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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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  1. Paschal Madueke

    April 29, 2021 at 9:44 am

    This is a beautiful one

  2. ViKtorsobe

    May 11, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    Waaaw, this story is so captivating as well as heart breaking.


  3. Hertz

    May 14, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    This is heartbreaking. Nice one Dera

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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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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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crop barman pouring drink into glass

Didi abruptly woke up from sleep sweating profusely. Anyone standing an inch close to him would hear how loud his heart was beating. He was panting like he had just completed a marathon. He did a quick scout of the room and took a deep breath. It was another nightmare. He stood from his bed and walked to and fro the room, doing everything in his power to avert another round of sleep. As usual, he was afraid to fall asleep.

The other guys he shared the room with were all sound asleep, oblivious of what he was passing through. After a few minutes, he laid back down on the bed and fell asleep almost immediately.

The noise from outside the room woke him up the next morning. It was another day to hurstle. He sighed as he took his shirt and made his way out. He was literarily the only one left in the room. He wasn’t surprised no one woke him up. In their line of work, time indeed was money.

As he stood behind his colleagues infront of their little compound, the thought of his parents took a strong hold on him. The screams, the agony, the sorrows as they fought for their lives before finally giving in to the piercing bullet already buried deep in their chests. The assassin had stood beside them, making sure they took their last breath before scurrying off.

The tears found their way down Didi’s cheeks. It was one thing for ones parents to be assassinated but another to witness the assassination! He had been there but there was nothing he could do to help. He couldn’t even show himself infront of the assassin. The trauma was too much for a sixteen year old boy.

Even now that he was twenty, he still didn’t think he could handle it. The murderer wasn’t far fetched as he had taken over his father’s business almost immediately. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! He was Didi’s father’s business partner. Convincing Didi’s dad to get a huge lone from the bank, using his entire property as collateral to save their business from closing up, only to assassinate him the very day he withdrew the money. The bank had of course come the next day to collect what was now theirs, leaving Didi a destitute!

The excalation of the noise in the background jilted him back to the present. A woman, a beautiful woman who also seemed opulent was addressing them. As expected, everyone wanted to work with her – perfect explanation of the uproar. This was their lives now: wake up every morning, sit infront of the compound with minds set for any type of work and hope a customer shows up. Even though they had become quite popular in the neighborhood, there were still days they went without any patronage.

The woman was different from their usual customers. She obviously ranked high in the social ladder, making Didi wonder what type of service she required from the likes of him.

“I will work with him”, came the woman, pointing at a particular young man behind. All eyes followed the direction of her finger. Didi was still lost in thoughts that he didn’t realize everyone was starring at him. The young man standing right next to him gave him a quick kick on the foot drawing his attention right back to the matter at hand.

Didi looked from one person to the other, confused. He couldn’t understand why everyone was starring at him at the same time. He was beginning to think that he might have voiced his thoughts to their hearing.

“You wouldn’t be needing your instruments. Just get your bag let’s go”, came the woman. She immediately turned and headed for her car, giving Didi no chance for the loads of questions going through his head.

It was a short drive to Mrs. Onyeama’s house. She alighted the moment her driver opened her door and without saying a word to Didi, went straight into the house. Didi’s mouth was wide open as he stepped out of the car. His family house had been beautiful but nothing to compare to the mansion infront of him!

As he sat on the seat offered to him by his boss, he kept asking himself what his job in this edifice was. He couldn’t think of a single skill he could apply in an environment as perfect as this.

“I know you must be wondering what your job here is” Mrs Onyeama started. I know you saw my gatekeeper at his post and had equally seen my driver. My house help had equally showed up to offer you the drink you have right now. I will save you the trouble of further bothering that brain of yours by going straight to the point.

My daughter, Melisa is the only child I have got. Her dad is barely around and I also have some stuff I will be busy with this evening hence your job: pretend to be a relative to someone she does not know and had come into town to live with that relative of yours to prepare for your upcoming jamb examinations. I ran into you today and couldn’t help but notice that you looked like an old friend I used to have in the University and had probed to find out. You turned out to be my friend’s son, hence your visit to my house. You tell the story exactly like that, have I made myself clear?

Didi’s jaw dropped. He wasn’t sure he heard correctly. “But ma, I am not your friend’s son” he tried to complain but was immediately cut short.

“Listen and listen carefully. The only reason I hired you is because you did not only look younger but also more responsible than the rest of your colleagues. I assumed you were smart but maybe I was wrong. If you don’t have the boldness to take up this job, just let me know and I will find a replacement immediately. Before I forget, if you rapport well with Melisa, you might just have another opportunity to work here. The choice is yours” she readjusted to take a sip of her fresh juice.

Didi, as expected jumped at the offer. It was a day he would never forget in a hury. He had assorted food, meat and drinks to his full. Melisa equally turned out to be really nice and friendly. Most of all, she didn’t suspect any loophole in his story. For the first time in years, Didi didn’t think about his parents.

Knowing how he had struggled to complete his secondary education after his parents death and how he had fed from hand to mouth ever since, he kept praying and hoping for another chance to visit the Onyeamas again.

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