Offended 2

“Nini, Nini,” Kemi called her friend who was fast asleep. “Nini,” she called again, but this time she gave her a nudge. 

Niniola groaned and opened her eyes quickly, “Yes,” she yawned. 

“I didn’t think you’d sleep too,” Kemi mocked. 

“Well, who wouldn’t after all that exhausting run?” Niniola asked. 

“So the smell wasn’t bad after all,” Kemi stated and looked away, chuckling. 

Niniola ignored her, rolling her eyes. 

Pretending not to have smiled, “It’s late now. This is our chance to leave,” Kemi told her as she picked up her purse and stood up. Niniola closed her eyes with her fingers. 

“Come on. Let’s go,” Kemi urged her. The ladies hastily walked away into the dark. 

“I wish we had something like a scarf or cap for a disguise, you know,” Kemi murmured. 

“Well, they didn’t give us a chance to carry my box along,” Niniola commented and they both giggled. 

After some minutes of walking, the ladies began to feel uncomfortable. 

“Kemi, I don’t feel safe. I feel whoever wants to kill me might see us soon,” Niniola said uneasily. 

Kemi looked around, “I feel the same way too. I don’t think being out in the open is safe. We’ve got to hide. Follow me,” she told Niniola. 

Kemi walked towards the hotel she had sighted and goes in with Niniola following behind. 

They entered into the building and Kemi started heading for the staircase without saying a word to the receptionist. She halted when she noticed Niniola wasn’t following. 

“What are you doing standing there?” Kemi asked as she slowly descended the stairs. 

“Why are you going up there?” Niniola asked her too. 

“The lounge is upstairs, okay? I feel…,” she paused and smiled in the direction of the receptionist. “Come close,” she gestured and Niniola moved closer to her. Whispering, “I frequent this place with Joe,” she stopped, not being able to continue because of the look Niniola gave her. 

“What?” 

“Joe, seriously?” Niniola said. 

“Is Joe the problem or the real problem we are having now?

“Sorry. Continue. You were saying?” Niniola apologised. 

Kemi gave her a bad look. “There is a lounge upstairs and I think there are other rooms there cause I’ve seen doors. So since it’s late, we’ll just look for a room that’s unlocked and stay in it. We’ll call someone when we think it’s safe to come out,” Kemi suggested as she stared at Niniola waiting for her reply. 

“It seems like a nice idea. So let’s try it,” Niniola replied after some time. 

“Good. Let’s go,” Kemi said. 

As they ascended the stairs, the lights began to fluctuate and immediately Kemi dragged Niniola to the right side. 

“What?” Niniola asked in fear. 

“The glass isn’t opaque,” Kemi said referring to the big windows, from which the streets could be seen. “We have to be careful. He could see us through it,” Kemi explained. 

“Oh Okay,” Niniola mouthed. “But you scared the hell out of me,” She confessed. 

“I’m sorry,” Kemi said. 

They went up the remaining stairs and when they got to the first door on the first floor, they tried to open it but it didn’t open. They moved to the second, same thing. They proceeded to the third, Niniola turned the door knob and pushed the door, it sqeaked open. 

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

Their eyes widened as they beheld ladies in black wrappers with chalks on their foreheads. They looked like they were in a trance or something. 

Niniola was frozen and she just gaped at them. Kemi dragged her away as she gently closed the door. The girls ran down as fast as their legs could carry them. They pretended to be okay when they saw a staff and a neatly dressed gentleman coming up the stairs. Kemi’s eyes followed the handsome man all the way up. 

“Kemi,” Niniola called snapping her out of her fantasy. 

“What is it?” Kemi replied coldly. 

”Kemi, did you not see what I just saw? And you are looking at man. Ahh, Kemi, they have use man to swear for you,” Niniola remarked. 

“But he’s fine,” Kemi stated and Niniola hissed. 

“But on a serious note, Nini, what did we see?” Kemi asked Niniola. 

“My sister, hmmm, it looked like cult in a hotel. Things are happening.”

Kemi puts her hands on her head, “Ore mi, let’s leave this place,” Kemi said and made to leave but halted at the door. 

“You hear that, don’t you?” Kemi asked. 

“I do,” Niniola answered. 

“We’ve really got to check out where that is coming from,” Kemi stated, smiling. 

They walked up to the receptionist’s desk and Kemi cleared her throat, “Hey Miss,” Kemi greeted. 

“Good evening. How may I help you?” The dark skinned lady smiled, revealing her beautiful white set of teeth. 

Kemi smirked, “Please where’s that music coming from?” Kemi inquired. “It’s coming from the underground club,” the receptionist replied. 

Taken aback, “there’s an underground club,” her eyes brightened. “Could you please show us the way?” Kemi asked. 

“Sure,” the receptionist said. 

And Kemi smiled. 

“Why?” Niniola whispered to Kemi. But Kemi ignored her as she listened to the directions being given. 

She walked to the door on the right but seeing that Niniola didn’t move, she went back and dragged her by the hand.  

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

“Hello,” she greeted the bouncer at the door with a smile and her charm gave them an immediate pass. 

“Thank you darling,” Kemi said as he opened the door for them to go in. 

Niniola shook her head as she watched her friend flirt with the bouncer. 

Kemi danced and tried to blend with the crowd. 

“What are you doing?” Niniola yelled because of the very loud music. 

Kemi goes over to her and spoke into her ear. “Come on Nini. You don’t always have to be such a bore. Have fun sometimes. And tonight is a great time to have fun. You’ve been through so much in one day already. So baby girl, shake some stress off,” with one hand waving in the air, she took Niniola’s hand and led her into the crowd. 

They danced all through the night. And for a moment, all their worries and fears seemed not to exist anymore. 

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

“Now tell me you didn’t have fun,” Kemi teased Niniola as they walked out of the building. 

Softly, “Well I won’t lie,” then with an excitement, “it was crazy,” Niniola told her. 

“I know right,” Kemi said, smiling. Niniola smiled too.  

As they approached the gate, they saw some group of people entering a mini bus.  

“Kemi, look. I danced with that guy,” Niniola divulged. 

“Whooshh, someone has a crush already,” Kemi taunted her. 

“Ewwww, no. What I’m trying to say is we could ask if they can give us a ride,” Niniola told her. 

“Oh,” Kemi said with disappointment. “But that’s if they are going our way,” she added. 

They looked at each other before walking over to where the minibus was parked. 

With a smile, he listened to them and answered their questions. Since they would actually take the ladies route, he took permission from his friends and they let them in, Kemi went to the back and Niniola sat by the door. 

After they were all seated, the bus made its way out of the hotel premises. And as they tried to turn into the road, a man jumped into the open bus, pointing a gun at Niniola who was sitting at the edge. They all screamed as Niniola struggled with the armed man to prevent him from killing her. 

Niniola cried in fear as she struggled with with him. “Kemi,” she called out. 

“Nini,” Kemi called back, confused on what to do as she tried to move from the back to where Niniola was. 

The gun went off and a girl by the window let out a deafening cry. Everyone turned to look at her and in shock, they saw that the bullet had gone through her wrist and her blood was everywhere. The shouts of the injured girl had distracted everyone but Kemi had recollected herself immediately. With the fire extinguisher she had picked up, she hit the gunman on his head. He let out a cry and when Niniola noticed it, she hijacked the gun from him but unable to handle it, the gun fell to the front, on the head of the guy who she had danced with. Another guy from the back immediately pushed the man out of the bus. 

She looked out and saw the man rolling on the floor. Trying to catch her breath, she glanced at the whimpering lady and saw they were trying to stop the bleeding. Unable to digest all she just witnessed, she threw up. Kemi patted her back as she kept saying sorry to the wounded girl. 

“You girls be safe, okay?” The guy told them as they dropped them off at their junction. 

“Thank you so much. Thank you. We will and please take good care of her,” Kemi said referring to the wounded girl. They smiled and moved on. 

She exhaled and turned to Niniola, “Come here. We need to get home,” she said putting her arm around her shoulders. 

“Nini, pull yourself together. Breathe in,” Niniola breathes in. “Breathe out.” Niniola breathes out. “Good. Now, run,” Kemi ordered and the girls ran until they got to their gate. Kemi reached for the gate keys, opened the gate, they went in and without blinking, she locked the gate immediately. They ran to their front door, she unlocked it and they went in. Kemi slammed the door and locked it too as they fell to the floor, panting heavily. 

By 7:30 am, Niniola, already dressed for work was about to leave when Kemi walked in. 

“Kemi, if it were up to me, I’d take today off to recover totally from everything that happened yesterday,” Niniola complained. 

“Well since your boss requested you resume today, you’ll go. He might be merciful and give you a day off if you tell him what happened.”

“I hope so,” Niniola shook her head. 

“But I won’t let you leave this house alone. You’ll wait for Chima to come and take you to work,” Kemi told her. 

“Who’s Chima again?” Niniola asked, confused. 

“That’s not your business o. All you need to know is that he’ll take you to work safely. Isn’t that enough?” Kemi asked her. 

Niniola didn’t answer but instead she took out her phone and sat on the couch. 

Looking breathtaking as always, Niniola walked into her place of work. She ascended the stairs and bumped into the Secretary. 

“Good morning Belinda, what’s up?” Niniola said. 

“Good morning, Niniola. Welcome back,” Belinda greeted with a smile. 

“Thank you,” Niniola returned the smile and made to continue to where she was heading to. 

“Niniola,” Belinda called her back and she turned. “You’re going to see Mr Felix, right?”

“Yes,” Niniola responded. 

“He went to check something at the small store room. So he said if you arrive before he comes up, he’d like you to meet him there,” Belinda told her. 

With surprise, “Small store room? What did he say he went to do?” Niniola asked. 

Belinda shrugged her shoulder. 

“Thank you,” Niniola told her and walked down the stairs with Belinda following suit. 

She opened the door and saw the room was dark so she put on her phone’s torchlight before she stepped in. She closed the door behind her. 

“Sir, Mr Felix, Sir,” She called out as she went further. “Are you sure he’s here? Did Belinda hear him right?” She asked herself and almost let her phone fall as the flipped light switch startled her. She turned around and there he was by the door, perfect as always. 

She let out a sigh of relief. “Good morning Sir. I thought you were not here,” she said but he just stared at her. 

“Sir,” she called. 

“Yes Niniola,” he replied hoarsely. 

“Sir, what are you doing in this store room? It’s not been in use for a long time now. And when Belinda told me…..”

“The best at what she does,” Felix cuts her short. And Niniola smiled. 

“Thank you Sir,” she uttered. 

“Why are you not dead?” He asked. 

Confused, “Excuse me Sir.” 

“You’re supposed to be dead. How are you still alive and standing in front of me? I was supposed to wait for you in vain today. He was supposed to finish you off,” he said. 

And then it dawned on her as her eyes widened. “You mean it was you who… who…,” she stammered. 

“Yes, Niniola. Wasn’t it obvious?” 

“No it wasn’t. I mean why would you want to kill me?” She swallowed. 

“Really? Niniola, really?” He loosened his tie. “You cheated on me. No one does that to Felix. And then you go ahead to do it with my rivals,” he told her. 

“But Sir, I told you it was a one time job and besides I already apologised,” Niniola explained. 

“Well I don’t forgive you. This is taking so much time. Since that idiot couldn’t get a simple job done, I guess I’ll do it myself and perfectly too,” he said as he pulled out a gun from behind and cocked it. 

Niniola gasped. 

“Sir please. You don’t have to do this. Sir please. I’ve been your personal assistant for two years….,”

“Exactly. There were others before you and there will be more after you. No one defies me,” He cackled. “It’s just so sad that a good one has to go. You could have just sticked to me.” 

He pointed the gun at her. Seeing that his mind was already made up, she immediately went on her knees. 

“I beg you sir in the name of whatever you hold dear.” 

He ignored her and made to pull the trigger. Niniola shut her eyes tightly as tears flowed freely. The gun went off and she let out a shrilling cry. She heard another gun shot and her screams increased. 

“Niniola, Niniola,” she heard a familar voice call and she opened her eyes slowly. She was scared when she saw her boss holding his legs as he groaned and sprawled on the floor with blood around him. She looked up and couldn’t contain her excitement. 

“Kemi,” she shouted as she got up and ran towards her. 

“Are you okay?,” Kemi asked and Ninola nodded. “Did he hurt you?” Kemi asked again as she touched her all over. 

“I’m fine. I’m fine,” Niniola told her. 

“Bitch,” Felix cursed. “Look at what you’ve done.”

“Bastard,” Kemi retorted. “You didn’t tell me you worked for a psycho.” To Niniola this time. 

“You didn’t tell me you owned a gun,” Ninola replied and Kemi pouted. 

“Well I collected it from the guy in the bus,” she revealed. 

Niniola opened her mouth. 

“What? You should be thankful I did.” She stated. 

“Right,” Niniola affirmed as she scratched her hair. “So how did you know this would happen?” Niniola asked her. 

“I didn’t. I just knew I couldn’t let you be alone for a second,” she told her as she gave Felix a bad eye. 

“Oh I love you Kemi,” Niniola voiced as she hugged her friend. 

“I know,” Kemi responded. “Come on, let’s leave this place.” She wiped the gun clean and threw it at Felix. 

“Come back you stupid girls. You can’t leave me here like this,” Felix told them. 

“You better come get us because we just did,” Niniola said and gave Kemi a high five. Ignoring his threats, the ladies walked out and slammed the door behind them. 

Offended

Offended 1

She picked up the towel from the hanger and wrapped it round her body as she stepped out of the bathroom. She goes over to the mirror and dried her body whilst watching herself in the mirror. 

“Who is calling at this time of the night?” She asked as she wrapped the towel again and walked to where she was charging her phone on the side table close to the bed. 

“Oh my God,” she uttered as she saw the caller. She quickly readjusted herself and sat on the bed. 

“Really? Video chat,” she picked, “Good evening Sir,” she greeted. She seemed uncomfortable seeing he was not on the screen. 

“Evening Niniola,” he said as he took a seat in front of the camera. “Where are you?” He asked her as he furrowed his brows. 

“Sir,” Niniola said. 

“I will not ask this again. Where are you?”

“Sir, I’m in Enugu,” she replied. 

“What are you doing in Enugu?” he asked her. 

Faking a smile, “Sir I’m on leave. I’m just here to…”

“Niniola,” he cuts her short. 

“What are you doing in Enugu?” This time, she felt the sting in his voice. 

“Niniola, you dare to cheat on me?” He thundered as he hits his fist on the table. 

Immediately Niniola jumped on her feet as she let out a frightening cry. 

“Sir, it’s not like that,” she said with total fear in her voice. 

He chuckled. 

She continued, “Mr Udeh just wanted me to do a one time job,” she explained, stammering. 

Not saying a word, he sniffed, still gazing at his screen. 

“Please Sir. I didn’t mean it like that. I didn’t think you’d find out.” 

He was still mute. 

Niniola went down on her knees. She wholeheartedly wished the ground would open and swallow her. 

“Please Sir. It will not happen again. I beg you. Please Please Please,” She apologised. “I’m sorry Sir.”

Niniola bit her lips as she looked away from the camera, making the sign of the cross. 

“It’s all right, Niniola. You’re right. You are on leave,” he stood up in front of the camera. “Your leave ends tomorrow. See you on Monday.”

“Yes Sir. I’m taking the first flight back to Lagos tomorrow. You’ll see…” she was startled as he abruptly hung the call on her. 

She swallowed hard and sat on the floor with her head buried in between her legs. 

“Would you mind holding my hand?” Niniola stretched her hand to the terrified little boy who was sitting beside her. He looked across to where his mother and brother were sitting and then back at her. He took her hand. She smiled at him as she held his hand tightly. She looked into his face and saw his eyes were tightly shut as the plane made to take off. She bent over to see his mother and they both exchanged smiles. Niniola rested back in her seat. 

“Don’t worry. We will arrive before you know it. Just hold on tightly.”

“Kemi,” Niniola screamed as she saw her friend. She waved excitedly and Kemi ran to her. They were locked in a tight hug for some seconds before Kemi playfully carried Niniola up. 

“Gosh I missed you,” Kemi commented. 

“You miss who? For how many days?” Niniola asked her. 

“Is one week not enough to miss my best friend and roommate?” Kemi asked and a smirk appeared on Niniola’s face. 

“Anyway give me your bag. I know work will not even make you miss yourself,” Kemi stated as she took the box from her. 

“Haba na, shebi I hugged you,” Niniola said. 

“Story,” Kemi uttered and Niniola laughed. 

“Bye Aunty. We are leaving now.”

Niniola turned around and she saw the little boy. She waved at him,” Bye darling. Be a good boy and study very hard,” she responded as he walked to the school bus with his mother and twin brother. 

“Who’s that?,” Kemi inquired. 

“The little cutie? He was my seat mate in the plane. He was so scared so I held him all through the journey. He’s so sweet,” she explained while watching the twins board the bus. 

“Okay. He has entered. It’s time to go. Come on, the car is over there,” Kemi told Niniola. 

The school bus started moving and almost immediately a blast followed. 

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

Niniola stood up from where she had been thrown to by the explosion. She staggered and as her sense of hearing returned, screams and cries of people filled her ears. When she moved forward, she saw the mother of the twins, wailing and running towards the blast. Niniola turned slowly and with goosebumps all over her body, she lets out a shocking gasp. Tears dropped from her eyes. In a twinkle of an eye, she was down on the floor again as a gunshot followed but this time Kemi was on top of her. 

Niniola caught sight of the car with the shooter and tried to sit up. 

“Stay down,” Kemi screamed. 

A little bit excited she gave her friend a quick hug. “I’m so glad you are okay.”

“Me too,” Kemi responded. 

“Yea but what was that?” Niniola asked frightened. 

“Come on,” Kemi roared as she helped Niniola up. She dragged her and they ran towards the car. 

“Kemi, what was that?” Niniola asked again. 

“I don’t know. I just saw them pointing a gun at you. They wanted to shoot you,” Kemi told her. 

“Shoot me? Why would anyone want to shoot me?” Niniola asked, shocked at the revelation. 

“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Kemi replied as they kept running. 

As they got closer to the car, Niniola looked back. 

“Kemi, Kemi, the car is coming back,” Niniola cried out. 

Kemi who was about to stop by the car dropped Niniola’s box and continued running. 

“My box,” Niniola exclaimed still running. 

“My life is definitely more important that your damn box, Nini. Keep running,” Kemi yelled at her. 

“Oh my God. What is happening?” Niniola, crying, asked no one in particular. 

They kept running and screaming like mad woman on the streets as the car chased behind them. 

Kemi sighted an “Aboki” selling oranges from afar and she began to search her purse as they got closer. 

“Nini,” she yelled. 

“Yes,” Niniola answered from behind. 

“You see those oranges, right?” Pointing in the direction of the orange seller. “We’ll pick them,” Kemi informed her. 

Surprised, “why?” Niniola asked. 

Kemi got to the the aboki, dropped two thousand in his hand and then she picked up his tray of oranges and turned to Niniola. 

“We’re throwing them,” she added. 

“Are you insane?” Niniola asked her still surprised. 

“I’ve never been more sane. Now,” she roared and began to throw the oranges at the car, Niniola joined but when she saw it wasn’t really helping, she poured them on the floor. She took another tray as the aboki had already ran away, and poured it too on the floor. 

Seeing the car was coming slowly towards them because of the oranges on the floor, the ladies looked at each other and gave a little smile of satisfaction. 

They looked back at car and saw it was making progress. Fear replaced their smiles. 

They started running again. After like a minute, Niniola screamed, “Kemi, here,” she pointed to a very narrow lane in between some buildings and immediately they headed for it. They kept running without looking back until they got to the end and could no longer see the car. They stopped and painted like their lives depended on it. 

“At least he can’t go through,” Niniola commented. 

“But it won’t be long until he find us. That’s for sure,” Kemi said. 

“But it’ll give us time to rest.” Seeing the look on Kemi’s face. “What?” She asked her. 

In anger, “What is what?” Kemi tutted. “There was an explosion at the airport. You almost got killed at the same airport. That wasn’t a mistake because who ever it was still wants you dead. Now because I’m here, I’m caught up in your mess. Is that not enough reason to want to kill you myself? And you’re asking me what? Look at me running on the roads of Lagos like a lunatic being chased by a bear,” Kemi complained angrily. 

“If you look at it. It kind of look like we’re being chased by a bear,” Niniola giggled trying to be funny. 

Kemi rolled her eyes, “it’s not funny,” she said with a straight face. 

“Sorry,” Niniola apologised, covering her mouth. 

“Seriously who would want to kill you? I mean, do you have any idea of who might want you dead?” 

“Me. No o. I have not offended anyone. Besides I don’t do anything illegal or dangerous so I don’t know why anyone would want me dead,” Niniola told her. 

Kemi thought for a while and then snapped her fingers. 

“Your boss. What about your boss? Does he know you went for a job in Enugu?” Kemi asked her. 

Niniola looked at her in shock. 

“Kemi. My boss? No. He knows but come on. My boss is not like that. I know he acts crazy sometimes but he wouldn’t be crazy enough to want to kill me for something like that. Besides I’m the best staff he’s got right now. What am I even saying? It’s not him. Period,” Niniola expressed but then…

“Is there something you forgot to add?” Kemi asked as she had noticed her mood. 

Stammering, “the people I went to work for. I think they are dangerous people. I think….”

“You think, you think. Seriously Niniola?” Kemi cuts her short. 

“Okay fine. I overheard them discussing something,” she paused and looked at her friend,” something bad,” she added as she looked away. 

“Niniola,” Kemi shouted. 

“The pay was good. I was perfect for the job and I didn’t know they were bad people. I don’t even know if they know I overheard them,” Niniola said trying to clear herself. 

“Really? Are you kidding me? So this looks like what to you? Huh?” Kemi asked. 

“I didn’t plan for any of this either. I’m sorry.” 

“You’re sorry? That sorry would have made sense after this whole bullshit. But guess what? I might never get to hear you say it again because we may never get out of this mess you put us in,” Kemi hissed and walked away. 

Niniola looked around, frightened and remorseful, she ran after Kemi and caught up with her. She sulked. “Where are you going to? He might see us,” Niniola asked her. 

Reluctant to answer, she pointed towards a place with her index. 

Niniola looked, “What? The dustbin area? Are you kidding me Kemi? The bad odour will choke us to death.”

Still angry, Kemi stopped and turned to her then she faked a smile, “that would be much better, wouldn’t it?” Then a frown appeared, “we will stay there till nightfall. Then we’ll move,” Kemi told her and continued walking. 

Niniola ran to meet her again, “What if he finds us there?” She asked. 

Kemi paused, exhaled and turned to her again, “would you have ever considered hiding out in the dustbin area?” She asked. 

Niniola didn’t respond.  

“Exactly,” Kemi added and walked away. 

Niniola watched her, feeling defeated. 

“You better come over before you attract him standing over there,” Kemi told her from afar. 

Niniola lets out a grunt and goes over. 

Father

“Miracle, go back,” Jennifer shouted as Miracle stepped into the house. 

Shocked, Miracle paused with eyes wide open as she beheld the drama in front of her. 

“Mum, what is going on?” Miracle asked. 

Jennifer, on her knees, sighed when she realised there was no way out for Miracle. 

“Mimi baby. My angel. You’ve not changed one bit. Still the same spoilt girl I’ve always known. But if it makes you feel any better you’ve grown to be so beautiful,” Greg said to Miracle who was staring furiously at him. “Isn’t it too late to be coming home by this time? He died worrying about where you’ve been,” he told her as he gave way for her to see what was behind him. 

Miracle gasped, “ Oh my goodness,” she expressed in shock as she saw her father sitting on the sofa in his own pool of blood. 

“What have you done?” Miracle yelled as she made to attack him. 

Greg pointed a gun at her making her stop in her tracks, “Don’t even think about it my darling.” 

“You killed my father, you monster,” Miracle stated softly. 

With rage, “Are you insane? How dare you refer to him as your father in my presence? Last time I checked you weren’t so little when your witch of a mother took you both away that you can’t remember my face.”

“And the last time I checked, a man who has moral standards, who knows how to take care of a family even if it’s not his, is who I can call father. Not one who has the same qualities as a dog,” Miracle vocalised and a hard blow from the gun landed on her head. 

She screamed and Jennifer made to get up. 

“Get up and I’ll blow your brains out,” he threatened. 

She retreated. 

“Now join them,” he ordered Miracle. 

Miracle removed her hand from her head and saw blood on her palm. She gave him a bad look. 

“I said to join them,” he pushed her forward. 

Miracle staggered and still holding on to her handbag, she walked over to her mother and knelt beside her. She bent forward and whispered to her younger sister by her mother’s other side. “Are you okay?” 

Benita nodded her head in fear. 

“Come on Jennifer. Stop giving me that look. You thought I wouldn’t find you? Or you thought I would let you go just like that?” Greg asked. 

Surprised, “Yes. Of course, I thought you would let me be. Of course, I thought staying away from you would give me peace and maybe it would give you some peace too. What did I ever do wrong?” Jennifer replied. 

Greg chuckled, “What did you ever do wrong?” He walked over and stood in front of her. “What did you ever do wrong, Jennifer? So you think waking up one day, taking my girls and leaving me alone wasn’t wrong?” Greg asked again. 

“No, no. You’ve always hurt me. Long before I ever conceived the idea of running away,” Jennifer said. 

“I own you, Jennifer,” Greg uttered. 

Jennifer chuckled, “No you don’t. You’re so heartless. So you wanted me to die because I was married to you? You disrespected me. You beat me. You treated me like I was an animal. What am I even saying? Worse than an animal. What did I not endure for our love but you were bent on sending I and my girls to our early graves,” on top of her voice, “and you stand here to tell me that I was wrong for running away to save my life and getting married to a real man? What do you want from me, huh? What do you want, you bastard?”

Greg hits her hard across the face. 

“You won’t talk to me like that.” 

Miracle and Benita held their mother as they stared at him with disgust. 

Greg cocked his gun, “I’ll show you what I want from you.”

Jennifer, with eyes blazing with fury, looked up. 

“I want you and your girls to join your hero.”

Jenifer shakingly looked at the lifeless body of her husband. 

“You’re going to kill me and your daughters?” Jennifer asked him. 

Cautiously, Miracle dipped her hand into her bag and gently searched for something. 

Greg snorted, “you do not matter to me anymore. As for the girls, their blood will be on your head because you caused all this.” Pointing the gun to Benita, “and I’ll start with the youngest so you can watch everything you cherish die with your eyes,” he laughed hysterically and Jennifer swallowed hard in fear. 

As Greg made to pull the trigger, Miracle charged with force and stabbed him in the waist area. 

“Mum, Benita, run,” she thundered as she ran towards the door. With her mother and sister following behind her, they rushed out. 

“Run for the car,” Benita yelled. 

“Why?” Miracle asked. 

“I grabbed dad’s keys,” she replied. 

They got to the car panting. Benita threw the keys to Miracle. 

“Why are you throwing it to me?” Miracle asked with surprise. 

“You don’t expect mum to drive in this state, do you?” And without waiting to hear her reply, Benita opened the door and helped her mother in as she rushed in too. 

“I’m on no position to drive either. Can’t you see I’m drunk?” Miracle muttered to herself. 

“Miracle, get in the car now,” Jennifer yelled. 

Seeing Greg open the front door, Miracle without thinking anymore got into the car and drove out and into the streets like a mad person. 

“This is not the end, Jennifer. This is not the end for you and the girls. You’re mine to kill,” Greg spat in anger. 

Adaolisa

She took out the ropes and they began to tie them up. 

“So you rascals have been the ones giving Erimma hard times? The poor woman has been crying and begging you to stop. Having ruined her for so long the least you could have done was to stop but no you decided to stress my team and I. Now you’re going to pay for all you’ve stolen and all you’d have stolen,” She said as they finished tying them up. 

“Do you have other accomplices or is it just the two of you?” Uche asked. 

The boys were too scared to respond. 

“If they won’t talk then let’s lock them up. The Chief will decide what happens to them,” she stated. 

“Get up,” Udodirim thundered. 

They dragged them and led them through the grasses. 

“Adaolisa, you didn’t tell us there was anything between the both of you,” Udodirim stated. 

Acting surprised, “Both of who?” She asked. 

“Ugonna and you of course or are you trying to deny you were blushing when he was looking at you on our way here?” Udodirim explained. 

“Please oh, he could have been looking at any of us,” Adaolisa denied. 

Laughing, “At any of us. I saw them. Ada and Ugonna are in love,” Uche said. 

“Shhhhhh,” Adaolisa said covering Uche’s mouth. 

“Fine. But we’re in the middle of the road. Do you want another ear to hear,” she told them and they smiled. 

In a low voice, “You do not want Ugo or I to be punished,” she added. 

“You’re right my friend. Do you know most times i wish we could be with the men we liked whenever we wanted,” Uche said with a frown and then a smile, “then I’d be with Zube.” 

Adaolisa looked at her friend in astonishment as she blushed and raved on about how much she’d want to be with her heartthrob. 

“My dear you’re not the only one who has such dreams. I wish everyday to be with Nnochiri,” Udodirm said sadly. 

“Keep your dreams to yourselves if you do not want to be banished. Don’t let these dreams of yours blind you from the truth. Men and women are meant to be apart until marriage,” Adaolisa warned them. 

Udodirim rolled her eyes, “You’re saying that because you’re 23 and soon you’ll be 25 and you’ll be able to get married,” Uche said. 

Adaolisa laughed out, “You’re talking as if I’m a million years older than you girls.”

“Two months is a big deal,” Udodirim stated. 

“See who’s talking. Five months is a bigger deal,” Uche verbalised and they all laughed. 

“Whatever. Let’s go and report theses thieves to the Chief before it gets late,” She told them and they left. 

“Knock, knock, who’s here?” Adaolisa shouted from the front door. 

“Who’s there?” A male voice asked from inside the hut. 

She didn’t respond but waited for the hut owner to come out and when he did she started smiling. 

“It’s ‘oge nkiti’ and I’m here to see my father,” she said. 

He laughed, “Come in Asam. You’re welcome.”

“Thank you,” she replied going in with him. 

“You sit down here and wait. I’m preparing ‘ofe onugbu’ for you,” he told her. 

“Okay nnam. I can’t wait to lick my fingers,” she responded and he laughed hard. 

He left through the back to continue with his cooking. 

“Nnam, I’m hot. I’ll go and take my bath,” she shouted from inside and didn’t wait to hear his reply because she knew he heard her. She grabbed a wrapper and headed to the local bathroom. 

Obisike heard his daughter’s screams from the bathroom and he runs to check out what had happened. 

“Asam, what’s wrong?” He asked when he got there. The occupants of the huts close to his had begun to gather.  

Still trying to tie her wrapper she answered her father. 

“Dike was here?” Obisike asked Adaolisa. 

“What is Dike was here? What happened?” And elderly man asked from behind. 

Adaolisa shook with fear.   

“Dike came into the bathroom and tried to………,” she said and shouts of abomination filled the air. Her father grabbed her arm and dragged her to the centre of the huts shouting for people to gather. He explained everything and Dike was locked up at the village square. 

Obisike and his wife who had rushed do the scene earlier on tried to calm Adaolisa down. 

“Ugonna you have to calm down and cheer up,” Udeh told his friend. 

“How do you expect me to calm down after what just happened? Do you know how I held myself from knocking out all his teeth?” Ugonna fumed. 

“Well, we should be grateful you didn’t. If not, you’d have been in prison with him and suspicions would arise about you and Ada. So we thank your ‘chi’ for helping you keep calm.” 

Without replying, Ugonna got up from the bare floor, dusts his skirt and adjusted himself to his guarding position. 

Loud cries and wailing woke the village up the next morning. Everyone gathered around the village square in no time. Immediately she sighted Adaolisa, she ran towards her and grabbed her like a mad woman. 

“She killed him. She killed my Dike,” was all Dike’s mother kept repeating as she pulled Ada’s hands and clothes. 

Some women succeeded in tearing them apart. 

“Calm down, woman. You can’t wake the village up this morning and still keep us in the dark. What happened?” The Chief asked. 

Dike’s mum dried her tears with her wrapper. 

Still sobbing, “I came to check up on my son in the night and I saw him standing up with his face to Adaolisa so I decided to let them be. I thought maybe they were trying to settle things. That was why I didn’t report seeing them together so I left. This morning,” her sobs grew louder. “I came to bring my son some food and I met him lifeless in the cage,” she stammered amidst tears. 

Loud gasps and murmurs followed. Eyes were fixed on Adaolisa while her mother drew her close. 

“Adaolisa, I’ll ask this once. Did you kill Dike?” The Chief asked. 

Immediately Adaolisa went on her knees. 

“Nnam, I did not go close to him. I didn’t even touch him. I only asked him why he did it and I found out he wasn’t even remorseful,” Adaolisa explained to them. 

“And that was why you killed him,” Dike’s mother vocalised cutting in. 

“My father I didn’t do it,” Ada said in tears. 

Adaolisa’s mother glanced at her husband and saw the utter confusion written all over him and her worry grew. 

The priestess was sent for to make consultations and tell them what had happened. 

“Udoka,” the priestess callee out and Adaolisa’s mother looked at her. 

“My Chief, I warned you about consulting the gods before we accept Adaolisa into this community but you refused instead you decided to make the childless couple happy,” the Priestess said. 

“What are you trying to say, Priestess? This issue has been long buried,” The Chief told her. 

“Obisike and his wife have brought in a cursed child into this village,” she declared. 

The villagers gasped. 

The Chief looked at Obisike and then at Udoka. 

“But Adaolisa has been a source of peace to this village. How can you say she’s cursed?” The Chief demanded. 

“A child found outside this village, a non virgin of twelve with nothing about her background.” 

The shock on Adaolisa’s face and the surprise on the villagers were inexplicable. The Priestess had succeeded in revealing a secret the Chief and Ada’s parents had kept for eleven years. 

“Or how would you explain what I see in the spirit. No dagger or finger scratches but he’s dead and you say she’s not cursed,” the Priestess continued. 

Adaolisa looked at her mother and then at her father. She was hurt. 

“She must be killed,” the Priestess stated. 

“No, you won’t touch my child,” Obisike roared from the other side and everyone turned to him. 

Ignoring him, the Priestess turned back to the Chief signalling she awaited his response. 

“She dies,” the Chief voiced. 

Adaolisa exhaled, her mother fell faintly to the ground.

“Pull yourself together Ugonna. We can’t risk losing two good people in this village. Don’t do anything stupid,” Udeh said as he held Ugonna with all the strength he could muster.  

“You’re all ungrateful. After everything she’s done for all of you. You will kill me with her,” Udoka ranted as she followed the guards leading her daughter to be killed. 

With her hands tied backwards, they bent her head forward. Udoka screamed. 

As the guard lifted up the ax and made to bring it down on her neck, fire started falling from the sky, burning everything it touched. 

The villagers ran and some hid under trees as they burned slowly. The guards left Adaolisa and ran away. Adaolisa opened her eyes due to the sounds she was hearing. She raised her head up and saw a flame of fire falling directly on her. 

“Ada,” Udoka called out from underneath a tree. But instead the fire fell directly on the ropes holding her hands together. 

Adaolisa closed her eyes and opened them, her eyeballs became transparent like water. Slowly water erupted from every part of her body as it raised her up above the ground. 

Ugonna had broken free from his friend and ran to where Adaolisa was being held. He and everyone marvelled at what they saw. 

“No wonder Dike was wet. She really killed him,” Dike’s mum said. 

Adaolisa controlled the water until it quenched every fire. The water slowly stopped as it put her down. She tardily walked to her parents and hugged them. They held her as they walked out of the scene. She stopped in front of the astonished Priestess and Chief. 

“I remember now. I killed the men who raped me when I was 12 and I killed Dike because he wanted to try the same thing,” she told them. 

She walked away from them still holding her parents hands. 

She stopped again as she approached Ugonna, they stared into each other’s eyes as everyone watched. She smiled and walked away with her parents while the Priestess’s gaze followed them. 

My Birthday 🎂

Jeremy opened the door and we all stepped into the motel. The interior decor; simple but exquisite. We were still admiring the decors when she approached us. 

“Welcome,” she said smiling. 

We all turned to look at her and they couldn’t resist returning the charming smile. 

“Hello, I’m Brenda, your hostess. Actually, I own this place,” she told us still smiling. 

“It’s beautiful,” Gabriel stated. 

“I know right,” she responded. 

“Thanks for having us. This is going to be a fantastic birthday,” I giggled as I took out my phone and started taking selfies. 

“A birthday you say?” Brenda asked us. 

“Yes it’s my girlfriend’s birthday,” Gabriel replied placing a kiss on my cheek. 

“Oh, I see. So are there more of you coming or it’s just the four of you?” Brenda inquired. 

Nonchalantly, “She doesn’t like the crowd. We are her only friends so yes it’s just us,” Jeremy responded. 

She smiled, “That’s good. So if they are together, are you?” She asked implying to Lili. “And she seems quiet.” 

Jeremy looked at Lili and smiled. 

Lili looks away from the painting she has been staring at, “Yes we are together but he has a girlfriend and I have a boyfriend. He’s my brother. And I’m just observing,” she grinned and then frowned again resuming why she was doing. 

“Creepy right?” I asked. 

“Not at all,” Brenda responded. “But I hope you guys have fun.” 

“Of course we will. That’s why we booked this place,” I uttered smiling. 

“And that’s why we are going to start from the reception, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Juicy June,” Gabriel started singing and they all joined making me blush but then… 

“Stop guys. I think Brenda isn’t okay,” Lili uttered. 

They stopped and we turned to look at her. Brenda seemed uneasy. 

“Ma’am, are you okay?” Gabriel asked while Jeremy moved to touch her. 

“Yes, yes, I’m fine,” she replied moving backwards. “I just feel uncomfortable anytime I hear birthdays songs,” she told us. 

“Why?” I asked. 

Brenda exhaled and hesitated but seeing they were eager to know, she decided to speak. 

“I lost my son on his birthday,” We felt sudden pity towards her. “They drugged him to death” she explicated but then brightened up, “but it’s okay. That doesn’t stop me from trying to make young people like you have fun especially on a day like this one. So I’ll call the attendants to take you to your rooms,” she told us as she left trying to hide her sadness. 

After having our baths, we excitedly moved down to the place Brenda had set up for us to have a nice time. 

We opened the door and entered the room we had been directed to. Immediately the lights went off and we all shook with sudden fear. 

“It’s all right. Just open the door so I can call them to check the lights,” I stated as I reached for my phone. 

“No service,” she said aloud with surprise. 

“The door is stuck,” Jeremy said as he kept pulling the door. 

“That’s not possible,” Lili said. 

“Let me try,” Gabriel said and Jeremy stepped backwards. 

Gabriel pulled and pulled but it would t budge. Fear began to creep in and worse when we heard strange noises. 

“What’s that?” Lili asked in fear. 

I turned on my phone’s torchlight. The sounds grew closer and with shaky hands I  raised the light up. I screamed at what I saw followed by Lili and Gabriel. 

The zombie grabbed Jeremy by the neck and tried to strangle him but Jeremy struggled with it. 

“We need to do something,” I vocalized while Gabriel tried to find something that could come in handy and just then Lili jumped on the things’ back. I screamed. Gabriel tried to go get her but Lili started yelling and stabbing the zombie in the head with her pocketknife. Still, on his body, she stabbed him until he let Jeremy go and until he passed out and fell to the floor with her still on his back. She stood up and ran over to Gabriel and me with blood dripping all over her. 

Jeremy still trying to regain himself tried to stand up and then the ceiling started cracking. 

“What’s happening?” I asked trembling. We all looked around to see what was going on and before we could realize it, an arrow tied to a rope dropped from the ceiling and into Jeremy’s head, he cried out in pain. We rushed to help him but a figure dressed in all black dropped from the ceiling and obstructed us. She raised up her head and, “Brenda,” we called out in astonishment. 

When we realized what was going to happen, we ran leaving Jeremy behind. With my torchlight, we found a tatty staircase so we ran down. Brenda too rushed to the stairway but then she remembered something. She turned back to look at Jeremy and with an evil impulse and a cosmic force, she pressed the arrow deep into his head, killing him. 

She chased us down the stairs, caught up with us and jumped in front of us. 

Lili and I cowered as Gabriel urged us behind him. 

Brenda giggled, “Where do you think you’re running to? These stairs are endless, it leads nowhere. I have you locked in here.” 

“Why are you doing this?” Lili asked panting. 

“Weren’t you listening when I was explaining downstairs. It was people like you that killed my son and on a day like this,” she laughed ludicrously. 

“But we didn’t kill your son,” Lili stated. 

“You didn’t but you killed him again in the zombie I brought to life. So now I’m going to help you so you don’t get high and kill yourselves,” our minds began to settle until, “I’ll kill you myself,” she completed and we trembled with fear. 

I discerned Gabriel slowly opening the pocketknife he had collected from Lili earlier on. As Brenda made to drag Lili, Gabriel tried to stab her but she held his hands and knocked the knife off his hand. With her eyes, she flung me into the wall and how I was still able to hold on to my phone could explain how addicted I was. Gabriel and Brenda fought for a while and I was amazed at the physical and spiritual powers she possessed. 

Lili tried to pick up the knife but got herself hit by an unseen blow. She tried again but was been held back by invisible strengths. I couldn’t move, Lili was being held and Gabriel was really losing out as he had been battered already. 

I expired and bowed my head, I reflected on the wonderful twenty-second birthday I had pictured for myself turned out. I began to remember the good part from the road trip till when we got to the motel and then boom. 

I looked up slowly and laughed out loud. 

“Why are you laughing?” Brenda asked me whilst Gabriel sprawled on the ground. 

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you,” I started singing. 

“No, stop it. I said stop singing right now,” she ordered but it was too late. My voice filled the room and it weakened her. She held her head and fell to the floor on her knees. 

“Now Gabriel,” Lili roared. 

Gabriel, with groans of pains, stood up as fast as he could, picked up the knife and slitted Brenda’s throat. As her blood gushed out and air exhausted from her lungs, Lili and I became free. We ran to hug Gabriel. 

NEed YOu LIke A HEart NEeds a BEat.

Suzanne descends the stairs quietly, and when she got to the end, her face slowly lit up in anger. She couldn’t stand the sight of them cuddling and laughing in her sitting room. 

She hissed softly and walked to the veranda; she turned off the generator’s fuel tank and tiptoed up, back to her room. 

“Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry about this,” Jack apologized to Tonia as he reached for his phone and turned on the torchlight. 

She chuckled, “It’s all right there’s no reason to apologize. It’s late and I should be leaving,” she stated. 

“I’m very certain that I filled the tank with fuel. I don’t know what might have gone wrong. Are you sure you don’t want me to check it out?” He persuaded. 

“Don’t worry. You can do that later. I’m leaving now,” she said smiling. 

“Fine. Then I should see you off,” he said. 

She picked up her handbag and made for the door while he opened it for her to go through. 

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning,” he told her and she placed a kiss on his lips. 

“Suzanne, Suzanne,” Suzanne heard her name and she slowly arouses from her sleep. 

“Yes, what is it?” Can’t you see it’s midnight?” She asked him yawning. 

“Of course I can,” he replied. 

She scornfully looked at him. 

“Did you tamper with the generator when Tonia was here?” He asked her. 

She hisses and tried to go back to sleep. 

“I’m talking to you,” he yelled and dragged the duvet from her. 

Suzanne sits up, “I did, so?” 

He chuckled, “You’ve gone totally crazy.”

Surprised, she looked at him. 

“Listen to me, Suzanne, this should be the last time you’d ever try something like this again. I’m warning you and I wouldn’t do it again. The earlier you understand there is nothing between us anymore the better for you and me. Good night,” Jack said and stormed out of the room before she even got the chance to speak. 

Tears rolled down her cheeks, she snorted and laid down.

She drove into the restaurant’s parking lot, got down and goes into the restaurant. She walked over to the table. 

“So you guys are having breakfast without me?” She startled them with her question. “Tonia, weren’t you just in my house yesterday and this morning you guys are having breakfast without me.” 

“Jeez, Suzanne are you okay? Did you get any sleep last night?” Jack asked as he tried to get up to touch her. 

“You sit down there and don’t stand up,” Suzanne ordered. 

“Jack, is she okay?” Tonia asked. 

Suzanne giggled, “How can I be okay after you spoke to me like that last night?  Like you’ve been doing to me for the past twelve days.  Can anyone get any rest after hearing that?” Suzanne asked Jack. 

“Jack if she wants to have breakfast with us, then she should go ahead and sit because if she continues like this, I’ll be forced to leave,” Tonia verbalised. 

“You’re not going anywhere you bitch,” Suzanne said as she pulled out a gun from behind and points it at them. 

“Oh my God,” Tonia screamed in fear. 

“Suzanne, what are you doing?” Jack asked. 

“If you do not put down that phone, you’re going to be the first person I kill. Abi, you dey craze. I said put the phone down,” Suzanne yelled at the cashier who gently put the phone down with shaky hands. 

“Good girl. Now if any of you makes any stupid move like that again, I’ll kill you,” she threatened. 

All the employees nodded in fear. To Suzanne’s advantage, the customers in the building were only but a few. 

“Jack, why are you making me do this? This is not me.”

“Then put the gun down,” Jack told her. 

“Shut up,” Suzanne thundered. She exhaled, “This wasn’t what you promised me. You told me it was going to be us forever. No one else.”

Tonia looks at them in amazement. “What’s going on here?” She asked. 

“I warned you. I told you that this wouldn’t turn out great but you insisted. You told me you’d always love and care for me. That you’d protect me no matter the cost,” tears streamed down her cheeks as she spoke. 

“Jack you told me that I was going to be your everything,” she smiles. “And now you’re with her and you just expect to pretend like there was never an “us”? You changed so much and I don’t like it.” 

“Suzanne, I grew up this past month,” Jack told her. 

“But you grew up a long time ago. You’re twenty-seven or am I mistaken?” She asked him. 

“No, but I grew up and I have come to understand so many things that I didn’t before. You have to calm down so I can explain to you, my sunshine.” 

“Don’t call me that. I’m not your sunshine, I became your darkness the day you fell in love with her,” Suzanne vocalised and they both turned to look at Tonia. 

“Wait a second. If I’m hearing all these correctly, Jack you’ve been having an affair with your little sister?” Tonia asked as she came to the realisation of what was happening. “Oh my God. What a day!”

Suzanne snorted, “You know what? I’m going to end this.” 

“No, you won’t. We can talk this over. Please let’s talk this over,” Jack begged her. 

Suzanne smiled, moved over to him but Jack leaned backwards. 

“I can’t live a life without you being in it with me. I love you so I’m going to give you what you want because I want you to be happy,” she told him as she leaned on him and stared deep into his teary eyes. 

The gun went off and Tonia screamed. 

Suzanne expired as she fell but Jack caught her, “No, you can’t do this to me.”

“I can,” she said with difficulty as she touched his face with her blood-stained hands. 

“No. You are my happiness. I was doing this to keep you safe from the abomination I lured you into. I am not and was never in love with Tonia, I only wanted to move on from what we created to protect you. You’re my light. Suzanne, why did you do this to me?” Jack confessed amidst tears. 

Suzanne smiled whilst her hands slowly dropped from his face. 

“Nooooooo,” Jack screamed as she died in his hands. His worst fear had come to reality and he couldn’t save his only sister. What would life have in store for him? What was he without Suzanne, his best friend? And most importantly, what would he tell his parents? 

Tonia was torn between feeling pity and disgust as she left the siblings and the terrified employees, who were making calls already, in the building. 

The Switch Room

Startled, she turns around as the gate opens. Her eyes lock into theirs as they stare at each other, she in fear. 

“Kaima, what are you doing standing outside? It’s been over fifteen minutes since Muna said he was coming to get you,” her mother asks her. 

“Same thing I’ve been asking her. I came out to get her only to find her sitting here and she has refused to come in,” Muna explains. 

Kaima’s mother looks at her husband as he stares at Kaima speechlessly. 

“So because you burnt her workshop you want to banish yourself, right?” Her mother asks with a stern look. 

Kaima bends her head in shame while her mother’s face loosens up and she takes Kaima’s hand into hers. 

“My darling, the damage has been done. Thank God nobody was killed. So we are not going to turn you away because of a mistake. We’re going to stand by you whatever happens. So let’s go in,” she enunciates. 

“I warned you against going to work there. I told you to stay home and wait for your service but no, you wanted to be an independent girl overnight as if I ever complained taking care of you was a big deal,” her father finally verbalized. 

“Honey,” her mother uttered. “You can’t talk to her like that. She’s going through a traumatic time now and doesn’t need all these from you, please. Come in my baby,” she states as she widely opens the gate and leads Kaima into the house. 

“I went into the switch room to turn on the switch like I’ve been doing for the last five days after I had been taught how to turn on and off the switches. It’s confusing but I know I’m always cautious when turning them on and off. So today, I went to turn on the water switch for the washing and I’m so sure I turned on the right switch. But then the water started flowing into the room instead. It mingled with the engines, they sparked and in a twinkle of an eye, there was a fire in the room and I had to run out,” Kaima narrates to the Policemen who had arrived twenty minutes later and were seated around the dining table with her mother, father, younger sister and brother. 

“So you’re saying you didn’t start the fire, Miss? But you just said the switches are confusing,” the IPO asks. 

“I’m saying I didn’t start the fire intentionally,” Kaima replies. 

“IPO, you heard her narration. Maybe something must have loosened up to make it go wrong,” her mother states and her husband touches her in a bid to silence her. 

The IPO admonishes Kaima’s mother and proceeds to give his inference. 

“You’ll either work voluntarily for your boss for two years or you’ll pay for the switch room in 6 months. It all depends on you. I expect to see you at the station tomorrow to learn about your decision.”

“No,” Kaima says and everyone turns to look at her. 

“No what?” the IPO catechizes. 

“No, I won’t come tomorrow because I already have my answer. I’ll work for her.” 

“Fine then,” the IPO says as he gives Kaima the required document to sign while her father watches in dismay and her mother with sadness and pity. 

“I’m so sorry sis,” Cheta says while she consoles her sister as they all sit in the sitting room talking about what had just happened. 

“Kaima,” a voice says and everyone turns to look at him. 

“What?”, Kaima asks her youngest brother. He hands over the phone he’s holding to her, she receives the phone and sees it’s Cheta’s phone. 

“What am I suppose to do with it?”

“Read what’s written on the screen,” he tells her. 

Seeing Cheta’s reaction, Kaima becomes eager to read what is displayed on the screen. 

As she reads through, her face turns red in anger and she looks up at Cheta in fury. 

“How dare you, Cheta?” She says standing up quickly and moving to hit her but her mother obstructs her. 

“What’s wrong Kaima?” She demands. Kaima presents the phone to her mother who in turn gives it to her father and the disgust they felt at that moment is visible on their faces. 

“Cheta,” her father calls out. 

“So you sabotaged me. You tampered with the switch room and made me burn that place so I could seem like the bad person. My own sister. Imagine her friend is even her accomplice. Why Cheta? Why would you offer to talk to your boss about giving me a job and then turn around to betray me?”

“Will you start talking now or I will give you the beating of your life. Answer her, she’s talking to you,” their father thunders. 

As she shakes all over with fear, “Kaima is a graduate and immediately she got to my workplace, she found favour in the eyes of my boss. Why does she always have to get better things?” Cheta explains sobbing. 

Their mother shakes her head in sudden disappointment as she sits down and watches. 

“You disappoint me Cheta. I had high hopes in you,” her father says. 

Everyone becomes silent for a while. 

“I think you’d have to report her to her boss so they’d give her the punishment she deserves,” Muna suggests breaking the silence. 

“No please, Sister Kaima, I’m sorry I allowed my emotions to get the best of me. I’m truly sorry, please,” Cheta apologizes as she gets on her knees. 

Kaima sits down and remains silent for a while and everyone gazes at her as they wait for her to speak.  

“I’ll do as I have told the Police. And as for you Cheta, I’m cutting you out of my life.” Cheta’s eyes widen in shock. “I don’t want to see or talk to you for as long as I can be able to assimilate what you’ve done. Mum, Dad, I’ll be in my room.” 

With that, she stands up and leaves the room. Their mother and Muna turns to look at Cheta as she sits in the chair with regrets. 

An explanation

I knocked on the gigantic gate and waited for a response. The gate opened and a bodyguard stepped out.

“Yes how may I help you?” he asked searchingly.

I brought out my police badge and held it up to him, “I’m a police officer. I am here to see Abigail.”

“Do you have any appointment with her?”

“No but it’s urgent.”

“All right, wait here,” he told me as he went inside and shut the gate.

I waited for a while before he opened the door again and ushered me in.

“Thank you,” I told him as he led me to Abigail.

I sighted the bodyguards that guarded every corner of the house. Her compound was magnificent with the outdoor decors and expensive lights and fittings; one wouldn’t want to ever leave this place.

We got to the main door which was made of glass and the aid inside opened it for us.

The interior decor was mind blowing and exquisite. I was proud of what she had done for herself.

Abigail Linus was an influential and rich lady whose business interested every police department in town. No one knew what she does to give her all the wealth she’s got. All that is known about her is that she left the country with nothing and returned as a multi-billionaire. The police had been watching every move she made for the past seven months to find anything that might incriminate her.

“Ma’am, here he is,” the guard told her.

She turned to face us and my eyes beheld a very beautiful and refined woman.

“Hello, welcome to my home,” she said smiling. She was indeed a lady with class.

“Thank you.”

“So to what do I owe this visit?” she asked gently.

“I would like to talk to you now if you don’t mind,” I said politely.

“Well I’d like to but I have a meeting now. Can you wait? It’s not going to take much time,” she said smiling charmingly.

I thought about it for a while, “Okay then, I’ll wait,”

“Great. Lisa,” she called out.

The robust lady appeared from one of the rooms, “Yes ma’am.”

“So what would you like to do and have while I’m gone? Anything you want at all; food, drink or you could use the private swimming pool, the spa or the club center. Anything you want at all,” she asked me still smiling.

“Nothing,” Immediately I said that, I saw the help look at me with surprise. “I’ll just stay here and have some wine.”

“Are you sure that’s what you want?” she asked me as though she too was surprised.

“Yes I’m sure,” I replied her smiling this time around.

She sighed, “Fine then. Lisa, get the gentleman one of our best wine.”

The aid nodded and left.

“All right, I’ll see you soon. Please feel free,” she said and left with the bodyguard.

I looked around, unbuttoned my blazer and sat down.

Lisa served the wine. It was a great wine indeed.

After sometime I could sense someone was watching me and it was confirmed when I heard whispers so I tried to listen closely and from what I heard, it seemed that Lisa had gossiped to her colleagues that I refused everything I was offered and requested for wine unlike most men or cops who would visit and order for everything they could lay hands on.

After almost forty minutes of waiting, I finally heard her voice.

“Hope I didn’t keep you waiting?” she asked as she rushed to sit close to me.

“No you didn’t. I actually had a good time.”

“That’s good. Are you hungry?” she asked me.

“I guess so,”

“Lisa,”

“Yes ma’am,” Lisa answered as she entered the room.

“Serve us lunch.”

Lisa nodded and left.

“So what did you want to talk about?” she asked me.

“I’m not here as a cop. I’m here as Jake,” I replied her in a soft manner.

She exhaled deeply, “That’s a relief.”

“You didn’t seem like you were bothered about me being here as a cop.”

“We are not supposed to let the world see how weak we are,” she said as she winked at me.

“So go ahead, I’m listening,” She urged me.

I sighed and turned to face her completely, “Abigail, I came here today to know why you zoomed of on me. I want to know why you left and ghosted on me just like that. I need an explanation, that’s why I’m here so we could clear things out.”

She looked at me and I could see was uncomfortable. She looked away and was silent for a while.

“I couldn’t face you. I couldn’t tell you about what I was embarking on. I knew you’d do everything to stop me once you knew. I couldn’t face you so I had to do the only thing that was easy for me to do.”

“Break up what we had for so long and leave without saying goodbye?” I asked her.

“Yes. It was hard but staying with you wouldn’t have given me the life I wanted. You were an upright cop but poor. That wasn’t what I pictured for me,” she explained.

“And I am still that upright cop,” I told her with a heart that just got broken the second time.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you Jake,” she looked at me with pity and I hated it.

“So it’s true you are into shady businesses?”

She looked away from me but I got my answer.

“I hope you never get caught. Anyway thanks for clearing me on this,” I told her as I stood up, buttoned my blazer and left her house.

I had lost her the second time.

My PA’s boyfriend

It was December 11 and the morning lacked any brightness because the weather was dull but it was worse for her because she couldn’t fathom why she felt so restless today. She could sense an awkward feeling.

  She walked lazily towards her car and stood there just staring at the car. After about two minutes, she opened the door and got in. She turned the ignition and started the car; she put her hands on the steering wheel for some time and sighed. As she drove out of the compound, her eyes caught the sight of him locking his door and he was dressed and ready to go out. She pretended not to have seen him and drove out.

At 27, she had achieved a lot for herself. Manager of a distinguished multi-million company, Author of two best-sellers and owner of an exquisite mall. She’s a dark skinned beauty, 5’5ft tall with a bubbly personality, intelligent and kind.

“Miss Shantel, are you okay? You’ve not said a word to me since the Good Morning we exchanged earlier on. I hope you’re fine?” her concerned personal assistant who was eager to know what was going on asked her as she could not bear the silence anymore. Her boss was the lively and jovial type and always had something to say. Her silence was disturbing.

Shantel didn’t move a muscle; it was as though the question was not directed to her.

So she decided to ask again, “Ma’am I asked if you’re okay?”

Shantel looked up from the papers she was signing, dropped the pen and used the tips of her fingers to rub her forehead for some time and then she spoke, “Lola, I’m okay. I guess it’s just a normal mood swing or maybe I woke up on the wrong side of my bed today but I’ll be fine. It’s nothing serious, I guess by tomorrow I’ll be fine. Just wipe that worried look off your face and go back to work.” Shantel told her as she resumed what she was doing.

Lola stood and stared at her for a while before she replied, “If you say so.”

She shook her head and walked over to the neatly arranged shelf to continue sorting out the documents as she was doing before.

After sometime, she checked her wristwatch and exhaled, “its 1:48 pm already, soon Danny will be here with my lunch. I told him to buy yours too. It’s from my favorite restaurant.”

Shantel looked up from what she was doing and gave Lola a fake smile.

At exactly 2 pm, three soft knocks came on the door.

“Come in,” Lola said out loudly.

He popped his head as he opened the door. “Sorry Miss, I was told she was in here so I decided to come in here. Hope you don’t mind?” he asked gently.

Lola giggled, “it’s okay. I’m sure she doesn’t mind. I already informed her. So come on in.”

He entered and showed the fancy nylon of food he was holding. Lola stood up to hug him and take the food from him. Shantel stole glances at them from time to time as they talked softly and giggled at their silly gist or so she thought. She was jealous of the happiness she saw on her face. Although she resolved to live her life without being in a relationship because she wasn’t ready, she still wanted to feel loved by a man and sadly, the one she nursed feelings for wouldn’t even notice her subsistence.

She was induced back to reality when Danny spoke to her, “Miss, I’ll be leaving now. Nice to see you,” he said to her.

She had to fake a smile again, “Oh, all right. Nice to see you too and thanks for the lunch.”

“It’s nothing. Will do anything for my Lola?

“Of course,” Shantel murmured.

“All right ladies, bye and enjoy your lunch, Lola,” he said smiling as he left the office.

“Of course I will,” Lola said with her mouth full.

As soon as the door closed behind him, Shantel said hurriedly, “Lola please pass my own plate of food.”

Lola’s mouth opened wide in amazement, “I thought you were not in the mood to do anything,”

“Am I not working? Madam abeg bring that food here, my mouth is watering already,” she told her with a stern look.

Lola stood up, picked up the food and took it to her.

She collected the food from her and opened it rapidly and started eating.

Lola laughed and shook her head as she walked back to where her food was, “Hunger can make even the worse feeling disappear for a moment. I really hope she doesn’t come to work like this tomorrow,” Lola said under her breath.

Some hours had passed by, Shantel looked down at her wristwatch and yawned, “I’m so tired, I’ll be going home now,” she said as she arranged her table and put the documents and laptop in their place.

She picked up her bag, put her phone it and reached for her car keys. As she walked towards the door, “Lola, I’ll see you tomorrow,’ she told Lola.

“Okay ma’am, I’ll be rounding up soon too,” Lola replied.

“All right then, bye dear,” Shantel said.

Her phone rang and as she tried to reach for it, she lost control of the steering for a while as the bad mood was still rubbing off on her and that made her careless for a moment. As soon as she looked up, she realized she almost hit someone and when he started yelling, she saw that it was him and she had to drive past him as fast as she could because she felt ashamed of herself. What was he even doing in the estate, trekking?

She drove into her compound, stayed in the car for a while before she sighed and got down. Her heart was racing as she looked across the street and saw him going into his house. He didn’t even turn to look at her or even give her a bad eye for what she just did. He never showed he noticed her and she felt certain he wouldn’t even care to listen even if she tried to apologize. She just shook her head and headed straight to her door. She put in her key, turned it, the keyhole clicked and she turned the knob, the door came open and she went it and closed the door behind her. She dropped her keys on the table close to the door, removed her heels and dropped her bag on the sofa. She walked to the kitchen, over to the fridge, opened it and reached for a bottle of water and a glass. She poured the water in the glass and gulped all of it.

She kept the bottle and the glass back in the fridge and walked back to the sitting room to pick up her bag and headed up the stairs to her room. She opened the door and went in straight to the closet to put her bag in its place after taking out the important things and laying them on the bed. Then she remembered she had forgot to bring her shoes up but she was still too tired to go get them. She decided to take a warm bath first and see what she could do later. She unbuttoned her shirt as she stood in front of her dressing mirror; she savored the moment as she let the shirt slip gently off her body. She slipped out of her skirt and was left with just her bra and panties covering her nakedness. She unhooked her bra gently and let it drop to the floor revealing her firm and beautiful breasts. She stared at the mirror for some time relishing the beauty she was seeing at least that managed to put a smile on her beautiful face. She wasn’t actually the tall model figure but she was extremely beautiful in her own way. She took off her panties and walked to the bathtub, slid into it and drifted away into another world.

The house was so dark and silent that any noise no matter how little it was could be heard. The sound of the squeaky sound of her door jerked her up from her sleep. She didn’t realize she had fallen asleep in the tub for that long. She hurriedly stepped out and reached for the bathrobe and slipped it on. She tried to turn the lights on but realized they weren’t coming on as she flipped it on and off. She wondered what the problem could be. She heard the squeaking sounds again and turned around in fear. She went down the stairs gently and carefully without any slippers as she tied her robe. The sound of her heartbeat and breathing became loud as soon as she walked to the main door and tried to open and it came open but she was sure that she had locked it when she came in. She wondered who would have broken into her house, she concluded that only a criminal or someone who had a plan and had studied her house could break in and toil with her lights. “Damn,” she said as she remembered she forgot to bring her phone so she could she could use the torchlight. Why was she forgetting things today? It was unlike her. Her eyes caught the sight of her white shoes she forgot at the side of the table, she bent down gently and picked it up.

She swallowed hard and with fear she approached the kitchen as she heard noises coming from there. Her legs froze but she held firmly to the shoe as she saw the figure standing over the kitchen table and playing with her knives.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?” she asked him with trembling lips.

The figure didn’t respond but turned to her and started walking toward her, “If you come any close, I’m going to hit your head with this,” she threatened him with fear. She was entirely overwhelmed with fear. He didn’t listen to her threats instead he continued going close to her. As soon as he was close to her, she saw it was a masculine figure that had a hoodie on and as she tried to raise the heel to hit him, he grabbed her hand and knocked the shoe off her hand. She wriggled her wrist and struggled to loosen his grip on her but she was just wasting her time as she was no match for him. He turned her back to him and tied her hands to her back with a belt. He pushed her to the seat he had already kept for her. He made her sit down and then he tied her legs and body to the chair with more belts.  Shantel was trembling and sweating profusely. He stood in front of her for some time before he left the kitchen. He didn’t shut her mouth so she decided to shout, “Hey, where are you going to? You can’t leave me like this. Come and untie me.” When she realized her screams weren’t helping her situation, she started struggling to free herself but she had been tightly buckled with the belts. Shantel didn’t know whether to feel scared anymore or confused but it has been long since he left and he hasn’t showed up. Could it be that he was stealing her stuffs? No wonder her day had been dull since morning, it was because something would happen this night, and these events were giving her goose bumps. Does this mean I won’t celebrate this year’s Christmas?

The lights came on and she looked at the ceiling, frightened, she could see her kitchen was still intact just that the chair she was on was close to the gas cooker. What the hell was this psycho trying to achieve with all these? Her head was bent when he walked in. She heard his footsteps and raised her head up. He walked over to the fridge and poured himself some juice.

“Shantel, Shantel, Shantel,” finally he spoke and turned to face her.

Her heart sank when she heard his voice and her fears were confirmed when he pulled down the hood and revealed his handsome and well-structured face. Her mouth was agape when she saw him. She was speechless.

He smiled charmingly, “Aren’t you going to yell? I see you look surprised.”

She inhaled and exhaled deeply, “Why are you doing this? We’ve not related with each other before and the first time you get to do it, this is how you go about it?” she asked him calmly.

“I can see you have short term memory, so I’ll refresh your brains. Not too long ago, you almost crushed me to death or don’t you remember that?” he asked her but this time around his smile had vanished.

She bent her head in shame, she knew was wrong.

“A normal human being would have gotten down saying sorry and check how I was doing but no, you preferred to run away like you always do.”

“Erm, erm, erm………..” she couldn’t make a statement.

“What’s up? Cat got your tongue?” he asked her.

She exhaled again, “Danny, I’m truly sorry, I didn’t mean to do what I did. I felt ashamed of myself and you know the way you always behave towards me, I just felt, you might even beat me up if I came out,” she said with regrets.

He scoffed, “But why would I beat you up? Everyone makes mistakes. I’m sorry would have prevented all these from happening.”

“You know the way you behave with me all the time makes me find it difficult to approach you most of the time. No sane person would want to go to someone who hates them. Just see what you’ve done to me because of what I did. I’m not trying to say I’m right but I’m just saying that if you didn’t hate me, you wouldn’t tie me up like an animal just for revenge.”

Her words pierced his heart and he thought for a while and she could see he looked worried. He moved closer to her and knelt down in front of her, “Why would you say I hate you?”

“I mean it’s obvious. Just imagine you live just opposite my house and we never see eye to eye and when you come to visit your girlfriend in the office, you act like I’m invisible.”

Danny laughed out very loudly and uncontrollably and Shantel felt embarrassed.

“You’re very funny. See, I don’t hate you,” he told her.

“Really?” she asked.

“Yes, how can I hate a beauty like you?”

This was a shocker to Shantel.

“I thought you hated me, then how do you explain the snubbing?”

He got up and started pacing the room. “Okay, let’s take for example, you’re wealthy, beautiful and everything perfect, you have a nice ride. Come on, you’re a boss lady. I guess I wasn’t man enough to stand up to you so I thought pretending not to see you would be the best,”

“Can you get to the point please?” she was blushing terribly.

“What I’m trying to say is I’ve liked you from the very beginning but when I started seeing you didn’t give a damn about me and then you did what you did this evening, I got really mad and decided I was going to give you a piece of me this night. It was easy to mess with the electricity conductor because they are just like mine.”

“So you’re saying you like me?” she asked with happiness unhidden in her voice.

‘Yes, that’s what I’m saying.”

She was happy to hear it but then eyes turned sad, “Then what about Lola? How can you like me when you’re dating her?”

“No, no, no, no, Lola is not my girlfriend.”

Her face lit up again, “Really? Then who is she to you?”

“You mean she didn’t tell you?”

“No, I never asked and we’ve never discussed you before,”

“Well, she is my twin.”

Shantel’s mouth opened in totally awe. “See you’ve got to unbuckle me so I can express my shocks very well. Whatttttttt? Your twin? This is a night of total revelation,” she stated with disbelief.

He smiled as he moved close to her and unbuckled her slowly. She could feel his breath on her neck as he bent over her shoulder. It was soothing. He finished unbuckling her and helped her stand to her feet as they smiled at each other. She rubbed her wrists as they were still hurting.

She looked at him shyly, “I’ve a confession too.” His looks told her he was listening but he continued rolling his belts.

“I’ve always liked you too but I felt you might not take me seriously that was why I always acted the way I did whenever I saw you but deep down, I really really like you. You have no idea how jealous I got every time I saw you with Lola,” she said and covered her face as she remembered how foolish she was to have thought they were dating.

He smiled and placed the rolled belts on the chair.

“So now we know how we feel about each other, what are we going to do about it?” he was being sexy with her and he relished the smiled he had put on her face. Finally what he yearned for was going to be a reality. He really wanted to hold her in his hands not forcefully this time but idealistically.

She smiled and bit her lips as she moved slowly towards where he was resting on the sink and placed her right hand on his broad chest. He dragged her so closely to him that her bosom was touching his chest. He pulled down the robe from her left shoulder, lowered his head a bit and placed a kiss on it. She inhaled deeply with satisfaction. They couldn’t hold back any longer, they had fantasied about this moment for very long and now they weren’t ready to stop. He grabbed her head tightly and kissed her; they kissed for a very long time until he carried her and laid her on the kitchen floor.

Changing my world

This dull day became worse as they stared speechlessly with their mouths agape and their hearts in shambles as they saw their parents lying lifeless in their own pool of blood. This was the worst day of their lives or so they thought. Atika and her sisters cried uncontrollably.
‘’Mama, please wake up,’’ Atika shouted as tears streamed down her face.
‘‘Papa, please don’t leave us. Don’t leave me,’’ Jummai the youngest yelled out. She was too young to lose both her parents.
‘‘God will punish them. Every one of them that has a hand in their deaths will suffer and continue to know no peace in their lives,’’ Jamal the second cursed. He had always been the strong one, not just because he was a boy but because he has always felt the need to take care of his sisters and right now he knew he had to brace himself up to console his sisters.
‘’Atika, it is okay. Stop crying. They are gone, our tears won’t bring them back,’’ said Jamal as he tried to lift Atika from their mother’s cold body which she held in a tight grip but Atika tightened her grip and struggled with her brother till he freed her. He left her and pulled Jummai up from their father’s body. Her body was stained with blood, tears and sweat. He hugged her tightly and patted her back as he watched Atika cry her heart out.


‘‘Mum, please pass me the juice,’’ Elena smiled as she requested her mother to pass her the jug of juice on the dining table. They were having a sumptuous dinner.
‘’Thank you,’’ said Elena as her mum passed the juice to her.
‘’How’s the food, honey?’’ Isabela asked her husband as Elena looked up to see her father’s reaction and then she continued with her food. No doubt she was enjoying her mother’s food.
‘’As usual, you’ve not lost your touch baby,’’ said he smiling and then he continued eating.
Senator Mark gave Elena an evil eye, when he had looked away from her, she too gave him an evil eye and Isabela pretended not to notice.


Two days later, after Adamu had heard of his sister and her husband’s death, he came from his village to pick up her children to his place in his village. As the old car drove its way through the tattered village roads, they discovered that their mum’s village had developed a little bit. There were few houses built with bricks and they passed through the place where the pipe borne water was sited but the community was still poor. When they arrived to their uncle’s house, it too was made of bricks and the sitting room was neatly furnished but not with expensive furniture though. The sofas, centre table, radio and standing fan looked like they had already being used till the owners had no use for them anymore. They marvelled when they saw electricity and how it could produce light and air without effort. His wife was one of the few women that were from families that their parents could afford to send to school to receive primary education and now, she is a teacher in the only primary school in the community.


‘‘Elena, where are you going to this early?’’ Senator Mark asked his daughter when she descended the stairs gorgeously dressed. She was a bit surprised with the question,
‘’Dad I’m going out. Any problem?’’
‘’I know you are going out, but where?’’ he asked.
‘’You know where,’’ she answered smiling as she walked out the door.
With an angry voice, he yelled his wife’s name, ‘’Isabela, Isabela.’’
Isabela quickly came out of the kitchen. ‘’Honey, you called. What is it?’’ she asked looking at his face like she was searching for answers.
‘’You better warn that daughter of yours. She won’t drag my name to the mud. Warn her to stop daring me. She won’t be able to withstand my venom,’’ he warned.
Confused, Isabela said, ‘‘my love, you know she has had this dream right from her childhood. We can’t stop her. We have tried and failed. You should know that Elena is very stubborn. Despite all we’ve tried to prevent her from doing this, she still won’t listen. Please take it easy,’’ said she as she touched his chin and rubbed it. Isabela was scared that the relationship between her child and husband was turning sour.
‘‘I’ve told you what I have to tell you,’’ he said as he removed her hand from his chin and walked out.


It’s been two months since Atika and her siblings started living with their uncle.
‘‘Atika, Atika, Atikaaaaaa,’’ Ladi yelled from the sitting room.
Atika came in running from the backyard. ‘‘Yes Aunty,’’ she said with fear.
‘‘What were you doing?’’ Ladi asked with a stern look.
‘’Erm, I was…………. I was……….. I was sweeping the backyard,’’ she said shaking.
‘‘Well, that’s your little business. I want this house sparklingly clean by the time I get back from work and I mean sparklingly clean.’’
‘‘Okay ma,’’ Atika replied.
‘‘Good,’’ she said glowering at her.
As Atika turned to leave, ‘‘Ehn ehn, Atika, when you are done with everything in this house, I want you and Jamal to go and buy some roasted fish from the junction for my husband,’’ she informed her as she handed her a 200 naira note.
‘‘Okay Aunty but what about Jummai?’’ Atika asked her.
Ladi gave Atika an evil eye, ‘‘what kind of question is that? Is Jummai a baby? Is a 7 year old not old enough to stay in a house alone? And please the last time I checked my husband is around. You must be really stupid for this question you just asked. But if you are still not comfortable with leaving her here, then you can bring her to me so I can carry her on my back and take her to work, rubbish. My friend, you and Jamal will go and get the fish. You should be grateful I’m letting him go with you. You know how far that place is,’’ she hissed, picked up her bag and left the house. She didn’t need to inform her husband she was leaving because he was still asleep.
Atika and her siblings were scared of Ladi. She was a nightmare.

‘‘Ah, Jamal it’s like I forgot the money at home o,’’ Atika exclaimed after checking her pockets and finding nothing.
‘‘Ohhhhhhhhhh, tell me you’re joking,’’ Jamal said disappointed.
‘’I’m not joking. You know what? Just wait here while I go and get it, okay? I will walk fast,’’ she told her brother.
‘‘But we have come a long way already,’’ he said sadly.
‘’It is okay. At least it is better I found out now than when we would have got to our destination. That would be worse. So just look for somewhere to wait for me, I’ll be back soon,’’ she told him as she removed her slippers and ran as fast as her legs could carry her.
Jamal looked around to see where he could wait, he spotted a little shade under an orange tree by the road, and he left the road to stand under it.
Atika turned the door knob and opened the door, as she made for their room to search for the money she paused, she was hearing cries from her uncle’s room. They sounded like Jummai’s voice. ‘’Could it be that Uncle is beating my sister?’’ she asked herself as her heart started racing. She was ready to take the beatings right now for her sister. When she reached the door, the cries were very loud and different from Jummai’s usual cries. She gently opened the door and her heart sank immediately at what she saw. She held the door tightly to stop her from falling. She watched speechlessly as her sister and the man they call ‘Uncle’ and looked up to struggled. They didn’t even notice her presence. Jummai’s cries pierced Atika’s heart and it bled. She couldn’t stand the hurt or think straight. She left the door ajar and walked slowly to the kitchen. She looked around dejectedly and went for the pestle she considered the only available weapon. She picked it and carried it to his room. Atika raised the pestle up and with all her strength which she didn’t know existed, descended the pestle on his head. Adamu screamed and tried to look up but Atika didn’t give him that chance. She hit him and hit him and hit him till his brains scattered all over the bed and floor. All her strength left her immediately as she dropped the pestle, shaking with tears, she staggered back to the wall close to the door while Jummai folded herself and kept crying.

After standing on the road for almost two hours, Jamal began to wonder why his sister was taking this long. He couldn’t take it anymore so he decided to head back home.
‘‘Atika, Atik…….’’ Jamal paused as he entered his Uncle’s room. Immediately he threw up at the sight of the shattered brains. ‘‘What happened here?’’ Jamal asked thinking the touts had done the same thing they did to their parents to their Uncle. Atika didn’t even look at him, she was just sitting down and staring at Jummai who was just sobbing now after being tired from crying. When Jamal saw that Atika wasn’t ready to give him any answers, he moved to Jummai who was curled up. He touched her face gently, ‘‘Jummai, what happened? Please talk to me.’’
With a cracked voice, she explained, ‘’Uncle called me into his room to sweep, while I was sweeping, he lifted me up from behind, he put me on the bed and and and………..’’ she started crying again as she revealed her blood stained dress. Jamal’s eyes widened as he saw it. His eyes also went in the direction of Jummai’s pant that had been removed forcefully by the Uncle. He swallowed hard as he got up and started kicking the bed so hard, ‘‘No, No, No, NOOOOOOOOOO, this did not happen. Why? Why? Why?’’ he cried as he carried Jummai from the bed, went over to Atika and held them together.
At 4:47pm, Ladi almost fainted when she saw her husband’s body with the head smashed. ‘’What happened here?’’ she asked with shock as she bit her shaking fingers. ‘‘Who did this?’’ she asked in tears. She read the children’s expression and because they were unable to conceal it, she needed no soothsayer to tell her what happened. She rushed to the children and started hitting them with her bag but the children didn’t move. After some minutes of crying and beating, she reached for her phone and called the local police.
They arrived twenty minutes later and arrested the children.
‘‘I’ll teach you a lesson you’ll never forget in your miserable lives for making me a widow this young,’’ she threatened them as they all marched out of the house into another rickety car owned by the police. The girls remained mute till they got to the station. They got down and were taken to the counter for interrogations.
After the interrogations, Jamal and Jummai were released and Atika was detained. The police didn’t even care to know what had impelled Atika to kill her Uncle. The children themselves were too scared to mention the reason for Atika’s action and since the children were poor and uneducated, they didn’t know the law or their rights so that was an advantage for the learned Ladi.
‘’Mrs Ladi, Atika will stay, take the children home,’’ the D.P.O told her.
She raged, ‘‘take which children home? That murderer’s siblings? How am I sure they won’t kill me too? I’m not taking them anywhere.’’
‘‘You have to take them. They are your responsibility now.’’
She just looked at him with folded arms.

‘’Okay, get out,’’ she ordered as she pulled over at the side of a lonely road.
‘‘Aunty I don’t understand,’’ Jamal said and immediately a resounding slap landed on his cheek.
‘’Are you deaf?’’ Ladi roared with a red face.
Jamal hurriedly opened the door and stepped out, he rushed to the back door, opened it and carried Jummai out. Ladi zoomed off immediately almost brushing Jamal’s leg. They stared into blank space, they didn’t know where they were neither did they know where to go.
‘‘Brother Jamal, why did she drop us here?’’ the scared Jummai asked.
Jamal patted her hand as he was still holding it, ‘‘Jummai, I don’t know ooo. I don’t know but you know what?’’ he asked Jummai and she shook her head. ‘’Let’s keep going this way,’’ Jamal pointed the way Ladi’s car had gone. ‘’Since that’s the way she went.’’
Elena opened the door and stepped in chewing gum. It was 8:43pm so she entered quietly.
‘’And where are you coming back from by this time of the night?’’
Elena paused as her father’s voice startled her. ‘’Good evening dad, I thought you’d be asleep by now,’’ she said as she swallowed her gum.
‘’It should be Good Night not Good Evening but you have not answered my question,’’ he shouted.
‘‘Well Dad, where I went to is none of your business. I’m old enough to go anywhere I want to,’’ she retorted.
He stood up, ‘‘Old enough,’’ he laughed. ‘‘Old enough you say? You call twenty years old enough?’’ he asked her as he moved closer to her but Elena didn’t even move an inch.
‘’Dad, we know that the only reason why you are picking on my age, where I go to and my time of coming back to this house is just because of the kind of life I choose to live. If I was living the life you wanted for me, I know you wouldn’t be so angry at the slightest thing I do. If you give me the best of everything, then why can’t………’’
He cut her off before she could finish her sentence because he knew where she was heading to, ‘‘we won’t have this conversation.’’
‘‘Oh really? I see. Then Good Night Dad,’’ she said as she walked out on him up the stairs.
‘’You are such a disgrace to my reputation,’’ he roared.

‘‘Jummai take,’’ Jamal said as he handed his sister the biscuit and water he had bought.
‘‘Thank you brother,’’ Jummai said as she received it happily.
‘‘Come let’s find somewhere to sit and eat. It’s very hot,’’ he said as he led her to a shade.
‘’Brother, how long will this continue? We have been suffering for long now. At least life was a little better with our parents. Look at Sister Atika suffering because of me,’’ Jummai complained bitterly.
‘’I don’t know,’’ Jamal said as a tear dropped. ‘‘But I believe this will end soon. I don’t know how but I have a strong conviction it will. Just be strong for me, please I need you to be for me and Sister Atika especially,’’ Jamal tried to console her.
After some minutes of silence, ‘‘Okay it’s time to take something to Sister Atika to eat, we have to hurry so we can come back before it gets late.”
It’s been eight months since Atika had been unjustly detained without any trial. Her siblings had resolved to beg on the streets. They worked hard day and night and what they got was not even enough to feed the three of them but Jamal had to sacrifice so his sisters would eat. Still, Atika grew thinner as each day passed.

During one of their usual dull days, standing under the hot sun and running after people who were not even buoyant enough and begging them for money.
‘’Pull over please,’’ Elena said to her driver as she sighted a fine young boy and a very pretty little girl looking tired and tattaered. The car stopped right in front of the siblings and everyone stared in awe including Jamal and Jummai. They had never seen such a gigantic and exotic car. Their uncle’s car was no match. Elena stepped down graciously and everyone could see she was different from them. She was sophisticated and flawless. She walked over to the children but they stepped back. Jamal was just about her height.
‘‘Hello,’’ she said smiling.
They stared at her lost because they didn’t understand English.
Elena was a polyglot so she spoke in their language, ‘‘I see you don’t understand what I said. My name is Elena and I come in peace.’’ They looked at each other and smiled.
‘‘I’m Jamal and my sister is Jummai,’’ Jamal replied her. They were so glad that someone like her could approach them talk more of talking to them.
‘‘Oh, you’re siblings? That’s nice,’’ said Elena. She took a deep breath, ‘‘would you like to ride with me?’’ she asked with the fear of being refused.
They hesitated for some time before saying ‘’Yes’’ in unison.

Elena took them to Lagos where she and her foundation for the poor was based. She took a special liking for them. She brushed them up. From their dress sense to educating them and knowing their health status. They were carriers of bacteria so treatment was commenced on them immediately. She was glad to have reached out to them in time.
Two months later, when the nurse was going through Jummai’s test results again, she saw she had skipped the test result where traces of sperm were found in Jummai’s system. Immediately she reported to Elena.
‘‘Some people are just demons in human form. How could someone do that to a 7 year old?’’ she asked a question that didn’t require an answer from the nurse. Elena was angry and furious at what poor people especially girls go through because they don’t have a voice or someone to stand for them. ‘‘Call them in. I want to speak with them now,’’ Elena ordered.
‘’Yes ma’am,’’ said the nurse as she left the office. Seven minutes later, the door came open as Jamal and Jummai walked in.
‘‘Sit down,’’ she said and they did. She stared at them for a while before speaking out, ‘‘I heard your sister was raped.’’ They bent their heads in silence. ‘’Come on, look at me and speak up. How did it happen?’’ she asked them.
Tears streamed down their faces as they recounted the experience.
‘‘That man is a monster. Your own uncle? What a shame! He deserved what he got and no one should tell you otherwise although I’m not saying what your sister did is right but I don’t blame her. So, where’s your sister? How come I have not seen her and you guys have not spoken about her before,’’ Elena asked curiously.
‘‘She was arrested,’’ Jummai replied.
‘’Arrested? By who?’’ she was surprised.
‘’By the village police’’, Jamal said.
‘’Was she taken to court?’’ Elena asked.
‘’No, she wasn’t taken to court,’’ Jamal replied.
‘‘Then where is she?’’ Elena asked again.
‘’She has been in detention since August last year,’’ Jamal replied.
Elena eyes widened. ’’What? You mean to tell me that they put a seventeen year old in prison for a crime that wasn’t intentional and still didn’t put her up for trial? What madness,’’ Elena was filled with rage. They didn’t understand why she was so angry because they had no idea that people would go to court before their fate could be decided. They felt really sad their sister had been suffering unjustly. She picked up her phone and called in her secretary. When the secretary came in, ‘‘Chioma, take them, prepare them and get their things ready. We are going on a big trip.’’


‘‘Mum, Dad. I’m travelling,’’ Elena told her parents in the night as they watched the television.
‘’Where are you going to honey?’’ her mum asked.
‘‘To a poor village in Katsina,’’ she said.
‘’But it’s not been up to two months since you came back from Katsina and you are going back again,’’ her mother said.
‘’Yes mum but this time around it’s for a different and important reason. There are some people in need of my help.’’
‘’As usual, you always help people who don’t deserve it.’’
Elena moved her gaze to her father since he was ready for this dreaded discussion.
‘’You are not going to any village again. Enough is enough with your stupidity in this house,’’ her father shouted. ‘‘You keep spending my money on these useless people. These poor rats that don’t even know their right from their wrong,’’ he added.
‘‘Yes I agree, they are poor, uneducated, they are rats but they are people like you and me, the only difference is the status and it’s still people like you and me that make them so miserable,’’ Elena retorted.
‘’No, they can never be like me,’’ her father defended.
‘’Then make them. Dad, life is not only about the good things that we the rich get, it’s also about using our comfort we have been blessed with to be comforters to those people who are not privileged to have the comfort they deserve. Dad, you and I know that the reason why this people are suffering and are less privileged is not because of lack of money.’’ Senator Mark couldn’t attack his daughter as she spoke, he just watched her speechlessly. ‘‘Think about the quality medical care you get, the clean and excess water supply, the education you have got, the luxury cars just for transportation and the trade policy that these poor people don’t even know about talk more of having. It’s because much of the money spent on these sectors is captured by powerful elites like you before it even reaches the poor,’’ her father cuts her off, ‘’How dare you?’’
‘‘Dad, I’m not done. If you politicians will keep failing at doing the right things then I think the most productive action I can take is to reach out to the very poor ones that are losing out and most importantly, empower them with information and I mean the right information,’’ she said in a mocking tone.
Isabela coughed.
‘‘You are acting like a fool, Elena. You dare defy me and you think you are strong enough. Listen, information by itself is not enough to empower those poor people. You can’t make those poor people you think you care for any better,’’ her father told her.
Elena scoffed, ‘‘I know that helping the people and reaching out to them is not easy but since people like you won’t give a damn then I will try and I know I’m really trying and I’m impacting lives already and I will give them the mechanism they need to hold you all, I mean all of you accountable for ignoring them, the citizens of your country,’’ she warned her father.
‘’And how do you intend to do all of these unaided, baby girl?’’ he asked with a smirk.
‘‘Oh you think I’m not capable. Well you just wait and find out and also open your ears to listen because I will shock you and you won’t stop me,’’ she said smiling as she got up and walked out.

‘’Good morning DPO,’’ Ladi greeted as she entered into the office and walked over to sit.
‘‘Good morning madam. You are welcome,’’ the DPO responded.
‘‘So why did you want me to come here? What was it you wanted to tell me that you couldn’t say on the phone?’’ Ladi asked impatiently.
‘‘Well,’’ the DPO started as he adjusted his glasses. ‘A lady came here earlier today,’ he told her.
‘‘So what’s my business with that?’’ she asked unconcerned.
‘‘Well that is where I’m heading to because it’s entirely your business. She came to request that Atika be taken to court for trial at the nearest jurisdiction court,’’ he said.
Ladi laughed very hard, ‘‘you are joking, right?’’
The DPO with his palm under his chin just stared at her until she was done laughing. ‘‘Wait, you’re really serious. But how’s that possible? The Atika I know doesn’t know anyone that would do that for her,’’ she bit her lips hard.
‘’Well it seems she does now,’’ the DPO said.
‘‘So what was your response?’’ she asked sadly.
‘’I said yes of course. She came with an attorney,’’ he replied.
Amara became tensed, ’’so what are we going to do now?’’
‘‘Well I don’t think you need any cause to worry. If Atika’s siblings found someone, she won’t be capable enough. I believe this might not favour them. There’s no cause for alarm.’’ Ladi took a deep breath after the DPO said that. She was a bit relieved. Deep down she resolved within herself that maybe the person was just trying to show Jamal and Jummai that she was concerned. After all who would want to help those poor things?

As Atika stood in the dork, she was overwhelmed with joy that tears streamed down her face. She never thought that she would see so much people in colours again. She thought her life in the open world had ended. Her joy knew no bounds as she saw her siblings looking eager. They smiled at her. She noticed the very beautiful young lady sitting close to them. She wondered who she was. On the day the request to take Atika to court was made, Elena had sent her PA instead. So neither the DPO nor Atika saw Elena.
Atika pled guilty to the charges against her after the initial appearance. Then the evidence on the charges against her were read to the jury. When they found her guilty, Ladi’s lips went in a crooked smile. She thought she had won after all but it wasn’t over yet. Her attorney was a top professional hired by Elena. With her siblings’ statements, he was able to give explanations and motives for Atika’s actions. Atika was too scared to say why she had done what she did. Report was provided to show that Jummai had been raped. Ladi became uncomfortable as she sensed the table turning. Jamal, Jummai and Elena were called to the witness stand to tell their own part of the story. After all was done, it was found that both the DPO and Mrs Ladi had both conspired to keep the young lady in prison till Ladi felt she could be released. Ladi had been paying the DPO the sum of two thousand naira monthly. The court declared Atika innocent and free to go because she would have been sent to a juvenile home for three months if she had been brought to court earlier because she had committed a crime, intentional or not. Since she had served a ten months term unjustly, she was acquitted. Immediately an arrest was issued for Ladi and the DPO.
Jamal and Jummai were so happy they screamed and ran towards their sister, they held each other in a warm embrace. Elena was happy they were happy.

‘’Thank you so much Aunty Elena,’’ Atika said in Hausa. ‘’I’m so grateful for all you have done for my sisters. God will bless you always,’’ she said with tears.
‘’You’re welcome Atika, they are my responsibility so no need to thank me. And call me Elena, no need for the formality,’’ Elena told her and just then, Atika went on her knees, ‘‘Thank you Elena,’’ she said crying.
Elena took her hands and raised her up, ‘‘I’ve heard you, please get up. It’s okay. Stop crying,’ she said softly as she hugged her. ‘‘I’ll make you and your siblings’ better people and I’m sorry for all you’ve gone through. You didn’t deserve it but it’s all over now. No one will ever hurt you all again,’’ she assured Atika as she patted her back.

Four months later, Elena, Atika, Jamal and Jummai, Elena’s influential friends who stood with her and supported her quest and all her aids left the city for Atika’s village to reach out to the villagers there and give them hope. When they arrived, the villagers marvelled at how polished Atika and her siblings were when they recognised them. Elena had taken good care of them just as she had to the other children she had in her care. Some who had been with her for a long time have been taught to stand on their own and make a name for themselves with their own lucrative businesses.
Elena spent two days surveying and starting what she came for. The third day, she planned to speak to all the villagers. The microphones, stage and speakers were set up for Elena to speak to the people. They started with music so it would attract them to the area. In no time, the place was full and bubbly.
‘‘Good day everyone,’’ Atika greeted and round of applauses followed. ‘‘I don’t need to introduce me or my siblings to you all,’’ she said smiling. ‘’I know you all know our story from how we lost our parents to how we left this village with my Uncle to live in my mother’s village. But what you don’t know is what I want to tell you. The person who came here to take us away claiming to be our Uncle raped my sister when she was just seven years old,’’ their gasps and curses made her pause. ‘’He raped a girl who was not old enough to have sex, a girl who wasn’t ripe enough to hold or take in a penis, a girl who had and has not fully grown into a woman and he abused her and took her pride away,’’ she looked away from the crowd and turned her head to look at her sister as Jamal held her hand. Then she faced them again, ‘‘I couldn’t bear the pain so I killed him,’’ murmuring was heard in the crowd. ‘‘I don’t know if he deserved what he got because till today, I still wish I didn’t have to stain my hands with his blood but I couldn’t stop myself. My emotions got the best of me. Maybe if I wasn’t ignorant, I would have controlled my emotions and allowed justice take its toll. I paid my price though. I spent close to eleven months in prison and I suffered but I suffered not just because I was there but because I couldn’t bear knowing that my brother and sister were out in this wicked world on their own but God sent an angel, a selfless, wonderful and amazing being to help take care of my siblings in my absence. What I couldn’t have done even if I was here. Many people in her shoes would never look at our faces or even imagine how we felt but she’s different and she’s the best thing that has happened to so many people who do not have a voice. I’m happy she took care of my siblings, came to my aid and rescued me.’’ She smiled and turned to Elena then back to the people again, ‘‘Please let’s welcome Miss Elena Olabanji, daughter of Senator Mark Olabanji,’’ Elena came forward to hug Atika and the crowd applauded. Her charming smile made them cheer more.
‘’Good day my good people, I come in peace. I know you have suffered for long. It’s time for a new dawn. I’m sorry that you have all been suffering this way. I’m sorry that poverty has taken its toll on you all. The lack of health care, water supply, sanitation, electricity, transport, labour market and trade policy is making life so difficult for you. We are going to make all that available for you including education and infrastructures because they are important for escaping poverty especially for your children,’’ as she spoke, everywhere was calm and not even a pin was heard. ‘’I know some of you might think that this little community you habit is the only thing that matters in this world and there is no money to achieve all these but the money is available and there are people who know where this money goes to. Overcoming government failures is difficult, I agree but it is as a result of the interests of some powerful groups in the society most especially the government officials and politicians who are resisting attempts to reform. People like my father.’’

As he watched his screen from his sitting room with his wife, he was filled with anger, ‘’finally this girl has disgraced me on National TV. Are you seeing what she is doing? She has succeeded in dragging my name to the mud,’’ he gazed disappointedly as he listened to what she said while his wife remained mute. ‘‘Why are you silent?’’ he asked her.
‘‘What do you want me to say? All I know is that I’m for the truth and that’s what Elena is doing. So I don’t have anything to say.’’
‘‘I knew it that all these while you were not scolding her was because you were taking on her side,’’ he shouted.
‘’On her side? You are both my family so I’m not taking sides. Like I said I am for the truth.’’
He shook his head and stared at his wife confused as she continued watching the TV.
‘‘The government itself is captured by its special interests but perhaps the most productive action to take is by empowering ourselves with information. We are going to give ourselves the mechanism to hold politicians accountable for ignoring the citizens of their country. We are going to promote your access to information because technology will help us to achieve that because the fact that one in two Africans has access to mobile phones has made it easier to reach anybody. So as my friends come close to you, accept the cell phone they give to you,’’ she informed them as her aids went around sharing the small smartphones she had bought. Each person that a phone was handed to smiled in appreciation. ‘‘I know it won’t go round but we are going to teach you how to use it to campaign on social media so they will hear us and finally see us and they will know that we are tired of being neglected, tired of suffering and tired of being ignorant to the things around us. If they fail to hear our cries then the world will see how they have abandoned us and we will make them restless.’’
On hearing that, the crowd jumped and cheered. Atika and her siblings couldn’t contain the happiness that they joined in the jumping and cheering as well.
She continued, ‘‘as we speak an AJJ school and clinic is in construction in this village. AJJ stands for ATIKA, JAMAL and JUMMAI because I want them to be remembered as the first siblings, the first people to be educated and liberated from this village. And you don’t have to worry about spending anything to be attended to. Send your children to school, lets join our hands to make our children better especially the girls who are abused everyday by men, they need to find their voice to speak up and bring those beasts to justice. We need to help and teach them to overcome their fears and lose that burden they bear,’’ there was sadness in her voice but then she covered up by smiling again. ‘’But then if you feel sick, don’t hesitate to fly to the clinic, I didn’t say walk, fly.’’ And everyone laughed. ‘‘I and my friends promise to deliver to you most of the privileges the elites enjoy like electricity, water supply, transport, etc. We will try to make businesses available for your young men so they don’t resolve to robbery that would lead to bloodshed. I’m not promising the best but I will try my best because you all deserve what I deserve. It is time for transformation,’’ she smiled contentedly.
The crowd shouted, clapped and cheered that it seemed like the whole village would tear in two.