Read the 1st Episode of the top 5 finalists 4-Part Series HERE
The results as at the end of Week One have also been posted HERE. I encourage you to read the entries and keep the votes coming. Click the link at the end of this post to go to the Week Two voting page after you’ve read all the entries. Enjoy.
THE END by OPEOLUWA OLUBODE – EPISODE 2
Dre and Kemi dated about five years ago. She was his third girlfriend (or the third person he dated, that I knew of). They met one Tuesday night when my parents travelled. Hunger don wire us finish and as at then, I didn’t know how to do anything in the kitchen apart from boiling water, egg and noodles (I was a very lazy thirteen year-old at the time *big grin*).
We went out at around 8pm to buy suya. Dre kuku had a car then, so we didn’t have to leg it. The suya joint was about two junctions away from our house so the drive wasn’t that long. When we got there, I ordered meat suya (who else thinks chicken suya is tasteless?) and he (Dre) was busy ordering everything he saw when Kemi walked down wearing a short, tight-fitting blue dress with white vertical stripes.
She ordered her suya and started smiling at him. Maybe she wanted him to pay for it, I don’t even know. After about two minutes of staring at him, she finally said “hi”. He replied her and they started gisting. At the end of the day, he left the suya joint with one thousand naira worth of suya, her phone number and her Facebook username (there was kuku no bbm then).
Then the process of “setting P” began. He got to know that she lived in the neighbourhood and he visited her often while I was in school, preparing for my Junior Waec. They started dating and she became my mugu (I miss the chocolates, sweets and designer accessories she used to get for me *sad face*).
Then second semester began and that burst their bubbles. Dre was schooling at the University of Ilorin and Kemi at the University of Lagos, so they had to part for a while. When Dre had settled down in school, he started coming home almost every weekend to see her.
About one year into their relationship, Dre decided to pay a surprise visit to her hostel and that was when Kemi introduced him to Tola, her bestie and room-mate. Three weeks after that on a Friday afternoon when Dre just got back from Ilorin, Tola called him to say that Kemi was sick. Dre rushed down to her room in Moremi Hall and Tola ushered him in. There was no sign of Kemi in the room, just Tola, wearing black underwear and professing her love for him.
“Ever since I set my eyes on you, I knew you were the one for me. Oludare, I love you.”
“Tola, I’m dating your best friend and I’m not going to cheat on her or play her for your own selfish interests.”
According to Dre, she laughed like a mad woman for about thirty seconds before saying; “Do you think she’s faithful to you?”
Dre got angry and took his leave. On his way out of the hostel, he spotted Kemi with a man who looked old enough to be her father. He was about to approach them and greet, when he saw how the man was touching her in an inappropriate manner. Lots and lots of thoughts flashed through his head. Anyway, he had enjoyed her and it was time to move on to fresher fish.
Dre never broke up with her formally, he just left and travelled to the States for about three months (Tola still stalked him in that period) to clear his head of every single thing that had to do with her, the three abortions she had done for him, the last that partially ruptured her womb, leaving her with a forty-five point something percent chance of giving birth again and all that (okay, now you know why she came to seek revenge).
Back to the wedding!!!
Away from my thoughts, I looked around me and saw that ‘men in black’ had taken over the whole place. Simi’s mum broke down on the floor and started shouting and crying. They shut her up and ordered everybody to lie down, except the bride and groom.
The entrance of the church was locked with a strong chain and a padlock that looked too strong to be picked or jacked. Two of them were standing guard at the entrance even with all the blockage and another two were collecting phones and gadgets from everyone, to prevent us from calling out, sending texts, direct messages and all.
While the men were busy with that, Kemi broke down in tears and started shouting.
“Oludare, after all I did for you, you still left me and breached every means of contact between us? What did I do to deserve all this? All because of you, I may never give birth again and you still did this to me? Dare, you are a bloody bastard!” she shouted and tightened his collar around his neck.
The level of shock Dare found himself in, he couldn’t even reply her. He just stared at her like a puppy begging for milk.
I was scared. I honestly didn’t know what to do. Lots and lots of things flashed through my mind. I finally put myself together and then I remembered Alhaji. Alhaji Mustapha Akanbi is the DPO of police, Ikeja division. The one on Salako Street, Ogba. The man met me once when I accompanied my dad to the police station to lock up one houseboy that stole thirty-eight thousand naira from him. He probably fell for me and asked for my pin. I sha gave him and he had been disturbing me ever since. Now was the time for him to be useful in my life.
I had taken a picture of the wedding invitation earlier that morning since I was too lazy to type out the church and reception address. Simi had left everything she felt she was going to need at the wedding and reception with me; her phone and make-up bag. Thank God for Simi’s bridal train. I lay behind her and when I was to drop my Samsung galaxy S4 (bigz geh things), I dropped Simi’s iPhone 5S instead and sharply hid my phone under her train.
I lowered my head a bit so I could see the screen of my phone properly. I opened my bbm (thank God for bbm on android), pinged him thrice, sent the wedding invitation to him and explained what was going on. I couldn’t send a voice note because there was noise all around me so I had to type it out (thank God for auto-correct).
Alhaji replied saying he was sending his boys. I ended the chat and put my phone back in my handbag. I couldn’t risk any of these men catching me. I then realised Simi was moving forward so I looked up and saw that they had tied Dre to a chair and Simi was the next on their list. I bowed my head and began to pray silently for God’s intervention. I was shaking like a leaf on the floor.
The loud bang of a gun brought an end to my prayers. I looked up for the second time and I saw Simi fall to the ground…
ORDERED CHAOS by JEREMIAH NZERE – EPISODE 2
Williams Kure Close. Area One. Abuja.
The only English word Charles Alidu loved more than ‘weekend’ was ‘family’. The first afforded him time with the second, as the demands of his job left no time during weekdays. To maximize his weekends, he kept all his phones, save one-the black phone- switched off. He was to be reached only when there were matters of grave national security. Now that phone beeped as he played a game of PES football with his 12-year old son, Matt. Charles’ club, Barcelona was being drubbed 3-0 by his son’s Manchester City side.
“I have to go now Matt. I promise we’ll replay this game.” His son’s shoulders drooped but he nodded his head. His family understood he had to leave whenever the black phone rang.
He dropped the game-pad, picked his car keys and walked briskly to the door while fiddling with his phone. It was a text message. It read: “Just saw this. Confirm it.” He followed the accompanying internet link to a blog post. It was about a bride who had slumped when her groom did not turn up for the wedding. He frowned. That was hardly newsworthy. Since when did a groom’s absence at a wedding become a matter of grave national security? Then he scanned the story again, his patience fast running out. That was when he saw the groom’s name: Ovie Keyamo. He pursed his lips, pointed at his car, and addressing no one in particular said, “I warned them, I warned them.” Now this was a matter of grave national security.
48 hours later.
University of Ibadan Senior Staff Quarters. Ibadan
The last two days had been the longest of Tamilore’s life. She had fainted at the wedding venue, and had been revived by the concerted efforts of friends and guests. Ovie was nowhere to be found. All the Police had done was to take all the groomsmen into custody. They got nothing out of them. All had said the same thing. Ovie had received a call from someone unknown and stepped out of the room. He had never returned and his phone was switched off. Ovie’s dad had secured the release of the groomsmen. Later, one detective Paul Otor had told her mother that all they could do was to wait for the kidnappers to demand a ransom, for a body to show up, or for Ovie to return.
She was tired of waiting. Wasn’t there anything she could do? She went on her knees and tried to pray but no words came. She could only mutter “Help me, God help me”
She had fled Facebook and Twitter. The tweets and messages were too many. From messages of congratulation, they had evolved to messages of inquiry, and then to messages of pity and consolation. She could not stand pity. She would have shut her phone off, but she was hoping the next call or text would be Ovie’s.
She rose to her feet, and slid onto the bed again. Her phone beeped. It was yet another message. There was a God! It was from Ovie. She drew her breath in sharply.
She read it: Babe, I’m really sorry, but I’m fine. Need to see you today. Agodi Park. 6pm. Come alone and don’t tell ANYONE. Your life may be in danger. I’ll explain everything.
P.S: Bring the blue box I gave you two weeks ago. It’s the key to everything.
She immediately dialed the number. It was switched off so she sent a text. She could feel a new wave of energy coursing through her body. Her Ovie was alive! She had to see him. He would explain everything to her. She looked at the wall clock; it was already 5:30pm. She hurriedly searched her room for the blue box.
Downstairs, 15 minutes later.
The doorbell rang. Omawunmi opened the door. She had stayed home since the wedding incident. She didn’t feel ready to face the world yet. A tall, bespectacled man in blue denim and a yellow open-necked polo shirt stood at the door.
“Good evening. My name is Charles Alidu, and I work with the D.S.S, the Department of State Security” He held out his Identity card. She scrutinized it.
“I would like to see Tamilore Adegbola. May I come in?”
“What does the D.S.S want with my daughter?” she asked, eyeing him suspiciously.
“I worked with Ovie Keyamo, and believe I can answer some of the questions you have.” He stared at her calmly through his glasses.
Omawunmi opened the door wide, and stepped back to allow him in.
Tokunboh stood at the foot of the stairway sizing him up.
“Go upstairs and get your sister” Omawunmi directed, ushering Charles to a seat.
“The D.S.S believes Ovie might have been kidnapped.” Charles said, sitting forward, his knees bunched together.
Omawunmi leaned against a wall.
“And we think your daughter’s life is at risk too”
“How?” Omawunmi asked, looking perplexed.
“Two years ago, the President set up a committee to investigate …” A shout from upstairs interrupted Charles.
“Mummy!” It was Tokunboh.
She bounded down the stairs, and entered the living room panting.
“Tamilore’s not in the house. She’s gone.”
Agodi Park. Agodi G.R.A. Ibadan.
Major C.O. Otu prided himself on being able to produce results. If he could deliver on this case, his rapid promotion in the Army was guaranteed. Without fatherly protection in the Army you were an orphan; and orphans were usually forgotten. This was his chance to impress the General, and he was not going to bungle it. His career was at stake here. If the General wanted results, Major Otu would deliver them.
After working on Ovie for over 36 hours, he had sung like a canary. Nobody could resist the ‘truth solution’ he had administered. Now, the only missing piece was the original copy of the file which the General wanted. Ovie said it was with his fiancée in Ibadan. Thus they had flown back to Ibadan two hours ago. They only had to get the file-and any other information she possessed-from her.
He looked at his three boys, all hand-picked Privates. They did not have much in terms of brains, but they were loyal to him, and that was the only necessary qualification. His brains were enough.
“We will take her the same way we took her boyfriend” he told them.
He switched Ovie’s phone on. It beeped as several messages came in. He scrolled down until he found the one he was looking for. It was from ‘Baby’. He read it and smiled.
“She’s on her way. Prepare a suitable reception party for the bride.” He switched the phone off and dismissed them.
THESE LAST DAYS OF OUR LIVES by AKINWALE AGBAJE – EPISODE 2
“Wanna know how I got these scars? My father was … a drinker. And a fiend. And one night, he goes off crazier than usual. Mummy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn’t like that. Not. One. Bit. So, me watching, he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it. Turns to me and he says, ‘Why so serious?’ Comes at me with the knife: ‘Why so serious?’ He sticks the blade in my mouth – ‘Let’s put a smile on that face!’” – The Dark Knight
Episode 2: My Love’s Most Quaint Melody
Tunde woke in a sobbing fit, curled up in a foetal position at the corner of the room like he had done yesterday and many days before. It had been this way since the accident – he’d go to sleep on his bed and wake up on the floor.
At work, he trudged through needless meetings, tedious paperwork, and idle chatter. He was an anomaly, a body without a consciousness; a smile, a look of interest without desire. As had become customary over the past couple of months, the chisel of despair went chip-chip and little bits of his old self flitted off with the wind.
He had a date with Chika. They met at the restaurant across the road from the office, a large, homely place.
The date ended. Chika left, happier than she had been when they arrived earlier. He watched her through the large window, his hand in his pocket, tracing that hollow piece of jewellery he had come to love to a point of obsessive attachment. It was a link to a much happier time. A time he desperately had to get back to.
His goal was clear. He stood. The pain in his side, the blood in his nose – he wasn’t going to let them get in his way. He took the ring out of his pocket and—
A bump from someone sent the ring spinning out of sight. He searched frantically.
The cleaner – an elderly woman – helped. Her name was Patience. She found the ring under a chair and handed it to him.
She pointed out his bloody nose. He dismissed her caution and left for home.
By the day’s end, he would hang from a ceiling fan, dead.
Patience disregarded the thought of Tunde’s unfortunate nose and returned the mop and bucket to the store room. She had pressing matters to attend to.
Her boss, Mr Kenneth Obiora, was – to put it kindly – a colossal chauvinistic prick masquerading as a human being. Anything in a skirt caught his fancy. Anything.
Patience met Mr Obiora in his office and reminded him of his prior promise to excuse her from work for the rest of the day.
Mr Obiora took his sweet time assessing her appearance – a faded bland uniform wrapped around a thin, wrinkled body. He imagined things Patience had no business thinking of, not at her age.
Once he was satisfied, he reiterated that this was a one-time favour. She thanked him and departed the restaurant.
She got home and found her daughter, Sally, at the backyard, doing her laundry. They talked. Sally mentioned that she had chanced upon Okon on her way from the market.
Okon was a chubby young man who always had something to smile about. Sally liked him, and he liked her, but that was the end of it.
Patience could never convince Sally to take a gamble with Okon. Every time she brought up the topic, Sally only had one answer … an answer that got the cold tendrils of fear clawing through Patience’s insides: you know my condition.
It was that condition that had brought Patience home from work this early.
After months of feverish searching, Patience had uncovered the most viable solution to Sally’s problem: Pastor Chris Oyatie.
Handsome, charismatic Chris Oyatie – a man as flamboyant as he was larger than life, with a voice that tamed legions and brought them to their knees in reverence.
That afternoon, Pastor Chris Oyatie had the auditorium teeming with worshipers. He and his team had evaluated Sally’s case and resolved that her special healing would be an appropriate spectacle, an indisputable wonder from God that would convince unbelievers to turn from their depraved habits and embrace the light … the light of Jesus Christ … and the awesomeness of Chris Oyatie, of course.
Sally knelt before the young pastor on the vast stage and he addressed her as he would a filthy pig that grown too proud and foolish as to eat from the table of Kings.
‘You. Agent of Satan. What is your plan?’
Sally had no plans. She stared at Pastor Chris, puzzled. He slapped her across the face, and the force of the blow threw her to the ground. She whimpered.
Patience, standing amongst the congregation, winced.
‘You will not take this girl. I command you, release her!’
The foot of Pastor Chris struck hard against Sally’s stomach. She wailed.
‘Release her, I say!’
Another kick. Another howl.
Sally began to convulse, eyes twitching, limbs writhing. Patience wanted to console her, but the bodyguards kept her well away from the stage.
The convulsion got worse. Pastor Chris kicked and slapped and spat and spoke in tongues. The congregation lent their voices in loud prayer.
Sally suddenly stopped moving. The voices dropped. Eyes watched. Patience clutched her chest. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
And then, the most amazing thing … Sally rose. Not to her feet. No. Her body rose off the stage.
Bewildered cries all around. Even Pastor Chris Oyatie seemed perplexed at the turn of events.
Head lolling, Sally’s arms stretched out on their own accord. The crucifixion.
The ground quaked. The pillars trembled. The roof split to a terrible sound. And out of Sally came a blinding white light.
It was all too much for the congregation. They took to their heels. The bodyguards were the first the run.
Patience fought against the surging sea of people, her objective to get to the stage, to save her daughter.
The light grew bigger, enveloping half the auditorium.
Pastor Chris stood his ground. This was what he was born to do. He shielded his eyes and peeked through his fingers, approaching the centre of the light gingerly.
‘The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men,’ he said. ‘Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children.’ His voice grew louder and bolder: ‘And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers-’
The light went out. Sally stood, eyes glowing white, face expressionless.
‘And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee,’ she finished in an eerie voice.
It happened so fast. One moment she was there, in front of him. The next, she was at the far end of the church, hands wrapped around an iron bar stuck to the ground. She tore it out of the concrete floor, zipped to the stage in mere seconds, and impaled Pastor Chris Oyatie.
Pain, disbelief and horror were amongst the myriad of emotions that played on his handsome face.
‘Ezekiel twenty-five, seventeen,’ Sally said, smiling. ‘Where is your God now?’
Perhaps the good pastor meant to answer – he opened his mouth, but all that came out were an unintelligible croak and a generous flow of blood. He dropped to the stage, unmoving.
The glow in Sally’s eyes fizzled out. She staggered. Patience was right behind her before she plummeted.
Sally trembled and sobbed in Patience’s arms, her wounded voice bouncing off the walls of the empty church. Patience pleaded with her to stop crying and get up. They had to leave before anyone came back and found them and the dead pastor.
‘Tunde… Oh, Tunde…’ Sally wept.
‘Who is Tunde?’ Patience asked.
Sally looked at her mother with round, wet eyes. Her desperation was palpable.
‘Tunde,’ she said. ‘Mummy… I know. I know what I have to do. I understand now.’
WEWE by IFEOLUWA WATSON – EPISODE 2
He was in a wide field. Above him, dark clouds threatened to spurt canes of rain. He felt hot and cold at once. The ground where he stood became a hill then a valley and finally a pit. He screamed, ‘help! help!’ His voice echoed and bounced off the walls of the pit. When his voice became hoarse, he sat, dejected.
All of a sudden, he heard a voice. He looked up. She was there. Her face glowed. Her eyes were ripples of sunlight. Her hands were long – so long, they reached the bottom of the pit. She pulled him out.
The sky had cleared. They walked hand in hand to the pear tree. There, they sat sharing tales that warmed his heart.
Rotimi stirred awake. His body was cold. He sat up in bed and leant over to the wall. He switched off the air conditioner. He stretched his hand to the headrest and picked his illuminated-dial Swatch wristwatch. It was 1:00 am. It had been the same dream. It had recurred several times. It often left him with a light-headed feeling. He’d told no one about it. Not even Tanwa.
Rotimi was restive in the daytime and also agitated at night after his dreams. He feigned illness most mornings and neglected his inherited car dealership. At midday, he dragged himself to his car. He went to his head office at Ring Road where he doodled on notepads till the urge overcame him. He hastened to Oja Oba and bought his favourite fried chops. He lingered in his car and waited for what he knew not.
Tanwa sat cross-legged in the big cane chair on the patio. Her raised leg swung in the air. Each outward swing synced with her inner turmoil. Her eyes were fixed on the flower hedges lining the fence; the morning glories and the jasmines and the hibiscuses and the blossoming fuchsia bougainvilleas. She ignored the incessant buzz of her blackberry. She was in no mood to chat.
Only three months earlier, Tanwa’s head had been merry on her neck like the joyous togetherness of eko and efo in the mouth. Her footsteps had been springy like balls of ojojo bouncing in the guts and the width of her smile had been like the road from Oyo to Ogbomoso. Tanwa had squealed in excitement at her birthday party. After they had gyrated to the loud dancehall music, the DJ had shifted gear into the realm of slow tunes. Their sweltering bodies had stuck together; groins grinding into each other in a sleek sensual rhythm. Rotimi had suddenly gone down on one knee, wielding a glistening emerald-stone ring. On cue, the DJ had switched to Enrique’s Hero. Amid the cries of surprise from the guests, he’d slipped the ring onto her finger. It was just like Tanwa had fantasised; as it happened in the movies.
During the car ride home, Rotimi on the steering, Tanwa in the passenger’s front seat and Sade in an open-mouthed slumber on the back seat, Tanwa had stared dreamily at her ring. “Mum was right. I truly want this kind of life,”Tanwa had intoned to herself.
After Tanwa’s undergraduate studies at Birmingham, Yejide Akinfenwa had called her daughter. “Omotanwa, you must come back home o. You know, you are my one and only,” she’d pleaded. Tanwa had pictured her mother’s earnest look; the way her eyebrows furrowed when she spoke seriously. “Mum, I want to start a Masters…”Tanwa had replied.
Yeye had cut in before she could conclude, “Masters ko, mistress ni! Do you want to end up like all those iya daa gbe? You want to join the club of the old unmarried naija ladies in the UK? Come back home and manage my gold business.”
Tanwa had returned to Nigeria the next summer. Yeye and her bosom friend, Anike widely known as Anikky, the name of her large car dealership, had quickly match-made Tanwa with her son, Rotimi. Even with her prior misgivings, Tanwa could not resist the butterflies that fluttered in her belly when she’d beheld him. In the ten years that had elapsed since they had seen, Rotimi had grown into a suave handsome young man. Sade, Rotimi’s sister was still her petite and talkative self. Sade and Tanwa had resurrected their childhood friendship in no time.
After the proposal, the wedding preparations had begun in earnest. Yeye Akinfenwa, one of the most renowned tycoons in Ibadan had promised to go all out for her daughter. As her name implied, Omotanwa was a child she’d searched for, for many years. Yejide had endured the jibes of her mother-in-law and the two wives she had brought into her son’s home.
“Ah, my only child is getting married! I will shake this city! Aye a gbo, orun a mo!” Yeye had proclaimed to her group of friends. They had all rejoiced with her. They already had plans to share souvenirs during the ceremony – the more expensive, the better. When Oloye Adetoun heard that Iya Alaje would be sharing standing fans, she’d resolved to outdo her by tying a live goat to all the guests’ chairs as a take-home gift.
The creak of the heavy iron gates startled Tanwa out of her reverie. She raised her head. She watched as the gateman opened the gate. Sade drove in, in her black Toyota Highlander. In her usual manner, she moved at top speed and the gateman jumped back in fright. From Bodija Estate to Oluyole, she’d driven like one in a marijuana haze, aloof to the curses from the okada riders and the taxi and bus drivers. She applied the brakes sharply and the car shuddered to a stop. Sade sprang from the car, clad in red shorts and a white halter-neck top.
“Babe, why weren’t you replying your chats? I don ping you tire. Kilode na?”Sade asked as she walked towards Tanwa. Sade squeezed herself into the cane chair and clasped her hand on Tanwa’s shoulder.
Tanwa heaved a sigh and pressed her glossy lips together.
“Hmm, it’s your brother o,” she said, meeting Sade’s eyes for the first time.
“Rotimi? What has he done now?”
Tanwa told her of Rotimi’s strange faraway eyes. How he barely listened when she spoke; how his earpiece was a permanent feature in his ears; how they never went out to nice places again and how the only time a shadow of a smile crossed his face, was when they were headed in the direction of Oja Oba.
“I think he’s cheating on me,” Tanwa stated, grim-faced.
She waited for Sade’s disagreement but it was slow in coming. “Rotimi can’t cheat on you. Our families are this tight,” Sade emphasised, locking her index fingers together.
“I’ve also noticed his unusual quietness and mentioned it to Mummy,” Sade continued. Anike had told her daughter, that it was normal for young men to develop jelly feet close to their weddings. “It’s like mourning the loss of their freedom,” Anike had explained. Sade had snorted, “Humph! Is marriage then a prison?” Her mother had told her, she could not understand it.
A meaning-laden silence passed. Then, Sade spoke, bemused. “Yesterday, Rotimi left the house around 9 pm. I tried to tag along but he refused. I don’t know where he went.”
“Where else will he go? I told you he’s seeing someone else!” Tanwa snapped. The two friends decided on a detective mission – for Sade to quell her curiosity and Tanwa to confirm her doubts.
He parked his car some miles away. He sauntered like one in a sleepwalk. With his head sunken in his chest and hands jammed deep in his pockets, he walked to meet the woman in his dreams. Across the street, a car’s headlights dimmed and the two ladies watched him.
The road that led to her was quiet and empty. Odours of mildewed paper and rotten vegetables and putrid faeces hung heavy in the air. The ladies trailed him as he moved farther. Rotimi meandered through the rows of wooden shops into the centre of the market.
In the distance, Wewe ran her night marathon. She was on her third lap when she noticed her guest. Wewe ran towards the blue light. She was out of breath when she got to him. They hugged like long-lost lovers and disengaged and embraced some more.
The detective duo gaped in horror. Tanwa rubbed her eyes and raised her finger, pointing at the spectacle. “Please wake me up, this must be a dream!”She gasped. Sade was quiet. For once, words failed her. Her eyes bulged in their sockets. Tanwa and Sade were stunned into a paralysis.
Wewe led him towards a stall and righted an upturned bench. “Sit down, sit down here,” she said, fussing over him like a mother hen. Rotimi smiled and held her hands. In her presence, his agitated heart had finally stilled its palpitations. He breathed deep and easy.
Wewe rushed to her gutter-home. She rummaged through her belongings – torn strips of clothes and cans of bournvita and milk tins filled with stones and similar treasures. She returned to him with a half-eaten loaf of bread. “Gba, take. Eat it,”she said. The sight of Rotimi eating the bread, proffered by the mad woman nudged Tanwa and Sade out of their numbness. They hurried as one towards him.
“Rotimi! Are you crazy? What are you doing here?”Tanwa asked, keeping a few paces in between them. Sade, now at her wits’ end, grabbed her brother’s arm and pulled. The voice in Wewe’s head banged and flashes of red and purple and white ignited in her brain. She attacked Sade. Wewe scratched her with her long nails and dragged her in the dust. Rotimi got in between the two and tried to separate them. Tanwa, flummoxed by the situation turned to leave. Her path was blocked by two men.
“Duro nibe! Don’t move!” the two night watchmen ordered. Wewe now clung to Rotimi. Sade sat in the dirt, trying to get sand out of her hair. The men moved closer. They blinded them with their bright flashlights. Tanwa stepped backwards.
“So, this is how you kidnap mad people at night for your rituals? Owo ba yin leni! You’ve met your nemesis today!”
Tanwa started to speak, “Gentlemen, this is all a big misunderstanding. You see, we came to….”
“Gbenu dake! Shut your mouth! Abi, you think we are babies born yesterday ni? When you get to the police station, you will explain yourself. Oya, move!”
The watchmen rounded them up. One of the men walked ahead and the other in the rear. Wewe had refused to be prised off Rotimi. She marched with them. Tanwa’s face was set in a tight grimace. She tried to wrap her head around the incredulity of having a mad woman as a rival. Sade stole glances at her brother. She did not recognise the bland smile on Rotimi’s face.
FATE’S STORE by MIRACLE ADEBAYO – EPISODE 2
I found myself breathing hard. I had never been this afraid in my life. Why hadn’t I just sat in my car and called my husband? Perhaps these men won’t have seen me to prey on. And where in God’s name was Tade?
God. I prayed silently, as my heart thumped in my chest. Help me out of this.
“You fine ooh,” the muscular one who had pressed me against his body, whispered in my ears. His bad breath filtered into my nose and I almost gagged. His voice had taken on a husky quality and his Igbo accent was more pronounced.
From where I stood, I could feel the bulge in his groin that sent my heart racing once more.
“Make we take her phone dey go abeg,” his companion reasoned.
“Yes please, take my phone. Take anything you want but please let me go,” as my breathing heightened, it occurred to me that I might have an asthma attack if things got any more exciting. I needed the perfect opportunity to run.
“Ahn ahn, madam no fear,” with that he clamped his lips down on mine and began forcing his tongue into my mouth.
I revolted. His slimy dirty tongue in my mouth will be the height of it.
Anything but this!
I did the only thing that came to mind, I pressed my lips together then I parted them and bit down hard. His breath stunk to high heavens. He gave a yelp of pain and loosened his grip on me.
In that moment I remembered a discussion I’d once had with my girlfriends when we were still in the University; we’d talked about what we’d do if anyone tries to rape us.
Our unanimous agreement had been to ‘kick him where it hurts most.’
Finding myself in the situation, I did exactly that. I let loose a kick to where I thought it hurt most. He yelled again and this time, let me go.
I turned to run. And came face-to-face with his partner.
“Winch,” he snarled and slapped me.
My eyes stung from the pain and I felt my chest constrict. My breathing ceased and I began gasping for breath.
My worst fear was happening – I was having an asthma attack.
I spluttered and clutched my chest.
“Wetin dey do her?” Muscular guy had regained his strength.
“I no know ooh. Abeg make we leave this woman dey go. I no wan trouble,” his companion replied.
“What? You no see as she kick me? I must to enter her this night. Commot for there. You too dull.”
I opened my mouth to scream, but only gasping sounds came out. My inhaler was in my handbag in my car and getting it now was out of the question. My panic increased and so did my attack; the pain in my chest worsened.
I felt myself being dragged farther into the bushes and I hated my powerlessness. I couldn’t fight; not in the state I was. When I was finally pushed to the ground; I knew my consciousness began leaving me; the rip in my Ankara gown sounded like it was coming from a far place. It was as though I was floating in another realm, that I wasn’t the one who was about to be raped.
I sent up one last cry for help to God as I hung between consciousness and oblivion, the only thing I heard was his laughter – a manic sound that made me wish I was dead.
ABUJA UNITY HOSPITAL, LUGBE
For rape victims, it isn’t just about the act; it’s the aftermath that drives one crazy.
The voices you hear in your head, the faces you see as you sleep, the nightmares you have, the revulsion you feel when a man touches you. Those are the things that drive you to depression and sometimes suicide.
My case wasn’t different.
The next time I opened my eyes, I found myself in a hospital. I couldn’t move; it felt as though a truck had run over my body. My limbs were heavy and I couldn’t seem to open my mouth to talk.
A face loomed over mine, it was Tade. As soon as I saw him; I remembered.
“Thank God,” he leaned over to kiss my forehead and I shrunk back.
The doctor came in and examined me. When he was done, he smiled at me;
“You’re lucky to be alive, Mrs Agboola.”
I blinked, willing myself to speak. No words came out.
“Is she going to be okay?” Tade threw me a bewildered look, “She…can she talk?”
“Mr Agboola, you have to understand that she just suffered a very traumatic experience and there are going to be side effects…”
“What are you saying, doctor?” I read the panic in my husband’s eyes.
“I’m saying, your life as you know it, is gonna be different from now. I trust your wife is a strong woman and she’ll pull through just fine. Remember she’s been drifting in and out of a coma for four weeks now. We’ll have to watch and see how she improves. In the meantime, all you can do is be there for her. Don’t try to force details out of her or anything, she’s in a delicate condition and anything you say to upset her might send her sliding back into a coma.”
I watched Tade collapse into the chair beside my bed and bury his head in his hands.
My eyes smarted with tears, my life as I knew it was over.
“It’s okay, baby. You’ll be okay.” My husband stood beside me now.
Okay! Okay? I wanted to scream. This is all your fault! If I hadn’t been rushing home to please you I won’t be here! Look what happened to me!
The words didn’t come out but the hatred filled my heart. When I looked at him, I only saw the face of my attackers – Mr Muscular.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.
All I heard was the grating voice of the muscular man as he whispered in my ears that night.
Tade took my hand and held it close to his chest and a feeling of loathing overtook me. A feeling so intense that it scared me.
Get away from me! I can’t bear to have you touch me! My mind screamed.
It was only when he said, “Baby don’t cry,” that I realised I was sobbing profusely.
My recovery was very slow and painstaking. Two weeks after regaining consciousness; I still hadn’t said a word. Because I was a doctor; I knew that it was a side effect of the trauma I’d suffered, sooner or later my voice would return.
The loss of my voice prevented me from lashing out or taking my anger out on someone; instead it built up more rage and bitterness inside me.
When our Pastor visited me, I stared back at him defiantly when he insisted on our eyes being closed so he could pray.
What did he want to pray about, I wondered? Where was God when I was being raped?
Where was He when that beast violated me? When he forced himself into me over and over again?
In fact where was He when all the bad incidents that led up to my rape had happened? Couldn’t He have prevented my flat tire or my stupid asthma attack?
Why did He even let me be asthmatic in the first place?
I felt tears prick my eyes and like a can of worms, my resentment grew for everyone around me.
I was beyond help.
It wasn’t until my eighth week in the hospital that something happened.
When Doctor Ini entered for his routine check-up that morning, I could instantly tell that something was wrong; he had that look on his face that we doctors wear when we have some not-so-good news.
My heart skipped a bit. What now? Was I dying finally? Had God decided to end my miserable suffering?
Good morning Mr and Mrs Agboola,” he greeted.
“Doctor,” my husband inclined his head in acknowledgement.
“I…ah…I’ve got some news,” he shifted uncomfortably.
“I took some tests two days ago, just routine to make sure there were no discrepancies and…uh…I discovered something,” he cleared his throat nervously.
Say it already! I willed him to speak. Whatever it is, I can take it. I’ve gone through hell and back.
“Doctor,” Tade prompted him.
“Well, your wife is pregnant”
It wasn’t until they looked at me with surprise did I realise that I’d spoken out loud.
The night was like many other nights except this time I was in bed alone. I lay in bed awake with a medical journal in front of me. The bedroom was chilly, not just because of the air conditioner but because of the overwhelming emptiness that scratched the surface.
The space beside me was gaping and seemed to accuse me of sins that I hadn’t yet committed. Since I got back from the hospital, I’d moved my things to the guest room much to the chagrin of my husband. I’d given no room for arguments, though. I had to do what I had to do to recover. Tade seemed to understand that.
I’d barely gone halfway in my book when there was a light rap on the door and before I could answer, my husband entered.
We stared at each other awkwardly. I was in my white transparent nightie which had once been Tade’s favourite because it had a way of accentuating my curves and leaving little to imagination. Previous times, I wore it because he loved it; tonight however, I’d worn it because I was alone.
As he looked at me now, I saw his eyes flicker with something I didn’t want to interpret as desire. How could he still find me attractive after all I’d been through?
Embarrassed and uncomfortable, I wrapped the blanket around my body.
He seemed to regain his composure because he asked, “You’re not asleep?”
“No,” I replied feeling the fire in my cheeks.
How could I tell him that I hadn’t been able to sleep more than two hours every night since I got home a week ago?
“Can we talk, Bukky?” I felt the bed creak as he sat down.
“Come back to our bedroom, please. It’s so strange to have you in another room.”
“I’m not ready yet, Tade. Please don’t push me.” It occurred to me that we hardly called each other pet names these days.
“Being apart doesn’t help. You haven’t said a word to me in five days.”
“Maybe because there’s nothing to say.” I almost snapped.
“There’ a lot to say Bukky. You know it. I see the way you look at me. I know you blame me, why don’t you act out? At least talk to someone about it, even if not me; then a professional.”
“Is the shrink able to take back all that happened? And you? What do you want me to tell you? How you weren’t there when I needed you? Or how insensitive you were that night? Or how helpless I was…please Tade, don’t.” The tears were threatening to flow and as he reached out to touch me, I flinched.
“Baby, don’t push me away, you’re hurting me too. Have you thought about how I feel?”
“I just want to be alone Tade. Please understand that.”
“You can’t avoid me forever. We’re married and we need to talk. This thing is tearing us apart, I’m not condemning you or blaming you for what happened…”
“Blame me? How dare you? You think I asked to be violated? Do you know how dirty I feel! I scrub my body a thousand times while taking a shower just to wash away the dirt, but you know what? I can’t. It clings to me! I still smell his dirty disgusting breath when I turn to sleep at night. I have nightmares where I’m losing my breath so fast! I don’t need a professional or even God; I just need to be alone. No one can help me now.”
My outburst was long overdue, it was just a glimpse of all the things I had on my mind.
“The world isn’t over Bukky. This isn’t the worst that could happen to us.”
I smiled wryly. “The worst is getting pregnant for that animal.”
From the look on his face, I knew I’d got him. That was what was on his mind; that’s the reason he’d wanted to talk to me.
“That’s what you want to talk about abi, Tade?” I prompted.
“Shouldn’t we talk about it?”
“What’s there to say?”
“I’m your husband. I should have a say, don’t you think?”
“You can’t keep it”
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