Category Archives: Short Stories

A chance to live

“Mummy, let us run away.” Chiamaka cried as she held on to her mother’s legs.

Even though she was just six years old, she was tired of the situation she and her mother found themselves in. The past twelve months had been traumatic for both of them. “Mummy.” Chiamaka said as she shook her mother.

*****

Kelechi rang the doorbell. Tope rushed to open the door and smiled. “Welcome darling.” She said as she hugged him. Kelechi refused to hug her back and she stepped back to look at him. “Is something wrong?”

Kelechi ignored her as he walked into the living room of their two bedroom flat and slumped into the couch. Tope looked on as she wondered what the problem could be. She walked into the living room and sat beside her husband. “Kelechi, what is the problem?” She asked.

“Please just leave me alone.”

“Ah…ah, Kelechi. How can I leave you alone when you are looking this way? Tell me please. Did something happen in the office?”

“Woman, I said leave me alone.” Kelechi snapped.

“Okay, okay.” Tope said standing up. “Are you ready to eat now?”

Kelechi nodded a response.

Tope dished the food and put it on the table. She called her husband to have his meal and left to clean up the kitchen.

*****

The next day, Tope woke up at 6:00a.m as usual. She had her bath, woke her daughter, Chiamaka and got her prepared for school. At 7:00a.m, Chiamaka asked her mum. “Where is daddy? He hasn’t come out of the room. Isn’t he taking me to school today?”

Tope looked at the clock on the wall. Kelechi should have been out of the room by now, dressed for work and ready to drop their daughter off at school on the way to his office.

She went back into the bedroom and saw Kelechi still sleeping. She sat on the bed and tapped him. “Darling, you are late for work and Chiamaka is almost ready for school.”

“I am not going to work today.” Kelechi said as he turned his back to her.

“But you did not tell me you are going on leave. We always planned for it together for Chiamaka’s school vacation period.”

Kelechi turned to look at Tope. “Look Tope, can you please leave me alone?”

Tope’s jaw dropped as she looked at her husband. “What is going on?” She thought. She took a deep breath. “Your daughter is ready for school.”

“I am not taking her to school today.”

“Kelechi, what is the meaning of all this? I have been asking you since yesterday what the problem is and you have refused to say anything?”

Kelechi stood up from the bed all of a sudden. “You want to know, abi? I have been sacked. Sacked, do you hear me? Sacked?”

*****

The next twelve months, Tope had done her best to take care of the family. She paid their daughter’s school fees, provided for the home and made sure they lacked nothing. She was a school teacher in a private secondary school. Her salary was not fantastic but she managed whatever she received and prayed that Kelechi would get another job to relieve her of the financial strain.

Kelechi went out every evening and came back home drunk. Initially, Tope complained and each time she did, she got beaten. She was reminded that the fact that she took care of the home did not make her the head of the house. When Tope got tired of being beaten, she stopped complaining. She left the door unlocked every evening for Kelechi to come in whenever he decided to.

*****

Tope had been so tired when she got back from work that she forgot to leave the door unlocked. Kelechi rang the bell so many times before Tope opened it. As she did, dozens of slaps landed on her face.

“So you have the guts to lock me outside now, ehn?” Kelechi shouted breathlessly as he continued to pummel her face.

Tope screamed but the more she struggled, the more kicks and slaps she got. When Kelechi was done, he walked into their bedroom breathing hard and slumped on the bed. In a few minutes, he began to snore loudly.

Tope sat on the floor as she cried. She was tired of getting beaten every time. Everything she did or said was used against her. She thought of leaving but what would people say. What would her friends say? What would her family say? What would her church members say? All these questions bothered her.

She crawled into her daughter’s bed and folded into a foetal position as she cried to sleep. Chiamaka woke up at about 6:00am and saw her mother lying beside her. There were bruises all over her face and body. Chiamaka burst into tears.

“Mummy, wake up and let us run away.” Chiamaka said as she tapped her mother. “Mummy, wake up.” She cried.

Chiamaka stood up from her bed and opened the door of her room. She could hear her father snoring loudly from the bedroom opposite hers. She walked to the main door and opened it. She stepped out and banged on the door of the flat opposite theirs.

 

Kola walked to the door groggily. He opened the door and was shocked to see Chiamaka standing before him. She was still in her “Dora the explorer” pyjamas. Kola bent down and looked at her. “Chiamaka, what are you doing outside at this time of the morning? Where is your mummy and why are you crying?”

Chiamaka wiped her cheeks with her hands. “I have been waking my mummy up so that we can run away but she is not answering me.”

Kola took a deep breath. He understood what Chiamaka was talking about. He had talked to Kelechi once about it but Kelechi had told him to mind his business. He even told him that his inability to mind his business was the reason why he was still single.

“Let us go and see your mummy.” Kola said as he held Chiamaka’s hands.

Chiamaka led him into the house and into her room. Kola was shocked when he saw Tope. He lifted her up and carried her out of the house. He placed her gently in the backseat of his car while Chiamaka eased in and sat beside her mother.

“Are you taking us far away from this house?” Chiamaka asked Kola as he eased into the car.

“Chi, your mother needs to see a doctor first.”

“Okay sir. But we don’t want to come back here and I don’t want my daddy to know where we are.”

Kola sighed. “Okay Chi.”

 

A week later, Tope was discharged from the hospital. Kola took her straight to her parents house. Her parents welcomed her back with open arms. They hugged Chiamaka with tears in their eyes. They were grateful to her for saving their daughter’s life.

——-
Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com

Close shave

Adetutu looked at the clock on her dashboard. It read 9:30p.m. The cars before her slowed down and red tail lights flashed all the way down. She sighed.  She wasn’t expecting traffic on the bridge at this time of the night. She was tired and hungry. What she really longed for right now was to zap into her bed; clothes and all. She was not even sure her mouth could do the job of chewing anything.

She was in this state of lethargy when she noticed strange movements around her. Two young men were walking in between the car lanes; one on her right and another on her far left; two lanes away from her. The one on her right was walking up the bridge while the other moved swiftly in between lanes towards her rear.

Adetutu looked around her and considered it unusual. There were hawkers milling around but these men were not carrying anything to signify that they were hawking. The man on her right went to the car adjacent hers and knocked on the driver’s window. Adetutu’s senses awoke and she immediately tapped her central lock. It was quite dark and she was not sure whether she actually saw a pistol pointed at the driver in the red Toyota Carina ahead or not. The driver’s window was wound down and Adetutu saw a shaky hand with a mobile phone in it. There was a ring with a massive stone on one of the fingers and it glistered in the dark. Adetutu reckoned the driver had to be a woman.

The driver of the Toyota Carina handed over her phone to the man. Adetutu looked to her right. There was a black Toyota Highlander beside her. She saw that a man was behind the wheels. This was happening right in front of him and he wasn’t making any attempt to stop the robbery. Adetutu noticed he was even trying to maneuver his way to the right. She wished she was behind the Toyota Carina because she would have bumped into the car intentionally. She wasn’t sure if the car in front of her was driven by a man or a woman but whoever was behind the wheels was also trying to divert to the left. Was this how everyone was going to leave the lady to her fate? She thought.

The movement of cars trying to save themselves opened up traffic a bit. Adetutu noticed that the lady in the Toyota Carina was about to hand over her handbag to the thief. She slammed on her accelerator and diverted to her right. She hit the Toyota Highlander from the rear and headed straight for the Toyota Carina. The thief saw her too late. Adetutu brushed the Toyota Carina, careful not to cause too much damage before diverting back to the left and speeding off.

She looked in her rear-view mirror and saw the man in the Toyota Highlander getting out of his car. She also noticed that passersby had gathered and were looking at the ground while someone was handing over a handbag back to the woman in the Toyota Carina.

As she sped away, she took a deep breath and hoped she had saved the day.

——
Photo Credit: http://www.ewnews.com

Death wish

The aroma of Tolu’s food wafted out of her kitchen into the nostrils of the other students in the block. It was a block of six flats occupied by students of the University of Lagos. While some students stayed on campus, some preferred to have a home away from home. They rented apartments outside which were close to the school campus.

Tolu heard the knock on her door as she prepared to settle down to consume the bowl of semovita and ilá àsèpò that she had just cooked. She knew who was at the door. There was no need asking. She ignored the knocks.

As she put each chunk of semo into her mouth, the intensity of the knocks increased. She got upset and walked to the kitchen to wash her hands. The persistent knocking continued as she strolled towards the door and opened it.

“Haba Tolu, why didn’t you open the door on time nau?” Feyi asked as her eyes searched round the room like a thief looking for something to steal.

“Ahn…ahn, so you are eating without me now? No wonder.” Feyi continued as she walked to the kitchen, washed her hands and settled down before the bowl of food. She dipped her hand in and began to cut the semo in large chunks, swallowing them in quick succession.

Tolu looked at her without a word.

 

The next day, Tolu walked into Feyi’s flat without knocking. She knew the door was always open during the day.  It was locked only at night. Tolu cleared her throat to announce her presence. Feyi, who was lying down on the floor reading a novel looked up.

“Wassup?” Feyi asked as she dropped her novel on the floor.

“Nothing much. I came to pick up a few things.” Tolu said as she walked towards the kitchen.

“Ehen! You did not keep anything here.” Feyi replied as she stood up and followed Tolu.

Tolu had come with three big polythene bags. She opened the kitchen cabinet and started to empty everything she saw into the polythene bags. Garri, rice, beans, spaghetti, curry, thyme, maggi etc.

“Ahn…ahn…what are you doing nau?” Feyi shouted.

“I am packing the foodstuff we would need for the month.”

“What is the meaning of this?”

Tolu stopped and looked at her. “Pick one. I pack the foodstuffs we would need and you can continue coming to eat your lunch in my place or I poison the meal, so you can die and leave me in peace.”

Feyi’s jaw dropped. “Haba! It hasn’t come to this nau. You should have just told me that you don’t need my company during lunch.”

Tolu burst out into hysterical laughter.

“What is funny? Please just drop my foodstuffs. I won’t come to your flat again.”

“No ma. This is to replace everything you have eaten in the last one month. You can decide not to come again from today.” Tolu said as she began to walk towards the door.

Feyi stood in front of the door and tried to stop her from going out.

“Feyi, don’t try me. You know me from way back in secondary school and you know that I can redesign your face if I get upset.”

Feyi frowned as she moved away from the door. Tolu was known as “mama fighter” in secondary school. Feyi watched helplessly as Tolu strolled out of her apartment with all the foodstuff in her kitchen cabinet in the polythene bags.

As Feyi locked the door to her flat, she decided she did not want to die yet. It was better to stay away than get poisoned.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.familydoctor.org

The Choice of Freedom

Bisola looked at her husband of thirteen years with confusion clearly written on her face. “Was he serious about what he just said?” She thought. “Where had she missed it?” “Was this a result of something going on that she had been blind to?” So many questions that begged for answers.

Ikechukwu walked out of the house and slammed the door behind him. Bisola looked on unable to stop him. Her husband’s statements had torn her and she wondered what she was supposed to do.

******

Ten years ago, Ikechukwu and Bisola had a registry wedding followed by a small reception for close family and friends. It was an agreement between both of them to cut out the unnecessary expenses associated with large weddings and save for their future and that of their kids. They had both prevailed on both families to agree to their decision. It had been difficult for Ikechukwu’s family to accept as he was the first son of the family but he had been adamant. His family insinuated that Bisola was the one manipulating  him do a small wedding. He however explained to them that Bisola’s father also wanted a large wedding but after consultations, her father had agreed to what he proposed. He therefore, told them if his proposed father-in-law could agree; they had no choice but to consent as well.

Ikechukwu worked as a top executive in a commercial bank while Bisola was a sales executive in a pharmaceutical company. In four years, Bisola gave birth to three boys in quick succession. Ikechukwu asked her to take a break from work so that she could give their kids undivided attention. He said he did not like the idea of maids taking care of his kids. Bisola agreed and resigned her job to take care of the home.

However, Bisola knew that she couldn’t sit at home and do nothing while tending to her kids. She therefore, wrote professional exams and acquired entrepreneurial skills. She started bead-making from the money she had saved over time and soon, she became sought after by all and sundry because of her penchant for durable products.

 

Everything was going well for the family of five until last year when Ikechukwu lost his job at the bank as a result of a mass restructuring programme. Ikechukwu became depressed. Bisola tried to cheer her husband up by asking him to invest their joint savings in a business. Bisola advised that they invest in a poultry business which would bring steady income but Ikechukwu wanted more. He couldn’t wait for a gradual increase in their profits. This caused a friction between them as Bisola was skeptical about the business he wanted to invest in.

 

After many weeks of friction in their marriage, Bisola agreed reluctantly and signed the cheque authorizing Ikechukwu to withdraw eighty percent of their savings. In four weeks, Ikechukwu realized he had been scammed and their whole savings of about ten years went down the drain. Bisola was devastated. Their last son had just gained admission into the secondary school. Their upkeep at home had been solely from her bead-making business which had expanded over time.

 

Just when everything seemed to be going downhill, Bisola received a call from an old friend. Her friend told her that a marketing manager was needed in her organization. The company was a pharmaceutical company of repute and she asked Bisola to forward her CV to her. Bisola immediately brushed up her CV and sent it to her friend by email. She hoped and prayed for the much needed break.

Two weeks later, Bisola was invited for an interview and in a month, she received a letter of appointment with a decent salary and an official car. She got home to share the good news with her husband. She had intimated him about the call and had carried him along but she noticed he had been indifferent.

 

Bisola looked at the letter of appointment opened on her laptop. Ikechukwu couldn’t be serious about her having to choose between the job and him. She had listened to him when he asked her to resign her job years ago to take care of the kids. The kids were in boarding house and the last one was going to join them in September. “Why was he being selfish?” She thought. She understood that his inability to provide for them like he used to was depressing for him but now that she had an opportunity to assist financially, why was he giving her an option of choosing between him and a job.

Bisola put her hand on her head as she contemplated on what to do. No, she wasn’t going to reject the offer. She would plead with her husband when he returned to listen to the voice of reason. She prayed in her heart that his ego would not stand in the way.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com

Pregnant Imaginations

The pregnant lady sitting in the swivel chair at the salon section shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

The manicurist attending to my nails looked at her. “Aunty, you want water?”

“No, thank you.” The lady replied.

“Are you okay?” The manicurist asked; concern written on her face.

The pregnant lady smiled and shifted again; probably trying to find a comfortable position. “Yes, I am fine. Thank you.”

I looked at the pregnant lady and weird ideas for a story just flew into my head. I grinned as my imagination went on overdrive.

I imagined the lady drove to the salon herself.

I imagined this being her first pregnancy and being a little anxious and naive.

I imagined her water breaking while she sat there and going into panic mode immediately.

I imagined me telling her to calm down while I asked for her car keys.

I imagined the whole salon suddenly going abuzz with the salon attendants running helter-skelter wondering what to do and how to help.

I imagined the lady puffing and panting as tears streamed down her cheeks.

I imagined myself driving with crazy speed to the hospital where she was registered (after getting the information from her).

I imagined one of the salon attendants calling her husband through her phone and explaining the situation to him.

I imagined us (myself and one of the salon attendants) waiting patiently in the hospital (after she had been taken into the labour ward) till the arrival of her husband.

I imagined her husband arriving at the hospital with worry lines deeply etched on his forehead.

I imagined her husband calling me hours later that his wife had been delivered of a baby.

I smiled and shook my head as my mind ran different thoughts.

I guess this is one of the reasons I call my mind a creative machine 😄

——

Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

Sidi’s first dance

Late post….Apologies.  Wordpress issues still unresolved.

******
The honk of a taxi blared outside their room. “It’s time.” Rukayat clapped like an excited child. They walked out of their room and waved to the taxi driver who nodded to acknowledge them. Rukayat walked briskly to the waiting taxi while Sidikat took one step at a time. “C’mon Rukkie, wait for me.” She said to her friend. Ruka walked back and held her friend by the hand.

They arrived the venue of the party in about forty-five minutes. Music was already blasting from speakers stationed on the porch. Rukayat looked at her friend and both of them shared a smile. Four guys in their class were standing outside; each holding a glass of wine. “Oh my goodness, Musari is here already.” Sidi said feeling giddy.

Ruka paid the taxi driver and eased out of the car carefully. Musari noticed her and smiled. As Sidi eased out of the car, Musari saw her. Sidi raised her head high and flicked her hair. She locked eyes with Musari as she smiled at him. The air was cool and a light breeze blew her flowing gown. Sidi loved the way her dress danced to the tune of the wind until she stepped on it mistakenly. Before she knew it, she hit the ground as Musari and his friends rushed to help her up.

As they tried to, she realized she had twisted her ankle and she screamed as pain shot through her body. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she bit her lip.

“Sorry.” Ruka said as she turned round to attend to her friend. She removed her friend’s shoes from her feet. “Should we take you to a hospital? It looks like your ankle has been sprained.”

Sidi nodded unable to utter a word.

********

Two hours earlier

Sidikat put her feet carefully into the shoes and stood up to take a step. She wobbled a bit but regained her composure. “Are you sure you can walk in those heels?” Rukayat asked her.

“Of course, what do you mean? I’m a chic.” Sidi replied.

“Okay oh. If you say so.”

They got dressed with excitement. They had less than thirty minutes before the taxi they booked was due to arrive. They had refused to attend their last lecture in school which was slated for 5.30pm. They wanted to get back to the hostel early enough to freshen up for the night party.

Considering the distance from school to the venue, they decided to book a taxi for 7.00pm. Ten minutes after the scheduled pick up time, the taxi’s timer would start to surcharge them. It was their first party outside campus and they were both thrilled and anxious. They were both 100 level students of the Law department.

Rukayat had chosen a red floor length straight dress and wore a pair of kitten heels black pumps. She told Sidikat that since it was an all-night party, she wanted to be comfortable. Sidi, however had chosen a black flowing dress with a red 6 inch stiletto sandals.

She catwalked to and fro the room trying to maintain her balance.

******

The doctor examined Sidi’s ankle and put an ice pack on it. He bound her ankle in a stirrup splint and asked her to stay off heels for the next three months.

Sidi looked at her friend with tears in her eyes. “I should have listened to you. I was really looking forward to dancing with Musari. I guess that won’t happen any longer.”

Ruka gave her friend a sad smile. “It may happen sometime later.”

“Yeah, sometime later.” She sighed regretfully.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.dhgate.com

Tears, Blood and Death – Part 2

He closed his eyes as tears streamed down his cheeks. It seemed like it had happened just a day ago as the memories came flooding back.

The face he saw yesterday had been so familiar. He had juggled his memory since he met him. As he stood inside the ruins of the old house, it all came back to him. He recognized the face that had haunted him the past twenty-one years. It wasn’t a dream. It was the face that had been etched in his memory. A face he wished he had forgotten. A face he wished he never met again.

********

He had brought his car to his workshop for repairs. The man had mentioned that he had been referred by other people who had been impressed with his job.

He was unable to sleep last night. He tossed and turned as he kept thinking about the face that had come to his workshop in the morning. He eventually dozed off in the early hours of the morning and had a fitful sleep. He woke up at 5a.m and said his prayers. He had a quick bath and instead of setting out to work, he took a trip to father’s house. His mind raced back to the last time he was there.

********

After the men left, he burst into fresh tears as he banged on the door of the toilet. There was eerie silence. He continued to bang on the door until he heard mother’s whisper. She was calling him. He put his ears close to the door to listen. She called him again and he said a silent thank you to God. She was alive.

Mother dragged herself on the floor to the toilet door.

“Màámi.” (My mother). He called when he noticed movements outside the toilet door.

“Ökö mi.” (My husband). She cried.

“Màámi, open the door.”

“The key is not on the door.” She replied.

“Check daddy’s pocket.”

He heard mother grunting as she dragged herself to where her husband lay still. He heard her burst into fresh tears and his heart broke. He wanted to know what was happening outside the darkened toilet.

Mother opened the door of the toilet and he took a while for his eyes to adjust to the bright light. He had no idea how long he had been locked in. When his eyes became accustomed to the environment, he saw mother on the floor. She was bleeding from her leg. He immediately removed his tee-shirt and tied it around her leg. He had seen it done so many times in movies when people were shot.

He got a pillow from the couch and placed it under mother’s head. He then walked over to grandma. There was a bullet hole in her head. He shivered as his lips trembled. He walked over to father. He was bleeding from the neck.

He ran outside the house and went to the neighbour’s house. He banged on the gate continuously until someone came out shouting. “Who is banging my gate like that at this time of the night?”

“It is me, sir.” He said crying. “Please help me sir.”

The man had been their neighbour in the last two years but kept to himself most of the time. He worked in the bank; leaving home very early and arriving very late at night. He lived alone.

“What is wrong? Why are you crying?” The man asked as he got to the gate.

“Please help my mother. Please help me.”

“Your mother?” The man asked.

He dragged the man by the hand towards his house.

********

Mother was rushed to the hospital. The doctors battled to save her life. Father’s brothers came to the hospital and accused mother of killing their brother and their mother. They asked why she wasn’t also killed. According to them, it meant she planned the attack. Mother became miserable as she cried every day and hoped for death. He became a wretched child as none of father’s family was ready to have anything to do with him. He was labelled the son of a witch and a murderer.

Three weeks later, mother died. She told him she had no reason to live any more. He begged her to stay with him but she said her spirit had left her. She felt betrayed that father’s brothers could think the worst of her. She said life had lost meaning to her. He sat by her side all through the night pleading with her but she died in her sleep.

Mother’s younger sister decided to take him in but she had four kids of her own and was just a petty trader. Her husband was a mechanic and he told him that he could not afford to send him to school. He asked him to join him in his workshop and start learning the trade so that he could make money on time to fend for himself.

“You need to grow up.” His uncle had told him. “There is no time for spoon feeding.”

He took his uncle’s advice and became diligent in his work.

********

He walked out of father’s house and drove back to his workshop. He wanted to know this man. He arrived at his workshop at 10:30am. The man was already waiting for him. Even though, he had aged, the features he saw that night were too evident for him to ignore. The man chatted with him as he got to work.

“Sir, did you ever live around Festac?” He asked him as he got his scanner to diagnose the car.

“Yes, I did but that was in the 90s. My son even attended a primary school there before we moved out of the area.”

“Oh right. What is your son’s name?”

“Adeleke Adegbami….”

That was all he heard as his hand stopped moving. He kept looking at the screen of the scanner but he no longer saw the prints on the screen. He saw his best friend’s face smiling at him as they sat down together.

“My daddy is coming tomorrow.”

Will you bring something for me?”

“Of course. You are my best friend. My daddy will bring goodies from abroad.”

The old man kept talking…. “He is in the states now. He is doing very well with a wife and two kids”….. but he no longer heard him. His mind was faraway locked up in the darkened toilet in father’s house.

He got his slide and rolled under the car. He opened the brake valves and began to flush it.

He rolled out. “Your car is okay now, sir.” He said.

“Thank you, my son.” The man said as he paid for his services and entered into his vehicle.

——-

The End

Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com

Tears, Blood and Death – Part 1

He stood before the ruins of the old house. The house was a complete shadow of itself. It was a white duplex but the paint on the outside had totally peeled off. He pushed back the low gate and walked in. The compound had become overgrown with weeds and a big rat scurried away as he stepped forward. He looked up at the louvres on the right and his mind raced back to when he sat on the railings of the balcony turning it into a swing. This action always got him a scolding from mother.

The door was broken down. He walked into the house. The interior looked like a hurricane had happened in there. The cream leather settee that always sat on the right of the living room was no longer there. A cool breeze blew into the room and he began to hear the sound of the wooden rocking chair. He smiled in spite of the situation. He closed his eyes and saw grandma seated on the chair. As it rocked gently, she knitted and hummed a song. She looked up at him and smiled.

“Come here darling.” She said as she patted her laps.

He walked forward and stood before the rocking chair. She would lift him up as she dropped the knitting accessories on the side stool beside her on the right. He looked there and noticed the stool had been upturned. He bent down to lift it up. He placed his hands on it gingerly as if it was an egg that could break. He closed his eyes and a tear slid down his cheeks. The stool was grandma’s favourite.

He heard the sound of clinking glasses and looked towards the kitchen to the left of the living room. As he walked down, he passed by a blue teddy bear lying on the floor. It had become dirty and the colour was hardly recognizable. It looked more brown than blue. It had been his tenth birthday gift from father. He held the teddy bear by the hand and headed towards the kitchen.

“Food is ready.” Mother sang as she held his two hands and danced to an imaginary tune. It had become her signature. “Get seated.” She would say and he would run to set the table ready. Grandma always said the prayers at dinner.

********

“My daddy is coming back tomorrow.” He told his best friend. They were both ten and sat together in class. They were in Primary five.

“Will you bring something for me?” His friend asked.

“Of course. You are my best friend. My daddy will bring goodies from abroad.”

********

Mother was restless as she jumped every time she heard the sound of a car. She had asked him to go to bed as there was school the next day but he refused. He wanted to see father before going to bed. They heard the honk of a car and mother ran to open the curtains. Light from the headlamps reflected into the living room and mother began to dance. Her husband had arrived home from Spain.

Grandma dropped her knitting pins and lifted her glasses from the rope around her neck. She placed the glasses gingerly on her nose as she awaited her son.

Father paid off the taxi driver that brought him home and trudged in as he rolled his travel luggages. Mother ran to give father a hug and a kiss.

“Káàbò, olówó orí mi.” (Welcome, my crown).

“O sé. Sé àláfíà ni gbogbo yín wà?” (Thank you. Are you all well?)

“Adúpé l’ówó Ölórun.” (We thank God).

Father prostrated to greet grandma as he came in and she began to pray for him. After grandma’s long prayers, father hugged him and asked him why he was still awake.

“Don’t mind him. He refused to go to bed because he was waiting for you.” Mother said as she laughed heartily.

They heard the sound of a car parking outside.

“You should go to bed now.” Father told him.

“I want to see what you bought for me.” He told father.

He had promised to bring something to school for his friend and he wanted to fulfill his promise.

The gates outside opened slowly and father looked towards the door. He looked at mother and grandma. “Are you expecting anyone?” He asked.

They both shook their heads.

All of a sudden, the front door was kicked with so much force that it broke into splinters.

Father’s movement was very swift that he hardly understood what had happened until he saw himself in the toilet and he heard the door lock behind him. He knelt down by the door and peeped through the key hole. What was going on?

“Where is the money?” A male voice asked.

“Which money?” Father responded.

“Give me the money before I blow off your head.”

Father looked at mother and grandma with a hard stare. They were the only people who were aware that he was coming home. He had never seen father look at them that way and he wondered what mother and grandma could have done wrong.

“Please my son, don’t do this. He doesn’t have any money.” Grandma pleaded.

“Shut up mama. Tell your son to bring the money he brought back.”

He strained his eyes through the key hole to see what was going on. Grandma looked at father with tears in her eyes. “Which money is he asking for?”

He noticed there was another man in the room. The man pointed the gun at grandma and pulled the trigger. The shot was silent. Grandma fell back like a sack of potatoes hitting her head on the stool. He heard mother’s scream and saw father struggle with the man who had pulled the trigger. He heard three more muffled shots and then silence.

Tears streamed down his cheeks as he peeped through the key hole. He touched his lower body. It was wet. It dawned on him that he had peed on himself.

“Why did you kill them?” The first man shouted at his partner.

“Can’t you see that he wasn’t co-operating and he was even trying to collect my gun?” The man replied as he pulled off the black mask on his face.

“Just carry the boxes and let’s get out of here fast. This was not the plan.”

As the men walked out of the house with the same travel luggages that father had brought in some minutes ago, a black car reversed from the beginning of the street to the front of the house. As the car got to the men, the boot had already been opened. They dumped the luggages into the boot and and the car sped away with lightning speed leaving sorrow, tears and blood behind.

….To be continued

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Buy Market

Various food stuff lined the narrow street on the left and on the right. Starting from the beginning of the street to the end, wares were displayed barely leaving enough room for a car to drive through. The taxi driver maneuvered through the market struggling not to hit any wares. A few times, he honked for either a buyer or a seller who stood brazenly on the road ignoring the oncoming vehicle. Some insulted the driver while some simply ignored until the car was beside them before shifting their bodies a bit for the car to pass by.

All of a sudden, screams rent the air and everyone looked in the direction of the noise. A loose cow ran towards the market and a few women rushed to grab their wares off the road. The other women whose goods could not be easily grabbed in a jiffy and the shoppers ran helter skelter. The whole market was in chaos. Two young boys came running after the cow in a bid to tame it. They eventually did and got it under control.

By the time the commotion died down, tomatoes had been trampled on, garri basins had been upturned, ugwu and ewedu leaves had become mixed with mud. The women came out of their hiding places cursing the cow and its handlers.

The taxi driver who had parked when he heard the commotion looked at the women and laughed. “So you fit run when you see malu but if na car, you go dey do yanga.”

The women looked at the driver and started raining curses on him but the man drove off laughing.

——

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The Plan

His eyes were trained on her face but his mind was faraway. Tears pooled in his eyes and he fought to hold them back. Was this what their relationship had degenerated into? His ego was deflated as his mind swam with different thoughts.

“Ayodeji, are you listening to me?” Olamide asked tapping him.

He looked at her. She only called him “Ayodeji” when she was angry or needed his attention.

“Ayodeji.” She called again.

He nodded. “I have heard you, Olamide.”

“No, I don’t think you heard me.”

“I did. You said you needed to get married to Chief for a better future.”

“I said….” She paused for emphasis. “For a better future for us and our kids. You were not listening to me, Ayodeji.” She said getting angry.

“I’m sorry but I don’t understand how you would be married to Chief and still have a future with me.”

Olamide sighed and stood up. “Ayodeji, I explained everything just now.” She took a deep breath. “Okay, I will explain all over again.”

Deji nodded his response and tried not to drift away into his thoughts this time.

“I said that Chief has asked me to be his fifth wife. He has promised to take care of me and my unborn children. So the plan is; I would get married to Chief but we would continue to see each other. I will carry your kids and have them for Chief. But we both know the kids are yours. When we have made enough money from Chief, we would elope together to maybe the U.S with our kids. Chief would have no idea what hit him.” Olamide said smiling.

“And what happens when Chief finds out about us?”

“How would he find out?” Olamide sneered.

Deji shrugged.

“C’mon Deji, this could be the big break we have been looking forward to. You haven’t been able to secure a job for the past four years since graduation. And this opportunity drops on our laps on a platter of gold. What else do you want?”

Deji sighed. “Hmm….Olamide, I am not so sure about this. You seem to have everything all planned out.”

Olamide laughed. “Of course, ain’t I a combination of beauty and brains?”

********

Deji put his head in his hands. They started dating six years ago while they were still students at the University of Calabar. Four years ago, they both graduated. Deji with First class honours in Chemical Engineering and Olamide with a Second class lower degree in Biochemistry. It had taken Olamide just six months after their National Youth Service to gain employment in one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria. Deji on the other hand had thrown his resume in various organizations but was yet to get a call for an interview. He had been frustrated but Olamide had stood by him and encouraged him to keep his hopes high.

Olamide had met Chief during their last end of year party in the office. Deji had refused to go with her as he got tired of attending the parties when he had no job. Some of Olamide’s colleagues were young graduates and seeing them having fun and partying in their office further dampened his spirit.

Chief was a friend to one of Olamide’s bosses and he had given her his card and asked that she kept in touch. At first, she had been indifferent but when she heard how Chief doled out money to those who stayed close to him, she decided to do same. She had met up with Chief for dinner on a number of occasions but always lied to Deji that she was working late. She traveled out of the country once with Chief and he had lavished her with gifts. She lied to Deji that she was on an official assignment and he had believed her. When Chief proposed marriage to her, she had told him to give her a few days to think about it. She thought hard and long about the offer. She did not want to break Deji’s heart as she still loved him; but right now, their future seemed bleak. She also had no intention of staying married to Chief. She only needed him to boost her financial status. She therefore hatched a plan which she knew could not fail. Chief had no idea she still kept a boyfriend. Even though, she had mentioned Chief to Deji, she never told him she had been having dalliances with him.

 

“Deji, my love.” Olamide said as she knelt in front of him and raised up his head. “This plan would work, trust me.”

Deji sighed deeply.

Olamide slept over at Deji’s apartment that night. She teased his body and whispered into his ears that it was a night of celebration for them. In anger and despair, Deji hardly let her go through out the night and barely allowed her to catch some sleep as he knew in his heart that this was probably the last time he would ever touch her.

******

Three weeks later, Olamide got married to Chief at an elaborate wedding. Pictures of the couple were splashed in newspapers and magazines. Their honeymoon was in Cancun and Olamide broke the internet with pictures of herself and her husband. Deji saw her pictures both in the papers and on social media. The love he and Olamide had proclaimed for six years had been washed down the drain by the love for fame and fortune. Deji became a recluse; hardly stepping out of his apartment. Soon, he began a descent into depression. A few of his friends who were aware of his relationship called him severally on the phone but he refused to pick their calls. His elder sister who was in the U.S also called him as she usually did every weekend but Deji refused to take her calls as well. Life lost meaning to him.

 

After two weeks of honeymoon, Olamide and her husband returned to Nigeria. As soon as they arrived home, Olamide told her husband that she wanted to go visit her parents.

“That’s okay darling. Yusuf will take you.” Chief said.

“Honey, I can drive myself.” Olamide replied.

“I know you can; but no wife of mine will go out without a driver and an escort.”

“Chief?” Olamide exclaimed.

“Yes darling. Now run along and come back quickly so we can continue from where we stopped.” He said winking at her.

“Don’t worry Chief. I will just give them a call to inform them that I am back in town.” Olamide said frowning.

Chief smiled. “Good. Let’s go in and have another one before the other women recover from slumber.” He said as he held her by the waist.

*******

The next day, Olamide woke up and was shocked by the sight before her. She quickly pulled her duvet closer to cover her naked body. A man in a red wrapper and a red cloth tied round his head stood in her bedroom. He was holding a calabash and making some incantations. She was about to scream when Chief walked out of her bathroom. He saw the look on her face and smiled.

“Oh darling, don’t be scared. He just came to do some regular rituals for you.”

“Ri…ri…rituals Chief. I…I don’t understand.” Olamide said stammering.

Chief shrugged. “It’s not difficult or painful. It is just a few incisions on your breasts and vagina.”

“What?” Olamide screamed.

“Stop shouting my darling. The older wives all went through it. They can confirm to you that it is not painful.”

Tears began to stream down Olamide’s cheeks. “Chief, what did I do wrong?”

“No, no, no. You did not do anything wrong. It is for your protection for when another man touches you.”

“My protection? How Chief?” Olamide cried.

“Any man that touches you will die an instant death.” Chief said matter-of-factly.

“Chief?” Olamide screamed as her eyes grew big.

“Relax. Once the man dies, we become richer.”

Olamide put her hands on her head and burst into fresh tears. She was Chief’s pawn. She thought about Deji and his face flashed before her. What would he think of her? Was their plan for a future going down before her like a pack of badly arranged cards? Oh how happy they had been before she met Chief. Even though Deji had no job, his smiles were enough medicine for her when she was down.

She shook her head as she thought about Chief’s four wives. How many men had Chief’s wives slept with for him to become this rich? It all made sense to her now when Chief’s wives had been indifferent towards her when he introduced her to them. She had always heard about troublesome older wives but she had been shocked that they all accepted her without an objection.

As she opened her legs for Chief’s herbalist to make his incisions, she regretted the day she hatched the plan which had now become her undoing.

———-

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