M.O.T.I.V.E.S – Episode 8 (Series Finale)

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Hey guys!

The final episode of M.O.T.I.V.E.S by Uneñ Ameji is here. As promised, this episode is unusually long. The compiled e-Book will be available for downloads soonest. We will keep you posted on that. Without plenty yarns, have fun and don’t forget to recommend reading.

M.O.T.I.V.E.S, a story set in old and modern-day Nigeria, is a riveting, stimulating, suspense-filled tale of a myriad of absorbing characters with Uneñ Ameji’s fluid style of delivering engaging stories of greed, love, lust and power that leaves her audience on the edge of their seats, guessing and usually clamoring for more.

The story features Nigerian Tycoon and powerhouse Bello Badmus. A man who gave power as he willed, a man who controlled Presidents, a man who put men and monsters in seats of power; Florence Ohiemi aka Naomi Mambutu and her identical evil twin Josephine Ohiemi aka KudiraT Sadika Bello who are ever in battle of wills – good and evil, where evil prevails.

In a thrilling twist, the events likened to a classic game of chess sees each piece on the board take power and lose it and take it all over again. An illusion of power, an illusion of control.

Find out if good or evil prevails after all.

Read all Episodes here

*****
Episode 8 – Series Finale

Victor Dakar – 28th August, 2011

“Business tycoon’s illegitimate son inherits estate” – News Dailys
“Chief Badmus Bello, Most Influential man in Africa disinherit family, names illegitimate son as next of Kin” – The Compatriot
“Pastor of TrueWord Evangelical Church of all Missions disinherited, mistress with love child revealed, wife files for divorce” – The True News
“Kole Badmus found dead in UK apartment, killer arrested” Concord Times
“Son, illegitimate heir to resume office, commission gas plant in Benin”
“President orders immediate relocation of the command center to Mubi, partners bordering countries” National Conscience

Several weeks after the reading of the Will at The Castle and Victor was still reeling from the effect. The increasingly sensitive expectations, suspicious managerial appointments, constant change of residence and flying out to The Castle every other week left him emotionally and physically tired. The unexpected silence from his mother despite her promise to explain why she walked him out of her life twelve years ago was more than maddening, if not frustrating. What ever happened to Bello’s wife? and her children? He wanted to know. The silence was uneasy and whenever he brought it up, she would say she had since released them. Where were they if she released? He expected some form of resistance but for the past months, it had been anything but that.
He roamed the premises of the new residence his mother had ordered they stay, like a caged cat. He had so many questions and unfortunately he wasn’t getting them. The resounding silence that answered back every single time the questions and doubt came to him made him want to scream and curse but he couldn’t. The last thing he wanted to look like was a weakling. Somehow Charity made him want to be stronger, better and that was enough for him.
He had waited with abated breath days after the reading of the Will for the headlines. And they didn’t disappoint him. They were all about him and Kudirat Bello but none about their arrest. That was suspicious but that was the least of his problem. His problem was overseeing his father’s company. His call to appoint new Board members was met without a fight and now the ongoing acquisition process left him winded. He remembered the headlines again, made up new ones and took a deep breath. Definitely it was going to look fishy – selling his father’s company barely five months after taking over as the Chief Executive Officer. He was highly conflicted.
The headlines went from hateful to furious, then to comical in the last months. It was as if the News houses wanted to outdo each other with derogatory headlines about him and Bello’s wife. The media had also been agog with tales of the Pastor Debola who had an affair with a church member and a bastard son. The embittered wife had since taken him to the cleaners but report was that the man was yet to defend himself nor did he show up at preliminary hearings. If there was ever a time he regretted the day he met Charity, it was now.
“You mustn’t look so sad” it was Charity in his boxers and cropped sleeveless see-through chiffon blouse coming up behind him as he walked in the cool garden. The two had remained inseparable since the reading of the Will and he was beginning to love and hate her at the same time.
“What’s fucking wrong with picking up your phone and calling your son?” he voiced loudly the moment she offered him the hot mug of black coffee she was carrying from the house.
Charity was also tired of the series of calls and instructions Naomi passed across. If it was not submitting a petition at the court, it was leaving a new house in the dead of the night. Moreover Victor was beginning to irritate her with his insistence whining. Naomi was his mother after all and with her new siblings, she absolutely refused to be dragged further into the Bello Badmus vortex.
He was dead and the group of evil men who were involved in her father’s disgraceful death lay in burnt pieces. As far she was concerned, she had gotten her revenge. All she wanted now was her Grandma and something told her Naomi would not find her in-house sex activity with her son so agreeable. It was time to cut the cord – whatever that meant.
In the last months, she had also endured series of outings at the Federal High Court following Naomi’s directions to initiate legal proceedings contesting the content of Bello Badmus’s Will. The woman was highly contradictory. Why would one contest a Will that left her son the sole heir? To what end? But she did not question the directive and she had filed the petition that was leaked to the press causing another week of embarrassing headlines. That also was the beginning of the Court house charade that lasted months. She served petitions refraining Victor from taking over his inheritance until a paternity test be carried out, petitions preventing him for carrying out his duties, petitions preventing for even stepping in the Castle. The result was always the same – Denied.
As a legal representative to her siblings, she had simply made a mockery of herself. The Newspapers and soft sells had a good time calling her degrading names even going as far as comparing her to her greedy father. The judge had thrown out the petition after she failed to provide her clients for testing. A fault of Naomi who wouldn’t produce the Pastor who was having his own episode of shaming and Laide whose mansion was being repossessed by the bank.
It was all happening so fast.
How the gossip magazine got their stories about her relationship with her clients didn’t bother Charity. She knew Naomi was playing a game but what game? The media loved the sordid tale of affair between her father, Nigeria’s top activist George Ajero and wife of Chief Badmus, Kudirat Bello. Their lives splashed across soft sells and major Newspaper houses were a distraction to what was going on at The Castle. It wasn’t long before Nollywood titles such as Corporate Whore in Hasso Rock made top Naira in the market.
If there was an angle to the circus, Charity was beginning to suspect that Naomi was using the distraction to her advantage and it wasn’t until Naomi told Victor to nominate new Board members and had instructed her to head the merger and acquisition team for the purpose of an outright take-over while offering a ridiculous price Naomi referred to as a bailout did she realize the grand plan of the woman. Naomi Mambutu wanted Bello Badmus’s company and had worked tirelessly to get it. One had to respect the woman’s tenacity.
“It is going to be fine” she reassured Victor by rubbing his back as she moved to go back to the house. Victor knew he was going to sign the finalized agreement in less than 24 hours and he was agitated. He was torn between preserving his father’s legacy and acting on the instructions of his manipulative mother.
“I am tired of being caught in the middle of all these” he said as he stopped her by holding on to her upper arm, stopping her from leaving.
“Me and you both” Charity tried a smile that was plastered on her face that was suffering from a major breakout.
“What does she want with his company? I can’t understand why she would keep moving us, getting all those people voted in and buying the company?” he struggled to understand and for a moment, Charity saw the conflicted child.
“Either ways, you get a good percentage. You are her son after all. What does it matter who has the company?” Charity voiced, looking away as Victor moved closer to lift her chin.
“I don’t care about being on the Board or working in any of their companies. I know she is using me and will throw me out again. She has done it before” he watched her bite her lower lips and smiled.
“You don’t believe me” he noted throwing the cup of hot coffee on the perfect lawn.
“I should?” she asked with a small smile.
“Yes, yes you should” he gave a rare smile as he found her hands and held her softly, massaging them in circles.
“Don’t” she said prying her hands from his manipulation.
“What are you going to do when all this is over?” Victor asked as they stared at each other.
“Is there an end in sight?” Charity chuckled.
“I should hope so” Victor chuckled as well and she laughed.
“Well, I will take a vacation with my grandmother” Charity said wistfully
“You have a grandmother…where is she?”
“Oh I don’t know” she shook her
“What do you mean you don’t know?” he asked finding her eyes shifting around without focusing on him.
“Naomi has her” she stated painfully, looking at her feet before removing her hands and walking back to the three bedroom bungalow sitting on a large green perfectly mowed lawn.
Victor stood watching her walk away. He didn’t stand a chance with her, his parents made sure of that.
Angered, he made to go after her when he noticed the greyish green metallic gate open and black sedan drove in.
It was his mother.
“About time too” he muttered under his breath as he watched the car drive into the parking lot.
*****

Florence Ohiemi, 26th August, 2011

Florence knew the decision to buy the company didn’t go down well with Victor. The decision was arrived at after she listened to Bello’s plan at getting rid of her and her son. Moreover, with the series of meetings she had attended with Jafal, she came to realize that several subsidiaries were mainly a cover for the funds that somehow found their way to purchasing arms and training more recruits. It funded their operations and buying the company was the only legal and smart way of cutting off the funding of the terrorists activities. She knew that to stop flow of funds, she had to handle the affairs of the company. The chip she had left behind on impulse after recording the meeting had brought her the greatest revelation and idea. Every other meeting, she improved to include photos and videos. If she was going to get Bello, she damn well was going all rhw way. All she had to do now was get Inale who remained adamant at being called Victor aware of the the situation.
Bello had been supportive over the past months, teaching her how to behave like Kudirat so that the 7-man group would not discover she was an impostor. Florence laughed at such lessons. Who was he fooling? Himself definitely. He acted as one who had her interest at heart. She followed Jafal to several meetings with the service chiefs, the arms dealers and group members. It wasn’t surprising to find sponsors from international community at such meeting and as always, she recorded the conversation on her phone and where possible took discrete photographs of the faces of the men she didn’t know. Every meeting was more deadly than the last. She knew she was risking her life but what had to be done had to be done.
When she had gathered enough evidence, she had excused herself by saying she needed to take care of domestic issues. Akin, the Vice President was more than happy to follow Jafal on his meetings.
“I see that your illegitimate son is still handling affairs” it was Jafal on their last trip together.
“It seems I must be present or do everything myself” she said refering to failure of her hit men to carry out the assignment.
“You must let the boy go soon. We are going to need more funds after the blast and you must be positioned to get us the funds” Jafal said almost in a sneer. If Florence had not heard the discussion Jafal and Bello had about her, she would have believed she was being taken serious. But it all worked to her advantage.
The irony was, while they thought they were playing her, she was the one playing them. It suited her well enough. On one hand, she was taking over his company, on the other she was gathering enough evidence to nail their coffins firm and save millions of lives that would be at stake if their plans succeeded. The only problem however was that she had no idea when the attack was going to happen. Somehow, they never mentioned it in their meetings.
“Make sure the boy is gone within a week. We can’t hold off any longer” it was Jafal as she got into her private car she had waiting for her at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport.
“That will be done Sir” she said playful and left him there.
“Ganbo, where is my son now?” she asked her ever faithful driver and body-guard of over thirty years. He had been with her through the years and his loyalty rivaled none.
“I took them to a new place” he answered as he greeted her and opened the door for her.
“Take me there please” she said as they left the airport.
“We are being followed Ma” he said as he watched a car follow them out of the airport.
“Lose him” she directed almost politely.
“Yes Ma” and he did lose the tinted car.
It was only fair that she played their game and win them at it.
The need to see Victor as soon as possible arose because he refused to sign the document after the newly inaugurated Board approved the sale and witnesses had signed their part. Charity made sure of it but failed to persuade or force her son. She knew of their affair but that was not an issue she bothered about. She smiled as she saw him stand impossibly tall and proud. If only he knew.
She came out as soon as Ganbo parked and opened the door for her. She stretched and gave a tiring smile. She was exhausted but she knew it was not yet time for rest. She had few more errands to run.
She walked in her unhurried fashion to the entrance of the house. He stood watching her approach, hands in pocket, lips held tight.
“Such a cozy property” she tried a jab. He didn’t return it. They stared at each other wearily before she smiled and nodded at Charity who came out on hearing the car drive in
“Good evening mother” he greeted finally as she beamed at him before walking past him to the house. They followed her.
“So how have you been?” Florence tried a chit-chat as she sat down comfortably taking in the quiet surrounding. Charity offered a drink she refused to take. There were no friends in the game.
“As you have commanded” Victor returned with a childish air. Florence smiled passively as she made to get her phone from her bag, unhurried.
“I suspect you have issues with signing the document” Florence said to no one in particular.
“I would hesitate too if I were you. However you must believe the worst of me to think I will take over a man’s life work without good cause. I have been away a lot because there were things, people I had to meet, information that would benefit a lot of us” she continued leisurely as she found the files she was looking for on her phone.
“I would like you both to listen to these recordings and watch the videos. Let me know if you still have issues signing the documents. Charity, you have done well. The balance of your fees will be paid into your account but first, you two will be flown out tomorrow” Florence stated easily as if she were talking to her staff.
“Is she doing well?” Charity’s voice shook, her eyes misting at the thought of finally seeing her grandmother, not believing that the end had come, on a day she least expected it.
“What makes you so sure that I am going to sign those documents?” Victor asked, cocky as he stood up at her signal.
“This will” Florence said as she pressed the play button, dropped her phone and leaned back with eyes closed.
The voices flooding the cozy cream-colored room and warm red furniture soon had Victor shifting and looking at the face of his mother. Every word, every minute was revelatory. Charity and Victor sat frozen to their seats, goose pimples running on the surface of their skin as plans after plans were revealed. As one meeting finished, Florence would press the next button and more of the plans were revealed until it got to the voice recording of Bello Badmus and Jafal plotting their death.
80 minutes of listening to the recording and watching raw footage of videos from her top-level meetings achieved the effect she knew was needed to push the sales through. Of course she could decide to force him into signing the documents but it wasn’t necessary. The boy should know exactly why he had to sell his father’s company and shouldn’t be denied the exhilarating feeling of revenge.
Victor sat stunned as the last recording played out. Without being told, he knew who the person in the last recording was and he knew exactly what they meant when they said there was need to get rid of him.
“You understand why I do what I do now?” it was Florence putting her phone into her bag.
“Bello Badmus is alive?” it was more of a statement than a question. Charity knew that voice in her sleep.
“Yes” Florence confirmed.
“And he wants me dead” Victor completed standing up and squeezing his eyes shot. The rush of emotions blinded him momentarily. His own father wanted him dead – for a company he didn’t even want.
“I didn’t ask him to make me his heir! Why did he have to make me his heir only for him to turn around and kill me?” it was a shout.
“I think he enjoys the game he plays” it was Florence, calm.
“He is going to kill you too. You knew he was alive?” he asked again, taking a new sofa.
“I knew he was alive, I was aware of the simple plan of him playing dead so that we could catch my evil sister and expose her lies and plans to eliminate him for the cabal. It was for a good cause he said. I had no idea Josephine was going to go big with her bomb blast. I suppose it served his purpose just as well” Florence wasn’t sure anymore on why she had agreed with him to work on the plan of making her sister pay for her deeds. The game plan had since changed and she knew Bello had been taking her for a ride.
“What is the story with your sister?” Victor asked, watching his mother carefully as he saw a rush of cloud wash down her countenance.
“She sold me to some spiritualist when I was pregnant with you. She married your father after destroying our relationship. She killed my assistant and tried to kill you the day I sent you away, with the help of Charity’s father of course. She would have killed you when you started working at The Castle as a driver. I had Ganbo frame you up and bail you out the next day. I couldn’t allow her find you in your father’s employment. Ganbo leaves you for a week and you find yourself some trouble no?” Florence gave a small smile as she remembered the panic attack she had suffered when Ganbo who had taken a leave of one week reported on resumption that her son was now in employment of Bello Badmus. She had sacked Ganbo’s replacement with immediate effect.
Charity looked away as Florence looked at her when she mentioned her father being part of the plan to eliminate Florence and her son.
“So I take you have scores to settle with your sister” Victor said as he watched his mother with awe.
“That is correct” Florence answered simply.
“After working with him, Bello wants you dead” Victor repeated
“From his conversation, yes”
“Why?” Victor pressed.
“Why is the devil evil?” Florence answered
“Because he is the devil?” Victor tried dry humor and they shared a private chuckle.
“Exactly”
“So what is the plan?”
“Get those documents signed and get you out of here” Florence sat up.
“I mean about you” Victor continued
“I have work to do” Florence volunteered freely.
“Those people, they are responsible for the terror in the North East” Victor said after a moment of silence. He saw his mother in new light and respect. He knew that to have had access to the recording, she must have taken risks. Not only had she saved their lives, she had gone at the expense of her life to save the State. He was proud to call her mother.
“Yes”
“And you intend to expose them” he questioned like a little child, Charity was getting irritated at the questions.
“That’s the plan” Florence smiled at the easy rapport and wondered what their relationship would have been like if there were no craziness.
“How do you intend to do that?” it was Charity.
“I may have to find a way to the President but even he can’t be trusted. He may be compromised”
“I may know someone” she supplied helpfully.
“And who is he?”
“She. Omoni Osagie” Charity continued.
“How sure are you about her integrity?” Florence was skeptical and watching for signs of betrayal.
“I can stake my life on it” Charity vouched strongly
“And how do you know this Omoni?” Florence asked
“She saved my life, paid my way through law school and she is married to Peter Osagie” she offered as they both looked at her with blank stares. “The acting Director General of the DDSS” she volunteered.
“We should set up the meeting” it was Florence. She had heard that name mentioned behind Jafal’s back by the other members of the group but she wondered why they all couldn’t mention his name in Jafal’s presence. The joke was that this man was the only one who could stop Jafal. If this was the man, it was good.
“We should” Victor added looking at his mother before breaking into a full smile at her raised eyebrows.
There was no need for words. When life is threatened by a common enemy, forces are joined. Florence had no doubt about that.
*****

Bello Badmus – 26th August, 2011
Bello Badmus sat in his recliner chair and sipped his drink. All was working according to plan.
Daba had finally located where Florence had taken Kudirat and her children. The same building! She seemed to be more careful than usual at first then she got careless. He found it surprisingly though that she stayed away from Inale. If she did, Daba did not report it.
Florence entertained him, with her double entrees and eagerness at playing his wife and her twin sister, Kudirat at the same time. He laughed out loud as he remembered the first time he met her. He remembered the first night he had her, how eager and naive she had been – eager to please, eager to be pleased. He remembered the bright pink coloration of her labia the first time he had kissed her maiden head. It was breathing hot and shy. He smiled as he remembered the dark skin coloration of Josephine’s labia and mole just beneath her abdomen. The sisters maybe identical but they deferred where only him knew. Their sex.
He had figured that out the next semester after his first night with Josephine. At the beginning of the semester in January, Josephine was impersonating Florence, coming as Florence to his house, asking that they forget about her sister – Josephine and harping on about continuing from where they stopped. He knew Florence would never push that much but then it had not dawned on him. The feeling and conversations were simply different and when they made love, it was too hurried and loud. Florence was anything but loud.
Night and after night until he stumbled on it. The mole and coloration.
His first reaction had been anger at being played and he had thought about going to confront her. If the sisters were playing on his intelligence, it was time to stop it. But when he told Sule, his closest step-brother, Sule had laughed and told him to play along and date the two sisters. If they wanted a game, Sule suggested he played along. The idea had been perfect, even desired but no matter who he met, there was the mole and the dark coloration. And the sex was fast, loud and sweaty. It was then he began to suspect that Florence wasn’t Florence but Josephine. After being pressed, Josephine (now impersonating Florence) revealed that her twin sister – Josephine had deferred her admission from nursing school. That had been the lie that raised his antenna. He should have called her on it but then he let the game play for so long that he let it continue. After all he was going to get rid of her when he got tired of the game.
Why he had gone ahead with the game of deceit to the point of marrying Josephine, he never knew. Perhaps it was because he wanted to hurt Florence for deserting him. After few months, he went back to his old style of having many girls on campus. When Josephine claimed she was pregnant for him, he knew the game was over and he had lost. Confronting her about impersonation her left Josephine threatening to get him kicked out of school and had gone ahead to ingrain herself with his father. His father had immediately insisted they marry and when Josephine had decided to convert to Islam for the sake of unity, his father was ecstatic.
He regretted playing the game but there was nothing he could do. They were married months later and both of them had continued having affairs until Josephine had fallen in love with George. There was no way he was going to let her enjoy being in love when she had denied him the same. The affair with George had been to spite him, he was sure. He was not a jealous man but even he had pride and there was no way he would allow himself be cuckolded. Nothing had made him happier than when the he-goat had been killed. It was the perfect punishment for the crime of impersonation and adultery.
When his father died shortly after their marriage, Bello began his search for Florence but she had simply vanished. It was not until Naomi Mambutu appeared on the radar after so many years that he found who he was looking for.
The random checks of high-profile investors in his multimillion Naira produced the woman he had being looking for for years. Florence was Naomi Mambutu and like a bee to a flower, he couldn’t resist going after her once more.
The walk on the beach in Seychelles had been planned. With Sekinat in his hands as the perfect excuse to be on a holiday, he walked into her blindly on a cool breezy day. The breath had gone off her lungs as soon as she saw him and he could see her trying to decide what cause of action. He didn’t allow her though.
“Florence” he had called, surprised and holding on to her hand as he pulled her up.
“What?” Florence muttered, looking away.
“Florence Ohiemi!” he continued holding her, ignoring Sekinat who was always more than eager to follow him around the world offering bald pussy service.
“My name is Naomi”
“Naomi Mambutu? A major shareholder in my company?” he asked, eyes fixed on hers. Florence had smiled then and he had too.
“Naomi, yes” she recovered, shaking his hand.
“I know you are Naomi Mambutu but to me, you are Florence”
“Who is Florence?”
“The first and only woman I ever loved” he said casually still watching for a crack in her face.
“I see” she said walking away, baffled at his utterance and shaking at facing Bello so many miles away from home and unprepared.
“You look so much like her” he continued, trailing after her.
“I am sure” Florence answered as she walked to her house by the beach.
“Please tell me. You are Florence. I know you are and I am not going anywhere unless you tell me who you really are” he said simply, looking boyish with grey hair and ridiculously long eyelashes and fading pink lips.
“I am Naomi Mambutu and I don’t know what or who you talking about” Florence had feigned ignorance and gone into her beach house.
Bello had smiled at her denial and remembered what it had felt like to chase her over thirty years. Sekinat was sent back to Nigeria the next morning.
He would court Naomi Mambutu the rest of the week. Offering rides, flying her out to lunch, sitting outside her house at sunset and sharing a cold bottle of wine as they shared tales of travels, funny experiences and favorite foods. He was sure Florence had fallen again. The first night they kissed under the receding moon, he knew she was Florence and when he had her in bed that night, his first point of call was her labia. He was not wrong..…they were bright pink, hot and shy.
He had found his Florence.
When she revealed she was indeed Florence and had a son for him, he knew it was not long before things changed. Her tale of finding him married to her sister, George’s affair with his wife and what hand she had in setting him up for his final fall flowed freely. The weeks that followed, he revealed that Josephine had plans to kill him for the cabal and take control of investments possibly to fund the budding terrorism in the State and like his sweet naive mouse, she had swallowed his story and she had gone with the flow.
It was sad that her darling son was going to go but now that he had caught a glimpse of his son in the news, he was having a rethink. Perhaps he could let the boy live. The problem was getting him to do what he wanted. Would he be as pliant and cooperative as his mother? What would he do if he found out that the subsidiaries were covers for illicit operations? What would Florence do? Leave him? Inale was definitely going to the press. He couldn’t allow that. They had to go. Too much at stake and he was one who loathed loose ends.
Just then, the business headline news caught his attention. The Newscaster was saying the sale of his company had being finalized and the new company was being introduced shortly before a clip of Victor shaking an unknown man filled his screen. He knew the company that bought his company. It was Naomi’s!
His roar was enough to bring the house down as he sped into his room where Florence had been last night.
“Florence! Florence!! Naomi!” he called furiously, his heart beat increasing exponentially as Daba came forward.
“Where is she?”
“She has gone out”
“When?” he asked already planning
“Since morning”
“I see” Bello knew something was wrong.
“Get ready, call Sekinat, I need you both for a quick trip” he said as he walked to his room and opened his electronic save hidden behind Florence’s painting.
*****

Josephine Ohiemi – 28th August, 2011

Josephine had since given up on escaping or being released. It had been months since Florence had locked her up in the private quarters. The environment was always quiet, humming.
Some days she was convinced Florence had forgotten about her and other days she waited for the day she would come and pull the trigger. The recent change in treatment was welcomed but worrisome too.
Her meals had changed and she was allowed to bath and change into clothes provided for her. It was after such mornings that she found Florence sitting in her cleaned new room.
“You startled me” Josephine said as she came into the room from the bathroom.
“What did I ever do to you?” it was Florence, sitting on the side single sofa and watching her sister move around the room in her pair of white cotton trousers and navy blue blouse.
“What?”
“Your countless plans to kill me, taking what belongs to me…..all of it, Why?” Florence asked as she unfolded her arms to reveal a pistol. Josephine froze.
“Florence” she called gently, taking a seat on the bed as Florence signaled her to.
“Yes, I am listening”
“Don’t use that, please” Josephine begged.
“That’s a first. The deadly Josephine, wife of influential Bello Badmus, begging” Florence said, waving the gun.
“Florence, you need to understand it wasn’t about you. It was about me, I was just evil” Josephine excused
“I was hoping you wouldn’t use the ‘this has got nothing to do with you’ line” Florence mimicked and stood up as Josephine flinched. After five months in captivity with four of those months living in deplorable condition, Josephine knew Florence was not the person she knew.
Florence watched her sister squirm and smiled. It was surprising that she lived her life for this moment and now that it was here, she wondered why she had wasted her emotions on her all those years. Her drive for revenge on her sister and Bello had kept her up at night, planning, scheming. She felt better as Victor and Charity were flown out that morning. She had driven herself out of Bello’s mini Estate after instructing Ganbo to load his private plane with explosives in the dead of the night before asking him to take the evidence to the man in Mubi. She remembered the serene happy look on Bello’s face as she left him that morning. It would be the last look she would remember him with.
“I see you haven’t heard the news” it was Florence, going back to sit down. The urge to pull the trigger since leaving her.
“No” Josephine answered shaking her head.
“Bello is alive”
“Bello is dead” Josephine said darkly.
“No, he is not but he will soon be” Florence confirmed, eyes firmly on her sister with the ready silencer.
“I killed him. He was blown up” Josephine argued
“You blew up an empty casket”
“No. He was pushed. I arranged that”
“You didn’t push himself Josephine. Moreover, he was on to you from the beginning, well not exactly from the beginning. At some point, I believe Jafal must have sold you out for the seat of the President”
“That is not possible. I saw him lie in that coffin!” Josephine argued
“Are you sure it was Bello you really saw him?” Florence laughed at the expression on her sister’s face. It was the one of being played a terrible joke.
“No” it was barely above a whisper.
“Your husband is alive sweet sister and he has been really busy with Jafal”
“And you? How do you know all these?”
“I have been busy as well” Florence gave a small smile as she pointed the gun at her sister again.
“Wait! Before you shoot me, where are they?”
“Who?” Florence chuckled knowingly.
“Where are my children? Please” it was the first time Josephine referred to her children with the look of utter surrender on her face.
“They are safe. I don’t know for how long though. Somehow, Bello knows where they are and I heard him say he was going to kill them and then you, if I don’t get to it soon”
“Please don’t let him get to them. They have nothing to do with this and Kole needs to be warned”
“Kole is dead Jose” Florence informed pitifully.
“Noo! Noooo!!” she shouted and began to shake and sob. Kole was her favorite mostly because he reminded her of his father, her first love.
“Nooooo! Noooooooo!!” Josephine broke down in tears, heartbreaking sobs escaping her lips. Florence sat through it.
“How did it happen?” Josephine asked finally, standing up and going to the water dispenser that had been placed in her room the night before. She knew she had to distract Florence and collect the gun from her hand. A plan came to her. It was now or never. She chose now.
“He was slaughtered in his UK apartment. His body found after many days” Florence said, standing up noiselessly as she watched her sister fill the glass cup. She was smiling.
“Of course he did! The bastard, the devil, I will kill him, I will kill him” she cried, swearing, her eyes erstwhile downcast shone with revenge and in a blink of an eye turned around to pour the glass of hot water on Florence with the intention of blinding her to take the gun.
Only it wasn’t hot water. The water dispenser had been tampered with to produce only lukewarm water. The look on Josephine face as she noticed Florence standing without flinching gave Florence all the joy in the world as she shot her sister on her right shoulder blade.
Josephine screamed at the impact of the bullet, her shoulder blades enveloping in heat and pain as she landed on the perfectly laid white bed.
“I was hoping you would do that”
“Florence, Florence, don’t. Please I beg you”
“Close your eyes, pray for forgiveness from where you may get it”
“Florence please, forgive me”
“I will see you in the afterlife. Say hi to Bello and George” Florence said wickedly before pulling the trigger at pointblank range.
The scream that started died in Josephine’s throat and calm soon returned to the room.
*****

Peter Osagie – Mubi, 28th August, 2011
It was Farah who told Peter to take residence with the traditional bone setter who served the community in his red old hut built as an attachment to new stalls in the old community market that had since grown to include new houses and stalls for traders. The house attached in the rowdy community had dried herbs and animal parts hanging out in the open.
Peter had arrived Mubi with his team in disguise. With grown beards and dirty kaftans, they made their way to the man who was to give them a cover. Farah swore he trusted the old man and he knew they would blend into the community with the old man as their master. But it was a set up. Farah’s identity had been compromised and for his life, he had told Peter what Yakubu told him to. Although Farah did not understand why his boss and colleagues had to be put under surveillance, he knew that their assignment had been compromised but there was nothing he could do about it especially as he had been tied among the other captives.
On arrival in April, the old man had received them warmly as he took to the task of setting the bone of one of the locals. That night, he had discussed the problem of the insurgent with Peter deeply, speaking in Hausa and vigorously defending the people taking the law into their hands and fighting the Boko Haram. The old Mallam pointed fingers at the governors and financial faceless backers who unfortunately were untouchable.
Peter followed the story quietly and seemed interested in what the man had to say although he was unconvinced. He couldn’t quite place it but he knew something was amiss.
“These people caused this menace, now it has become war, they leave the community to pay for it” he said indignantly in good English. Peter was surprised at his clarity of facts but refused to show his shock or question his sources.
Days turned to weeks and weeks into months and still they were not closer to real evidence of sabotage than they were when they came. It was one attack after another, the terror spreading and residents going about their daily activities with trepidation. The so-called command center gathered no intelligence that was substantial, if anything it seemed it was a hopeless cause with soldiers conducting themselves without rules of engagement and high-profile officers reporting wrong figures to the Head Quarters and news outlet. The figure of casualty was always reduced and number of bomb blasts reported rarely reflected the sporadic explosions across the state.
In reality, the soldiers were losing ground and the superior fire power of the Boko Haram members more than ever convinced Peter there was a plan for show down soon. The problem was timing.
Omoni was still adamant about her position on him being at the center of the deadly attacks. He reassured her of his safety times without number when he took breaks to see her. The last time she had evoked a promise. If nothing happened within the next month, he would come back and be with her as her delivery date drew near. And then her call had come in.
“Hey love” he called sweetly moving away from the other occupant of the room to answer her call.
“How’s my favorite husband?”
“Your only husband is sweating and missing you” he replied, smiling into the phone.
“Well, your days of sweating and missing me are over. It seems what you are finding in Mubi is right here in Abuja” she said, smiling and wishing she could see the look on his face.
“What do you mean?” he was on high alert.
“I got a call from Charity, remember her?”
“Yes, yes” Peter barely remembered her.
“She called saying there were voice and video recordings on the sponsors and some photos. She didn’t call names but she vouched for the authenticity of those recordings”
“Names and video recordings of the sponsors of these boys? I have to leave right away”
“No need. I mentioned you were in Mubi Township and the recording is on its way to you. I have not seen it but I have a good feeling about this. I really want you back her with me” she cooed.
“Very soon too”
“It had better”
“And how is he supposed to locate me?”
“I said to find the bone setter in Mubi Township, Mobil Market. The messenger is familiar with the part. You will know him when you see him”
“I hope so”
“I know Rambo” she teased and he laughed.
“Love you”
“Love you too” she returned and dropped the call to go check on her Irish potatoes she was boiling.
She had just finished lunch, barely an hour later when her doorbell rang.
Standing up heavily, she walked to the door and opened it. The man she saw there made her weak at the knees.
*****
Peter tried to call his wife throughout the day but the phone was switched off. How was it possible that her battery was off? Even the guard’s mobile rang off. He worried deeply and was considering making the trip down when his phone rang. It was her thankfully.
“Hello sweetheart” it was Omoni, her voice sounding rasp and heavy. Peter knew immediately something was wrong.
“What is wrong?”
“I …” and the phone was taken from her as she tried to answer the question.
“I suggest you think really carefully before you do anything with that list” it was a voice he would forever detest, that deep dark voice of a killer.
“Jafal” Peter called with heavy breathing.
“Father would be nice. How are you?” Jafal asked, watching his son’s wife shoot daggers at him with her eyes, she was a feisty one.
“If you as much as harm her, a strand of her hair and I swear I will find you and kill you” Peter threatened darkly.
“Common on son, you know I wouldn’t do anything to my grandchild. Congratulations by the way” Jafal dragged, almost laughing. This was the reason a man like him didn’t have a woman. It was always an Achilles’ heel.
“Let her go immediately” Peter commanded hotly, frustrated and trying to hide his fear. He knew what his father was capable of.
“Destroy those tapes and burn those lists son”
“And what tapes are you talking about?” Peter stalled.
“You know what I am talking about. If I do not receive a call to that effect, I am sorry I must vent my anger on someone” Jafal said darkly.
“And how would you know if I destroy these evidence against you that I don’t even have?” he asked, exasperated. He noticed the eyes of one man in the room shift continuously and his chest grew heavy with anger. A mole in the room.
“I have my sources. The ball is in your court. Get back here with your team or say goodbye to your wife and my grandchild. She tells me you are having a baby girl too” Jafal taunted before cutting the call abruptly.
“Jafal! Omoni! Hello, Hello!” Peter flung his phone on the wall and what remained of the phone fell to the ground as he looked around the room and charged at the man in dirty kaftan and brown beards.
“You!” he said rushing the old bone setter, raising him and smashing him on the wall. His group was beside him in a second and prying the old man from his hand. Umoru his second calmed him down.
Peter looked at Umoru, took a deep breath and left him fall to the floor in a boneless heap.
“Let me have your phone” he demanded quietly albeit fearfully.
“I don’t have a phone” he said in Hausa. The slap that would fling the man across the room mixed with the first sound of explosion miles away.
Umoru searched the old man’s body and produced a phone hidden in his girdle.
The old snitch’s phone provided the confirmation that the information indeed was right.
“Lock him up. Get the SWAT team up and send them to my house. My father has kidnapped my wife” Peter commanded before taking the motorcycle and heading to the Mobil market to wait for the list or whoever had it.
*****

Peter Osagie – Mobil Market, 30th August, 2011

The man in sparkling black suit and a definite spring in his step was not missed. Peter waited as he saw the man approach steadily.
“You are looking for the bone setter” it was Peter on the motorcycle waiting in front of the stall which housed the old snitch’s properties. He had since relocated his team to an abandoned blown up cathedral and was keeping the man in one of the pastor’s room that was largely unaffected by the fire.
“Yes” Ganbo answered the stranger and looked closely at the man. He looked like the picture he saw in the papers and online reports of the newly appointed Director-General of the DDSS. If he was not good at disguise himself, he would have missed him.
“Come with me” Peter said and brought the motorcycle to life as Ganbo hopped on and they drove out of the busy market few minutes before the first blast would start.
*****

The team watched the videos and listened to the recordings quietly. The cold silence and anger was targeted at only one man in the room. Ganbo’s father.
Ganbo had seen his father tied up the moment he had stepped into the room. Peter was particularly too angry to explain the situation but Umoru, his second in command explained to a disappointed Ganbo. The old bone setter was Ganbo’s adopted father and mentor. He had been instrumental to Ganbo’s upbringing as a man who stood for what was right and his belief that evil needed good men to stop it. After so many years, Ganbo was disappointed to see that the man he called father and held in high esteem was a traitor to his people, a gun for hire – like himself. The only difference was that he did correct evil and it made all the difference.
“I am disappointed in you father” it was Ganbo, eyes red shot as he watched the man he had admired growing up. It was sad that he had become the monster that spied on his community.
“I had no choice” the old Mallam said, tired and weak from the random beating Peter melted on him whenever he thought of the danger his wife and baby girl were in.
“You do. There is always a choice” Peter swore loudly as they heard the gun fire begin in earnest.
“The attack has started. What do we do now?” it was Umoru, looking at Dante and Scorpio. The duo rarely spoke but were quick with the guns and loyal to a fault.
“Jafal has Omoni, he will kill her if we get the names out” Umoru continued, turning to Peter who was calling the Ibro, the head of the SWAT team Umoru had assembled. Every hour counted and he couldn’t even imagine a world without Omoni. He would piece the beast he swore hotly.
“We must call in reinforcement” Peter was angered because the call wasn’t connecting and was about flinging the locally made phone at the wall. He couldn’t think straight. Umoru collected the phone and began to dial a number.
Peter could only sit still and hear the raid continue in the distance, as the massacre went on.
“Get me Mr. President” Peter announced thickly after 30 minutes of brooding silence. Umoru nodded and made the call.
*****

Eid el Fitr – 30th August, 2011

The day was a black day. Thousands of Nigerians lying dead as rain washed their blood from their stiff bodies.
The multiple attacks started at 9:20am and lasted through the day. The emboldened members went of a rampage, over powering the military barracks and camps in communities in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. Several coordinated suicidal attacks in hospitals, markets, mosques, churches, schools, filling stations and motor parks while they raided residential areas and captured women and young girls. The live stream of the destruction brought the country to a standstill leaving the entire country in mourning.
The military had gone on the defensive leaving their posts, running into hiding as the terrorists gunned them down, taking over major towns, burning their barracks, destroying government houses, police stations and major businesses owned by states and private entities. In some communities, the soldiers surrendered willingly as they gunned them down and marched the senior officers along with their convoy.
The mosques and churches had since been blown up and now the number of displayed persons rose from 10,000 to hundreds of thousands as some fled to neighboring countries while others ran into neighboring Nigerian states before coming to the capital to seek help.
Many families separated, mothers looking for their children, fathers looking for their wives, children lost and weeping as images of persons rushing to border towns for safety filled television stations. The international community and news centers had their spot light on the crises in Nigeria leaving many calling for the resignation of the President. He had failed his first and foremost obligation – to protect every Nigerian life and property, analysts say.
In less than 24 hours, the senate had convened and the move to impeach the President began. The citizenry drove the move as the President was yet to make a statement. There was simply no word from the Executive House and people worried that he was not affected by the dastardly act or more plausible, there was nothing he could do about it. He had failed the Nigerian state and must step down. The analyst called for a military government, other called for separation of state while others simply blamed corruption and past leaders.
However a few argued that the act was an attempt to frustrate the government into submission. These few people couldn’t have been any closer to the truth but the notion of simply sabotaging the government for sake of change of power by killing thousands of Nigerians was more than a larger group of activists and Nigerians could swallow and so did what every society would. They took to the streets as they called for resignation of the President, appealed for international help and condemned the attack in the highest regard before they retired at night to take a bottle of cold beer and steaming plate of peppered assorted meat over heated debates before taking to the streets the next day.
*****

The SWAT team moved noiselessly, steadily advancing the hideout where the signal of Omoni’s phone was strong. Omoni had taken an extra phone as she had being bundled out of the house and had sent Peter a text at night, nearly 72 hours after she was allowed to go alone to the bathroom to ease herself.
She had locked herself and sent the text promising to leave the phone transmitting when he was sure the team was ready.
The text had been received after Umoru had patched Peter’s phone up the night of the attack and he had sent it immediately to Ibro. In an hour, Omoni had requested that she be allowed to ease her bowels again. Tired and irritated, the bulky man guarding her allowed her as she placed a call and left the phone on top of the WC floater and returned to the room where she waited.
One by one, the snipers took out the men guarding the facility and Jafal who sat smoking his cigar in his bedroom and wondering where Bello had disappeared to, was the last one to discover they had been discovered. The game was up.
“Where is she?” it was Ibro as the team came in, taking down Daba who was too late in drawing his gun. Ibro advanced into the room, pointing the gun at Jafal at point-blank.
“Somewhere in the building” he said totally relaxed as they cuffed him minutes later and led him out to the bullion van.
The rescue of Omoni was swift and the news of Jafal’s arrest came with the release of the names of the cabal and the tape of violence in the morning of 3rd of July, 2011. Three days after the devilish attack.
Peter had left Mubi on the eve of the blast leaving his team behind. He couldn’t stay another hour despite the threat of possible attack. He drove his bike to the nearest town, passing bodies and meeting roadblocks set up by the members of the sect. when asked who and where he was going, he simply said he had a message from Yakubu to deliver to their sponsor in Taraba state. The lie was well received and immediately they let him pass as he looked and talked like a holy warrior from Syria. He took an abandoned truck at the outskirt of Maiduguri, hot wiring it and driving for hours, stopping only to refill his tank at deserted filling stations.
He arrived Abuja 24 hours after the attack and had attached himself to the rescue team. The moment he found her seating beside the bulky man she had knocked with a stool and shot with his gun, Peter was laughing with relief as he rushed to her side. She smiled as she saw him and as she made to get up, her water broke.
“On my God, Oh my God” she was saying in a laugh as he carried her off her feet and members of the SWAT team came to secure the room.
“Is it time?” he asked as he carried her out of the house and saw his father turn to look at him before they led him away.
“I don’t care. I just want her out already” Omoni gritted her teeth at her first pull of pain.
In less than 8 hours, Peter was a proud father. His fierce baby girl was bellowing and angry at being birthed 3 days early.
“She has your eyes” Peter comforted as he watched the feisty little tyrant sucking angrily at her mother’s milk breasts.
“She sucks like you too” Omoni said as Ibro entered the room.
“Sir, the president is on the line for you” it was Ibro. Peter after the rescue had sent Ibro with the package to be delivered to the president and ordered Ibro to begin arrest of the names on the list.
“Your excellency” he said into the phone as he eyed Omoni who was making a face.
“I am indebted to you. You have saved us, the country and me” he said. One could hear the relief in his voice.
“I believe you owe thanks to a certain Naomi Mambutu” he said repeating the name the man with the limb, Ganbo had told him.
“I will find her and do so accordingly. However, I need to make this official. Seeing as I have no Vice, would you consider having my back for the next 6 years?” the President asked and Peter laughed heartily.
“I am honored Mr. President but I would rather serve than lead” he answered, looking at Omoni.
“Thank you Peter. I shall speak to you soon”
“What was that about?” Omoni eyed her husband with suspicion.
“He wanted a Vice” he said as he hugged both of them, his little one already asleep.
“And you refused” she confirmed.
“And I did”
“Good’ she answered cheerfully as he took her lips in a kiss.
*****

The recording, videos and photos had since become viral as arrests were made from all spheres. Kudirat Bello had been found dead in her house with a suicide note. The arrest of the service chiefs, his Special Adviser – Nurudeen Soyemi, Vice president – Akin Jolojolo, Jafal Asiedu and the well-respected Cleric shook the country amidst cheers of victory. Bello Badmus had since gone missing but to the populace, he was dead.
He was nowhere to be found and Peter knew he still had his work cut out for him. But Bello could wait. His family was paramount and Omoni wouldn’t hear of it. Perhaps in future he told himself as he watched his wife and baby sleep several days after they were discharged from the hospital.
The country turned vicious after initial celebration taking into the streets, armed and advancing on properties of the arrested men and destroying their businesses and properties. The wives, children and relatives of the evil men were rounded up too and brought in for questioning, Debola and Laide Bello inclusive. The Castle was flooded into by angry youths and it took the intervention of the Police to restore calm after burning buildings.
With appointment of new service chiefs, the quick clean of the Boko Haram group was swift. The funding had been stopped and French supplier caught while international help from the U.S, A.U, French and German countries poured. Analysts began a new discourse and the vote of confidence in the President increased as his impeachment proceedings came to a halt.
The new change brought about a change in war tactics and the flush of fleeing Boko Haram members from their camps revealed women and children held under captivity while several hundred members of the sect were killed and over two thousand captured awaiting trial.
And for the first time since Nigeria’s independence, the country was truly one.
*****

Epilogue

Venice, Italy – September, 2011
His sweet insistent tugging of her brown nipples made her toes curl with excitement, heart racing.
“Stop it” Charity stressed pushing him from her exposed breasts.
“I can’t. You make me sane” Victor tickled, pressing his length down her thighs
“My grandmother is right inside” Charity begged as she tried to leave his arms.
“Not until I have you wife” he said hotly before planting himself in her warmth. The words forming on her lips died a natural death as she welcomed him, holding on to him in the private pool as they enjoyed their first as a married couple.
*****

Nigeria, September, 2011
Florence watched as the private helicopter took off from the helipad and gave a small smile thumbing the remote in her hand.
“Goodbye Bello” she said as she pressed the button and the helicopter in the distance blew into pieces. It was only befitting that Bello Badmus died in flames, a bomb blast.

*****

Seme Border – September, 2011
The man in dirty rags crossing the Benin Republic border attracted little attention. He was sitting in the white bus with little luggage and as they were stopped and told to come down for routine checks, he came down and smiled at the patrol guard with the big head and flappy ears.
“Oga mi, abeg give me small money for bread naw” the patrol guard joked when it was his turn.
“Na you suppose give me some money” the man said in terrible pidgin.
“Where are you going?” the patrol man asked as he watched the dirty man, his face familiar.
“I am going to Cotonou” he replied in good English.
“Where is your passport?” the patrol man asked suddenly in haste to continue his search of other passengers as he saw a new car arrived at the border.
“I have it here” he said going to bring it out.
“Go, go, go” he waved the man away as he noticed his colleague approach the new car.
The man in rags smiled as he walked back to the bus and took his seat, scratching his fake horse beard with a deep satisfied smile on his face.
“Adebayor Kokoro Philips indeed” he muttered under his breath as Bello chuckled watching the patrol guard in rear mirror pocket clean crispy notes and waved the new car past, his private thoughts returning to him. His little Sekinat and Daba must have exploded in his private plane, he smiled wearily at his erection. Florence had won in the end, but did she really win? He asked himself humorously.
The old white bus continued its journey steadily and every mile, every hour took Bello closer to his destination – freedom, a new man. A man who could do as he pleased with his Cayman island account. Perhaps he could buy his company back, perhaps he could find Florence or find a new pastime. He chuckled at the revelation. He could do anything he wanted. Anything.
Whoever said evil did not prevail? Especially if he were wise like the ant who saved for rainy days.

THE END

*****
M.O.T.I.V.E.S is written by;
Uneñ Ameji
Author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger on Amazon.com
See new book Love on the 25th on Okadabooks http://goo.gl/hmsKnv
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M.O.T.I.V.E.S Episode 7 – @UnenAmeji

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And this week’s episode is here! If you have not been following the story, you should.

M.O.T.I.V.E.S, a story set in old and modern day Nigeria, is a riveting, stimulating, suspense-filled tale of a myriad of absorbing characters with Unen Ameji’s fluid style of delivering engaging stories of greed, love, lust and power that leaves her audience on the edge of their seats, guessing and usually clamoring for more.

The story features Nigerian Tycoon and powerhouse Bello Badmus. A man who gave power as he willed, a man who controlled Presidents, a man who put men and monsters in seats of power; Florence Ohiemi aka Naomi Mambutu and her identical evil twin Josephine Ohiemi aka KudiraT Sadika Bello who are ever in battle of wills – good and evil, where evil prevails.

In a thrilling twist, the events likened to a classic game of chess sees each piece on the board take power and lose it and take it all over again. An illusion of power, an illusion of control.

It’s dark, it’s unpredictable, it’s M.O.T.I.V.E.S

Read all Episodes here

****
Uneñ Ameji’s Note
This is purely a work of fiction. Names, Characters, Places and Incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business and government establishments, events and locales is entirely coincidental. While the State Security Service and Boko Haram insurgency is mentioned, all event are mere imaginations and projections of the author.

Episode 7

Peter Osagie – Acting Director General DDSS, June – 2011
“Please” a silent plea for release, quivering and breathless from an orgasm long overdue. An orgasm that was fast becoming molten heat traveling the length of her body before settling on her swollen sensitive pink nipples, in between her wet pulsating vaginal lips and on the tips of her impeccably painted red toes. Her mouth opened in breathless rapture, her hands firmly gripping the white bedsheets as she rode the storm that was coming.
“Not.. yet, not……yet” it was a slow murmur spoken in between wet gasps of pleasure from the man underneath. Warm, regulated and yet soft, the air around their torso interpreting the fucking motion that was threatening a crescendo, none was ready to experience, but simply could not put off any further. He felt his resolve dissolve at the same time she let out a wail of pleasure, melting into uncontrollable orgasm that left her juddering like a lone leaf in December harmattan. Her explosive cry of release triggered the pent up orgasm in his spine as he wildly let go of the hot molten essence in his sacs into her.

It had always been like this between them from the moment they had set eyes on each other. They had decided it was just physical but after eight months of intense relationship and animalistic coupling in the strangest of places, Peter popped the big question. He had never met a kinkier, flexible, sexier woman and he’d be damned if he didn’t make her his.
Peter Osagie, acting Director General of the DDSS, now cuddling his 6 months pregnant wife of 8 years remembered the first time he had seen her. Bold golden brown eyes, generous heart-shaped lips and impossibly firm tipped breasts in white T-shirt and Khaki shorts that exposed her incredibly long legs.
His blood had grown unbearably hot when he had entered the Assessment room where the new recruits were standing for formal introduction to all the senior officers before their posting to various states. The 12 months intensive training program had come to an end and as the Regional Supervisor in charge of the recruitment of discreet and diligent Nigerian citizens for the DDSS, he had gone to appraise the final 50 who proved themselves diligent and fearless for integration and he had found her, Omoni O.Omoni, the only girl in the group of 50.
When his eyes had found hers, his nose flared at her scent as he came to stand in front of her. She looked back at him passively but without fear or interest; and while her colleagues bowed their heads after few seconds of eye contact with the tall domineering man with grey airs and ungroomed dark beards against what she referred to as Mulatto skin, she boldly stared at him until he was forced to move away from her. A small smile that refused to make it to her lips appeared in her eyes.
He left Kaduna with the lusty thoughts of her set mouth, delicately slim nose and remarkable golden brown piercing eyes kept him up that night and for the first time in over 8 years in the DDSS, he effected her posting to North Central, to the Capital City and to his command without regards to experience. He simply wanted her where he could monitor her, where he was closer to her.
Omoni knew the tall Mulatto carried a touch for her and she found it amusing mostly because of his reputation of being a hard ass and slave driver. She, however wasn’t interested in his subtle advances because she knew exactly what it took for her to get into the DDSS without leg. She simply couldn’t be involved and completely ignored him. This irritated Peter to no end. Her smiles were for everyone except him. Omoni secretly admired the man for getting job done despite the rumor that he was a bastard, ruthless and distrusting. Her last and only relationship had ended when her childhood love had been gunned down in her street in Port Harcourt, caught in between gang war. He was coming straight from the airport to see her after 10 years in the States. Peter turned from subtle to blatant wooing not caring for the smack remarks about him from his subordinates. Notwithstanding she kept a firm stance.
He was everywhere she looked and soon her China walls began to crack. His stares made her hot all over and whenever she caught his eyes wandering down her body – which was often, she felt like he had undressed her and tickled her all over. She would go home to human-operated fingers for good old relief. It soon became a daily occurrence and as sickening as that was, she barely could contain the excitement of going to work – just to be undressed with piercing grey eyes.
The first raid however would seal their fate.

*****

It was like every other raid but this time something went wrong. A mole in their unit leaked the raid to the group of criminals on the Interpol watch who were wanted for war crimes in Sudan. The ambush that awaited them took the lives of eight of his best men and he was shot on his shoulders. Omoni and the group of six assigned outside had an uncanny feeling and had climbed the broken down fence at the back of the house adjacent to the building where the criminals were. The incapacious bungalow in the extremely quiet Government Reserve Area in Benin City was undoubtedly the perfect hideout. After a few yards, at a bend, she saw a truck parked and a suspicious hooded man at the wheels. She plugged her earpiece and started on a careless jog like a resident. She slowed down to tie her boots and started again, taking the turn before removing her shoe and sneaking up on the truck when she heard gone shots and was torn between going to the house as back up or wait to pursue. The man at the same time started the truck engine. She climbed into the back of the truck covered in trampoline and buried herself in the pile of dirty linen stained with human blood and discarded carton of white foam as the driver moved the car. Footsteps alerted her of people approaching and she stilled as persons jumped into the truck and the truck sped off.
“Why did you carry him?” it was one of the persons at the back of the truck struggling to drop a body, breathing hard and fast.
“Because we need him” it was a quiet answer from another.
“I hope they don’t come for him” it was the same voice.
The truck drove for hours before entering untarred road that had them galloping for several meters before stopping at the foot of a blasted rock. They were at a Quarry in Lokoja. She remained in the truck until dead in the night. New persons arrived at the camp and carried four men along, leaving two guards to keep watch of the hostage.
With hands and legs cuffed, Peter looked at the site and noticed a power bike belonging to one the guards.
Later, Peter would remember the faint sounds of foots approaching, a gun exchange and seeing her face in the moonlight. Hurried but swift, she shot the cuffs off his feet and hands before pulling him up to where they mounted the power bike and drove all night to Abaji, stopping at gas station to top the tank until his strength failed him and she had found a roadside motel along the expressway. Both of them had slept off the moment their heads touched the bed. Eight hours later, he woke up just at dusk to see her eyes looking into his. He gave a faint smile and for the first time, she smiled back.
“You had me worried there” she said quietly, watching him. She had redressed the gun wound at his shoulder while she waited for him to wake up. The wound was deep but thankfully the bullet had a clean pass.
“I am sorry” he croaked, returning a smile. He tried to sit up and failed. The kick one of the criminals delivered to his midsection was raw and the pain made him doubled over.
“Where are we?” he asked after he lay down back.
“Some lodge. The receptionist was pretty much helpful” she laughed at his question and he laughed back.
“Female?” he teased and she blessed him with another of her dazzling smiles, standing up.
“Naturally” she answered as she made to get up with her back to him. Without knowing when he moved, his good hand circled her waist and she slapped them away playfully.
“Stay. Stay with me” he asked softly with longing in his eyes and she stayed and fucked him.
The next bust of the same criminals was successful after Peter and his squad met gave wrong information to the footmen and staged pseudo operation that led to identifying the mole – Garba. Garba after he was caught led the team to make an easy arrest of the criminals frolicking with local women in their new hideout in Ajaokuta. It was the perfect mission and they returned to the capital city with criminals to parade before handing them to the police and Interpol as was customary.
That was the beginning of the hot affair that quickly escalated to a relationship that had Peter intimidating other male colleagues that found her attractive. He couldn’t stand the attention, the eyes that settled on her like his did nor did he find it remotely funny that she made him purposely jealous by refusing to be tagged as his woman. She would go out with different men to taunt him and he would fume and parade his house like a caged tiger, throwing things and smashing glass cups on the wall. When he saw her again, he would let loose his anger, jealous and possessiveness on her hot spot but it was not enough. There was only one way to make her his and he had married her after 8 months. For a man who vowed to live a single life, Peter had failed.
That was 8 years ago.
Eight years since she refused a normal life until he finally got her pregnant. He smiled at the thought.
“I love you” he murmured into her neck, sniffing her scent and withdrawing from her. Trailing kisses down her neck to her shoulders, gently biting her neck and spooning her. She was quiet.
“I have to leave for Mubi tomorrow” he said gravely as he held her for several minutes wondering how to explain his promotion all over again.
His boss – Mr. Igwe Mbaka sacked by the President who was erstwhile passive in the bomb blast and security challenges in the North East had appointed him the acting Director General and had requested a private meeting with only him few days later. A meeting that would change the face of the DDSS and their jurisdiction. What the President was asking of the Agency has never been done but as the President has gravely revealed, the country was on the verge of a coup and not even the service chiefs were to be trusted.
“I have heard you have a trusted man in the Boko Haram camp” it was the President, heavy and sad. Peter was momentarily tempted to deny it but simply nodded.
“Good. Our people are in trouble. The unity of Nigeria lies in your hands Mr. Osagie. You must do all you can to get those behind the boys or Nigeria as we all know it is over” the President had told him with a tired look in his chambers.
The next day, in a surprising move the President ordered the relocation of the command center to Gwoza, the hotbed of the terrorists activities but had called him on a secure line to ask for help. He said he was placing all he had in him.
Peter couldn’t refuse a national call. Now more than ever, he had to serve but Omoni was not impressed.
As far as she was concerned, the President was sending her husband into the vipers den. The arguments had turned from hot to tears and back to hot again until both had given up on changing each others mind. If he wanted to go, Omoni decided she’d let him.
“Be careful” was all she said after he got up butt naked and walked over to the bathroom. His decision to go undercover with only three of his trusted men to Gwoza left her feeling afraid. How easy was it for him to go and die in the name of serving his country instead of staying with her and their son? In a desperate attempt to change his mind, she had gotten an ultrasound to derail him but knowing he had a son didn’t stop the plans he made all day and all night. If anything, it fueled his zeal to get his boys underway.
Peter’s thoughts several days up to the moment were solely of one man, Bello Badmus. He knew in his gut that the unrest in the region lay with the man and if ghost could be found, he wanted to.
To Peter, it all didn’t add up.
Dying mysteriously.
Getting blown up.
Disinheriting his family.
It simply was too easy to swallow.
The Presidential order to move the command center that was untimely and with the President calling for help, Peter’s gut itched some more. It reeked of Bello Badmus’s military style of overthrowing men in power but even he knew that dead men have no bite. Voicing the suspicion to his already distressed wife and trusted men would only make him sound desperate and disillusioned.
“Who would want to kill a dead man? Who would want to use a dead man to kill more birds? Who would benefit from a dead man? His new heir?” he asked himself again and again, in writing and when staring at the ceiling in his study. The boy had not even existed until the last couple of weeks and after investigation, he was squeaky clean. If anything, it looked like a perfect stage and a puppet to distract the country from what was really going on behind the curtain.
Peter knew if he sniffed some more or connected the dots properly, he would find the pattern that would reveal who or least a clue to who or what was behind the insurgency in the North East and the call to move the command center. He was absolutely sure it had everything to do with the bombing but for the first time in 15 years in service, he had nothing sitting in his study or office. The answer was in Gwoza and he was going to get it.
When Farah’s note had reached him a day after his secret meeting with the President, it was all he needed to put the team together. The note as usual was sown into wraps of multicolored turbans. It was the only way to communicate and Farah, his mole in the Boko Haram camp hinted how he fared by how squeezed the dirty piece of brown carbon paper was and this time, the piece of note was wrung out.
Farah – Mohammed Abdirahman a freshly recruited DDSS officer had volunteered way early in the start of the uprising to get information about the group but had gotten stuck. The group grew fiercely and when the first proxy of unnamed sponsor had shown up in their camp at night 4 years ago Farah, who by now was a trusted pioneering and senior member knew he had to stay to get the faces of the men behind the group exposed. He could only leave the camp in pretense of scouting for local recruits and gathering intelligence for their next hit. He would then smuggle reports in turbans through his old Uncle to Peter.
Once he was caught with Turbans and when he was questioned rather bloodily, he said it was his ritualistic symbol in recruiting and inviting sympathizers to join the brotherhood. Yakubu – the head of the group was particularly proud of Farah’s innovation because he sent more turbans than other fighters. He was truly a worker of Allah and Farah was once again promoted to be his right hand man. However, things were getting tensed and Farah knew his time was near.
Peter was going to Gwoza to get Farah back. He owed him.

*****

The scalding hot water from the newly installed shower left Peter partly burnt and relaxed but it did nothing to stop the uneasiness and nagging feeling of sabotage.
Kole Bello had since been found dead with his throat slashed open in an apartment in the U.K. That also made headlines but it was one less maze to go through.
The Intel that the youngest of the Bellos recruited fighters from countries in the North especially Libya, Sudan and Egypt to train fighters from Nigeria and neighboring countries was the reason he had requested for Kole’s intial arrest and subsequent tailing at his father’s funeral only to be smuggled out by his mother few hours after the blast.
Farah in the last one year had steadily reported the activity of the young man and the fallout between Kole and Yakubu because Kole had started demanding some form of payment and the head was not going to pay because he was a medium. This Intel coincided with the information that Bello Badmus had tightened funds to his children for over six months. At the time Peter was optimistic that Bello may have found out his son was funding the group and was doing all he could to stop it. In fact Peter praised him quietly but when Kole’s drug smuggling activities reached its zenith with law enforcement agencies releasing Kole and his boys on Bello’s order, Peter took back his goodwill and started on the best way to cut Kole’s funding of the group.
Peter had suspected Kole was responsible for his father’s mysterious death and the bomb blast as soon as the news broke. The autopsy that had been boycotted by the family on religious ground and the eventual blow up was to Peter a perfect cover up of the murder. That had been 4 months ago. Now Peter knew for sure that Kole, like the new puppet at The Castle was a distraction and that the blow up was indeed a way to kill the dignitaries for a specific purpose than just a random terrorist attack.
The Boko boys took responsibility for the bomb blast as was expected but Farah had reported differently. Farah reported that on the day of the attack, they were raiding a community for new girls for breeding of holy warriors to continue in the fight. He reported that Yakubu had received a call and staged a recording to take responsible for the attack before spewing out other rubbish and once again warning other government officials of their continuance to serve a godless country, a country that Allah was going to redeem by spilling their blood.
Now as he dressed in his favorite clean Jeans and black sweater, he watched his wife stare at him the whole time he moved about to get ready.
“I will be back soon” he said when he finally drew her up to hug her and kiss her eyes brimming with unshed tears.
“Make sure you do or I’d be forced to come get you” she teased painfully before succumbing to his kisses once more. The sound of the horn separated them as he picked his bag pack and walked to join his three-man team.
Watching him go was one of the hardest thing she had ever done in her life. But she had to. She knew he was like a dog with a bone and until he got to the end, he would not rest.
The tears finally found their way down in lone streams as she prayed that he come back to her and their baby alive and whole. And when she blinked after the Hilux disappeared from sight, it poured.

*****
7-Man: Meeting at The Elephant, June 2011.

The calm in the room was the best they had since the new faction of seven greedy, powerful and dangerous men decided to take laws into their hands and execute their former members who went out of line. To them, actions to bring the cabal to order was betrayal and former members had paid with their lives. Each man seated in the large airy white room had one agenda and it was on who was going to be the next person to take the seat of government. The head of the faction with the deep voice searched their eager faces and refrained from laughing at their gullibility. It excited him and amused him tirelessly at how they thought they stood a chance against him. He was destined to be the next President of the country. Greedy they were but they all served his purpose – but not for long. He knew first hand what fall-out factions were capable of. They were all seated and relaxed. Some had been served drinks by his aide and the light conversation in the room soon turned serious.
“The new order of the Executive must be watched at every step. We cannot afford the mission to succeed. We have gone too far now to get a simple order forestall our plan to get the President out” it was Jafal Kartar Asiedu to the men and woman who faced him the moment he opened his mouth.
Mostly referred to as J.K Asiedu in the media, Jafal was former general and war veteran. He had served on the Nigerian side in the civil war and later headed the ECOMOG mission in Liberia rumored to have populated the region with over thousands of children from the Nigerian and Ghanian troops and had committed war crimes from summary executions to bribery, extortions and abusing women and children. He had the ambition to govern the country but luck or chance never came to his door. Now he had gone to the door of the Executive Mansion to hijack the seat. His Pastor told him to take it by force because God’s kingdom suffered violent. It was a case of who was strong enough to take it and by God, he was.
He was not a man of the people and the populace knew him for the war crimes also attributed to his Command during the Civil war. J.K was singlehandedly responsible for over 50, 000 Biafrans lives at the Gulf and when he was called to answer for his crimes, he had simply thrown his commanding officers under the ICC bus. They were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment until a new Attorney General of the International Criminal Court had been appointed and made a deal with the prisoners. They were to get full immunity in turn for their cooperation to name the men who had massacred and committed war crimes during the civil war.
The warden on duty found them shot in the head the next day in Dutch prison in Scheveningen where they had been temporarily transferred and detained. Where there was no evidence or witness, there was no justice. That was the problem with justice, it almost always never has no witness when it mattered the most.
He had called the emergency meeting after the President ordered the relocation of the command center to Gwoza and receiving a $140 million fund from supporting countries in the fight against terrorism. While the populace celebrated the new show of force by the Aso man – as he called the lizard in the Executive mansion, they had no idea that the directive came from the men that be, the men that owned the country and they were only two of them.
“We have that covered. The Service Chiefs are well aware of what is at stake. They are in line with the plan” it was Benedict Onwuka Njoku, the Vice president who wanted power by all means necessary and had since joined forces with the new faction members to remove the Aso man, the lizard. Jafal nodded at his enthusiasm and took a drink.
“I understand your husband disinherited you?” the question was directed at the only woman in the group of seven. The meeting had also been called in honor of her. She was perceived by the rest of the group as the hero that had made their plans easier to execute but like vipers, they waited patiently for the day they would toss her out like the garbage that she was. It was only a matter of time before it was her turn to be sacrificed.
“I find it rather unworthy of attention. The boy is nothing but an old mistake and I have it under control” the woman who sat in place of Mrs. Kudirat Bello said confidently, answering his question of being disinherited by her late husband, Bello Badmus.
“You mean like you had Bello and his repentant snakes under control” it was the lily-livered member smiling like a stranded kangaroo in Parque Zoológico Caricuao.

The plan to take over the seat of government was simple.
1. Increase the spate of killings by funding the terrorists.
2. Deploy ineffective troops.
3. Embezzlement of the $140million.
4. Stage a war breakout.
5. Overthrow the Government
6. Vanquish Boko Haram.
With the plan, it wouldn’t be long before the people called for the impeachment of the President and when that happened, the Chiefs would declare a state of emergency and take over government while the Senior Adviser to the President, the old goat Nurudeen Soyemi would silently execute the President and his backstabbing Vice. J.K was not sure Nurudeen could carry out a simple drugging of their drinks but sometimes even old goats had their uses.
The simplicity of the plan and foolish ignorant faces of the men sitting before almost caused Jafal to laugh out loud. It was all set and with the recent move of the command center, the stakes were raised higher and the blood bath that was coming was one that was going to leave the country in national mourning for a long time. He wondered who ICC was going to witch-hunt next.

“We don’t mean to pry but we must make sure there are no issues on that front. The contracts awarded to your late husband by the present government will well serve our purposes of recruiting more local and international fighters and need I remind everyone of the black market prices of these weapons? The French are bastards” it was Jafal playing the advocate.
Florence Ohiemi sat in that meeting with so much confidence that she frightened herself at the length she was willing to go to get her revenge. She knew the faces of the men in the room and it pained her dearly that these were the man responsible for senseless blood bath and unrest in the country.
It was the night after she returned from where she held Kudirat. Bello had left her to her devices but he had suggested she find more clues to help with her mission at Kudirat’s private residence. It was more than a welcomed suggestion and Florence had gone to the simple 2 bedroom bungalow surrounded by exotic plants in the heart of town. The Gardener who greeted her profusely said she had a message and she had found a note neatly attached to the letter of consolation from the Major General J.K Asiedu on her sister’s large mahogany desk in her study.
On opening the letter, a note fell out and on it was a call for an emergency meeting stating the time, date and venue on a plain sheet of paper. The address of the venue was clearly stated. That was enough to raise her curiosity and alertness. Florence knew a set up when she saw one. If indeed Josephine was involved with the high and dangerous, the address of what she suspected was a meeting of the infamous cabal would not be clearly stated on a plain sheet of paper. It would be coded.
Florence knew the smell of a fish and the letter was a stinking fish.
Perhaps they knew she had Josephine in hiding? Where her friends in high places monitoring her or Josephine in her usual fashion had more enemies than one could possibly have.
There was only one way to find out.
Arriving at the meeting at the ungodly hour stated was expected but the brief look of triumph across the Major General’s face gave Florence cause for concern. It looked like he was in on something that the rest of the group wasn’t aware and she was set to find out.
The faces of two notorious Ex-governors, Vice president, Deputy Senate president and well-respected Cleric shocked her but she had quickly feigned a cough as they all gathered round to toast to her success. Success in killing people was toasted here and Florence joined in drinking to hundreds of lives blown apart.
She smiled as she thought of Bello and slightly shuddered with pleasure at the thought of going back to his hide out in his estate.
“We will feel better once the boy is taken out of the picture” it was the well-respected Cleric interrupting her thoughts.
“I have it under control” Florence reiterated dangerously – as Josephine would and she saw them smile in satisfaction. She had no idea that she said the same thing Josephine said before Bello had been killed and the bomb had gone off few months after. Of course, she was the only one in the group to know that Bello was alive and well. She smiled at the thought.
“I am sure. This time, we don’t have three months. We need him to go quietly. Perhaps an accident? Random shootings is my favorite. Let us know if there are problems” Jafal said with good humor and they laughed as his treacherous eyes settled on her bosoms.
“If I could take care of Bello, I am utterly upset at doubting my stance on the boy” she hissed playfully after the laugh ended as if she was insulted and they all nodded their agreement.
“You all will have news in the next days about his untimely demise. However, we must contact the sellers immediately to have more guns for the boys. I’d also like to propose negotiating new arrangements. Extortion by way of high price of weaponry is not going to work for me. Should the French bastards refuse our terms, I have contacts in Syria that can get sophisticated guns for the boys. I for one think the tipping point for the new government is just a matter of force and more blood” Florence was getting into character and she found it exhilarating. It was surprising how easily one got into the role but she wasn’t amazed at her performance. She knew to get the information, she have to play the part. Impersonating Kudirat was a walk in the park.
“You will be coming with me to Dubai next week to meet them. We don’t want to stress a newly widowed and disinherited member but what must be done must be done” Jafal stated with dry humor as he declared the meeting closed and the group filed out after small talks in pairs of two while Jafal’s eyes kept resting on hers as the group cleared out of the room.
If Florence wasn’t getting ahead of herself, she noticed he was smiling unnecessarily, readily agreeing to her suggestions and making plans to taking her with him on couple of meetings. Akin Jolojolo, one of the ex-Vice Presidents obviously his right hand stewed on his foot and when he was dismissed for a private meeting with Florence, he all but stormed out as gracefully as he could.
“I should get to work. Some accidents need to happen” she said in a smile, declining his invitation as he raised his hand to her chin.
“It is not appropriate” Florence held his hand and dropped it firmly.
“I would have found you weak if you agreed. We need your new step-boy gone and soon. Daba!” he barked loudly as if he wasn’t ogling her moments prior. Immediately the door opened to reveal the man called Daba and she was ushered out of the hall, leaving a little chip behind.

*****
Bello Badmus: The Elephant, June 2011

He watched as she left his 15 room mansion with enough grounds to develop a couple of structures if he wanted but he didn’t. He liked to walk from his helipad to the house. It was one of such properties one owned just for pleasures like this. He had chaired their meeting from his study. He watched the vultures try to get favors from Jafal and watched Florence impersonate her sister to perfection. How classic. He felt like a god in handling of affairs of the State and as he came downstairs, he saw his best friend, Jafal sitting with a glass of brandy, in deep thoughts.
“Easy on the thoughts” he laughed easily coming to take the seat Florence was sitting just for a feel of her scent and the thought of dominance. The grand master and ace game player, he felt invincible.
“So how did you see her performance?” it was Bello taking a mouthful of his glass of brandy.
“If you had not told me it was your wife’s twin sister, I would have fallen for her acting” it was Jafal in his usual deep voice.
“She is good. Very good” he said almost in admiration.
“Spare me master player. You faked your own death, blew up your old friends and set Kudirat take fall for it. You killed your son to keep him from talking after using his identity to import arms and he found out he was fronting for his own father….and to top it all got this new piece fine woman to go into retirement with” he said in a low laugh generating from his throat wickedly.
“Point of correction, he wasn’t my son. After all the monies him and the others enjoyed, I had to get something from him. I have you to thank for my wife’s brilliant idea to kill me. I must say it was the right kind of creativity we needed to pull it off” he chuckled enjoying the rare praise for his bosom friend.
“And the other two from George?” Jafal asked
“Oh well, remind me to send Daba to trail my new retirement piece. I need get rid of them before they squeal and for some reasons she likes to think she has things under control” he drank heavily and chuckled again. The thought that Florence would think herself smart was admirable and stupid. Of course he knew who Naomi Mambutu was. He wasn’t Bello Badmus for nothing. Investing in his company was so sweet and innocent that he had staged an accident meet in a beach she favored in Seychelles. Oh the poor woman. He really loved her innocence and sighs of pleasure. It was not like the first time but she was the purest he could find. She would do for retirement. She seems to like beaches.
“So what is next?” Jafal asked as Bello got up to refill his glass. Jafal stretched his frame and brought out a cut cigar from his pocket and lighting it expertly before dragging it to his fill.
“Well, making you the President is not as easy as I thought. I had to kill myself” Bello all but grunted.
“You owe me” Jafal smiled referring to saving Bello’s life when he had been hired to assassinate over a decade ago. It had been the first time the two would meet and become good friends.
“I don’t think so. I have paid my dues and you on your own now” Bello smiled as he took his seat, Florence’s seat.
“Not when my boy is still after me” Jafal said almost sadly.
“I can’t help that your illegitimate son has decided to become a torn in your flesh” Bello drank from his glass.
Jafal, a prominent philanderer in his days had fathered his bastard son with an Irish maiden who had taken to a black man as moth to flame. It was invariable she got burnt with black seed. Nathaniel Asiedu now Peter Osagie was indeed a torn and now more than ever, he had everything to lose if his son, now the acting Director General got his nose in the grind.
Peter had taken up the name of his great grandparents and dissociated himself from his father the moment he was old enough to know who his father was. He was everything Peter didn’t want to be and from the moment he left the house at 12 years of age to stay with his maternal grandparent, he began a career that would bring men like his father to justice. Men like his father didn’t deserve to be left to their devices but put behind bars.
Father and son knew there was no lost love but Jafal had a soft spot for his son and he hated being put in the position to eliminate because he would. He made sure his dealings with the underworld were kept away from his son but Peter liked the dark side.
“You do realize if I go down, you go down” Jafal warned as he dragged his cigar and blew the smoke in rings watching his friend.
“You forget that I am already dead. You, my friend must be firm and extremely careful. All fingers point to you now” Bello said
“Not if I pointed them to your new squeeze. Tell me, how do you get these women to trust you implicitly?” Jafal asked brightly after a while, suddenly forgetting his distrust and cautiousness when it came to Bello. They were friends but one could never be sure with Bello Badmus.
“She thinks her sister is the new devil. She has been practically in love with me forever. Not that hard if you are lovable” Bello laughed a boyishly.
“And the boy she is supposed to kill? Is he not your son, her son?” Jafal took a lazy drag.
“Her son. I am still new to the fathering table. I am sure she is going to hide him again but this time, not from me, not for long”
“You intend to kill your son?” Jafal was shocked at the evil look that came over Bello’s clouded eyes and for the first time saw the monster that sat before him.
“How else am I going to get the control of my company back?” Bello emptied his glass.
“But when you get rid of him, Florence takes over” Jafal contended
“No” it was emphatic.
“Who then takes over?”
“You” Bello answered with a sly.
“And what happens to Florence?”
“Every good thing comes to an end, sadly” he added as an afterthought and as soon as he said it, the two men looked at themselves and broke out in loud shattering laughter that rang across the empty mansion obliviously to the chip planted in between the sofa of the chair where Florence had sat down and straight into the ears of the woman who sat in her car few streets away from the house.
The cold pimples that sprouted on her arms as she listened and the wet tears that threatened to drop was stopped just in time as she joined them in the loud shattering belly-filling laughter.
There was no end of betrayal and her suspicious had proved right.
Bello Badmus, how sweet his fall would be.
“Why is the fall of great men orchestrated by women always the sweetest?” she asked herself sweetly still coming down from the laugh as she drove to Kudirat, the recorded discussion in her possession.
After 30 days in Avianwu-replica, Kudirat was ready to play ball.
And somehow, Florence was sure Josephine was really going to enjoy playing this ball.
They say the best revenge was served cold, Florence thought the best revenge was served in painful small chops.

*****
*****

M.O.T.I.V.E.S is written by;
Uneñ Ameji
Author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger on Amazon.com
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M.O.T.I.V.E.S Episode 6 – @UnenAmeji

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Morning People!

Finally! we have got Episode 6 of M.O.T.I.V.E.S after a loooooooooonng abrupt break. We hope you enjoy it.

Read all previous Episodes here

*****
Note from Unen Ameji
Hey guys, I must apologize for the two weeks break. Hopefully that never happens until the end of the series. The first week was the inauguration week and working in a *Buhari-oriented enviroment – whatever that means, it was a marathon. It was inevitable that I miss sending in the post. And last week Tuesday, I had an accident on my way to work – I was driving. While the facial injuries (Yup, different places) is/are healing, I sincerely hope there are no ugly scars – sexy scars I can deal. *winks
Seriously though, I am thankful and so grateful to be alive. I really am. Wasn’t the best of experience and never ever will I have a repeat.
Back to Motives – You may have to brush through the story to get flowing again, sorry about that. I promise to convert episodes into chapters and format into downloadable*s.
Soooooooo, enjoy this episode and let me know what you think – here or wherever is most convenient. I don’t mind. I love to hear/read your comments.
To Ridwan, Joesph, Ginika, Timayin, Sleekdami and her wonderful friend, Mariam, Zarah, Eve, Sim, Prince, Soulkey, Bisi, Shagkor, Temi T, ephortunate and those I have not mentioned here but have reached out…..thank you. I write most times because of your inspiring comments.
I’d love to know what you guys think – about the story; not asking me “How did it happen?” I am past telling the narrative, seriously guys.

Cheers.
https://twitter.com/UnenAmeji

*****

Episode 6

Avianwu – Auchi, March, 1982

Florence woke up to the cracked dirty walls, the soggy brown asbestos ceiling with irregular water marks from rusted leaking aluminum roof covering half of the building and large cobwebs dangling merrily in the eerily lit room. The warm air was humid as it was suffocating, with stench of decaying human waste, concentrated urine and a little of what Florence would come to know as weed. The putrid smell originated from the farther corner of the room where the en-suite toilet had no door nor roof.
Florence, faint and disoriented, tried to rise up from the sack which served as her bedding and felt her legs give away. She felt sick and the strong urge to vomit was overwhelming. Struggling to support her weak frame by holding the wall, she moved albeit shakingly, taking steady breaths. Reaching the middle of the room to where the only window was, she struggled with the metal locks momentarily and forced it opened just in time to throw up the heavy greenish slime that troubled her being.
Retching loudly and hoping to turn her insides out, she noticed movement from afar in the bushes and soon heard voices approach the building. Suddenly afraid for her safety, she looked around for the door and walked over to it, prying it open. She found it locked from the outside. As the voices neared, she hurried back to the sack and lay down, feigning to be asleep while she waited for the voices to fade.
The voices faded eventually but the thin man with extremely long limbs that entered the room several minutes later reminded Florence of the story of the giant praying mantis only that his countenance belied his fragility. His unusually black face looked like it was cast in precolonial bronze and the gun he hung loosely around his neck and pistol he held carelessly had Florence nodding when he asked if she was sleeping. Fear indeed improved Florence’s hearing ability, even when she was supposed to be fast asleep. She opened her eyes afterwards and slowly sat up after she noticed the thin man go about his business of removing his black overall.
“Where am I? How long have you had me here?” she braved as he settled at the other corner of the large room that looked like an emptied abandoned classroom.
“You are in Avianwu. You have been sleeping for 3 days or more, not sure. Found you lying in the bushes. You can remember taking a nap in the bushes?” he asked wickedly in surprisingly good English and walking over to the open en-suite toilet to take a piss. She had no answer but watched as the yellow liquid splashed on his trousers before turning to face the wall in disgust. Her stomach was rumbling again.
“Here” he said when he returned, throwing her a black leather bag. The wet biscuits in the bag would last Florence for the next couple of days and it would be the beginning of their routine that would last 24 days, three weeks and three days, Florence kept count.
24 days after her escape from the spiritualists that Josephine had staged, 24 days after she found herself in the dungeon with the thin dragon, she started experiencing headaches, cough, sore throat and high fever. Constantly throwing up and feeling cold all night, all day. Her dungeon-mate who came only in the mornings became overly worried and watched her for hours when she was sleeping and mumbling nonsensically. She would wake up at intervals to see him watching her, like the vulture – the haggard scavenger that doesn’t pay the barber visits.
Waking from one of those numerous nap, Florence, dehydrated and hungry, found a tin of clean water, a bowl of sparklingly fufu and what looked like badly cooked Egusi soup plastered on the fermented cassava dough. What was supposed to be cooked meat stared at Florence with flagrant boldness until she was tempted to throw the piece of meat away. She dared not for she felt his eyes on her from his corner.
Nke ahụ bụ ewu nwa anya, n’ihi na protein” he said in Igbo, noticing her hesitation at eating the food he had placed before her. Florence simply nodded as her stomach growled to announce her hunger despite the goat eyeball he served her as protein. Swallowing small balls of the cassava dough, the thin man with the fierce countenance fixed a direct stare at her, challenging her to eat, to throw up. Surprisingly, she didn’t. Her system seemed to like the smell of the fufu and hot green peppered Egusi soup. She was feeling better after she finished the large plate with running nose and weak limbs.
“Lock the door after me and stay in. Wandering around here gets you killed” he said almost in a murmur as he stood to get ready to go out. He had since stopped locking her from the outside. If she wanted to go, she could – so he told her after her seventh day. She had taken a step out of the dilapidated building and found herself rushing back. It was literally a jungle out there. Lighting a rolled up leaf that Florence knew was marijuana and taking a deep drag, he offered her humorously.
“Please” she croaked as the smell enveloped the room. The smell always gave her headaches and coughs and he knew it. He fixed her another stare before leaving to join the group of strange looking men who always waited for him outside the deserted building every afternoon.
The broken-down building was located at what appeared to be in a valley surrounded by tall palm trees and well-rounded large trees that Florence decided were either mahogany or Iroko. The insects that stung her, night animals wailings and the cold air that made her young bones shiver every night told her she was nowhere near civilization.
She had also joined the thin man in taking dumps in the toilet by placing newspapers or fresh plantain leaves he provided on top of the cemented floor and when there wasn’t space, she simply placed the newspapers or leaves on drying excreta and took new dump. Life was unbearable and she was certain she was going to lose the baby and die, and Josephine would be happy.
The thought however strengthened her resolve to live. She decided she wasn’t going to die, she wasn’t going to give her sister the satisfaction of disappearing from the face of the earth forever. From her kidnap to her scape and her apparent rescue after she fainted in a cassava farm, she vowed she would survive and pay her sister back in kind and in coin.
He rarely spoke to her that fateful morning, the 25th day in the forest. He simply ignored her and sharpened his knives and polished his guns the day before, smoking his marijuana without caring if she was going to vomit or faint. She stayed quiet and watched him getting ready for what she knew was going to be a raid or possibility another kidnap. Her morning sickness had reduced but the urge to throw up and weakness still woke her up every morning. Somehow her rush to the window amused him and at such times, she would see twinkles in hie eyes.
“We will be leaving tonight” he said quietly as he ate what would be his last meal, a plate of white rice and palm oil stew with dried fish he brought from who Florence came know was Mama Edo, the woman who the healing fufu and Egusi soup came from. Mama Edo was supposedly the the forest’s herbalist and food vendor.
“Tonight? To where” she asked alarmed, wondering why they will be leaving in the night, in the thick scary darkness. He was surely going to give her to another spiritualist since he had figured out she was pregnant, she thought.
“Leaving to the city. What is your name?” he asked, ignoring her eyes filled with fear. His eyes dropped to her stomach and instinctively she covered her stomach with her thinning hands.
“Florence” she answered going back to her corner when he gave her the remaining food in a blue plastic plate.
“Florence who?” he asked, his voice a little tighter than usual as he stood up and took the last drag of his stem. The thin man almost always smoked marijuana after his meals.
“Florence Ohiemi” she said taking a spoon of the already mixed red rice.
“Florence Ohiemi, from where?” he continued his questioning as he started dressing, hanging his gun and wearing his black leather overall that needed washing.
“From Ibienafe” Florence answered, dropping the spoon and pushing away the plate from her.
“Eat, you will need your strength” he admonished and she picked up the plate again.
“If I come back, we will be leaving this place. Do not sleep, be ready to go immediately I get back” he said sternly to a fearful Florence.
“Why at night? Can’t we go in the morning?” she asked as he stood up to go.
“You are the pregnant one. Do you want to leave this place? he barked and she dropped her head.
“Yes” she answered meekly.
“You don’t know where you are. How do you expect to walk into this forest and get to civilization without guidance?” he asked, looking at her like a petulant child.
“Sorry” was all she could say.
“What’s his name?” he asked after few minutes of silence.
“Who?”
“Your child. A male child” he tried a pitiful smile that made him look like a hungry wild cat, the kind that chewed red kolanut.
“I…, I don’t know. I have not thought about it” she replied with a smile herself. Her mouth felt like an algae pond, slimy and green, her breath stinking like rat died in her bowels and her body was so filthy one could use the dirt to plaster the cracks on the wall.
“Inale” he told her and looked at her thinning frame with pity before disappearing into the forest.
“Inale” she murmured under her breath as she watched him go.
He returned at midnight. When the sun had since forgotten it rose and when the moon took over the skies. However, that particular night, the moon was taking a well deserved break and refused to give night light. The stars took their cue from the moon and they too refused to entertain the dark skies. She had been waiting for him all day. A little sleep, a little murmuring of prayers. She prayed for life, her own, the thin man’s own. God knew her dungeon-mate as the thin man.
“Florence” he called in a whisper from the window and she was soon out, following him. He was with a large bag and a pistol. His appearance disheveled and dried blood on his clothes and forehead. Using flashlight to indicate his position and walking briskly into the unknown, Florence could only follow.
She ran to meet up, wet grasses rubbing her exposed legs as they took uncharted path up the uneven hills and down the meandering plains. Once, she tripped and almost fell into a hole.
“Watch where I step and be quiet” he admonished tiredly, backing the large bag and turning to lead the way.
They walked for what seemed like hours to Florence. Night birds howling, insects biting her exposed limbs, neck and face, wild animals grunting and making strange noises as they walked the lonely bushy path. From a distance, Florence could here chanting of human beings and it sounded evil. Florence jogged to keep up.
After an hour, he stopped abruptly and pointed.
“That’s the highway. When we get there, know where you want to go or follow me. I don’t want to waste time” he all but grunted and forged on.
Florence had no idea where to go to. Until that moment, she thought he was going to kill her or sell her.
“Where are you going to?” she asked, making a conversation and at the same time trying to decide where she would run to. She couldn’t go back home just yet and going back to Zaria was out of the question. With the pregnancy and her evil sister, she knew she had to stay away for a while or else Josephine would find a way to get rid of her, this time for good. And if she wanted an abortion or to give birth to the baby, she had to find out how that worked.
“Cotonou, then Senegal” he answered as they walked hastily, the thin man holding the gun and looking around as they matched on.
“That’s out of Nigeria” she said mostly to herself.
“Yes”
“What’s your name?” she finally braved up to ask as he vied off another bushy path and entered thick bush obviously an attempt to get to the highway faster. She followed, albeit cautiously.
“Friends call me Inale” he answered.
“And enemies?” she tried a joke, wiping sweat from her brows.
“I don’t have enemies” he countered.
“Everyone has enemies. You wanted me to name my child after you, why?” she asked merrily.
“Not me. Yes I wanted your son named after me” he grunted.
“How is that possible? I know for sure everyone has enemies. My own is my sister” she said continued, a smile playing on her lips. They were having a conversation and he was leading her to safety. She decided that instant to follow him. Somehow she knew he would protect her and her baby.
“Because I don’t let them live. You shouldn’t let your sister live either” he said dangerously and she felt shivers go down her spine. The conversation was over.
The next thing that happened changed Florence life forever.
Few minutes after she had stopped questioning him, Inale gave a loud scream and instinctively fired his legs, falling down in a heap. He threw the large bag away and shot at his legs some more. Florence, confused, ran back and waited at a safe distance.
Inale unfortunately had stepped in a pool of poisonous king cobras and they had fastened their fangs on his legs and thighs. They bite him randomly on his long limbs as he shot into the night, killing them, shooting himself. He was bleeding profusely by the time she went back to help him up.
“Please don’t give up. We’ll soon reach” she comforted him as she placed his arms over her shoulders.
“I won’t” he grunted as they moved.
Florence dragged him from the dead snakes, tying his legs and thighs in attempt to prevent circulation of the poison and carried the bag before they started on the path he had vied from. The mixture of pain and poison soon slowed him down and he gave up after 10 minutes to lay down on the wet grasses.
“I am not going to make it. Make sure you do. And whatever you do, don’t abort that child. Take the money in the bag and invest it. Don’t spend me like a fool” he said in between pain and cough as he tried a brave smile.
“Please, please” she was crying now, sweat rolling down her face, afraid for her life, for his. She heard the first cock crow and this time she prayed, using Inale instead of the thin man. But it was too late. There were a million and one thin men in the world and God must have saved the wrong one.
“Let me bleed your legs or at least tie it again” but Inale was long gone after she opened her eyes from the prayer.
He died at the third crow.
Florence, with the bag sat with his body until dawn, crying for her lost friend, for a man she would never know, her rescuer. She waited for help but none came.
Later, Florence would bury him in a ditch beside where he slept peacefully, a beautiful smile now on his lips. She put wet branches over him, carried the bag on her head, walked to the highway before boarding a pickup carrying fresh meat heading to Lagos.
The bag contained new crispy notes in different denomination just as Inale said. The decision to go to Cotonou in the motel room two days later came naturally. Senegal was her next stop.
And Florence did right by the bag.

*****
Lagos, December, 1999

The trip from Dakar to Lagos 18 years later with a teenager looking like his father, Florence was convinced Bello was going to be shocked and proud to have a son, Inale – a hot headed, smooth and savvy young man – carry his last name. Florence, now Naomi Mambety, was the owner of chains of hotels and fast food eateries across the capital – Dakar, Grand Dakar and Pikine and she had since understood Bello for been confused that night and forgiven Josephine after several counseling sessions for her wicked plot. She was a wealthy woman in her own right, married and divorced and was ready to return home, investment wise as well as be reunited with her sister, if ever possible. Pastor Faye Cisse seemed to believe so. Of course there was no question about her love for Bello. She still loved him deeply and she would return to find out if he still loved her. Perhaps he was married, just maybe he was unmarried or divorced like her. It was a chance she had to take, and take it she did.
The search for Bello’s whereabout wasn’t hard. The 9 o’clock night news on their third day in the country told her what she needed to know.
Bello Badmus, Nigeria’s finest entrepreneur was breaking grounds for his estate, The Castle. Slated to be the number one tourist destination in Africa, several investors were scrambling for a piece of the prime development. As the newscaster would later end, Bello Badmus was the man of the moment. Indeed he was but the woman beside Bello with a plastered smile was the beginning of another chapter in Florence’s life. The covetous smile beaming at the camera while Bello pecked her was enough to turn Florence into a burning furnace and it burnt all the teachings of the church and of her dear Pastor Faye. She knew the smile because she saw it every morning when she looked into her mirror; a smile that she shared, a smile of complete triumph.
What she feared the most, her evil twin was married to Bello and here she was, weak and a forgiving fool.
The next weeks and months, Florence would read interviews and features of the Bellos in business and lifestyle magazines. She came to know that they were married the morning of Inale’s death. She wept quietly as she thought of the months she spent leaving one boarding house to the next, trying to survive in a new country with no communication skills, no identity, a protruding stomach and a bag of money. She remembered Mama Annerose and how she had taken her in. There was no measure for the pain that went through her. Over and over, she cried and she swore. Forgiveness wasn’t the way. Inale was right, enemies were not allowed to live. They had no right to live. It was time to end it all.
Florence hired private eyes to find out more information on the Bellos as she came to regard them. The kind of dirt she needed was not available in daytime prints. She hired Eesha, an efficient Togolese to deal with these hired hands and did not go out without wearing a veil and dark glasses.
She found out soon enough that Josephine was now known as Alhaja Kudirat Bello, an architect and a nurse who supposedly carried on an affair with a prominent figure in the country. She was a Founder of a non-profit organization and friend of several ministers and politicians at the Assembly. She discovered that she, Florence Ohiemi had graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University in 1986 with a second class lower. It was the ultimate revelation – Josephine was living her life or what it would have been.
Bello Badmus also was a formidable name in the country and while everyone knew him as the ruthless man and shrewd businessman, others knew he was a silent killer and was behind many groups helped that the government to take major political decisions. No one knew what he had on the politicians but he lacked nothing and when he wanted some of them gone, the military Head of State made it happen. She found out that Bello Badmus, father to her son, was in fact a man to be feared and envied, a man rumored to have blood on his hands, facilitating executions of persons that ran out of luck with the then military government. He was no longer the Bello she had fallen in love or was he? She needed to take back her life. The greatest revenge she realized was taking her life back and getting rid of the enemy.
However, Florence would come to learn that to get things done, one did not find and trust complete strangers with semblance of honesty and dignity. One had to do it personally or at least had a great amount of control. She would learn this lesson at great cost, another twelve hard years.
As fate always have it, she saw the advert of George Ajero’s internationally-recognized law firm on the glossy pages of a legal journal in early 2000 and consulted the firm. She was told by private eyes that the firm was topnotch in handling high profile cases and after several correspondences without meeting the man in charge, the man everyone and media houses sang his praise, the man George Ajero, she decided to pay him a visit; The man she thought was going to help her bring her sister down.
George Ajero, foremost activist and SAN was a friend of the Bellos and helplessly in love with Josephine from Zaria days and Josephine loved him as much as she could but her obsession to take whatever Florence left behind had married Bello but still continued her rendezvous with him. George Ajero was the face of the man who Alhaja Kudirat Bello had her illicit sessions.
The moment Florence entered the office and he had taken a double look at her, Florence knew there was going to be a problem, but she had no idea how much.
She left the meeting hours later without telling him who her defendants were but she had a disturbing feeling he knew. She had mixed feelings of great apprehension and euphoria. George had simply waived away the resemblance of her to a friend he knew a long time ago while vowing to bring justice and making sure the father of her son acknowledge his son and the woman who had committed such atrocities be brought to justice. They concluded when she was ready, he would directly take the case and make sure the defendants rotted in jail.
It was the perfect pitch.
By the time Florence got to her rented apartment in Ikeja G.R.A after taking a drive to Bar Beach to clear her head and re-strategize, her assistant Eesha who liked to play dress up in her clothes lay lifeless in her bed, her throat slit open, her mouth opened in a muffled scream. Inale, who had gone out to play football was picked up by her driver and taken to a new apartment in Ogba. That night, she sent him out with enough money just as her friend, Inale had done and sent Ganbo, her trusted bodyguard to monitor his activities without interfering while she escaped to Seychelles, coming into the country under disguise every six months to see her son, albeit from afar and to continue her revenge plot. This time, she had to get it right and it took time.
She remembered the tears in his eyes and confusion that night. No explanation, no father, he had walked into the night just as she had 18 years ago, with a large bag of money on his back. However, with no wise words, he had squandered it in months and struggled to keep alive. Florence in years that followed invested in companies Bello Badmus owned. Naomi Mambety was vicious and on a mission and she bought shares blindly until she came to own part of his business, by proxy.
When the opportunity came to rope in the SAN, George Ajero – her new enemy, in a mining deal that failed and costed Bello billions of Naira, Florence made sure Bello walked in on his long time George and his good wife Alhaja Kudirat who was pretending to be her in similar position as she had found them over 18 years ago. Bello in turn would have George humiliated, single-handedly closing down his internationally firm while destroying years of life’s work by discrediting him in the media and releasing his black files. By the time Bello was through, an aggrieved member of Bello’s group found it worthwhile to kill the betrayer while Kudirat watched from a safe distance as they fed his wigged head some hot bullets. She had wept bitterly and mourned her lover, the father of her children for years, in dark silence. She promised George she would avenge his death and that began her quest to be in control in affairs of the State. Bello, naturally was her first target and his group of murderers followed her list; and it would take her twelve years.
*****

March, 2011 – The Castle – Reading of the Will

“Florence?” it was Josephine, breathless and moving back steadily. She looked around to confirm that she wasn’t the only one seeing her twin sister. The other room occupants looked from one woman to the other, befuddled and sitting at on the edge of their seats, except one.
“It’s Naomi now, I take you are Alhaja Kudirat Sadika” Florence laughed halfheartedly and shook her head.
“Why in God’s name would you choose that ugly name Josephine…rather unlike you I’d say” Florence continued, slowly walking to where her twin sister,a smile of triumph on her radiant face.
“What, what is this?” Josephine finally let out, flustered and looking around the room to see eyes on them. Josephine knew that for Bello to have discovered he was not father of her three children and summarily disinheriting them, there was a reason. However, to see Florence standing before her was totally unbelievable. All these years, she made sure George had the last laugh and it echoed from the grave but now the reading of the Will had silenced it and Josephine knew that the woman standing before, the one person who she hated above everyone else was the reason for it.
“What is this? I came to see you. Or rather, came to help Bello with his Will. You don’t object to the Will now, do you?” Florence said dangerously, her words lined with meaning as she fixed Josephine a stare that meant more, Inale’s stare.
“I don’t, I mean I do” Josephine swallowed nervously.
“I thought so. We don’t want to implicate you in murder and other minor crimes. We want to be reasonable, do we not?” Florence asked lightly with a small smile as she looked across the room to her son and Charity who watched without words.
“I thought you were dead” Josephine said, trying to sound firm but her voice that was strong and commanding few minutes ago was now flat and without timbre.
“You thought you had me down where Bello is lying?” Florence insinuated cheaply.
“I did no such thing!” Josephine denied vehemently.
“Of course, what was I expecting? You need proof course. I have more surprises but at the moment, I think it’s time to answer some questions” she said immediately three men in police uniforms entered the conference room.
“Mrs. Kudirat Sadika Bello, you are under arrest” the man who suspiciously looked too stocky for a police officer said as they approached the head of the conference table.
“For what?” Josephine spat, a little too forcefully.
“Oh let’s see, for the murder of your husband Chief Badmus Bello, kidnap and murder of Florence Ohiemi, forgery and impersonation – for starters. I am sure as we sweep, we’d more dead rats, like your George. You killed him, you know” Florence said as two other officers came to stand behind Josephine.
“I didn’t kill George. Bello and his blasted goons did. If there was any justice in the world it is their death” she retorted hotly at Florence.
“You talk about justice in the world. I guess this is you getting justice. Take her to the station” Florence directed the officers.
“Get your hands off me! Do you know who I am? You will lose your useless jobs for this. Jimi, get these clowns out of here” Josephine said in a loud voice as one of the officers forcefully cuffed her.
“I am afraid you have to follow these men to the station. We are representatives of the deceased and your earlier utterances are implicating. However we will arrange for your bail. This probably is a misunderstanding and it will be sorted out soon” Jimi said with a blank expression.
“You fool! You will regret this” she threatened as she felt hands at her elbow shove her to move.
“You can’t take my mother anywhere” it was Debola finally recovering from the shock of being disinherited and the exchange that was taking place.
“I suggest you two follow us” Florence said signaling the other two police officers to take Debola and Laide into custody.
“We have not done anything to warrant an arrest. I demand you impostor leave here immediately or you will regret the outcome of this pathetic ambush” Debola declared loudly, standing up and trying fierce look while Laide sat watching the scene with amusement.
“I wouldn’t be too quick to start calling names. You have been an impostor all your life, didn’t you hear your father is George Ajero and not Bello? One would rightly assume you are more deluded than your congregation. I think perhaps it’s time the world knows of your mistress and your baby. Men of God like you should be known for what you really are, don’t you agree?” Florence said returned hotly without mincing words as she turned to face Laide who was already being escorted out of the room while Debola who looked like he had electricity pass through him was ushered out.
“Move” it was one of the police officers.
“I wonder if there is any law for women who sexually abuse underage boys” Florence added with sly smile as she stood in front of Laide. The look in Laide’s eyes went from passive to dangerous.
“It is none of your business how I seek my pleasure” she hissed back.
“Of course. Pedophiles always have entitlement mentality. You abuse those poor boys because you can and because it makes you feel good. That’s the problem we have in the society these days, everyone doing things that make them happy. No one gives a thought to how such misguided happiness affects other people’s lives” she said to no one in particular as she stopped to return the stare from Josephine.
Josephine who was trying hard to be unaffected by the turn of events was thinking of possible line of action. She knew she would get freed at the station the moment she called Yakubu, the Inspector General of Police. She gave a knowing smile and Florence returned hers. There was no need to trade words; she always won at the end, always.
The officers matched them out as Florence walked to Victor who was now standing, watching the police officers take the trio out. Charity was confused. How could her father be involved with another woman and to have fathered three children with a married woman all these years? How did that happen? She was older than the first of three children with just a two years. That meant the affair was roughly the same time her mother and father got married, if not earlier. Moreover, the inexplicable way her mother had drowned in the swimming pool when she was just 8 years old still raised questions in Charity’s mind. Could her father have been in love and killed her mother to be with his mistress? Or perhaps Mr. Bello’s wife had killed her mother to be with her father? or simply out of jealously? What happened after? Why didn’t they get married or be together? Why all the disconnection and more questions instead of answers. The woman Naomi seemed to have it all and she knew she had to have them. The three-man team that sat with Jimi, looked at themselves with unvoiced questions; only Jimi had a knowing smile on his lips.
Florence stopped in front of Victor and gave a sad smile.
“I am sorry I couldn’t be physically there for you twelve years ago. There is so much you don’t know but I promise you, you will soon. Yes I sent you away but it was for a purpose and I never left you. I knew where you where every single hour, every minute and when this is all over, we will have that talk. I promise. I hope it is not too late Inale” She said with a sad smile and held his gaze.
Victor, confused and angry, nodded his head slowly as he saw his mother’s eyes water right before she turned and followed the back stairs where the men she hired to camouflage as police officers were told to follow.
The fake police officers instead of taking the front door bundled Kudirat and her children through the exit on the second floor with stairs leading to the basement. Kudirat knew the moment they pushed them down the stairs with guns urging them down stairs that Florence was no longer the clueless sister she knew and for the first time in her life felt real fear.
Just before entering the car park, they bagged their heads and Debola fought in vain to get the bag thrown over his head, removed. Florence’s footsteps approaching instinctively brought the struggle to a still.
“Florence, what do you think you will achieve with this?” Josephine asked, starting a struggle as they held her still.
“Take her to the house and take them to the other location. That dark room should do for now” Florence said to the fake police officers as she lifted the bag and smiled evilly at Josephine who had a panicked look on her face.
“Where are you taking me? Don’t hurt them. Take only me” she shouted as Florence dropped the black bag and walked the BMW 5 Series Sedan car parked few meters from where the van was.
“Where are you taking me? What are your plans? Leave my children alone!” Florence could hear Josephine’s shouts from the van as she headed to the car.
“Florence! Florence!! You can’t do this! Florence” It was Josephine shouting as the van drove off.
“Naomi. Florence is dead. You killed her” she corrected in a murmur as she closed her eyes in relish.
After twelve years of delicate planning, nothing could go amiss now. Florence glowed at the thought of Josephine having 30 days of dirt, no food, cold and smell. It was time for the coin payment and she had enough reserve.
The driver came around to open the door for her and she entered. Silence followed briefly before the other occupant of the car spoke.
“How did it go?” the familiar voice asked as she settled into the cozy leather and took the cold glass of red wine he was holding out to her. The voice that still brought shivers to her being, the voice that had accosted her in front of her hostel over three decades, the voice she had forgiven.
“Pretty much low-key for what I had in mind” she answered simply, taking a sip of her drink.
“I like when you are bad” the voice continued in a tease.
“Glad you approve Mr. Mausoleum” she said in a giggle as he found her hand and brought it to his lips as they drove out of the basement.
“So Mrs. Kudirat Bello, what’s your next line of action?”
“Dead men don’t ask questions. They know” she said evilly, smiling into his eyes just before he took her lips in a warm kiss as the sun filtered lazily into the dark car.

*****

Till Next week!

M.O.T.I.V.E.S is written by Uneñ Ameji
Author of Memoirs of a Justified Gold Digger on Amazon.com
See new book Love on the 25th on Okadabooks http://goo.gl/hmsKnv
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P.S: Kindly make observations of your typos and structures and send to mailafricanstories@gmail.com.

Have a great week.

Book Release: Gentlemen’s Club by Uneñ Ameji is Finally Out

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Uneñ Ameji, African Stories affiliated Author is out with a new mini series titled “Gentlemen’s Club“. It is exclusively available on the Okadabooks App.

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An erotica series, Gentlemen’s Club, set in modern day Nigeria, tells a different story of love amidst suspense and heated sexual scenes. She promises it would get hotter as she unveils each part, connecting myriad experiences and stories for the enjoyment of her readers.

Gentlemen’s Club…Anonymous the first of the series is about Talatu Sani-Sabo, owner of an art gallery and independent woman who wants a child at all cost. Tally is introduced to sex services rendered by the infamous club by her friend, Lucy – a bisexual.

All is set until she meets the wrong man.

Yakubu Aman, an artiste and ace music producer is searching for the right woman. He is ready for love but he finds lust. By fate, he meets a woman who he can fall in love with but she solicits for sex – A 21st century desperado.

Will Yaks choose love over decency? What becomes of their night of erotic pleasure?

Find out.

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Front Cover-page-001

Remember to comment after reading the book on the app. You can also send in your reviews to mailafricanlovestories@gmail.com or simply comment below.

Enjoy your weekend!

Beautiful Stranger. Episode 12

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Hi everybody, TGIF!

A little posting disorder happening but do bear with us….sorted in time….enjoy your weekend. enjoy today’s episode.

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EPISODE 12

Nora shut the door after the lawyer and turned in Toni’s direction. Toni smiled faintly at her and slipped into the bed.
“How do you feel?” Nora asked as she took her seat beside her sister.
Toni sighed. “Tired, but I am optimistic. What about you?”
“I am okay. I just think that calling the lawyer today speaks a lot about your optimism, Toni. How optimistic is drawing up a will?” Nora asked, feeling sad.
Toni shrugged. “I am being realistic here, Nora. We have gone over this before…I don’t think we need to do it again.”
Nora nodded. “Sure.”
“I haven’t seen Emeka or Jerry around here today. Have you?” Toni asked.
Nora shook her head. “Neither have I.”
“That’s strange.” Toni said. “Anyway, let’s talk about my book and the big plans I have for it.” She said.
Nora stared at her. “Can we go on holidays first? We would discuss the massive book launch during the holiday.” She replied.
“You are still offended because of the will, right?”
Nora shrugged. “Why would I be offended?”
“Why won’t you be offended? You think I am throwing everything away by drafting that will, right? You think I don’t have the zeal to live and all I want to do is disappoint everyone?” Toni asked.
Nora sighed. “I don’t think you aren’t fighting hard enough.”
“What do you see when you look at me, Nora?” Toni asked.
Nora took a deep breath. “Don’t start asking questions like this, Toni. I love you and that’s all that counts.”
“Nora, what do you see when you look at me?” Toni asked as she swallowed.
Nora stared at her. “A beautiful, strong woman.”
“Then give me some credit. I am making efforts to live, and I am fighting with everything in me to make sure that you don’t come in here and realise that I am gone. I am afraid to die, I am not feeling better, but yet, I want to be here for you…and I will keep fighting. So, Nora, don’t you dare give up on me…because, I am not giving up on myself.” Toni blurted and then wiped her eyes.
Nora took a deep breath. “I am sorry.”
“You don’t have to be.” Toni replied.
Nora exhaled. “It’s been tense for me. You…you don’t understand how it feels to be in my shoes.”
Toni chuckled. “Trust me, Nora. It feels better to be you.”
Nora smiled faintly. Her sister had made a joke out of it and it made her feel better.
“Life is precious, Nora. You have to enjoy it while you have it. There are a lot of people who would rather have these days, don’t waste it.” Toni said.
Nora blinked as she took Toni’s hand. “Save the pep talk for later.” She said with a smile.
Toni laughed. “You have a crooked sense of humour, you have got to work on it.”
“Was I trying to be funny?” Nora asked.
Toni nodded with a grin. “And you suck at it.”
Nora exhaled with a smile. “Stay with me, Toni.”
“Have you booked our flight tickets? I’ll soon be out of here, you know? That vacation has to rock.” Toni replied as she smiled.
Nora nodded. “It’s going to be a perfect holiday.”
“Yeah…I know it will be.” Toni replied. “Now, where is Jerry?”
Nora smiled. “You are missing him already, aren’t you?”
Toni nodded. “I don’t know, it’s unlike him or Emeka not to have at least dropped in by now. That has me worried.”
“I suggest you get your mind off it. I will go and ask the Nurses if they have seen any of them this morning.” Nora replied.
Toni shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. Maybe, they are busy with surgery or something. I don’t want you bothering yourself about it. I am just paranoid.”
“Paranoid? You miss the guy you love and you call it being paranoid? That’s not paranoid, lady. I will go out and find anything I can regarding his whereabouts.” Nora replied.
Toni smiled. “Thank you.”
***
Emeka and Mrs Aiyenugba rose to receive Jerry as he walked out of the Police station.
“Thank you.” Jerry said to Mrs Aiyenugba.
She smiled. “It’s okay, dear. I am sorry for everything I put you through. I didn’t know Shola would do this.”
“It’s okay. It’s nothing serious.”
Emeka grinned. “How was it?”
“Did I go there to eat food?” Jerry replied harshly.
Mrs Aiyenugba smiled. “It’s okay, boys. I have to go now, my son is waiting.” She said staring in the direction of her son.
Jerry nodded and walked over to meet Mrs Aiyenugba’s son. “Hey!”
“You do know who you are talking to, right?” Mr Aiyenugba replied.
Jerry nodded. “A stupid and ungrateful man.”
Mr Aiyenugba stared at him. “Are you sane?” he asked.
“Yes. But to me, you are quite insane.” Jerry replied.
Emeka and Mrs Aiyenugba rushed over to them. “Jerry, stop this.” Emeka said.
“No.” Jerry replied. “Let me teach this man how to respect his mother.”
Mrs Aiyenugba took Jerry’s hand. “It’s okay. You don’t have to tell him anything.”
“Kini gbogbo radarada yi? (What is all these rubbish?)” Mr Aiyenugba voiced in Yoruba (A Nigerian Local dialect.)
“You have suddenly lost your ability to speak English?” Jerry asked. “You don’t care enough about your own mother and when another man cares about her, you want to punish me for it?” Jerry asked angrily as he drew closer to him.
Emeka pulled his friend back to avoid another detention. “Dude! Think about Toni. Do you want them to lock you up again?”
“On what grounds?! Have I even assaulted him yet?” Jerry shouted.
“You won’t dare to touch me.” Shola retorted. “I will have them lock you and your family up for good.”
“Shut up!” Mrs Aiyenugba yelled at her son. “Who are you? What power do you have to lock up anyone and his family? I am under the impression that you have completely lost it.”
Mr Aiyenugba took a deep breath and stared at his Mother. “Mum, let’s go.”
“I am not going with you, Shola…at least, not yet. If I am going to be put away in that facility permanently, I want to make a quick stop at the Hospital to see someone.” She replied.
Mr Aiyenugba nodded. “Fine, I’ll drive you down there.”
***
“I heard what happened to you.” The Director said as Jerry walked into his office. “I told you to give up that woman, but you wouldn’t.”
Jerry sighed. “It was worth it.”
The Director nodded. “Toni had her session an hour ago. She is resting at the moment.”
“I know. I saw her sister outside.” He replied as he took a seat.
“We would have to stop the treatment.” The Director said.
Jerry stared at him. “Why? What is going on?”
“I have been consulting with the specialist here all day and he thinks she has to go home now.”
“What do you mean?” Jerry said as he jumped at the Director.
The Director sighed. “The cancer is competing with her brain mass.”
“Let me cut it!” Jerry shouted.
“This is not about cutting anymore, you can’t even get in if you tried to cut, but, we can only hope that the effect of the radiation melts it away. If we put her under more radiation, you know the adverse of that.” The Director replied as he placed his hand on Jerry’s shoulder. “Son, I am sorry, but this time, you have done so much.”
“I have not done anything and I am going to come back with something on this case. I am not pulling away.” Jerry replied.
“Listen to me, Jerry. I know how you feel-”
“-You don’t! You don’t know what it is like to love someone and not be able to help her. I won’t let her down, I swear I won’t.”
The Director sighed. “Jerry, you might need some time off from here to go and take care of her, she has medications which she needs to take every time. These drugs will be very useful to her and from time to time, she has to come here for other treatments.”
Jerry buried his head in his hands. “This can’t be happening to me.”
“Listen to me, Jerry. There is a slight chance.”
Jerry stared at him. “I understand. I…this, this is just not right.”
“All that is left for us is to pray. We would discharge her tomorrow.” The Director said and returned to his seat. “You should go and be with her.”
Jerry nodded. “Does she know about this?”
“Not yet, we would talk to her in the evening.”
Jerry exhaled. “Let me do it.”
“Jerry? Are you sure about this?” The Director asked.
Jerry nodded. “I am, Sir. I can handle this one.” He replied.
“But you do know that you can’t lie to the patient, Jerry? You have to tell her everything, we have reached the stage where we prepare her mind.” He said.
Jerry nodded. “I’ll do just that.” He replied and approached the door.
“And about the leave…take two weeks off from here, please.” The Director said. “I need you in good condition.”
Jerry sighed and walked out.
***
“What’s up, man?” Emeka asked as Jerry walked into the office.
Jerry stared at him. “It’s time to prepare Toni.”
“I am sorry. I also spoke to the Oncologist and he didn’t sound too positive about her chances.” Emeka replied.
Jerry took a seat. “How do I start? Where do I go from here? This is too much for me, Emeka.”
“Jerry, I know this is hard for you and I wish I could say something or do something to make it all go away-”
Jerry stared at him. “-but you can’t. There is nothing you can do or say to me right now, it’s just sour.”
“Do you want me to be there when you break the news to her?” Emeka asked.
Jerry shrugged. “I don’t know. I think I want to do this alone.”
“I don’t think you should let Nora know about it yet. Toni seems more prepared than she is.” Emeka replied. “Maybe Nora can learn about this later, after she is discharged? Just not to bring it to her as it is, this would hurt her more.” Emeka said.
Jerry nodded. “You have a point, but we can’t exactly keep it away from her. Maybe, she should know about it first, before we talk to Toni. We owe it to her as Toni’s relation.” Jerry replied.
“True. Nora was talking to me about taking Toni on a vacation, you think I can come with you guys?”
Jerry stared at him. “You want to come?”
Emeka nodded. “I have grown attached to her in these last days and I think you are going to need me there.”
Jerry sighed. “Thanks a lot for the help, man.”
“It’s nothing, bro.” Emeka replied as they hugged. Jerry’s grip was firm and his chest pounded hard. Emeka knew he was scared. “It’ll be fine, Jerry. God’s got this.”
Jerry stared at him. “I am losing her.”
“Trust me, man. You’ll be fine, pull it together.” Emeka said. “You want something to eat?”
Jerry shook his head sadly. “I can’t eat anything, man. I don’t know what to do without her. I just need to breathe right now. ”
“Take it easy, okay? Please, man.” Emeka said.
Jerry nodded. “I would do everything I can. Anyway, where’s Mrs Aiyenugba? I haven’t checked on her since she came down here with us. Has her son taken her away?”
“No. She is waiting to see Toni, but since Toni is asleep, she is somewhere at the reception.” Emeka replied.
Jerry nodded. “I’ll go and see her now. If the Director asks for me, just page me, okay?”
“Okay.” Emeka replied and watched his friend leave the room a downcast man. He swallowed painfully as he took a seat. He had not known Toni for a very long time, but he couldn’t imagine losing her.
***
“How are you, Jerry?” Mrs Aiyenugba asked as he approached her.
“I am not doing fine.” He confessed. “It’s time to prepare Toni.”
Mrs Aiyenugba swallowed as she held her chest. “Oh God.”
“I don’t know why this has to happen to her. If I could at least find some answers… why would I have her for such a short time and it seems like I have known her all my life? She came and made everything that didn’t make sense to me, make sense. How can I come to terms with losing such a woman? I can’t.”
She nodded. “Jerry, in this life, we are always going to meet people like that. Maybe for a short moment, or maybe for a lifetime, but the truth is, we have to learn to cherish every moment we have with them, don’t ever forget to tell them that you love them and in the end, you won’t have to regret anything.” She said.
Jerry sighed. “She’ll be glad to meet you too.”
Mrs Aiyenugba nodded. “Of course.” She replied. “Jerry, make every moment count.”
“I will.” He replied.
“Have you called your mother? Else, you would have been throwing the wrong stones at Shola.”
Jerry sighed and pulled out his phone. “I am calling her now.”
“Good boy. Love your parents now that you can.” She replied.
Jerry dialled. “Hello, Mom…”
***
James handed Nora a paper. “Receipts from the bookings. Flight leaves tomorrow evening.”
Nora nodded as she stared at it. “I hope Toni enjoys this vacation.”
“I bet she will. We all will make it the best for her.” He replied and took Nora’s hand. “How are you doing?”
“I am not fine, but I guess I have to look the part of the sister that is doing fine.” Nora replied. “The Doctor says they are discharging her tomorrow morning.”
James nodded. “That’s a good thing, right?”
“Seems more like a bad thing to me. Toni doesn’t look like she is doing better, yet, they want to discharge her. It can only mean one thing.”
James waved it off. “No, babe, don’t see it that way. It could also be a better avenue for her to go home and complete the recovery. You know, sometimes, the doctors think it is better to have the patient go home for a better atmosphere.”
Nora chuckled. “Do I look like I am five? Even five-year-olds don’t believe that crap.”
James sighed. “I don’t know what else to say to you.”
“Say nothing, James. Let’s just sit and watch it all pass by.” She replied.
He nodded. “Fine. I can do that with you.” He replied as he sipped his drink. “Is Toni awake?”
“Yes. She has a guest. Jerry’s friend is with her.” She replied.
James smiled. “She can make do with all the family necessary right now.”
“I know…she needs us now more than ever…and, I need her too.” Nora said as tears rolled down her eyes.
James went over to her and hugged her.
***
“You are as amazing as Jerry says you are.” Mrs Aiyenugba said as she laughed.
Toni smiled. “I think I can be a little more amazing than I am right now.” She replied.
“Yes, I think you are.” Mrs Aiyenugba said with a smile. “I hear you are going home tomorrow.”
Toni nodded. “I am happy about it. I get to finally finish my book and go on a vacation. I am quite excited.”
Mrs Aiyenugba smiled. “You should be. You need to have fun.”
“I always do have fun…in on own little way. Jerry told me about Victoria’s Home, are you ready for it?” Toni asked.
Mrs Aiyenugba rose on her feet. “I am not ready for it. But, I don’t have any choice, besides, I don’t think it would be so bad in there. Who knows, I might pick up a new profession from there?”
“New profession?” Toni asked with a smile.
Mrs Aiyenugba nodded with a smile. “I bet there would be lots of bitter women there, I could get close to them.”
“Oh! And touch their lives? That’s noble.” Toni said with a smile.
Mrs Aiyenugba scoffed. “Not that. I would find out who they are and who their children are and why they were put in there, then, I would pass scoops to journalists and help get mud on those that have important children.”
Toni gaped as she laughed. “Seriously?”
Mrs Aiyenugba nodded. “Why not? It would act as a stress reliever for me and also earn me a few bucks.”
Toni smiled. “This is interesting…and good too.”
“See…good thing you understand.” Mrs Aiyenugba replied as she returned to her seat. “Are you planning towards a book launch?”
“I will ask Nora to help me with it.” She replied as she relaxed in her bed. “I am glad I met you.”
Mrs Aiyenugba took her hand. “Same here. I have to go now, my son is waiting to take me to the facility.”
Toni nodded as she hugged Mrs Aiyenugba. “Do take care.”
“Be strong, Toni.” She replied and walked out.
Jerry walked in almost immediately. “Hey there.” He said as he pecked her forehead. “How are you?”
Toni stared at him. “Prepared.”
“Prepared?” he asked.
She nodded. “I am getting discharged tomorrow and I still feel like this, don’t I know what it means?” she asked.
Jerry swallowed. “Toni, I…I want you to know that I am doing everything I can to-”
Toni sighed. “-Babe, let it be already. What did the Doctor say?”
He blinked. “You want me to tell you?”
She nodded. “Why not? I would like to know.”
“Erm…”
“You have to tell me the truth, you know?” she said.
He nodded. “Toni, this is hard for me, but, I won’t want anyone else to let you know this, we have tried so hard and I swear I want to try harder, I am going to do everything I can and I promise you, I am not giving up on you yet, I-”
“-Stop it. Just talk.”
He blinked as he took her hand. “They have to stop the radiotherapy because the cancer is well spread into the brain and now, we actually can’t cut it, also, further therapy is quite dangerous as we have implemented the regular dose required for this treatment and we can’t go overboard with it.” He said as he squeezed her hands. “Toni, I want you to know that there is a slight chance that the medications that you are going to be placed on from tomorrow are going to help melt the tumours and you can survive.”
She nodded. “Okay, how long do I have? Medically?”
Jerry swallowed and closed his eyes. “One week.”
“Wow!” Toni said. “Wow! Wow!” she reiterated as her eyes were wet. “One week, Jerry. Man, this is so fast.” Toni said as she looked away. Her heart raced fast. It was like a ticking bomb was tied around her waist. “Oh my God.”
Jerry took her hand. “Look at me, babe. Don’t care about what they say, okay? Babe, look here.”
Toni swallowed and stared at him. “I thought I’d have more time. I thought we’d be able to have a nice vacation and stuff, I really thought we’d enjoy the holidays.”
“Toni, it is okay to be vulnerable. Don’t hold it all in, just let it go.” Jerry said as he lifted her face to his. “You have held it in for me, for Nora, for your foundation, for everyone. Just let it go now.” He said.
Toni couldn’t hold back her tears. “I don’t want to die, Jerry. Please.” She said as she cried and wrapped her hands around him. “I am so scared, I don’t want to go.”
Jerry closed his eyes tight. This couldn’t be happening to him. He had asked Toni to let it all out and her tears frightened him. He was scared as it loomed that he was going to let her down. “I am sorry.” He said.
“Jerry, please.” She cried.
He stroked her hair. “It’s okay, Toni. It’s going to be alright. Don’t do this, please.”
She stared at him with tears. “This will pass, right?”
He nodded. “Yes, it will. It is just a phase, everything will pass.” He replied as he wiped her tears. “Don’t cry anymore, please.”
“Jerry…” she called.
“Yeah?!” he asked.
She blinked. “One week is too close, but I am going to buy me more time…because I am not going to give up easily on us, we might not have a month left, but we are going to make it memorable and special.”
Jerry stared at her looking confused.
Toni smiled. “This is it, Jerry. Nora has the tickets we need for our flight, we are going to leave tomorrow evening.”
“Are you serious?” he asked, still feeling off the place. A moment ago, she was in tears and now, she had worn another personality. “Are you okay, Toni?”
Toni nodded with a faint smile. “Right now, I just want to live the rest of these desperate days in the best way, and that’s what we are going to do. So, would you come with me?”
Jerry stared at her and nodded. “Let’s make it count.”

****
Beautiful Stranger is written by @tomi_adesina; Author of Dear Future Husband available for Free on African Stories. Follow @tomi_adesina on twitter for more thrilling stories. Her new book “All Fun and Games” also available for FREE on African Stories

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Beautiful Stranger. Episode 11

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EPISODE 11

“It’s two am. Your shift has been over since the last three hours.” Emeka said as he dropped a coffee cup on the table. “You might want to have some of that if you are going to be stuck in here all night.”
Jerry stared at him. “Man, I just need one more hour.”
“You said that an hour ago and I am sure you would say it when I return. Look, man, you have been having a success streak in the theatres in the past one week and I think it is great that you are this enthusiastic about work and reading and applying more, but don’t push your luck.” He replied.
Jerry closed his book and stared at him. “What are you trying to say?”
“Late nights. Tiring surgeries. Reading into the dead of the night. Where is your medical sense? You need to rest.”
Jerry nodded cynically. “Yeah. I have been successful in the past week and I am thankful to God for that. But there is one person I am still here for and until I find a solution for Toni, there is no way I am leaving this place.”
Emeka sighed as he leaned on the table. “I get it. You love her. She loves you but she is in a radiotherapy session and getting a lot of attention from a team of able doctors. But who is taking care of you? Look at you.”
Jerry smiled. “You are beginning to sound like a woman, man.” He said with a soft chuckle. He was expecting a smile from Emeka but none came. “Look, Emeka, I understand that you are concerned for me, but nothing is going to make sense to me until that woman I love is on her feet.”
“Food too?” Emeka asked.
Jerry sighed. “What do you want me to do?”
“You have to take care of yourself. Eat. Sleep. Then you can come back to work.” He replied.
Jerry looked away. “Emeka, she is not doing well with radiotherapy. You have seen the way the tumour multiplied…I don’t understand anything happening in that room anymore.”
“I spoke to the Director and we are thinking of merging Chemo because of the-”
“-Just stop there. I thought the whole idea of this radiation thing was to shrink the tumours formed from the cancer cells that had spread in the brain. Why are you thinking of Chemo now?” he asked, angrily.
“Jerry, you know the possibility of complications can’t be undermined in any treatment.” Emeka replied.
“You should have thought of that when you pushed for it.” Jerry replied.
Emeka sighed.
“I am sorry, man.” Jerry said. “I…I just feel so helpless right now.” Jerry replied. “I am sorry for coming at you like that.”
Emeka smiled faintly. “Well, maybe I can give you a light tilt of your new faith, Trust God.”
Jerry nodded. “I know. Thank you.”
Emeka took a seat. “Jerry, what we know is we are doing everything we can and Toni is fighting hard too… Don’t worry about it, man. It’ll all be alright.” He replied.
Jerry nodded. “I am fighting too… And if this is my way of fighting, please allow me fight for her.” He replied and focused on his book.
“I won’t you let you fall apart, bro.” Emeka said as he hugged Jerry.
Jerry couldn’t hold back his tears and he let them flow freely.
***
“Good morning, Toni.” Emeka greeted as he drew the curtains back.
Toni turned her face away from the light. “I don’t want the light.” She muttered.
Emeka nodded and drew them back. “How are you feeling today?”
“Not too good. I am getting closer, right?” she asked.
Emeka took a deep breath. “I have to keep you optimistic. That has been going well for you for a long time now and you can’t give up.”
Toni sighed. “Optimism is tiring.” She said with a soft chuckle.
“It means you should still hang on.” He replied. “I saw Nora on my way here. She is down the hallway.”
Toni smiled faintly. “This would be hard on her…but then, she has got James.”
“…what about Jerry?” Emeka asked.
Toni struggled to breath. “I don’t know. He has been doing well with surgeries, I am happy for him.”
“Who is going to take care of him?” he asked.
Toni smiled. “Are you also terminally ill?” she asked as she managed a smile. “Daily doses are killing me. When would this treatment be over?” she asked with leery eyes.
“I need you to put more effort into this, Toni. Don’t go giving up now.” He replied.
She nodded. “I am fighting for as long as I can, but when my time is up, Emeka, my time is up.” She replied as she gripped his hand.
He took a deep breath. “How is the book coming?”
She reached for a journal which fell carelessly from her hand. “I am sorry.”
Emeka picked it up. “It’s okay. You’ll be fine, I know it.”
“I am almost done with the novel.” She replied. “Coming slowly but surely, but eventually, I’ll be done.”
“It’s an autobiography of you.” He said as he opened the book.
Toni winked. “I thought I’d hype myself a little. I mean, if I don’t do that…who will?”
“Jerry.”
Toni smiled. “I love that man.”
“He loves you too.”
The door opened and Nora walked in with James. “Hello everyone.” She greeted as she walked over to give Toni a kiss. “How are you, darling?”
“I am fine.” Toni replied.
Emeka rose to his feet. “I’ll leave you all alone. And guys, you have just fifteen minutes with her. I need her to rest.” He said and walked out.
Nora took her seat beside Toni. “You look tired.”
“I am tired.” Toni replied.
James sighed. “This should be the last week of the dosage right?”
“Yeah. I can’t wait for it to be over.” She replied.
Nora took her hand with a smile. “I’m thinking we should travel when you leave this place. We could go to some resort. Enjoy a new air, you know?”
Toni smiled faintly. “You know what I want to do when I get out of here?”
“What?” Nora asked.
“Be with Jerry.”
James and Nora cooed with a smile. “Now, I am jealous.” Nora said.
Toni smiled. “You don’t have to be…James is here with you.”
“Yeah, babe…smile.” James said as he kissed Nora’s cheek.
Toni cleared her throat. “You haven’t asked about my book.”
“Oh, come on, Toni…I was going to. Nora replied as she picked the journal. “How’s it coming?”
Toni smiled. “Almost over. “I don’t have the strength to write with much gusto as before, but I still try.”
“You can leave the book for now while you concentrate on your treatment.” Nora replied.
Toni smiled. “The book is doing a lot for me.”
Nora stared at it and then at Toni. “I spoke to the lawyer.”
Toni cleared her throat. “What did he say?”
“He is coming in tomorrow.”
Toni nodded with a faint smile. “That’s sounds nice.”
James stared at Toni. “Toni?”
“Yeah…” she replied tiredly.
“Can I have a moment with you in private?” he asked.
Nora looked at him with some concern. “Uh?”
Toni nodded. “Please, excuse us.”
Nora stepped out.
“How is she?” Toni asked.
James shook his head. “Bad. She doesn’t sleep at night and she is always crying.”
“I thought you said you would move in with her?” Toni asked, with some concern.
He nodded. “I already did. Not helping matters. All she does is talk about how God already has your parents and that He doesn’t need to take you too.”
Toni smiled. “Oh well…I see she has started saying the same things to you too… Honestly, Nora is the best sister in the world. She is strong. She is a fighter and a lover. She is a woman I look up to a lot and she might not know it now, but, she is phenomenal and I tell you, you are getting a goldmine for a woman. Don’t mess it up.”
James exhaled as he took her hand. “Are… Are you not scared?”
She chuckled. “Of what? What’s the worst that could happen?”
“Come here.” James said as he hugged her tight.
***
“Good job, Doctor Jerry.” A Nurse said as they came out of the theatre.
He nodded as he dismissed her. Emeka approached him. “How was the surgery?”
“Fine. The Nurses are taking care of the rest.” He replied as they started to walk. “How is Toni? Has she had her dose for today?”
Emeka nodded. “Yes. I was wondering why you haven’t been to see her in days.”
“Did she talk about it?” Jerry asked.
Emeka shook his head. “No. But, it is a little disturbing, don’t you think?”
“I want to show up when I have good news for her. All you guys have done is give her a reason to know it is over, I want to go there when there is some hope.” Jerry replied.
Emeka sighed. “Jerry, don’t be silly. You have to go and see her today.”
“I just want to have good news for her. Is that too much to ask?” Jerry asked.
Emeka blinked. “Do you know Toni at all?”
Jerry looked away.
“Man, this is not the time to play the hero. Go and meet her.” Emeka replied and walked away.
Nora approached Jerry. “Hey!”
“Hi. How are you?” Jerry asked with a smile.
Nora shrugged. “I don’t know. How are you?”
He smiled faintly. “I don’t know too.”
“I guess you have been really swamped.” She said.
He nodded. “I am trying to find some answers somewhere.”
“Toni is not doing better. I can feel it. Her spirit is down.” Nora started as she took a seat. Jerry sat beside her. “She is giving up, Jerry…and there are tonnes of things we haven’t done together, you know?”
Jerry blinked.
Nora sniffled as she continued. “Our weddings. Baby showers. Vacations. I mean, real vacations without any worries or fears. Mountain climbing. Bungee jumping. Sky diving. Surfing. We haven’t done these things, Jerry. We may never do them,”
“You don’t look like an adventurous person to me.” Jerry said with a smile.
Nora nudged him in the waist. “You sounded like Toni just now.”
Jerry chuckled. “She does have that effect on us all, right?”
“Yeah…I love her so much. She is my strength.” She replied as she wiped her eyes.
Jerry exhaled. “I think we should do something lovely for her.”
“Such as?” Nora asked.
He stared at her. “Throw a party?”
“Oh please! Toni would call it a farewell party.” Nora said smiling. “And trust me, she is going to ruin that party.” She added.
Jerry nodded slowly. “Or, we could actually go on a vacation. South Africa?” he suggested.
“Nah. We’ve combed that country…well, not on vacation.” She replied.
He shrugged. “Or we could go to Calabar. Obudu.”
“Now, that’s an option.” She replied with a smile. “We should tell Toni about it. She would love it.” Nora said as she rose to her feet.
He nodded. “I’ll join you there.” He said
“Okay.” Nora replied and walked away.
***
“He still won’t come?” Toni asked as Nora read through a magazine.
Nora closed it. “I think he is really busy.”
“You guys need to pull Jerry together.” Toni replied.
Nora sighed. “I think he is fine. He is just occupied with a lot of work. Besides, what did you discuss with James?”
Toni smiled. “Personal.”
“Really?” Nora asked. “You know we are sisters.”
Toni nodded. “It’s not working for me. Sorry.”
Nora sighed. “So…what do you think about a vacation after the last session?”
Toni shrugged. “Like I told you earlier, I really don’t care about it.”
“Yeah…yeah…because you want to be with Jerry…but, what if Jerry would go with us on the vacation?” Nora asked.
Toni smiled. “You would do that for me?”
“It’s his idea.” Nora replied.
Toni folded her arms. “Jerry’s idea? Really? He did say something about vacation?”
“Why are you finding it so hard to believe?” Nora asked.
Toni giggled. “I didn’t think you all were that exciting.”
“We could make it a vacation for the four of us. You, me, Jerry and James. We would spend a lot of money and have a lot of fun too.”
Toni nodded with a smiles. “That works for me.”
“Great! We have a date then. I would start scheduling everything for the trip.” She said with excitement. “Where would you love to go to?”
Toni stared at Nora. “I don’t know really.”
The door opened and Jerry walked in with a smile. “Hi.”
“Hey!” Toni replied. “Come and give me a hug!” she ordered. “Who is ‘Hi’?” she said with a grin.
Jerry smiled as he hugged her.
“You can let go now.” Toni said with a chuckle.
Jerry stared at her. “I am guessing Nora has told you about the vacation…”
Toni nodded with a smile. “Really? Are we going to have the vacation?”
“Yes, where do you want to go?” he asked.
Toni stared at them. “Guys, we have to do everything fun on that vacation. From Bungee jumping to sky diving. It has to rock!”
Nora stared at her. “Err…I guess you are forgetting something.”
“And what could that be?” Toni asked.
Nora pointed to the bed. “We can’t have you jumping up and down.”
Jerry nodded. “She is right.”
“But we still go on the vacation, right?” Toni asked.
“Sure!” Jerry and Nora replied at once and then laughed.
There was a light tap on the door and the Director walked in. “Everyone is all smiles here. That’s impressive.”
Toni smiled. “We could all be happy.”
The Director nodded. “Exactly.” He then turned towards Jerry. “Could I please steal Doctor Jerry for a couple of minutes?”
Jerry rose to his feet as he smiled at Toni. “I’ll be right back.”
“Have him for as long as you want.” Toni replied.
Jerry pecked her on the forehead and walked out with the Director.
“Now what trouble has he gotten himself into?” Toni asked.
Nora folded her arm. “Come on, he is a Doctor and that is his Director and this is their hospital… It has to be work related.”
“My instincts tell me that he is in trouble.” Toni replied.
Nora sighed. “Oh come on… No one ever admits that their instincts could be wrong.”
“Well, mine isn’t.” Toni replied.
Nora sighed as she took a seat

“So what do you think, sir?” Jerry asked with a smile.
The Director greeted his smile with a stern frown. “What do you think you are doing, Jerry?”
Jerry looked in the direction of Toni’s room. “I remember staying off her case. What have I done?”
“I am not talking about her. I am talking about Mrs Aiyenugba. What do you think you are doing?” he asked.
Jerry took a deep breath. “Mrs Aiyenugba is my friend.”
“She is someone’s daughter and grandmother and our patient before being your friend.” He shouted.
Jerry exhaled. “What is the matter?”
“The matter is Mrs Aiyenugba’s SAN of a son is threatening to sue my hospital if you don’t produce his mother.” The Director replied.
Jerry sighed. “That…that is not my decision to make.”
“Excuse me?” The Director probed.
Jerry nodded in defiance. “Mrs Aiyenugba happens to enjoy where she is living at the moment. It is of no use to send her to a family that don’t want her.”
“That would be for her and her family to decide. We have done our part and that is treating her so you are going to let her family do the rest which, again I say, is not our duty.” The Director replied.
Jerry nodded. “Okay.”
“I want you to take care of this matter today.” He said and walked away.
Jerry sighed and returned into Toni’s room.
“So, what did you do?” Toni asked as he walked in.
Nora hissed. “Leave the man alone, Toni. Do we all have to do wrong?” she asked.
“It’s about my housemate.” He replied.
Toni grinned at Nora. “Told you.”
“The hospital wants me to get her out of my house, but her family don’t want her, so it seems pointless.” He replied.
“You have a housemate?” Toni asked.
He nodded. “Mrs Aiyenugba. She is an elderly woman.”
Toni sighed. “Thank God.”
Jerry chuckled as he took his seat. “I should tell you all about her.”
“Yes, you should.” Toni replied.
Nora picked up her purse. “I want to take a walk. I’ll be right back guys.”
Toni blinked. “I’ll be here.”
Nora nodded and walked out.
“She wants to go and cry.” Toni said.
Jerry stared at her. “No. It’s a walk.”
“No. she is going to shed some tears.” She replied.
Jerry raised an eyebrow. “How can you be so sure?”
“I am sure.” She replied.
Jerry rose to his feet. “In that case, I think I should go and check on her.”
“No. She will be fine.” Toni replied. “And let’s look on the brighter side, shedding tears actually washes microorganisms from the eyes.” She said with a smile.
Jerry nodded with a smile. “I love you, Toni.”
She smiled back. “And I love you, Jerry.”
***
Nora wanted the vacation more than anyone. She wanted a new air…some respite for her soul. As she sat in the garden, she watched as Nurses or family members wheeled patients around for some air. She wanted someone to wheel her around. She didn’t want to think about Toni for a minute. She just wanted to be happy…she didn’t want to expect the worst. She wanted to live in denial for a day…maybe a day was pushing her luck. She thought. An hour seemed just fine. If she could just live the next hour without thinking about Toni, maybe she would be fine.
She knew she wasn’t going to be fine. These things don’t just go away. She raised her head to the sky as she fought back tears, the more she tried, the more her throat hurt. She felt pain. Maybe no one really knew how she felt. She cried.
***
“It is pointless, guys, I am not having this conversation.” Jerry said as he knotted his neck tie.
Emeka stared at Mrs Aiyenugba. “I have told you he won’t listen.”
“Jerry, I understand you don’t want to see me go, but if they are threatening to sue the Hospital, you should understand. It could also cost you your job.”
“I’ll get another.” Jerry replied.
Emeka sighed. “Bull-headed cock!”
Jerry laughed. “Bull? Cock? Dude?”
Emeka blinked as he looked away. He was so angry that he didn’t know that he had not put the words out rightly. However tacky Jerry thought it sounded, he had made his point clear. Jerry was being adamant.
“Jerry, I know how much you care about me, but my son can be a real pain. I know that first hand.” Mrs Aiyenugba said. “You don’t want him throwing his Legal weights around.”
Jerry shrugged. “I can’t be bothered. No one will take you to that facility against your will.”
“But I hear it is a fine place. Just that I would be surrounded by old people… And I am old too.” She said with a smile. “Let me go.”
Emeka swallowed. “Come on, man. The Director expects you to have sorted this out yesterday. We shouldn’t go to work today with a negative answer for him.”
“At least, let her meet Toni before she leaves. We would take her in the evening.” Jerry said with a frown.
Mrs Aiyenugba smiled. “Thank you. I can’t wait to meet her.”
“It’s okay.” Jerry said as he took a deep breath. “I would be back to pick you at lunch time.”
The doorbell chimed. Emeka opened it. He was forced back by Police officers.
“Doctor Jerry?”
Jerry stepped forward. “What is it?”
“You are under arrest.” The officer said flashing a warrant before him.

****
Beautiful Stranger is written by @tomi_adesina; Author of Dear Future Husband available for Free on African Stories. Follow @tomi_adesina on twitter for more thrilling stories. Her new book “All Fun and Games” also available for FREE on African Stories

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Beautiful Stranger. Episode 10

Featured

Good wet morning Guys! It’s August, so…lets enjoy the downpour yes? Remember to get free eBooks on African Stories Here and if you are a writer or authored a book, Kindly mail us your articles, books and series to post here. It is free service but works must be edited….although we will go through it, it seems only fair that you make our job easier….you are afterall a writer, are you not? hehehe….#ThursayJokes…send it to mailafricanstories@gmail.com and we will take it from there.

Now, your episode for today
Beautiful Stranger. Episode Ten

Read All Previous Episodes of Beautiful Stranger Here

“Come on, man. Think like a Surgeon. Let’s cut!” Jerry said as he dropped an envelope on the table. He bent over and flipped a Surgical Textbook open.
Emeka took a deep breath. He had never seen Jerry so enthusiastic about something and maybe that was a good sign but at the same time, someone had to be reasonable here. Jerry had just stepped out of Toni’s room with the ‘get me on my feet’ rule and he didn’t seem to be thinking straight here. All he wanted was to get her on her feet in its literary context, but that was not going to give a lasting solution. He sighed as he watched Jerry look through a book. “Bro, I think we should talk about this” Emeka said.
Jerry was engrossed in the textbook he was looking through. “Not now.”
“Jerry, I know you feel you can go all Ben Carson on her right now, but we have to be logical here. She has had epileptic seizures from her history and I don’t think we should take that chance again.” Emeka started.
Jerry closed the book. “You are not getting the point. We can cut through and remove the mass of the tumour, do you know what that will do for her?”
“That will buy her more time and in the end, you will still lose her.” Emeka replied. “I think she should start the treatment as soon as possible. Besides, it is the patient and her sister’s wish that she does Chemo and since we know it is the brain we are focusing on, we can switch to Radiotherapy for effectiveness. Don’t start putting your emotions into this thing.”
“You and I know how Radiotherapy works…I can’t watch her go through it. It is so much pain.” Jerry retorted.
“You don’t have to watch. You just have to be there for her, man. I think we shouldn’t waste any more time with these decisions. It is obvious the tumour is escalating to other parts of the system and if we keep dilly dallying about it, we would get nothing done.” Emeka replied.
Jerry shook his head. “The Director asked me what I think we should do and I think surgery is fine, I would go over to him and tell him about my decision and I would try to make Toni and Nora see reason. Besides, AEDs can be given for the seizures.”
“Jerry, you and I know that cytoreduction of the tumour is the best we would get out of this. You have seen the neoplasm, it is better to let her do radiotherapy. Besides, I think we are going to have problems gaining access to the tumour because of the size and location. It is at the skull base, man. Think. There are many possible outcomes of the surgery, we could tamper with her brain tissues, she could suffer memory loss or something worse, are you willing to take that chance?” Emeka asked.
Jerry took a deep breath and leaned against the table. Emeka was right, but he still believed he could remove as many tumour cells as possible, but he had a very slim chance because of the size and location of the tumour. He fumed as he sank into a chair. His eyes were soon wet. “I am out of ideas, bro.”
“Look, Jerry, radiation therapy will kill the tumours but won’t harm her brain tissues. Let’s take a chance on this.” Emeka replied as he took a seat beside him. “Toni is trusting you to get her back on her feet, but not for a month or two. She wants it to be forever.”
Jerry nodded. “This isn’t going to be easy for her.”
“Well, we both know it is not going to be, but she is a fighter. Let’s believe.” Emeka replied.
The door opened and the Director walked in. “What would it be?” he asked as he picked up a copy of the scan that was lying on the table. “Hmm…this is big.” He said and replaced the scan on the table. “Jerry, do you think we can cut?”
Jerry blinked. “Err…Sir, I…I was thinking-”
“-We are thinking radiotherapy would work.” Emeka said, staring at Jerry. “We can’t cut this.” He said through clenched teeth.
The Director nodded as he stared at Jerry. “I hope you know that you would be off most of her treatment.”
“No way!” Jerry objected.
Emeka took Jerry’s hand. “Man.”
Jerry blinked. “Sir, I can’t afford to be kicked off her case. You know what she means to me.”
“And it is exactly for that reason that you have to sit out of this one. I would get you tonnes of cases-”
“-I don’t want anything. I just want her.” Jerry replied, cutting in.
Emeka cleared his throat. “Sir, I think Jerry can be on the team for the Radiotherapy since we won’t be doing surgery.”
“No. I won’t bend the rule even a bit. There is a surgery in about an hour. He is the lead surgeon.”
Jerry fumed. “Sir! Don’t do this.”
“I can’t have you mixing emotions with this.” The Director replied.
Jerry clasped his hands together. “Sir, I have put my emotions aside. I am just a surgeon and her Doctor.”
“It is not so easy, Son. Sit out of this one, we’ve got it.” The Director replied and stared at Emeka. “Come with me, we need to go and prep the patient.” He said and walked out.
Jerry pulled Emeka back. “He can’t do this to me. Please beg him. Toni wants me to do this.”
Emeka blinked. “Jerry, you know how it is. You can’t. You need a right frame of mind.”
“Don’t give me that crap! You can convince him. It is not surgery.” Jerry replied angrily.
“This is why he won’t let you in on it. Cool off, man.” Emeka said and walked out.
Jerry fumed as he kicked the door.
***
Toni brushed Nora’s hair. “So, I want to draw up my will.”
Nora flipped her head over her shoulder. “What is that?”
“A will. Legal statement showing who I give my share of our family’s fortune to.” Toni replied with a smug smile.
Nora frowned. “I know what a will is, I just don’t know what you need it for right now.”
“Oh come on, Nora. You and I know that it is only necessary I do this now, besides, amendments can be carried out in the nearest future should events change.” Toni replied.
Nora took a seat opposite her. “Are we being less optimistic now? Jerry is doing everything he can and you are here throwing it all away with wanting to draw up a will.”
Toni sighed. “Nora, why are you talking like this? I want to live, but in case I don’t, I want to leaveve something behind for my foundation and stuff.”
“Are you saying I am going to collapse your foundation in the event of your death? Give me some credit, Toni.” Nora said, standing up.
Toni sighed. “I didn’t mean it that way, sis.”
“I don’t care how you meant it, but it hurts.” Nora replied.
Toni nodded. “I am sorry.”
“Yeah. I have got to take a walk.” Nora replied.
Toni sighed. “Are you for real? I said I am sorry.”
“I know you are. I just didn’t expect you to have that sort of opinion of me.” Nora replied.
Toni smiled. “Are you trying to pick up a fight with me? I promise I will be dead before you are back from your walk and you are going to carry the feeling that you fought with your sister before her death to your grave.” She concluded with a wide grin.
Nora rolled her eyes. “Don’t start guilt tripping me.”
“Oh yeah…it worked. I am sorry.” Toni said with a smile.
Nora sighed and took her seat. “Don’t start scaring me, Toni. You have to be in the right frame of mind for any treatment to be effective on you.”
“Trust me, I am motivated to live.” Toni replied.
Nora smiled. “James would be here to see you in the evening. He left early this morning.”
Toni nodded. “Hmm…that’s cool. I need to have a talk with him anyway.”
“What talk could that be?” Nora asked.
Toni shrugged. “It’s personal.”
Nora folded her arms. “Personal?”
Toni nodded. “It is important I talk to him, that’s all. Don’t be scared.”
The door opened and the Director walked in with Emeka. “Good morning, ladies.”
“Good morning, Director.” Nora greeted.
Toni stared at the door expecting it to open but it didn’t. She stared at Emeka looking for an answer.
Emeka cleared his throat. “Jerry is not coming.”
The Director stared at her. “As you understand, Doctor Jerry can’t be let in on this due to his emotional attachment to the patient.”
Nora nodded and took Toni’s hand. “Okay, so, what’s going to happen now?”
“We are going to start the radiotherapy by tomorrow. We can’t have any more surgeries as the tumour is in a delicate position of the brain. So, are you ready?” The Director asked.
Nora stared at Toni. “You ready?”
Toni nodded. “Yes. I have always been.”
Emeka smiled. “Okay. So, we would move you into a new room tonight and we can start off from there.”
“Can I see Jerry?” Toni asked.
Emeka nodded. “I’ll tell him to come.”
“No. I want to go to him.” Toni said.
The Director shrugged. “We’ll get a chair for you.” He said and walked out.
“I’ll go with him.” Nora said and walked out.
Emeka took a deep breath as he sat beside her. “I have heard a lot about you and I…I am honoured to finally meet you.”
Toni smiled. “Trust me, I am more beautiful than this. I am just allergic to Hospitals.” She said with a smile.
“Of course, you are.” Emeka said with a soft chuckle.
Toni stared at him. “Jerry is a good guy.”
Emeka nodded. “I know. He is one of the best men around. I am glad he found you.”
“Me too…”
Emeka took her hand. “Would you please not leave him?” he asked as a teardrop rolled down his eyes.
Toni gasped. “Oh…I think you are also emotional. You can’t be on this case too.” She said as she laughed.
Emeka laughed as he wiped his eyes. “You have a good laugh.”
“I know. I can’t help being a diva.” She replied.
He nodded. “You stay alive, okay?”
“I am alive.” She replied.
Nora returned with a wheelchair. “Let’s go, baby.”
Toni smiled as she got on the wheelchair.
***
Jerry sipped his cup of coffee as he stared at his wristwatch. He had a surgery in about thirty minutes. “Make this count, Jerry.”
The door opened and Toni wheeled in.
“Toni?” he gaped as he went over to her. “How did you…?”
Toni smiled. “Never mind…not like you don’t know how I got here.”
“Emeka.” He replied.
She nodded. “So…you won’t be my Doctor?”
He nodded. “Yes. I…I am sorry. I wanted to be there, but the Director won’t let me.”
“Neither would I.” she replied.
He knelt before her. “The session starts tomorrow. I will be by your side every step of the way. I promise to hold your hand throughout.”
Toni rolled her eyes. “Don’t get all mushy okay. Besides, it means you would hold one hand while Nora holds the other. How am I going to cope with two of you professing love?” she asked with a smile.
“I love you.” Jerry said.
She shrugged. “The question is, who doesn’t love me?”
“Are you going to class me with the majority?” Jerry asked with a smile.
She shook her head. “No. You make up the vast minority.”
“Vast? Minority?” Jerry asked.
She grinned. “You are everything…and much more than I wanted.”
“Oh my…I am honoured.” Jerry said as he kissed her hand.
She nodded. “You should be.”
“I have a patient who is due for surgery now.” He said, staring at his wristwatch.
She smiled. “Oh really?”
He nodded.
“Come here.” She said as she kissed his forehead. “Go save a life.”
Jerry smiled. “You got it.” He said and walked out with a smile.
Tears rolled down Toni’s eyes as the door closed after him. “God please…allow me love this man.”
***
JERRY
Who knew surgery could be fun? Tearing…sewing…tearing…sewing…fixing…smiling. I didn’t understand that it could bring me so much joy…until today. Being a surgeon is everything I have always wanted and I forgot what it was to have that dream until today. They say love can do a lot for you…much more than a lot for you. It gives life. It gives light. It gives hope. It gives much more than you have ever expected.
As I walked into the theatre with optimism, my team lit up. I had never seen them smile. It was as though I was ready to lead an army into battle and they were willing to fight with me…for the first time. Toni. It all came from her. Maybe Magic…maybe a fairy tale, but Toni is pure and true. I couldn’t ask for anything more, the gift of Toni to my life was something I couldn’t question.
And yes, my patient lived.
***
“Hey…”
Toni rolled over to see Jerry. “Hi. How was it?” she asked.
He smiled as he took his seat beside her on the bed. “Patient is fine. I am fine.”
“That’s good to know.” She replied. “I am nervous about radiotherapy. At first, I thought it was going to be chemo…but now it has a different name.” she said with a soft chuckle.
Jerry nodded. “Yeah. Radiotherapy is more effective and it is a better option.”
“So I heard.” Toni replied. “I pray I survive this.”
“You will survive it. I know that you are strong and you can go through this. I am here for you…every step of the way.”
Toni stared at him. “Would you?”
He nodded. “I am not going anywhere…you just have to promise me that you will stay.”
“That is not in my power, is it?” she asked.
He looked away.
“Do you love God, Jerry?”
Jerry shrugged. “He created us, right?”
“That’s not the question. Do you love God?” she asked.
He turned in her direction. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” she asked.
He nodded. “He doesn’t have much love for me either.”
“Why would you say so?” Toni asked as she sat up.
He stared at her. “Frankly, I have never had the best things of life except for good grades.”
“Good grades are something.” She said, cutting in.
“They didn’t save my first patient.” He replied.
She smiled. “You lose some, you win some.”
“Not your first. It is unforgivable.” He replied.
“By who?” she asked.
He stared at her. “I don’t understand.”
“By whose standard is losing your first patient unforgivable?” she asked.
He was silent.
“I know the pain hurts so much, but, we tend to take ourselves too serious and important that we forget the essence of being human.” She started. “Would saving your first patient have mattered if you went on a failure streak afterwards?”
He stared at her. “You don’t understand.”
“Make me.” She said with a smile. “Look, Jerry, we are allowed to lose, but the only thing you are not allowed to do is give up. You saved a life today because God was with you.”
“Why didn’t he save my first patient? Why did he let you have Cancer? Isn’t he God?” Jerry asked. “You talk so much about him, and it is obvious you love him…why did he let that happen to you? Why?”
Toni sniffled. “I am writing a novel. I don’t know if I would have all the time in the world to tell you who Toni was before I got Cancer…but I want you to know that there isn’t so much of a difference. I am still happy. I am still alive. I just have Cancer…and oh, I quit drinking.”
“You used to drink?” he asked.
Toni smiled. “Heavy boozer!”
He smiled faintly. “Toni, I want to understand God the way you have come to understand him, but he has to keep you alive for me to like him.” He said.
“Giving God conditions, are we?” she asked with a smile.
He shrugged. “I don’t know. Let him keep you alive, then, we have a deal.”
“Ever heard of Job in the Bible?” she asked.
He nodded. “Sort of.”
“Try to read the Book of Job in the Bible. I am in no way comparing this situation to his, but that is a man that never stopped loving God. I am living proof that God cares about you and I. Talk to him. He listens, Jerry.”
Jerry blinked. “I don’t know about that…what am I going say to him?”
“First, you ask him to forgive you of your sins and give him your life. Let him be in charge of it all.” She said.
He smiled. “I think you should rest, Toni.” He said as he rose to his feet. “I have to go home to get a change of clothes and then I would be back for the night. Nora is outside. I would tell her to come in.”
Toni smiled. “You can run, but you can’t hide.”
He blew her a kiss and walked out.
***
“So, you ran away because she was telling you about God?” Mrs Aiyenugba asked as they ate.
Jerry shrugged. “Not exactly. But, I don’t understand why she is so passionate about him when clearly he isn’t about her.”
Mrs Aiyenugba dropped her spoon. “Jerry???”
“Yes! You don’t let Cancer come near someone you love…I know he is God and he can do everything. Why can’t he take it away?” he shouted.
She sat back as she watched Jerry rant.
“All I want is for her to be fine…he should know that.” He shouted as tears rolled down his face. “He doesn’t have to take her away from me. I thank him for bringing her my way, but I want to have her.” He shouted as he broke down in tears.
Mrs Aiyenugba nodded and walked over to him. “When I lost my husband, I felt God was unfair too…he knew I loved him, but God loves him more and I had to understand that.”
“Just like that? No disrespect, but you have had the best days with your husband, but God isn’t even giving me a chance with her…” He protested.
She smiled. “The best days are yet to come. As long as you live, you make the most of each day and every moment and who told you that Toni has not had the best of her days with you already?”
“Don’t try to patronize me.” He replied.
She nodded. “Not my plan to do that, but I feel you should give yourself some credit already. Every man has his purpose and duty to fulfil, and when we are done, we are done.”
“Toni can’t be done.” He replied.
She stared at him. “Jerry, talk to God. He listens.” She said and dug her spoon into the food.
***
“So James, what are your plans for Nora?” Toni asked.
James stared at her. “I like her a lot. I know we can make it work.”
“Really?” she asked.
He nodded with a smile. “Am I on the hot seat here?”
She nodded. “Yes. I love my sister and I want to be sure that I am leaving her in the right hands.”
“You are not suggesting that you are going to die, are you?” he asked.
She shrugged. “We would all die someday…or face rapture.”
“Look Toni, I know it seems I hit on you the first day we met, but-”
She raised a finger. “I don’t care about that. I want to know your intents.”
“I want to be there for Nora. I want to love her, protect her, and take care of her. I know I can do it and I want you to trust me to be able to.” He said.
“James, I have nothing against you…Nora would do this to Jerry if she were in my shoes. I wish you guys the best.” She said.
“Are you saying goodbye already?” he asked.
She sighed. “I don’t know…but for as long as I am here, I am here.”
***
“God, I know I am not a good guy. I have not been to church in a long time. I have been drinking too much and maybe a little more than too much. But, I have found a good girl and I can’t let you take her away from me. The Director already said I won’t be treating her, but I don’t believe we even treat anyone, I think you do. Please, God, can you treat Toni for me? God, I…I won’t be able to go on without her…If you knew that you won’t keep her alive, why did you bring her my way? Were you trying to tease me? God, please…I can’t do this on my own…Teach me your ways, help me to understand you and everything that happens around me. Let me love you and help me to be a better man.” Jerry said as he knelt down in his room.
“God, forgive me for all the wrong things I have said to you, but I am hurting so much and I want you to fix me. I want you to take care of Toni. I can’t do this on my own…God, please.” He cried as he slid into the floor.

****
Beautiful Stranger is written by @tomi_adesina; Author of Dear Future Husband available for Free on African Stories. Follow @tomi_adesina on twitter for more thrilling stories. Her new book “All Fun and Games” also available for FREE on African Stories