“Where am I? My goodness! What
time is it?”
“Hush…relax…you are in no
condition to go anywhere…” Oni said quietly.
“Arrggh…I feel pain at my
back…what happened to me?” Shade cried as tears stung her eyes.
“You were gunned down…you took
a bullet at your back. You were courageous though and lucky, not everyone would
survive it.” Oni supplied.
Shade looked down at her abdomen which was wrapped with a heavy white bandage.
“My body aches…I’m in severe
pain…oh God! What have I gotten myself into?” Shade cried as she painfully
remembered the events of the raid.
“You will heal with time…my friends and I were able to take out the bullets and thank God you were unconscious when we
pulled out the bullet…the pain alone is unimaginable. We just hope that there
are no debris left in your body.”
“Debris? Ouch…what debris?
Arrrggh!” Shade winced in pain.
“The pellets of the bullet…”
“Why wasn’t I taken to a
hospital?” Shade asked.
“That’s a great risk…the police
sniffs up trouble with gunshot wounds, your gang will be traced and arrested
within twenty-four hours.”
Shade’s eyes caught the clock
and she gasped.
“Oh my God…it’s three pm, I
had an early morning exam today. What have I done? What do I do now?” Shade
cried.
Oni exhaled sharply, he looked
at the young girl who looked so achingly familiar and said;
“I have no idea who you are or
where you come from but I have just one piece of advice for you, run from this gang and
whatever they do. Look at what happened last night…if I didn’t come to your
rescue, you would have been dog meat to the rival cult, they would have killed
you or worse left you out there in the open to be crushed by unsuspecting
vehicles. Cultism is a hard and dangerous life and life’s too short to be
dawdling in its evil games.”
“How do you know so much about
cultism? You’ve never been a uni student…you’re a gang member yourself, why
preach against what you practice?”
“I was dragged into this
business by my cousin… I was foolish, young and stupid but it took me less than
one month as my cousin’s prisoner to realize all my granny grans had been
telling me my whole life.”
“Granny grans? My cousins call
my grand-mother granny grans too.” Shade said.
“How come? I made that name
up out of the over-zealous dictionary in my head. While growing up, I was the
fearless one and I had a knack for dishing out nick-names, my grandmother…” Oni
continued but was cut short by a sharp knock at the door.
The both of them stared at the
door and the intruder who entered without waiting to be ushered in.
“Shade…oh my God! Thank God
you’re alive.” Said Ada who rushed to Shade’s side.
“Seriously? Are we suddenly
giving thanks for my miraculous gift of life? After you all left me out there
to die?” Shade asked Ada accusingly.
“What? We never did that, I
tried hard to rescue you…I looked for you…I had the whole team…” Ada continued
but was cut short by Shade.
“Spare me that nonsense! I was
weak but I knew what happened…the gunshots? The shouts of the girls as they ran
for safety…if Oni hadn’t come…if Oni hadn’t picked me up….if he hadn’t risked
his li…life for me…” Shade said as tears welled up in her eyes.
Ada turned to Oni and smiled
sheepishly.
“Could
you please excuse us? I’d like to talk to Shade in private.”
Oni
left the room for the two girls. As soon as the door closed behind him, Ada’s
smile was replaced with a huge scowl.
“How
dare you sit there and act as if you never knew what you signed up for in the
first place? You this Yankee girl that cannot wake up and smell the coffee.” Ada spat.
Shade
stared at Ada in shock and disbelief.
“Are
you talking to me? I would have lost my life out there you know, all for what?
For a dirty girls cult that makes no sense?” Shade screamed.
Ada’s
hand swung in the air and landed squarely on Shade’s cheek, Shade’s eyes
widened as she stared at Ada.
“I’m
done with babying you…you are a member of the cult and you’ll still be a member
on the day of your death. It doesn’t matter if you die now, in fifty years or
in a zillion years so you’d better sit up and stop acting like a stupid child else
you’ll unleash the wrath of the cult.”
“You
slapped me? You dared hit me?” Shade asked.
“Yes
I did and I will do so again if you don’t act like a dignified member of this
cult. I will get a doctor to attend to you in the next one hour. If you luckily
survive, that’s your luck and if you don’t, just don’t forget to die peacefully
without spilling any of our secrets to anyone. I see that you’re bonding with
Oni and I do not approve. Yes, he is our support system but recently we’ve been
thinking of changing our male support system to the Machetes cult in our
school, they are young, strong and better fighters than Oni and his gang.”
Shade
kept staring at Ada as though she had just spoken nonsense.
“Do
you know I missed my morning exams? How am I supposed to catch up while I’m confined to a bed? Do you not understand the kind of dilemma I’m
presently in?” Shade asked.
“I’m
through with you. As soon as the doctor sees you and pronounces that you are
fine, I’d advise you to lie low for about a week or so before going to your
hostel. For all we know, the rival cult has been combing through school and looking for us there but
since we are all lying low for this week, they’ll get tired and stop coming. I
do not want you to repeat the incident of last night to anyone, it starts and
dies there.”
Shade
couldn’t believe it, she didn’t understand how she let herself be dragged into
a cult that was no good to her or her future.
*****
“I’d
like to see my dad please…”
“He’s
not around…” Jumai replied.
“Then
I’d like to wait.” Tara said.
“Are
you deaf? Should I translate what I have just said to a language you’d
understand? Your father is not home.” Jumai said.
“Seriously?
Are you kidding me? Please open the door now or I’ll be forced to let myself in
without your consent.” Tara said.
They
were both at the door, Tara was on the outside and Jumai was inside the house,
seated as usual in her wheel chair. Tara shoved the door hard and Jumai quickly
put pressure at the other side of the door, no one was winning as they seemed to
possess equal strength.
“If
only I was standing on two legs, you wouldn’t dare come close to the door of
this house, I’d shove you down the stairs with just one push.” Jumai said as
she struggled to push the door at Tara’s face.
“If
you weren’t my mother, I’d have made your life a living hell. I wonder why I never
listened to my uncle when he advised me not to let you into my father’s house.” Tara spat.
“Really?
Who told you he’s your father?” Jumai asked.
Tara’s
grip on the door slackened as she strained her ears to hear her mother’s next
words.
“You
are no Dolapo dear, you are a product of a one night stand with a drunk…now,
get out of the door or I’d be forced to tell your so-called father the truth.”
Tara
felt her hand fall from the door frame and as though on cue, the door slammed
in her face, she ran down the stairs in tears.
****

Temi
had had a terrible day. First, she didn’t do her assignment and she was embarrassed in front of her classmates for that. Someone had placed a gum on her chair and
her uniform skirt was ruined and the last to crown the misfortune of the day was the fact
that she didn’t own an international passport.
 The excursion committee head had
come into the class after break to tell the students about the summer excursion
to Egypt, and when the lady had finished speaking about the trip, Temi had
stood up to ask if she could go, since she didn’t have an international
passport. This evoked laughter from her classmates who seemed to have everything
that existed under the sun.
“Well…if
you don’t have an international passport, I guess you’d have to join the second
group of students who would be going on a summer tour to Lagos. The second
group consists mainly of students from government schools in Abuja who enrolled
into our scholarship summer programme which takes place in Lagos for two weeks.”
The teacher had supplied.
“Lagos?”
Temi had exclaimed, in disbelief.
“Don’t
tell me you haven’t been there too or do you need a special kind of passport to
get there too?” Laughed Zachary, one of her classmates.
The
other students burst out in laughter at Zachary’s comment and Temi slipped back
into her chair without saying a word.
Now,
as the driver took her back home, she knew she had to come up with a lie to tell Bee so that she could go to Lagos with the second group. Going to Lagos meant
that she could easily find her family, all she had to do was take a taxi to Suru-lere and that was it. Yes! She remembered her address perfectly and she had scribbled it down a thousand times in her jotter.
The
car entered the tasteful compound where she resided with Bee and she quietly alighted from the car. Bee was at the balcony, smoking and listening to
music with her headphones.
“Good
afternoon Bee.” Temi said as soon as she reached the balcony.
“How’s
my favourite girl? Come give me a hug.” Bee said as she put out her cigarette
and dragged Temi for a hug.
“I’m
good…how are you?”
“I
am fine and I am so glad that you are adjusting so well.” Bee said.
“Yes
I am…I love life here and school is so much fun.” Temi
lied.
“I
am so happy to hear that.” Bee said, pleased that Temi was finally leaving the
thoughts of her family behind.
“Errr…there’s
this thing that came up in school today, we were asked to play a game of groups
and somehow I chose group two. I finally found out, through the excursion
committee head that those that chose the first group will go for a summer
excursion to Egypt while the second group goes to Lagos. Ouch!” Temi smiled trying hard to give Bee a pained look.
Bee
sat up, she was worried instantly.
“Lagos?
Serious? Why can’t they put you with the first group, I mean…you should start
touring the world. I was already travelling when I was about three years
old. I could get a passport for you… I mean, with your new ID and all.”
When
she was enrolling her in the new school, Bee had insisted on changing Temi’s surname to
her family name and even though Temi didn’t like it, she had no choice but to
accept it.
“I
know Bee, but don’t you think it’s too soon for me to travel? I still get
dizzy sometimes and again, I wouldn’t like to be far from you too. Lagos is in Nigeria, isn’t it? If I’m in Lagos, we wouldn’t be that far from each other but Egypt? That’s like another continent.

Bee laughed nervously.

“No
it’s not and you know it.”
“If
I was left to choose, I’d rather spend the long holiday in this house, watching
films and reading books but remember what the doctors said, I’d have to be
careful not to live the life of a recluse or I might get back to my former
state…” Temi said, trailing off at the last sentence.
“Sure…true…you
definitely have to go to Lagos… I mean, I won’t want you to be here alone when I’m
at the Plaza and the plaza is not a place I want you to be at, especially everyday during the
holiday.” Bee said.
“Are
you sure that I should go? Because, I really don’t want to go to Lagos.” Temi
said.
“No
you have to…it’s a school excursion and it wouldn’t take more than a week, I guess. When
the time comes, you have to go… ” Bee said.

Temi
nodded and walked into the house. The fresh aroma of fried plantain greeted her
from the kitchen and she knew that Caro the cook was busy making lunch. Staring
at the beautiful house, she smiled sadly and shook her head. Despite, the
beauty and perfection of Bee’s mansion, Temi longed for the dusty exterior of
the Dolapo’s household, the faded paint of the walls and the worn-out chairs of
her father’s living room. She just couldn’t wait to go home.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I am so invested in these characters Ada…my gosh! This is so much fun!
    BTW can you post twice weekly? I know I sound greedy but one week is too long. Thanks for the post, it made my day.

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