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BEYOND EVERY REPROACH

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man in white dress shirt smoking

Kunle Edwards readjusted himself on the bed as though fighting an enemy. He kept moving from one part of his king sized water bed to the other. He was obviously in need of more sleep but his aids, rightly put, his father’s aids weren’t letting him. It was another Monday morning, time to meet his lustrous father in his office for a continuation of his “one month drill” on the do’s and don’ts of his father’s promising company. Being the only child of Chief Edwards and a fresh graduate of business administration from Standford, the lot fell on him to take over the running of his father’s company.

It was not an especially happy moment for the young Kunle who had just returned to Nigeria a few days back. He was even yet to restore his cycardian rhythm and aclimatize with the new weather. Being extremely fair skinned, it was easier for him to mingle with his colleagues while in college (University). Well, as expected, the reverse was the case here in Nigeria. People where intimidated by his “Oyibo look” and travelling experience and always gave him cold shoulders as a result. Everything was happening so fast that he found it difficult to breadth. Its only been a few days and he was loosing his mind. He had always lived in affluence and enjoyed being the only child of Chief Edwards but recent events were beginning to make him think otherwise. The feeling bottled up in his heart was that of a person being rubbed off his freedom. He lived in paradise yet, fought for freedom.

photo of man wearing black sweater

Growing up wasn’t exactly difficult, he had everything he needed. He was allowed to spend any amount of money he wanted without of course having any physical contact with his father’s company. He lived like a king, though a lonely one. His dad was barely home, always busy with business meetings, and his mum, well, he wasn’t so sure. He had never set his eyes on her. The few times he tried asking his dad about her, he got no reasonable response and the last time he had tried stressing on the topic, he was warned never to bring it up again. He wasn’t even as much as given the privilege of knowing his mother’s name. Judging from his complexion and hair tone, he needed no sooth Sayer to tell him that he was a mixed blood. “Could it be that I am a product of one of dad’s sexual escapades during one of his long travels?” Lots of thoughts flashed through his mind. With the way Mr Edwards drilled him, he was beginning to think he was adopted.

Kunle wasn’t the people’s person, the only friends he had known growing up were his aids and the children of his maids. He had his personal chaffeaur who always dropped and picked him up from school everyday, leaving no room for socialization with his fellow children. He soon became accustomed to staying alone and doing everything by himself that he saw no need to make friends. If only he had known how wrong he was! A lot of things were beginning to change around him. It seemed there was always a new discovery to be made about himself every single day. For someone who had always wanted to study business administration to take over his dad’s company later in life, he had just realized how much he didn’t want to be anywhere around the company.

“Man, are you alright?” Came a voice Kunle could swear on his life that he had never heard before. He was both jerked to the present and scared at the same time. He had earlier instructed his driver to take the car home, that he would head back in a taxi whenever he was done with what he was doing. It was his first time out on the streets of Lagos, all by himself and he couldn’t control the series of thoughts that rushed through his mind that moment. He was scared of what the young man would do to him. “Kunle, what were you thinking sitting casually by the streets of Lagos unaccompanied?” He asked himself. As though reading the handwriting on the wall, the young man interceded. “You don’t have to be scared, I only wanted to know if you were okay since you have been sitted at this spot for the past one hour.” “I’m alright, it’s just work stress” Kunle replied, looking pitiful.

pensive troubled stylish man with notepad on street

Kunle felt so good talking to “a friend” that he lost track of time. They had chatted for hours yet, it felt like minutes. He was happy, he felt a sense of relief yet, the concept of friendship still sounded Greek to him. It was in the course of their discussion that he discovered that Ben was military. He had just come into town for his usual one week leave and was touring the streets of Lagos, a means for a breadth of fresh air. The thought of being a soldier had never crossed Kunle’s mind but at this moment, he wanted anything but spending more time with his dad in their family business. He was soon interested and began asking questions about how the Nigerian military department operated.

Kunle and Ben hung out every other day that Ben was in town. With that as a pressure reliever, work was becoming less and less stressful. Kunle went to work every day, thinking of how best to present the case to his dad and convince him to let him join the army. On a fateful Friday evening, he finally summoned up the courage and presented his case. He intentionally chose a time devoid of business transactions because he knew what would follow. His dad was mad. At first, he thought it was all a joke until he discovered just how serious his son was. He was so angry that he rained abuses on Kunle, ending his statement with:”I shouldn’t be surprised, you are the son of your mother after all, like mother like son!”. It was the first time he ever mentioned Kunle’s mother and Kunle couldn’t help but wonder what would have gone wrong between the duo.

Also Read https://derasstories.com/2021/01/15/rude-awakening-a-short-story/

Days span by and Kunle begged his dad, he made every single promise he could think of to help convince his dad, all to no avail. It was another phase of loneliness. With Ben out of town, Kunle got fraustrated. Whenever he wasn’t at work, he busied himself with drinking and smoking, during the day and soaked his pillow with tears at night. He was hit with a phase of life he never thought existed. His dad on the other hand was too busy to notice what was going on. The little hours he spent at home was hell for Kunle, he always made sure of that. Since that unfatefull day Kunle opted out of the family business, Chief Edwards had treated him like one of his aids. To him, that was the day he ceased to mean anything to him. The only thing connecting them being just the blood tie, the family business and the house they shared.

man in white dress shirt smoking

Kunle soon wallowed into depression. All he did was go to work, drink, smoke and hang around with different women. He established a relationship with some group of guys with whom he always streamed the streets of Lagos. Being the rich and only member of the group that owned a car, he paid for their every expenses and drove them to their every destination. To him, it was fun as he found a way to keep himself occupied. He had far learnt how to control his tears. It’s been months and he had learnt the hard way that his dad was never going to change his mind. He had always known him to be someone who never went back on his words but he just didn’t think he would be that cruel to him. Kunle could still remember his exact words: “over my dead body will I let you opt out of your responsibilities in this family business”.

Kunle’s addiction to womanizing, smoking and drinking was climaxing. He was beginning to drink and smoke more than the guys who introduced him to the lifestyle. He was at this point bringing his friends home, throwing parties every now and then. One fateful afternoon, while hosting a party at home as usual, his house was a beehive of activities, bustling with men and women of different rank and class. It was the first party he was hosting with such number of people in attendance. He was so happy that he kept drinking and drinking….the rest was story. His dad came home the next morning to meet the lifeless body of his only child, lying at the middle of the corridor close to his room, with no human in sight. None of his aids nor maids could explain what happened. Chief Edwards wept like a baby, blaming himself for not letting Kunle chase his dreams. He blamed himself for living a life beyond every reproach!

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Akuoma

    February 10, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    Wow 💥, this is so lit

    • Dera

      February 14, 2021 at 12:15 am

      thanks honey

  2. Precious

    February 15, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    Wow,this is dope… you’ve got some real talents

    • Dera

      February 15, 2021 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks Precious

  3. Victor

    February 15, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    Nice one 👌

    • Dera

      February 15, 2021 at 8:57 pm

      Thank youuuu

  4. Alex

    February 15, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    Couldn’t blink until I read all through.
    Nice one, keep it up

    • Dera

      February 15, 2021 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks dear
      I appreciate

  5. Max

    February 15, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    Nice story….. keep it up dear

    • Dera

      February 15, 2021 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks Max

  6. Brendan Sunday

    February 15, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    The highhandedness of the father is first class. The story is apt and has a lot of lessons in it. Thanks so much for weaving such a beautiful story together. More grease!

    • Dera

      February 15, 2021 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks brotherly. I appreciate

  7. Mercy Onayi

    February 16, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Dera, I’ll come for writing lessons oooo. Your imaginations are apt and wide. More grace to you.

    • Dera

      February 16, 2021 at 11:46 am

      🤣🤣🤣
      No problem dear. I will be expecting you😍

  8. Lizzy

    February 16, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    Nice write up

    • Dera

      February 17, 2021 at 10:57 pm

      Thanks honey

  9. Hertz

    February 17, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    Nice piece. Though, from my experience in reading novels, this is too plane. Not out of the ordinary. Its like one of those narrative essay WAEC expect us to write that ends with “Had I known”. I feel this can be improved on. For example, the story could have ended with kunle coincidentally reuniting with the mother in a creative context which would have been the turning point in his life, or kunle could have met a beautiful lady in that his father company that he fell in love with. Something like that! But hey, I am not a writer, so let me not judge. You are good

    • Dera

      February 17, 2021 at 9:04 pm

      You have a point dear but you should also know that stories differ and different stories end in different ways. I believe whoever reads through this would get the message it passes across. It’s a short story, remember. If it were a novella at least, we might have considered bringing in one of those endings but in this case, we had to make the story as brief as possible, while still passing the intended message. Thanks for your opinion and also for reading through.

  10. Innocent A. Udom

    February 18, 2021 at 4:20 am

    Nice one Dera! This lesson goes out to all parents (present and future)

    • Dera

      February 18, 2021 at 9:26 am

      Thanks dear.

  11. ViKtorsobe

    February 20, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    Just like usual you teach so deep a lesson while still giving us such a sweet reading ride.
    Thanks for such great imaginative mind .

  12. Ngozi

    March 10, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    Interesting

  13. Sochis

    April 28, 2021 at 9:18 am

    I really felt bad that Kunle did
    You’re good Dera. Thrive

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And we made it, second half of 2021!

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Grateful heart, all that we possess, all that we feel, all that we can think of.

The year 2021, the year we had entered, not sure of what to expect, not sure if we will make to the next day.

A year we had entered, filled with nothing but fear, terrified by what we couldn’t control, scared of what might come next.

Gradually it went by, speeding as much as it could, driving us to our various destinations.

Now we are here, the second half of the year, healthy and bubbling, enjoying the ride, as we keep moving.

In the midst of all these, only one feeling is sure: a grateful heart!

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MORNICA’S PLEA

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close up photo of woman with black and purple eye shadow

The uproar in the court room was immediately silenced as Judge Iheme made his way in, his face expressionless as usual. The Clerk immediately performed his duty and everyone was almost simultaneously on their feet, waiting for the Judge to settle down.

The days proceedings began shortly after, with the swearing in of the accused who was also the first witness on the plaintiff’s list. Mrs. Mornica Dogoyaro was sworn in and asked to enter the witness box. The marks on her face still very distinct and evident.

The deep bass voice of Judge Iheme filled the court room once more, drawing everyone’s attention away from the accused and back to himself. “Mrs Mornica, you have been accused of taking laws into your own hands by the single act of murdering your husband, Mr. Dogoyaro. Murder, I’m sure you know is a capital offense. How do you plead?” He asked, readjusting his glasses as though to get a better look at the accused in front of him.

“Not guilty your honor”, came the calm but terrified voice of Mrs Mornica. Even though she was innocent, she knew it was going to be a tough battle, if at all she stood a chance of wriggling out of this steaming escapade in one piece. She didn’t know much about the law, the lawyers and the proceedings of the court but she has always been a very observant person. The look on her Attorney’s face when he sighted the plaintiff’s Lawyer was enough to double the fear that had already filled a huge chunk of her system.

The incident came afresh in her memory. It had been one of those worrysome afternoons when her husband got angry over nothing. He had stormed into the house, screaming her name like she had caused him a tankful of fraustration. He had descended on her the moment he laid eyes on her. It wasn’t the first time neither was it the second. She was fast becoming his punching bag,a place where he let loose his anger, a place where he vented his fraustration.

Mornica had scurried off the moment the chance presented itself. She had run without looking back. She could remember hearing her husband’s footsteps for a short while as he chased after her. She had gone straight to her friend’s house to seek solace. Grace hasn’t only been a friend but had also become a sister. She has always been there for her like a sister would. Some persons in the past had in fact refused to accept the story of them not being related. The police had come to Grace’s house an hour after the incident to arrest Mornica for the murder of her husband.

With the marks and even the black eye from the beating still evident, how then could these people still acuse her of killing her husband?

She stood in the witness box, fighting so hard to hold back the tears. If anyone had told her that she would be tried for the death of an abusive and battering husband, she would have called the person a liar. She managed to tell the story, at least, the ones she remembered. Everyone in the court room pointed accusing fingers at her. They insist she was the last person seen in her husband’s premises prior to the incident.

Some witness, a young woman whom Monica could swear she had never seen in her life had testified, her testimony in synchrony with all that Mornica had been alleged of. The Judge adjourned the case with an advise that the defense counsel put in more work on the case as all they have done so far is hear say, with no concrete evidence to support his claims.

The days that lay between that first hearing and the next where not just tragic but traumatic for Mornica. She cried her eyes out, day in, day out.

The worst of her fears was confirmed when Judge Iheme, after taking the second and final hearing, having observed due process sentenced Mornica to life imprisonment according to section 33 of the Nigerian Constitution.

The arrival of the autopsy result Mornica’s Attorney had requested for but had been told that it wouldn’t be ready that day was all that was needed to turn the case around. The single most important evidence she needed to vindicate herself. It turned out her husband had died of ruptured coronary artery aneuyrism.

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UNRELINQUISHED MISTRESS

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dreamy woman standing on lush field at sunset

The flowers in the garden blossomed in synchrony with the fruits in the orchard as the cool weather graced its magical effect on them. It was that time of the year when Ella Thompson didn’t have to go through the stress of watering the flowers nor the tiring periods of checking on the orchard to ensure they don’t wither. Her daughter, Beverly was always helpful whenever she was around. She had grown so attached to her grandmother that she always preferred to spend time with her, especially her holidays.

As Ella walked across the garden, inhaling the sweet fragerance of the rose flower, the Memories of Beverly’s father flooded her mind. She could still remember how they met. It had been a very sunny afternoon and she had strolled up and down Beverly hills with no luck on locating the address she had. Tom, Beverly’s father had taken note of how she wandered and had offered her a helping hand.

They had gotten well acquinted and their relationship soon blossomed like they had known each other for years. Ella was then a beautiful young lady, smart and friendly. It was difficult for any man who came close enough to drift away. Now that she thought about it, it seemed the reason Tom didn’t want to let go even when he realized she was pregnant. He had categorically told her that he wanted nothing to do with the baby yet he wanted their relationship to never see its end. She had even named her daughter “Beverly” an inscription of the place they had met, on a bid to get Tom to change his mind and accept her, yet nothing!

Ella had been heartbroken and worse. She couldn’t describe the feeling that piled up in her chest especially when she discovered that Tom was married with children. She had taken it upon herself to pay the family a visit in pretence to be new in the neighborhood and in need of a job to at least feed from. She had been told that Tom’s wife was not just beautiful but kind, a report she had refused to believe until she met her. “Why would a person in his right mind want to cheat on a woman like this?” She found it difficult to believe.

She wept as the Memories flooded, her emotions getting heavier by the minute. The wail was like none she could remember. The pain came afresh like it was yesterday. “Why did Tom do this to me? I had tried to keep a straight path since I was a little girl…I don’t deserve this treatment” she cried in between each sentence. The pain in her chest tightened into a big knob making it difficult for her to continue crying.

As she lay at one side of the garden, she drifted into a deep thought. Its been five years since the incident with Tom. Five years of having to both deal with the pain and also fight off Tom. For some funny reason he had not let her rest. His inceasant calls had made Ella change her line. She had threathened to call the cops on him the last time he barged into her house-the only reason he had given her daughter and herself some moments of peace. She knew how much she loved him. Moreso was the fact that if she was ever going to get over him, she had to ensure that all ties between them were cut.

For five years she had wallowed in self pity, hung her head in public, felt like the end had come for her. For five years she had waved off every man that tried to come close. For five years she had avoided close relationships with anyone, burying herself deep in her little farm work. She was fast becoming that alone tree in the forest with no one to talk to. Maybe her recent choices drifted her daughter into the arms of her mother.

She took a deep breath, stood up from the ground and dusted her clothes. It was time to brace up. Time to soak herself once again in the glorious feel of the sun and let it rain its magical strength on her skin every morning-something she always looked forward to. It was time to pick up from where she left off. The thought alone made her feel so good that she smiled. She couldn’t remember the last time she felt that good. She couldn’t wait to bring Beverly home!

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