James didn’t know where he was headed, all he knew was he
had to leave the house. His mother had chased him outside but she wasn’t fast
enough as he had gotten away on a bike.
“You never tell me wia you dey go…” The bike man told him
as he rode down the streets.
“Take me to number eleven Hassan Abike street…” He said
quickly.

James knew he was arriving at his friend’s house unannounced
but he had nowhere to go and it was already getting late.
He alighted at the gate of the house of his very good
friend, Zeek, a young boy his age who had been in the same school with him
while at primary school level. Zeek was attending the navy secondary school so they both
weren’t as friendly as they used to be as they weren’t schooling together anymore but their parents knew each other quite
vaguely.
James slung his bag over his shoulders and walked up to the
door of the house that he had visited very frequently in the past. He raised
his hand and knocked at the door, the door opened to reveal a young girl of
about thirteen.
“James?” She said.
“Hi Berna, what’s up?” James greeted.
Berna opened the door wider for him to come into the house.
James stepped in to see Zeek’s parents at the sitting room, they stared at him
as soon as he stepped into the house.
“James…how are you? Is everything alright?” Zeek’s mother
asked.
“Yes ma, I just need a place to spend the night…” James
said.
“Where are your parents? Do they know you’re here?” Zeek’s
father asked.
“Yes…but they travelled and I am kinda home alone and I
decided to come and stay here…” James lied.
Zeek’s parents stared at him confused, soon Zeek came out
from his room and hurried over to give James a friendly hug.
“Long time dude….what’s up?” Zeek asked.
“I just want to know if I can crash here for the night…”
James said.
“Lemme speak to my parents first but in the meantime, you
can chill in the room I share with my brother.” Zeek said.
As soon as James went into the room, Zeek’s mother asked.
“Do you have his mother’s number? Or do you know anyone who
might have her contact?”
“No mom, and I don’t think it’s necessary to call his mom…”
Zeek said.
“What do you mean it’s not necessary? That boy looks like he’s
in some kind of trouble and he’s here to sit it out. We are going to hunt for
his parents phone number tonight and see what’s going on. I don’t want anyone to call
the police for me and accuse me of kidnapping their son. Have you forgotten his father’s rank in the military?” His father said.
“Dad…it’s not that bad…I don’t think his parents would
think that.” Zeek said in defence. “I and James have been friends for a long time.”
“You think? I’ll pardon that statement of yours because you’re
a teenager and do not know anything. If you went to spend the night in his
place, the proper thing to do is for me to call his mother or father and inform
them of your intention to stay in their home. I can’t let him stay without
fully confirming that his parents are not looking for him everywhere.” His
father said.
“I remember dropping you off at his place while you both were in primary school. Is that still his address?” His mother asked.
“Yes mom…” Zeek answered.
“We’ll go there and see if his parents are really not at home as he claims. In the meanwhile, go and
stay with him and pretend as though everything is cool.” His father said.
Zeek nodded and retreated to his bedroom while his parents readied to leave the house. 
**********
Clara opened her eyes and looked around the room, it was the
wee hours of the morning and Kendra was still fast asleep. She sat up on her bed
and was startled to see Mommy seated on a chair in the room she shared with
Kendra, fast asleep. ‘Did she sleep here?’ she thought as she got up from the
bed and headed to the bathroom. Once she was done, she stepped out and headed
back to the bed but mommy’s voice stopped her.
“Kendra must have told you the good news. You have a
maternal aunt.” Mommy said.
Clara rolled her eyes and got into bed.
“I am talking to you Clara.”  She stressed.
“It’ four am in the morning and I need to get some sleep.”
Clara whispered in other not to wake up Kendra.
“It’s all your fault that this is happening. First of all,
you come into this house, ‘my’ house and act like you’re the first child of
this family, second of all, you strive to take my husband’s love from my
children and third, you’re trying to kick Kendra to the curb and become the
star child of the house. Don’t think that the fact that you spent three months
with my husband in this house has made him love you more than his children…his true children.” She stressed the last two words.
“You are so threatened by me…why?” Clara asked. “Oh I get
it, you want it all for your children but I’m a slave so I get nothing huh?”
“Listen to me and listen good, if you think Kendra’s dad is
going to love her less because of this pregnancy, you’ve failed. The storm will
soon be over and the sun will come out.”
“I really don’t know why we are having this conversation.”
Clara said.
“We are having this conversation because you’ve found your
aunt, and soon your mother’s people will come to see you and hopefully take you. I hope you know that you really have no place in this house.” Mommy said.
“You told Kendra a cock and bull story about my mother’s death. I am glad to finally realise that she’s alive.”
“Yes she’s alive and soon she’ll come and take you away from
here and away from my family.”
“You don’t get it do you? Even if my mom comes and I go with
her to wherever, I still bear my dad’s name, he’s still my dad and there’s
no changing that ever! And his house is my home.”
Mommy got up angrily from the chair and rushed towards Clara
and shook her.
“Don’t you get it? You do not belong here! You are
destroying this family!”
“Let me go! Let go of me now or I’ll tell daddy and aunt Carol!” Clara screamed as
she tried to free herself from mommy’s grasp.
Kendra woke up and turned to look at them.
“What are you doing here mom?” Kendra asked rubbing her
eyes.
Her mother let go of Clara  and smiled at her daughter.
“Are you awake dear? I was here watching you sleep…” She
said.
“Why was Clara screaming?” Kendra asked.
“Go back to sleep dear and stop bothering yourself about this stupid brat…” Mommy said.
“Stop it already mom! We both know that fighting Clara doesn’t
do anyone any good. She has a good heart and that’s why no matter how hard you
try to hurt her, she rises above it all.”
“Go back to sleep Kendra.” Mommy said harshly.
“You’ve never treated Clara as your child and I don’t think
it’s fair. I think you should apologise to her for all the years that you
treated her badly.”
“I’ll do no such thing and watch your tongue Kendra, don’t
think pregnancy makes you any wiser!” Kendra’s mom said and stormed out of the
room.
“I’m sorry Clara…” Kendra said. “I wish she knew better and saw you for who you truly are and not what she thinks you are.”
Clara smiled and nodded, plopping her pillows, she lay back
on it to sleep but sleep had eluded her as what filled her mind was the fact
that her mother was alive and that someday, she was going to meet her.
**********
James’s father stepped into his house at nine o’clock the
next morning, James had been brought back home by Zeek’s parents last night. He
had thrown a loud tantrum but Zeek’s father had stated that there was no way
that James was spending the night in his house. James had no choice but to go
home. He had entered the house and gone straight to his room and locked it
behind him. Raymond had been in the sitting room with their worried mother when
James got back home and when he locked the door, he had locked him out as they
both shared the room together.
Now, this morning, he couldn’t go to school because his
school uniform was inside the room, locked up with James. Veronica had pleaded, cajoled and begged
James to come out of the room but he had adamantly refused to do so.
Their father’s arrival caught their mother by surprise as
she wondered what could have brought him home at this time.
“Honey…you are home…” She said, wiping the tears from
her eyes and walking over to give him a hug.
“How come you didn’t tell me you were having challenges with
James?” He thundered.
“I…I…James is not giving me any challenges…I…” She
started.
Raymond stood at a safe distance, he knew that his father
was angry and to him it was best not to approach a boiling volcano. The ‘boiling
volcano’ was the name Raymond and his brother had nicknamed their father, he
only had to get angry with you and you’d be scarred for life. Their mother knew
how strict her husband was so she tried everything she could to hide their
mistakes from him or he’ll skin them alive.
“Raymond!” His father called out.
“Good morning…sir…” Raymond greeted, not even bothering
to move forward to hug his dad.
“Raymond called me last night and told me that James ran out
of the house…” 
“What? Ray called you…to…what…” His wife stammered.
“Where is James!” Ray’s father barked. “James!”
“He locked himself inside the room, he ran away last night
to his friend’s house but his friend’s parents brought him back home.” Raymond
said.
His mother glared at him warning him with her eyes to shut
up.
“How come you’re not at school?” His father asked.
“My school uniform is inside the room and James hasn’t left
that room since last night and he has refused to let me in either.” Raymond said, determined to tell the truth.
“What made him run away?” James father asked, looking at his
wife.
“I ….err…he…we…just had a misunderstanding…you
didn’t need to come home…he…please just try to hear him out…I mean…”
Raymond’s mother blabbed.
“He got a girl pregnant and denied it and ran away because I
showed mommy the video that proves that he really did it.” Raymond blurted.
“You are so dead! Raymond!” His mother screamed at him in anger.
Raymond’s father was already taking heavy strides to his sons
room, his wife saw where he was headed and ran to the door, flinging herself on
the door frame.
“Please…calm down…please…don’t do anything you’d
regret.” She cried.
“Will you get out of my sight? How could you let him get to
this level? Impregnate a girl? Are you serious? At this age?” Her husband
thundered.
“Please…don’t hurt him I beg of you…” She cried.
“James if you do not want to die today, open this door at
the count of three. One…” Their father counted.
*********
James was asleep when he heard a voice that sounded like his
father’s. Impossible he thought. His father was at the military barracks in
Kaduna and was far away from home. He continued his sleep again and the voice
came clearly as it sounded as though his dad was in the sitting room of the house. He
stood up from the bed and walked to the door and placed his ears to confirm if
it was indeed his father.
It was!
The fear that came over him was instant, he began to
tremble. Who called daddy? Was all he could mutter to himself. As though that
was not enough, he heard his father scream about his getting a girl pregnant.
James fell to his knees and wanted to throw up in fear, he was dead meat. The
last straw that broke the camel’s back was when James’s father stormed up
to the room door and demanded that it be open.

Who dared disobey an order by his father, Colonel Jeffery
Dabah? He shook so bad that he peed on his body.
To be continued tomorrow…

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