My Run Your Time

We alighted from the car after he had parked in the lot. I was so angry and frustrated that I had been towed there that Sunday. For God’s sake, I thought Sundays were for rest. 

“I have told you to stop wearing short dresses if you won’t wear them properly,” dad said as he dragged my dress down. 

“Dad stop this thing you are doing,” I angrily mumbled to him and he gave me a bad look. 

Sophia chuckled in front of me and it was I and mum’s turn to give her the bad eyes. 

We went into the hall. I’d admit it was beautifully decorated. They put a lot into it. 

I hissed and crossed my leg as I sat close to mum. “Mum do I have to be here?” I sulked. 

“Well, your father insisted we all come. He claims it’s a special day,” she said faking smiles as she greeted some people. And I realized she was just as dissatisfied as I was to be there. 

“Just relax and enjoy it. I bet it’s going to be fun,” the annoying younger sister squeaked like a rat. 

I frowned at her, “you… you better move away from me before I pluck your small eyes out,” I threatened and she humbly moved to the end of the roll. 

My sister was a pain in my ass; like father like daughter. 

I was still furious that I had to be there. “Why couldn’t these men just celebrate their end of year party alone just like when they always have their meetings.”

My thoughts were cut short when my sister tapped me. I didn’t even know when mum moved over to where dad was seated. 

Sophia was smiling sheepishly. 

“What is it?” I asked her without blinking. 

She signalled with her head towards the door. I looked and I saw that a very handsome man and his parents had just arrived and they were exchanging pleasantries with people. 

I was still staring when his eyes caught mine and I quickly looked away. 

“He saw me,” I whispered to my sister. 

“Really?” She giggled. 

I expired and pretended to be looking at my parents. 

Merriments had already begun and everyone was having fun especially Sophia who had already blended with some girls and was carried away by their small talks. 

After about what came off as hours, “Merit, come,” dad called from where he was seated. Mum had already been hauled away by her “fellow” women. 

I stood up and readjusted my dress, I didn’t want to get one of his looks in front of all the people there. 

“Dad,” I said as I got to him. 

“Ada m,” he remarked smiling. “This is my first daughter I was talking about.” He told the men around him. 

The man who I had seen earlier with the handsome man spoke, “I saw her sitting over there looking so pretty. She’s perfect.”

I was confused, what was dad trying to do?

“He’ll like her,” the man added. 

“Excuse me. Perfect, pretty. I’m sorry what are you talking about? Who will like who?” I asked. 

The man smiled and looked at me, “My son. I think you’ll make a perfect wife. Don’t worry, he’ll be here soon.”

My eyes widened and I tittered, “wife?”

“Yes. You will make a good wife to him, Merit,” my father commented with a straight face. 

“Dad,” I called and he gave me the usual look. 

I couldn’t explain how angry I was at that moment and I couldn’t express it either. So my dad was serious about this marriage talks and now he just wanted to peddle me off like that. I stood there like a dummy in front of them, waiting for a man I knew nothing about to show up. I couldn’t believe my life was going to change soon. Me, a married woman? I wasn’t even ready to think for myself let alone for two people. A new life. What was it going to be like?

“You pushed me into something I wasn’t ready for. You ruined my life. You almost killed me. I don’t know if I can ever forgive you, dad,” Merit turns her head to the other side of the bed. 

“Ada m,” her father calls but she doesn’t reply. 

Sophia lays down beside her and hugs her from behind. 

Her mother after staring at him for a while, “Did I not warn you? I told you all that glitters is not gold. You said let us try this gold. You said she’s taking too much time. I told you she’s just taking her time. For heaven’s sake, she was just 24,” a tear rolls down her cheek. 

“Now see what you put my baby through. See what you put our daughter through. I knew that that fine face was a demon from the very first day I saw him get angry at that party over a mere wine bottle that was broken by that poor boy. A wine that did not even concern him, bottle or wine did not even touch him. It was so glaring that he was a mad dog waiting to be unleashed and today, he intentionally broke a wine bottle and stabbed my child all over with it. The child I carried in my womb and suffered for, he almost killed her.”

She shakes her head, “somebody’s husband. I don’t care how long this abuse has been going on but that idiot will not escape this one.”

Merit’s father lowers his head. 

“Look at me.” 

He doesn’t raise his head. 

“Look at me Jacob,” she thunders. 

He lifts his head to look at her. 

“Now look at her,” she says in sobs. 

He looks towards the bed and her state pierces through his heart. He shivers. 

“Yes, I hope your conscience can handle this,” she swallows. “If not, I want Ebere to suffer like my daughter is doing right now.” 

She daringly looks into his eyes. Then she dries her eyes and strolls out of the room. 

Jacob sniffs, lets out a heavy sigh as he takes his eyes off Merit’s bed and leaves the hospital room too. 

Merit bursts into tears and Sophia tighten her hug. 

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. 

MY MIRROR

She takes her eyes off the wall clock, turns around and puts her hand on her head as the pistol dangles in her left hand. 

She looks at the well built guy on her left and then the short round guy by the doorway and she giggles. 

Sluggishly, she takes her hands down and taps the pistol on her lap continuously. 

And then, “Marvellous,” she screams startling everyone. 

“You are wasting my time. Let’s just make this easy for ourselves so you and I can leave this place in peace. My patience is running out,” she says as she smiles. 

“Why is Catherine doing this?” Makuo asks. But she doesn’t answer him. Not because she was scared and he could see that but because she was torn between rage and regret. 

 Catherine inhales and exhales deeply, she opens her eyes now filled with hatred and suffering. 

“Boys, tear this house down and bring them to me,” she orders and immediately unpleasant sounds of broken objects fills the room as they carelessly scatter things. 

As the only object close to the TV, the boys give themselves the go ahead look as they pull the shelf down together. A smirk appears on their faces. 

She looks up as they push the couple to where she’s sitting. 

Her charming smile returns, “Oh well, look at who we have here. I must tell you, that was one good hide and seek game you put up. I’m thrilled, as usual,” she comments as she claps. 

With rage and fear now, Marvellous gaze doesn’t leave Catherine’s. 

“Make then kneel,” Catherine orders again. 

“Kneel down,” the muscly guy roars as he taps their heads. 

Her smiles gradually turns into an evil look, “Fucking bitch,” Catherine spits as she lands a resounding slap on Marvellous’s face. 

“Stop it Catherine. What has come over you?” 

Catherine tee-hees derisively, “Are you mad? One more word and I’m going to blow your fucking brains all over this room,” she threatens as she points the gun to him. Makuo swallows with a little bit of fear. 

She slowly turns her head to Marvellous. 

“I thought you were dead.” 

Catherine bites her lips and turns to him again. “Really? Well, don’t I look dead to you? Do I look alive with these scars all over my body? Do I?”

Makuo looks away. 

“Don’t look away. Answer me,” she thunders. 

“No,” he replies. 

“Good. Did you hear that? I don’t look alive,” she giggles and then pauses. 

“All thanks to you, bitch. I hate you more than I hate my body,” she voices and turns her back to Marvellous. 

Marvellous swallows. 

“I gave you everything.  I did everything for you. I loved you with all my heart. And I know you didn’t lack anything.” She laughs and shakes her head, “Marvellous I loved you like I loved me,” sadness fills her voice, “but you chose to do this to me. You let greed and jealousy come in between us. You decided to kill us. I trusted you so much that I’d do anything for you, same reason I followed you to the plantation that day and before I could say knife, you turned into a Lioness and plucked my wings.” The anger in her heightens. “You could have just killed us but no, you still wanted to have the pleasure of torturing us like animals, for three days.” She squeezes the gun, “you killed the love of my life after I begged you. I couldn’t understand why you left me alive, “she shrugs her shoulder, “maybe because you thought I wasn’t strong enough and that I would probably bleed to death.”

She exhales, “You thought me something Marvellous. If my own blood sister can make an iron go through my arm without blinking then nothing would make a tear drop from my eyes.” 

“Catherine,” Marvellous calls out softly and Catherine turns to face them, smiling. 

“This is what I wanted. To see you on your knees, crying, helplessly,” Catherine laughs hysterically. 

“You know when you know your sister’s strengths and weaknesses, you can strike anytime,” she bends over and looks into her eyes. 

Marvellous stares into her eyes too, trying hard to fight the tears as she seemed defeated, her bravery fades. 

“Catherine sighs, “this gun wasn’t for you, it was just for shows,” she walks to her back, bends over again and whispers to her, “Tell my love I said hi,” with that she slits her throat with her pocketknife. 

“No,” Makuo screams. 

She unsympathetically turns Marvellous around and pushes her to the floor as she watch her grasp her neck, choking on her blood. 

My Gaffe

“Excuse me, what did you just say?” I asked in utter confusion. 

“I’m just saying that I have seen how she bubbles with joy when she paints. I’ve never seen her that happy when she sings,” my friend explained. 

“I don’t know why she sings anyways,” my friend continued as I stared into her face, clueless. I just watched her lips move but I wasn’t listening. 

“You should see the number of followers she has on her media pages.” 

I heard her say as I came back to reality. 

Goaded with anger, I stood up stunning her as I abruptly cut her short. 

“Mercy, what’s wrong?” She asked me in wonder. 

“Excuse me Cathy. I have to go,” I told her. 

“Did I say anything wrong?” She asked. 

“We’ll have this lunch next time,” I declared as I grabbed my bag from the table and stormed out of the restaurant not minding how she’d be feeling. 

“Welcome ma,” my gatekeeper greeted but I ignored him still having that apoplectic rage all over me. I rushed into my house, dropped my handbag on the couch and headed upstairs. 

I turned the knob and pushed the door open; stepped into the room as I looked carefully around. 

I sighed and walked to her wardrobe, moved it from its closed position. I brought out everything I could find in the wardrobe but didn’t find anything relating to what I was looking for. I was so angry to think straight. 

I turned and as I bit my lips, I caught sight of the fancy white cupboard close to her bed. I rushed to it, opened it and I became fixed to that spot. 

I reached for the papers with shaky hands and I became fully aware of what Cathy had told me. 

As I went through them one by one, the only question ringing in my head was how this happened under my roof and I wasn’t aware?

I wanted to get angry. I really wanted to explode but this beautiful paintings right in my hands were telling me otherwise. Then it dawned on me; these paintings were mostly of places we’ve been to for our music tour. 

I snorted as I rubbed my nose. How did I let this happen? How could I have let my concern for my own advantage swathe me at the expense of her own happiness?

My eyes fell as I fell on my knees. 

I couldn’t believe I had been a monster. 

I felt someone watching me so I turned my head to the door and my eyes met hers. 

Clara, nonplussed, stared at me. Maybe seeing her room ransacked and me in her room didn’t make sense to her. 

I stared back at her for a while before leaning on the cupboard to help me up. 

“Clara,” I called. 

She didn’t answer but bit her lips. 

I sighed with hopelessness. 

“How could I not have noticed you were so great at painting?” My hopelessness grew as I looked into her blank face. “How could I have let my own selfish reasons blind me from the truth all this while? Oh God, what have I done?” Tears streamed down my face as I walked to her but she moved away when I got to her. 

I stopped and turned to her, “My darling, I’m sorry. Forgive me,” I uttered. 

I saw a tear drop. 

“Please don’t hate me,” I said to her. 

With the aid of her palm, she wiped her eyes, “I can’t hate you mum. I know you did what you thought was best for me,” Clara spoke and I could feel my hopelessness fading away. 

“But not like this. I’m not doing it the right way. I know that now. I can’t keep pushing to be me. I’m sorry. Forgive me.” 

She let her bag fall to the floor as she threw herself in my arms. “I forgive you mum.” 

Disallow

“You may kiss the bride,” the Priest passed freely. 

Without hesitation, the couple kissed and the congregation or should I say the five persons they had invited, cheered. 

Feeling uneasy, Uloma got up from the back where she had been seated watching the whole thing. She knelt with one knee as she made the sign of the cross. She got up, kissed her Holy Rosary and made to leave the church. The worried look on her face was conspicuous. 

“Uloma,” a loud voice startled her as she got to the narthex. 

Uloma looked down and saw her standing there, she held herself from spitting on her. She just gave her the bad eyes. 

“Uloma eeeeh. Is this how you are?” 

“Adanma, Ogini? What is it ehhh? Why are you shouting my name like that? Don’t you know that this is the house of God?” Uloma retorted. 

“House of God gba g’oku there,” Adanma returned. “So after warning you to tell your son to stay away from my daughter, you didn’t yield instead you allowed your son to stupidly lead my daughter to this altar. To think you even passed by my shop this morning and you didn’t deem it wise to let me know, okwa ya?” with an evil temper. 

“Look at you. So you think I was invited. Well unlike you, I found out about it and I honored the event in ‘peace’. But here you are raving like a madwoman. I don’t have time to exchange words with you. I’m leaving,” Uloma said and pushed her aside. 

“You’re leaving, right? Okay. Where is that son of yours?” screamed Adanma as she turned and started marching down the aisle to the altar. 

The couple turned to see her when they heard the screams. 

Fear crippled the bride. 

“You won’t touch my son, you witch,” Uloma yelled as she went after Adanma. 

“Did you tell her anything?” Ebube asked his bride. 

She directed her attention to him and in surprise, “of course not. How can you ask me that?” Kelechi responded. 

“Then how did she find out?” Ebube asked again. 

“I don’t know. How did your mother find out too?” Kelechi asked as her ire had been aroused. 

“I’ll kill you both today,” Adanma threatened as she drew closer. 

She made to seize Kelechi but a hand pulled Kelechi away and dragged her towards the vestry. 

“Chibuzor,” Adanma roared. 

“This girl won’t kill me.” Immediately she grabbed Ebube by the collar, “you dared me, this boy. Ebube, you dared me,” she vociferated as she choked him by pulling his tie continuously. 

“Mummy,” Ebube managed to call out as he choked. 

“Let go of my son, witch,” Uloma struggled with her till Adanma let go of her son. 

Still fuming, she ran off to where Kelechi had gone to. 

“Thank you mother,” Ebube uttered. Uloma eyed him from his head to his toe as she let out a deafening hiss. 

Knowing the exact room they were in, she walked up to the door and banged on it. 

“Kelechi, Chibuzor, open this door right now,” she ordered. 

Chibuzor looked upon her elder sister who was sitting on the floor with her wedding dress. They could hear their own heartbeats. 

“Open this door now,” she shouted behind the door. 

“No mother. I will not open this door and I’m not coming out of this place,” Kelechi found her voice. 

Adanma chuckled, ”so you girls have now grown to defy my orders. Kelechi, I ordered you not marry any man at all; rich or poor, dead or crippled but you went ahead to marry Ebube. Chim o, you’ve killed me,” she whined. 

“Why do you always think we should let you ruin our lives because you say so. We do every single stupid thing you’ve asked of us. Mother, I have not offended you in any way. I only got married to the man I love…”

“Shut up your mouth. Lover girl. I got married to the man I love,” Adanma mimicked her. 

“Yes mother, I am now Ebube’s wife and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Kelechi stated unapologetically. 

Adanma banged on the door more furiously, startling the girls. She couldn’t stand their insolence. 

“If you like break the door, I’m not coming out of here,” Kelechi vocalized. 

“Mother, we can all talk this out. Just calm down. See, Ebube is a nice guy; he’s intelligent, caring, well to do, handsome and above all, he loves sister,” Chibuzor added. 

“Shut up that stinking mouth of yours. What do you know about love, little girl?” Adanma riposted. 

“Okay o, all-knowing Mother Oracle, you will sleep out there this night. I’m not saying anything again,” Chibuzor stated as she joined her sister on the floor and held her hands. 

“And until you conceive vividly that all your reasons for always hurting us are useless, we are going to remain locked in here. If we die, we die at least it’s better than spending another minute with you,” Kelechi said as she looked into Chibuzor’s eyes. She squeezed her palms and they smiled. 

The Getaway

Ignoring the altercation between the women in front, I entered the café. 

“Irekanmi, did you see her?” Mobo asked me after I came out. 

“No I didn’t,” I replied without taking my eyes off the doorway, “and these are not all the women that came for this getaway. I think Mum should be with the others.” 

My ears started to pick up what the women were saying. 

“You have all done your part and I promised to reward you, so calm down. My girls will handle you,” she said smiling. 

“Better o,” one of the women said. 

The manner Mrs Kate left them was suspicious. My eyes followed her till she entered her car. 

As I turned away from her, I caught sight of one of Mrs Kate’s girls who drew out a gun and shot one of the woman. My eyes widened in surprise as she fell to the ground whilst the other women screamed. 

The rest of the girls pulled out their guns and started shooting at the screaming women. The women ran and I realized they were not only shooting at the women but also at the children.  

Horrified, “Where’s Seye?” I asked my younger brother. 

“I don’t know sis. He was standing right here,” Mobo replied demonstrating to his side. With mixed feelings of confusion and fear, I took Mobo’s hands and led him hurriedly to the side of the café. 

“Mobo, listen to me. I want you to gather as many children as you can and run for mum’s car. Do you understand me?”

“I do but what about you?” He asked me and I could see the fear of danger in his eyes. 

I tried to be brave, “I’ll find Seye. Now go,” I said as I pushed him to run. 

I searched with my eyes for Seye as I ran for my life. 

With tears streaming down my face, I decided to run to the garage but a figure writhing on the ground caught my attention. I ran closer and not knowing whether to smile or keep crying, I carried him up and I realized he had been shot in the leg. 

“Seye, my baby. I’m so sorry.”

“Sis, what’s going on? My leg hurts and I’m so scared,” Seye told me amidst tears. 

“It’s going to be all right. I’m here now,” I told him as I rested him on my shoulder. 

“Mobo,” I called out as I saw him running towards the garage with some children. 

“Don’t stop running. I’m behind you” I yelled racing with Seye in my arms. 

I wished I could turn back to get my mum but what if? Running towards the car, I knew she would be happier with us being safe with the other children. 

Forget me

Getting to the palace they found out that it was guarded but not heavily. 

“How do you intend to go through them?” Udodi asked her. 

“Well, there was no plan of going in the right way, was there? We stick to the plan and that’s how we are going in,” Binyelum replied. “Let’s go,” she added. 

Udodi held her hand as she made to move. 

“Binye, wait! What if you get there and he embarrasses you, what will you do? Remember all he said to you,” Udodi expressed. 

“Udo, Chidubem is my family. I know he hurt me but my heart won’t be able to get around this until he says everything to my face. It’s been two months already and I should have gotten over it but I can’t. I just need to know why,” Binyelum told Udodi. 

“If you say so. I know I can’t change your mind. Besides we’ve come this far so let’s get on with it,” Udodi stated. 

They lurked through the bushes and to the front of the palace gate. Binyelum sneaked up on the guard by the left and Udodi, the guard on the tight wrenching their necks. The maidens nodded at each other as they entered the compound. 

Cautiously making sure no one saw them, they searched every hut in the palace and hid themselves when anyone was in sight. 

The maidens met at the back of a hut. 

“He’s not in any of the hut. I searched all of it,” Udodi said softly as she breathed heavily. 

“Me too. Just the palace maids going about their duties.”

“Are you sure they didn’t see you?” Udodi asked as she looked out. 

“Of course they didn’t,” Binyelum replied. 

“I think we should leave now before anyone notices the guards at the front” Udodi suggested. 

“I’m not leaving without seeing Chidubem,” Binyelum responded. 

“But we’ve……,” Udodi was cut short by a singing voice. 

They kept quiet and listened. 

“Chidubem,” Binyelum uttered with a smile, “That’s Chidubem’s voice. He’s close.”

She traced where the rhythms were coming from into a nicely trimmed bush. She froze at the spot when she saw Chidubem playing his “ubo” and singing his heart out. When she regained her composure, she sluggishly walked towards him. 

“Chidubem,” she called. 

Immediately he stopped and turned to look at her. He was dressed in royalty. 

“Chidubem,” she said as she knelt down and touched his face. 

Tears streamed down her cheeks and it was as if the anger she held for two months till this last minute had vanished. Seeing him again mattered more right now. 

Udodi swallowed hard and turned to look around at intervals. 

Chidubem, without words stared into Binyelum’s eyes. 

“Why didn’t you keep her busy long enough?” Binyelum heard a voice ask. 

She turned back and saw the princess standing with Udodi. 

“Why didn’t who keep who busy for long?” She asked the Princess. 

“I remember you saying that you didn’t want to see Dubem anymore,” the Princess asked ignoring the question. 

“That was after you sent your messenger to tell me that Dubem wanted me out of his life,” Binyelum replied. 

“Did she touch him?” The Princess asked, this time around making it obvious she was talking to Udodi. 

“Yes my Princess,” Udodi stammered. 

Binyelum was nonplussed but quickly collected herself. 

“What is going on here? Udodi, why do you have to answer to her?” Binyelum asked. 

Disregarding her, “One job, Udodi. I gave you one simple job to hold her off but you failed. You’re going to pay for this,” the Princess blurted.  

“My princess, I can explain,” Udodi quivered. 

Snubbing Udodi, she turned to Binyelum, “And as for you, I’m going to kill you,” she uttered as she made to grab Binyelum’s neck. 

Mixed feelings of fear and confusion circumfused Binyelum as the Princess made to hold her but she grabbed her hands instead. 

“Binyelum,” she heard him call. 

Letting the Princess who was still struggling go, she turned around and their eyes met. 

“Dubem,” she said and walked over to him. 

The Princess was filled with rage. 

“Binyelum, where have you been?” Dubem asked when she got close to him. 

She chuckled, “Dubem, you told me to stay away from you; you made it clear that you didn’t need me anymore, that you’re fine without me,” Binyelum explained. 

“When did I tell you that?” Chidubem asked her, confused. 

Surprised, “two months ago through the King’s messenger after you came to play for him and you never returned,” Binyelum told him. 

Chidubem looked at the Princess and gave her a bad eye. 

“Binyelum, do you think I’d ever live without you?” He asked as he walked towards the Princess with his hands behind him. 

“Sincerely no, that’s why I came all this way to hear you say it to my face,” Binyelum said from behind. 

Staring into the Princess’s face, “I felt something leave my body when I felt her hands on my face again. What does that mean, Princess?” he asked the Princess who looked at him with disdain. 

Binyelum sighed and closed her eyes as she compassed what had happened. 

“I told you that I was not interested. Why did you have to do this?” He asked her softly. 

“Why?” He thundered and the princess shook. 

Her guards made to move. 

“One more step and you’ll all visit the grave very early,” Binyelum threatened. The guards all knew her as a fierce warrior so they all withdrew. 

She walked up to where the Princess and Chidubem were standing and gave Udodi an ear splitting slap. 

“You deceived me for two months. My friend! You know how long Chidubem and I have been together but you still chose to stab me in the back. Just so you know and I mean both of you,” she said referring to Udodi and the Princess.

“Nothing will ever separate from Chidubem and I’ll fight for us no matter the cost. Don’t ever forget that,” she said spitting in front of them. 

“Ever,” Chidubem added. 

Binyelum turned to him excitedly, “I missed you,” she said as she took off the beads he was adorned with. 

“I can’t believe I spent two months without you,” he uttered hugging her tightly. 

“It’s okay my love. I won’t let anyone one come between us again,” she assured him. 

 He drew her close and with his arm around her neck, they walked out of the palace. She feigned she wanted to hit one of the guard and they all moved back in fear causing  Binyelum and Chidubem to laugh out loud. 

The BlueVirus

I wiped my hands on my apron as I came out of the kitchen. 

“Don’t worry honey, I’ll get it,” I said to him as he made to get up. 

Justin sat back and continued with the series he was watching. 

I opened the door and a smile appeared on my face. 

 “Camilla baby,” I called as I hugged my visitor. 

I opened the door ajar, allowing Camilla in. Camilla stepped in while I closed the door. 

Still smiling, I walked over to Justin. 

“Honey, Camilla’s here,” I informed him. 

He looked up and with an obvious frown, “Hey Camilla,” then he turned back to the Television. 

“Hi Justin,” Camilla responded as she expressed a displeasing look. 

I giggled and Camilla made to sit. 

“No, don’t sit down. I want to understand what kind of greeting both of you just displayed now. What is ‘hey’ and ‘hi’? Has this lockdown made you lose the sense of proper salutation?” I asked them. 

With a scoff, “What am I supposed to say? Jump up and kiss her all over” Justin retorted. 

“That’s not what I’m saying but you guys don’t have to be so formal. We are more than,” I stated but Camilla cut me short. 

“Don’t mind him, Angel. I don’t know why he always behaves like we’re seeing each other and we’re trying so hard to act like we dislike each other,” Camilla verbalised. 

Shocked, I turned to look at her and I saw Camilla, lustfully staring at my husband. I needed no diviner to explain what I had just heard but the human in me still felt the urge to ask. 

“Excuse me. What did you just say?” I asked the Camilla who appeared to have become conscious of herself as she took her eyes of Justin. 

Camilla stared speechlessly at Esther like a child who had been caught being naughty. 

“What did you just say, Camilla?” I asked again as I looked at Justin; he sat looking shamefaced. 

I laughed, paused, I laughed again, paused then laughed out very loud. 

Pointing at them, “So the both of you are having,” not being able to complete my question because I was still laughing. 

Camilla scratched her head as she stood with pouted lips. 

“Justin, tell me that I’m just imagining things. That I didn’t hear you both well,” I said to him. 

“Baby,” Justin uttered as he stood up. 

“Don’t baby me,” I said softly using my hand to halt him from coming close. “So all these while, this display of hatred has just been a way to hide the sparks of passion between you two from me,” I cackled as I didn’t know what emotions to display at that moment. 

“Esther it’s not like that,” Camilla finally said and I gave her a stern look. 

“What is it like then? My best friend and my husband,” she scoffed. “Justin you look me in the eyes every day, you tell me you love me, you sleep on the same bed with me and you stab me in the back at the same time? You are a beast. How could I not have noticed? Worst of enemies indeed,” I turned to Camilla, “and you perfidious bit…,” I closed my eyes, heaved a sigh and opened them again. 

“I don’t have anything to say but you both can go to hell,” I said to them as I walked out of the sitting room. 

“Camilla, what have you done? What were you thinking?” Justin rushed to Camilla. 

“What was I thinking? Why are you uncovered? Your abs are everywhere!” Camilla said to him. 

“Why am I uncovered? I’m in my house Camille and neither I or my wife was aware of your visit,” Justin replied her. 

“It doesn’t matter honey. Gosh, you’re so hot,” she said as she touched him. “You know I can’t resist you especially when you’re like this,” she said as she kissed him and he responded. 

“Oh my God. This two aren’t even remorseful. I can’t watch this,” I said from behind the curtains.

“Camilla. This is wrong,” He said as he sniffed. “The food is burning. Check on it while I check on her,” he pushed her aside and ran towards the room. 

“With a glower, “Justin,” she called out softly. “The food is burning, so what?” She said as she sat on the sofa, brooding. 

Emotionally hurt, I covered my mouth and walked quickly to my room as I heard him approach me.