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Amelia screamed in pain, she had been behind bars for just
four hours and it felt like five days, she knew Andy was to be buried soon and she
shut her eyes tight as she imagined his stiff body being lowered into the
ground and shuddered. She took one look at the dingy cell that she had been
left in and cringed, rats ran about like it was their playing field. ‘Where is
George?’ She asked herself ‘Did he know she was arrested for Andy’s murder?
What went through his mind this moment?’

It was a huge tussle of power, between her father and Andy’s
father as Andy’s father was trying so hard to blow up the case through his
connections. She had just wiped another lone tear from her eyes when her cell
barricade was opened and a short sharp order was issued to her.
“Get out of that cell, your family has bailed you…”
Amelia struggled to her feet, she felt so weak and
light-headed, her eyes swooned and she almost fell again but straightened her
back and walked out of the cell.
By the time she got out, she saw her parents, they were
waiting for her with some policemen, she saw the pain in their eyes and the haggardness
in their gazes. She followed them to the car and soon they were out of the police
station.
The car moved steadily and Amelia could feel her father’s
eyes dart to her face through the review mirror then again at the road ahead.
“Amelia…are you okay?” Her mother’s raspy voice asked her
from the front passenger seat.
“Stop talking, let her be.” Her father cautioned.
“I was just telling her that I…” Her mother started then
burst into tears.
“Mommy, I am sorry…” Amelia said quietly.
“Please keep your apologies to yourself! Who are you? What
have you become? I didn’t… believe till I saw the passenger manifest of the
airline.” Her father said in a heavy voice.
“We have invited Barrister John Ekweme to the house, you
have a court hearing in two months.” Her mother supplied in a cracked voice.
“I didn’t kill him!” Amelia said.
“What were you doing with that man? Do you know what you
are? You are a whore! You are my daughter but you are a whore!” Her father
shouted slamming the steering with his fist. The car bounced down the road and
slowed down till he parked at a corner.
“Please believe me daddy.” Amelia cried.
“Believe you? I don’t know what to believe…do you know what
you have brought to me? To our family? Your news is all around town and I am
hounded everywhere, by friends, by the press, by everyone.” Her father barked.
“Did you have an affair with him?” Amelia’s mother asked,
turning around to face her at the back seat.
“Yes…” Amelia said quietly.
“Why? Amelia why? I thought you loved George! You have
barely spent two months as a married couple! Where is all this coming from?”
Her mother queried.
“I am sorry mommy, I shouldn’t have, and I wasn’t content. I
wanted more…I wanted…”
“You wanted what? I provided you with
everything…everything…what more do you want? Do you know what you’ve brought to
yourself? You could be charged with manslaughter! Do you know that Chief
Ifediora has refused to rest till you go behind bars? He has hired the best
lawyers and he wants to nail you! Enjoy the last free two months of your life
because as soon as you go to court, you might be sentenced to life in
prisionment.” Her father said.
“Don’t you say that! Don’t you dare say that about our
daughter! Why are you wishing her ill-luck? Yes, she had an affair with him but
did she kill him? Is she the first woman to have ever cheated on her husband?”
Her mother shouted at her father.
“Are you supporting her? She’s been married for just one
month! What reasonable woman cheats after her one month wedding anniversary?”
Her father barked.
“We have to be supportive for Amelia, she is our daughter or
do I have to remind you of that too?”
“Where is George?” Amelia asked quietly.
“We have no idea…he hasn’t been picking his calls…he isn’t
at your house either. I asked Chioma to go with the driver to look for him.”
Her mother supplied.
“Oh my God! I ruined my marriage…I’ve ruined
everything…everything…” Amelia cried.
“Did you kill him?” Her father asked silently.
“No daddy, I didn’t. We had just been in Ghana one night and
I don’t know but it just happened. I slept and woke up to find him dead, I ran
away because I was so scared. I can’t hurt a fly, you know me that much daddy.”
Amelia cried.
“Let’s go home…you can tell us the story on the way.” Her
mother said.
Amelia started her tale while her father pulled out of his parking
spot and drove them home.
********
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George was in a bar, the bottles scattered on the table
before him indicated that he had drunk far more than he had ever drunk in his entire
life. George had been brought up by strict parents who disciplined their
children and thought them self-control. George’s father had punished him the
first time he had caught him drinking a shot of his whisky which he had left in
the mini bar in the sitting room. He had been schooled by his father about the
dangers of alcohol and unlike most of his friends who drank till stupor, George
drank little and saved his stomach for meals. His father used to drum this
saying down his ears ‘Drunk men find loose women and those women are mostly the
end of them’.
Now, he couldn’t make sense of his father’s saying anymore
because he hadn’t been drinking or drunk when he saw Amelia for the first time.
He had actually seen her at the graduation party of one of his friends’ cousin
and immediately he saw her, he had known that she was for him and he wasn’t under
the influence of alcohol at the time. Now, as he stared at the empty bottles
before him, he knew he was drunk, very drunk and his bladder was so heavy that
he couldn’t even lift himself up for a quick pee. Sniffing loudly and staring
around the already empty bar, he released his urine on his trousers and closed
his eyes, opening them again when he was done.
“Oga we are closing for the night.” The female waiter said
to him.
“Clorrring?” George said in a slur.
“Yes sir, we are closing…here’s your bill sir.” The waiter
said as she handed the bill to him.
“Wharris de bill?” George asked.
“It’s twenty nine thousand…nine hundred and fifty naira
sir.”
George felt sleep seep into his bones, he shut his eyes and
slept, a loud snore escaped from his mouth and the waiter stared at him in
confusion.
“Mr. Beckley! Please come, this man doesn’t want to pay up!”
The waiter called out to the restaurant manager.
The restaurant manager walks up to meet a sleeping George and
shook him awake.
“Mister man, wake up and pay up!”
George murmured in his sleep, grunted and continued
sleeping.
“What are we going to do?” The waiter asked in panic, it was
her first day on the job and she was so sure that she had gotten herself into
trouble.
“What do you mean what are we going to do? How many times
has management said that once a customer drinks more than four bottles of
drinks, the waiter should request that he buys the drinking card? If he had
bought the drinking card, this would not have happened.”  The restaurant manager said.
“But sir…today is my first day on the job, I have not…”
“Search him, we need to see if he has atleast some money in
his wallet to pay the bills.” The manager said in an exasperated voice.
The waiter crouched to search George’s pockets and recoiled
at the odour coming from his trousers.
“Oh my God! He peed on himself!” She said.
“What’s my business? Take the wallet and see if there’s any
money!”
The
waiter retrieved George’s wallet, there was some money in it and credit cards.
“Sir,
he has twenty one thousand naira in his wallet.” She said as she quickly handed
it over to the manager.
“Seize
the cards as well, and wake him up so that he can go home. When he looks for
his credit card by tomorrow, he’ll come here and look for it and he’ll pay up.”
The restaurant manager added as he walked away.
Demilade
looked at the man who was snoring away while empty glasses and drinks
surrounded him. She almost screamed in agony. What kind of life is this? She
asked herself in despair. Anu had spoken to one of her friends whose dad owned
a restaurant and she had been given an automatic job as a waiteress. The pay
wasn’t so good but it was enough for now. After the cold-shudder treatment her
family had given her a couple of days ago, she had resolved to work very hard
and earn her keep. Her sister was doing everything possible to find her son and
her memory wasn’t anywhere close.
“What
am I to do with you? I’m not heartless to drag you out of here because I know
that you are too drunk and you might end up sleeping in one of the gutters till
morning. And if I decide to be a Good Samaritan and take you home, then, I
might lose my job because I am expected to work till two am at the restaurant’s
club. What am I going to do?” She asked herself.
Demilade
opened the wallet again and checked to see if she could find something useful.
She saw his ID cards and she sighed aloud when she couldn’t see his address. She
looked at the customer asleep on the chair and shook her head in pity, she knew
she wasn’t going to seize his credit card after the manager’s strict
instructions. She quickly closed the wallet and slipped it back into his
trousers. Then, she searched his other pockets inorder to retrieve his phone
and immediately she saw it, she opened it and searched through his contacts.
She found that he had twenty missed calls, mostly from ‘sister Meg, mummy’ and
other strange numbers, as she scrolled through, a call came in, it was from
Sister Meg, Demilade quickly answered the call.
“Good
evening…” She greeted.
“George…where
are you?” The lady’s voice came through, high-pitched and shrill.
“No ma…this
is a waitress…my name is Demilade.” She quickly recounted the circumstances to
George’s sister.
“Please
don’t leave him…I will be on my way right this minute…” Sister Meg said through
the phone and dropped the call.
She had
hardly dropped the call when the restaurant manager’s voice boomed at her.
“Why
are you still there? Didn’t I tell you to send that man out of here?” The
restaurant manager shouted.
“Yes
sir, you did…but I just called his sister and…”
“What’s
my business with that? Get him out of here and get back to work this instant!”
“But
sir… I can’t send him away just like that. He is a customer.” Demilade
insisted.
“Are
you challenging my authority? We have these kinds of useless fellows come in
here every day and we send them on their ways. Does this look like a crèche to
you?”
“Sir I
am sorry but I cannot send him out…it’s late and it’s very dangerous.”
“You
are fired!” The manager fired at her.
“Excuse
me?” Demilade blinked at the manager in confusion.
“You
heard me…you are fired and I want you to get out of this place as well. Remove
your uniform and leave this place.”
Demilade
was angry, she hurried off to the small quarters at the back of the restaurant
and changed her clothing. Maybe she wasn’t a lucky girl, she thought. First she
gets hit by a car, loses her memory, then gets trapped in the doctor’s house
with his wife, she is rejected by her siblings and now, after getting a job she
gets fired on the same day. ‘What is happening to me?’ she asked herself as she
leaves the boys quarters and goes back to meet a sleeping George. ‘I am the
most unlucky girl in the world’ she said to herself in affirmative as she sat
beside George and patiently waited for his sister to arrive.
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*****
Grace
had been bound, she could feel it. The spiritual chains held her tightly and
she knew she couldn’t do anything to save herself, she heard her phone ring and
she woke up as though one under the influence of alcohol. She stretched her
hands towards it and answered.
“Hello…”
“Baby…it’s
me! Where are you? I have been worried sick and I’ve decided that I’ll be on
the next flight to Ibadan tomorrow. I really need to see you.” A worried Isaac
said over the phone.
“Hmmm…”
Grace murmured, it was as though there was a chord fastened around her neck.
“Grace…what
is wrong? You sound sick…”
“Yea…I
mean…I’ll call you later…” Grace said sitting up and coughing loudly.
“Grace…is
everything okay? Grace? Grace!” Isaac queried through the phone.
Grace
cut the call and switched off her phone, she stared at the clock on the wall,
it was twelve minutes to midnight. She remembered the ritual and the ceremony
they had in the room, she was bound to chief by fire and blood and there was no
breaking away, ever. If she left him, she’d die and if he left her, she’d still
die as well, all odds were against her. She felt a burning sensation in her
throat and coughed harder, there was no one in the room with her, the last time
she saw Chief was in the afternoon and she hadn’t seen him again since then.
She coughed again and got up from her bed and walked to the toilet, she stared
at herself at the mirror above the sink and shuddered. Her eyes were puffy, her
cheeks sunken and her hair was a mess, a terrible one at that. She felt the
urge to cough again and coughed hard, this time she spat out the content from
her mouth into the sink. The phlegm from her mouth looked strange, it was big and
ugly, she turned on the tap and let water run over it, the object moved and
quickly hopped out of the sink and into the bath tub, it was a toad. Grace let
out a deafening scream as she watched the toad make its way through the tub and
disappear down the drainage system. She crouched to the ground, held her palms over
her ears and screamed.
******
Amelia
couldn’t sleep, she tossed and turned in bed while her eyes stood open like the
owls. As soon as she got to her parents’ house, her mother had given her some
tranquillizers and after she had taken them, she had closed her eyes for a
while and opened them again and since then, sleep eluded her. She sat up,
picked her phone and called George’s phone the umpteenth time, it rang again
till the dial tone ended.
“What
have I done? O God what have I done?” She cried aloud. Something told her that
George already knew and she was so devastated that he hadn’t even bothered to
pick her calls. Her mother had told her that George had later called the house
and as soon as Chioma confirmed the news that she had been taken away by the
police, he had screamed in fury and hung up the call. “Couldn’t he wait to
listen to my side of the story? I know I cheated on him but I still love him
and…and…I didn’t kill Andy! I am not a murderer!” Amelia cried loudly.
She
heard her father’s voice at the corridor as he made ceaseless calls to friends
and acquaintances. Amelia didn’t want to go to prison, she wanted desperately
to wake up from this terrible nightmare and continue her life with her peaceful
and loving husband. ‘Oh why did she throw away such pure happiness?’ she
thought.
*******
“Thank
you so much for everything, God bless you.” George’s sister said to Demilade as
soon as they helped George into his bed.
Sister
Meg had come to the bar in no less than twenty-minutes and Demilade had joined
her in taking George home. As soon as they got to George’s beautiful house, a
distraught maid ushered them in, his parents were in the house with distressed
looks on their faces.
“Thank
you my dear…you don’t know what you’ve done for us.” George’s father was
saying.
“Do you
know she was fired for this?” Sister Meg said to her father.
“What?
Thank you so much my daughter…” George’s mother reached out to hug Demilade.
“It’s
no problem ma.” Demilade said.
“I have
asked the maid to prepare a room for you…it’s already late and you can’t go
home now.” Sister Meg said to her.
“Thank
you ma, I appreciate it…” Demilade said.
The
maid walked out of one of the rooms and ventured towards them in tears.
“Na
news I dey watch since morning. If pesin tell me say my madam go do this kain
thing to my Oga ehn…I go gree. That woman nor love my Oga at all, na so so
command she go dey give pesin. Rose! Go and do this! Rose remof cobweb…chai! Na
so life be? Thank God say nor be my Oga she kill ooo…” The maid wailed louder.
“Please
show Demilade to the guest room…”Sister Meg said to the maid.
Demilade
followed the crying maid and when they reached the guest room, Demilade asked.
“Does
this mean, Mr. George doesn’t have a drinking problem?”
“Which
kain drinking problem? We nor dey see beer for fridge for inside dis house. You
nor dey hear news? Na im wife police come arrest sake of say she and man jolly
finish for inside hotel for Ghana and after de jolly, she kill am with knife!”
“Oh my
God! Is his wife the late Andy Ifediorah’s murderer? The news is all over the
television and newspapers? Oh my God! This is so sad!”
“And
this my Oga dey love him wife for Africa! He love him wife sotte…he dey borrow
money buy gift for am.” The maid said.

Demilade
shook her head in pity, here she was thinking that she was the most unlucky
lady in the world, right now, George’s problems were so much more than hers.

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