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. Continue reading
Yemi opened her eyes slowly. Her head felt as if a heavy weight was tied to it and it throbbed with pain. Shade Phillips came into focus, standing over her like an evil colossus. Why was Shade carrying a big object above her head like a Russian weight lifter, she wondered. ‘What am I doing in this room and why is Shade looking like a psychopath about to commit a heinous crime?’
She watched as Shade opened her mouth and spoke. The words sounded in her ears like a record set to play in slow mode. “Before…you…and…that…bastard…in…your…womb…destroy…me, I…will…destroy…you. This…is…what…happens…to…whores.” Continue reading
As Yemi laid unconscious on the floor in the Phillip’s mansion, she drifted in and out of a river of memories. One memory stood out and wrapped itself around her mind like a turban on the head of a Sikh.
Her mother and father sat on the sofa. Yemi sat on a plastic chair. The twins sat on a mat. They ate their humble meal of Amala and ewedu in silence.
‘Crash!’ The fragile door to the apartment was kicked in. It was held in place by one hinge and looked like a beggar with a crooked arm soliciting for money from passing motorists. Three men walked into the apartment. Their leader wore sun glasses although it was 8:00pm. The two men who came with him took positions by the door.
The leader removed his dark glasses. “Mr Esho, do you have our money?” the leader of the gang asked.
The mechanic stood up from his chair. “Sugar, I don’t have the money. Business has been a bit slow.” His wife held his hand and tried to pull him back, but he snatched it away from her.
Sugar frowned. “That was what you said last month. Mr Esho, this is not how we conduct our business. When you borrow money from us, we expect you to pay back when due.”
Kola bowed his head for a moment. When he lifted it, there was anger in his eyes. “Is that why you broke down my door and burst into my home at this time of night and talk to me as if I am a thief? If you want your money, be patient with me!” Continue reading
“Where are we going?” Sadique asked.
Ngozi ignored his question. “Why didn’t you terminate the maid like I asked you to?” Ngozi asked.
Sadique’s brow creased slightly but he concentrated on the road and drove.
“Why did you question me? Have you forgotten what I did for you and your family?”
Sadique gripped the steering wheel tighter. “I haven’t forgotten,” he said through clenched teeth.
“Then why are you trying to make things difficult for yourself? When I ask you to do something, I expect you to do it.”
Sadique kept his eyes on the road. “The girl is innocent. Leave her alone.”
Ngozi turned in her seat to look at Sadique’s face. She studied him for a few seconds. Lights from oncoming traffic danced on his pensive face.
“Are you sleeping with her?” Ngozi asked.
Sadique bit his lips but said nothing. Continue reading
Tinu held the phone for a few minutes, thinking of what to do about what her daughter just told her. Shade said she shot her husband. Shade had done some bad things in her life but shooting her husband now topped it all. Tinu stood up to look for her husband and found him reading at the dinning table. The daily papers were stacked on the right and his tablet was on the left. He had a bottle of red wine and a half full glass before him.
Chief Dotun Babalore looked up from the paper he was reading. “Tinu, is everything okay?”
She sat opposite him and was silent.
“What is the matter? Why are you looking so downcast?” Dotun asked his wife.
“Your daughter Shade just called me.”
Chief frowned. Whenever his wife called Shade his daughter, something was wrong. If she did something good, Shade was her daughter but when she did something bad, she became his daughter.
“What is the issue this time?” he asked.
“She had a fight with her husband.”
“A fight over what?” Chief looked at his watch. It was 10:15pm. He didn’t want to get drawn into Shade’s issues, not on a Sunday night. Shade was his second child. None of his three other children gave him as much trouble as she did. In fact they hardly gave him any problems at all. It seemed like every time Shade’s name was mentioned, trouble was brewing. Continue reading
Yemi paced the small room looking at her phone, expecting it to ring but the screen remained as dark as the night sky. She had been waiting for Sadique for over thirty minutes but he wasn’t back. Why did he rush out of the room as if something terrible was pursuing him? Why was he in such a hurry? She came out of the room and entered the main house through the back door in the kitchen. She heard Sadique and Ngozi talking upstairs. She tiptoed out of the kitchen and stood near the staircase.
“My chest. I can’t stand this pain. Ngozi please do something.”
That was Gbenga’s voice. What happened to him? Why was Ngozi in the house at this time of the night? She heard someone coming down the stairs and she quickly hid in the visitor’s toilet near the staircase. She opened the door in a crack and saw Sadique enter the kitchen and return with the first aid box. He went upstairs with the kit.
Now she was convinced that something was going on. She came out of the toilet and went out of the house through the kitchen. She entered her room, reached for the switch and turned on the light.
“Did you miss me?” Continue reading
Shade sat on the bed and held her head in her hands. She tried to make sense of the quagmire in which she put herself. She should have walked away when she discovered that her best friend wanted to destroy her life so that she could get her husband. She should have allowed Gbenga and his mistress have what they wanted instead of threatening him with a gun. The situation had gone out of hand. She shot Gbenga and almost killed him. Right now she didn’t know if he would survive the injury.
“Oh Lord,” she prayed, “please show me the way out of this situation. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t want my husband to die. Please don’t let my husband die. Oh Lord, save Gbenga for me,” she prayed earnestly with tears.
She heard Ngozi and Sadique talking in hushed tones in the hallway.
“We need to move him to the visitor’s bedroom,” Ngozi said.
“Let me get the room ready,” Sadique said and went downstairs.
Ngozi had warned her not to call or talk to anyone about the accident, but she couldn’t keep this to herself. She had to talk to someone. But who? She stood up from the bed and paced the room. She stepped out on the balcony and looked up at the starry night, as if expecting answers from a mystical being. The silence was driving her crazy. She went back into the bedroom, carried her bag and entered the bathroom. She sat on the edge of the bathtub and brought out her phone. She held it for a few seconds wondering if she should make the call or suffer the pain alone in silence.
She made the call.
“Mom, I’m in trouble,” Shade whispered, “Big trouble.” Continue reading
The silence lasted for approximately ten seconds. Life stood still. Shade saw everything with so much clarity. Her senses were heightened like that of an owl flying at night, its eyes piercing the darkness, its ears receiving, sifting through and decoding sounds incomprehensible to human ears. She heard the sound of her own heart pounding in her chest, ‘thum’, ‘thum’, ‘thum’, like three women with long pestles, pounding yam in a huge mortar, preparing for a wedding feast in the village. She saw Ngozi examine her body, searching for signs of injury and finding none. She saw Gbenga standing to Ngozi’s left, his hands hanging by his side, his face contorted in pain. Then she watched him slowly tip over.
Gbenga fell on the floor like a bag of cement. From a tiny hole on the right side of his chest, blood oozed and slowly spread on his shirt, forming a surreal pattern like the painting of a flower drawn by a deranged 18th century artist. The blood dripped on the floor forming a small puddle by his right shoulder.
“My chest, my chest,” Gbenga heaved, his breathing laboured. “Shade, why?” he asked.
Ngozi’s scent wafted into the room, menacing, an abominable stench defiling the sanctity of their bedroom.
Sweat trickled down the side of Gbenga’s guilt ridden face. He didn’t want to be in the middle of this. He glanced at Ngozi who stood at the door like a sentinel, afraid for what she might do, because she could be so unpredictable.
“Answer me!” Shade shouted at her husband who took two steps back and realised that he had nowhere to go. “Why is she in my home? Do you realise that this woman wanted to kill me today?” Shade said, pointing at Ngozi.
“Leave him alone,” Ngozi said calmly. “Look at how you shout at your husband like an uncouth market woman. And if I wanted you dead, you won’t be standing there shouting like a mad dog.”
“What?” Shade turned to Ngozi.
Ngozi entered the room. ” I don’t know how you got this man, but you don’t deserve him, you really don’t. When you are home you nag and hound him relentlessly. The only time he has any peace is when you go on your frivolous trips.”
“I nag him? Is that the lie he told you to get into your pants?” Shade asked.
“He didn’t lie to get into my pants. He didn’t have to. It was a pleasure to give myself to him and rescue him from your wicked hands.”
“My wicked hands?”
“Shade, you don’t deserve Gbenga. He is too good for you. Only God knows the unfortunate wind that blew him into your hands.” Continue reading
“Mommy, your son owns this pregnancy. If I am telling you a lie, may my ancestors punish me with leprosy or something worse,” Yemi said.
“And you want me to believe that?” Mama asked. “I don’t care about your ancestors punishing you, but you will curse the day you were born if I find out that this pregnancy belongs to someone else.”
Yemi went on her knees on the tiled kitchen floor and began crying. “Mommy, I am telling you the truth. Why should I lie about it? Your son promised to make me his wife if I keep this secret between us. I would have told you about it but I had to obey him.”
Mama shook her head. “So you have the guts to lie to my face?”
“Mommy, I swear, I am telling you the truth,” the maid sobbed.
Her tears fell from her face to the kitchen floor, forming a small puddle on the floor.
Mama regarded the maid with scorn. She looked exactly like the kind of woman who would entrap her son with a pregnancy. But she wanted the child this girl carried in her womb regardless of who owned it. Her son wanted a heir and if this maid would provide her with one, she would accept it. However she didn’t want complications in future in case the maid was lying. Mama regarded the maid who looked despondent on the kitchen floor. From her years of experience in the police force, she could tell when someone was lying. Mama was convinced that the woman kneeling before her, crying like a bereaved mother, soiling the kitchen floor with her tears, was one of the greatest liars she had ever met. Yemi was definitely telling her a lie. But she had no choice. Gbenga would take this child as his own. Continue reading