In The Dark – Episode 31

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A Story By Stanley Oluwatosin

“My late mom?” I asked as my heart beat increased.

I did’nt get a response to my question and the line went quiet for awhile. It was surprising and shocking to receive a call from an unknowing number, telling me she had some vital news from my mom.

I did’nt know what the caller was up to but i was eager to hear the news. Anything from my late mom was important.

“Hello? Please go on. What about my mom?” I asked all tensed and in anticipation.

The caller from the other end cleared her throat loudly and said “Am sorry it’s not to be disclosed this way. Not to worry, i have the whole plan laid out and this is just an introduction, so sorry am doing this over the phone. Take good care of yourself and the baby”

The line went dead immediately the unknown Mrs. Berry ended her speech and I froze. For the first time, I was scared of the stranger i did’nt even know. For the unknown caller to know about my pregnancy, something even my family knew nothing about, I was more than scared.

If my late mom’s lifeless body was not buried right before my eyes, i would have doubt my mom’s death. Thinking she would resurface just the way it do happen in movies, but the attorney saying she had been keeping the news for years got me overwhelmed with anxiety.

“What news, could she be keeping for years?”

I asked myself as i paced the livingroom.

Kelvin must have noticed the worries on my face from the diningroom. He walked up to me and said “Are you okay?”

I noded and settled in a chair. I narrated my conversation with the unknown Mrs. Berry to him and he suggested we call the line again.

We tried the number consecutively without luck and we eventually gave up after lots of fruitfuless effort. Kelvin concluded that he would hand the number over to the state security service and track down whosoever it was if any problem should erupt.

“With me no harm will come close to you and my cutest”

Kelvin said as he gently kissed me on my forehead.

I forced a smile and made kelvin believe i worried less, but deep down i was dieing to hear the ‘Vital news’.

Kelvin tried to make me forget about the call by making dinner and acting all romantic. He made me feel special and i was happy with him, even though the thought of my mom and the ‘vital news’ cropped in occasionally.

We eventually retired into eachother’s arm after a delicious meal of plantain and egg. (courtesy of kelvin).

****

After breakfast the next day, kelvin dropped me off at my foster parent’s before he left for a meeting.

I was happy to see the lively khole when i arrived. I did’nt know the magic Mi mom performed but i was proud of her.

Mi dad also took a week break from work, inorder to be with khole and this left us with a full house.

Myself and khole had fun gisting and rearranging the house before we eventually fell asleep.

At exactly 12:00am, Mi mom woke us up and she instructed us to join her in the kitchen, for lunch.

With dull eyes, we lazily went to the kitchen.

After the first five minutes of gisting and preparing the ingredients for the meal, the kitchen became lively and fun filled.It was a blessing to be together again,making a meal together.

We laughed alot and had times we playfully hit eachother.

Inbetween it all,I felt the joywould increase if i should open up about my pregnancy at that moment.

I turned to Mi mom and khole before i said “Mom, Khole, Am pregnant!7”.

At first they thought i was joking,until they saw the seriousness in my eyes.

“Oh My God! Seriously?”

Mi mom asked and i noded.

She rushed at me and took me into her arms.Khole also jump on me and decided to pay back for what i did to her when she first announced her pregnancy.

Mi mom asked me questions based on the morning sickness before she eventually ran to the livingroom to inform Mi dad.

Mi dad who was happy at the news, danced to the kitchen and he lifted me off my feet immediately, without minding my condition.

It felt good to have people to share my joy with and most importantly ‘Family’.

With loud music and excitement,we made lunch and had the meal together as a happy family.

My foster parents prayed for me after lunch and we spent time chatting,mostly about pregnancy symptoms.

At exactly 5:00pm, A driver picked me up and i left with a free mind.I was happy because i was able to disclose the only secret i was keeping from my family.

****

After the long ride, Iwas about to step out of the car when my phone started to ring.The caller I.D displayed Mi dad and i gussed he wanted to ask about my ride.

I accepted the call and said “Hello”

“Nancy,I just received a call from one Mrs.Berry who claimed to be your late mother’s private Attorney. She said she have a vital news for the entire family and it’s from your late mom.She even knew that you were here today.Baby,I think you are been followed” Mi dad said into the phone worriedly.

“what?!” I asked in a high tone.

“I just received the call few minutes ago. Though the caller did not seem harmful but the fact that you are been followed is dangerous.

Do you know anybody by that name?” Mi dad asked.

I became scared of the unknown caller and the fact that the unknown attorney and her mission was something i could not wrap my head around made me weak in the kneels.

I told mi dad to give me some minutes and i walked into the house.

I bestowed on kelvin to come closer immediately i entered the room

I placed the call on loud speaker and said “Dad actually a female voice called me, claiming the same name yesterday”

Mi dad let out a loud breathe and said “really? Tell me about your conversation with her”.

I explained all that happened the previous day to mi dad in details, without skipping the final conclusion myself and kelvin drew.

“Okay,but that is not good enough. Is kelvin there with you?”

Mi dad asked and i replied yes.

Mi dad instructed me to hand over the phone to kelvin and kelvin said

“Goodevening sir”.

“Evening son and accept my congratulations on your wife’s condition.

Concerning this strange phone call from the unknown Attorney,I want you to get Nancy secured.Probably a body guard or force agent. It’s obvious shes been followed and we need to act fast until we find out what this is all about”.Mi dad said.

“I will do just that sir”Kelvin said.

Myself and kelvin agreed to Mi dad’s suggestions and decided to get security.

Mi dad ended the call after we had a brief talk with Mi mom.

Kelvin placed a call through to the DSS of Kwara state security service because He had preference for force angencies that has no uniform.

Been the president’s son, his request was granted and the DSS promised to send some of his boys the next day.

At first we wanted to inform the president about the strange call but we eventually decided to wait for the unknown Attorney’s next move.

The day ended with me panicking about the unknown vital news and kelvin trying to make me feel safe.

¤¤¤¤

*A WEEK LATER*

After a week of having security following me around, I grew tired of been secured. Even though we did not receive any call from the unknown Attorney,Mi dad and kelvin thought it was necessary to be secured in case of any funny move from the unknown caller.

****

On Friday afternoon,i went to my foster parent’s apartment in company of kelvin and our security agents.

Josh was also present and we all decided to have lunch as one big family.

The meal was made my Mi mom and after taking a long time to dish out the meal,we all gathered round the table.

I was about taking my first spoon when I received a new message alert on my phone.

I ignored the message and continued with my meal.

I was about to take another spoon when mi dad’s phone also vibrated,signifying a new message.

“Father and daughter.You better get rid of your phones” Mi mom said jokingly as Mi dad picked his phone.

“What?!”Mi dad screamed, after going through his phone and we all asked what the problem was.

“I don’t believe this,its from the attorney”

Mi dad said and Mi mom quickly collected his phone from him.

Mi mom was yet to read the message when her phone also started to vibrate.

“What is going on?” Mi mom asked rhetorically after reading the message on Mi dad’s phone and hers.

The rest of us was left in the dark for for a moment and it strucked me that i also received a new message earlier.

I took my phone and clicked on the new message.

“OMG!” I murmured after reading the content of the message.

“I’m ready to disclose the vital news. Let everybody gather at the late Mrs. William’s residence on Sunday by 12:00pm.

I will be there and you can come along with your security agents.

(Attorney Berry)”

I read out the content of the message.

All the messages had the same content and from the same number. Everybody was lost on what was going on.

“Who is this Attorney Berry?” was the question on everyone’s lips.

Kelvin held my hands and told me not to worry. I faked a smile and gazed into an empty space.

We were still in a confused state when Mi dad’s phone started to ring. The room went quiet and we all surrounded Mi dad, thinking the call was from the Attorney.

“Its Mike” Mi dad said disappointedly after checking the caller’s I.D.

He accepted the call and placed the phone on speaker before he said “Hello”.

“Inlaw, there is a problem. I received a call from an unknown number few days ago claiming to be my late sister’s Attorney. I ignored the call thinking it was all this 419 but now i received a message from the same unknown Attorney saying that the whole family should gather at my late sister’s house, (which is now my house) on sunday.

The line has not been going through and I’m a bit confused. Did you receive any message?”

Uncle Mike said and Mi dad exclaimed

“Haaaa!”

Uncle mike let out a loud breathe and said

“I just want to know if you have received any message from the so called Attorney. I personally do not believe because my late sister told me nothing about having a private attorney. Moreover, i have been running her business and everything she left behind ever since she died. Where was the so called attorney all this while?.

And please my inlaw please inform Nancy of this, you know her husband is the president’s son. He will be able to track down this unknown Attorney with just one phone call, you know….”

“Mike, this is oyinkan, can you just call other family members and find out if they’ve heard from this attorney Berry” Mi mom interupted my uncle rudely.

My uncle greeted mi mom briefly and said

“If you say so, i will do that after hiring enough body guard for myself and my wife. My life is at risk now and the attorney already talked about security in her text, I gusse that’s what i need now”

Mi dad told uncle mike to hurry up and he hung up.

The room was silent for awhile before kelvin broke the silence. Kelvin took his phone and placed a call through to his dad.

I could not make out the president’s response after the phone call but i gussed he asked kelvin to forward the number to him.

After forwarding the number with my phone, kelvin sat beside me and said

” we all do not need to panick. I already informed my dad and he promised to forward the number to all the force agencies in this state. Security will be provided for everybody, including any family member you think is important. We just need to wait and hear from the investigation agencies before we will conclude on meeting with the attorney.”

We all agreed with kelvin’s decision and the men in the house tried to make the ladies feel better.

We ended up having our lunch with worries.

Exactly an hour after lunch kelvin received phone calls from different force agencies. They all requested for the numbers of security we would be needing and the address.

Two officers each from the Police force, Army, SSS and Mopol, arrived at my foster parent’s apartment before myself and kelvin decided to leave.

My foster parent thanked kelvin profusely and we eventually left at exactly 5:00pm.

***

During the ride home, kelvin received a call from the state security service DSS.

According to kelvin, the man made it known that the president had informed all the force agencies even at the capital city and the Attorney would be tracked down. The only problem was that they were finding it difficult to find out the Attorney’s Identity and this had made himself and other informed force agencies decide that the whole family should be present at the venue on sunday. The whole building would be heavily surrounded and If the attorney should showup, she would be thoroughly searched before she would be allowed into the house. Probably if she was found with any harmful material she would be thrown behind bars but if she truly had a vital information, the meeting would proceed with heavy security. Messing with the president’s inlaw would be the most foolish thing to be done by anybody.

I placed a call through to my foster parent and informed them of the latest information. They agreed and also promised to call uncle mike in order for him to inform the family members.

I had my shower and retired to bed immediately we arrived home. All i could think of was “Sunday Afternoon”.

***

The Saturday was filled with anxiety and high anticipation. The day went slowly and worriedly.

Minutes rolled into hours and hours rolled into day.

After a long wait it was sunday afternoon. I wore a casual dress and left with kelvin.

There were hiluxs filled with force agents before and after us as we journeyed to my Lost home.

***

I could not hide my emotions when i arrived my late parent’s home. I looked behind me and I remembered all the event that went down on the day i left. I could not help but apprecite those who stood by me.

After the arrival of my foster parent and khole,we proceed into the main house.

Even the scent of the house was stil the same and the memories of the days i had with my parent showed before me.I could not help but let tears roll down my cheek. Kelvin offered me an handkerchief and held me closely as we walked into the large livingroom.

We exchanged brief pleasantries with the present family members and we eventually settled in the chairs available.

***

At exactly 1:30pm,kelvin was informed of the arrival of a woman.We both rushed out and we met a middle age woman who identified herself as an Attorney. She was thoroughly searched before she was led in by two hefty soldiers. She was probably in her early forty but with her glowing skin, her age could be mistaken for twenty.

The attorney gracefully walked to the middle of the room and said.

“I am Attorney Berry”

There was murmuring and exchange of glances everywhere. Most of the family members had issues with the Attorney’s appearance and they did nothing to hide it. I was not concerned with the attorney’s look or appearance, all that mattered to me was the vital information she claimed was from my late mom.

The attorney clapped her hands thrice and stood akinbo after getting everybody’s attention. She left out a loud breathe and said “I know most of you do not know the reason for this meeting and i know most of you thinks i am here to harm this family. This must be the reason why most of you were scared after getting calls and text messages from me. I can see the tight security here but i want you all to know that i can’t be foolish enough to mess with a family related to the president.

You all do not have an idea of who i am and neither do i know you but i have to deliver the message i was been sent. The late Mrs. Lillian sent me this message before she passed on. Actually she was like a mother to me and she also confided in me with some of her inner most secrets, Something most of you do not know. Before the death of my benefactor, she gave me a strict instruction not to show up until her baby girl is grown up and married. After her death, i would have shown myself but her instructions kept me out.

Back to who I am…. My name is Mrs.Berry Nkechi. I’m a native of Enugu and an orphan. You see, my parent died when i was just fifteen. Then i just graduated from secondary school. I was lost and abandoned. I met the late Mrs. Lillian when i was searching for the job of a sales girl. She got interested in my story and questioned me about my life. I narrated all that happened and she decided to help me without even knowing me. My benefactor made me stay with a friend of hers while i processed university admission. I got admitted to study law and she sponsored me throughout my years in school. It’s not easy to come incontact with help in this world of hardship but Mrs. Lillian was my back bone.

After seven years, I was called to bar and i started working with a law firm introduced to me by Mrs. Lillian.

Throughout all this years, i had wanted to meet her family but she never allowed me to. The reason was best know to her. During my days of working with the law firm, Mrs. Lillian decided that i should forward my education abroad and this was how i met my husband (berry).

I came back to Nigeria as a happily married woman.

Before i bore you with my story, i will go into my reason for been here.

I was in my office one hot afternoon when the late Mrs. Lillian came to me.She said something about having a bad feeling and she decided to write her will.I tried discouraging her but could not due to her determination.

After putting down her will, Mrs.lillian made an important video.In it she revealed some of her deepest secrets and she made me know that nobody knows about her secret in her family.She also made me promise never to disclose or let go of the video record until her girl is married. I agreed with her and that is why I am here today people, but i won’t say a thing until all the strangers here excuse us. I mean, i only want the family members that i sent a message here.Mrs. Lillian already told me the important ones and those are the people i messaged. Please if you got nothing from me, kindly exist this room.Including the securities,I can’t harm a whole family alone and you already have my I.D.Please follow my instructions so we can proceed”

There were side talks for awhile. Most of the uninvited family members did’nt want to exist the room but they eventually did after been addressed by the family head.The security officers also left with the instruction that we should alert them if things go bad.

The attorney requested for my uncle’s help in playing a disk which she got from her bag.My uncle carried out her request and she occupied an empty sit after getting the full control of the remote. She pressed the play button and the video appeared.

A clear image of my mom was shown after the video counted 1-10.

She sat infront of the camera and removed her eye glasses. My mom then looked into the camera and said

“Hi,making this video is not something i am proud of because i would love to open this secret myself but death has no respect for human. For me not to die with my secret, i see the need to make this video incase the unexpected happen.

To my girl and my husband, the both of you are the best thing that ever happened to me.

Baby… Nancy… Mommy loves you so much but she has been keeping secrets from you. I do not plan on keeping it forever but i plan on telling you when you are all grown up, probably on your wedding eve.

Angel, do you remember Nelly? The girl you both look like identical twin? Actually there is more to your resemblance than the story i made you believe”

…to be continued

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