while an Ileya party raged on downstairs. I sobbed as I came, and he whispered “I love you too Chychy, I always have”

 

I roll over and wake my husband with a light kiss on the lips. That’s enough reminiscing for one morning; this day, March 13 2013, Qamar and I have been married for 15 years. I shudder to think what would have happened or how our lives would have turned out if I had let tribal and religious differences blind me to my one true love.I shake Qam “wake up joor sleepy head. Happy anniversary. Now get up and say your prayers, it’s already 5.30.” He mumbles good morning to me groggily, gets up and goes to the bathroom to perform wudu, I kneel down by my side of the bed, grab my bible, close my eyes, and bow my head in prayer.

A Little Bird Said – 1

So we begin the new series A LITTLE BIRD SAID today. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a rollercoaster ride. Enjoy.

One week is gone since we announced Write Right 2, and there’s one more week left for you to send your entry. In case you haven’t heard about that, read all the details here https://tlsplace.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/write-right-two/ 

TL

A Little Bird Said

A month had passed since Charles Obaro ended his engagement to Sumbo. A year before that time, they had met at some overlord event. Yes, he was what they called an overlord in Nigerian twitter lingo. He had a teeming army of seventy thousand followers and many of them swallowed whatever he tweeted hook, line and sinker. He was now a certified ruffler of feathers, ran a successful blog and had travelled the world. If anyone had told him how twitter would transform the shy boy from a university in Oyo State into a world renowned personality, he would not have believed it. But that’s just what his handle @obaro had made him become.

If there was one thing he loved about being an overlord even more than the respect and fame, it was the p-setting. God bless the person who greenlighted the DM feature to be included in twitter. Babes who were feminists and men-bashers on their timelines were transformed once they entered the DM of an overlord like him. Why, he had even bedded a few simply with the promise of getting them into the sacred world of the overlords. It was what twitter was, and in that world, he was a “bawse” as Rick Ross would say.

He rolled off his king-sized bed which had been the slaughter ground of many a female and padded to the bathroom. The first thing he did every morning was to brush his teeth and down a bowl of cereal. He looked at his reflection in the mirror above the wash-hand basin. Nothing spectacular, he admitted to himself in a rare moment of honest self assessment. He was average in everything – height, build, even academic prowess. It had to be his twitter power that had gotten him the female conquests.

So twitter overlordship and serial p-setting had been his life until he met Sumbo. Cold as ice but pretty as Aphrodite, she was an overlord herself with whom he had sparred a couple of times. However, she never used her own picture as her AVI and he had not been able to see what she looked like until that day. In one of their quarrels, she had labeled him as having the alpha male syndrome and because she might have been right, he seethed. After seeing her that day however, he made up his mind to add her to his list of conquests.

He had started confident that she would be like all the others once they entered DM. But it had taken him all of six months and a wedding proposal plus a very public whirlwind relationship on twitter, facebook, instagram and all the blogs to get between her legs. By that time, it was too late to back out and he had gone along with the wedding plans.

Then one day, they had taken opposite sides on some twitter issue and he had seized the opportunity. He deliberately escalated the quarrel publicly on twitter and then in real life. Not thinking much of it, she had maintained her position against his own. Afterall, she reminded him, he was the one that always advocated independent thought. “The fact that you hold a different opinion from mine doesn’t make you a bad person” he had often said. But he would have none of that. Eventually he had called off the engagement. She had begged and everyone had pleaded with him, but he did not budge. Shebi the good Lord had provided an escape route for him from the trap his p-setting and her desire to marry had sent him to. He grabbed it with both hands. He had lost some followers, but the loyal ones had stayed. He had gladly taken that loss as the prize for his freedom and gone on a p-setting spree. Ah, the fresh air of freedom, he thought to himself. He quickly brushed his teeth and fixed himself his cereal before diving into the online world to see what was interesting and what he would tweet, thinking ruefully about the good meals he had enjoyed while he had been with Sumbo.

*************+++++++++++++

Sumbo had just finished quarrelling with her mum. It seemed to be the way all their phone calls ended these days and it was placing a strain on their once super close mother and daughter relationship. Her friend, Sandra looked up from her phone and asked “the conversation ended in man again abi?”

“Yeah. As if I will make a man myself. Maybe we should disguise you as a man and present you to them,” Sumbo responded with a twinkle in her eye. “Oh, and I got the lecture about making sure I’m not headstrong with the next man that comes like I was with Charles. Sumbo, you must learn to be submissive,” she mimicked her mum’s voice as she said the last few words.

“Speaking of Charles, the idiotic anumpam is tweeting o, he is looking for who will bring him pizza this morning,” Sandra said with bile in her voice.

“Me I don block am, so I no dey see him yeye tweets,” Sumbo responded, scoffing. Even as she tried to be mature and get over her heartbreak at the breakup, seeing Charles’ tweets had been very hard for her. They brought back painful memories and she ended up blocking him eventually to retain her sanity. The way he had carried on as if he had been freed from a heavy burden after ending their engagement had hurt her even more than the breakup. By God she wanted to strangle him each time she saw his goody two shoes crusading tweets, when she knew the kind of perverted self-centered person he really was. She had overlooked everything to keep that relationship – the DMs she stumbled on, the BB conversations and the twofaced life he was living that was hidden from his adoring public. Yet, in the end, he had ended it like he was cutting off a vestigial organ.

“The bastard, when he was eating your better cooking for free, he did not know. Now, na pizza and cereal be him food,” Sandra said, showing Sumbo the picture of a bowl of cereal that he had instagramed.

She hissed. Charles could not cook a thing and while they were together she had ensured he had healthy meals. Now, he had obviously reverted to his pre-Sumbo eating habits.

“Wo, me I’m going to the office to do what puts food on my table. If you like be living on twitter. When hunger nab you, you will come and join me,” Sumbo said as she gathered herself together. The office was the ante room of their three bedroom apartment and it was there they received all their clients. They ran an animation company and most of the big advert agencies used their services plus they got outsourced work from South Africa and UK so they were pretty comfortable.

Sumbo powered up the laptop and got into the day’s work.

***********+++++++++++

Across town, not too far from Charles’ house, Senayon Lulu let himself into his dingy office. He often wondered if there had been any improvements made on this police station since the colonial days. The stone was the same. The cells were the same. The counter was the same. Sometimes he even swore to himself that the men were the same. For all he cared, they were the same anyway, at least in character and outlook. The police seemed to deliberately send the most garrulous and educated ones to his station. And these ones were usually the most frustrated and worst drunks. Their frustration stemmed understandably from the fact that they thought they should have advanced in the police force further than they had managed considering their erudite learning. There was one who even claimed to have been the IG’s course mate in Police College. Fools, he thought to himself.

A couple of years ago, his wife had left him for one councilor, after that one had promised to give her his old car when the government gave the councilors brand new Hyundai Elantra salon cars. He couldn’t blame the woman, hard as he tried. The man had given her all the things that Senayon had been unable to in all their years together and after a quarrel where he had finally confronted her with her infidelity, she simply looked at him and said “useless man, I was even managing you before.” And then she left him with their seven year old daughter. Now, he had sent the little girl to the village to live with his mother and had poured himself into this police work. Finally, with dedication, he had risen and been made DPO, even if it was of this station. He wished for something more though, something better. In spite of what many outsiders liked to think, his life as a police officer, a DPO, was boring. He wanted to get out from behind this pile of papers and crumpled Naira notes brought to him as returns from the street work of his officers. Senayon had clearly not heard the maxim – be careful what you wish for… he was about to go for a ride he would wish he never had.

*************+++++++++++++++

Another person who would have benefitted from the same maxim Senayon didn’t know was our dear Charles. In between taking on some government reps, promoting a product he was being paid to tweet about and setting up P-setting for the next three days with three different ladies in his DM, Charles had tweeted repeatedly about craving pizza. Some people had tweeted back at him to call the pizza delivery company and stop disturbing them and he had retweeted their tweets. His voltrons had gone all in and attacked those who dared to accost their overlord. He watched their twitfights, amused.

Two hours later, he had totally forgotten about the whole saga on twitter. He had been working on a blogpost now around the issue he had been arguing with the government man about, pounding away furiously on the keyboard while mentally marshalling the strategies he would use for sharing this his latest creation as it took shape on his computer screen. He heard the doorbell ring, its shrill sound tearing into his consciousness. He didn’t react at first, but the ringer was persistent and he had no choice but to press Ctrl + S and then get up to go and see who it was, cursing under his breath.

When he opened the door however, all his vexation was dispelled in an instant. This happened for two reasons. First, the beautiful aroma of fresh and piping hot pizza wafted into his nostrils. He hadn’t ordered himself, so someone must have read his tweets and decided to surprise him. He wondered who it was but didn’t dwell on it for too long. The pizza delivery personnel was the reason why, the second reason he smiled now. She was pretty, this one, with firm and full breasts peeking out from the two open buttons of her red polo t-shirt. Her complexion was fair, but not annoying fair like some of those ladies that bleached, making the cleavage she was showing even more sumptuous. Her hair was packed firmly under a face cap that made it difficult to see her face well when she looked down. He wasn’t interested in her face anyway. Her body had his full attention. He felt himself stir and realized that he was beginning to have an erection, embarrassed now that he was bare-chested with nothing but boxers on. When she smiled and asked if he was Mr. Charles, she revealed an even set of teeth. His mind raced to some porn movie he had watched long ago when the obviously porn actress supposedly innocent pizza delivery girl was lured into the house and then banged silly by the man. He knew he wouldn’t try such a stunt though, except she gave him super bright green lights.

“Do you know the person that ordered this pizza on my behalf because I did not order it myself?” Charles asked.

“I don’t know sir, I’m just here to make the delivery. Maybe you can call the number on the pack to find out,” she responded.

“Of course you don’t,” Charles responded, nearly slapping himself. They didn’t tell delivery personnel who ordered pizza, stupid, he said to himself. “Charles, breast don make you foolish,” he muttered to himself.

“What did you say sir?” she asked.

“Nothing dear. Now, if you don’t mind, let me have my pizza,” he said.

“Sir, you will have to sign here,” she said, producing a sheet of her company’s paper.

“Okay,” Charles said, waiting.

“Sir, I don’t have a pen here,” she said.

“Ohhhh,” Charles responded. That was strange, for a delivery girl not to have a pen on her. He thought his mind was playing tricks on him but it seemed she had winked at him. The light flashed yellow.

“Yes sir, let me come in and use your pen,” she said.

She definitely winked this time and the light flashed a bright green. It was all he needed. He whistled audibly. Today just might be his lucky day after all. “By all means, I’ll give it to you,” he responded with meaning even if she wouldn’t understand his innuendo and gave way for her to go in.

*************+++++++++++++

Korie parked in front of the house. Since he was squatting with his elder brother, he didn’t have the luxury of parking his car inside the compound. It was late evening and he was glad to have escaped from the office on time today. Banking was not easy, especially in this traffic infested Lagos, he thought to himself as he turned the ignition off and tumbled out of the car. He was a big man, quite unlike his average all over brother, Charles. They looked so different no one would have guessed he was Charles’ immediate younger brother. Gathering his things, he locked the car and dragged himself into the house.

He tried the front door and it wasn’t locked. Charles was at home. He wondered what mischief his brother had been up to and which girl he would meet today with the customary introduction “meet Korie, my brother with the non-English name. Don’t let his size fool you though, he my kid brother” Charles would say, emphasizing the ‘kid’. Korie would smile politely and then retire to his room, away from Charles and all his wahala. He braced himself for this and stepped into the house. Silence. “Charlie, I’m home,” he called out in a loud voice. Still silence. He went further into the house, but there was no one there. That was strange. Why would Charles leave the house unlocked while he was out? Korie went to his brother’s room to go and see if he was there. He wished he hadn’t. There, propped against the white wall was his elder brother. His head had been hacked off and placed carefully on his laps. Korie raced out of the house to his car.