Excerpt from episode 19:
“Look I have done stuffs in the past but part of what we are doing is for Chioma’s good. You would just have to trust me, at least if you want to see your friend alive again.” Gift turned to leave…
To read episode 19: CLICK HERE
Between 3:00am- 6:00am
The moon glowed very brightly that night and the clouds were heavy with rain. Mrs. Ugochukwu stood beside the window staring blankly at the empty road of Edmund Crescent. Maryam sat on the couch close to the other side of the living room. The room was silent and the atmosphere was a warm and heart-sickening one.
“Ma, it’s been several hours? What are we going to do?” Maryam finally broke the silence. The conversation with Gift had placed the two ladies in a state of confusion.
“We’ll do as she wants us to…” Mrs. Ugochukwu said her face still turned towards the window. She had her right arm wrapped above her chest while her left hand toyed with the pendant of the necklace around her neck absentmindedly.
“We’ll do what she wants!” she repeated again and walked towards her room.
Gift had agreed to help them on the condition that they won’t involve the police and Mrs. Ugochukwu was to stay out of the matter. According to Gift, Mrs. Ugochukwu was too emotional and might ruin everything. Maryam stayed up that night waiting for Mrs. Ugochukwu to drift off into troubled sleep before she dialed Detective Chidi’s number and explained all that had been going on to him.
“Where is she being held?” Detective Chidi asked. Although it was late into the night, he was still awake when Maryam’s call came in. He waited and listened to her.
“The place is Chief Edmund Community School. The time is 8am. Please come alone if you really want to help Chioma.”
The next morning, Maryam insisted Mrs. Ugochukwu go to David’s house and create a distraction.
“You are out of your mind…” Mrs. Ugochukwu protested. She glared at Maryam, “I’m going with you to save my daughter. I’m not going to David’s place. That gold digger! He is nothing but a bastard!”
“Ma, it’s the best thing to do, let’s do it that way. Go to David, make sure he doesn’t leave the house or it could foil our plans, while you are with him, it should leave Gift and I enough room to save Chioma.” Maryam replied back in an equally loud voice.
There was a moment of silence that seemed to last forever before Mrs. Ugochukwu spoke again. “Fine. Go on then.”
Between 6:00am – 6:45am
It was almost daybreak when Maryam headed out to meet Gift. She had called Gift to inform her that she was on her way as they had agreed to meet by 6:30 a.m. Gift did not answer the phone however despite Maryam trying to reaching her on ten tries. Maryam finally gave up and didn’t bother to try again until she arrived at the rendezvous but still there was no response.
“Where are you going?” David asked half sleepy, he had had a rough night sleeping on the couch that night.
“What does it looks like?” Gift snapped at him. “I’m going for a jog.” Gift almost collided with Mrs. Ugochukwu as she opened the door. The older woman was standing there about to knock.
“Good morning ma,” Gift said.
David quickly rolled over to see who it was.
“Good morning Gift, I didn’t know you now live with David.” The sarcasm dripped from Mrs. Ugochukwu’s lips. Gift gave a tight smile and left the door open for her to enter while she went on her way.
“Hey babe. Good morning.” David said standing up. He had always avoided Mrs. Ugochukwu’s presence in his house, he always came up with excuses to prevent her from coming and he wondered why she had come so early today when she usually didn’t visit him.
It was 6:30am when Gift finally returned Maryam’s missed calls. Maryam who had dozed off in the car answered on the second ring,
“Yes I’m here now,” Gift said “is that you in the car?”
“Yes, yes” Maryam said, attempting to alight from the car.
“No. Don’t come out, it seems as though my sister is on her way and Osas is here,” Gift said
“Wait. Osas is where? What? You didn’t consider them in your plans?” Maryam asked incredulously as she opened the car door, ended the call and walked to where Gift was.
“What the heck are you telling me? Do you even know where she is?” Maryann said as she got closer to Gift.
“Yes, here’s what we’d do, you wait in the car, I’d go and get her. You have to be sharp,” Gift was saying when Maryam’s phone began vibrating.
She answered and put it on speaker, it was the detective and before he could say a word, Maryam was already yelling, “Are you sure Chioma is there?”
Detective Chidi kept mute and listened picking up Maryam’s tactic almost immediately. Gift stared in surprise at Maryam, she didn’t understand why Maryam was talking to her and had decided to end her call.
“Just calm down, wait in the car, I’ll get Chioma in no time,” Gift said with a shrug and began to walk towards to the uncompleted building adjacent to where they were both standing.
With Gift’s back turned, Maryam quickly put the phone to her ear and whispered, “you need to come fast detective.”
“What’s going on” Detective Chidi asked but Maryam ended the call before following Gift into the uncompleted building.
Detective Chidi frowned and decided it was best to involve two of his colleagues. He informed them of the situation before setting out to where Chioma was being held.
“You know I love you and can’t wait to marry you right?” David said as he stared deep into Mrs. Ugochukwu’s eyes. She kept silent and forced a smile on her face.
“So tell me, where are we spending the honeymoon?” David continued and was surprised at Mrs. Ugochukwu’s silence and blank expressions.
“Babe what is it? Talk to me” David said pulling himself closer to her. There was another moment of silence till she finally said.
“Where’s my daughter David?”
He scoffed and replied, “Don’t worry dear, Chioma will come back. No one kidnapped her. She’s just being a child. Messing around”
“Where’s my daughter David, where have they hidden my daughter?” She said and broke into tears.
“Baby I don’t know, it’s going to be alright. Why would you think I have an idea where Chioma is?” David said feigning surprise.
Mrs. Ugochukwu stood then and turned her back against him, he stood up as well and went to her, he turned her around and planted his lips on hers, Mrs. Ugochukwu did not resist, she kissed him back. This was her opportunity for her to execute her plan, as they kissed, her hand went to her wrapper and she silently drew out the knife she had hidden in the fold. She plunged the knife into his back and watched as his eyes flew open in shock and pain. She pushed him away from her and aimed the knife at him a second time, this time gunning for his chest. David crumbled to the ground writhing in pain and clutching his chest. She stared at him wondered why she felt no remorse. She was burning with rage against David, against Osas, and against the twins. She wanted them all dead.
Between 7:30am – 8:15am
Maryam caught up with Gift and tapped her on the back. Startled, Gift turned, “What are you doing here. I told you to wait in the car.” Gift spoke in hushed tones
“I can’t, Chioma is my friend. We’re in this together,” Maryam said as she settled to catch her breath.
“Well just follow me quietly,” Gift said.
The two continued to wander about the building, looking for where Chioma was held hostage.
“I thought you said you know where she is?” Maryam said in a whisper.
“I do, it is right over the next block,” they walked towards where Gift had pointed.
Grace was on her way to where Chioma was being held with a meal when she saw the detective and two other men jumped down from the unmarked vehicle. She watched them for a second through the window and then quickly turned around to go back in the direction she had been coming. She dropped the tray of food and dialed David. Mrs. Ugochukwu answered the phone but said nothing.
“David, the police are here, they’re here, David? Hello?” Grace ended the call and dialed Osas next. She didn’t wait, she repeated the same message and then she was running out the back door.
Osas had been sleeping in another section of the building. He peeped outside his window and saw the van, Quickly he went to his drawer and picked up the revolver lying there before heading towards where Chioma was being held.
“Did you hear that?” Maryam asked, “Someone is coming.” she said.
“Hey what’s going on, who’s there! Osas I’m not afraid of you,” Chioma yelled in a very loud voice unknowingly alerting Maryam and Gift to where she was being held hostage. Osas changed his mind and decided it was best to escape rather than risk a confrontation with the police and was running towards the backdoor when one of the police came in through there and with a gun aimed at him, asked him to drop to his knees. Osas knew he was outnumbered and did as he was told, allowing the police cuff him.
Maryam and Gift opened the door to where Chioma was and quickly untied her.
“Matthew was… Matthew was… stop..” Chioma tried speaking but was asked to keep quiet by Maryam. They were about to head out the door when they collided with the remaining two detectives who helped them out the building.
“Next stop is David’s, Grace must have warned him by now.” Detective Chidi said as he drove through the streets of Lagos like a mad man.
When Grace got to David’s apartment, she saw Mrs. Ugochukwu on the floor and David on her laps covered in a pool of blood.
“What have you done?” Grace said feeling sick and horrified at the sight of the blood. Mrs. Ugochukwu didn’t respond to her. She just sat there with a smile on her face. Grace turned to leave when the detective entered the room. She was also cuffed and an ambulance was called. Grace, Gift and Osas were tried and convicted for the crime they had committed while Mrs. Ugochukwu was taken to a rehabilitation home while Maryam and Chioma managed her business.
Twenty is co-written with Akinwale Poshkid Akinyoade
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