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Prose

ORCHESTRATED PLAN

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stylish wicker sofa placed in patio

It was a dark night and the street lights had suddenly grown wane. Chetam had just returned from Georgia, after her first degree in Software Engineering and was yet to acclimatize once again to the Nigerian survival strategies. Even though she had spent her teenage years in Nigeria, her parents still kept highlighting the fact that she needed to be extra careful especially now that her father had made greater waves in the business world.

She remembered smiling at them on skype and reassuring them that they had nothing to worry about. After all, she had spent a greater part of her life in Nigeria. Moreso, she was now an adult! As she scurried down the streets of Lagos, making her way down her neighbourhood, she could swear she heard footsteps.

At first, she fought the temptation of glancing back but when the footsteps persisted, she couldn’t help it. It was at that point that she realized how thick the darkness was. Even though she could see nothing, she kept looking back, not sure what to expect. The confidence she had come into the country with had flown out the window.

She was beginning to question everything she knew. “Maybe my parents were right. Maybe things have actually changed around here.” She was close to tears, her heart pounding like it was about to jump out of her chest. She increased her pace, intermittently running.

“Are you okay?” Came a voice right infront of her. Chetam felt like life had left her. She found herself on the floor with no strength to stand back up.

“Hey, I was only trying to help. Just calm down.” Came the young man as he tried to help her up.

Chetam couldn’t say a thing. One thing was certain: she was in-between the devil and the deep blue sea. It was either she refused the help of the strange young man and face a possible death sentence or she accepted his extended hand and face whatever fate had in stock for her.

She shot her eyes for a second, took a deep breath and walked side by side with the young man. She couldn’t get herself to say a word until he requested for her address so he could walk her home. Chetam just spelt out the address and kept mute. She had never been so terrified in her life.

The smile the young man gave her when they approached her gate set her heart into another phase of summersaulting motion. The palpitations were so loud that she feared he could hear them. It seems you are new in town. A little advice: try not to walk around at night. This is lagos. A hundred and one things can happen to a naive girl like you, walking alone at night, in thick darkness. Maybe you weren’t told but lekki is not save for anyone to walk around at night.

He was out already before Chetam found her voice. She held unto her chest and took a deep breath. “Thank you”, she screamed at the thick darkness. She immediately rushed into her house and locked the gate. She was panting as her mind went through the ordeal, the things that would have happened. She wasn’t sure she would have forgiven herself if anything bad had happened to her. Her parents had worked extremely hard to provide her with the most comfortable environment anyone would ever wish for. Their compound alone was enough to mount a skyscraper! The flowers all around and even the settees strategically located at different parts like a mini restaurant. What more could she ask for?

The weather the next morning was calm, the cool breeze performing its magic on people’s skin. Chetam sat at her favorite spot, a settee, singly located at one part of the compound, a little away from the gate to avoid distractions. The flowers at that part of the compound blossomed everyday. It was always a sight to behold.

The continuous knock at the gate alerted Chetam. She had been engrossed in the stories she was reading. She had recently discovered this website with lots of short stories. She had waved it aside the first time she heard of it. All it took was one story to change her mind. She had been on “Derasstories.com” ever since. The urge to read through the entire Stories had kept her awake most part of the night and she had continued shortly after waking up.

The knock at the gate came again, indicating that the gateman had again left his post to God knows where. She sighed as she made her way to the gate. The shock on her face the moment she saw the young man from the previous night was palpable. She opened her mouth to talk but no words formed.

I know am the last person you expected to see here so I will just go straight to the point: Yesterday was quite scary. You acted like you were about to breathe your last. I just came to make sure you are okay. Now that my mission is accomplished, I will take my leave. Have a nice day!

No! Please come in, let me at least offer you something to drink. You literarily saved my life last night. Thanks a lot. The young man smiled as walked into her compound. He had heard of how magnificent Chief Osondu’s resident was and had even studied and memorized the entire plan yet, he was wowed by the actual sight of the edifice!

“You have a very beautiful house” he couldn’t help complimenting. Chetam simply smiled and went into the house to get him some wine. As he sat down on Chetam’s favorite spot, his eyes immediately went to the camera by the somewhat tall and branched flower close to the gate side. The single source of the entire information they had on Chief Osondu. The plan was cealed. All they needed was someone to get close to Chief’s daughter the moment she came into town to help them gain access into the house.

They had followed and memorized Chief’s schedule. He had come that morning knowing full well that Chetam will be home alone. Judging by how naive she is, he knew it wouldn’t be difficult to get her to invite him into the house. He knew that neither Chief nor his wife will be back before 6pm, so he relaxed as he drank and chatted with Chetam.

Chetam was glad that she had someone to keep her company. They chatted till almost midday before the young man left. Chetam smiled as she went back to her stories. She was tied to that spot till her dad returned from work. The beep of his car got her running like a little girl to embrace him. She immediately ran ahead of him to serve his dinner before he came downstairs.

The scream from her father’s room got her running upstairs to find out what had happened.

“Was someone in my room?” came the unexpected question.

Chetam was confused, she found it difficult to understand what was happening. She was sure they had no visitors except the young man from yesterday. They had no aids either and the gateman, the gateman seemed to have taken a day off as she hadn’t seen him anywhere around the house.

“Did anyone come to the house today?” her father’s voice was shrill.

“Y-ye-yes.” She stammered. “But he didn’t come into the house. I was outside with him the whole time.” She added, obviously terrified.

“Who is he and what did he want?” her dad queeried, not taking it any easy on her.

It was at that moment that Chetam realized that she had been so carried away that she didn’t even find out as little as his name. She practically knew nothing about him! The circumstances surrounding their meeting suddenly flashed back…The young man had appeared from nowhere. “He must have had something to do with that incident too” she said to herself. The expression on her face spelt everything out to her dad.

“I warned you about this place. I warned you about how bad the streets of Lagos had become and how naive young women like you are easy targets. Thank God its just cash they absconded with. I hope you learn from this!” he snapped and walked out of the room, banging the door behind him.

Chetam kept starring at the already closed door. She made up her mind that moment to get to the root of this incident. She wasn’t going to let some guy walk all over her. She knew if she was ever going to get back her father’s trust, she had to do something. She immediately rushed to where they had sat and smiled when she sighted the camera. It was time to get to work!

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. ViKtorsobe

    April 19, 2021 at 10:36 am

    I was caught ungaurded too.
    Thought I had meet a good guy too.

    Thanks Dera stories for awakening my security consciousness again .

  2. Hertz

    April 27, 2021 at 7:30 am

    Smooth criminal.

    • Dera

      April 27, 2021 at 12:27 pm

      🤣🤣🤣

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Prose

Beaten and Untangled

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family doing grocery shopping


It was another beautiful morning in Phoenix, Arizona, my favorite state in the whole of United States. In my seventeen years of life, I have traveled across a greater part of the states in US and have succeeded in living in five out of the many I have passed by. My dad is a Civil engineer and his work takes us almost everywhere. Moving to and fro wasn’t easy at the beginning but I guess I have become used to it now.
I smiled as I watched the sun perform its magic on everyone and everything. As I waited for the school bus, I couldn’t help but notice, again, the happy and well knitted family: “The Hunters”. Though new in the neighborhood, I was already abreast with the details of the Hunters. Trust me, they are that captivating and ravishing! I still remember asking the first kid I saw in the neighborhood who they were. Everything about them is inviting. Their house was the best in the entire street, their cars were numerous, I could go on and on.
I kept staring as Mr Hunter opened the front car door of his Ferrari for his wife while their daughter sat at the back. Their affluence apart, the love and unity between them made them the center of attraction; the family everyone wanted to be like.
Whenever I did something wrong, my mum would always remind me of Kathy, their daughter. “Don’t you see your mate Kathy? Don’t you see how good, respectful and well behaved she is? Why can’t you just be like her?”.
The time difference between the onset and end of academic activities for the day was short, brief like a trance. Maybe its because I was lost in thoughts throughout. Mr Hunter’s perfectionism and how mind-blowing he has made his family was all I could think of. Sometimes I wished he was my dad too.
The sudden hault of the school bus jerked me back to reality. I made a quick survey of the environment. We were at my street but not yet at my house. I was both shocked and frightened when I sighted the numerous cop vehicles in front of the Hunters apartment.
I rushed home immediately, banging the door behind me out of fear. Mum wasn’t home yet, neither was dad. I was so frightened and my heart was beginning to beat really fast, heightening my fear. How relieved I was when mum came back.
A middle aged young man showed up at our door later that evening to interrogate us. He introduced himself as Detective Jones. It was on the course of the visit that we realized that Mrs Hunter had been stabbed in her apartment and the murder weapon missing. Kathy was left alone in their apartment as her dad couldn’t be reached.
The shock and flabaggasted expression on my mum’s face was equivocal to the feeling surged in my chest.
The Hunters of all people, who could have done such a thing?
“I just hope Mr Hunter doesn’t commit suicide. We all know how he never leaves her side”, my mum said.
The very month following the incident was grueling. Back and forth confrontation, uncomfortable invasion of privacy and out of the blues accusation by the cops.
We were all angry and stressed out. The worst feeling was the rumor that Mr Hunter had killed himself.
I couldn’t curtail the shock, the surprise and the confusion I felt when Detective Jones showed up at my house two months later to inform us that Mr Hunter was in their custody for the murder of his wife, Jasmine.
“He has given his statement and presently awaits trial.”, he added.
No one in the neighborhood could believe what happened. Mr Hunter of all people!

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Prose

Dear Daughter

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man people woman hand

It was another beautiful day, bright enough to brighten even the most troubled heart yet, intertwined in the midst of an avalanche of stress. It had been a long day and all I longed for was my bed. The academic stress was really taking its toll on me. I had known it wouldn’t be an easy process but I never knew it would be this difficult.

I had always been a star student, among the best in my class throughout my secondary education and even during my one year pre-JAMB class before getting into the University. It had always been my passion to study Pharmacy, the reason I didn’t mind staying back after my first Jamb result couldn’t get me the course I wanted.

My love for academics had never been hidden. I wasn’t just a lover of knowledge but one who loved to read. At a point, I could feel the fear in the eyes of my loved ones as they watched me twill into a world of my own, burying my head deeply in studies with little or no attention to human interaction nor friendship.

I still remember going through secondary school without a single person to call “my friend”. It had been hilarious then because I didn’t see the point of having friends, I couldn’t just understand why everyone placed so much emphasis on the word “friendship”. Now that I look back, I smile. The thought of how deep a transformation my thought process has undergone marvels me.

I haven’t only bought the idea of friendship but have grown so attached to mine that they could easily be mistaken as my sisters. We have gotten to the point of sharing and doing everything together. We even happen to share a room right now. How the friendship started, I can’t really tell. I just feel the universe decided to be merciful unto me. The Lord has really blessed me through those.

As I walked into my room, lazily dragging my feet out of tiredness, I managed to drop my bag to the floor before going for my bed. I was hungry but too tired to think about it. I needed the feel of my bed against my back for a while before paying attention to anything else. I took a deep breath as I stretched out my limbs.

My thoughts suddenly drifted to Ebuka, a final year law student. He was running his second degree program in Enugu Campus, the second branch of the prestigious University of Nigeria. He was one of the few guys who were bound on braking through my defences no matter how tough I make them. I had made up my mind, even before getting into school to focus on getting my degree first before anything else.

There was this saying in town that men love female pharmacy students. Better put, men love female pharmacy students because of the license they are to acquire. A saying I had brushed aside and considered trivial until it played out right in my face a few months in the department. I also got to confirm the rumor that hardly any female pharmacy student becomes a Pharmacist without already being engaged.

As I thought about Ebuka, I was at a loss on what to do. I had tried everything I know, every trick I have learnt yet, the young man wouldn’t just leave me alone. “I’m just a 3rd year pharmacy student for crying out loud, why don’t these men understand when a woman says she doesn’t want to get into a relationship until she finishes school?” My head was beginning to ache. I could literarily feel the throbbing like I was being hit with a hammer, a good reminder that I had starved myself for far too long.

As I staggered up to my feet, I blindly kicked my bag, causing the crashing of my plastic reading chair and a few of my books scattered to the floor. I sighed as I picked them up one after the other while supporting my head with my left hand as though it will stabilize the pounding I feel. As I picked up the last book, I noticed a folded piece of paper at one side of the table. I was sure it wasn’t mine as I hadn’t turn out any piece of recent.

“It must be from one of my mum’s old books”, I told myself. I had been told she died giving birth to me. The only way I had ever felt close to her was by going through her things in the house.

I was transfixed to a point the moment I saw the heading of the letter. I quickly went for the last page to be sure I wasn’t mistaking but no, I wasn’t. It was a letter from my mum. I sank to the floor as I read through, tears pouring down my eyes as I read.

My dear daughter

Dear daughter, you are the apple of my eyes, my joy of motherhood, my seed in whom I am well pleased.

You are stronger than you feel, smarter than you think and wiser than you know.

You are an epitome of beauty, a combination of beauty with brains.

Your elegance stands you out amongst your peers, you speak and they listen.

Your carriage, your humility yet strong stand for what you know is right distinguishes you.

Your good attitude, intelligence and domesticated lifestyle attract people to you.

But here is one thing I want you to always remember: “books before looks”. This is the principal foundation to a good life and the best start for the journey towards harnessing your skills and fulfilment of your destiny.

Be a woman of impact, be a woman of purpose. Be a woman who leaves a mark, a transformation on the lives of others.

You have all it takes but remember, the strength for these can only come from the lord. Make me proud!

Love, Mum.

I kept crying, not just because I missed my mum but because I had long walked in the footsteps that she would have directed me in. I cried because her words, even though as old as I am, sounded like they were just spoken. My heart ached from longing for her, but at the same time, I was glad to have heard these words. Even though not directly from her, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

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Prose

OBNOXIOUS GRANDMA

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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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