Excerpt From Episode 6:
“I don’t remember him having his phone on him when I buried him…” the phone vibrated in her hand and she saw it was a text. Pressing the open button, she read
“Davo, I don do the packaging, your cous don ex the picture. I dey go Abj by morning. No call this number again o,” the text message read.
Read Episode 6: CLICK HERE
She dropped the phone as if it was burning like hot coal and picked it up again when it clattered to the floor with a jarring sound as it hit the floor. She hurriedly walked out of the room and went to stand under one of the street lights lining the hospital ward with utter fear and confusion as millions of questions flooded her mind. Could the text be referring to Matthew?
Maryam noticing the way Chioma had rushed out stood up and joined her outside, her own mind worried as to all that what going on, the look of terror on Chioma’s face was unsettling.
‘What is it?’ she asked but Chioma made no response thrusting the phone into her hands instead. Maryam’s eyes scanned the text and she suddenly felt cold all over. She looked around her as if expecting someone to jump out at as they stood there, she couldn’t help feeling a sense of dread even though they were under a bright light.
It was a quarter past three in the middle of the night, bad things were known to happen at night. It suddenly crossed Maryam’s mind that the night was windy night and there were stars twinkling in the sky as if beckoning to them from afar off. The stars are a good sign or are they not? Maryam wondered.
‘How did your mum meet this man?’ Maryam threw the question to the wind, not looking at Chioma who stood immobile beside her, staring into nothingness, her face twisted with fear and confusion.
Chioma did not deign to look at Maryam either as she talked in a low monotonous voice about how her mother had met David shortly after they arrived at Edmund Crescent. How he was one of the many male models but had somehow broken her mother’s walls and they had started an affair despite her own disapproval.
“I never liked him, there was just something about him that I didn’t like but so long as I could not place my hand on it, mother thought I was just jealous and insecure; insecure that she might not have my time again. But that wasn’t the case, I just didn’t like him but then I met Matthew too. He and Matthew are cousins and it was funny that I took a fancy to Matthew the minute I met him. He was very nice and sweet to me and I liked him the second I set my eyes on him and ironically it was my mother’s turn not to like the person I was interested in but she is a businesswoman to the core and his good looks meant he was good business for the agency so she learnt to like him, tolerate him is a better word I think. For the sake of the company and maybe David, I don’t know which really but they got along.”
Maryam said nothing, that wasn’t really what she had wanted to know but then Chioma had been through a lot in the last forty-eight hours, who could blame her if she was not thinking coherently?
Mrs. Ugochukwu arrived the hospital at dawn the next day with a basket of food, snacks and drinks.
‘Mom he’s recovering from an accident, it’s not like he is dying of starvation,’ Chioma snapped at her mother.
Mrs. Ugochukwu gave her a look that clearly said ‘you shouldn’t be talking to me like that’ but she said nothing and went to David. She planted a kiss on his head as she took a seat close to him and began unwrapping some of the things she had brought with her.
‘Did you em.. know that Matthew is em.. Mathew is dead?’ David inquired, his gazed fixed on Chioma even though the question was directed at Mrs. Ugochukwu.
‘Yes dear, I am so sorry, he was such a good kid but you should not be worrying about that. We need you strong and healthy so you can get out of here, the bastards that did these to you must not go unpunished and we would make sure the police launches an investigation into Matthew’s death.’ She caressed his arm as she fed him with her free hand.
Chioma looked at the scene in disgust, trying not to let her mother see her expression. She had deleted the text from David’s phone and written the number of the sender on a piece of prescription paper just before Maryam left very early in the morning. She had left some few minutes after Mrs. Ugochuwku arrived. The scene before her sickened her and Chioma said a hurried goodbye to her mother so that she did not have to continue to suffer the presence of the two lovers.
She listened as her mother talked about the things she needed her to do at home before handing her cash till she herself could come join her as soon as possible. Chioma was about leaving when she remembered she had not bothered to ask her mother about her trip to Abuja.
‘Did you get the contract?’
‘Well yes I did’ her mother replied with a broad smile.
She muttered her congratulations and turned to leave. She was out of the ward when her phone beeped and she flipped open the phone to read the text message. The blood drained out of her face as she read, ‘Secrets are meant to be kept Chi, if you don’t keep mine, I won’t keep yours. It is better you keep your mouth shut or YOU MIGHT BE NEXT…”
Read episode 8: CLICK HERE
Twenty is co-written with Akinwale Poshkid Akinyoade
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