Excerpt from episode 16:
In her sleep, there was Matthew again. He was lying on the floor beside her somewhere in a garden that looked familiar. They were talking and kissing when suddenly, David, the twins and Uncle Osas gathered and all four of them stabbed Matthew but didn’t touch her.
“Kill me too,” she yelled in her dream. “Kill me too! Matthew!” That was when she woke up.
To read episode 16: CLICK HERE
Maryam stayed up until past 3:00a.m, she had never experienced trouble sleeping but that night she kept tossing and turning. Her mind was worried, not only was Chioma missing, Mrs. Ugochukwu’s lackadaisical attitude was saddening.
Maryam felt a rumbling in her stomach, she felt hungry too. She had returned home very late the previous night. She had tried trailing and monitoring David’s movements with hopes that she could detect something to help in the search for Chioma’s whereabouts but her efforts had proved abortive. Her parents were already asleep by the time she got back home, only the house help was awake when she came knocking at the door. She made the decision to go see Mrs. Beebs the following day and finally managed to drift off into a troubled sleep.
Mrs. Beebs was one of the oldest residents living at Edmund Crescent; she lived alone and hardly ever had visitors. Chioma had once told Maryam that she could go for a year without anyone coming to visit and as she prepared to leave the house for the visit, Maryam questioned the logic behind her own actions. Her parents were still asleep when she was slipping out of the house and she was grateful for that. She didn’t want to have to answer any questions about why she had come home late the night before or why she was heading out so early.
‘Tell baami and maami that I have some things to do and will be back later in the day,’ she said to the little girl who was picking beans for breakfast in the living room as she headed out.
‘What things aunty?’ the little girl asked.
‘Tell them exactly what I told you, when did you start questioning my movements?” Maryam snapped at the girl in annoyance. She felt edgy enough as it was without being made to feel any more conscious by the help.
“Tell them I am at Chioma’s house,” she added before slipping out the door.
Mrs. Beebs’ house was alive with activity even at that hour of the morning. People were trooping in and out of the house with gloomy faces and it was with trepidation that Maryam entered the house.
‘Chai!’ she heard someone exclaim.
‘What’s going on…?’ she asked turning to a young boy who was looking around him with a forlorn expression on his face.
“That woman, the one that has a very big waist was found dead this morning.” He said it as if he was trying to convince himself that she was really dead. Maryam stared at him dumbfounded, she didn’t know whether to scream or turn away. She suddenly felt heavy and it felt as if the room was swaying and she was about to fall. Her legs didn’t seem like it could carry her and she staggered into the room where the attraction seemed to be.
Mrs. Beebs body was lying in a grotesque manner on the floor, her neck at an unnatural angle and her lifeless eyes staring in shock as if whoever or whatever had killed her had not been what she would ever have expected.
“Somebody should call the police, this is not a circus.” Maryam said feeling sick to the pit of her stomach. Everyone stared at her as if she had gone mad and she couldn’t believe the way they gawked at the body of the dead woman. Her phone beeped and she read the text message, ‘The obstinate fly follows the dead to the grave.’
Mrs. Ugochukwu came awake slowly with a frown. Her consciousness registered that David wasn’t sleeping beside her on the bed. She got out of bed and stretched, her eyes falling on a framed picture of Chioma. David had said he was going to make some enquiries at the company before they called the police. She felt worried about the safety of her daughter but assured with David’s reasoning that it was better not to scare the kidnappers into doing something by getting the police involved. It was around 10:00am when she finally decided to call David.
‘I’m not sure, you just left’ she said putting her left hand on her waist.
‘No, no one has called me, but I called the detective’
‘How was I supposed to know, you were not here, I had to do something. My daughter is still missing, what kind of mother will I be? I had to.’ She said pacing about the room.
‘Hello? Hello…?’ the line had gone dead.
Why was David so upset she had called her detective friend? She had no minute to think further when the doorbell jarred her out of her thoughts and she hurried to the door. Standing there was Osas, her brother-in-law.
‘What do you want,’ she asked in clipped tones, trying to hide her surprise.
“I’m here to make peace with you and forgive you. Won’t you invite me in?” he said and entered the house without waiting for a reply.
‘You had better leave before I call the police.’ She waved her phone threateningly in his face, her voice rising.
‘There isn’t any need for that,’ he said as he sat down.
Twenty is co-written with Akinwale Poshkid Akinyoade
To read episode 18: CLICK HERE
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