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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 “” 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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  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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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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