As Mickey walked home after leaving Chekwube at aunt Lizzie’s house, her mind wandered. ‘What was she going to do?’ Something told her that Baba Tee was up to no good. She knew that her brothers had penchants for leaning towards the wrong side but kidnap? That’s unbelieveable. Despite the fact that she was the only girl in their midst, she loved her brothers so much because they always stood for her and took care of her and her mother.
She was afraid.
If Baba Tee was involved in this and she covered up for him, then, she would be carrying a heavy load in her chest but, she loved her brother and didn’t want him to go to jail. After the death of her eldest brother, her family especially her mother had been terribly devastated and now, Baba Tee? She couldn’t let that happen but then again, she thought of Gbenga and his dad. Unlike her, Gbenga didn’t have siblings and his mother clearly wasn’t affectionate and from what he’d said to her and Chekwube, his mother just came back into the picture recently. There’s no doubt that Gbenga’s dad was all he had in the world and seeing her friend devastated over his father, broke her heart.
“What are you to do, Mickey?” She said to herself. “What if you find out what Baba Tee is up to but don’t let him get caught? Is that even possible?”
She groaned and made her way towards her compound, there was a police van outside and two officers were seated inside. Her heart skipped a beat.
“Have they found out that my brother might know something about the kidnap?” She whispered to herself as she took snail steps towards the house.
Hadiza, one of her neighbours rushed out of the compound but Mickey was fast enough to stop her.
“What is happening?” She asked. “Are the police in my house?”
“Your house ko…” The girl said.
“What is going on? Tell me.” Mickey pressed.
“It is Oga Nosike ooo…he came with the police this evening to arrest Broda Stanley for trying to…errr…to abuse Chekwube.”
Mickey’s breathing steadied.
“Are you serious?”
“Hmmm…that’s not all. Broda Stanley was trying to resist arrest but ehn, Tina and Tumise came forward to tell the police that he had also lured them into his room too.”
Mickey was stunned. All these were happening in her compound and she had no idea of it. She greeted Broda Stanley regularly but he’d never tried such with her.
“Are you serious? How come all of these have been happening and we had no idea of it?” Mickey asked.
“Well, they kept it a secret. It was when Oga Nosike came to arrest him that the girls confessed it all.”
“Did he try such with you?” Mickey asked.
“Me ke? Lai lai…my father would kill him.” Hadiza said. “I noticed that he has been doing that to those who don’t have strong family support systems. For instance, he can’t try that with you because your brothers will kill him.”
“Not just my brothers but me too.” Mickey said, repulsed.
They saw Broda Stanley struggle as he was dragged out of the compound into the waiting police van. Some of the parents in the compound were crying in despair as well as the girls who had confessed to his acts.
“I nor believe say we get dis kain pesin for compound ooo…every time, I go dey read paper and I dey see people like am but I nor ever believe say we get one for we compound.” One of the parents said.
Mickey stood there and watched as he was taken away while Hadiza went on her way.
Chekwube was in her bedroom when she heard a knock at the door, aunt Lizzie opened the door and walked in.
“Good evening auntie, I’m sorry that I didn’t greet you when I came in. You were speaking to someone on the phone.” She said.
“Yes…yes I was.” Aunt Lizzie said with a sigh.
“Is everything alright?”
“My brother is upset with me. He’s angry that I err…I sent his son, Ebuka, packing.”
Chekwube felt sad.
“I am sorry about this, I…understand if I have to leave.” She said.
“Chekwube, I am not sending you away.”
“But he’s your nephew.”
“Yes, he is but that doesn’t change the fact that he was wrong and that what he tried to do was preposterous.”
“What will happen to the relationship between you and your brother?”
“Well, I don’t know but as far as I am concerned, my children or his children can’t break the bond we share as siblings. He is upset now but he will come around. I am actually disappointed in him. I expect him to call his son and speak sternly to him instead of trying to take sides. Ebuka is lucky that he tried this is his aunt’s house but if he does so somewhere else, he could get into trouble.” She said.
Aunt Lizzie’s phone rang and she answered. As she spoke, Chekwube could see her eyes lighten up. When she dropped the call, Chekwube asked.
“Was that your brother?”
“No, that was Nosike and he has good news. The police have arrested that hideous man who tried to molest you and not only that, two girls from your compound came forth to tell the officers, all they know. You are needed at the station right now, to give your statement.”
Chekwube’s eyes brightened.
“Really? He has been arrested? Two girls spoke against him also?”
“Do you see what telling the truth saves us from? If you hadn’t spoken up, those girls would have bottled his abuse for the rest of their lives but you spoke up and now, he is going to be jailed for a very long time. I am certain of it.”
Chekwube smiled she felt like some sort of a hero.
“I won’t take the credit alone.” She said. “Mickey had a huge part to play in all of this.”
Aunt Lizzie smiled at her.
“I like her, she’s outspoken and stands for herself. That’s what we must all do, regardless our ages or status or anything. We must learn to speak and fight for ourselves because if we don’t, there’s no one that will.”
Chekwube nodded and smiled.
“So, tell me about Gbenga. Did you find out the reason he’s been missing classes?”
“Auntie, it’s a really long story…I’ll tell you on the way to the police station.” Chekwube said.
Jermia sat with Gbenga like a Zombie, she didn’t know what to say or do.
‘Speak now! Speak!’ The words in her head said.
Gbenga’s aunt and uncle as well as the domestic staff sat in the sitting room in silence, it was as though someone had died.
“Gbenga, I need to speak with you…” She said in a whisper.
Gbenga turned to her, his eyes were sunken from so much tears.
“What is it Jermia?” He asked.
As soon as she opened her mouth to speak, Bunmi came out from nowhere. Jermia swallowed her words.
“Gbenga darling, do you want to eat anything?” His mother asked.
Gbenga shook his head. His phone rang and everyone startled. Aunt Adunni was with the phone and when she saw the ID ‘unknown caller’ calling, she sat up straight.
“It’s them…it’s the kidnappers.” She said in a teary voice.
“Give me the phone.” Uncle Seyi said in a whisper.
She passed the phone to him and they all listened as he answered the call.
“Hello…” He said.
“Gbenga, it’s daddy…” Gbenga’s father’s voice floated through.
“Felix, oh my God! Felix…thank God you are alive…” Uncle Seyi started.
Gbenga shot off his seat and wanted to rush to take the phone from his uncle but Jermia pulled him back to the sofa by his shirt.
“I want to talk to my dad…let me go…” Gbenga struggled.
“Gbenga, please…don’t. It would kill him to know that you are aware of his kidnap and torture.” She said in a whisper.
Gbenga looked at her and nodded silently. Suddenly, his uncle shouted in alarm, his eyes were wide as saucers and he looked very terrified.
“Felix…Felix…” Gbenga’s uncle cried.
“What are you still doing with the phone? Give it to Gbenga. The call is for him.” Bunmi shouted at Seyi.
Gbenga stood up in worry.
“Gbenga don’t take the call please…” Jermia begged.
“Give Gbenga the phone, he deserves to know what’s happening to his dad.” His mother said.
Seyi held the phone to his ears, shut his eyes close and cried. Gbenga began to cry too, he wanted to listen in desperately but he was afraid to, his uncle looked clearly devastated. Uncle Seyi hung up the phone and threw it on the sofa in anger.
“I don’t care anymore, I am calling the police.” He said.
Gbenga ran to hug Mummy Justina and she soothed his tears.
To be continued….