When Bonuade did not returned back to the store at 8pm, all the thoughts he was trying to ignore came pouring into his mind like a load of sand. He had arrived at her store, looking forward to the evening she planned for him. His birthday was days ago and he had traveled to Lagos to see his client over his court case. Then he had branched at his best friend’s officee, for his birthday gift. Together the duo headed to a mall where he chose a gift and Doctor Oludare paid for it. That was one of their birthday rituals. The other was to spent the evening drinking till the following day. But the thought of his wife’s promise to give him the best moment ever was the uppermost desire coursing through him. He shunned the other ritual, ignoring his friend complaint that he had grown soft ever since he got married.
He would have called her but she left her phone behind at her office. He called his gateman to confirmed if his wife was at home. But the reply he got was Bonuade was last seen in the morning. When it was 9pm he dismissed her staffs without voicing his fears to them. He went straight to her wardrobe when he got home, all her clothes was neatly hanged in there. Bonuade had not left him like he had feared. Their marriage was rocky even after they settled their differences and she moved back to their house. She was keeping a secret from him on Aina’s subject and whenever he tried to broached that topic, she dissolved into tears begging him not to force her to revealed the secret. Then she would hide herself from him, she slept very early at night she was unlike her. And in the morning she pretended to be fast asleep by faking light snores. He decided to put off Aina’s subject when they hired a private investigators. Since then his marriage was almost perfect. The only sadness that surrounded her occasionally was her estrangement with her sister. During the early days of their marriage, she hardly thought about her sister. She believed she would come around and forgave her for disobeying her. But that was not true, their marriage was nearly six months and Mrs Oloade never picked her sister’s calls nor replied her messages. He had tried to reach the woman on her behalf but it ended on her insulting him and calling him names. Hence, he had vowed never to call her again, including when his wife gave birth to their child. He would not allow her close to his family. And tonight he would not reneged on his vow. With brandy in hishand, he sat in his sitting room drinking to dull his senses, especially his mind that kept telling him the only one possibility of his wife absent was her decision to walk out on their marriage. Her sister had convinced her to quit her marriage.
As the agonizing minutes merged into early hours of the morning, another scary thought gripped him. What if Bonuade was missing? Her staffs said her appearance showed she didn’t planned to spent hours outside. She was wearing her rubber slippers before she followed the driver. And she had left her phone behind. Sweat broke through his forehead, what if his wife was in danger while he had spent better part of the night annoyed over nothing.
He picked his phone and checked his notifications. there was no missed calls from anyone. He dialed his best friend’s number not feeling guilty that he might disturbed his sleep, but Oludare was a doctor who was always on call.
“This had better be dammed good” his voice rough voice came through
“My wife is missing” Oluwaniyi said putting all his fears into words
“Call her sister” Oludare said
“That lady is one arrogant idiot. I will never call her”
He listened to his friend cursing his ear off before telling him he should used his head and worry more about his pregnant wife that might probably be in danger.
Several minutes later, after listening to the harpy cursed him in and out for not being man enough to protect his wife and threatening to deal with him once the day break. He realized she knew nothing about his wife’s whereabouts. The part about her sister wanting to see him was all ruse to kidnapped her. Someone who knew her weakness had planned this. It was many hours since she was missing and yet he had not received any call from her captor. Nor any note to request a large sum of money from him.
He waited till four in the morning, before he called Wande if he received any new information from the private investigators they hired. Especially one that would mentioned that Aina was in Abuja. She was his only suspect even though he many enemies but none would go through his wife to get him. He was sure on that. Wande told him he had no news except the pictures and tape he got from a friend. Oluwaniyi wondered if he should confide in him about his wife’s disappearance. He decided it would not hurt to have all the support he could garnered at moment. After he told Wande everything, the other man promised to join him in Abuja in few hours time with his wife.
He made a few calls to those men he used for his dark dealings. After a few instructions and his wife’s pictures sent to them, he was rest assured everywhere would be combed for his wife. He just prayed his wife was safe wherever she was
With dawn streaking the sky, Oluwaniyi cracked one eye opened and groaned at the pain that little effort cost him. He felt like he had been dragged through hell and his head felt like it was a heavy load. He picked up his phone and in his disheveled state he left the house to report about his missing wife to the nearest police station. Afterwards he called in the private investigators whom to him are not competent. He threatened to deal with them if they did not come up with news about Aina because she was the one capable of kidnapping his wife.
Five men and two women sat down in the sitting room heaving a sigh of relief after spending precious minutes screaming on top of their voices throwing accusations back and forth. Mrs Ololade even though she was decked up in the latest fashion and appeared very civilized could not hid the temper burning within her, the first thing she did was stamped her bare foot in anger and raised her two hands with long fake nails to claw at Oluwaniyi’s who moved quickly to avoid that little weapon capable of marring his face. Oludare intervened by holding the woman off but that did not stop her mouth from running and Oluwaniyi in his rage, replied her word for word. It took Olaronke’s pleading before the woman calm down a bit, before she asked her if she was a family member. Olaronke told her, her name and from the obvious shock on the other woman’s face she could tell Bonuade had mentioned her to her.
“I thought you and him are..,” Mrs Ololade was saying before Olaronke calmly stopped her and pointed to her husband that they were both here to help Bonuade.
That calmed the woman and she allowed herself to be gently seated and continued sobbing silently.
There was a silence in the room. Everyone glancing sideways, not sure of where to began the conversation. Wande called the two private investigators present and together with Oluwaniyi and Olaronke, they listened to the tape Grace sent to him.
“Do you know the lady, Nurat?” one of the investigators asked
“Yea, she was my classmate in secondary school. But am not sure the voice is not hers” she told the man
“Why?” he questioned further
“She’s not fluent” was her reply
After listening to the tape, Wande showed them the few pictures Grace took. It was a faraway picture and the face was not cleared. But Olaronke noticed something on that hand holding the wine. There was a scar on the little finger.
“This scarred finger belonged to Aina” she said zooming the picture.
She looked at Oluwaniyi if he could recognized the hand.
“I only know that she has a tatoo on her hand” he said
“It’s Aina disguising as Nurat. No two people can have the same scar” Olaronke said, she was shocked with the truth that was staring at her.
Aina had been behind all her troubles all these years. She shook her, there has to be a mixed up. Aina would never do this to her.
“Where is she now?” Wande asked the investigators
“Our trail picked her at Ibadan yesterday, she is presently at Ibadan. She was seen this morning” the investigator answered
Olaronke shook her head”That’s not true. Aina had lunch with me yesterday and I had her followed when she left my restaurant. The driver snapped pictures of her at the airport. She is here in Abuja”
She showed them those pictures the driver shared with her. The picture showed date and details that matched the one they took at Ibadan
“Is she a spirit, how can she be in two places at the same time?” one of the investigators said aloud
Oluwaniyi’s temper that was already touchy, exploded into a violent rage hearing that insensitive question.
“You lot are bunch of idiots. Just be reassured that after this is over, it would be a new war for between your firm and I. I will sue you for every penny I paid”.
Wande pleaded with him to calm down and suspend every punishment he could thought of till his wife was found.
” Does she have any relative here?” Oludare asked ignoring the two empty head investigators. Everyone looked at Olaronke for an answer.
“I don’t think so. But she could be staying with Kunle or she’s probably in a guest house” she replied.
The investigators called their boss and briefed him with the latest news. The man swung into action. He sent a message to the police headquarters at Ibadan, instructing them to arrest a certain lady they suspected was Aina.
“Kunle has traveled” Wande informed them after phoning Bayo who promised to check Kunle’s guest house.
She felt numb and degraded in the shrouded darkness that embraced her. She couldn’t tell what time of the day it was, and surprisingly enough, she had slept amidst the crawling insects. After she grew tired of slapping different part of her body, she laid on the muddy floor and shut her mind off her present situation. She tried to lift herself up from the horizontal position, her muscles protested but she endured the pain it took for her to be on her feet. In the darkness, she used her hands to feel for things, maybe there would be a plastic she could urinate into but there was none. She found a corner farther from where she slept, she eased herself.
It was only later she felt a pang of hunger, she laid there thinking about her unborn child. She sobbed drily, her life that seemed so bright was now bleak and it was all because she married Niyi. What state would her husband be right now? Would he find her before she was dead? She wished she had never met Aina, that wicked soul. Here she was pregnant and alone and about to have a surgery. Did she really meant that? Or Aina had planned to leave all alone by herself, where she would probabiy die from hunger, if she was not already dead from terror. She stood up enduring the physical pain, her baby chose that moment to moment to move reminding her of its present. She felt sick with herself, she couldn’t reassured herself that she would live not to talk of her baby. But then she had to try, she couldn’t give up now until it really was over. She moved in the darkness and felt the door and window texture. She could never break the door with the little strength she had. Her situation became pronounced with every seconds that passed. She was stuck here with her unborn baby. This was her end.
“No, no” it started with the single monosyllables in her small voice, then she was overcome by sheer terror and the word”no” turned into a loud scream that went on for minutes still her throat became sore. She felt motionless and drained, with various thoughts on her mind. What if there were snakes here? Oh God—–scorpions? She was still battling with that thought when the window opened. She could recognized the face, it was the driver. She squinted at the sun that came with him from the window.
He cleared his throat and murmured his greetings which she replied to in a voice that did not sound like hers. He handed her two small bags that contained snacks and drink. And he told her in that boring tone of his, that her doctor would arrived the following day. That she should not worry, the said doctor was a gynaecologist.
“The surgery would be carried out with little harm to you”
She ignored him searching through the bags, she saw fruits, bread, boiled eggs, table waters, blanket, candles and matches. She lit the candle and didn’t no when the driver left. With the light on, she searched the room, she found empty wine bottles that could served as weapon. With her mind made up on a plan she spread the blanket and sat down to eat what could possibly be her last meal, if her plan failed. But if she was going to die, it would not be without a fight.
“You are just as lovely as ever”
Aina smiled up to the handsome, charming man that used to be her lover. It was just a lucky coincidence that he was in town. When she mentioned the part about hysterectomy, it had been a bluff at that moment. Her initial plan was to abort that pregnancy by injecting her. But the thought of having her uterus removed sound delicious to her ears. Oluwaniyi would have her thrown out of his home and she would be a certified barren woman for the rest of her miserable life.
She informed him of her plan and after hassling on the price, he accepted her offer. Aina was pleased. Together they spent the rest of the day drinking.
“Who is that woman?” he asked her
“She’s one silly idiot that thought she is smart”
“What did she do?” he asked again
She was surprised by his questions. Doctor Mengele was his nickname and he was a doer of all instructions without questioning the motive behind it. He was a famous cultist that reigned when she was just a child herself. But she had been honored to meet him during one of her runs. Mengele never graduated from the university as a medical doctor. He was rusticated at the federal university in his fifth year because of his involvement in cultist activities. After that he spent a year in jail before his superiors came to his rescue. He wrote JAMB again and moved to a state university, he never graduated because he had issues with the school in his sixth year. He left his university and started practising. He was a very brilliant doctor and better off than most of his colleague who graduated. He became a popular surgeon, that other doctors invited to help with surgery. He earned his nickname during his days in the university when he dissected the body of another rival cultist and sent each organs to the other members of his group.
“She snatched my boyfriend” she told him all the lies she could thought of.
“You are a beautiful lady, you can always have men better than him”
“No, I only want him and I will deal with everyone that does not want me to have him” she said
“I hope you want me too” he said his face splitting into that beautiful grin capable of melting ladies heart.
Limbs entangled after a long session of passionate love making, Mengele eased her away from his body and moved to his window side deep in thought. He was trying to move on from his past, and he had successfully did that in the last two years he got married. And now he had, two twin toddlers who looked up to him as a role model. He had not completely rid himself off his bad behaviors but at least he was trying. He had not smeared his hands with human blood well except in the theatre when he was saving lives. Now this little girl had tempted him with an offer he could not refused. That money was large enough to relocate his wife and children to the states where they would be safe from his enemies. He had no choice but to remained in the country and faced the consequence of his actions fifteen years ago. Not that there had been a physical threat to his family yet but he could not shake off that feelings that a day would come when he would reaped what he sow,and that future would be upon them soon. He was sure of that. He paced around the room reminiscing on the money he had acquired and spent in his life. It was all blood money, and blood money do not last. If not at the early age of forties, he should be able to point to some few properties as his, but he had nothing to show for his hard work all this years. He made nothing less than two hundred thousand naira from surgeries, yet the money never stayed in his hand. It reinforced his belief that those who murdered in cold blood, lives a barren life. Yet, this girl he was almost twice her age, had hired him for another gruesome job. He needed the money badly, his family needed it. He could make this last sacrifice for them. He thought as Aina turned towards him smiling.
“I hope you are feeding your captive” he said
From the expression on her face, it was obvious she didn’t think the pregnant woman deserved food.
How could a woman be this wicked to another? When he murders, it was always for a justifiable reason not something as flimsy as snatching partners.
“She has to eat, so she could go through with the surgery”
Aina called one of her boys and ordered him to buy snacks for Bonuade. After warning him to be careful, she ended the call.
“Where are you keeping her?” he asked and when she replied he instructed her to have the place cleaned up in preparation for the surgery. Aina decided to see to that herself.
When the driver opened the door to the little cell she was placed in, Bonuade watched with satisfaction that he was alone well except the broom in his hand and face mask. He motioned for her to move aside and started sweeping the room. Her strength regained, she decided it was best to carry out her escape plan. She eyed the sturdy bottle wine closer to the wall and planned on how she would swing it on his head. She pretended by coughing loudly but the driver ignored her and continued sweeping. She waited till he moved closer to her, his back turned to her presenting her with the side of his face. With all her might and desperation left inside her, she hit him across the head with the bottle and watched him crumbled to the floor murmuring intelligible words she snatched the broom in his slackened hand, she hit him across his ears for longer moment till she was spent out. Pleased with her little victory, she searched him removing the naira notes in his pocket. It was more than enough to take her to wherever. As she stepped out of the door, she saw Aina her face burning with anger. The next thing she felt was a slap across her face. With all the pent up anger in her, Bonuade lunged at her determined to scratched her eye balls out.
…to be continued