|About  words|
8:45am, Sunday 19th August 2014
“Madam. E get one man…”
“You are still saying that word. What do you want?” Nkechi had become irritated by the way she was constantly referred to as “Madam”. Oh she just couldn’t stand that word. She thought about dismissing him instantly from her living room.
Nkechi took a leg of her pair of slippers swiftly from the ground and threw it directly at Musa’s head. Musa had no time to dodge the missile.
“The next time you call me Madam, I will panel beat your head. Now bring me my slipper” Musa nodded once and reluctantly returned the slipper.
“Whoever it is should come back tomorrow. And stop calling me Madam! How many times would I have to correct you?” She paused for a moment to catch herself from cursing out Musa.
Musa just about tripped on his way, racing out the door.
She sat back on her sofa, trying desperately to compose herself. She struggled hard not to burst into tears, not today, just not today. “My husband always teased me with that word, now I just hate it.” She looked at her phone, tempted to call her best friend to rant about how she missed her husband, but she thought about writing down her emotions instead. Besides, her best friend, Sandra must have been very tired of hearing about her sad demise. Even Nkechi was tired; that was the problem, she was tired.
“Hello, honey? Where are you now? I just took a shower and our guests will be arriving soon. Did you forget again?” A little pause.
“Okay, I will be patient only because I’m trying not to believe that you forgot about this occasion. Sha do fast and come home”
Ireti dropped, almost slammed, her phone on her extremely polished dresser. She looked at herself in the mirror, all alone in her bedroom, looking as beautiful as Aphrodite – or so she had been told countless times. Her beauty, the number one reason she was married today. People would tease her with the words “Oyibo pepper” and for some time her friends hated that she was so attractive, but she could not hide what she was born with.
In her heart she knew that her beauty made her husband stay. She knew that her skin, so fair and spotless was the reason she had attracted such a rich man like Henry. She didn’t feel like he was worth her beauty. She knew about his past; a complete drunk was all he could ever be while basking confidently in his father’s riches. She loathed the life that she was living but she had no choice. Her mother had said to her when she brought Henry home for a proper introduction, “Ah, Ireti! You have done well” with her mother’s eyes sparkling like she had just hit jackpot at the famous Bellagio Las Vegas Casino. Her mother could sniff the wealth from Henry’s cologne, who wouldn’t right? Well, Ireti hated that particular cologne, but that day she had to stop herself from gagging all over the bare floor in their old home. They were poor, hence Henry was their savior and they weren’t about to let him pass them by. Not this time around.
“Do you know who I am? This useless girl! Call me Madam, osiso!”
The way that Anita constantly snaps at this house-girl. Every time, every day, that’s all I hear around here. My own wife and I don’t know if she is the same woman I married only a year ago. This Madam thing, why are these Lagos women so bent on being called Madam? I don’t even understand it. They make small money and are able to afford some things and all of a sudden, the name Madam becomes terribly important, like their delicate egos depended on it.
Mac turned his head back to face the flat screen plasma TV that they had recently bought; that his wife had insisted that they buy. “These women” Mac said to himself as he turned up the volume of the TV. He was getting tired of hearing her shout all the time. Very tired.
“Mac! Did you just see the way that girl disrespected me? In my own house! She comes back from the market and she has the audacity to call me aunty. Who told her that I am her aunty? I have told her, time and time again to call me Madam. That girl no ‘gree hear word. I will soon kick her out Mac, very soon” Anita slammed into the chair right beside Mac, undeterred about his silent response to her outburst of emotions; little did Anita know that he too was getting ready to kick his own wife out of the house. “Very soon” was all he could repeat to himself. “Patience Mac, patience.” And he walked away from her presence.
“Yo, Okey! How far? See you looking like a grown man.” Tunde stood up to shake hands with Okey as he walked into the bar, approaching their table. Dre, Caleb and Mac exclaimed in amazement as Okey walked towards them. It was 10pm and all four men, besides Okey, were completely drunk out of their minds.
“Praise Jesus for your arrival Okey! Now you can drive me safely back home” Mac chimed in as soon as Okey took his place beside Tunde.
“Yes oo. You are, what the Americans call, our DD”
“You boys have started with your English. Please what is a DD?” Okey asked looking at all four men for a response
“Nna, it means you are a Designated Driver. The only one in his right senses to be driving. You are not yet drunk. Please stay that way.” Dre explained
“See as una be like mumu for this joint. Wetin do you? All four of you to be frank. You all look like you have suffered severely from the hands of your wives. Am I right, or am I right?”
“Anita drives me crazy Okey. One year into the marriage and she drives me crazy. She has become a mad woman under the cover of Madam. What is wrong with these women these days?” Mac was too upset to hide his disgust.
Caleb shook his head agreeing with the response Mac had given, because he too was suffering from the same crisis. His wife, Angela, had become best friends with Anita and they were truly birds of a feather, flocking dangerously together to a sure doom.
Anita was in her large bedroom, on her King sized water-bed, feeling terribly sleepy while waiting for her husband to come home from his hangout. She was staying up more often these days and she began to wonder why Mac would choose to stay out so late with his so-called friends. So she picked up her phone and called Angela.
“Sister from another mother. What’s up?” Angela happily recited, like she always did when it was Anita who was on the other end of the phone.
“Nothing o Angela. How are you doing this hot night?”
“I’m basking in this wonderful Air Conditioner that my husband and I just changed last week. It’s working properly now. Naija is too hot these days. I don’t even understand again.”
“Thank God for you.” Anita was busy contemplating whether to tell her best friend about her husband’s frequent late-nights. She even wondered if it was a big deal – after all he’s a man who needs his space.
“So why have you called me at this late hour? Is everything okay?” Angela was itching for gist
“Ahn, ahn Angela. Must I call you to gossip? Can’t we just talk about the traffic jam we experience here in this bloody Lagos?” Anita was half serious with the question she threw at Angela. She wanted to gossip, but she was getting tired of it.
“Well, if you say so Madam” Angela frowned at the other end of the conversation
“Ehen! Now that you mention it, I am ready to give you the gist about this new maid that we just hired. She calls me aunty. Can you just imagine the illiterate, coming straight from her father’s village? I keep telling her to call me Madam, Angela biko gwa’m. Is that so hard?”
“Hian! Wonders shall never end. Does that girl realize that she could be sacked any day from now? All these village champions; they have no sense at all” Angela was very pleased with the way her best friend had reacted towards the new maid.
“Anita, keep it up. And you would soon become a truly dedicated Madam like the rest of us in the Society” Angela almost sang those words out with joy.
“Ah. I am more than prepared my sister!”
Just then Anita heard the loud bang of the front door. He’s back, she thought to herself. Remembering she still had Angela on the other side of the call, she quickly apologized and dropped the call. Scrambling out of her warm bed, she nearly ran down the stairs to greet her husband. She had been waiting for his arrival, something she was doing more often these days. She was already racing to the stairs before she caught herself.
“What the hell are you doing Anita? Is this how to be a Madam? I cannot be seen running to meet him. Haba, this is becoming too bad these days.” And with that she lifted her chin, and began her decent, down the stairs with more poise and pride.
“Good evening Oga” Anita could hear the house girl greet her husband.
“Mm-hm. How are you?” Mac responded drunkenly.
“Why should you even ask this lazy girl that question? Is she now your wife?” Anita quickly walked to her husband to embrace him
“Is she not a human being again Anita? Why are you so mean to her? You’ve changed you know. What is wrong with you these days” Mac refused to hug his wife, putting his hands out to deflect the hug. Anita shot him an injured expression.
“What have I done now? Is it not in my place to ask you such a question? After all who is she to you? This dumb girl who keeps calling me aunty. Can she possibly be considered important?”
Mac was already walking away from his angered wife, feeling the need to disappear. All the while, Blessing, the maid felt like hitting her “Madam” in the head with that heavy mortar she used in pounding yam most nights. She scowled discreetly at her Madam before running away into the kitchen.
“Mac talk to me. Is this how you greet me the moment you step into this house? I’ve been waiting up for you, only for you to show up in that groggy attitude of yours. What is it? Why do you care so much for that maid, ehn?” She raced after her husband up the flight of stairs.
“Please, Anita, I beg you in the name of God. Just leave me alone. Your nagging is driving me crazy.” Mac was already undressing, putting away his clothes before walking into their elegantly, white-stained bathroom. He quickly banged the door in her face before she could spit out another word.
“Ah! Is it me you are talking to like that? You have changed o, with you hanging out with your so called friends every other night. Please come out and talk to me.”
“Anita, please go away. Let me have peace for once. PLEASE!” He unconsciously shattered the mirror with his balled up fist, wishing it was Anita’s face he had just smashed.
Damn it Anita, what are you turning me into?He thought to himself before climbing into the shower.
This isn’t how it was meant to be, this isn’t what I wanted, what is wrong with this woman? Oh God, help me.
Anita all the while retreated to her bed, surprised by her husband’s sudden, violent response to her complaints. What is wrong with me? Am I breaking my home? God, please help me.
5:30 am. Monday 20th August 2014
Nkechi’s eyes fluttered open at the sound of her alarm clock, chiming that it was time for work, again. Groaning, and rolling over to turn off her alarm clock, she grudgingly got out of bed. Her mornings were beginning to drag, without her husband by her side, she definitely felt she could use a little boosting. Being a fan of Lara George, Hallelujah was soon playing from her iPhone docked to her speaker. Swaying and dancing to the upbeat, Gospel music, she was loving her morning. An hour and half later, she was soon ready to walk out of her bedroom door. With a pause, she looked at the little frame containing the charming smile of her late husband who had died in a horrendous car crash barely three months ago. I love you, Dele. She blew him a kiss before marching out the door with a smile on her face.
She was ready to face today at the office, what with being her own boss and all, thanks to Dele. She picked up the lunch her 14-year-old daughter had packed up for her. She, Chidi, was becoming quite responsible just after turning 13 the previous year; feeling the need to take care of mummy, rather than having it the other way around. At first Nkechi couldn’t understand the sudden change in her daughter’s character, but she began to understand her daughter’s love for her, and she was alright with being taken care of for a change.
“Chi-baby, where are you? I’m about to leave for work.” Nkechi looked into her lunch bag to find hot, steaming Jollof rice, with a very large piece of chicken to top it off.
“Here, mummy. Good morning. I can see you are happy today. Thank God” She cleans her hands on her apron as she rushes to give her mum a kiss on the cheek. Chi was as tall as her mother, already at 5 feet 6 inches. She had grown so fast like most kids her age. Times were changing as Nkechi looked at the happy face of her beautiful daughter.
Nkechi laughed at her cheeky daughter, pated her head and proceeded to the door with her lunch bag. “I’ll see you at six yes? Don’t worry, I’ll make dinner, I promise. Bye!”
The driver, Yusuf, was already at the car, holding the door open as Nkechi walked towards the black SUV.
“Good morning Mada… I mean, Good morning.” Nkechi shot him a deathly look as he almost made the grave mistake of calling her Madam.
“I would have killed you this morning Yusuf. And Good morning to you too. Isn’t today a lovely day?” Nkechi was already smiling at the bewildered Yusuf.
“Yes, today is a good day.” Yusuf went for the wheels, honking at the gate man to open the big heavy gate.
*Bleep Bleep* Nkechi’s phone began to ring, playing her all-time favorite Lagbaja’s Never Far Away. She had programmed that song for one person in particular – her best friend Sandra.
“Sweetie, what’s up?” Nkechi recited the moment she picked.
“Where are you?” was Sandra’s typical response.
Nkechi couldn’t help rolling her eyes at her best friend’s question. Ever since Dele, Nkechi’s husband had died, she and Sandra had devised this game of who would arrive at work before the other. They both worked at Dele’s company, a Consultancy Firm that was set up by Dele’s still-living father, Dr. Adekunle. The man had become extremely rich 10 years after his business was set-up and running, landing him a major contract for Lagos state’s transportation system. He and his employees worked tirelessly with the present Governor of the State, ensuring the launching of the well-known “Keke-napep” (the vehicle on three wheels). Dr. Adekunle was a huge fan of Nkechi. He loved her like he would love any daughter of his. And while Dele was his only son, he had 8 other girls, all of whom were married, safe but one who thought “I need no husband” and remained single till date. Dr. Adekunle’s wife was dead and gone some 10 years ago after she had been involved in an assassination plan, targeted at the couple. They were traveling out of Lagos to visit their home town in Osun state. Adekunle was shot once, with the bullet just missing his heart by an inch – but he survived. While his wife wasn’t so lucky. She was hit right in the eye, the right one that always twitched when she was highly irritated with any of her children. She was gone now, not the best way to die, but she had blessed Adekunle with 9 beautiful children, and that was no understatement. After being married for 35 years, Adekunle couldn’t see himself getting married again, so he did the best he could by loving his children, their partners, and his children’s children. He was a wonderful man, clocking into his 60s in a week. Everyone called him Papa Ade, filthy rich, retired Papa Ade.
Since Dele left his entire wealth to his wife, Nkechi, Papa Ade shrugged his shoulders and gave his only daughter-in-law a loving hug, reassuring her he would be with her every step of the way. The entire Adekunle family cheered as they welcomed the new owner of Ade’s Consultancy Firm.
God. She was blessed.
Before Nkechi could respond to her friend’s question, Yusuf honked at a car that had driven into the lane directly beside him. The car was immediately recognized as Sandra’s car – a blue sleek, BMW, the latest model that year.
“Ah, you trick” Nkechi replied over the phone, laughing at the very thought that they would be racing to work that morning.
“Yusuf! Step on that throttle! If they win us ehn, your salary will reduce by 5 Naira!” she laughed hard, throwing her head back, while Yusuf changed gears, overtaking and swerving past so many cars. Nkechi was enjoying her morning.
“Ki lo n se Nkechi. What is it now? You want to kill somebody? And that Yusuf, making me want to sack my driver who can’t even match up to Yusuf. And he’s my 5th driver in two freaking months!”
“Move faster!” Sandra yelled playfully at her new driver, Deji
Sandra and Nkechi could hardly worry about getting into any accidents as their side of the road to work was as free as a racing track. Nkechi could barely breathe from all that laughter. She looked over to her right, out the window, only to see Sandra’s driver had somehow crawled his way two cars ahead of hers.
“Sandra! Let me just tell you. I AM YOUR BOSS. If you even dare reaching the gate before me, I will fire your ass!”
“Ah! Madam the madam. You have forgotten that you are nothing without your sidekick. Where there is no Sandra, there is no Nkechi! Bwahahahahaaa! I’m evil like that” Sandra burst out laughing so hard that she didn’t realize that she had finished the race in first position.
“I made it! Hallelujah! First in history! And in record time Deji. Congratulations, your salary has been increased!” she tapped her driver on his shoulder, while he was beaming from ear to ear, too proud of himself not to let it show.
Both Sandra and Nkechi scrambled out of their cars, almost running to the front of the building. Nkechi was taller than Sandra, so she was taking longer strides than her short, curvy friend. But Sandra couldn’t accept defeat so she tugged her skirt up a little and ran for the door. Nkechi was so shocked to see her friend breeze past her that she stopped just for a second, before she too was racing for that gigantic office door.
Everyone who had just made it to work was watching their bosses racing for the door. They all exchanged very amused looks with each other, with some unable to hold in their laughter. Everyone was cheering their favorite boss on.
It was such an exciting morning for both women as Sandra managed to reach for the handle of the door with Nkechi right on her heels. Sandra had won! She was so elated that she started doing the Kukere dance. At the sight of her friend’s excitement, Nkechi was in tears, hugging herself, while trying not to drop to the ground in laughter. She was so happy for her friend that she wouldn’t change a thing about that moment. The entire staff had been watching them, with everyone praising Sandra for her success.
Nkechi reached out to hug her best friend Sandra who had turned around, congratulating herself with the rest of her employees. Everyone was just happy to be alive that day. Sandra was so sure that some of her employees must have recorded the whole ordeal. And she was going to hunt that person down, and then steal the video for her personal amusement.
Everyone had walked into the building, congratulating Sandra, while the two friends stayed behind to compose themselves. They looked at each other with so much love in their eyes and even shed a few tears as they hugged once again
“Oh Sandra, you are the best kind of sister anyone could ever ask for. I love how you just make my day so ALIVE!”
“My dear, you are my blessing from God. I have really had so much fun this morning. Please let’s go inside before we become the late-comers.” Sandra was wiping away her tears of pure joy from her streaming eyes. She held out the door for Nkechi who walked in majestically, truly looking like the luckiest gal in the world.
Ireti and Henry were having dinner together. Their dining room had a long rectangular table that could sit a family of twelve, including a little chair for a child. The room had one big chandelier that hung from the ceiling, positioned to be at the center of the dining table. Since Henry grew up with a silver spoon, even from his behind, he made sure that his home decor showed it all. He had paintings that he bought from his travels around the world hanging nicely at different corners of the house. But he had recently removed some endearing pictures of himself and his wife together, showing that they were once some-what in love. Or so it seemed.
In the hour that they sat eating, no one said a word. All the while Ireti kept her eyes low, trying hard to concentrate on the food she had served herself from the meal the cook had prepared. Tonight was meant to be special – Henry had not spent time with her for weeks now, not even for one meal together – but somehow Henry managed to hurt her again. He was always so outright with the way he made her feel less of a woman.
“Ireti, will you not eat your food?Hmm? Sly prostitute. At least that is the very thing you know how to do well. Always planning parties when you know women would bring their children. Worthless woman” Henry blurted out when he noticed her quiet demeanor.
She tried hard not to let it get to her, but tonight she had failed woefully. His words from earlier that night kept echoing in her head “Worthless woman”.
She just about cried her soul out on the dining table while trying to force her throat to cooperate with her. She had lost her appetite, but her “dear” husband was having a fill, gulping down large quantities of his rice, feeding his mouth (with barely enough space) with his plantain. He was really enjoying himself. Ireti dared a glance at him and nearly puked on herself. Why had she made the mistake of marrying this beast?
Ireti could not bear children, even after five years of trying. Henry had pulled her to every doctor in and out of town, asking the same questions over and over, and the answers came back the same – Ireti had no eggs left in her to make her a mother.
She looked down at her belly, wondering why this was happening to her. But she felt so young, so ripe, so beautiful, so ready to become a mother. Yet, somehow, the universe deemed it fit to leave her “egg-less”. She sighed involuntarily at that thought, got out of her chair, and walked away without a word to Henry.
“Ireti! Ireti, where are you going? How dare you walk out on me, you, childless woman? Are you not hungry again?”
By now Henry had gotten up from his position and was walking rapidly, trying to catch up with Ireti. Ireti wouldn’t have any more of his insults so she ran for the stairs, praying to God that he would just let her be. Henry grabbed her arm from behind, turning her so fast she almost fell, if he wasn’t holding her up. She caught the hatred in his eyes as she placed her hand on his chest to steady herself.
“Get away from me Henry! Leave me alone! Stop harassing me! Let me go!!” She struggled hard to break free, banging on his chest with her free hand. Ireti began to weep, taking in shallow breaths as she thought about what he was about to do to her. She couldn’t let him have his way this time, so she became hysterical, but Henry was always stronger. He punched her hard on her nose, causing her vision to blur for several seconds, before she felt the free-flow of blood running down her broken nose. She couldn’t cry, she couldn’t scream anymore.
She struggled hard to breathe through her mouth, unable to scream for help. Henry twisted her again so that both of them were facing the flight of stairs. He pulled her behind him as he climbed the stairs, hurrying to get away from any prying eyes. Unfortunately, the cook had seen it all happen.
“You are just a witch, Ireti. Everything about you screams childlessness. You charmed me with your beauty all those years ago. I should have listened to my mother. She said you were no-good-for-nothing and she was right! I thought she was just being old-fashioned. Now look how you’ve proved me wrong! I will teach you a lesson today. You won’t ever forget the mistake you made marrying me. I SWEAR, IRETI!”
By the time he was done lamenting, they had reached their bedroom, slamming the door behind him. Henry shoved her across the room towards the dresser, where he tied Ireti to the chair.
“Please Henry, please have mercy. I’m sorry, I will never be rude to you again. Please have mercy my husba…”
“Tah! Who is your husband! I forbid you, woman, to ever call me that again! You hear me? Or I will beat you to death. Now hold on to that chair like your life depends on it”.
Ireti did as she was told, shivering to her bones, murmuring prayers to God to save her soul, wishing her mother was here, and her father alive to defend her. There was no one to save her this time, not even her beloved uncle. So she obediently held on, hugging the chair, with her back facing Henry.
By the time he had started to lash her with his belt she felt nothing, until the thin fabric of her evening gown tore and the belt collided with her bare skin. She screamed the loudest her throat could endure. The pain was so raw; she couldn’t imagine how much more she could take. Nevertheless, the lashes kept coming, all the while Henry kept talking.
“You witch! I will kill you today! You will regret why you married me! Bloody marine spirit! Ashewo! You have committed so many abortions, there’s nothing left in you! I will kill you today!”
His whips became harder, and harsher as his blood boiled, as he tore the skin of his dear, helpless wife.
By the time he had reached the fifteenth lash, his wife had stopped crying out for help, and was slumped limply on the back of the chair. She seemed to be unconscious. Then Henry suddenly stopped lashing and called her name, hoping she wasn’t dead.
“Ireti, Ireti…” no answer.
“You better stop pretending or I will lash you some more!” still no response.
At this time, he dropped his belt and moved to Ireti’s side, refusing to touch her as her back was oozing blood. She looked dead and Henry panicked. Suddenly, he began to look around the room, frantically searching for something. What? He did not know, as he was clueless. The man walked back to his bed, sat down and scratched his naked head. He had to do something before someone found out what had happened. Before the cook became suspicious of their silence. After all, Ireti was screaming the entire time he flogged her. Now she was dead and he didn’t know what to do.
“Think Henry, think.” He got up and walked to his bathroom to splash cold water on his face. He had to come up with something and fast, staring at himself in the mirror in absolute silence, racking his brain for a possible solution. And then it finally came! Of course he would simply dispose of the body. Tonight.
Surely, tonight was his only chance to get rid of the stinking bitch. He heaved a heavy sigh of relief and smiled to himself. “Henry, you are a fucking genius. Now you can take Kate to be your bride, and claim that this one ran away, never to be seen again. That’s right, never to be seen again”.
Hours went by and Henry remained in his room, even managing to sleep, setting his alarm clock to wake him up at an hour before midnight. Tonight he would get rid of Ireti for good. He woke up the moment his alarm began to ring –since he wasn’t a deep-sleeper after all, so he had no trouble responding quickly. Plus, tonight was an exciting night for him. He stretched himself as he sat upright, legs dangling from the side of the bed. He looked at his wife’s lifeless form and shook his head as if he pitied her. Of course, he couldn’t give a damn about her state of being right now. He only wanted her gone for good.
So he got out of his bed and walked over to her, being careful not to touch her bloody back. He untied her hands from the front of the chair, and she immediately fell on her back. Shit! He cursed himself for not placing some cloth under her to save his rug from getting bloody. Nevertheless, the damage was done and he was going to fix that too. Now that she was on her back, he had no choice but to touch her, as he would need to carry her body off the ground to the bed sheet he had placed on the floor to wrap her body in. He did so without a grunt of pain as his wife was not heavy at all. Sadly, he hadn’t noticed just how much weight she must have lost these past few months, when he had started to beat her silly. Now her weightless form helped his cause all the more.
Henry quickly wrapped his wife’s body in the king-sized bed sheet that his wife had used to adorn their bed. But he had no time to regret his actions now as the smell of her strawberry shampooed hair reminded him of how he once was in love with this woman. Nonetheless, now wasn’t the time! Henry cursed his momentary weakness. He needed as much detachment from her as he could manage. Before he was done, he looked at her face one last time and kissed her forehead.
“Forgive me Ireti. You really didn’t deserve this. You marrying “Omo Igbo”. Yet, you were the ‘perfect’ wife (setting up all those beautiful holiday parties and dinners), but I just can’t keep you as my wife. You’re not worth the disgrace, childless woman. You’re dead to me now” And with that she was covered completely.
Stretching himself as he stood over Ireti’s body, he scratched his bald head, looking around his room again. He was starting to behave as though he were experiencing a temporary break in thoughts. Then he caught himself, walked to the door, stepped out of the room and stealthily walked down the stairs. He checked to see if the maid had retreated to her room, and there was no sign of her anywhere.
The coast was clear, and so his plan was under way. He ran back to his room, heaved his wife’s body over his right shoulder and quickly made it out of the house. He remembered to grab his car keys from the table that sat beside the entrance door.
Henry nearly sprinted to his BMW, feeling heavily boosted by the adrenaline flowing through his veins. He was excited. This type of thing only happened in the movies, but now it couldn’t be more real – so real, he felt he was overlooking the whole scene play out, while standing outside of his own body.
But Henry had no idea that the maid – Cynthia – was, indeed, very much awake and had been waiting for something to happen all night. She had been so frightened when she heard her Madam scream constantly every time she was being whipped, and then, 10 minutes later, there was silence – the kind that meant trouble. She had paced back and forth in her room just below the Master’s bedroom, wringing her hands, biting her finger nails, crying, whispering fervent prayers for her Madam. She couldn’t help because she knew just how terrible her boss’s temper was. She couldn’t call anyone because her Madam had forced her into silence – (promising not to tell a soul, not even Ireti’s mother who constantly called Cynthia to keep an eye on her daughter’s husband, for her). That was nearly 4 hours ago. Now it was exactly midnight, and she still hadn’t heard either Madam nor her boss come out of that room. She got down on her knees then, and began to pray.
“Oh God, please help Madam. Please help my Madam. No ‘gree make that wicked man to kill my Madam. Abeg, Jehovah…make she no die. She never born, she no get pikin’, her mama no dey. Na me be her friend for here. Na my sister wey she be. Please, Baba God, help her for me. Amen.” Tears were streaming down her plump, young face. She was thinking about her own orphaned siblings, how terrible it would be if she died and left them all alone in this horrible world.
“Kai, this my Oga na bad man! He is satan! Oh God…Oh God”
She was becoming hysterical, fearing that the worst had indeed happened, when she suddenly heard her master close the front door to the house. She immediately raced to the window in her room, that overlooked the front yard. That was when she saw Henry carrying something that looked long and heavy on his shoulder, almost running for his car.
“Ah!! Na my Madam be that oo. Jesus! Oga don kill am!”
Cynthia wasted no time in grabbing her sweater from her bed and a scarf to tie around her head, before she ran out of her bedroom and to the kitchen where there was a back door. As she emerged onto the open street, she saw the tail lights of her boss’s car, moving away from the house. Fortunately, he didn’t seem to be in a rush, but he wasn’t crawling either. She thanked God for the bicycle her Madam had bought for her last year to ride to the market and back. She grabbed her bicycle from the side of the kitchen, got on it, fixed her helmet, and was rolling down the street in steady pursuit of her boss.
Frightened as she was, Cynthia had never followed anyone in her life, not to mention trying not to be seen. She didn’t have any headlights to illuminate her path, but she was confident in her riding, staying close to the curb. It was midnight after all, and everyone was probably asleep by now, so she wasn’t frightened that a car would run her over from behind. She continued to pray as she rode silently behind Henry.
Henry had been driving for quite some time, trying to keep calm so he wouldn’t drive too fast. Moreover, he really feared for his life under the influence of all that hype he was feeling. He needed to keep his head steady. Henry kept looking behind him to view his wife who still lay motionless on the back seat of the car. He was becoming paranoid, wondering if she would wake up any moment and begin to scream.
Then he checked the time on the dashboard – 12:30am. He had been driving for the past 30 minutes, to some destination that he hadn’t planned to be at. A destination that would guarantee that Ireti’s body would be found far, far, away from home. And any location would do;considering the fact that he didn’t even want to know where. All the time he drove, he had counted only 5 cars that had driven past him, making him confident that when he stopped to dump the body, no one would be in sight to catch him.
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