Seyi
watched her mother mop about the house, it was about seven am on a Monday morning and Seyi wasn’t
ready for school yet, her uniform was still being ironed by the nanny.
“Are
you not going to school today? Why aren’t you dressed? The bus will be here
soon.” Her mother said.

“Yes
I know mom…my school uniform is being pressed.” Seyi said nonchalantly as she
plopped on the sofa in her night wear.
“Aren’t
you going to have your bath?” Her mother asked again.
“I
already have, I’m just waiting for my uniform.” Seyi said again.
“I
think you should start taking responsibility for your actions. You should
always make sure your uniform is washed and pressed a day before school day.
Besides you have two pairs of uniforms.”
Seyi
rolled her eyes and turned on the television.
“Am
I talking to someone?” Her mother barked.
“Don’t pour your frustration on me mom, please…” Seyi said rudely.
“Excuse
me? What did you just say to me?” Her mother asked.
“I
said, do not pour out your frustration on me, haba! Is it my fault that Sandra
left this house? Is it? Since she left, you have been a shadow of yourself, you’ve been snapping at everyone, please hold it!” Seyi shouted.
Her
mother gave her a blinding slap on her cheek and she saw stars, she opened her
mouth to talk again and the second cheek was dealt with an even heavier blow than the
first.
“I
hate you…I hate you…” Seyi screamed.
“Never
speak to me like that in your life again. Never!” Her mother shouted at her,
then calling out to the nanny, she said “ Nanny, leave that uniform. If she
can’t press it herself, let her wear a rumpled uniform to school.” Then turning
back to Seyi, she said “Don’t expect my driver to take you to school if you
miss the bus because once you do, you’ll either trek or take a public transport
to school. I don’t have any taxi money.”
“I
hate you so much…” Seyi screamed and ran upstairs to her father’s room.
On
getting there, she didn’t even bother to knock, she just pushed the door open
and stormed up to her father who was still asleep on the bed.
“Daddy!”
“What
is wrong Seyi?” Her father asked, yawning and opening his eyes.
‘It’s
mommy, she slapped me twice on my cheeks…” Seyi burst in tears.
“Slapped
you? Why would she do that?”
“What
kind of question is that? Am I in her head to know the reason she decided to
turn me into her punching bag this morning?” Seyi retorted.
“Calm
down Seyi, go get dressed for school, I’ll talk to her.” Her father said calmly.
“No!
You will talk to her now!” Seyi demanded.
“I
had a late night yesterday, surely this can wait…” He started.
“If
you do not confront mommy this moment, I will expose your secrets and I am
serious.” Seyi threatened. 
“Shhh…what
is wrong with you? I thought we are a team.” Her father hushed at her.
“Are
you going to talk to her now or not?”
“Okay…you
win…I’ll go.”
“And
tell her that her driver is taking me to school whether she likes it or not.”
Seyi said.
“I
have no authority over your mom’s driver. Don’t worry, I’ll drop you off at school myself.” Her father reassured.
“Whatever
dad…”Seyi said and stormed out of the room.
Her
father followed suit as he too had to face his wife.
*******
Chika
was already on her way to school when her mobile phone rang, she almost didn’t
pick the call but when she saw that the caller ID was Felix, she hissed and
answered the call.
“What
do you want from me? I haven’t forgotten the incident with your mad aunt.”
Chika hissed down the line.
“Please
can you come and pick me up for school? I have no money for transport and I can’t
walk to school.”
“When
did I become your new aunty? Please don’t give me headache.” Chika started.
“Please
now…I am already late and I am so broke right now…” Felix begged.
“Okay,
I’ll tell the driver to turn and head towards your direction.” Chika said,
finally taking pity on him.
“Thank
you so much.” Felix said in gratitude.
Ten
minutes later, Chika’s driver was parked on Felix’s street, Felix hurried
towards the car and hopped in.
“Hi…”
Felix greeted.
“Hello…you
look a wreck! Did you have any rest this weekend?” Chika asked.
“Mehn…my
life is crazy.” Felix replied.
“With
an aunt like yours, I bet it must be…” Chika replied.
“I
can’t defend her, can I?” 
Chika
shrugged and changed the topic.
“I
really don’t know what’s up with Nike, I didn’t see her in school on Friday
last week.” Chika said.
“What’s
your business with her? I thought you are not her friend anymore.” Felix
replied.
“The
biology teacher made her my partner for the science project and she hasn’t
showed up, I really don’t want her to make me get a low grade.” Chika complained.
“Hmmm…that’s
true. Maybe she’ll be in school today…the project is due on Thursday so, you
can still catch up.”
“I
guess. If I don’t see her in school today, I’ll go to her house and check on
her.”
“That’s
a good plan.”
“You’ll
come with me right?”
“Why?” Felix asked.
“Because you’ll need a ride home.” Chika smiled succinctly.
Felix
rolled his eyes and stared out of the window.
******
The
bell rung to indicate the close of school and Chika couldn’t wait to leave the
school, Nike hadn’t shown up and she was really worried. She had just stepped
out of her class only to bump into Seyi.
“Hey
watch it!” Seyi shouted.
“Don’t
raise your voice at me!” Chika spat back.
“Excuse
me jare…nonsense!” Seyi spat and stormed down the corridor.
Chika
hissed and tried leaving the scene but was stalled by two of her school mates,
Tonye and Gina.
“Hmmm….Chika,
whatever happened to your friendship with Seyi and Nike?” Gina asked, her eyes
twinkling with mischief.
“How’s
that your business?” Chika retorted.
“Well, just so you know, it’s the gist of the school that you guys are no
longer together. Was it boy issues?” Tonye asked.
“Or
did Seyi spill your secrets? I even noticed that she’s not even close to Nike
anymore.” Gina supplied.
“Nike?
That one that comes to class with a faraway look on her face. I heard she’s
your partner for the science project. Abeg o, don’t go and fail because your
partner is not serious, tell the teacher to change your partner quickly. I
mean…if Nike isn’t ready for science class she should port to commercial or arts.” Tonye said.
“But the biology project is for all classes na…even commercial and arts students are working on the project.” Gina said.
“I’ve
got to go now…” Chika started.
“Ehen…are
you dating Felix?” Gina asked.
“Yes
ooo…we’ve been seeing the two of your together and since we are incharge of the
school social week which comes up soon, we were wondering if we could place you
guys as the school couple.” Tonye said.
“What?
Excuse me?” Chika spluttered, baffled at their words.
“But
I’ve heard bad things about him and how he reads all those evil pornographic
magazines. My aunt Tessy told me that any guy that reads pornography is not boyfriend material.” Gina supplied ignoring Chika’s shocked look.
“What?
Who is talking about relationships? What are you girls talking about? I need to go…”
Chika started.
Thankfully,
Felix came to the rescue as he too, had been looking for her.
“Hello
Tonye, Gina and Chika.” Felix greeted.
“Hi
handsome…” Tonye giggled.
Gina
nudged her friend and frowned. “You don’t ever listen…didn’t you hear me say,
he’s not boy-friend material?” Gina whispered.
“We
have to leave now, bye.” Felix said and took Chika’s hand and pulled her away
from the gossip girls.
“Thanks
for the rescue. Those girls are trouble…” Chika said.
“That’s
why they heading the school’s social department, you can’t have boring people
on the board.” Felix laughed.
“It’s
not funny…” Chika said and walked ahead of him.
“Hey…where
are you running to?”
“The
school is thinking we are a couple and I don’t want them to think that.” Chika
hissed.
“Mtcheww…I
thought they said it was you and James that were a couple.” Felix said.
Chika
stopped at the middle of the school compound and shouted. “What?”
“Yep,
that’s the rumour I heard when I got into the school. I also heard about you
and your friends escapades. You girls are not popular for nothing.” Felix
said.
Chika
looked at him guiltily.
“That’s
the past…” She said silently.
“We
all have pasts…now, can we go to Nike’s house and see what’s stopping her from
coming to school?” Felix said.
“I
need a clean slate…seriously. I am tired of being tied to my former ways of
life. Yes, I was bitchy, I was rude and I used to do a lot of bad stuff but
somehow I changed. My father’s new marriage changed me, even Sandra changed me,
she is such a good girl and I loved her influence.” Chika said.
“Hey…it’s
all past now. I used to have a bad past too but I’ve changed too. It’s just
that people love to dwell on past lives of others instead of the present and it
sucks. We’ll take it one step at a time to becoming the kind of people we hope
to become in the future.” Felix reassured.
“No
more mistakes.” Chika vowed solemnly.
“No
more mistakes…” Felix said as he looked at her, “Now, let’s go and drag Nike
out of her house for this project. I won’t like to see you fail…”
Chika
laughed and playfully punched him on the arm. They both kept laughing till they
left the gate and got into the car.
******
“Why
is the food burnt?” Preye asked in anger.
Nike
looked a mess, her hair was scattered, her dress was torn all thanks to Preye’s
pulling and shoving. Her family had been locked up in her room and while her
mother and grandmother frantically tried to keep her grandfather alive and
breathing, with the aid of first aid, Nike had been reduced to the level of a
slave in her house. Preye barked orders at her, shoved the gun into her mouth
and even placed it against her head countless times, she was so weak and in pain.
“I
am sorry, I tried all I could but it burnt.”
Preye
gave her a sound slap on her cheek.
“You
are an untrained girl, do you know that? Your mother buttered you up and spoilt
you silly. If you were my wife, I’ll strangle you if you ever bring such
hideous food to me.” Preye spat.
Nike
thanked God that she was never going to be his wife.
“I
have called one of my guys at Magodo, he is coming here tonight, so you better
pack some of your stuff.”
“Pack
my stuff? What are you talking about?” Nike asked.
“I’m
taking you with me…we are going to be free tonight to start a life of our own.”
“Start
a life of our own? I am fifteen years old…” Nike protested.
“I
am thirty years old…old enough to take care of you and the family we will have
later.”
“I
don’t want to marry now, this is my life, I have a right to make my own
decisions.” Nike protested.
“Not
when you are mine. Now shut up and go and clear up the kitchen. I hope you gave
your family some food. I don’t want anyone dying on my watch and as for grandpa
Mcluski, tell him that I said, it won’t be long till we are gone so, he can get
all the medication he needs.”
Nike
nodded and walked to her room where her family were, she took out the keys from
her pocket and opened the door. Her mother and grandmother sat on their ground
with their backs against the wall while her grandfather lay on the bed asleep.
“Nike…”
Her mother exclaimed as soon as she saw her.
“Mummy…I
am so scared…” Nike cried.
“Why
are you scared? Aren’t you the one that brought him here in the first place?”
Her grandmother shouted at her.
“Don’t
shout at her mom, she’s a child and she didn’t know what she was doing.” Her
mother defended.
“I
hope you know that if your grandfather dies…you are the cause.” Her grandmother said to her.
“Please
granny…don’t say that, please…” Nike cried as she hurried to hug her mother.
“Did
you bring my phone? The one I asked you to bring.” Her mother asked in a quiet
voice.
“Yes…”
Nike nodded and retrieved the phone from her pocket which she handed over to
her mother.
“Thank
you…I hope he doesn’t know that I have this phone…I can’t believe he seized all
our phones and drowned them in the toilet. So evil of him!” Nike’s mother said.
At
that moment, Preye walked into the room, still with the gun in his hand.
“Wake
up old man!” Preye shouts at Nike’s grandfather.
Nike’s
grandfather wakes up and moans in pain.
“I
know that hurts but I have good news.” Preye started.
“Good
news?” Nike’s mother asked.
“Tell
her honey, tell her the good news.” Preye said to Nike.
“We…are…”
Nike stammered.
“We
are getting married. Nike and I are eloping to someplace faraway, so, you guys
will be free after tonight. Isn’t that great news?”
“What?
That’s not possible.” Nike’s mother screamed.
“Reduce
that tone of voice this instant.” Preye warned.
“You
are not taking my daughter anywhere.” Nike’s mother said hugging Nike fiercely.
“She’s
mine now…mama.” Preye said and grabbed Nike.
Nike’s
mother and Preye struggled to hold on to Nike and in the course of the
struggle, the phone Nike had just given her mother, fell to the ground in a
loud thud. Preye was shocked to see the phone, his eyes widened as he stared at
the phone on the ground.
“Who
have you been calling? Who knows you are trapped in this house?” Preye screamed
and lunged at Nike’s mother beating her in the process. Nike’s mother was quite
strong, she struggled with Preye and they both rolled on the ground. Nike and
her grandmother cried and begged that they stop fighting while her grandfather
kept moaning. Suddenly there was a loud shot and everywhere was silent.
Nike
ran to her mother and Preye and as soon as Preye staggered to his feet, she
knew what had happened. He had shot her mother. Nike turned to look at her
mother, she was clutching her abdomen and her eyes were fluttering as though struggling
to stay open. Nike lunged herself at Preye and screamed.
“You shot her! You shot my mother!” Nike cried as she fought Preye while he
tried pushing her away, he too confused at what had just happened.

Nike’s
grandmother rushed to her daughter’s side and started calling out her name but
it was too late, she was gone.

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