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Seyi stared out her window and sighed in frustration. ‘Where
was he?’ She asked herself as she looked at her watch. It was almost six pm and
he wasn’t here already. Hissing angrily she kicked off her shoes and fell on
her sofa in desperation.

****
Justin watched his uncle unpack the heavy bag before him,
the bag smelt stale and it’s contents didn’t look that good either, there was a
very big hammer in the bag and Justin wondered why his uncle needed that.
“Uncle I must be leaving now…I …err…have to errm…”
He stammered.
“You have to see your girlfriend right?” His uncle muttered.
“Well…you see sir…” Justin continued.
“Say the words as it is, she’s your girlfriend right?”
“Yes she is sir…”Justin stammered not knowing what else to
say.
“And her parents are those rich people who live down the
street and oppress us daily with their calibre of cars…hmmm.” His uncle
sighed.
“I’m sorry sir but I have to…” Justin continued stopping
only to glance at his wrist watch, he knew he was late and Seyi would have his
head for it.
“Do you steal from me to satisfy her?” His uncle asked.
“Steal? Oh no sir…”
“Then how are you able to impress her?” His uncle asked,
bringing out the hammer in the bag and staring at it intently. “You must be
pushed to providing her with the fine things of life.”
Justin’s uncle had taken him under his wing when at the
tender age of seven he had lost both parents. His uncle, Ude, who happens to be
his father’s only brother and his only living relative was the reason Justin
wasn’t alone in the world and for that, Justin owed him his life.
“You can go…I see you’re already dressed. However, before
you both leave I’d like you to stop here because I’d like to see her.” His
uncle said.
“But could it wait? We have a movie to catch and it’s almost
time. We might miss our movie and…” Justin continued.
“Bring her to greet me on your way out…” Was his uncle’s
final command.
Justin angrily left the house and crossing over to the other
side of the road, he walked to Seyi’s house.
****
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“Where the heck have you been? I’ve been waiting for the
past thirty minutes.” Seyi screamed down the phone.
“I’m sorry, my uncle delayed me…” Justin said through the
phone connection. “Can you come out of your house now? I do not want to knock
at your gate.
“Where are you?”
“Right beside your house.” Justin replied.
They had hidden their relationship for so long and all of a
sudden they made a unanimous decision to let their friendship out in the open.
This was the first time that Seyi would walk out hand in hand with Justin and
she was so happy about that. Soon the gate was opened and Seyi dashed out of
the house. True to his word, Justin was standing not too far from her house and
she walked up to meet him.
“You look gorgeous…blue is your colour.” Justin said to
Seyi appreciatively.
“Thank you…” Seyi blushed.
Seyi had emptied her wardrobe all because of her date with
Justin, she had tried on a dozen outfits and none suited her taste till she
paired a blue denim shirt with denim jeans and finished her look with a pair of
sandals and pearl drop earrings.
Justin on the other hand had little or nothing to wear, he
had borrowed the shoes from Ezekiel his neighbour and the shirt from Daniel the
landlord’s son and the trouser from one of his friends from school, the only
item of clothing he wore was his was his boxer shorts which he was hidden
beneath the trousers.
“Errr…my uncle wants to meet you…he said you should come
over quickly before we go to the cinema.”
“Ohhh no! I do not want to miss this movie c’mon! I’ve been
waiting for it for a long time now…” Seyi whined.
“Please…I’m begging…it wouldn’t take time I promise.”
Justin begged.
Seyi agreed and they hurried over to Justin’s house. When
they got there, Justin’s uncle, Ude, was nailing shut one of the windows of the
room where they lived. He acknowledged Seyi’s greetings and continued with his
job of nailing the windows.
“Can we go now?” Seyi whispered.
“Shhh…he’s still quite busy…” Justin whispered back.
“Why is he nailing the windows? Wouldn’t that stop light
from penetration and cut off air completely?” Seyi whispered.
“He must be doing some kind of restructuring.” Justin
whispered back.
Justin’s uncle nailed the both windows of the room shut with
heavy planks and after five minutes, he turned to the two teenagers.
“Seyi….I believe that’s your name right?” Justin’s uncle
asked.
“Yes it is sir…I am so happy to finally get to meet you
though I have to leave shortly.” Seyi said impatiently.
“Please sit down…” Turning to Justin, his uncle said, “
There’s a fruit juice pack in the fridge please bring it for our guest.”
“Oh no sir…I have to decline, I already had fruit juice at
home.” Seyi said.
“Tsk…tsk…tsk…do not despise humble beginnings my dear.
Why are you snubbing my peace offering? Are we too poor or do you think the
fruit juice would’nt be up to standard?”
“Oh no sir…I have no reservations I’m just full that’s
all.”
“Justin, go to the fridge and bring the fruit juice pack.”
Justin almost protested but the look in his uncle’s eyes
chilled him, something nagged him and he didn’t like it one bit. Walking to the
half-standing, half-falling fridge at the corner, Justin brought out the fruit
juice pack. It has been opened so, there wasn’t so much content in it. Walking
to his uncle, he gave him the drink and went ahead to get a glass.
Seyi watched as Justin’s uncle filled up the glass with the
juice and her stomach lurched in revulsion, she didn’t want to drink the juice
but since he insisted, she might as well as drink up and be on her way, she
thought.
As soon as the drink was offered to her, she received it
with thanks and hurriedly gulped it up.
“Thank you sir…can we go now?” Seyi said licking her lips
and standing from the worn out seat in Justin’s sitting room.
“No…not yet…I’d like to hear about the movie that you
both are going to watch. What’s it about?” Ude asked quietly.
“It’s Sci-fi…” Seyi said, wondering why she was suddenly
feeling so sleepy.
“Really? What’s that?” Justin’s uncle asked.
“Its…science fiction and…” Seyi yawned loudly while her
eyes drifted close.
“Are you sleepy?” Asked Justin’s uncle.
“Yes…I feel light-headed and…” Seyi started and fell
into a deep slumber.
Justin rushed to her side.
“Seyi…Seyi…” He shook her.
“Leave her alone, the mosquito has finally been caught in
the spider’s web.” His uncle said as he stood up and went to bring out his
creepy duffel bag.
“Uncle…did you lace the drink with poison?” Justin asked
in shock.
“Well…she won’t die…it’s harmless but powerful. In the
next one hour I’ll be able to finish up what I intend to do…”
“What? Oh no Uncle please…she hasn’t done anything to you
please. Punish me instead…I’m the one who deserves punishment.” Justin cried.
“Shhh…she’s the way out of our poverty. You see, Justin, I
knew immediately after taking you from the miserable jaws of the village that
you’d be of benefit to me. Now is the time and I’m ready to make money from
your conquests.”
“But uncle…I love her.” Justin cried.
“Love? Did i hear you say love? What will happen in the next
ten years when she’s gone abroad for further education and has returned with
the accent of the foriegners and you, who would not have recieved the education
that she has because of our financial situation? You’d be like the dust of the
earth to her. Listen to me Justin, if you do not have money, you can never be
at par with her ever!”
“Are you going to kidnap her?” Justin cried.
“I’m not that smart but I have other plans.”
“Don’t kill her please…I beg of you…” Justin cried.
“I’m no murderer.” His uncle said as he fished out a worn
out camera from his bag and clicked it on.
Justin stared at Seyi who was oblivious to the happenings
around her and said,
“Do all you want but please don’t hurt her.”
“Hmmm…you have a part to play in all of this. I need you
to remove her clothing. All of it.” Justin’s uncle said.
****
Chika watched her uncles leave, it was the same event
everyday. Every morning they came and in the evening, they left again looking
more depressed than they were in the morning. This time, her mother followed
them out of the house, the servants carried all her luggage to the gate and
loaded it in the boot of her car. Her father had been generous enough to leave
her car with her. Chika wanted to go downstairs to her mother, she wanted to
leave luxury behind and follow her mom but something drew her back. She didn’t
want a life of poverty. It was no news that her mother was from a poor home and
that she was the light of her family. Having married a very rich business man,
she was an example to many of her relations and now, having to back to poverty
was a big blow to her. Chika watched as her mother turned her gaze to her room
window and whispered some words, Chika placed her hands on her room window and
cried. ‘How would she cope?’ ‘What would come next?’ she asked herself.
She was closer to her father than to her mother, especially
because her dad was the one to pamper her and give her all she ever wanted
while her mother sought to discipline her. Disciplining Chika was no easy feat
as her mother struggled to make her voice resound but the stubborn Chika never
paid heed. Her mother had spanked her on one occasion when she had found her
lying in the arms of one of her father’s apprentices when she was ten years old
and Chika had promptly reported her mother to her father who had beaten up her
mother and dismissed the apprentice from his service. Such was the life Chika
and her brothers led with their mother, while her father pampered his children
and showered them with so much attention, their mother was always seen as a
hindrance because she never spent money on them (because she had no money of
her own) and whenever she was with them, it was to correct this or that. Chika’s
brothers were worse, whenever they came home for holiday from their schools
abroad, they threw parties, hosted ladies and closed down clubs for fun and
their father readily pumped his money on them. Now, as she watched her mother
leaving, Chika felt she should be thankful that the thorn in her side was being
removed yet she felt a deeper sense of loss because she knew she might never
see her mother again. Leaving the window-side and rushing out of her room, Chika
ran down the stairs screaming;
“Mummy! Mummy!”
She got outside the house and ran into the arms of her
mother who she’s never hugged in a long time perhaps since she was a little
girl.
“Take care of yourself okay…you are in my heart always.”
Her mother whispered into her ears as she held her close.
“I’m sorry mom…I’m sorry for everything and for not
fighting that you’d stay…” Chika cried.
“It’s not your fault…just concentrate on your studies and
you know you can reach me any time…just call my number okay…”
“Could you call your number again? Let me save it on my
phone.” Chika sounded stupid. She never memorized her mother’s number and had
deleted it from her phone a long time ago when she felt her mother only called
to track her movement.
“080….” Her mother called the number aloud.
Chika quickly typed the number on her cell phone and sniffed
back the tears. Suddenly, after saving the number, she heard a strong voice
call out her name.
“Chika!”
“Yes daddy…” Chika turned to  see her dad at the entrance of the house.
“Come back inside immediately.” He ordered.

Chika hugged her mother one last time and ran back into the
house, brushing past her father in anger. She stopped her race at the bottom of
the stairs where she fell to the ground and wailed.

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