Ben had been placed on a
dry fast for seven days and had also been given some prayers. Amanda and pastor
Shade had found out that one of the men in the prayer ministries had returned
home briefly and they had called him to come over to the church. The two ladies
tabled Ben’s case before the prayer minister and he had said that Ben must
undergo prayers and fasting before his deliverance.
“Seven days!” Ben had
echoed.
“I know it’s long but
let’s follow it accordingly…”

“I can’t wait that
long…she’ll kill me…”
“While you are on
prayers and a dry fast? No way!”
“By dry fasting does it
mean I have to eat nothing?” Ben asked.
“Yup, just water once
you break it by six pm and then fruits and maybe some starchy foods and that’s
it!”
“I’m not really a food
person so I’ll be fine….”Ben said.
Amanda kept silent, they
were driving back to the camp and she was behind the wheels, she had never
driven for this long before and was already getting tired.
“Do you want me to help
you out?” Ben asked.
“With what?”
“Driving…”
“No…you’ve been
through a lot for one day…” Amanda said still concentrating on the road.
Ben looked at her and
said.
“You know what? Once
this deliverance thing is over and done with and I am finally free from the
clutches of princess and her agents, I’ll get married.”
“Good for you.” Amanda
said still looking at the road.
“I’ll get married to
you.” Ben finished.
Amanda’s almost hit the
brakes but instead she turned to look at him, Ben had closed his eyes and was
feigning sleep.
“Marriage should be the
last thing on your mind Ben…you are battling principalities and powers.” She
said.
Ben didn’t reply and he
didn’t speak throughout their journey to the camp.
*********
Layla Ekanem was at the
gate of the camp, she had located the place through the pamphlet Sharon had
brought home on the day she was selected for the French camp.
“Parents are not allowed”.
The security at the gate said as soon as Layla reached the camp gate. “Camp
closes in a few days, you’ll see your daughter then.” The security said
pointedly to Layla.
“I want to see my
daughter! She is my flesh and blood, is that a crime?” Layla screamed.
“No madam…it is not a
crime but as it stands, it is against our rules and regulations for this camp.”
The security barked.
As they were arguing at
the gate, a jeep drove in through the gate and the lady behind the wheels
peeked out through the car window.
“Good day madam…” The
security greeted.
“Good day…what is
going on here?” Amanda asked.
“This woman says she
wants to see her daughter” The security answered.
“Are you a staff here?”
Sharon’s mother asked the lady in the car.
Amanda turned off the
car ignition and alighted, walking towards the lady at the security post, she
noticed that the woman looked very scruffy, her dress was old, her sandals
looked like those worn in the old Egyptian era and her face bellied hardship.
She stared at the woman closely, she looked very familiar but she couldn’t
place the face.
“Yes, I am a tutor…”
Amanda said.
“Please…I want to see
my daughter…” Layla said.
“Who is your daughter?”
“Sharon…Sharon
Ekanem…”
Amanda’s mind flashed to
her encounters with Sharon and the words of her sister in-law re-echoed in her
head.
“You are….Sharon’s
mother?” Amanda asked again.
“Yes, that’s what I said
before…”
Amanda was struck by the
way the woman spoke, she certainly didn’t speak like a peasant but a woman with
pedigree. She was still thinking of where she knew the woman when she suddenly
blurted.
“Do you know Marcus Nze?”
She asked.
The woman’s eyes flashed
in recognition.
“Oh my God! I knew you
looked familiar! Amanda! Oh my God you have grown!” Sharon’s mother screamed
and hugged Amanda.
“Layla! My God! I could
hardly recognize you…how many years has it been? Ten? Thirteen? You have
changed drastically.”
“It’s been thirteen
years…oh my God! Amanda you are so big now! The last time I saw you, you were
about fifteen, and fresh out of secondary school. Did you still pursue your
dreams to read French?”
“Yes…that’s why I am
here…I am a tutor here…” Amanda laughed.
Ben was already tired of
sitting in the car, he alighted and greeted the woman.
“This is Sharon’s
mother…” Amanda said to Ben.
“Sharon? Who’s that?”
Ben asked.
“My student…..the one
I accompanied to the clinic some days ago…” Amanda said.
“Ohhhh….” Ben said
recalling the whole episode with the girl.
“What happened to you,
Layla? This is not how I remember you…” Amanda asked.
“No it’s not my dear…I’ve
been through a lot….how is Marcus?”
“He is very well…”
“He’s married now right?”
Layla asked.
“Yes he is…and he’s
expecting a baby…”
“Awww….my regards to
him…”
“You two sound like you’ve come a long way…” Ben said.
“Yes…Layla was once my
brother’s girlfriend in the university, we all thought that they’d get married
but…something happened and they broke up…” Amanda said.
“Wow…this world is
small…” Ben said.
“Yes indeed it is
small…fancy meeting you here at my daughter’s camp.” Layla said.
“Yes….” Amanda smiled.
“The security wouldn’t
let me go into the camp. I am worried about my daughter’s safety, you see…she
came home some nights ago, at the dead of the night saying that she was ill and
was a bit home sick and that the camp administrators had told one of the
drivers to bring her home. Very early the next morning, I woke up to find her
gone and I’ve been worried about her plus the fact that I am going through some
things at home and would prefer to have her with me. I just want to take her
home…” Layla said.
“Did you say a camp
driver took her home? When was this?” Amanda asked.
“Two nights ago…”
“That was the same day
she was admitted in the hospital clinic…I don’t think it’s possible that she
would have been driven home in that state…” Amanda started.
“She came home on that
day but very late …” Layla started.
“Let’s ask the security
then…” Amanda said.
Turning to the security
who was pretending not to be eavesdropping on their conversation, Amanda asked.
“Did any driver take any
of our students home this past week?”
“No student have left
this gate and none of the drivers who conveyed the students to this camp have remained
at the camp after bringing the students here. The drivers are only coming back
in a few days to take the students to their respective schools.”
“What are you implying?”
Layla asked the security.
“I am saying that your
daughter never went home at least, even if she did, she did so on her own
accord and was not authorized by the French camp authorities to do so.” The
security fired.
“I’m finding it difficult
understanding how Sharon who was admitted at the hospital made her way home on
the very day she was admitted. I need to clarify things from the matron.”
Amanda said.
“I just want to see my
daughter…there are certain things I need to discuss with her.” Layla asked.
“Please get into the
car, I’ll err….take you to the admin and ask if they would permit that your
request be granted.”
“Thank you so much…I
am grateful that I met you here and by the way, we have lots of catching up to
do.” Layla said to Amanda as she hopped into the vehicle.
Ben, Amanda and Sharon’s
mum entered the vehicle while Amanda drove them into the camp.
********
Sharon felt uneasy,
something was going on but she couldn’t place a finger on it. What was really
happening? She thought to herself as she sat in class and listened to Monsieur
Gbenga’s boring lecture. She was still there when Ebonee appeared to her in the
class and gave her a signal. Sharon couldn’t leave the class and she was
itching to know what was going on. Ebonee, gave her a stern look and another
signal but Sharon didn’t budge. Their fight some days ago had somehow drifted
the both spirits apart as they that once used to be close were slowly becoming
sworn enemies. Ebonee, seeing that Sharon wasn’t ready to leave the class,
disappeared again.
“Sharon!” Monseiur
Gbenga called out.
“Sir…” Sharon
responded.
“You are representing
this class for the quiz competition, I hope you are not going to disappoint
them.”
“I will do my best sir…”
Sharon started.
Ebonee appeared again,
giving her a sterner look than the last time, Sharon stared at her as though to
say ‘go away’.
“Are you prepared?” The
tutor asked.
Sharon didn’t respond,
she was looking at Ebonee in anger.
“Sharon?” Monsieur
Gbenga called.
“Sir…”
“Are you with us?”
“What do you mean by
that sir?” Sharon blurted.
“Are you rephrasing my
question?”
“I am very sorry sir…”
“Sit down….” He said. “Class
dismissed! Sharon and Kamto, stay behind.” He said aloud.
Sharon rolled her eyes,
she knew he wanted to drill them on the quiz potential questions again.
********
The matron stared at
Amanda and the strange looking lady that had arrived at the clinic.
“Good afternoon
matron…” Amanda greeted.
“Hello Amanda…you look
well…”
“Yes I am.”
“Who did you bring here
with you?” She asked.
“A student’s mother who
happens to be an old friend…”
“Hmmm…I thought the
camp doesn’t allow people in, unless they are working here…” The matron
asked.
“I have taken her to the
admin and they said it’s okay and that she can see her daughter before leaving.”
Amanda said.
“Hmmm…”
“Sharon is in the class
so I decided to kill time by bringing her here…” Amanda said.
The matron’s head
snapped.
“Is she Sharon’s mother?”
“Yes…” Amanda replied.
The matron stared at the
woman and shook her head.
“Is everything okay?”
Amanda’s mother asked.
“Yes…everything is
fine” The matron said.
“Sharon’s mom wants to
find out if you gave Sharon the permission to leave the clinic on the day she
was admitted.”
“Me? No way! Sharon was
here till morning… I discharged her the next day and I believe she hasn’t
left this camp since then.” The matron said.
“She came home that
night….two nights ago.” Layla said.
“No…she was in this
clinic two nights ago…I checked up on her myself.” The matron answered.
“Are you sure? Sharon
came home…” Layla pushed.
“Who would have taken
her home? The camp doesn’t allow students to leave the premises, besides, the
protocol she’d have to follow before leaving this place will take her forever.
I am even supposed to sign her ‘leave form’ if she was leaving that night…”
The matron said.
Sharon’s mother stared
at the matron in shock, Amanda stared at Layla in confusion and the matron
stared at the two women questioningly.
To be continued….
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