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photography of leaves on ground

It was another cool evening and Kamsy was back to her usual spot, her secret spot, the only place she could think without being distracted. She had coincidentally discovered the pine Forest during one of her aimless round-to-round walks about her new neighborhood. She had just finished her NYSC and could already feel the heat of not having a job in Nigeria. It was far from what she expected. She had gone for youth service with the thought that she would be retained as a graduate assistant in her alma mater, University of Nigeria Nsukka.

The school wasn’t infamous for picking only their indigenes but even if they chose to do so, she still felt she met every single one of their criteria. She wasn’t just an indigene of Nsukka, in Enugu state but also the only person that made a first class in her department, Food Nutrition and Dietetics. Why then would the University not give her a slot? Its been exactly two months since she passed out from youth service yet, no news from the school. Even though she had left Nsukka to stay with a friend in Enugu town, something in her still hoped that the school would reach out to her.

The pine Forest hasn’t only been a place she could come and do some calculated thinking but also the only place she could keep her sanity intact. It was the only place with no one reminding her of all the things she wasn’t. Her friend, Chetam, even with her little sales girl income has been very accommodating. Providing a roof over her head, putting food on their table and also giving her some meaningful advise to help keep body and soul together. After applying for job in every single office in Enugu town without any positive outcome, Kamsy had made up her mind to settle for anything.

She had on one occasion gone to the extent of gathering every piece of information she could lay her hands on about how to open and run a local restaurant. She had worked on it till she was almost ready to begin but found no one to assist her with the capital. She had contacted everyone she knew yet, nothing. On another occasion, she had gone round as much of Enugu as she could, trying to secure a job in any of the numerous restaurants and eateries but none had an opening.

anonymous lady walking on road in forest

As she trekked home that night, she couldn’t help but wish everywhere could be as quiet, serine and accommodating as her secret spot. The sound of a nearby human footstep jerked her back from her thoughts. She immediately paused, looked back and sideways yet, there was nothing. Even though the forest had again returned to its usual state of tranquility, she could swear that she heard a footstep. She was literarily almost shaking as there was no shred of human nearby, no place to run to either.

Not sure what to do, she increased her pace, intermittently stealing glances sideways to be sure the person wasn’t trailing her. The sound came again, this time continuously. She was certain it was almost, if not already behind her. She immediately knelt down, flexing her neck to concentrate her gaze only on the floor. “Please don’t kill me”, she pleaded. Meanwhile, she was battling between saying her last prayer and lamenting to herself “so, this is how I am going to die”. She was fighting so hard to keep the tears from flowing, an attempt to not further anger the assailant.

“Hey, are you alright? I didn’t mean to startle you!” Came the baritone voice, the sweetest Kamsy had heard, her entire life! She was taken aback. Something about that voice seemed familiar, she had heard it before, but she couldn’t recall where nor when. The fear disappearing, she gradually lifted her head to behold the young man, the most handsome she had ever seen! He wore a sparkling dark grey T-shirt, tucked into a black jean trouser with a dazzling pair of sneakers and cap to match. His sent alone was enough to get any woman thrilling for him.

The shock on Kamsy’s face was palpable. She starred at him with mouth wide open. He was exactly the opposite of what she had in mind. It took a whopping fifteen minutes for her to get herself together. Something about the guy made her comfortable around him. Even though she couldn’t pin-point what it was, she still took the risk of sitting in the forest alone with the obviously strange man to “talk”. “Eureka!”, she exclaimed the moment she was able to get around her confusion. She had run into him in one of the offices she had gone to seek a job.

man and woman sitting on bench in woods

The guy on the other hand had seen her heading into the forest some days back and had since been trailing her. What started as a few minutes chitchat span through the entire night. The young man’s driver had brought his unaldulterated black Lexus 350 close enough for them to make use of the headlamp, prompting him to reveal his position as the C.E.O of Shegas group of companies to Kamsy. It was the longest night Kamsy had ever had. For someone who couldn’t loose sleep over anything, she had a good time. The breaking dawn of the next morning didn’t only bring her happiness but also a new job!

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  1. Victor

    March 4, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    Nice one again ?

    • Dera

      March 6, 2021 at 12:25 am

      Thanks dear

  2. Chelsea

    March 4, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    Amazing piece

    • Dera

      March 6, 2021 at 12:26 am

      Thanks dear

  3. Paschal Madueke

    March 4, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    I always relate to your stories….well done

    • Dera

      March 4, 2021 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks dear

  4. Eri Charles Onyeka

    March 4, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    Scintillating as usual. Well done Dera

    • Dera

      March 4, 2021 at 9:42 pm

      My chief!
      Thank you sir for coming around ?

  5. Eri Charles Onyeka

    March 4, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    Scintillating as usual. Nice one Dera

  6. ViKtorsobe

    March 4, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Should I comment! , should I comment!, should I comment! .

    Well done for the beautiful story.

    • Dera

      March 4, 2021 at 9:43 pm

      ? thanks dear.

  7. Brendan Sunday

    March 4, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    The story shouldn’t have ended now, anyways, I’m waiting for their invitation. Thanks a lot for weaving this beautiful story together.

    • Dera

      March 4, 2021 at 9:44 pm

      Don’t worry, the invite will locate you virtually ?

  8. Hertz

    March 4, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    Lesson: seek for jobs in company where CEO is of opposite sex. Noted

    • Dera

      March 5, 2021 at 9:53 am

      That’s quiet hilarious

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woman standing near window in balcony

As Lydia hid behind the giant art work just behind the closed door, voyalge of thoughts ran through her head. Misconceptions after misconceptions. She couldn’t believe she let herself get so belittled! The perfect plan she had in her head was the exact opposite of what the world seemed to have in stock for her. The moment she heard the sound of the car as its driver drove out of the compound, she hurriedly picked up her stuff and dashed out of the house. Derrick’s voice, in all its sweetness could not stop her. She couldn’t let it. Her brain went from memory to memory, revoking every single time they had spent together to the detriment of her mental health. She couldn’t believe it had been a lie all along! How could Derrick do this to her, to her of all people!

The annoying sound from the forcefully closed door as Lydia made her way into her little sized self contain room alerted Zara, her roommate and long time best friend. The anger that sprout out her system, one she was ready to unleash on the intruder demystified as quickly as it had formed the moment Zara sighted her roommate. No words needed to be spoken, Lydia’s face said it all.

“Babe, what happened? Is something wrong with Derrick?” She asked the moment Lydia managed to take her seat.

The reply she got wasn’t encouraging. Lydia couldn’t talk. Tears poured down her eyes like a fresh downpour from a secluded spring. More tears found their way down her cheeks each time she opened her mouth to talk. Her heart was beginning to beat fast as she was beginning to choke as she drowned herself in her own tears. Zara’s heart was beginning to skip some beats, she was elated. Only one thing was capable of making a lady cry this way over a man. How she wished her guess was wrong. She knew how much her friend loved her fiance. She could still remember how brightly her eyes glittered the day Derrick had proposed.

Memories upon Memories flooded Lydia’s mind. She couldn’t get herself to understand how an already married man with a kid could lead another lady on, promising her heaven on Earth and even go to the extent of engaging her. To what end? How much more callous can a man be? She was caught in the midst of piercing emotions yet, no clue as at what to do. She pulled out the engagement ring off her finger and flung it to one corner of the room screaming: it is over!

Zara’s guess was confirmed, the worst of her fears… She was still yet to understand what could have led to the severance of a perfectly endowed relationship.

As though reading Zara’s thoughts, Lydia screamed :”can you believe that the idiot is married? His wife visited his house today. He had no idea she was coming. I’m sure if he did, he would have found a way of meeting me outside the house. Zara’s palms hugged tightly to her open mouth. The shock on her face was palpable. She didn’t see it coming. None of them did. It was the last thing she expected from Derrick.

Lydia stared in confusion, her brain turning like a wave under the influence of a multidirectional wind. Amidst the chaos going on in her head, one thing was clear, the only way out of this mess. She needed to move on, she needed to let go. Then comes the big question: can she? How would she embark on that journey of picking up what was left of the pieces??

As she wept, the realization began to creep through her system, the presence of her saviour. She felt His strongholds supporting her weak body. She felt relived knowing that the Lord was with her, the only thing standing between her and and life!

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portrait photo of woman

The loud voices from the other side of the house woke Kathy from sleep. It was another round of argument and name calling. Her parents were at it again. She had hoped that they will one day resolve whatever the clash of interest was but it didn’t look like that day will ever come. She covered her ears with her hands as the voices rose the more, trying however she could to wedge the words from stabbing her as she could literarily feel the words pierce through her system.

It was barely dawn when she changed into her gym outfit, grabbed her headset and made for her usual early morning jogging. It was the way she knew how to keep herself away from the tension that has long built up at home. The only way she could clear her head. Situations like this made her wish she was still in the University. How she missed hostel life now, even though she wasn’t a fan of it while it lasted. To her, anything was better than staying at home. The most annoying part was the fact that her parents have never told her exactly what the problem was.

Kathy strolled into the house lost in thoughts, the sweet Melody from Michael Jackson’s hit “you are not alone” caressing her ears with much inuendo. She was halfway up the stairs when she heard the shrill cry of her mum. She dragged the headset off her head with immediate effect and rushed down the stairs with so much energy for someone who had just drained herself working out. She traced the voice to the kitchen but it was no longer her mum crying, it was the other way round: her mum lay motionless on the floor while tears poured down her dad’s eyes.

Kathy was shocked. She stood staring, her mouth ajar with her two palms cupping a greater part of its opening. She stared from her dad to her mum, back to her dad. As she was finally able to focus on the blood that oozed out of her mother’s head, tears surged down her cheeks. Her mother’s cracked skull stared back at her.

It took her a few minutes to realize she actually had nothing to say to her dad. Nothing! Nothing, yet. She turned with immediate effect, rushed to her room, packed a few of her things and rushed out of the house. She was long gone before her dad realized that he was home alone.

Kathy made her way to the nearest bus stop and joined the first bus at sight. She was fighting to keep her sanity intact. She had her headset on with lucky Dube’s Crazy world blaring at the highest volume. She wanted to escape. She craved for the foul engrave of the memory to dabble away.

It took the shred voice of the bus driver to bring Kathy back to the present. He had obviously repeated himself over and over again and was beginning to loose his cool. The reason was evident: Kathy looked around but there was no one else in the bus. It was at that moment that she realized that she has no idea where she was.

“We have reached out last bus stop madam, please come down” he said again, staring at Kathy as though if she spent another minute in his bus she would contaminate it.

“Please where are we?” Kathy asked as she made her way down.

The driver gave her an even more horrifying look before muttering “Akwa-Ibom” state. “You have not paid me my money o” he added, his voice high this time.

Kathy stared at him for a while. She felt lost and confused. She couldn’t understand how she could move from Anambra state to Akwa-Ibom state within such a short period. She had been so lost in thoughts during the drive that she didn’t notice how long it had taken. Scribbling some naira notes from her purse, she handed them over to the driver and made her way down the street.

It was her first time in Uyo. She had always known it to be not just the capital of Akwa-Ibom but also a nice place to reside. As she kept walking, all she saw was the dark cloud hovering over her. Everywhere she looked, there it was. Even with the street lights radiating from all angles, she still couldn’t appreciate the beauty of the town. She neither knew anyone in Uyo nor had any idea where she was headed. She couldn’t remember passing any Hotel nor did she know the nearest place to get one.

It was the most grueling moment of her life. She could feel her world collapsing right before her. A grain of tear found its way down her cheeks and she wiped it off, determined to encapsulate the tears and mask her grief.

The sight of a restaurant was like a grey of Hope in her misery packed journey. She barely touched the food she was served when the news from the television stole what was left of her appetite.

“The sudden death of Mrs Regina Offordile, the wife of the millionaire business tycon, Chief Uzodinma Offordile who was found dead in her kitchen earlier in the day in a suspected home accident is under investigation. Her husband, Chief Offordile, the only witness to the scene is too traumatized to speak to us. The ware abouts of Kathy, their only child is unknown. A picture of her will be made available soon. Anyone who helps us locate her will be handsomely rewarded. Once again, we sympathize with the family.”

Kathy kept staring at the television. She couldn’t believe her ears. How could her dad do this to them, how could he do this to her? Even though she wasn’t there when the accident happened, she knew her dad propelled it. How dare he pretend to know nothing, making it look like she was on the run out of guilt? Now the police was looking for her like she was the culprit. In a matter of days now, her picture will be all over the place and her dad would have just succeeded in stealing away her freedom, the only thing she had left!

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grayscale photography of woman

Laura woke up perplexed. The last thing she remembered was getting drunk in a restaurant on a bid to escape the fraustration that sorged her system. Everything was unusual about this strange environment. Ranging from the sweet fragerance of fresh roses to the elegantly decorated bedroom with magnificent pieces of furniture lying at strategic positions.

The size of the bedroom alone surpassed her entire house put together. She was lost in awe as she starred from furniture to furnish, almost drooling. The sound of someone clearing his throat alerted her. She turned briskly to the direction of the voice and froze. She wasn’t sure but something about this young man sitting comfortably by her bedside looked familiar.

“Who are you and what am I doing here?” She asked, guarding herself on the bed, ready for the worst. The guy said nothing but only pointed at a shirt hung at a corner of the room. Laura looked from the guy to the shirt, back to the guy. It wasn’t clicking. She couldn’t tell what was going on.

“Use your words mister!” She screamed at him, rolling her eyes.

The young man cast a quizzical glance at her. For a moment he was silent. When he finally spoke, he pointed at the shirt again. “Doesn’t that shirt strike a cord?” He asked, calmly at first before raising his voice when Laura just starred at him without saying a word.

“That was the shirt I wore last night and I doubt if I would ever wear it again, no thanks to ill mannered simpletons like yourself!”, he yelled.

Laura was shocked and scared as the memory of the awful encounter flashed through her mind. She quickly covered her mouth with her hands, expecting the worst.

A knock on the door by Raph, the young man’s driver and personal assistant took Laura off the hook. She immediately took a deep breath and retracted further from the young man.

“Boss, the witch is here!” Raph announced the moment he entered the room. The young boss whom Laura got to know was called Leo, jumped to his feet, agitated.

“Is there a problem?”, Laura asked when she noticed the sudden focus on her.

“Mrs Gladstone is here. I know you don’t know her but the summary is that she is Boss Leo’s biggest business partner and she is trouble. Boss Leo is forcefuly engaged to her grand daughter Lucy, even though he has no interest in her. It’s the only reason their business relationship still waxes stronger. She is equally boss Leo’s mother’s closest friend. They have the same character. I know you are from a poor family. Let’s just say that if she singles you out, you are as good as dead!”. Raph explained.

Laura’s mouth was wide open. She wasn’t sure what to say. “Hey, is that hereditary?”, she said after the pause, looking at Leo who cast her a warning glance, then looked away.

Mrs Gladstone walked into the room with her head high. She always carried herself like a queen. “Who is she?”, She asked without even a response to their greetings. Leo immediately cooked up some lies about Laura’s background. Laura was terrified. She had been scared at first but seeing how Mrs Gladstone kept every other person on their toes terrified her. She couldn’t wait to run away from this oven called home!

Laura ran off the moment she got the chance. She never stopped running until she got to the bus stop where she boarded a bus. As expected, her mum and her younger brother were already parambulating around, walking to and fro their little compound wearing the typical hopeless countenance.

“Where did you sleep last night? Do you know how worried we were? Your father even had to go to work late all in the name of waiting for you to return. We haven’t even gotten any edible ready for your grandmother who informed us that she will be paying us a visit today simply because we were worried about you!”, her mum sighed. Laura didn’t need a suite Sayer to inform her that her mother’s bag of questions were rhetorical.

“Did you say grandmother, what grandmother?” She queried, turning to look at her mother.

“Which other grandmother do you have if not mine, or are you ready to resurrect your paternal grandmother from her grave?”

“Mum, that is not funny at all. The point is, I have never seen your mother!” She complained and made her way into the house.

“Well, you will see her today. It’s about time” her mum said to the already closed door.

The sound of the approaching vehicle alerted everyone in the house. “Your grandmother is around” screamed Laura’s mother.

Laura was shocked to see the same woman she had seen earlier that day. “Mrs Gladstone!”, She screamed before she realized it.

“Yes, that’s your grandmother. I’m sure you are taken aback by the fact that she looks almost my age. She had me when she was sixteen, that’s why.” Laura’s mum explained.

Laura was speechless. She had no idea what to say. Lots of questions to be asked. How could a woman as rich and accomplished as Mrs Gladstone be her grandmother yet, they have lived in abject poverty for as long as she could remember.

One thing was certain, Mrs Gladstone wasn’t exactly an easy person to deal with but that notwithstanding, her mum had a lot of explaining to do.

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