READ EPISODE 13
Tega held Daniella to himself, breathing in the musty sweet smell of coconut oil in her hair. When they broke lose from their embrace he stared deeply into her eyes. ‘I will miss you’
He had such sincere look in his eyes that almost made Daniella cry. How sweet. She never saw herself falling in love with a younger man. When her bestie Fiona berated her that it was too soon. She replied she never believed that making a man chase you forever meant his intentions are genuine.
‘He could be genuinely interested in ruining your life too.’ She added.
She and Tega said the last goodbye before she turned to go and board her flight. Minutes later she was feets above the ground flying back home.
Uncle Segun was waiting for Daniella at the airport. He had the usual aloof expression on his face. She can never understand him. This man who had been their driver for more than two decades, who drives her to and from school, who doesn’t spare words in insulting her brothers for what he perceives as a form of disrespect. Uncle Segun is those domestic workers whose form of showing their insecurity is demanding undue respect from their younger bosses.
‘Good afternoon’ She greeted as she got to where he stood waiting.
‘Haftaanun‘ he replied staring at her with his raised nose. He didn’t help her carry her travel bag into the boot and she didn’t expect him to. He deliberately fell into potholes and when she complained he angrily retorted ‘I have been driving before you were born!’ Then he began to murmur about spoilt kids who don’t call their elders ‘sir’.
Daniella kept quiet and choose to call Tega instead. He sounded so smitten and was already making plans about when he would visit.
‘Easy Tiger.’ She chided, laughing, real happy sounds gurgling from her stomach, throat and heart. When she finally hung up after going back and forth with Tega over who would first hang up like teenagers. Her phone beeped with a text from her father.
Where are you?
Before she could send a reply. He sent another.
Call me as soon as possible. Your line is busy
Have you seen Segun yet?
She wondered why he was sending her texts repeatedly. He picked on the first ring.
‘Nmasinachi kee ebi ino?!’ He sounded scared. ‘I’m on my way home Daddy. Hope no problem?’
He didn’t answer her instead he told her to allow the driver bring her straight to his house instead of going to her own house. ‘Please don’t start asking any questions Nne, just let Segun bring you here.’
Her father almost suffocated her when he hugged her. ‘Thank Jehovah, kelechukwu‘ he repeated continuously. He asked Chisom to bring Daniella something to make her relax but Daniella refused.
‘What happened daddy?’ She gave him a straight look that told him to be point blank with whatever it was. Her father took a deep breath and with the face of someone announcing a demise he spoke.
‘Otunba’s daughter is nowhere to be found. Daniella gasped and her father continued ‘Bayo is really confused and I heard Yeye is on admission due to shock. Ihie na eme ebea‘
Daniella trembled. Her father went on and talked about how one needs to be more careful in the country. She could not eat the coconut rice Chisom prepared that night, even the twins noticed something was wrong with her. They both wore sad looks on their chubby faces as if they could understand her sorrow. In the bedroom she uses whenever she sleeps over at her dad’s place she sat in the bath tub as bout after bout of existential crisis washed over her. She felt fuzzy. Her and Teniola were not close friends but they share simple sweet courtesy and moments with each other they meet. Daniella prayed for Teniola to be found safe and sound.
Teniola struggled to remember who she was but the thoughts eluded her, they were like a mirage to her thirsty self. Like spider webs her thoughts began to spin complex threads. The room she was in was stuffy and dark. The floor was cold and hard… very unfriendly to a buttock used to sitting on the softest sofas.
She felt empty like a peak milk tin after it contents have been exhausted.
On what seems like the third day or week that she has been there because she has no idea of time. The door was flung open and she heard footsteps walking briskly towards her. Her first instinct was to press herself against the wall. She was roughly pulled from the floor and dragged into a bigger room which unlike where she had been was lit. What would have been a sigh of relief was swallowed in a painful gasp. Skulls hung from the roof like chandeliers, blood stained garments littered the room. She saw what looked like a finger in a calabash and almost vomited. The light in the room was as a result of lots of the local lamp called atupa which was arranged in different corners of the room. It looked like a scene from a Yoruba movie but she knows this was no movie.
Baba Ajebiidan dressed in red entered with his acolytes and stared at her. She felt as if worms were crawling in her head, neck. Then he touched her and she felt herself shaking involuntary, a foreign force pierced through her looking deep into her soul. He placed his staff on her head and a current passed through her body. Voices began to whisper into her head ‘Faint! Faint! Faint!’
But fainting felt wrong. Something horrible would happen if she should faint. He muttered something to one of his acolytes and a gourd was brought to him. He poured a powdery substance from the gourd into his palm and blew it into her face. Then he placed the staff on her head again. Again the sensation to close her eyes and fall came, it became so strong but still she refused to budge. The staff was placed on her head for the third time after she was given something inside a pot to drink and fainting didn’t seem like a bad idea again. She was about to give in when Baba angrily slapped her jolting her back to reality.
‘Take this idiot away and tell Bamitale that what he brought isn’t the meat the gods want to eat!’ He stormed out of the room and Teniola was roughly dragged outside. She thought they were going to lock her inside the dark room again but instead the acolytes headed for the bush.
‘Please don’t kill me.’ She pleaded weakly. They laughed leeringly.
‘We can’t kill you. Why should we kill you when you will be useful for something else.’ They all laughed victoriously and the four of them proceeded to ravage their victim.
If it is kindhearted mother nature working or the laws of the universe choose not to punish Teniola because miraculously a fight broke out over who would be the first to have his way. It got so serious that each man faced an opponent and Teniola stumbled away in the confusion.
Otunba alone with his own thoughts stare at the television seeing nothing. The police were only promising. He knows they can’t do anything. He was deep in his thoughts when his phone beeped. It was a text;
Ever wondered what those children parents felt when you murder them? Wonder no more. Hope your medicine tastes as nice? – Evil Eye