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Peep The Guardians Of The Seals Cover

Hi everyone.

Hope you enjoyed Yobachi.

So here’s the news. We’re done with most of the design work for my next novel, the epic fantasy Guardians of the Seals. We’re still a few months away from final release, but I absolutely love the cover. I just had to share with you guys.

You can share the image on social media using the hashtag #GTS.

Cover design by Ayomidotun (@iamAyomidotun on twitter) for Lucid Creatives.

Guardians of the Seals Cover Page

TL

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A Tailored Love Story

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 ” When something is made for you, every detail fits perfectly.”

I’ve posted fiction on this blog for 3 years but this is something  different. On  the 20th of September, God willing, I’d  be marrying this beautiful girl I met on twitter! Shes a fashion designer and definitely the one for me.

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And just like you, she came on here sometime and became a follower of the blog. Here’s sharing our little love story…

Foluso’s Story

 From Fans to friends to future partners
How we met:
I first knew of Tunde in April 2012 when my cousin had sent me a link to his blog, (They were friends from church). It was his debut online series ‘Finding Hubby’. I fell in love with his writing moreso, twas a very relatable story, but since I’m not an avid reader, I stopped going to the blog when the story ended.
Then In Dec finally, after that same cousin of mine had given me 1thousand reasons to join twitter, I found one more- I was going on there to get first hand info about my Ex. And then I found Tunde Leye, I’m like “oh the writer!”. So I started following him.
 
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 One afternoon, late April 2013, he had tweeted about bad network, hence was in an awkward position in another room in his apartment.  I replied the tweet saying that I was also in the same position in my brother’s room for the same reason. So he responded asking if I was a cousin of Tinu George’s having seen my name, I answered in the affirmative and that was how we got talking. He said immediately (as though he had been waiting for the opportunity) that he’d plan a meeting soon and within three weeks of everyday chatting, we met on May 12 at La Mango.
 
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Things I like about our meeting:
 
1. I like that I found him when I wasn’t even looking, even when he and my cousin were friends, we never got introduced and things just played out on their own.
 
2. There was ‘no long thing’. On our first date, He told me straight up he wanted something really serious. And that was well  understood cos from our chats he had identified the difference between dating and dating seriously.
 
 
The Proposal
 
It happened on the afternoon of Saturday March 15th, it was two weeks to my 30th birthday. I was home relaxing although in the midst of workmen because my mum was remodelling the house, mostly for our introduction scheduled for Easter Monday, wedding plans were in the works So I knew a proposal was coming soon but I really thought he’d make it a birthday something.
 
 
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 That’s why when he showed up, I didnt suspect anything.  Naturally we just started chatting about the introduction party. I had mentioned that I hadn’t told my friends yet since he hadn’t proposed officially and in that instance, he got up and said I should come to my studio to give him the books ( that I had borrowed from him for a shoot).
 
I was wondering ‘cos he had come many weekends after the shoot and had told him to sort out his books but he won’t listen. Well, I followed moments after and typically, I continued with what I was saying about not having told my friends since he didnt respond and seemingly covered up with books. Then he justed started laughing and I’m like what’s funny, then he goes “you’ve not told your friends about our introduction and you still don’t have a ring on your finger…awwww”, raising my hand and really laughing.
 
I moved away from him forming sulking since he was making fun of me. Then he pulled me to himself and said “oya sorry lemme sing for you”. I’m like I don’t want to hear any song, rolling my eyes in my mind-“wetin concern singing for this matter now?” He said he was serious as I sometimes ask him to sing, so I said ok. He held me close with my head on his shoulder and started singing Luther vandross’ ‘Dance with my father’ whilst stroking my hair and kissing my face, did the last verse in his own words (as written on the card) “…I would love to be your husband as long as I live. Now I’m going on my knees. ..” and it was in that moment I saw the opened box with the ring in front of me, it happened so fast I didnt know where it came from. Then he went on one knee and slid it on my finger. I was too surprised to talk.
 
 
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Things I like about the proposal
 
Even though I was expecting a more dramatic proposal knowing the kind of things he writes about, I ended up loving the way it turned out- more private and intimate.
 
 1.I like that it happened in my house and in a room which holds many memories for me. Its the same room I had cried myself to sleep many times heart broken. It’s also where I launched off my dream of fashion designing, moving from a bedroom to a fashion workshop.
 
2. I like that he honoured my late dad in his own way with the song. He asked if I knew why he chose that song and I nodded.
 
3. I like that I was truly surprised for the first time ever! Because I always figure things out somehow. Even though I knew the proposal was coming, he pulled it off when I least expected!
 
Advice:
1. When it comes to relationships, you can’t be too careful. Don’t fight it and don’t generalise. Let God take care of you.
 
2. Comparison is the killer. Don’t compare your relationship with another. Be patient and understanding.
 
3. Pray together. Possibly, set aside a day when you fast together. It works!
 
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My Story

How Finding Hubby Found Me Wifey
 
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How We Met:
I had known about Foluso for about a year before we first talked. Like destiny, different people in different areas of my life knew her closely, but we had never met.
First, her cousin Tinu was my very good friend from the church I grew up and she always talked about going to Foluso’s house regularly. I had even seen pictures of her and thought, all these fine girls sha. Take one, I didn’t listen to the nudging.
Then one of my colleagues grew up with her. I was very good friends with this colleague and I had seen Foluso on her DP a couple of times as well. Take two, I still didn’t listen.
Then I discovered she was very close friends with a friend’s cousin. We talked about her, but I still didn’t hear.
Thankfully, in spite of my non-hearing, social media brought her to me. Like a blessing in disguise, MTN’s epileptic network led me to tweet about it. She responded, and all the previous bells rang in my head. So began three weeks of chatting non-stop. By the time we met at La-Mango, I knew it was her and I asked her out. So, my writing brought me my wife.
 
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The Proposal:
I knew she was expecting it either on Vals Day or her birthday which was a little over a month after. She was working on Vals Day on a bride’s wedding dress though so we didn’t see. I had planned to do the proposal rather dramatically at a Karaoke Bar, but that didn’t quite work out. Foluso is very hard to surprise, so I decided to ensure I did. Our parents had already met and we had fixed Intro date by then so she was watching for the proposal.
That Saturday, I planned everything down to my clothes. Just tees and linen pants (so it could hide the ring in my pocket), I got to her house. Workmen were everywhere except her workshop, so I knew that was the only place I could do it. As we got talking about the intro, she began talking about how when her friends asked her about proposal, she would just look like, en, he hasn’t done it yet. Inside, I was laughing. So I would not burst out laughing there, I went into her workshop. When I called her to come and sort my books (I loaned them to her for a photoshoot) she gave me a “look” and came to the workshop still chatting away.  I couldn’t help it any longer, I burst out laughing and I could see she was getting pissed. So I asked to do a song And then I proposed.
 
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Advice:
If you see what you want, don’t dillydally; go for it.
Don’t let ghosts of the past haunt your current relationship. I’d been single from a nasty break up for 3years when we met. I didn’t allow the experience affect our relationship
Answer your DMs. NICELY
 
 
Ok so, we have played this out in our ” Tailored Love Story”…Enjoy!
  

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Foluso’s Clothes: Foluso, for Ma’am – Yours Fashionably. Twitter @ursfashionably IG @yoursfashionably

TL’s Clothes: Chris Legend

Photography: Laphy Photography.

 

Baba Risi’s Court – Osun Decides

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Baba Risi surveyed the crowd and smiled. Rosco had done a good job mobilizing and organizing this governorship debate in the biggest motor park in Osogbo. And at least, he could say all of Osun was here and he didn’t pay them a dime, unlike the politicians. No right thinking Nigerian politician would miss this kind of opportunity lailai. He wasn’t interested in all the small small candidates, he had invited only the Iyiola Omisore of the PDP and the incumbent governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of the APC. Those other ones, after the elections, if they offered them commissioner sef, they would take. But Ogbeni Rauf and Omisore wanted nothing less than governor. All those elitist debate organizers didn’t know nothing. They had not learnt from Ekiti that elections in Nigeria are not about their highly ideological grammar. See, their own debate, there was no mammoth crowd, only twitter people making noise that the people that would vote would never hear in one hotel.

Aregbesola came into the venue in convoy, waving through an open roof car in his usual style and the crowd went into frenzy until he climbed the podium. As soon as he sat down, on cue as if someone gave a signal, a single okada carrying Omisore entered the arena. Shouts of “grassroots baba, kukureyejo, akerekoro” rent the air as Omisore jumped off the bike and walked briskly to the stage.

The candidates took their seats and Rosco had fierce looking agberos maintaining law and order. They were wearing t-shirts with inscription saying “We No Be Police ooooo” so people would not get any funny ideas. Baba Risi had gotten big money for this debate and he knew he had to do it well in order to land the contract for the presidential debate in 2015.

He got up and started “this na the debate of the people, the one wey we go ask the candidates wetin concern us gangan. I know say una wan hear their mouth, so I go ask, dem go respond. If una like their answer, make una show am, and if una no like am, no hide your feelings. Awon boys dey here, so make una dey calm, no make trouble o. The boys are not smiling, dem no be police, so dem no be your friend. If you do anyhow, you go see anyhow. So the two candidates will now introduce themselves now. Since A is before P, the APC candidate na him go come first. No long thing o.”

Ogbeni Rauf stepped forward and shouted into the microphone “APC!!!!!!”

“Change!!!” came the thunderous reply.

Baba Risi stood up and spoke into his own mic “I know say APC no be your name sir, so no use this one like rally.”

A little embarrassed, the governor responded “I am Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Oranmiyan that has come back to Yorubaland, the one they wanted to cheat but God said no and brought me to the seat of power. And I don’t need to tell you the wonderful things my administration has done in Osun. We have built both on the ground infrastructure and stomach infrastructure. We are here to ask for your votes again and insha Allah, you will give it to us.”

The crowd roared and it took a few minutes for Baba Risi to calm them down.

Omisore jumped up with hands behind him until he got to the microphone and then dramatically brought out two cobs of roasted corn, took a bite from each and waved them in the air.

“I am Iyiola Omisore. I eat what I share. My philosophy is, it must go round, chop I chop. My corn is the one that grows in this soil, the normal one. Not some people that bring odourless fufu. I don’t bring imported Lagos rubbish. Osun people eat osun things. We will bring federal might here. We will free you from slavery to Lagos and Bourdillon.”

The crowd roared. Baba Risi wondered if they even knew who to support or they just roared irrespective of who spoke.

Aregbesola took his own microphone waving the fufu bag in his hand and spoke powerfully into it. “This is innovation my people. We in APC make anything the PDP has done better! Where they share raw rice, we share jollof rice. And where they share ordinary garri, we share not just fufu, but odourless fufu, because we know how much the smell of fufu bothers our people and we are a government sensitive to your needs.”

“Ogbeni, I cannot lie, if it doesn’t smell like fufu, e no be fufu” Baba Risi chipped in and the crowd seemed to murmur in agreement. He continued “My question is for the PDP candidate. Dem say you no dey respect your elders. You commot cap for late Bola Ige head. You no dey prostrate for Ooni. As a Yoruba man, this is a grievous accusation”

“Ah, you too said it earlier today now. Anybody that does anyhow will see anyhow. That is Bola Ige’s own. And as the Ooni isn’t complaining, it is nothing. He is Ikeji orisa, even me I be omo orisa. I am a son of Ife soil and the 364 gods in Ife have given me victory!”

“So wetin I talk to this crowd na wetin apply to Chief Bola Ige. I don hear. Ngbo Oga Ogbeni, this your opon imo wey the children no get light to charge and wey you dey collect from them back, na him you wan do again the second time abi another thing dey?”

“Baba Risi, it is change. That is what the APC stands for. Very soon, because of Opon Imo, Osun students will soon become smarter than all the students in all other states. Especially because we give them good food to eat in school.”

“But una no dey top ten for WAEC results now, for the records”.

“YES!” Omisore shouted “and my government will change that. We believe this APC change government is sparing the rod. So instead of wasting money on food and opon imo scams, we will give our farmers contract to produce stronger canes from our vast timber industry and train teachers in new flogging techniques. Result will change immediately and we will create employment at the same time.”

“So na by cane children dey sabi book? Una hear so, my people? Okay, oga Omisore, shebi you don go prison before and dem say you no suppose fit contest. How you come dey do am?” Baba Risi asked.

“Chief, are you okay? Is this the kind of question you want to be asking me here?” Omisore responded angrily.

“E never finish. Dem say na you kill Bola Ige. Answer that one too as we dey here. Wo, ayelala dey here so, no be court. If you lie, you go swell up till you burst.”

“En en! So this is an APC set up to rubbish me ba? I will deal with you, you this fake judge.” Omisore stammered angrily and walked up to Baba Risi. Baba Risi sat down calmly, watching to see what Omisore wanted to do. He didn’t have to wait too long. Rosco was racing towards the stage but was tackled by some mask wearing goons before he could reach there. Omisore reached for Baba Risi’s cap and took it off his head. He tried to bring the hand down to hit Baba Risi’s head with it. But even as he tried with all his might, the hand refused to come down. Omisore began sweating.

“Because I wear cloth dey stage, you think say I normal ba?” Baba Risi said with a grin. Omisore began sweating profusely as the hand got heavier.

“My people,” Baba Risi continued “all of them, them be the same. Plus corn, plus fufu, plus rice, plus iPad something, APC, PDP, all na same. Na make una shine una eye.”

 

Baba Risi’s Court – Kukuru Musicians

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Baba Risi sat in his court and surveyed the thronging crowd. Today, the court room was filled to overflowing and Rosco was making a killing at the gate. People were paying One Thousand Naira to enter. Before that day, they highest gate fees he had taken was Two Hundred Naira, after his encounter with Stella Oduah on TV. And the reasons stood in front of him now, fuming at each other. Both of them were dressed the same way.

“Which one of you is Wiski and which on is Davido?” Baba Risi asked.

“It’s your boy Wizzy! Yayi!” Wizkid said, doing the peace sign.

Trying to outdo him, Davido skipped forward and sang “It’s Davido ooo”.

Baba Risi hissed. “What is all this palapala? What is your case by the way?”

“It’s this Nigga man. He doesn’t know that twenty man shall fall that day when they cross my lane, and he just went on twitter to mouth off to me. I been in this game longer and should get R.E.S.P.E.C.T” He spelt out the last word with an attitude.

“How you wan fall twenty man. Do you have gbekude?” Baba Risi asked

“No” Wizkid responded

“Gbetugbetu nko?”

“No”

“Bante?”

“No”

“Ifunpa?”

“What tha hell is that” I ain’t got none of those crap man. I got my crew and that’s all I need to fall any man” Wizkid responded indignantly.

Baba Risi laughed. “Na these ajebuta children wey dey your back wan fall 20 men? You no get all those things and you dey make mouth. Small pikin no sabi juju, he dey call am vegetable. Ngbo, Davido, wetin be your own side?”

“This one will just be talking respect like we are in secondary school. I’m bigger than him now, and he should be bowing down, with his wack H-factor. Hugly nigga”

“You wey do head like Ninja Turtle dey call person ugly? Wondafu.” Baba Risi responded and the whole courtroom burst into laughter.

“Oh, I’m wack, but who do they catch in pictures with orisirisi (pronounced owisiwisi) low class girls?” Wizkid added.

“You these too small pikin, na abuse una come abuse unaself for here? With una tight jeans wey no go let una blokos breath. And na so two of una short, kurumbete people.”

“An an!” Wizkid and Davido chorused. “Na you dey yab us pass baba now” Davido added.

“En, me I be the judge and na my work be that. Shebi na musician una be, na by music we go know who be winner for this case. Rosco, oya set the mic!”

The courtroom spectators cheered. It was not everyday you got the opportunity of watching Davido and Wizkid perform up close in this manner.

Quickly, Rosco set up the Ahuja sound system they had rented for the occasion.

“DJ Cripple, you don ready?” he hollered at the guy on the mixer.

In response, DJ Cripple scratched and screeched on his turntable. Rosco passed a well-worn microphone to Davido. “Oya go first, Ninja Turtle.”

Immediately, Sina Rambo and B-Red jumped up from the crowd to back Davido up.

“DJ, track 2,” Davido said and as soon as the soundtrack started, he began to mime.

Baba Risi got up and shouted. “Wetin be this? This one na performance? Abeg, abeg, abeg, Cripple, off that beat. I wan hear this boy sing.”

“But…” Davido protested.

Wizkid started laughing derisively. Fuming, Davido said into the mic, “leggo!”

“All the girls dem dey dance galala…” he began.

Baba Risi jumped up and shouted for the second time in two minutes. “Off the mic! Off the mic! Abajo wey you been dey mime. Wetin you dey drink? Haba, why your voice crack like this now? Na so 9ice own start o, now we no fit hear am. Abeg make we hear Wiski jare.”

Davido was livid. He began shouting “What you saying old nigga? Nobody, I repeat nobody stops my performance. You know how many awards I’ve won this year? You know…”

“Who be nigga? I go turn you to real turtle now if you no sharrap and pass the mic”

Muna stood up in the crowd and shouted “pass the mic!” as if she had been waiting for the opportunity all day and the crowd took up the chant. Holding his head down, Davido handed the microphone over to Wizkid.

Wizkid screamed into the mic “Yaga!” and the crowd responded.

Then he started singing.

“Ogbeni, is it a must that you repeat every word like 5 times ni?” Baba Risi cut in after a few lines of booty Bombay and the likes.

“That’s the hook man, you know, the hook!” Wizkid responded.

“Hook ko, fishing rod ni. If you no get lyrics, talk jare, no dey lie on top hook. Wait now, you go see music. Rosco, you don call am?”

“Sure baba, he don land,” Rosco said as he pushed his way outside to fetch the guest. Both Wizkid and Davido waiting to see who this great musician Baba Risi had brought would be. All of a sudden, they heard over the public address.

“Suprissssssse Paso!”

The crowd responded “Paso Surpriso!”

The call came again from the voice they could now tell was Pasuma’s “Paso Surpriso!”

The crowd erupted “Surprisssssssse Paso”

Then, Pasuma raced to the front and DJ Cripple started a strong fuji beat.

Over the noise, Baba Risi asked Rosco “hope say you video everything? My friend for Alaba don dey ready to buy am and release for DVD by weekend o.”

“Sure baba, you know say I no dey miss that kain thing,” Rosco responded with a toothy smile.

As the crowd gyrated, Baba Risi watched the two young pop singers quietly slip away. He smiled and counted how much he had made from them mentally.

Behind The Headlines

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Haven’t posted fiction in a while here as I’ve been working to get Guardians of the Seals ready. But had to write this. Behind the headlines that overwhelm us daily, are people. And they hurt.

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KADUNA, NIGERIA.

Cora Pam clutched her phone in a tight grip, as if it would also up and go away from her. She fought the tears, and chastised herself for thinking the thoughts that ran riot through mind. But try as she did, she could not help it. Her husband, Yakubu, had been away for over a year in Borno State, fighting Boko Haram. Initially, she had been strong. They spoke daily over the phone and she did not miss him so. But after the telecommunications blackout on Borno was announced, the calls had become few and far between. Each time her phone rang and it was her husband’s number, she felt a mix of joy and trepidation. He risked his life for each of those calls. But he said he had to make them; they made his hardship bearable. And, even if she would not like to admit it, it filled a gnawing ache in her. “Mama, they are here,” a male voice that had just discarded the last vestiges of puberty announced. She smiled at her last child. He had his father’s eyes and easy smile. She gathered herself together to go and meet her soon-to-be in-laws, alone again. Forget the needs of the Nigerian state, Cora needed her husband more.

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One Month Later

Major Yakubu Pam was unable to sleep. His first daughter would be getting married in a week and his boss was yet to approve his leave of absence.

“Yak,” Colonel Adamu “Sherman” Shelleng had responded when he put what was is third request, “you are a senior member of this team. You know we need you now more than ever, for the morale of the men.” If Shelleng meant that to be jocular, it sounded hollow to Yakubu.

“Yes, but my family also needs me. This is my first daughter’s wedding, and I should be the one giving her away. When I’m not dead, how can someone else be giving my daughter away?”

The Colonel changed his tone. “Chief, you are an officer and you know what you signed up for. I will bring this up with the commander, but I know what his response will be already”

“Thank you sir,” Yakubu had responded and then left, seething. How could he be asking for something that was his right and be treated like this? He stood up and began to do pushups. The physical activity always calmed him down.

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Two days later, the response Yakubu had been waiting for came. “Why did you let yourself hope, foolish Yakubu!” he said to himself angrily. But as if to add insult to his injury, he had been ordered to go and perform a mop-up operation in the border town of Bama after news filtered that Boko Haram had struck in the area, killing at least 200 villagers. It irked him that they always seemed to get “intelligence” of Boko Haram attacks after the fact, whereas Boko Haram had ambushed them severally, pointing to the insurgents having prior knowledge of the army movements. It also irked him that whilst they did not have network connection to make phone calls, the Boko Haram leader was able to find enough to upload his videos on the internet. The more he thought about it, the angrier he became.

“At least you can phone them at the border today,” his deputy tried to comfort him as they moved out.

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News Headlines The Next Day

Boko Haram Insurgents Ambush Troops In Bama, Borno State, Killing 50.

Mutiny! Soldiers in Maimilari Barracks, Angered After Seeing The Bodies Of Their Comrades Returned, Shoot At Their Commander

Bomb blast kills 30 Muslims in Kaduna North

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Yakubu arrived in Kaduna in the early hours of the dusty Saturday morning. He had driven himself all the way. After the unrest in the barracks, precipitated by the disaster that their Bama mission had turned out to be, his leave had finally been approved expressly. Before the ambush on their return trip to Maiduguri, he had called his family to tell them he would not be coming for the wedding. He imagined the delightful surprise his appearance in full traditional attire would be for his wife and daughter. He went to a hotel thirty minutes from the church, and took a short nap.

He woke up like clockwork an hour later, feeling refreshed. For the first time in over a year, he took a long, hot bath, allowing the water to seep into every pore. Initially, he rushed to put his clothes on.

“You are not at the front, Yakubu. Calm down man,” he said to himself, laughing. Thirty minutes later, the Major was transformed to the agbada wearing Ngas man.

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The months at the front had heightened Yakubu’s senses. And as he approached the church now, he knew something was wrong. It was too quiet. The gates were wide open. He quickly jumped out of the car and raced up to the door as fast as his agbada would allow him. His worst nightmare lay in front of the altar.

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News Headlines The Next Day

Boko Haram Kidnaps 200girls in Chibok

Bloody Wedding: Muslim Youths Murder Guests in Kaduna Wedding

Write Right Two – Week Four Top 5 Entries

We have the results for the 3rd Week of the 4-part series by the Write Right Two top 5. View the results HERE 

Today, we post the final episodes of the series. It’s been a thrilling ride. We should have our Winner next week and then we’ll share details of the Prize Giving Event. So keep voting for your best and keep rooting for them. One of the finalists took a bow out from the competition by not sending in an entry this week. Writing is very hard work.

Pictures from the Meet, Chat and Buy Naija Books Event will be up tomorrow, so you can come and check.

TL

Write Right

THE END by OPEOLUWA OLUBODE

“I just wanted you to feel relaxed and say your last prayers. Now, you have done just that” she said to me. Before I had the chance to reply her, she pulled the trigger. The bang of the gun alone made me think I was dead.

I closed my eyes expecting to see heaven next, but then, I heard another gunshot. It was either she targeted wrongly or she actually didn’t intend to shoot me. I heard the shattering of glass next. Surprised, I looked up from my teary and blurry eyes to see about ten policemen in the auditorium and more coming in through the shattered windows.

The shot came from the police. Thank God they had finally come. The policemen rounded them all up, handcuffed them and led them to their bullet-proof van.

As Kemi was being handcuffed, she whispered to me; “You may have won this battle, but you will never win the war.” And she smiled again. Tola started laughing uncontrollably, scaring me a little.

I closed my eyes and said a prayer of thanks to God. One of the policemen placed a call to the emergency service of Lagos University Teaching Hospital requesting for an ambulance. One of the guests who happened to have been a doctor checked Simi properly and observed that her heart was still beating although very slowly. She was unconscious and had entered a coma. Dre and I were okay but the unit leader of the rapid response squad (RRS) suggested that we needed a few sessions of counselling and trauma therapy.

When the ambulance came, Dre warded off the paramedics, carried his bride up and placed her on the stretcher. The best man did the same to me. I looked into his eyes and I knew that I had found my other half. Or maybe my brain was blocked with all that had happened.

Simi was taken to LUTH. Two of the doctors that were on ground in the Accident and Emergency ward examined her and told us that the bullet had pierced through one side of her lower abdomen and had come out from the other side, it had missed the six week old pregnancy and vital organs by a few centimetres.

Dre then had to spill the beans. He had gotten her pregnant exactly six weeks after he proposed and exactly six weeks before the wedding. Although I know that they fornicated, I’ll just say God works in mysterious ways by allowing the bullet miss the baby.

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Kemi, Tola and the thugs they had hired were put in jail. My father wanted to charge them to court so he hired a top-notch prosecution lawyer who won the case even without visual evidence.  Kemi was charged to court for attempted murder and for possession of firearms, Tola was charged as an accomplice to attempted murder and possession of firearms as well.

There were three hearings in total within the space of six months. At the end of it all, Kemi was sentenced to ten years in prison while Tola and the thugs got six years each

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

When I woke up the following morning, I looked down from my window and saw so many cars in the compound. I went downstairs to find out what was wrong and when I saw the various sad faces, I knew my coming downstairs was a bad idea. The house was crowded with so many so-called sympathisers, including people that didn’t show up for the wedding. I had so many pings, direct messages and texts from friends and relations asking if I was okay and if the wedding would still hold.

One man even walked up to me and called me to a corner. I followed him thinking he wanted to tell me something important. The man then opened his mouth to say; “your brother’s bride-to-be got shot, why do you look happy?” I ran upstairs to my room as fast as I could.

I started crying as soon as I made it into my room. Why was this happening to us? Why was the very first marriage in our nuclear family ruined? Demilade (Dre’s best man) came to check on me (he came to see the both of us but seemed more concerned about me). He later drove Dre and I to one of our therapy sessions. He took me out later in the evening to get ice-cream after dropping Dre off at home.

He asked me out on the drive back home and I told him I would think about it. Guys just don’t know the right time to express their feelings, mentally I’m definitely not ready for any advances talk less of starting something. My thoughts still revolved around Simi and the events of the wedding. For some weird reason though, some part of me felt elated that he finally made it out of the friend zone.

The following morning Dre and I went to visit Simi. She had been placed on life support because she was in an induced coma. When we got there, her parents were just leaving. The nurse on duty led us to her bedside and told us that she believed Simi seemed to respond to sound. Dre sat down beside her, telling some of the sweetest words I have ever heard. He later faced reality.

“Simi, please come out of this for me. I’ve not been the same since Saturday morning. No amount of therapy can make me forget all that happened. Simi, you know I love you no matter what.”

I was by her side sobbing and getting emotional. Her fingers began to twitch slightly, Dre’s words definitely had a huge impact on her. He stood up, holding her fingers and kissed her cheeks. In the strangest fashion, all of a sudden, Simi opened her eyes, smiled, and whispered “I do!”

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

 

THE END!!! Uhm, not yet.

One year later

Here I am, the aunt of a bouncing baby boy, Oludare Junior (the way this Yoruba people like transferring names though. We’ll call him OJ for short). He’s almost five months old. Just about the way I imagined it, Mum ‘backing’ OJ, Dre is cuddling Simi on a couch and I’m on break also helping out with the baby. Demilade is with me and helping out as well. We are together now *wink*

 

Simi wedded Dare yesterday in the city of Abuja. Only our family members and a few guests were invited. Simi got to say “I do” once again, but this time, it was at the altar, in her wedding dress. OJ was with my mum at the time. The second wedding was a good one, I saw Dre dance for the first time in my life (apart from church dance of moving from left to right and clapping your hands).

 

Kemi entered her seventh month in prison last week and Tola ran mad one month after her sentence. She is presently in a psychiatric hospital. The thugs escaped from prison and the police is currently on the look-out for them.

 

Now, this is the end.

———————————————————————————————————–

ORDERED CHAOS by JEREMIAH NZERE

It took Charles all of 5 minutes to calm Tunde and Lanre down. He sat across the table from them in a fast food outlet opposite the University of Ibadan. Charles had opted for the venue as he did not want them informing Tamilore’s mother of the news of her daughter’s abduction until he had all the facts. They were understandably agitated, having never witnessed an abduction before. It took a repetition of the story and several questions before he got the complete picture.

“So, where’s the box she gave you?” Charles asked.

Tunde gladly handed the box over to him. This was too much trouble over such a small box. All he wanted was his friend and his bride back.

Charles unlocked the box, and checked the contents. He extracted a disk drive from the box and returned it to Ovie.

“What do we tell her mother?” Tunde asked.

“Anything to buy us time.” Charles replied.

“Can you hold her off till tomorrow?” He asked Tunde.

“I’ll think of something” Tunde said

“I’ll get them back.” Charles said, attempting to reassure them. If they were going to be of any use to him, they had to get their wits around them.

He held up the disk drive. “This is all I need. I’ll be off to Abuja tonight. If I can get this to the President, I would be able to get his intervention.”

Tunde asked the question they were all thinking, but no one dared voice out.

“Would they still be alive?”

“I cannot tell. But I’ll do my very best” Charles promised gravely. All his hopes lay on the President now.

******

Charles was true to his word. The very next morning, he had marched into his director’s office and presented the report. The director had taken it to the State House immediately, promising Charles that the president would look at it that morning.

That day, the president sat in his office in the State House, Abuja, head bent, and half-moon spectacles perched precariously on his nose. His face was settled into the characteristic frown that showed he was in deep thought. He had been studying the file on his table for about 45 minutes now. The SSS1 had delivered it that morning, classifying it as being of the utmost importance.  The report in his front was from a comprehensive 3-year investigative study into the Nigerian oil industry that detailed dates, places, transactions, amounts, and most incriminating, names, with photo evidences in some instances. The list of people indicted in the report could as well have been an attendance list of an inner caucus meeting of his political party, and a roll-call of the power brokers in Nigeria.

He had commissioned this report when he had been naïve of the debt he owed to those who had installed him in this office. When he had hoped he could radically transform Nigeria. All those were fanciful tales now. He filed the report in a special folder. That was the end of the matter. The report now would only be useful as leverage against those who would dare move against him in the coming election year.

That was dispensed with. He pressed the intercom and informed his ADC that he was going to leave in five minutes. He was scheduled to see his medical team again.

He picked his private phone, and spoke into it.

“I have the report. Let the boy disappear quietly. We don’t want to raise any dust.” He ended the call.

It was a necessary evil. The boy knew too much, and with the way these APC2 people were growing stronger every day, if they got this kind of information, they could summarily impeach him. Dead men don’t talk.

******

Tamilore blinked as the door opened. The first shaft of light since she had been kidnapped entered the room. Before awaking in the room, the last thing she had seen was the blazing headlamp of an oncoming vehicle. She had awoken in the dark room, and had faint memories of being interrogated, but they were fuzzy.

“Get up” a gruff voice said. A hand roughly pushed her to her feet. She was pushed half stumbling, half walking outside the room, and into a corridor. She was led down the corridor into an opening. There were about ten men, dressed in military fatigues in the enclosure, but she didn’t notice them. She saw only Ovie, for the first time since their wedding eve. He had lost weight, and was shabbily dressed, with four days growth of stubble; but he had never looked more handsome to her as he swatted the hand of the soldier who held him back from walking towards her. This was the Ovie she had fallen in love with.

“Ah the lovebirds.”  One of the soldiers said, smirking. He appeared to be in charge here.

“Put them in the wagon” He directed.

Ovie and Tamilore were blind-folded and hand-cuffed, and escorted to a waiting Tundra truck. They were bundled into the back of the truck, and it trundled out of the compound down a dirt road. As the truck rolled, Tamilore bumped into Ovie.

“I’m sorry for getting you into this.” Ovie said hoarsely.

“Shiiiish” She said.

“I’ll rather die being with you than live away from you.”

Suddenly, they were thrown forward as the truck gave a lurch and stopped.

They heard several shouts of “shun sir” and a gravelly voice ordered,

“Release them.”

Tamilore felt hands helping her down from the truck. The blindfold was released, and she looked around. She could see a body of water stretching out to her right. It could only be an ocean. Where was this? Surely, the Atlantic did not extend to Ibadan? The gravelly voice spoke again. It belonged to a clean-shaven, black man who towered over her. He inclined his head at Ovie.

“I am Major-General Ali Salem. I have been ordered by the President to release you and escort you to Aso Villa, Abuja.”

Tamilore turned to Ovie and flew into his arms. He held her, and they spoke no words. None was needed.

Charles Alidu smiled, walking away to give them privacy. He had been about to introduce himself. He had been summoned by his director to accompany the COAS3 to rescue Ovie. Everything had gone well. However, this was one more story he couldn’t share with anyone. Even if he did, no one was going to believe it. They would think it was simply an adaptation of one ill-written American action movie. He climbed onto the helicopter, waiting for the entwined couple staring at the Atlantic as the sun set in the distance.

******

2 hours before.

The President walked into the State Office. The meeting with his medical team had left him drained. He checked his watch and prayed it was not too late to right some wrongs. He picked his phone.

“General Salem, I’m issuing a counter-order with respect to Ovie Keyamo.”

“Yes sir” the general replied.

“He is to be released A.S.A.P.”

“But Mr. President,” General Salem began.

The president cut him short.

“Are you questioning a direct order?”

“No sir.”

“Good.”

He ended the call and settled slowly into his seat, like a man bearing a great burden on his shoulders, and studied the sheaf of papers in his hand.

Five minutes later, his phone rang. It was the ex-general. Things had been strained between them recently. He infused some warmth he did not feel into his voice.

“Baba, it’s a pleasure to….”

The ex-general cut him short.

“Are you out of your mind?”

The president blinked.

“Excuse me?”

“What’s this I hear about releasing the boy?”

“Yes. I made that decision.” The president said. He was getting slightly irritated, and did not feel like having this conversation.

“You have to reverse that decision. Don’t you know the implications for all of us?”

“I don’t care.” the president responded.

“You are clearly not thinking straight.”

“With all due respect Baba, I do not appreciate being insulted.” The president said, tapping his hands on the table. This old man was going too far.

“You are obviously going down, and I do not intend to drown with you. You are on your own in this.” The ex-general said. He ended the call.

The president held the phone to his ear. It appeared he was not even in charge of the armed forces. What would make a soldier question his orders, and report him, the president, to an ex-general? Wasn’t he still the commander-in-chief of this country? He was going to have to reshuffle the military brass.

He dialed Major-General Salem. He was brief, and straight to the point.

“General, you would personally retrieve that boy, Ovie Keyamo today, and bring him here. It would be your last act of service to this country.”

He clutched the sheaf of papers his medical team had given him. In the midst of all the medical jargon he couldn’t fully comprehend, he understood that he had less than 6 months to live. A neoplasm. Very rare.  Difficult to detect. He was truly going down. And just this morning, he had been planning how to win the next election. Power was truly a fickle flicker. The country was going to see a very different president for the next six months.

******

“Do you Tamilore take Ogheneovie Keyamo, to be your lawfully wedded husband? To love and to hold, in sickness and in health till death do you part?” the pastor intoned.

Tamilore could have died in that moment. Everything was so perfect.

She whispered, “I do.”

In the first row of the right aisle, silent tears streamed down Omawunmi’s face. She was sure that somewhere in heaven Rotimi was seeing this and smiling.

******

Over the next couple of weeks, a series of seemingly random events occurred. First, it was rumored that the President’s health was failing, and that he moved round with a medical team comprised of Nigeria’s best specialists. It was even said he had been secretly flown to several hospitals under the guise of attending international conferences. Then, an ex-general had a public falling out with the President, and they parted ways for a while. Next, the President retired all his service chiefs. From the outside, they appeared arbitrary, but to insiders, it was all ordered.

1. SSS-State Security Service.

2. APC-All Progressives Congress:Nigeria’s main opposition party.

3. Chief of Army Staff.

———————————————————————————————-

WEWE by IFEOLUWA WATSON

Clouds. Tufts of blue and pink cascading through the ethereal hemisphere. They rode on the hydro-horses. The farther they went, the thicker the clouds became. They came to a place of trees – tall and leafy and many-fingered branches planted in pools of clear sparkling water. Beyond, there was an endless stream of light. A mighty gust descended and flapped away with one of them.

Sade spread-eagled on the car’s bonnet, amid the shards of glass that was once the windscreen, heaved a ragged breath. It was her last. Anike’s glassy stare saw and yet could not comprehend. Her throat willed her mouth to scream but the flap of skin drooled a mixture of saliva and blood on the inflated airbag. Rotimi’s hands still gripped Wewe’s waist. He’d pulled and held her strong. Even when he’d heard, krack krack, the sound of his breaking fibula as the driver’s seat had crushed it, he’d not let go. Blood from a laceration on Yeye’s forehead trickled down her face. She ignored it. Yeye opened the door on her side and ran to the still form of her daughter. In the blinking glare of the headlights, Tanwa was a bloodied mess. Yeye yowled like a wolf.

***

They stood over her. She was placed on her side. The masked figure made an incision. He cut away the muscle and fat and tissue. Then, he nipped the ureter from the organ. The ruptured kidney went into the petri dish. The surgeon straightened and the scrub nurse dabbed sweat from his eyebrows. It had been a laborious five-hour surgery. Unuttered relief hung in the air. It was short-lived.

“Shit!”the surgeon swore as he watched the urine in the catheter bag turn a bright red.

The surgeon untied the strings of his face mask and peeled the gloves off his hands. This was the part of his job he hated the most. Facing patients’ relatives and telling them the dismal condition of the patient.  With drooping shoulders, he walked out of the operating room.

In the theatre lobby, Yeye’s thighs trembled as in a spasm. She’d stayed there all night. She looked like an Egyptian Mummy with her head swathed in a white crepe bandage. When she saw the surgeon approach, Yeye rose in expectation.

“How is she? Is my Omotanwa alive? Please tell me,” she said, gripping the surgeon’s hands.

The surgeon steadied her. “Madam, you need to be calm. Please.” Yeye nodded even though the words flew past her ears like buzzing houseflies. The blaring siren of the ambulance that had transported them to the University College Hospital resounded in Yeye’s ears. Sade had been pronounced D.O.A. Anike had suffered a partial stroke and broken ribs. Apart from his broken limb, Rotimi had appeared fit and Wewe had come out unscathed. The nurses had restrained Yeye in a bed, to stitch her forehead as she’d continued shouting her daughter’s name.  “Omotanwa mi o! Omotanwa o!”

Yeye’s mind snapped back to the present as she watched the movement of the surgeon’s lips.  “Your daughter’s kidneys were severely ruptured as a result of the impact. I removed one of the kidneys and tried to repair the other….” The doctor paused and cleared his throat.

Ehn, ehn? So, what happened?” Yeye asked, in a hysterical state.

“The repair failed. Your daughter is bleeding profusely. I will have to perform another nephrectomy.”

Nefre kini? Please speak in clear terms, doctor.”

The surgeon told Yeye they will have to remove Tanwa’s second kidney. Since she could not live without a kidney, Tanwa needed a donor in the next 48 hours.

48 hours! Yeye fell back into her seat with a squishy sound. Everyone knew about the long list of renal patients awaiting transplants. Tanwa would have become a skeleton by the time her name reached the top of the list.

“It would be best to get a family member to volunteer,” the doctor advised and walked away, to the observation room.

Yeye would have gladly given Tanwa her kidney but she could not be a match. She had the selfish AB blood type that could receive from all but only donate to its like. The surgeon had mentioned relatives. Yeye’s mind drifted to her co-wives and Tanwa’s half siblings. They would laugh her to scorn if she dared step into their compound. When her husband had died, Yeye had moved out of the family house and left the other wives to squabble over the properties. As always, when problems surfaced, Yeye depended on her wealth. Who would sell their kidney to her?

***

She lay on the couch in the sparsely furnished room. Her eyes were glazed and half-closed. He sat on a chair at the head of the couch. He told her to think of water – gushing from a tap or gliding down a rock. “The water is falling on you. Is it hot or cold?”

Wewe answered, “The water is very hot. He poured it on me. He said bad girls get burned.”

“Did he touch your burned skin?”

Wewe’s face contorted. She chattered gibberish and let out indiscernible grunts and growls. Then, she was limp. She told him of the many men that had come morning and afternoon and night. How they had forced her on her knees between their legs and the look of pleasure on the men’s faces and the disgust she felt. She began to weep.

“I was just a little girl. He called me a bitch! A-good-for-nothing piece of crap! Yes! He said he’d picked me from the dunghill. I was lucky he’d kept me!”

Wewe laughed. She croaked like a frog as she repeated, lucky, lucky.  The psychiatrist pushed his spectacles higher on the bridge of his nose. He waited for her distress to pass. When she was still again, he continued.

“Do you like your skin?”

Wewe shook her head. She did not say the words. So, he repeated the question. She erupted into a long flow of words.

“I hate my skin. I want to remove it. He took me to that red-lighted hall every Friday and Saturday night. They told me and the other ladies to remove our clothes. We danced and danced and danced until our feet ached. Some of the men wanted more and we took them behind the curtain for the VIP treatment.”

The rain of words halted. The psychiatrist waited.

She resumed. “One night, I removed my clothes and pulled at my skin. A thousand pins pricked at it. I pulled and pulled but it would not come off. I ran out. I kept running across the valleys and thick bushes and over many rivers…until I found home.”

“Where is home?” he asked.

A smile played at the corners of her mouth. “Home is where the man with the blue halo over his head is. He is mine and I am his. We belong together.”

The psychiatrist was confused. He knew the blue-halo-man and the wicked man could not be the same.  He looked at the clock on the wall. It had been an hour. He moved to the final step.

“You can remove your skin now. You’ve become a new person. You’re free from the pain of your past. Step away from that dark shadow.”

Wewe whimpered and wiggled on the couch. Then, she was calm.

“What is your name?”the psychiatrist asked.

“Wewe,” she replied and came out of the hypnosis.

Wewe sat up on the couch. She looked around the room. She ran her fingers through her matted hair. “Who are you? What am I doing here?” she asked. The voice in her head had gone silent.

The psychiatrist smiled in satisfaction. This was yet another patient he’d treated successfully with the controversial procedure of hypnosis. Some of his psychiatric colleagues had labelled him an unorthodox therapist and others called him, a magician.

After the accident, the doctor at the Moniks Private Hospital had sent the critical cases to UCH. He’d admitted Rotimi at his hospital and sent Wewe to the mental hospital since she had no injuries.

A nurse came into the room. She took Wewe by the hand and led her to the bathroom. There, she washed the caked grime off her skin. They cut the matted dreadlocks and cool breeze caressed her scalp.

In the psychiatrist office, his mobile phone rang and vibrated on the table. It was the doctor at the Moniks Private Hospital calling.

“Hello ore, I have another case for you here o.”

The psychiatrist beamed. The Moniks doctor had been his classmate in medical school. He was one of the few who still reckoned with him.

“You know I appreciate your referrals anyday. I just finished with the lady.”

“Ok. Thanks. They will soon arrive at your hospital.”

Rotimi’s leg was cast in a POP. He was wheeled into the mental hospital. Immediately, he began to twist on the wheelchair; turning this way and that way. “Where is she? Where have they hidden her?”He asked. She entered the room in a loose-fitting white gown. Time stopped ticking as they beheld each other. Wewe ran to him. She knelt before him and they wrapped their arms around one another. The orderly watched open-mouthed. The distressed man he’d wheeled into the mental hospital had been replaced by this tranquil being.

The psychiatrist watched the pair. Now, he knew who the blue-halo-man was. He walked back into his office. The new patient had all he needed to be well with him.

***

Yeye had been on the phone all day. Now, in frustration she swiped her fingers hard across the phone’s screen.

“Don’t tell me you’ve not found someone yet! Dondee! I gave you just a simple assignment.” The man on the line stammered. He was Yeye’s right-hand man.

“Madam, I’m trying…bu-t you know it’s someone’s body part we talking of….”

Yeye cut in. “So? Won’t people do anything for money? I have raised the offer to ten million naira! Find a donor before morning!”

As she turned in the direction of the ICU where Tanwa had been admitted, she saw the pair. They were moving towards the adjacent orthopaedic ward. Rotimi hopped on crutches and Wewe walked by his side. Yeye rushed to meet them. She stopped in her tracks like a zombie when she encountered the transformed Wewe.

Yeye picked her jaw off the floor. She spread her palms open. “Rotimi it’s so good you are here. Please, I need your help. I know you loved her once. I know you won’t want her to die. Please, Tanwa needs a kidney from you. Please,” Yeye pleaded, as she dropped on her knees before him.

Rotimi shifted uncomfortably on his good foot. “Stand up, stand up! Don’t kneel before me,” Rotimi said. Yeye quickly got on her feet, relief dancing in her eyes. She looked at him full of hope.

“So, will you follow me to the surgeon now? To have you matched?”

Rotimi waggled his head. Yeye went over the top. She popped full blast like a champagne cork. “No! You will give your kidney! You will donate it! You will!” she screamed. Wewe stood in front of Rotimi warding Yeye off. Yeye stopped her rant for a moment and stared at her.

“You’re my daughter! You’ve to save your sister! Please!” Yeye’s words poured forth as if hot yam scalded her tongue. She told Wewe of the nine months of carrying her in her womb. She told her of the heart-wrenching pain she’d felt for many years whenever she remembered. Then, she began to weep. “I’m sorry I threw you away. I was young and stupid and scared. Please, forgive me.”

Yeye was on her knees again. She wrapped her arms around Wewe’s legs. Wewe looked at her – long and hard. Then, Wewe pushed her away.

“I have no mother or kin.”

They left Yeye sitting smack on the concrete floor. Passers-by turned to watch the disarrayed picture she painted.

***

She limped from the wardrobe to the bed with her clothes. On her second trip to the wardrobe, she caught her reflection in the mirror. She began to sob. The left side of her face was a canvas of keloids. For the past three months, she’d barely stepped out of the house. When she went for check-ups at the hospital, people stared. Tanwa could not stand it anymore. She’d resolved to leave.

Yeye entered her room and her eyes took it all in. “Omotanwa, what are you doing? Why are you packing your clothes? Ehn?”

Tanwa looked at her mother in disgust. This was the woman that had made her to suffer for sins she had not committed.  “I’m going to the UK. I will never return. I’m leaving you to your bad luck and wickedness,” Tanwa spat, between gritted teeth.

Bile rose to Tanwa’s chest and threatened to spill into her mouth, whenever thoughts of Rotimi and Wewe entered her mind. Tanwa was grateful to Wewe. She’d saved her life. But she could not just stand the thought of her love with another. Wewe had sought the surgeon out herself. She’d been a perfect match. It was not until the kidney was inside Tanwa, that Yeye had known its owner.

Yeye had begged the surgeon to allow a paternity test be conducted from the tissues and blood they had taken from Wewe. Yeye was not surprised with the results. It showed a 99.9% probability of Wewe being her offspring.

Yeye dragged the packed bags and tried to open the zipper. “You’re not going anywhere! You’re my one and my only. Please, don’t leave me,” she begged. Tanwa’s determination was unrelenting. She looked out of the window until she saw him enter through the gates. The driver from the travelling agency had arrived to pick her. Tanwa tried to drag one of the bags along with her. She winced as the added weight bore down on her bad leg – another aftermath from the accident.

Yeye gripped Tanwa’s arm. The intense glare and the deep-seated hatred in her daughter’s eyes caused Yeye to let go as if she’d been scorched. She watched helplessly as the driver came upstairs and carried the bags. She moved to the porch, robot-like and gazed until the car faded into the distance.

***

They sat in the armchair, closely like two turtledoves. They paid no attention to the movie showing on the television. Their eyes were on each other. They basked in the euphoria of their love. Anike hobbled past them, her limp left foot, flopping pa, pa, pa on the tiles. She tried to ignore the couple but they were everywhere she turned to – in the bathroom, they giggled under the shower, splashing water and having a soap fight; in the kitchen they washed plates, one washing and the other rinsing and on the dining table they fed each other, already sated with their love. Rotimi and Wewe had become a fixture in the house.

There was a knock at the door and the housemaid went to check who it was. Yeye walked quietly into the sitting room. The eyes of the two women met – Yeye, docile and Anike, fierce.

“Wha-t a-re you do-ing he-re?” Anike struggled to speak, as a spray of spittle lined her chin. The partial stroke had affected her speech and her mouth was curved to a side.

Yeye sighed. “I came to greet you and my children.”

Anike’s crooked lips make an effort to pucker. She burst into a hoarse laughter. “Me a-nd yo-ur child-ren? Yo-u can’t ki-ll this re-main-ing one,” she sputtered, pointing at Rotimi who was in a world of his own with Wewe.

Yeye entreated her. She spoke of her empty house. How the silent walls echoed her name at night; how her heart palpitated and how she’d murdered sleep. The last time they had seen each other was at the registry. Rotimi and Wewe had been wedded in a quiet ceremony.  The psychiatrist had warned Anike not to try and separate the two. “They are soul mates. It cannot be explained rationally. Take them apart and you risk a relapse of their condition.”

Anike was embittered. Sade’s photographs on the walls were a constant reminder of her pain. Anike blamed Yeye for her woes. Yeye felt she’d lost more – her two daughters lived but they had neglected her.

Silence prevailed in the room. Wewe took no notice of her mother. Yeye rose heavily to her feet. She left the house, alone – bereft in body and spirit.

Wewe, the name no one knew its origin had come to stay. Her real name enshrouded in her painful past, remained a mystery. She’d refused to remember.

Outside the house, the moon sat resplendent in the sky. Wewe and Rotimi chased each other in glee. The lovers played hide and seek in between the exotic cars – the Chevrolets and Jaguars and Toyotas. In unison, they howled at the old woman in the yellow orbit.

—————————————————————————————

FATE’S STORE by MIRACLE ADEBAYO

Fibroid. That’s what Doctor Ini said it was.  It was hard to believe that the baby I had thought was growing in my stomach wasn’t a baby after all.

I was sick. How was that possible? There was no history of fibroid in my family. Tade jostled me to the hospital as quickly and silently as possible. His actions were strange; but I read nothing into it. He’d just found out that his wife had lied to him for years. I didn’t expect easy forgiveness. But I also didn’t expect the silent treatment he was giving me.

My operation was scheduled for Tuesday. Doctor Ini had insisted that I be admitted as soon as possible. He wanted to get things over with quickly.

Although I was a bit relieved that I wasn’t carrying the bastard’s child inside me, I couldn’t help mourning the loss. For a moment, I’d thought that God had decided to let me enjoy the ecstasy of carrying a baby again. But of course that wasn’t to be.

Fibroid. The thought sent fear running through my heart. Why did I have to have an anomaly? Why did things like this happen to me?

“Tade, talk to me…please,” he had avoided looking at me for two days. “I’m about to enter the theatre. Please just forgive me.”

I watched him take my hand in his and stroke it gently. “Sometimes, we have to do what is best for ourselves and our family. I understand that.  Perhaps, if I was in the same position, I’d have done the same thing.”

A beam of hope squeezed into my heart. Could that be forgiveness I sensed? I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

“So what are you saying?” I asked, tentative.

“I’m saying, concentrate on your surgery. I need you back alive and then we can talk.”

I nodded. Dr. Ini came in, looking set for the procedure.

“We’re ready. Are you?” He asked.

“You’re doing it alone?” I wondered.

“Fibroid isn’t such a big deal,” he glanced at Tade and an inexplicable look passed between them.

“Still, you need nurses to assist you,” I persisted.

“And there will be. Listen, you’re in good hands Bukky. Just try to relax. When next you wake up, you’ll be a whole lot healthier.”

There was something bizarre about the whole thing but I couldn’t seem to put my finger on it. Perhaps I was just nervous about the surgery. It’d been a while I’d gone through surgery of any kind. I was used to being the doctor and not the patient.

“Okay, let’s go.” Doctor Ini signalled the nurses to wheel me inside the theatre.

“Tade, I’m sorry.” I clung to my husband’s hand like a lifeline.

“So am I,” slowly he bent to kiss me. And this time I wasn’t repulsed.

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

I was drowning in something.  It wasn’t water. It was red.

Blood.

I opened my mouth to scream. Instead my lungs began to fill.

Then I heard a voice. Her voice.

Mummy!

My baby; Laide!

I flailed around in the pool of blood looking for her.

Mummy!

The voice seemed to come from somewhere within me.

Laide! Baby! I’m sorry. I struggled to say. The blood seemed to be covering my head.

I was drowning. Really drowning.

I shut my eyes. I’d failed my daughter.

And suddenly I felt like I was flying. A hand lifted me ever so gently and place me on dry land.

I opened my eyes.

I was in the hospital. Alone. I knew then that the surgery was over.

I felt the sharp pain in my abdomen as I tried to sit up. That was when I saw the blood.

It had stained the hospital sheets and my clothes.

I tried to think if one lost a lot of blood to fibroid. I couldn’t remember. Was bleeding like this, normal?

I climbed down gently form the bed, ignoring the searing pain in my abdomen.

Clutching the wall for support, I made my way out of the  hospital room and into the hallway. I needed to find Dr. Ini to tell him I was still bleeding. I didn’t take notice of the people who stared at me as I walked down the hallway; a woman stained with blood.

Where was Dr. Ini’s office again?

Ah! There it was.

As I made to knock on the door, I heard a familiar voice from within.

“She’s still bleeding and it’s the third day. How long are you going to keep her sedated?”

It was my husband’s voice.

“Until the bleeding stops. I don’t want her to wake up and suspect anything. She’s a doctor too and she’ll know immediately that such a surgery shouldn’t require much loss of blood.”

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing, Doc? I don’t want to lose my wife.”

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing? Arranging an abortion without her knowledge! I’m not the one at fault here.”

“I did it for her. For us. She couldn’t have that baby.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Before I could summon the courage to confront them. I saw the ground rising to meet me.

I blacked out.

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

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes, was a face that looked so much like mine. I inhaled sharply for a moment, shut my eyes and opened them again for a clearer view. The face remained there, hovering over mine.

“Hi mum.”

I had forgotten how much she looked like me. The last time I had seen her had been a year ago, at my grandpa’s burial. Seeing her now, sent a myriad of emotions washing over me. Suddenly my guilt kicked in and lay on my shoulders heavily. I’d deprived this girl a normal life with me for fourteen years.

I began sobbing. For all the mistakes I’d made and the people I’d hurt in a bid to keep my secret.

I felt no comforting hand reach out to touch me. It dawned on me I was more alone than ever.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered as I wiped my eyes.

“Uncle Tade said I should let you know that he went to the market to get some things,” she was avoiding my eyes. In the fourteen years she’d been on earth, I’d never acknowledged her as mine in public. She was always hidden away to protect my image. The gifts I sent across to her were not enough to appease for my absence or scarcity in her life.

As she mentioned my husband’s name, I suddenly recalled what had happened. How Tade had conspired and deceived me and taken away the baby.

I tried to sit up but was too weak to. I fell back against the bed. I was now in familiar surroundings; somehow I’d been discharged and brought home.

“Come and sit beside me, Laide.” I tapped the bed softly, suddenly craving to be with my only offspring.

She hesitated.

At fourteen she was developing nicely. Her pint sized breasts stuck out admirably on her chest and her trouser hugged her bum, showing off the little curves that were being formed. Her hair was braided into cornrows, just like mine had been when I was her age.

“Please dear,” I urged.

She came, sitting tentatively at the edge of the bed.

“When did you come?” I asked, “Who sent for you?”

“You want me to go back?” A look of panic crept into her eyes.

I took her hand in mine, “Laide, you’re never leaving my side again. I want us to catch up on all the years we’ve missed out.”

“Why now? You never wanted me in your life before.”

The bitterness echoed in her voice almost brought tears to my eyes.

“A lot of things have happened, my dear. I was wrong to keep you away from me. But I hope you know I love you?”

She didn’t answer. I had never said that to her in all her life. It had never seemed appropriate then. She’d always been the unwanted child. Loving her hadn’t been easy, it was a gradual process.

“I love you Laide. I’m sorry I didn’t let you know sooner. I’ve made a lot of mistakes but keeping you away is the worst thing I’ve done yet.”

“What about my father?”

I blinked. I had expected anything but that. “I don’t know where he is. I haven’t spoken to him since I left school fifteen years ago.”

That was a lie. I had seen him once at the former hospital I worked in. He had brought in his wife to have her baby. I didn’t bother acknowledging him and neither did he. Laide and I were better off without him.

“Did you love him?” She was blunt, staring at me with those accusing eyes.

“I won’t lie to you. No I didn’t. What we did was wrong. But I don’t regret having you.”

There was no need telling her that she was the product of my first rape experience.

Just then the door opened and Tade came in, cradling grocery bags. His eyes took in the scene before him.

“Uncle welcome. Let me take it to the kitchen,” Laide scrambled to her feet and relieved my husband of his bags.

“You’re awake,” he came toward me, a tad nervous.

“How could you?” my eyes sprang to life.

“Let me explain.”

“What’s there to say?”

“I did it for us.”

“You did it for you! Don’t you dare lie to me!”

“That child would have had the worst life if he’d survived.”

“It wasn’t your decision to make! You’re a liar and a murderer. You killed my baby!”

I was getting hysterical. Images of the night of the rape flashed through my head.

“Calm down, Bukky,” he was standing so close to me now.

“Don’t touch me you murderer!               Stay away from me!” I was falling apart and could do nothing about it. As his face loomed over mine, I watched it transform to that of my rapist. The snarl on his face as he came towards me was too much to bear.

I screamed.

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

TEN WEEKS LATER

“Thanks for joining us today Laide.” Dr M, my therapist smiled at my daughter as she shook her hand.

“I enjoyed it. I didn’t know I will,” Laide blushed.

“So do we expect you next week?”

“One step  at a time, doc.” I stepped in, I didn’t want Laide feeling pressured.

“Actually I’d love to come.” She turned to me. “On one condition, though.”

I cocked my head.

“You know how Dr M has been asking you to let Uncle Tade come? Please, let him come next week.”

I sighed.

It was a month since I separated from my husband. There were too many lies between us and we’d hurt ourselves too much to return to the normal life we lived, so I’d opted out. We both needed space and time to figure out what next to do in our marriage.

Since I’d started seeing my therapist, she’d hinted at asking Tade to one of our sessions, saying that it could help our marriage. I’d turned the idea down every time. I wasn’t sure there was anything to talk about between us.

Meanwhile Laide and I were staying with a friend of mine until I could figure out what next to do with my life. Within one month I had come to bond with my daughter in a way I hadn’t known was possible. She wasn’t perfect and was sometimes too strong willed for my liking. Like now, from the look in her eyes, I knew she won’t give up until I agreed to let Tade come to one of our sessions.

“Please Mum,” she blinked.

“I don’t know Laide. It’s too early. I just…”

“Okay then, not next week. Two weeks’ time. Doc, is that okay?”

“Perfect.” Dr M beamed at us.

“Well then, we’ll see how it goes.” I conceded.

“No mum. Promise. Promise you’ll invite him to the session in two weeks.”

Strong-willed girl, like I said.

“Why does it matter?” I asked.

“Because…he’s the only father I might ever have.”

Her words hit me straight in the heart. I’d never given thought to the fact that my daughter needed a father figure in her life.

“Okay then, I promise.”

The hug she gave me was the best reward I could’ve asked for.

THE END

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