The Philips’ Residence.
Gbenga managed to lift himself up and sat up in bed. He regarded Shade with dread as she lifted the vase above her head, about to destroy his only chance of having a heir who will perpetuate the Philips’ inheritance. Yemi had proved the doctors wrong by conceiving for him. Now he was certain that Shade had fooled him all along, planning for him to die without a heir then his wealth would revert to her. He tried to move his body out of the bed but he felt so tired, so weak. He was at the mercy of Shade’s wrath and there was nothing he could do to stop the barbaric slaughter of the woman who presently carried his heir in her womb. He knew both mother and unborn child would perish at the hands of his deranged wife. He accepted his fate and waited for the inevitable to happen before his eyes. He was used to being in charge of situations and controlling the people in his life. This situation made him feel so impotent. Tears of despondency filled his eyes. The magnitude of his failure weighed heavily upon his heart.
Then Yemi screamed.
It was long, it was loud, it was shattering.
It broke the despondency that had tied itself around him like a serpent.
The scream awakened the protector in him. Her scream made him reach for some inner reserves of strength he never knew he had within his tired body. Her scream numbed the pain that went through his body. And he moved.
He moved his body-no-he threw his body in the direction of the vase. Even if he died in his attempt, at least he would save his heir. He will not lie down like an invalid and watch his future joy violently taken away from him by his deranged wife.
Chioma Uzor didn’t believe in miracles.
She loved The Lord, attended church, followed the teachings of the Bible as best as she could but there were some things which were left to the realm of the mysterious. When she prayed, she expected answers but she had never believed for anything that defied human explanation.
The closest she ever got to experiencing a miracle was back in the university of Nsukka. She was involved with Richard Ogazi, who worshipped the very ground on which she treaded. He wooed her for months then finally she agreed to date him. Richard treated her like a princess, taking her to the happening parties on campus. She feltthings couldn’t get any better until he sponsored her for summer in Europe. The five months they spent together was like a fairy tale until she got pregnant. When she told Richard about it, he told her to get rid of it. She refused to do it. She went for confession and the priest told her to pray. She followed his instruction and prayed, telling God that if He delivered her from the problem, she will become a more faithful Catholic. To say the truth, she didn’t really believe in that prayer but she did it any way. She cried continually for five days, missed her lectures and stayed in her room. On the morning of the fifth day she saw her period and she was relieved beyond words. And of course she never became a more faithful Catholic.
This situation before her eyes needed a miracle, a divine intervention of some sort or there would be mourning in the Philips’ residence by morning.
She watched as the vase was released from Shade’s hands.
She saw the vase move towards Yemi’s head.
She heard Yemi scream like an animal.
She heard Shade shout “Jesus” in total terror.
Then she saw Gbenga Philips sit up in bed with great pain, she saw the determination on his face like an olympic pole vaulter about to make an impossible leap, she saw him suddenly hurl himself out of the bed in desperation, heading in the direction of Yemi.
She put her hands on her head and watched with bated breath.
Chioma realised that if God didn’t save the woman lying helpless on the floor, if a miracle didn’t occur, if something didn’t happen to the vase, then that woman was dead.
Sadique rushed into the house, heading for the visitor’s room downstairs. He noticed Michael in the sitting room, regarded him for a brief second, decided he wasn’t much of a threat and continued to the visitor’s room. He entered the room. Chioma stood by the door with her hands on her head. Shade sat on the floor with her back against the wall and she was crying. There was blood all over the room. Gbenga laid on top of Yemi on the floor. There was a deep gash in his right hand that lay near Yemi’s head. The hand was bleeding and blood spread on Yemi’s face, body and on the floor. Sadique looked at the pieces of broken pottery scattered all over the room and extrapolated what could possibly have happened. Yemi was still in a state of shock staring up at the ceiling.
Sadique ran to his boss. “Sir, how did you get on the floor?” Before Gbenga could reply, he lifted him up and placed him back on the bed. He noticed that the wound on his chest was bleeding again and he had some problem breathing.
“You are bleeding!” He opened his shirt and looked at the gunshot wound. The dressing had come off and blood was flowing again. He looked around the room again, this time he noticed the vase had been smashed against the wall to Gbenga’s right.
He bent over Yemi. “Are you okay?” He asked noticing that three sets of eyes were gazing at him. He particularly didn’t like the way Mrs Phillips looked at him. He had to be careful before they discovered their secret relationship.
Yemi nodded. “I am fine.”
He lifted her up and helped her out of the room.
As soon as they were in the kitchen and out of earshot he embraced her. “I don’t know what I would have done if anything happened to you. Go to the room and wait for me. I need to take care of Mr Philips.”
She nodded weakly and headed for the quarters behind the house. She saw Michael sitting at the dinning table, she wanted to engage him in a conversation but thought against it. She had a more pressing assignment.
Yemi entered her room, found her phone and sat down on the bed.
She took a few deep breaths, dialled a number and waited.
“Hello!” an authoritative voice answered on the other end of the line.
She began to cry. “Mummy, it is me Yemi.”
“Why are you calling me at this time of the night? Are you okay? What is going on there?”
“Mummy, Shade just tried to kill me and the baby!”
Yemi wailed loudly into the handset.
“She even shot Gbenga!”
“She shot my son?” her voice had fear and anger in it. “How is he doing?” She asked.
“He is barely alive,” the maid lied.
The angry voice of the matriarch of the Philips clan boomed on the handset which was set on speaker phone. “I should have sent that woman away when I had the opportunity. This sort of violence would never have happened. I have made a terrible mistake,” mama lamented.
Yemi took advantage of mama’s angry tirade to fuel the situation with more lies. “Mama, as we speak, he hangs between life and death. If we don’t do something quickly, he won’t make it till morning,” more ululating.
“I want you to be calm. I will call the police and send them down there in a few minutes. That wicked woman will be arrested and thrown in jail tonight!”
“Thank you ma. You can’t imagine the kind of wickedness you would rescue me, your son and our baby from. That woman is beyond evil.”
The matriarch ended the call.
Yemi regarded the phone in her hands for a few seconds, then her face broke into a wide smile. “I will win over all my enemies,” she stood up in triumph and let out a long diabolical laughter that shook her body like a dilapidated engine struggling to come alive.
To be continued.