Story: Dream of a Mother

    Episode 1

    He was running as fast as his legs could carry him, the house was just ahead. He could see the lights of the house, the curtains were drawn, and the inhabitants of the house were probably asleep, unaware of the terror about to be visited on them. He was able to get in front of the ivory painted gate now, and he began shouting on the top of his voice.

    “Help, Help, wake up” he yelled at the top of his voice. But a shot rang out, and he was still gazing at the lit balcony of the house, when he felt a pain rip through him, he held his throat as blood spurted out of it. Before he fell to the ground, he saw a young woman come out to the balcony, he wanted to warn her, but the darkness enveloped him, and the world blacked out…

    Twenty Years ago

    “Subhanallah! What am I going to do now, my father will disown me” Khadijat said aloud as she looked at the food she had just eaten and thrown up in the toilet sink. For the past few days she had been throwing away her food because the smell of food made her feel queasy. But she made sure she threw it away in the central dustbin because if her mother found out that, she was throwing away food, she would become inquisitive and then her secret would be out.

    But how long was she going to hide it? She pondered as she thought of her predicament. Khadijat was the only daughter of the Imam Hassan of the central mosque in Oshogbo. The Imam had about seven sons, but they were all grown-up and married, with their families in different cities. Khadijat was just 18 and had just gotten admission into the University. However she had begun to see the Christian boy, Damilola, in the next flat. This was unknown to her father, who spent all his waking hours at the mosque, and her mother, who was up as early as 4am to buy drums of palm oil from the market which she would sell at her shop at wholesale prices.

    When Khadijat had missed her monthly visitor, she had told Damilola who had convinced that perhaps her monthly visitor was late this time. But something had told Khadijat that the secret play she played with Damilola had brought out result and landed her in trouble. She waited a few more weeks and when her monthly visitor did not come, she knew for sure that she was in trouble. She again, intimated Damilola about the development, and he had advised her to get a pregnancy test home kit. But even before Khadijat saw the two red lines on the strip she had urinated on, she had known she was pregnant. The cramps, the tenderness in her b----t and even the queasiness had told her that she was with child.

    Her world had crumbled when Damilola had told her that he was traveling to India to study Medicine and cannot be responsible for a child.

    “Besides, I am not the only one you were sleeping with” he had said to her that fateful evening that she had told him she was pregnant. Khadijat had slapped him so hard across the face and had walked back to their flat. She had stayed away from him for days, hoping that he would come back to his senses. Had he not said that he loved her, and was ready to convert to Islam, for her sake? Then why would he say a thing like that to her? Surely, he would come back to his senses, he is probably afraid of such a huge responsibility, she made excuses for him.

    But for days, Damilola did not attempt to meet her, she did not even see him at the balcony where they usually met. So she summoned courage and went to his house to ask for him. There, she was given the shocker of her life, Damilola had already traveled out of the country.

    Damilola’s mother: “Are you alright, you look pale” she asked, looking at the young girl, with the hijab covering her head. She wondered though, what her son was doing with the Muslim girl. She was beautiful for sure, but her son would not dare have anything to do with an unbeliever.

    Khadijat: “I am alright ma’am” she said and turned to go, but she stopped and asked, “Is there any way I can reach him, I really need to talk to him” she said and this time she could not stop the tears from spilling over.

    Damilola’s mother: “Oh no, what is going on now?” she asked, with her heart hammering in her chest because, somehow she knew even before Khadijat opened her mouth to say anything. The young girl explained to this Christian woman that she had an affair with her son and now she was pregnant.

    Khadijat had begged Damilola’s mother not to tell her parents yet, as she was not ready to break the news to them. But she knew she could not hide it forever, so she decided it was time to open up and face the consequences. She decided she would wait until her father was back from the mosque and her mother, from the market. That evening, she went to the next flat to tell Damilola’s mother that it was time to intimate her parents about her pregnancy. They were both talking by the door when they heard a voice.

    Who did you think owns the voice

    Episode 3

    Halima was the child nobody wanted their child to associate with. She was a Muslim, but she had gotten out of control of her parents. Her father was an Alhaji who was more concerned with making money than whether his daughter was walking in the path of Islam. Her mother had a big fabric shop in Ayegbaju International market, where she sold imported fabrics which she imported from Dubai and all around the world. So, Halima went out with aristocratic men, for her, it was not about the money, but about the domination of these men in bed, and the class. Halima was just 18, but she had the body of a grown woman with luscious hips and ample buttocks, her fair skin glowed and her eyes which were always coated with Kohl, held Nubian promises. Aside her physique, Halima had also aborted so many pregnancies, that girls her age could not have done.

    When Khadijat started crushing on Damilola, it was Halima she told. Halima advised her to go after Damilola, but Khadijat was a reserved girl and even she knew that Halima’s ways were not pure. But when Damilola began to pursue her, he was too charming to resist and she threw caution to the wind. Again, when Damilola asked that they consummated their love, it was Halima, Khadijat went to, and asked for advice. Halima advised Khadijat to give in to Damilola, that if she didn’t, another girl was going to give it to him and he would leave her. Khadijat, afraid to lose her new found love, gave in to Damilola, and here she was.

    She had told Halima when she first found out she was pregnant, the latter told her not to tell her boyfriend, Damilola, for he would look at her as a girl who could not take care of herself. She advised her to abort the pregnancy, but Khadijat was too afraid to do an abortion and she had chosen to tell Damilola. But now that things had become worse, she had no other option but to abort the pregnancy, and restore peace to her family. So, she called Halima.

    Halima: “I told you, telling him was not the right option, everyone knows you are pregnant now. Anyways, it is not too late, meet me at Shoprite, I will take you to my abortion doctor” she said when Khadijat called.

    When Khadijat got to Shoprite, she was still sure she wanted to abort the pregnancy, so she went with Halima to the clinic where she told her was where she did all her abortions. But when they got to the clinic, Khadijat looked on, with horror, at the young girls lined up, some coming out of the inner consulting room with pain on their faces. She sat down with them and looked on with confused eyes, as Halima booked her for a D and C. She told herself she was doing this for the love of family, she was so sure that if she aborted the pregnancy, her family would be whole again, and things would go back to the way it used to be. But no one told her that, even if she aborted the pregnancy, the deed was done and her father would never see her as he saw her before.

    Her name was called and she walked tentatively to the inner room, while her friend, Halima smiled at her encouragingly. Halima was smiling at her phone and tapping away in a chat with one of her lovers when Khadijat ran out of the inner room, screaming on top of her lungs.

    Khadijat: “I can’t” she cried.

    Episode 2

    What did you say?” the voice exclaimed. Both Khadijat and Damilola’s mother turned and saw Khadijat’s mother, standing on the stair landing and gaping at them. She had obviously heard all that her daughter was saying to Damilola’s mother.

    Damilola’s mother: “Neighbor, take it easy. It is only pregnancy, nobody died” she said

    Khadijat’s mother: “Khadijat, you have killed me, you have finally destroyed us and brought shame on us. You got yourself pregnant for an infidel?” she cried as she hurried up the remaining flight of stairs. She dragged her daughter, into their flat and slammed the door, despite Damilola’s mother’s protests.

    Khadijat: “Mother, I am sorry, please forgive me” she cried.

    Khadijat’s mother: “I thought you were in the right path. I always thanked Allah for giving me such an obedient child who walked in the ways of Islam. I used to pride myself in the fact that you always wore your hijab and never missed any Salat. Is this what you were really doing, allowing an infidel defile you?” her mother cried, her voice choked with so much emotions.

    Khadijat: “I am sorry mother, he said he loved me” she cried along with her mother. They were oblivious of another presence in the house, until he grabbed Khadijat and flung her to the wall.

    Khadijat’s mother: “Alfa, she is our only daughter, do not kill her for me” she cried and rushed to pick up her daughter.

    Imam: “How can you bring me so much shame? You, who has been an example to all the young people in the mosque, Khadijat, what will people say of an Imam whose child got pregnant by a Christian!” he said and sat down, holding his head between his head.

    Khadijat’s mother: “She is a child, who has been misled by that infidel. We have to salvage the situation” she pleaded, kneeling before her husband.

    Imam: “There is no salvaging anything; this abomination will not stay in my house. Before I go in and come out, I don’t want to see Khadijat in this house, I disown you!” he yelled and rushed into his room.

    Khadijat’s mother looked up to the heavens, wishing that solution would come. She knew her husband was a hard man, and when one of his brother’ daughters had gotten pregnant, he had advised his brother to throw her out. She had thanked God for giving her a daughter who embraced Islam and walked in the right path, so that she would know no shame. How could she have known that, despite all the outward appearances, her Khadijat was seeing not just any boy, but a Christian boy?

    Khadijat: “Maami, please talk to father, I don’t want to leave my family. You are all I have now” she cried, holding on to her mother’s wrapper.

    Khadijat’s mother: “Your father would soon be back, and I cannot tell what he would do if you are still here. Come, lets go to the neighbor’s, you will stay there until your father’s anger is quenched” she replied and took her daughter by the hand.

    When they got to Damilola’s house, Damilola’s mother intimated Khadijat’s mother about her son’s traveling, and that Damilola would not be back until he was done with his studies.

    Khadijat’s mother: “Khadijat, did you tell Damilola about the pregnancy?” her mother asked .Khadijat nodded and her mother shook her head. Don’t they teach these Christians anything about responsibility, she wondered.

    Damilola’s mother: “My son is just a boy and there was nothing he could have done. Your daughter can stay with me until she delivers. After her delivery, she can go on with her life, while I take care of my son’s child”

    Khadijat’s mother: “That child is also my grandchild. Would you just separate a mother from her child?”

    Damilola’s mother: “I am not saying so. Well, it is too early to argue about this, we should think of the girl’s welfare first” she replied, looking pitifully at the young Khadijat.

    Khadijat cried as her mother left her in Damilola’s house, she prayed that her father’s anger would quench quickly so she could go back to her family. She thought of the life growing in her and sighed. She could not blame the child for what was happening to her because if she had followed the precepts of Islam, she would not be in this predicament. For days, her elder brothers came and begged her father to pardon Khadijat and bring her back to the house, but the Imam refused, and even threatened to send their mother packing. The only way he would accept Khadijat back was if she was no longer carrying an infidel’s child.

    Khadijat decided to take matters into her hands to right the wrong that she had done, there was something she could still do. She took out her small cell phone and called her best friend, Halima.

    Question: What do you advise Khadijat to do, should she abort the child and restore peace to her family, or should she face whatsoever life throws at her consequent of her pregnancy?

    Episode 4

    Halima: “What do you mean you cannot?” she asked, turning around abruptly, twirling her long Brazilian weave.

    Khadijat: “The prodding with metal objects, inside me. I am practically still a virgin, I did it just once. There is no way that metal will enter my body without destroying something” she cried.

    Halima: “Stupid girl, you are no longer a virgin, you are pregnant, and if you don’t go in there, this pregnancy will destroy your life and family” she yelled, hoping she could yell ‘sense’ into Khadijat’s head.

    Khadijat: “I will not do this” she said vehemently and walked out on her friend, who shook her head sadly and followed her.

    Halima followed Khadijat home, hoping that she would be able to convince her friend to heed her advice, but the latter was adamant, and too scared to ever consider abortion again. When she had entered the inner room, the first thing she had seen was the bucket full of blood and obviously foetal elements. Then she had seen the different scalpels, and knew that they would go into her body, destroying the developing foetus and probably her womb. In horror, she had run out of the room, and there was nothing Halima could tell her that would make her go back there or anywhere else for abortion.

    The two girls were still talking when Khadijat’s mother walked up to them.

    Khadijat’s mother: “So Khadijat, this Omo ale is your friend? This girl that is the reject of our society is your friend. Why then am I surprised that you got pregnant? Ha, Khadijat you have made me the laughing stock of the society, you were not what I thought you to be” she said and burst into tears.

    Khadijat: “Mother, I am so sorry. Forgive me mother. I am so confused right now” she cried and rushed into her mother’s arms. Despite her mother’s push, she clung to her mother.

    Khadijat: “Help me mother, I don’t want to do an abortion and I want our family to be whole again”

    Khadijat’s mother: “Oh my Khadi, you naïve little girl. Don’t you know that, no matter what you do, our family will never be whole again? Your father put so much trust in you, it is the reason he sent you to school, to prove to everyone that female children are worth something too. Look now, you disappointed him, nothing can ever be the same” she said as she stroked her daughter’s hair.

    They were in front of the house, and Damilola’s mother watched them from the balcony. She shook her head at the pitiful sight. If only girls would be wise, they let themselves go and have fun with a man, but they were the ones who bare the pain and shame of that fun. Her son was there in India, while the girl he had impregnated was here in Oshogbo, suffering the consequences. She decided right then that she would not let the girl’s life be destroyed because of one mistake. She hurried downstairs to meet them.

    Damilola’s mother: “Khadijat’s mother, please, let me send Khadijat to my sister in Lagos. If she continues to stay here, she would go through some much emotional trauma After delivery, she can fight for another admission into school. She is still young and has her life ahead of her. Let us join hands and make sure that this one mistake does not destroy her life” she said soberly.

    Khadijat’s mother saw a kindness she had not seen before in most Christians she knew, in the woman’s eyes she saw a genuine concern for Khadijat’s well being.

    Khadijat’s mother: “Thank you, thank you very much. Perhaps it is Allah’s will, that our families be joined together by a child” she said and embraced the other woman.

    The Imam stayed away from his home as much as he could, and his wife concentrated on her business. She was galvanized by the fact that her daughter was in good hands. She hoped that with time, her husband, the Imam, would come to accept things as they were. But she was soon to find out that, her husband was not ever going to accept things, in fact, he was going to take care of the cause of all the trouble.

    Khadijat wished that Damilola would call her even for once, she knew that his mother had called him, but yet he had refused to call her. Did he even care for her at all, or had she just been someone he could manipulate. She wiped the tear that threatened to fall, and summoned courage. She had made a vow not to cry anymore, as God had been good to her to give her a second mother in Damilola’s mother.

    “Did you think I was going to allow you destroy the name I have worked years to build?” she heard the voice, and knew who it belonged to, even before she turned.

    She turned, with fear on her face and stared at her father. The Imam was as angry as the first day he had heard about the pregnancy. He even looked more ferocious, but what was more frightening, was the knife in his hand.

    Question: What is the intention of the Imam, does he seek to kill his daughter or the growing child?

    Episode 5

    Khadijat: “Father” she said, fear had paralyzed her so much that her words came out as a whisper, even though she was screaming with fear in her heart. The man standing before her was carrying her father’s face, but it was like she could not recognize him.

    His eyes were red rimmed and bloodshot like he had been crying, and in them were filled so much hate and disgust at Khadijat.

    Imam: “You Khadijat, you whom I have loved so much, has brought me so much shame” he snarled, through clenched teeth, as his fingers clenched the knife harder.

    Khadijat: “Father, I know I have caused you pain, but I am sorry” she cried.

    Imam: “You are sorry? Well sorry, doesn’t just make everything right, does it?” he asked. Khadijat knelt down and pled with her father, but whatever she said, was falling on deaf ears. Her father still progressed towards her, with hate, evident in his eyes. She stood up and ran away from his path, but her father followed her.

    Imam: “I will take out that abominable thing” he snarled, as he swung the knife at her stomach. It grazed her slightly but it drew blood. Khadijat yelped, but even her screams did not return her father to her senses. Khadijat tried to run into one of the rooms, but her leg tripped over a small stool, and she fell. Her father came and sat astride her and then he raised the knife up and brought it down.

    Between the time that he raised the knife and brought it down, there was a small window, and that was when Damilola’s mother entered. She saw father and daughter on the floor, and without asking questions, she took a statue by the television set and hit the Imam on the back. The suddenness of the attack made the knife fall out of the Imam’s hand, clattering to the floor. He turned back to see his assailant, and that was when Khadijat pushed him off and scurried out of the house. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her, without thinking as to where she was running to. Her father had intended to kill her, she had seen it in his eyes. She had stared death in the face and somehow, she had lived. All she could think of, was running away from her father.

    The statue had injured the Imam and drew blood, and for a moment, Damilola’s mother was scared that the Imam would turn on her, and do to her what he had intended to do to his daughter. But then, his eyes glazed over, he blinked and then looked at the knife in his hands.

    Imam: “Oh no, where is Khadijat?” he asked, as if back from a trance.

    Damilola’s mother: “You are asking me, you almost killed that little girl” she exclaimed, edging closer to the door, so she could escape, at the slightest appearance of trouble.

    Imam: “I had come here to see her, but when I saw her” he paused and rubbed his eyes like he was trying to stop himself from crying, “I could see the little swell of her stomach, and I could not control my anger” he said.

    Damilola’s mother: “Liar! You brought that knife here, with the intent of harming your own daughter. What do you people learn in your Quran? She is your daughter for God’s sake” she said passionately.

    Imam: “Don’t shout on me woman! You do not know what you are talking about. She has destroyed the name I took years to build. When I make the prayers at the mosque, people don’t pray, they whisper behind my back. The Imam’s daughter allowed herself be defiled by an infidel!” he yelled.

    Damilola’s mother did not bother to say any more words, she ran out through the door, and bumped into Khadijat’s mother, who was about to knock on the door.

    Khadijat’s mother: “Neighbour, who is pursuing you?” she asked, puzzled.

    Damilola’s mother: “Your husband has gone mad! He wanted to kill your daughter, and now she ran away, I don’t know where she has gone” she said panting with fear.

    Khadijat’s mother ran into the house and held her husband by his jalabiya, this was something she had never done before.

    Khadijat’s mother: “Alfa, you will kill me today. Just kill me because it is my fault that Khadijat is pregnant. I am the one who should have watched over her and known everything that was going on with her. It is my fault, kill me and let my daughter be” she cried.

    Imam: “You have rightly said it, that it is your fault. But I will not kill you, I will divorce you and marry a woman who can take care of her children and make sure they don’t go astray. Now, pack your things and leave my house” he said and pushed her away.

    Khadijat ran across a busy road, oblivious of the busy traffic. She did not realize how far away from home she had run, until she saw a sign post. She was confused and she stopped in the middle of the road. She realized too late that she was in the path of oncoming vehicles

    Did you think the Imam was telling Damilola’s mother the truth about getting angry and mistakinly hurting Khadijat
    What did you think will happen to Khadijat in the next episode.

    Episode 6

    She screamed and tried to run to the other side. But, it was a little too late, as a car slammed into her and flung her to the other side of the road. She fell on the rain washed tar road, and soon, it became dark. The shouts and screams from witnesses, were like it was coming from another planet.

    While people came to beg the Imam not to send his wife packing, his wife went looking for her daughter, Khadijat, in all the places she knew her daughter went. She even went to Halima’s house, but the latter told her, in no kind words, that her daughter was not in their house.

    Khadijat’s mother: “Please, but she was with you the other day, help me my daughter” she cried desperately.

    Halima: “Oh, I am now your daughter. When you called me a b-----d and a society’s reject, you didn’t know I could be somebody’s daughter. Your daughter is not here and even if she came here, I would not let her stay” she said harshly and slammed the gate in the woman’s face.

    Khadijat: “Subhanalai! What am I going to do now, where do I look for my Khadi?” she cried, with her hands on her head, not minding that she had left the house without putting on bra.

    Halima had her own problems; she had found out just yesterday, that she was pregnant. The abortion doctor had told her the last time that she couldn’t have any more abortions again, because if she did, she might never be able to have her own children. The worst of it was that she was pregnant for her Christian boyfriend. No matter how liberal her parents were, she could never marry a Christian, her father was an Alhaji.

    Would I now be a single mother? Which Muslim man would marry me with another man’s child?

    “Ha Halima, you have really outdone yourself this time”

    The thoughts kept reverberating on the walls of her mind. She should have been careful, she told herself. If only she was not addicted to raw s-x, if only she had heeded the advice of the abortion doctor and used protection.

    “Enough of the blame game, now you have to think of a solution Halima. Can you risk excommunication from your family because of him?” She thought to herself.

    She made a decision that, she would keep the pregnancy, and if her boyfriend accepted, she wouldn’t mind converting to Christianity. It would cost her a lot, but what other choice did she have? She couldn’t condemn herself to a life of barrenness.

    Everyone watched the young girl splayed on the cold road, there was blood around and they thought her dead. Rather than see if she could be saved, they took out their phones and took snapshots of the accident, they had to be the first to share the eyewitness photos on the internet. The driver of the car that hit her had long vanished with his car. Other drivers maneuvered their way around the body, with pity etched on their faces, but no real will to help. An elderly woman, who was dressed in two Hollandes wrapper and a market bag in her hand, stopped and started screaming for help. When she saw that nobody was making any move to help the girl. She took to her heels, with her fallen b----t flapping with the wind, running towards the closest clinic.

    When she got to the bungalow clinic, she started screaming on top of her lungs. This brought out the nurses who wondered why the old woman was shouting on top of her voice.

    Nurse: “Madam, wetin dey worry you. Why you dey shout like woman wey dey labour”

    Old woman: “Please, help me, a girl has been knocked down on Ola Iya junction. Please come before she dies” she said with so much urgency, that a man dressed in doctors’ garb ordered the emergency unit to take the ambulance with the woman, to the site of the accident.

    Question: Will Khadijat be saved or will she die with a wish on her lips?

    Episode 7

    The old woman who had saved Khadijat was called Madam Lagos in her vicinity because, her son was in Lagos and was doing well. Everyone knew Madam Lagos as a kind hearted woman of substance. She had lived all her life in Oshogbo, serving in the civil service. Now she was retired and was living her life quietly, given to public service.

    Madam Lagos paced up and down the hospital hall way, it had been an hour since Khadijat was brought into the hospital, and no one was telling her anything. Nurses came in and when out, but none of them gave her the information she needed. She consoled herself with the fact that if they were still inside, it meant the girl was still alive. But things escalated faster than she thought.

    A doctor rushed out and told Madam Lagos that this was beyond them, the pregnancy was distressed and the girl’s life was in danger. Therefore, they were transferring her to the Lautech teaching hospital, where specialized doctors could take care of her. Khadijat was brought on a stretcher, she was bleeding but Madam Lagos didn’t know from what part of her body she was bleeding from. There was blood everywhere.

    At the teaching hospital, she was taken to the Intensive care unit immediately. Madam Lagos called her church pastor and asked that a prayer be raised for the girl who was in an accident.

    Madam Lagos: “She is just a little girl and she is pregnant, this feels personal to me. Please pastor, let the church pray for her, that she would live” she said.

    She also kept up a vigil, praying throughout the night for a girl she had never met before now. The doctors worked tirelessly, an hour turned into hours, and finally they came out to tell her that the girl was in coma and would be watched.

    (IMAM’s residence)

    Khadijat’s mother: “How can you be this heartless? Your daughter is nowhere to be found because you wanted to kill her, and all you care about is that I leave your house?” she screamed at the Imam, her husband.

    Damilola’s mother: “These rants will solve nothing. We have to look for Khadijat, if possible, put a missing person notice on the television”

    Imam: “I have nothing to do with a daughter that has brought me so much shame” he replied vehemently.

    Khadijat’s mother: “I can feel it, my daughter is in trouble” she said holding her chest.

    With the help of other neighbours and Khadijat’s brothers, posters bearing Khadijat’s face were made and distributed. Khadijat’s mother pushed the poster in the faces of passersby, asking them if they had seen her daughter.

    “This girl is your daughter?” one of the passersby asked, as he scrutinized the poster.

    Khadijat’s mother: “Yes she is, have you seen her?” she asked anxiously.

    Passerby: “Ha it is a pity, she was knocked down by a hit and run driver at Ola Iya junction, she is dead” he said with a pitiful look, shaking his head from side to side.

    Khadijat’s mother: “It is not true, my daughter cannot be dead” she cried shaking the man, who said ‘sorry’ over and over again, before extricating himself from the woman’s tight grip.

    Damilola’s mother: “What is it, what has happened?” she asked with wide eyes. The way Khadijat’s mother was crying with so much grief, told her that the worst had happened.

    Khadijat’s mother: “They said Khadi was in an accident, that she is dead. But it is not true, my Khadi cannot die just like that” she said between sobs, “Khadijat! Khadijat!” she wailed on the top of her voice.

    They went to Ola Iya junction to ask around and they were told that a girl who seemed pregnant, had been knocked down by a hit and run driver. Everyone they asked told them that she was dead. It was all a misunderstanding, many had seen her lying there, but somehow the ones they asked did not see the ambulance that came back with Madam Lagos, to carry Khadijat, even the ones that saw the ambulance, assumed that it was her dead body that was being carted away.

    Khadijat’s mother: “Subhanalai! My only daughter is gone. Why has this happened to me?” she wailed and rolled on the floor. People watched with pity on their faces, while the people who had come with her tried to console and carry her away.

    Damilola’s mother was beside herself, she blamed everyone for the loss of Khadijat’s life, but much more, she blamed herself.

    “If I had been more attentive to my son, perhaps I would have found out about the pregnancy earlier, and it would never have escalated to this point” she muttered as she whisked teardrops away. She remembered Khadijat as a beautiful, young lady, who was religious but not fanatic. She always had a smile for everyone, and associated with everyone including Christians. She didn’t deserve to die, Damilola’s mother thought.

    Damilola’s mother: “She didn’t deserve to die. That baby in her deserved a chance!” she cried out, unable to hold the pain inside. Her grandchild was lost forever.

    Episode 8

    Things never remained the same for the Imam’s family. When he heard that his daughter had died a horrible death, he felt the weight of how his lack of understanding had pushed his daughter to her death. He began to remember Khadijat for what she was before the whole pregnancy saga. She was a loving and caring daughter, the part he should have remembered all along, and held on to, despite the shame he felt from her pregnancy. But now, it was a little too late for him to be remorseful. Nobody cared about his remorse, not even his wife, Khadijat’s mother, who had packed out of his house. His sons and everyone blamed him for his daughter’s death. He blamed himself too. The mosque that he was so concerned about began to abhor him. He stayed away from prayers, because people no longer talked about his daughter’s pregnancy, but about his cruelty that drove his daughter to an early grave.

    However, Khadijat did not die. Whether it was the prayers of the people praying for her, or it was sheer luck, Khadijat woke up from coma. But she did not remember anything about herself. Khadijat had lost her memories. Her mind was like a Tabula rasa, blank like the mind of a child.

    Khadijat: “Where am I?” she asked, as she looked around her with fear in her eyes.

    Doctor: “You are in a hospital, you have been in an accident, and you are lucky to be alive. Is there somebody we can call for you?” he asked and watched Khadijat hold her head like she was feeling pain in her head.

    Khadijat: “Doctor, why do I feel like… doctor, I cannot remember anything” she said in alarm. The doctor switched on a pen torch and pointed it into her eyes.

    Doctor: “Young lady, you had a concussion in the head, we are hoping that with time it will reduce, and you would get your memories back” he said.

    But, days turned into weeks and weeks into months, and Khadijat did not recover her memories. Nobody knew her name, and where she came from. Nobody knew that her family thought her dead and had given up on her, a burial had even been conducted for her according to the ways of Islam. Madam Lagos took her in and cared for her like she was her own daughter, for she had once been in her shoes when she was pregnant with her son, she had been lucky that the father stood up for her and married her. However, Khadijat had a turbulent pregnancy, she was in and out of the hospital. The doctors said she had preeclampsia, and had to stay in the hospital until her delivery date.

    Her condition was so bad that she had become bloated. Every part of her body from her hands, to her legs to her face and eyes were swollen like there was water under her skin. She looked horrific.

    Madam Lagos: “Doctor, she is still a young girl, why is she going through so many complications?” she asked. She was so scared of losing the poor girl. In the few months that Khadijat had stayed with her, she has seen how sweet she was, and she made her wish that she had given birth to a daughter.

    Doctor: “She seems to have been through a lot. You say she was wearing a hijab when you found her?”

    Madam Lagos: “Yes doctor”

    Doctor: “I don’t see any ring mark on her fingers, and she is probably not more than 17 or 18. It could only mean that her Muslim family did not accept the pregnancy. I can only imagine what she has been through.” He said thoughtfully, with a faraway look in his eyes. “I think the amnesia is not because of the head trauma she suffered from the accident, I think her subconscious wanted to forget something really bad” he concluded.

    Madam Lagos: “Oh that poor child. Are you saying she might never regain her memories?” she asked anxiously.

    Doctor: “I have a psychiatrist I can recommend you to, she is really good. She can help the girl get through the block in her memories. But of course that is after her delivery and recovery”

    When Khadijat went into labour, after months in the hospital, she was told to try and have a vaginal birth. But after hours in labour, her blood pressure was through the roof, and it became imperative for her to have a caesarian birth, to save her life and that of her child.

    Khadijat: “Mother, can I call you mother?” she asked holding the hand of Madam Lagos, as she was being wheeled to the theatre.

    Madam Lagos: “Yes my child, you have been like a daughter to me” she said as tears gathered in her eyes.

    Khadijat: “I only have one wish, that if I don’t make it out of the theatre…” she started to say but Madam Lagos interrupted her.

    Madam Lagos: “Don’t talk that way my child, you are going to come back”

    Khadijat: “Mother, let me talk, I know what I am saying. Please, tell my child, that he or she has to fulfill the dreams that I could not fulfill” she said, using the last strength she had to bring out the words.

    Madam Lagos: “Dreams? Have you regained your memories?” she asked, anxiously.

    Khadijat: “Yes mother, I am at death’s door, and I remember who I am. I wanted to be a medical doctor, I got admission to study medicine, but I got pregnant and brought shame to my family. My father wanted to kill me, and now he is going to get his wish. Take care of my child, make sure he fulfills all my dreams, for the curtain has fallen for me, and my time on the stage is ended. I pass the baton to him, help him, this is the cry of a dying soul” she said.

    Madam Lagos was dumbfounded, she held her chest and cried for the daughter that fate had brought to her, but death was going to take away. She made a promise to herself, that she would make sure that the child would have only the best and fulfill all its mother’s dreams.

    In the theater, the doctors did all they could to save mother and child, but only the child was saved. A baby boy, squealing his lungs out, was brought out of her womb, but Khadijat’s soul had long left her body.

    Question: Will the child be able to fulfill his mother’s dream, what does fate have in store for the newborn?

    Episode 9

    Madam Lagos named the child, Dayo and took care of the child, like a grandmother would do. When Dayo was a year old, she threw the biggest party in Oshogbo and even invited her son and his family. Her son, Gberan and his wife, Bella, just had a baby boy too, who was a few months younger than Dayo. The moment Gberan set eyes on Dayo, he liked the little boy, for he was comely and had a smile on his face for everyone.

    Gberan: “Mother, you have such a kind heart, to take in a total stranger and care for her child , even when she is dead. I love you mother” he said and embraced his mother.

    Madam Lagos: “I love you too my son. I also taught you to be kind, and I hope you learned from me because your kindness would be needed” she said and held her son’s gaze. Whenever his mother got like that, she always made a request that was more like an order.

    Gberan: “What is it mother?” he asked

    Madam Lagos: “I am an old woman, and there is so much an old woman can do. I want you to take Dayo with you back to Lagos. I want you to take care of him, like your own son, and give him the best just like you would do to your son, Ken” she said.

    Gberan: “Mother, you know I have never been able to refuse you, but you also know how Bella is, I don’t know how she will take this. Can I talk to her first?” he asked with a worried frown on his brow.

    Madam Lagos: “You can talk to her, but, regardless of what she says, you will take Dayo with you to Lagos.” She retorted, with a note of finality in her voice, and turned away with a frown. Madam Lagos had never supported Gberan’s marriage to Bella. She had seen in the woman, certain selfishness and her eyes were thirsty. She was the type of person that would do anything to get their desires. But Gberan had said he loved her and wanted her for wife, so she had no choice but to bless their union. However, both women had stayed away from each other’s path. It was the reason Madam Lagos rarely visited her son in Lagos. Even when she did, she stayed in a hotel throughout the duration of her stay.

    So it happened that despite Bella’s hesitation, Dayo was taken to Lagos to live with them, as a son. A nanny was employed for him, as Bella had refused to take part in his upbringing.

    Bella: “I have my own son, Gberan” she would say anytime her husband complained about her nonchalance towards the little boy.

    Gberan: “And God has decided to bless you with another son. Why don’t you like the boy, everyone does” he would always try to persuade his wife.

    “Yes that is the problem. Everyone loves Dayo, nobody thinks of my own son, Ken”

    The child grew both in wisdom and grace. Gberan made sure he had the best of everything, at 3 he already could swim, play the piano, and talk intelligently. This only made Gberan love him the more, even more than he loved his own son. The little boy took Bella as his mother and Gberan as his father, even though his little mind always wondered why his mother, Bella was always cold to him. Who wouldn’t prefer Dayo to Ken though, where Dayo was affectionate, Ken was entitled, where Dayo was smart and wise beyond his years, Ken was dull and only thought of what was his.

    Things came to a head when they were five years old, Dayo was already ahead of Ken in class, because he got double promotions. Ken began to envy Dayo, especially as he felt his father loved Dayo more. He took his complaints to his mother.

    Ken: “Mommy, why does daddy like my brother more than me?” he asked

    Bella: “No my child, your father dos not love Dayo more than you. He loves you more than anything in this world because you are his, but Dayo is not” she said, as she kissed the child’s tears away. But in her heart she began to wonder if her husband and his mother had not played a fast one on her. Why would a man favor another man’s child to his own child, except the other child was really his.

    “Hay God, Gberan and his mother brought his love child into my home. Gberan impregnated someone and brought the child into my home” she thought as she stroked her son’s hair.

    That was the beginning of misery for Dayo. Bella told her husband that the child didn’t need his nanny anymore, as she had decided to take care of him. Gberan was overjoyed to have his wife come around. But Bella did not take care of Dayo as she had said she would, she began to maltreat the boy. She would make the maid relax, while Dayo did all the chores, even wash clothes. She would also make the little boy go hungry and would only feed him dinner because she knew her husband would ask if he had eaten when he came from work, and Dayo was known never to tell lies. Gberan got a promotion at the office and became extremely busy, and Dayo’s misery got worse.

    When Halima had told her boyfriend of the pregnancy, he had accepted and asked her to marry him, on the condition that she would convert to Christianity. Halima did not see any way out because she knew her father would disown her if she was found pregnant. So she told her parents that she wanted to marry a Christian. After the marriage, she left with her husband to America, where she gave birth to a baby girl and named her Cassandra. After ten years sojourning in the States, Halima and her family came back to Nigeria to live in Lagos. Her husband was employed as a regional manager in the company that Gberan worked. Due to Gberan’s high performance as a branch manager, he became close with his boss, Halima’s husband. The two families became friends, and Ken began to like Cassandra.

    However, Cassandra had only eyes for Dayo. Whenever she was with Ken, she would only ask of Dayo. This only fueled the animosity that Ken had for Dayo.

    Ken: “Mother, why does my brother take everything from me. He has even taken away Cassandra” he cried to his mother.

    Bella: “He is a usurper, he is not your brother because I did not give birth to him” she replied coldly.

    Ken: “I don’t understand mother. If he is not my brother, where did he come from?” he asked curiously.

    Bella: “That I don’t know, but he is not your brother, and you should not allow him take anything away from you, not even your father’s love” she told the ten yeasr old Ken.

    To be continued..

    Episode 10

    One day, Dayo was sitting all alone in the kitchen, he had tears in his eyes because, there was no doubt that his mother, Bella didn’t love him. His father was always away from the house, and he was feeling abandoned. Cassandra had come visiting with her mother, Halima, and when she didn’t see Dayo anywhere in the house, she knew he would be in the kitchen. She often wondered if he was a house boy, or a son as he was always doing one chore or the other.

    Cassandra: “Dayo, are you crying?” she asked, as she had been standing for a while and seen his shoulder shudder.

    Dayo: “Cassandra, when did you come?” he asked and quickly wiped his tears.

    Cassandra: “What is wrong?” she asked coming to sit with him on the kitchen floor. It was in this position that Ken came in and saw them.

    Ken: “I don’t know what you see in this good for nothing orphan. I am the son of this family, and I deserve your attention”

    Dayo: “Ken, why would you call me an orphan when mother and father are not dead” he said standing up. For the first time in his life, Dayo was really angry.

    Ken: “Well, my father and mother did not give birth to you, so if you say you are not an orphan, go look for your parents” he sneered.

    Cassandra: “Don’t listen to him” she said to Dayo, and then she turned to Ken, “What is your problem, why are you throwing tantrums like a five year who got his candy taken?” she asked, with her hands on her little waist.

    Ken: “I am only saying the truth” he said and turned to leave, but Dayo grabbed him, and turned him to face him. Before Ken could protest, Dayo swung his hand and hit Ken on the lips. Ken’s lips broke and blood spurted from it.

    Ken: “You are so leaving this house today” he said as he ran to his mother.

    When Gberan came back from work, he was met with an angry wife, who accosted him the moment he stepped his foot in the house.

    Bella: “You have to take that child back to your mother. It was enough that you brought your lovechild to my house, but what I will not take is that child hurting my own child” she yelled.

    Gberan: ‘What are you even talking about, Dayo is not my lovechild” he replied, with surprise etched on his face.

    Bella: “Don’t give me that crap, you love him more than Ken, it can only mean that he is your child too, and since I didn’t give birth to him, fill in the gaps” she thundered.

    Gberan: “Dayo is the child of a woman my mother rescued from accident. His mother is dead and he needed a family, it is the reason my mother told me to bring him here. Dayo is a lovable child, I don’t get why you don’t love him like everyone does” he replied, dropping his suitcase on the floor and falling wearily into a chair.

    Bella: “How can I love a child who is eclipsing my own child?” she retorted

    Gberan: “No one is eclipsing Ken, he just has to learn to be a better person” he quipped, bending down to unlace his shoes.

    Bella: “Are you questioning the way I bring him up?” she quizzed and soon they were in a shouting fit, they did not realize that Dayo was already in the sitting room, and had heard everything.

    Dayo: “Who is my mother and father?”

    Question: How will Dayo’s life turn out, now that he knows the people he called parents, are not his parents. Also, what role would Halima play in the boy’s life?

    Episode 11

    Dayo refused to eat or drink, until he was told about his roots. He locked himself up in his room and refused seeing anyone, unless they were ready to tell him the truth.

    Dayo: “You lied to me, dad. I never thought you would ever lie. Anyways, you are not my dad” he had said to Gberan when he tried to placate him, after he heard the banter between him and his wife, Bella.

    Gberan was forced to call his mother, to come and salvage the situation, as it had gone beyond him.

    Madam Lagos: “So you agree that you couldn’t do something as simple as taking care of a child” she said sarcastically.

    Gberan: “I tried my best. If he had not heard me and Bella arguing, it wouldn’t have come to this”

    Madam Lagos: “I will be there tomorrow” she said.

    When Madam Lagos came, she found out that Dayo had not eaten for two days straight. She felt pained and felt like she had failed Khadijat. She rushed to his room and banged on the door.

    Madam Lagos: “My son, Dayo. Please open the door, I want to talk with you” she said in a broken voice.

    Dayo: “Who are you, I don’t want to talk to anyone but my real parents” he said in a voice too strong for someone who had not eaten for days.

    Madam Lagos: “I want to tell you about your real parents” she said and heard the door click open. The door opened slowly to reveal a stricken Dayo, his eyes were puffy from crying. Her heart broke at this sight. She rushed forward and enveloped him in an embrace.

    Madam Lagos: “I am so sorry my son, we should have told you the truth from the beginning” she said into his hair.

    Dayo: “Is it true my mother is dead?”

    Madam Lagos led him into his room and shut the door behind her. They sat on his bed as she told him about Khadijat, and how she had died.

    Dayo: “You mean my real father did not want me?” he asked, tears already gathering in his eyes.

    Madam Lagos: “He was just being irresponsible, and it is his loss. Gberan is my son and he loves you just as if you were his son. It is to your advantage that you stay here. Oshogbo is a backwater town, and you will not get the opportunities you have here” She said and then pulled Dayo closer, “Your mother made me promise that, I would help you in any way I can, so you would be all that she couldn’t be. Do you know she wanted to be a doctor?” she said conspiratorially.

    Dayo: “Really?” he asked with wide eyes, just as he made a promise in his heart to be a doctor just to honor his mother.

    Madam Lagos: “Yes, she already had an admission into school to study medicine before you came on the scene. She was very smart, and lovable. You have her personality. she smiled even when things were not bright” she told him, with a faraway look in her eyes and a sad smile on her lips. She missed Khadijat, and told herself that if she was her daughter, no matter the shame brought about by teenage pregnancy, she would never have pushed her away.

    Dayo: “I want to fulfill all my mother’s dreams. I want to be a doctor for her” he said enthusiastically.

    Madam Lagos: “That is my boy. There is nothing you set your heart to, that you cannot achieve. So even when life gets tough, just hold on, and remember your mother’s dreams” she admonished and kissed his fore-head.

    Dayo: “Can I call your grandma?”

    Madam Lagos: “Of course son, I think I have earned the right, don’t you think?” she asked rhetorically.

    After Madam Lagos’ visit, Dayo turned back to the happy child that he was, and apologized to Ken. The latter did not care much for his apology because, nothing had changed. Cassandra still had a crush on Dayo, and his father was still very much besotted with him.

    Ken: “Mother, I want Dayo out of this house. If he really is not my father’s son, why do I have to compete with him for my father’s love?” he cried, complaining to his mother. Bella sat down hard and stared into nothingness.

    “Gberan loves that boy, there is no way I can take him out of this house, without arousing suspicions. What do I do?” she thought, tuning out her son’s hysterical cries.

    Question: did Mama lagos took the right decision for Dayo?telling him to stay in lagos

    Episode 12

    Ken: “Mother, I am talking to you” he said stomping his feet, and shoving his mother. Bella shoved him away angrily, for he was disturbing her train of thoughts. Ken cried the more and ran out of his parents’ room.

    Bella shook her head at his tantrums, she couldn’t understand why her son could not be like Dayo. At ten years old, he cried like a baby, and was the dullest in his class.

    “Guess I spoilt him too much, or perhaps it is the fault of that Dayo, he makes my son cry too much and he overshadows my son. Truly, he has to go” she thought and stood up abruptly.

    Bella went to her son’s room and knocked on the door.

    Ken: “Go away, I don’t want to see you. You don’t care about me, just like everyone else” he shouted from inside the room. Bella heard the voice and her heart broke.

    Bella: “I am sorry my son, who else would I love, if not my only son. Open the door for your mom” she said, and waited. The door clicked open and her son stood there with his puffy face.

    Bella: “I promise you son, Dayo will leave this house very soon” she said and stroked his head. Ken gave her a smile amidst his tears.

    That Sunday, Bella arranged a family lunch, a friend of hers was coming with her husband to visit., even Dayo was going to eat with them because, her husband would be home. She prepared assorted dishes, she even made housekeepers come to revamp the house because, she wanted to show off to her friend. She had always competed with Tania since they were course mates in America. It was in America that Tania had met her husband. The three were friends but he had fallen in love with Tania, even though Bella had been showing him all the signs. Coming back to Nigeria, Bella had quickly killed her crush when she met Gberan. But the three had remained friends, but that rivalry had remained between Bella and Tania.

    Dayo was dressed in a cute denim top and trousers which Gberan had bought for him, to the consternation of Ken, even though he had gotten a clothe gift too. But he felt that Dayo’s was superior to his. When he came to the table, ken gave him a stink eye, he was vexed at the mere sight of Dayo wearing the cloth his father had bought.

    “That should be mine” He thought, but consoled himself with the promise his mother had made him.

    The visitors came and Bella rushed to embrace Tania. The women air kissed like they had really missed each other, but their eyes were roaming each other’s body to see who the better woman was. Bella still had her trim shape, despite the birth of her son, and for the occasion, she was garbed in an exotic velvet dress, which was embellished with little diamond studs on one side of the bodice. Tania, after trying and failing for so long to give her husband a child, she was beginning to let go, she had gained a birth of weight around her midsection. However, this was gracefully hidden in the empire waist purple gown she worn. The sleek fabric told of dollars spent, and her skin told of her husband’s care.

    Bella: “You look good” she said with a sly grin.

    Tania: “You look good too” she said as she looked up and touched Bella’s hair, “ Is this hair human hair? It looks synthetic” she said with a frown creasing her smooth fore-head.

    Bella: “God forbid that I should wear synthetic hair, this is Peruvian hair, which I got for a whooping sum of 500,000 naira”, “You look really great, except for that pouch in your midsection, and you haven’t even been pregnant before. I will recommend a tea for you” she said and beckoned to them to come in. The husbands shook their head, Tania’s husband was not surprised, he was used to them, they often gave each insults laced with pleasantries.

    While they ate, Bella watched Tania and her husband, she wondered why he was still with her , after many years of marriage, Tania still had not given him a child. She was still studying them when something struck her, it was the way the man was looking at Dayo. She dismissed it as the usual admiration the boy got from everyone because of his good looks. But just before she turned away, it struck her that Dayo was just as handsome as Tania’s husband.

    Damilola: “Little boy, what is your name?” he asked as he watched Dayo with a smile on his face.

    Dayo: “I am Dayo sir, dare I say, you have a beautiful wife” he said with his favorite smile, which was his mouth turned up to the side, with a dimple on his cheek.

    Tania: “Such a charmer, aren’t you?” she said, already taken by the boy, who was already such a sweet talker at a young age.

    Damilola: “You are a bright child, will talk to your dad about giving you a scholarship” he said, as his heart constricted.

    “Perhaps God will forgive me, and smile on me with a child” He thought, he was pulled out of his thoughts by an outburst.

    Ken: “He is not my father’s son, and he will never be” he exclaimed and ran out of the dinning.

    Gberan: “Don’t pay him any heed, that boy is full of tantrums” he said and looked curiously at his wife who had not said a word, but had a devious smile on his face.

    “I think I have found the solution to all my problems” she thought wickedly.

    Question: What does Bella have in mind, and does Damilola recognize his son?

    Episode 13

    Damilola and his wife Tania looked at each other awkwardly. Tania wondered if Dayo was Gberan’s love child. She thought herself the better woman because, even though she did not give her husband any children, at the least, he didn’t have a love child outside, or did he? She peered into her husband’s face and the latter understood why she was looking at him that closely. He shook his head in a negative reply. He however, wished that he had a love child somewhere, waiting for him to discover, but that was impossible. The only woman who had conceived for him died with the pregnancy because, he was not there to take responsibility.

    Tania: “Darling, we got to leave now, this family need their privacy to sort out their issues.” She quipped, breaking into her husband’s thoughts, and then she turned to Bella, her friend and said, “Bella dear, I am sorry about all you have been going through, thought this was beyond Gberan. I don’t know what I would have done if Dami had a love child” She expected any reaction from Bella, but what she didn’t expect was for her grin to get wider, like she was smiling to an inside joke that only her knew.

    “We will see what you will do about this. In fact Tania, I am counting on what you would do” She thought and the laughter bubbled in her throat. Tania wanted to laugh at her, but she didn’t know that the joke was on her. Gberan saw the visiting couple off, but Bella remained in place, the wheels of her brain were already turning, and her plan was becoming solid in her mind’s eye, like molten magma.

    Immediately Gberan came back from seeing the couple off, he turned on his wife, with angry eyes.

    Gberan: “What the heck is wrong with you, why are you being so cold and aloof?” He barked, he had long lost his patience with his wife. She was neither a good wife nor a good mother.

    Bella: “Oh did you want me to cry?” she guffawed and flipped him off. As she turned to leave, Gberan grabbed her by the arm and flung her back to face him. Bella stared at him wide eyed, something told her that this Gberan was not taking any of her antics, but she ignored the voice of reasoning.

    Gberan: “What is going on with your son, why is he acting like a d--n girl!?” he asked

    Bella: “Now he is my son? If only you had given him all the attention you give to Dayo, who is someone else’s child, Ken would be better” she mouthed off.

    Gberan: “What have you done to help him as his mother. I go out every day so that you can have the life you have today and be able to compete with your friend Tania, the simplest you could have done is take care of Ken. He misbehaved in the presence of strangers and you were not bothered. You are not the Bella I married” he spat and turned to leave, but he was stopped cold by the words he heard next.

    Bella: “You are not even the man I wanted to marry. How is that for regrets?” she sneered. Gberan turned and stared at her unbelievably, but she stared back, and even went further, “Damilola was the man I wanted, but he chose Tania, obviously because of Tania’s family’s connections. So, don’t get ahead of yourself” She was not done talking, when Gberan struck her across the face, so fast that it was like lightening.

    Bella: “Gberan, you slapped me” she quipped, stunned that her husband slapped her.

    Gberan: “I will slap you even more, if you do not shut that pit you call a mouth. I have taken so much from you, even to the annoyance of my mother, but it has gotten up to the neck and I am done tolerating you. You got to put your acts together, or else…” he didn’t complete the sentence but he pointed at her threateningly, before walking away.

    A single tear trickled down her eye, she had prided herself on having the most dutiful and doting husband who never raised his hands on her no matter how badly she behaved, but because of Dayo, he had done it.

    Bella: “Gberan, you slapped me, I will hurt you where you will feel the sting, and you won’t even know I did it” She soliloquized, not knowing that Dayo had witnessed everything.

    The little boy went to his room and began to pray for his foster dad, Gberan, and himself.

    Dayo: “Dear God in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Please God protect my father, Gberan, from the villain lady, also protect me and keep me from all those who want to punish me for no reason” he said, before he went to bed.

    Question:what did you think Bella will do to Gberan

    Episode 14

    Dayo had a reprieve when Gberan announced the next day that he was on his annual leave, and would be spending it with his family. He cooked delicious meals for them in the kitchen, while Dayo helped out. Dayo was the son Gberan wished for, the boy was inquisitive, and wanted to learn new things.
    Dayo: “What do they call this soup, it smells great and it is not Yoruba soup. Ours is only efo this, efo that” he said with a smirk. Gberan pushed him away playfully and smiled. Dayo had a good sense of humor along with his smartness, and Gberan was convinced that the child was armed with what he needed to be successful in life.
    Gberan: “Perhaps you want to be Deltan abi, since you like their soup so much. This is banga soup” he said.
    Dayo: “Guess I can make it when you resume back to work” he said stirring the broth on the burner.
    Gberan: “Why would you do that, your mummy Bella will cook it for you” he said
    Dayo: “Hmmn” he hummed and fell silent, but Gberan knew instantly that something was wrong.
    Gberan: “Dayo, what is wrong, speak up now and don’t you lie to me” he said in a strict voice.
    Dayo: “Well, it is no big deal that I cook all the meals around here” he said in a small voice.
    Gberan: “What!” he exclaimed and dropped the bowl of mixed meat that was about to go into the pot of soup. He grabbed Dayo by the hand and marched out of the kitchen, yelling his wife’s name all to the way to the living quarters.
    Gberan: “Bella!” he yelled. His son, Ken, came out of his room and glared at Dayo who was being led by the hand.
    “Mother, whatever you want to do, you got to do it quick, or else Dayo is going to make father angry with you too” He thought, but he frowned when his father passed him without even acknowledging him.
    Bella had travelled to Oshogbo to find out all she could, she didn’t want to find out later she was wrong. She wanted to make sure that her gun was smoking. She stayed in a motel where she had been told that the manager knew everything that happened in the town. She knew that if she wanted to get information, that was the right place to go.
    Damilola went home and pondered his situation, no matter how much they tried to have children, Tania still didn’t conceive, and he could not help but think it was his fault. He remembered Khadijat of his youth, his mother had told him that she died in an accident, while running away from her father, who wanted to kill her because she brought shame to the family, a shame that he was responsible for. He could not help but think that Khadijat’s spirit had cursed him in her time of suffering, and that was the reason they couldn’t have children.
    Seeing Dayo had brought back memories he had tried to bury because, Dayo had the same mocha skin complexion like Khadijat. His eyes too was without guile as a child’s eyes ought to be, but Khadijat had those same eyes because, she was the most innocent girl he ever met, she trusted easily and doubted no one.
    “And that was the reason you used me and left me high and dry” He thought he heard a voice whisper it in the air, but when he looked around the garden where he was standing and having a smoke, there was no one. He felt goose bumps on his skin. He laughed at his fortune, while he had no child, others were having even illegitimate children, and yet he was hearing Khadijat’s voice in his head. What was it about the boy Dayo that resurrected buried memories, he wondered.
    Question: Will Bella find any information in Oshogbo, and if she does, what will she do with it. Will Damilola ever find his way to his son, or would it be a little too late?

    Episode 15

    Damilola woke up suddenly, not by the alarm clock, but the shrill noise of his phone, someone was calling and he wanted to ignore that person, but the ringing was incessant. He crossed his hand over his sleeping wife to the dresser, and collected the buzzing phone.
    Damilola: “Hello mother” he said in a sad voice. He did all he could as a son, but he rarely called his mother because, whenever he did, he was taken back in time to Oshogbo and Khadijat.
    Damilola’s mother: “Khadijat’s father is dead, he died this morning. I tried all I could to bring some sort of succor to him, but nothing can comfort a man whose family has deserted him and whose conscience is beating drums for him to dance.” She said sadly, and sighed. After coming back from the States, where he travelled to after India, he was already married to Tania, and his mother did not care about Tania, all she wanted was a grandchild to heal the pain of the one that was lost. But the more time stretched with no child, the more impatient his mother got with everyone, she reminded him that karma had come for him, and always told him she was praying for him. Many times, he had asked to move her to Lagos so they could be closer, over the years he spent in America and with what happened with Khadijat, he and his mother had grown apart, but she refused. It seemed she was rooted to Oshogbo and the flat, and leaving it would be a disrespect to Khadijat.
    He was so lost in thoughts thinking of what could have happened if he had done things differently, one single night of pleasure and a moment of cowardice had destroyed a family. His mother had to ask if he was still there, to which he replied in the affirmative.
    Damilola: “Now, that he is dead, who will bury him, you told me he stopped going to the mosque”
    Damilola’s mother: “I called his wife and children; they will give him his last rites. I just thought I should let you know. But don’t even think of coming here, the brothers might just kill you, their family has never been the same since that incidence, Khadijat was the light of their life” she said and would have continued if Damilola had not rushed her off the phone and hung up.
    He put the phone down and heaved a sigh, his mother’s call always put him in a bad mood. He held his head in his hands and for the first time since everything happened, he cried, so much that it woke his wife, Tania.
    Tania: “Baby, what is going on, you are crying” she said surprised because, she had never seen Damilola in this state.
    Damilola: “Just hold me” he replied and hugged her tightly.
    Bella stayed at the motel for days but couldn’t get the manager; she angrily checked out and was on her way to the airport to catch a flight back to Lagos. She was in the taxi, and like most chatty taxi drivers, the driver began to narrate a story no one asked him.
    Taxi driver: “This life eh, it is good to have a good heart. A good heart will always do the right thing at every given situation, no matter how hard the circumstances are.” He said and paused for effect. Bella shifted uncomfortably in her seat, wondering if her conscience had suddenly found a mouth piece, she wanted to shut him up, but later she would praise herself for not shutting him up.
    Taxi driver: “An Imam just died, he was a great man for most of his lifetime, but he made a wicked decision that drove his daughter to her death, and the town has not forgotten. His daughter got pregnant and the only decision his wicked heart could come to was killing her. I don’t know what the Quran teaches them. Fine, she really messed up the family’s reputation, but she didn’t stop being their daughter, did she?” he turned back to the passenger side to ask for Bella’s opinion, but the latter just nodded her head.
    Taxi driver: “Hmmn, Khadijat, she was such a sweet girl, who would have thought” he said and Bella thought that it was possible he only heard the story and did not know the family personally. But then the name hit home, and she jerked upright in her seat.
    “That name, I have heard that name before” she muttered under her breath.
    Taxi driver: “The wife even left the Imam’s house, and all his children deserted him, but now they are back to bury him. This life eh, chai” he said, gingered by Bella’s sudden interest in his story. He had not missed the way she sat upright, and he knew soon she would ask him questions. Of course she did.
    Bella: “Please, tell me about this Imam, where does he live?” she inquired.
    Taxi driver: “I can take you there” he said and without hesitation, he swung his car around. This was the fifth passenger he was telling this story, and even though they all showed interest, only this one had requested to see the residence of the family whom this tragedy had happened to. It was a curious thing to him though.
    Question:what did you think Bella will use the new information she got for?

    Episode 16

    When they got to the block of flats where Khadijat lived, the driver was the first out of the car, this was his opportunity to get the full gist and still get paid for time wasted. There was a crowd in front of the house, and he could see the Imam being laid in state. Bella moved closer and then walked to a woman who was sitting by herself, she looked everywhere sorrowful
    Bella: “Madam, what happened to this man, why is everyone so sorrowful” she asked the woman who turned out to be Damilola’s mother, but she didn’t know this.
    Damilola’s mother: “When we look at this man, it is not him we see but the girl whose life was cut off even before she had reached her prime all because, this man in his anger had made her run to her death” she said and narrated in details the whole story, and how she had lost the grandchild that her son never wanted. She told Bella that she had called her son severally after hearing about the news, to convince him to own up to the child, but he had refused. She had taken it upon herself to care for the mother of the child, but unfortunately, death had snatched her away.
    It was while she was talking that Bella realized that she was Damilola’s mother and that the Khadijat she was talking about, was the same one that Madam Lagos, her mother-in-law had told them about.
    Bella: “I was right, Dayo is Damilola’s son. Oh my world, what have I stumbled on” she didn’t know when she said it out loud.
    Damilola’s mother: “What did you say my daughter?” she asked straining her ears to hear.
    Bella: “Oh nothing” she snapped, and hurried away. The driver ran after her into the car and they drove away from the place.
    While the plane flew on its way to Lagos, Bella thought of all she found out in Oshogbo. She had known the story of Khadijat, but she didn’t know how many lives it had affected. She was touched, but still she told herself that she had to move on with her plans, after all Damilola did not want the child, he wouldn’t want him now.
    “Who wouldn’t want Dayo for a son, is it a man who has no child?” the little voice that was her conscience said.
    “Would have loved to see the look on Tania’s face when I bring Dayo to their house and tell Damilola everything, but that would only give me temporary pleasure. The utmost pleasure is in having Dayo faraway from my son, and also hurt Gberan for daring to slap me” she thought.
    At the Murtala Mohammed airport in Lagos, she took Uber straight to Tania and Damilola’s house. Tania was surprised to see her and her small luggage. Fortunately for Bella’s evil plans, Damilola was not around.
    Bella: “My friend, this life is not worth it anymore. How do people betray us so, after all the love we give to them. Men are not worth it” she said with a drawn face like she was really heartbroken. Tania couldn’t wait for the juicy details, as she suspected that Bella wanted to tell her that her marriage with Gberan had crashed.
    Tania: “Which one is not worth it, your husband or life because I can tell this is about Gberan and his love child” she said, trying hard to hide her smile.
    Bella: “No, actually it is about Damilola and his betrayal of your trust. Gberan slapped me, but that is little compared to what I have found out” she said and watched the lurking smirk vanish from Tania’s face. The mention of Damilola and betrayal in one sentence had sparked her senses. Tania stood up and moved away from Bella.
    Tania: “Bella, you know I don’t joke with Dami, we can taunt ourselves with anything, but please don’t joke with my husband”
    Bella: “I know how much you love that man, I was there na. To think that he would have a son and be pretending like he doesn’t, waiting for the right time to push you away is what I cannot fathom. The son you thought belongs to my husband is actually Damilola’s son” she dropped the bombshell.
    Tania stared at Bella in surprise, her eyes were pushing out of their sockets.
    Tania: “You are joking right, tell me you are joking. You are joking, Bella” she shook Bella vigorously.
    Bella: “No matter how much we fight, you are my friend. I couldn’t joke with something like this. I am so sorry my friend” she said and forced Tania into a hug. The latter pushed her away and wiped the tears kissing her cheeks.
    Then she snapped back and smiled. Bella knew that truly her plans were going to work because, she knew her friend Tania, more than anyone else.
    Question: What step would Tania take, would she tell her husband about Dayo, or would she conceal it? How would she feature in Bella’s plans to push Dayo out of her house? Who can guess correctly?

    Episode 17

    She was crying. Her eyes were puffy from the crying she had done since Bella broke the news to her. She didn’t trust her so called friend’s intentions, but it didn’t change the fact that what she said was true. So that adorable boy was Damilola’s son, she pondered.
    “I should have known, his eyes are like Damilola’s eyes, the nose and mouth are all Damilola’s. It was right in front of me and I couldn’t see it. Ha Damilola, after all the love I have shown you right from America, you still go ahead and got yourself a child outside our marriage” Tania pondered.
    Tania remembered that day at dinner, Bella had been smiling so hard like she was in on a secret joke. She guessed that the joke was all about her not knowing that her husband already had a son. When she was done crying, she wiped her eyes, applied a little make-up and went downstairs to watch television, as the time for her husband to come home was approaching. After a while, she heard the key turn in the keyhole, and the door opened, Damilola came in with a smile. He always had a smile on his face for her, Tania had thought that it was because of their situation and Damilola didn’t want her to brood, but now it felt like Damilola was also mocking her. All these culminated in the decision she took.
    Tania: “Welcome home darling, how was work today?” she asked, as she took his portfolio.
    Damilola: “My day was great because I know it would end up in me coming home to you” he replied and brushed a kiss on her lips.
    Tania followed him upstairs so he could freshen up, and she watched him carefully. She was looking for telltale signs of his deception, but she found none.
    Damilola: “I am so glad I have succeeded in putting up a scholarship fund for that boy Dayo. Children like him deserve all the encouragement they can get” he said as he toweled off after his shower.
    Tania: “Really huh” she replied in a flat voice.
    Damilola: “Are you alright?” he asked, puzzled by her nonchalance.
    Tania: “I am alright, I just want my own child, this house gets lonely” she said with a frown, then she lightened up like an idea had popped into her head, “Why don’t we invite Dayo to stay with us for a few days, I would find joy in taking him to school every day. I am not sure Bella likes his presence in that house” she said.
    Damilola: “He is not even related to us, would Gberan accept?” he asked, but Tania could see the excitement in his eyes. Damilola wanted Dayo to come as his wife had suggested because he wanted to egt to know the boy and see what was about him that brought him memories of the past.
    “You wicked, traitor of a husband” she thought.
    When Tania told Bella that she wanted Dayo to come stay with them for a few days, she was surprised. She had expected something different, but now it seems Tania wanted to play ‘mother’ with her husband’s son.
    Bella: “But Tania, have you confronted Damilola?” she asked acting concerned.
    Tania: “I can’t, the moment I tell him, our marriage is over. So I am going to try to love him, I mean the boy” she replied with a forced smile.
    Bella: “What!” she exclaimed and Tania almost burst into laughter, her so called friend really wanted her to react another way.
    “Sorry Bella, I am a wise woman. I can’t throw away my marriage because of this. The society is not fair to women who leave their marriages, no matter the reason” She thought as she listened to Bella ramble on and on about how Tania was letting her husband win.
    Tania: “Bella, if you are really my friend, talk to your husband, let Dayo light up our house for a few days” she pleaded.
    Bella: “Alright alright, I will” she replied and hung up.
    Bella: “That Tania na ode sha oh. She is just going to scatter all my plans. What do I do now?” she soliloquized.
    It was that time her husband came back from the stadium with Dayo where they had gone to train, their bond was getting stronger and soon Gberan would forget his own son. She stood up abruptly from the chaise where she was lounging, and went to her husband with a smile on her face.

    Episode 18

    Bella: “Oko mi, I just got off the phone with Tania, she is asking for Dayo to come and stay with them a few days or a week. I pity her, she is such a lonely woman”
    Gberan: “I wanted to spend time with Dayo oh” he grimaced.
    Bella: “Gberan, you make me laugh oh. You want to spend time with Dayo, what about your son, Ken, who is going to spend time with him” she thundered.
    Gberan: “It is not my fault that Ken refuses to do the things that boys his age love. Perhaps he could spend time with you learning makeup and scheming” he flung at his wife.
    Dayo watched the ensuing quarrel and knew that he had to do something about it, also, perhaps his mummy Bella was right, his daddy Gberan needed to spend time with his real son, Ken.
    Dayo: “Father, I will like to go to aunt Tania’s house, I would like to keep her company for a week, while you teach Ken the piano, he has always wanted to learn, I see the way he looks at it in church” he said. If only he had known that this one decision would change his life forever, he would not have decided to be the bigger person, he would have stayed where Gberan could protect him.
    Gberan: “You such a gem, I love you for this. Alright I will call Damilola to come pick you up, if you get tired at any point, just tell Damilola you want to speak to your father” he said, with a smile beaming on his face. He was so proud to be known as Dayo’s father. He wondered why his real father didn’t accept the pregnancy, if only he knew that the pregnancy resulted into an amazing child, like Dayo.
    Bella: “You are not his father, he is actually going to his father” she muttered under her breath, her husband only heard the first part and didn’t hear the second part.
    Gberan: “Son, go to your room and pack a bag” he said and dismissed Dayo, when he had gone, he faced his wife, “I really don’t know what your problem is, it is high time I called your mother”
    Bella: “I am not the problem Gberan, you are. Our Ken is feeling like his father doesn’t love him, whereas you shower all your love on a boy whose father rejected him” she sneered through clenched teeth.
    Gberan didn’t say anything, he only became thoughtful. He realized that he had become too besotted with Dayo, and had neglected his son in the process. He also realized that Dayo knew this too, that was the reason he agreed to go to Damilola’s place, and had even suggested what he should do with Ken. Dayo was so easy to love, while Ken was a hard nut to crack.
    Gberan: “I am sorry” he said and that threw Bella off balance, she had expected a rebuttal, that was what they did these days, but Gberan had said ‘sorry’
    Bella: “For what?” she asked
    Gberan: “For neglecting our son, I will do something about it” he said.
    The doorbell rang and Bella went to usher in Tania and her husband, Damilola. Bella looked at her friend with a puzzled expression. She wondered what went on in the woman’s head, and how she reached the decision to bring her husband’s child into her house.
    Tania: “Dayo darling, are you excited in living with us?” she asked with the brightest smile that flaunted her small, pearly teeth.
    Dayo: “Yes I am, you are good people” he replied with a smile of his own.
    Damilola: “Let’s go Dayo” he said and held his hand, it never occurred to him that he was holding the hand of the boy he had rejected many years ago.
    Ken: “Mother, Dayo didn’t pack all his things, is he going to come back?” he whispered to his mother.
    Bella: “Not if I am right” she replied watching Tania. She was a good judge of persons, and she had watched Tania closely and seen that beneath all that smiles and laughter, there was seething anger and pain as she looked at Dayo.
    Bella had caught Tania giving Dayo the stink eye, and there she had known that she need not do anything, Tania was going to take care of the ‘Dayo’ problem for them. She wondered what she would do, would she poison him, or take him to an orphanage far away, where he would never cross Damilola’s path.
    “Vicious woman, you are worse than me Tania” she thought as she smiled and waved to the couple as they led Dayo to their car.
    “So you are smart Dayo, how come you don’t know, that you are being led to the slaughter?” Bella thought as the car drove out of their house.
    Question: Would Dayo face danger in Damilola’s house from Tania or would his father find his son whom everyone thought was dead?

    Episode 19

    Tania was especially doting, with Dayo, she kept telling herself that if things had been different, she would have loved Dayo for real. Damilola took the opportunity to take Dayo to the bank to set up a scholarship fund for him accessible to him only when he got admission into any higher institution of learning in Nigeria or abroad.
    Dayo: “With this, nothing can stop me from being a doctor” he said excitedly as they exited the bank.
    Damilola: “Oh really, why did you decide to be a doctor?” he asked, thinking the boy was going to say it was because he, Damilola is also a doctor.
    Dayo: “I want to be a doctor because it is my mother’s dream, and I won’t rest until I am one” he replied passionately.
    Damilola: “That is some strong determination there” he quipped and patted the boy on the shoulders. But he stumbled in his steps because he thought he heard a voice.
    “I would have been a doctor, if you had not deceived me, taken my pride and abandoned me with a baby” the voice had said.
    He turned, searching for Khadijat in the crowd, but not one face, but every face was Khadijat’s. He held his head muttering under his breath.
    Damilola: “Khadijat I am sorry, please forgive me and give me back my peace of mind” he kept muttering this over and over again, standing on the stairs of the bank, with people going and coming.
    Dayo: “Uncle Damilola, are you alright?” he touched him and that was how Damilola gained back himself. He wiped his face and gave Dayo a smile, but the tumult was yet from over.
    When they got home, Tania rushed to meet them, she kissed her husband on the lips and Dayo on the fore-head.
    Tania: “Dayo, today you have gone out with uncle, tomorrow is my turn oh. I promise we will have lots of fun and eating. But now, I made delicious Banga soup, heard it is your favorite” she said.
    Dayo: “Yes, it is, thank you aunt Tania” he replied, in his heart he was wishing that his mummy Bella was as nice as Tania was.
    The family gathered at the dining table to settle to Tania’s banga soup, as they ate, Tania watched Dayo, and Damilola. She saw the scholarship fund as Damilola’s move to care for his son, without arousing her suspicions.
    “Men are wicked. So you would be taking care of your son and be fooling me that we are looking for a child, at the end, your child will come and reap all that we sown together. I would be the one at the losing end. Thank God for Bella, now I am a step ahead of you, and when I am done, everything will return to the status quo, if God gives us our own child, fine, if He doesn’t, we both die childless” She pondered as she chewed her food.
    The next day was Saturday, Bella woke up early and kept watching her phone like she was waiting for a call. Her husband, Gberan even asked her if she was expecting a call, of which she replied in the negative. Since Tania called her to ask for Dayo’s favorite food, she had been expecting an alarming call from the family to tell them that something g had happened to Dayo. She expected that her friend, Tania wanted to poison Dayo, that was the reason she was asking for his favorite dish. But until now, she had not gotten any calls.
    “What if you read her wrongly, what if she hates Dayo, but is trying to love him anyways? What if she found out that her husband doesn’t know and intends to keep it that way. Oh no, I have to take matters into my hands, but what do I do?”
    She jumped out of bed and rushed into the bathroom to have her shower amidst protests from her husband, asking where she was preparing to go to, so early in the morning.
    Damilola woke up early to make breakfast for his wife and Dayo. Weekends were the days he was extra romantic, he served his wife breakfast in bed, and took her out. But she had opted to take Dayo out on her own today, to his surprise. While he was in the kitchen, Dayo came in to take his morning milk from the refrigerator.
    Damilola: “Dayo, hope you are enjoying your stay with us?” he quizzed
    Question:what did you think Tania have in mind toward Dayo?
    Hate or love?

    Episode 20

    Dayo: “Sure, but I miss my home, I miss daddy Gberan and mummy Bella and even Ken” he replied in his normal chirpy tone.
    Damilola: ‘But why do you call your parents that way, especially your dad?” he asked curiously, he wondered if perhaps the boy was not told that Gberan was his father.
    Dayo: “Actually, I already called them mummy and daddy but soon found out they were not my biological parents, so I added their names. Actually, my mother is…” he could not finish as he was interrupted by the buzzing of Damilola’s phone. He received the call and spoke hurriedly into the phone.
    Damilola: “Dayo, there is an emergency in the hospital, when I come back, we will talk huh” he removed the pot from the fire and hurried into his bedroom which he shared with his wife.
    Damilola: “Honey, I am so sorry I cannot make you breakfast as I used to, I have an emergency in the hospital. Make sure you have fun with the kid, there is 30k in my suit pocket, take that as pocket money” he said as he hurried into his clothes.
    Tania joyfully went to the kitchen and continued the cooking that Damilola left off. It was the delicious ekpang nkwukwo, he learnt how to cook it from his roommate in the University, who was from Akwaibom. After they were done eating, Tania dressed up and they went out. Dayo however noticed that she was jittery and he wondered why. He also felt a sense of foreboding but his little mind could not put a finger on it.
    Tania took him to the Ikoyi amusement park, also to water park and other fun sites around Lagos, by evening they ended up at one high end restaurant where she got Dayo food and ice cream. While he ate, she kept asking him if he needed something else.
    Dayo: “Aunt Tania, you have done so much for me that I don’t need to ask for anything again” he said in his usual smartass way.
    Tania: “No my darling, you can ask for anything you want, like that chocolate sundae, don’t you want that?” she pointed towards a glass display of cakes and sundaes.
    “Eat anything you want, this is like last supper” She eyed him.
    On their way back home, while they were on Falomo Bridge, Tania turned to eye Dayo, but the latter turned and caught the angry look in her eyes. He wondered what he had done to warrant the sudden change, but immediately Tania smiled again. The eleven years old was confused, but he didn’t have time to ponder the issue, as Tania suddenly swerved and hit the side of the car where Dayo was seated, on the railing of the bridge. The impact of the collision was so great that the side of the car squeezed into itself, and it threw the occupants of the car against the windscreen. Tania hit her head on the steering wheel and fainted. Dayo was thrown against the windscreen, and it broke, piercing into his head and body.
    Bella had gone to the house of Tania and Damilola, she didn’t know what she was going to do but she had every intent to take control of the situation. However the gate man told her that there was no one in the house.
    Bella: “Stupid b---h, you cannot do something as simple as get rid of a little boy, I should have done it myself. Tomorrow, Dayo will be back to the house to terrorize my son and me” she muttered to herself. The gate man asked her if she was alright, she just flipped him off and entered into her car.
    Damilola having called his wife earlier and known they were not coming home anytime soon, decided to stop over at Gberan’s house. He had been thinking a lot about what Dayo said and he wanted to be sure that it was true. If it was true, he had decided to adopt Dayo.
    Gberan: “Wow Damilola, you are a sight for sore eyes, always looking dapper. I cannot count the number of girls you destroyed in your youth” he said jokingly, but it was spot on. A cloud came over Damilola’s face, but he quickly recovered with a smile.
    Damilola: “Ore mi atata, you always have sweet tongue. Anyways I came because of Dayo, he told me he is not your child” he said. Gberan heaved a heavy sigh and began to tell him the story of Dayo, but before he could say the name of Dayo’s mother, Damilola’s phone rang, stopping him from finding out yet again, that Dayo was the son Khadijat was pregnant with. He received the call and was told to come to the hospital that his wife had been in an accident.
    Damilola: “Accident ke, where, how? I am coming right away” he said it into the phone and bade goodbye to Gberan hurriedly.
    Question: Has Tania’s plans worked, is Dayo dead? Who can tell?

    Episode 21

    When Tania woke up, her husband and the medical team were around, they had on sober faces and she wondered if her plans had worked. She had been willing to sustain a few scratches as long as the boy was taken out, and now she wanted to be told just that.
    Tania: “Dami, where is Dayo, please don’t tell me Dayo is dead, Dayo! Dayo!” she screamed on the top of her voice, failing her legs and hands. She pushed whoever tried to hold her or console her.
    Damilola: “Tania darling, don’t be so hysterical, Dayo is not dead, he is only in coma, he had severe head injuries, and the doctor said it will take a miracle, but we still believe God” he said.
    It was at that time that Gberan rushed in, his face a mask of fear. He kept blaming himself for allowing Dayo go to stay with Damilola and his wife. What would he tell his mother if something happened to the boy? He was given a child to take care of, and he failed.
    Gberan: “It is all Bella’s fault! If Bella was not so put off by his presence, the boy would not have been eager to go stay with Damilola and his wife” he did not know when he spoke out. Everyone turned to look at the newcomer.
    Doctor: “Who are you sir?” he asked
    Gberan: “I am the boy’s father, where is he, and how is he?” he asked in a rush.
    Doctor: “Let us talk in my office” he said and led Gberan out of the room. Tania became thoughtful, so Dayo did not die, she pondered. She looked at her husband, and saw that his mind was not in the room. He looked lost in thoughts.
    Tania: “What are you thinking?” she asked wearily.
    Damilola: “I am wondering how you could have run your car into the bridge’s railing. It was not even night!” he said, the tempo of his voice was rising, and he was getting angry at his wife.
    Tania: “Are you now blaming me for this, you just want to look for a way to pin this on me” she matched his tempo of voice.
    Damilola: “Who should I blame? You were the goddamn driver, you had a kid in the car and you could not drive carefully. Don’t you know that if he dies, you are in trouble?” he barked.
    Tania no longer replied him, she was thinking of her failed objectives, Dayo was in coma instead of being dead, and there was a slim possibility of him waking up, was she going to allow the miracle take place?
    “No, I have to do something fast, but I have to get Dami off my hair” she thought, then she turned to her husband, and put on her best vulnerable act. She began to cry, with her shoulders shaking with the force of her sobs.
    Tania: “I am so sorry my darling. Having spent time with Dayo, I ached for my own child, I was thinking too much, I didn’t know when I was in the path of a collision with another car, I had to swerve, to avoid that crash. I am so sorry, I should have known better than carrying my problems everywhere, I am sorry” she began to sob. Damilola took pity on her because he felt he was the cause of her predicament. He held her and began to rock her.
    Damilola: “I feel the pain too, that is why I had gone to Gberan to ask about Dayo’s roots, it happens that Gberan is not the father of Dayo, he was just his foster father, and I wanted to adopt him. Perhaps by so doing, God would bless us with our own child” he replied, his voice laden with emotions.
    Tania fell silent as she thought this as a maneuver that Damilola wanted to use in bringing his son into their home. She became more determined to end Dayo’s life. She told her husband to go to the house and get her a change of clothes and make her pepper soup. It was a ploy to get Damilola to leave the room, so she could find her way to Dayo’s room.
    When Bella reached home, anger was etched on her face, she had finally come to terms with the fact that her plans had failed. She entered the house and was met with a bouncing Ken. He was even dancing shoki.
    Bella: “Ken, what is the happiness about, I haven’t seen you this happy in a while” she said looking at him quizzically.
    Ken: “Mummy, Dayo was in an accident, and he is dead. Daddy has rushed to the hospital. Dayo is never coming to this house again, I am the only son Daddy has” he said gleefully. Bella looked at him with concern, how could a boy of eleven years be happy about the death of another boy, with whom he grew up together. Nevertheless, she pushed the thought aside, and told her son not to rejoice in the death of a human being.
    Ken: “But mummy, I thought you wanted him gone from our house?” he asked in a confused tone.
    Bella: “You are too young and I have to protect your innocence” she said to him.
    Question:Did you think Tania will succeed in killing Dayo this time around?

    Episode 22

    While Tania was pondering on how she would end Dayo’s life, the latter woke up, he felt pain in his head, so he touched his head and felt the bandage on it.
    Dayo: “Where am I, what happened to me?” he asked the empty room lit by white lights. Everywhere smelled scrubbed with chlorine, and he realized that he was in the hospital. His memories came back to him. He remembered the accident, and how scared he had felt, as the car made impact with the iron railings of the bridge. Then he remembered one important part of it all, the anger in Tania’s eyes just before she swerved the car. He also remembered that there had been no car in front of them, or behind them. Therefore, he concluded that aunt Tania had deliberately swerved the car and hit the railings with the side where he was seated.
    Dayo: “She had wanted to hurt me, but why, what have I done to anyone. Why does mummy Bella hate me, and why does aunt Tania want to hurt me?” he asked the empty room. He began to feel that for reasons best known to them, they didn’t want him. He decided therefore to leave and find his way back to Madam Lagos in Oshogbo, for she was the only one who really loved him. But he remembered her words, asking him to stay in Lagos where there were opportunities. If they kill me, I will not be alive for those opportunities, he thought.
    So Dayo stood up and walked away from the ward room, he passed the doctor’s office and heard the doctor talking about him. He looked through the glass window and saw his foster father, Gberan. His heart constricted as he thought of how much he would miss him. However, he walked on, he had just rounded the corner, when Tania walked into the hallway from the other axis and set her sights on Dayo’s room. Dayo walked out of the hospital amidst the little crowd in the hospital’s lobby.
    When Tania entered Dayo’s room, she saw the m---d on the bed which Dayo had arranged to look like a person was under the covers, so as to give himself time to escape. She smiled wickedly and walked up to the bed.
    Tania: “Now, you are in my hands and you will not escape it this time. I will personally escort you to your creator. It is probably not your fault that you were born illegitimately, but I will not allow you and your father to make a fool of me. Under different circumstances, I would have loved you, sorry” she said and gripped where she thought to be the neck, but all she felt was softness. She flung the bed cover and saw that there was no one underneath. Her eyes widened and nearly burst out of their sockets.
    Tania: “Help! Help! Dayo!” she screamed.
    Gberan and the doctor heard the shout and he rushed out of the doctor’s office. His heart was beating faster in his chest as he expected the worst. He thought that Dayo had died and someone had raised alarm. But when he entered the room, his eyes fell on the empty bed, and the fear in his heart turned into confusion.
    Gberan: “Tania, what is wrong, where is my son?” he asked, looking around the room, even behind the door.
    Tania: “I don’t know, he left, or someone took him” she said, puzzled herself. She told them of how the clothes had been arranged to look like someone was sleeping underneath.
    Gberan: “Why would Dayo run away?” he asked, having concluded that no one took Dayo, but he left on his own.
    Doctor: “The boy was scared. But what made him scared is what I don’t know and cannot say” the doctor looked perplexed. He took out his phone and called the police to report the missing child.
    Dayo was just leaving the hospital gate when Bella’s car drove in. Ken saw him first, dressed in a hospital garb.
    Ken: “Mother, look at Dayo” he shouted in fright. Didn’t they say Dayo was dead, why was he seeing Dayo.
    Question: Would Bella be the one to see Dayo, would it give her an avenue to hurt him?

    Episode 23

    Dayo wanted to go to Oshogbo to meet Madam Lagos, as he saw that as the only way to escape whoever wanted to hurt him. But the problem was, he didn’t know how to get there. A voice told him to go back to the hospital, but Dayo was adamant, it was better to get lost than to get killed. He walked a long distance and even when his legs hurt, he kept going, fear was a great propeller. People kept giving him stares because of the hospital garb he still had on. When he got to Obalende, under the bridge where petty traders displayed their wares, Dayo walked up to a woman who sold biscuits, cigarettes and other petty things.
    Dayo: “Good day ma’am, please how do I get to Oshogbo from here?” he asked in his usual Queen’s English. The Yoruba woman looked at him quizzically, because she did not understand what he had said. But she had heard ‘Oshogbo’ and rightly assumed that he was asking for how to get to Oshogbo.
    Market woman: “Omo mi, go enter that moto for that signpost wey dey there” she replied, pointing the way.
    Dayo went to where he was directed and when he got there, he could hear the driver shouting the name of his destination, on the top of his voice. He also realized that the bus was almost filled up. Then, he was faced with the predicament of paying his way. The passengers in the bus were already giving him weird looks, so he moved away from the bus, and a little feet away, he stood and bit his fingers, thinking of how to come up with one thousand, five hundred naira, which was the cost of the fare.
    Back home, everyone was in a state of confusion. Gberan had already called his mother and intimated her with the latest development. The mother got on the next available flight out of Oshogbo, to Lagos.
    Ken: “Mother, when we were coming into the hospital, I saw Dayo” he said as his mother walked through the lobby.
    Bella: “Shut up your mouth, you didn’t see Dayo, he is dead” she replied, but was put aright when she met her husband. Her husband told her that Dayo had been in a coma, and waking up would have been a miracle according to the doctor’s prognosis, but Dayo had woken up and fled the hospital. Bella listened with thoughtfulness. What would have made Dayo run away, except he was scared of someone. Gberan was still talking when Bella spied Tania, she rushed towards her and pulled her into a deserted corridor.
    Bella: “What really happened?” she asked, looking at Tania accusingly.
    Tania: “What do you mean by that question, did no one tell you what happened?” she fired back defensively.
    Bella: “I mean, how does someone ram their car into a bridge in broad daylight, it wasn’t dark and you weren’t even drunk!” she argued.
    Tania: “I was emotionally unstable, I really don’t know what you are trying to imply but I would never hurt Dayo, he was like the son I never had”
    Bella: “Drop that bullshit already, he was not like a son to you, he was your husband’s son. I cannot wrap my head around you conveniently ramming your car on the side that Dayo was seated. The truth will prevail, the doctor said he was scared, I think the boy knew that someone was after him” she retorted. The colour drained out of Tania’s face, she started to speak but clammed her mouth shut. Then she composed her face, and moved into Bella’s face.
    Tania: “I still don’t know why you told me about my husband’s child, but…” she was cut off by an outburst. They turned and saw Gberan.
    Gberan: “Your husband’s child?” he exclaimed in surprise.
    Question:Did you think the secret is finally out?
    How will Damilola handle this?
    Tell me what you think

    Episode 24

    Bella: “Are you now eavesdropping on people’s conversations?” she attacked him.
    Tania: “Ï wasn’t done talking, I was going to say, my husband’s childhood” she said uneasily, but her dazzling smile covered her uneasiness.
    Gberan: “Öh well, I was so enveloped in my own pain, I forgot how you and Damilola must be feeling too, you guys loved Dayo”
    Tania: “We were going to adopt him when we heard that he wasn’t your lovechild as we had thought. It is all my fault, he was scared because of the accident” she said and burst into sobs. Gberan stepped forward and embraced her, while Bella just stood aloof. Damilola came in with a grim face and announced to everyone that the security footage showed Dayo leaving the hospital premises. It cleared all the thoughts of his abduction.
    “Run far away Dayo, I don’t want to see you anywhere around my family, you cannot come and shadow my own child or steal his father’s love and attention” Bella mused as the men talked.
    “Don’t make me find you, because if I do, I will finish what I started. Now, I shall set to getting a child for my husband” Tania mused.
    Damilola called his police commissioner friend and told him about Dayo, a search for Dayo was conducted. At the same time, bulletins were put in all the popular radio and television stations, with Dayo’s picture. They went a step further and asked that the missing person’s bulletin be put on, the CEO of the company was gracious enough to do it at no cost, as he was also interested in seeing Dayo returned home safely to his family.
    Dayo stood helplessly until an elderly man carrying a sack bag came to ask him why he was standing like that, and where were his parents. Dayo told him that his parents were dead, and he was in an accident, after treating him, the doctors sent him away. The man became thoughtful and after which he asked Dayo to come with him on the bus. They boarded the bus together and even though the passengers knew that Dayo was going away with a man he did not know, they did not raise objections; they had seen too many abandoned children in Lagos to care.
    The bus quickly filled up and the journey to Oshogbo began. Dayo was going to Oshogbo to meet Madam Lagos, while the latter was in a flight to Lagos to look for the son that had been entrusted into her care. The journey was tiresome for Dayo who had never been on a bus, and after a few hours, the bus parked at the Oshogbo bus park. By this time, it was already night.
    Dayo: “Thank you very much sir, may God bless you” he said and made to go, but the man stopped him, with a hand on his shoulder. Dayo’s eyes glazed over, and he began to follow the man wherever he went. They boarded a taxi that took them out of Oshogbo into a rural village in Osun state, and to the house of a powerful medicine man.
    Elderly man: “Baba Osun, Oya has blessed my trip as he has delivered a healthy boy into my hand for the sacrifice” he said, laughing hysterically.
    Baba Osun: “I feel bad about this oh, the moment this boy stepped into this compound, I felt shivers all over my body” he said in Yoruba.
    Elderly man: “You worry too much, he is just an ordinary boy. Can’t you see he is under my spell?” he said and pushed Dayo into a dark room.
    Dayo’s mind was clouded with the spell the elderly man had cast on him like cobwebs. In the fogginess of his mind, a part of him remained and he strove to push the cobwebs around his mind. He tried to remember who he was and what had brought him here.
    “I am Dayo, I want to be a doctor because it is my mother’s dream” the voice was little in his mind, but Dayo held on to it until it got louder and filled his mind, overpowering the potency of the man’s spell. He broke free of the spell, and his eyes returned to normal.
    Dayo: “How am I here and how do I get out of here?” he whispered to himself. He looked around the moonlit room, he could barely see, but the window from which the moonlight was beaming through, was open. He walked tentatively to the window and looked out into the still night. He had not even climbed on the window sill, when the door of the room cracked open, and the elderly man stood in the doorway, like a demon, lit only by the moonlight.
    Question: Will Dayo be able to escape, or will he be used for sacrifice. Also, how does Tania intend to give her husband a child?
    New episode is he

    Episode 25

    Halima sat with Cassandra her daughter, reminiscing of the past. After announcing to her family that she was pregnant and wanted to marry a Christian boy, her father disowned her and never looked back. It was easy for him because he had other wives and children, only her mother was sorrowful about it, but her hands were tied, her husband had forbade any and every one from having any contacts with Halima. She missed her family and even though her husband had tried to make up for the family she had lost, it was never enough. Every day she woke up and promised herself that, today would be the day she tried to contact her mother, but fear of rejection always won and she never got around to doing it. While immersed in her thoughts, the doorbell rang, she still did not hear, until her daughter Cassandra went to usher in the visitor, it were two policemen and some other well-dressed men.
    Halima stood up immediately when she saw them, her instincts already told her that there was trouble. She told her daughter to go into her bedroom so she would talk with the visitors. Then one of the men broke the news that shattered her life. She was told that the plane that her husband boarded from Lagos to UK had crashed, and there were no survivors.
    Halima: “Hay God!” she exclaimed and began to shout on top of her voice. The noise brought the servants and even Cassandra, who found out that her father was never coming home. Cassandra cried and held her mother.
    Cassandra: “Why are so many bad things happening to me, mother. First it was Dayo, now father too is gone. Are you going to leave me too, mother?” she cried.
    Halima: “No my daughter, I will never leave you” she held her daughter and they both cried.
    After months of preparation, Halima buried her husband with the help of the church and his family, the will was read and the majority had been left to Cassandra, and her mother, to the discontent of her husband’s family. They were against their son marrying a woman from a Muslim background, but he insisted, now they felt she had killed him and carted away all his wealth, leaving the family with peanuts. Halima packed up and left Lagos for Oshogbo. With the death of her husband, who had been her everything for a long while, she decided it was time to seek out her family and ask forgiveness.
    When she got to Oshogbo, she found out that her father had died, and had forgiven her before his death, but no one knew where to look for her. He had forgiven her because of what happened to Khadijat’s family. He saw how desolate the family became just because the man refused to forgive his daughter’s mistake, and how the public shunned the Imam because his daughter died as a result of his unforgiveness. Oshogbo became her home once again.
    Tania went to see a gynaecologist, and after being told that she was alright, she persuaded her husband to go for check-up also, so they would know where their problem was coming from and solve it. However, the gynaecologist also told him that his sperm count and everything about his sperm cells were normal and he could impregnate a woman.
    Tania: “Then why are we not getting pregnant. I want my own child” she demanded of the doctor.
    Damilola was unenthusiastic, Dayo’s case was still at the topmost of his mind. He couldn’t understand why Dayo would run away, he was the most disturbed because he was the one who had seen the horror on Dayo’s face in the CCTV. What scared him so much to run? The last person he was in contact with was Tania, his wife. What had Tania done to the boy? He also thought of the accident, wasn’t it strange that she did not swerve to the left side which was her side of the car, but swerved to the right, where Dayo was seated. Another thing was the sudden enthusiasm to have a child. He looked at her, she looked fragile, but there were times he had found out that she was nowhere near fragile.
    Tania: “Ï don’t understand why you are not showing any zeal towards this” she said.
    “Why would you care about a child when you already have one?” she mused, looking at her husband, curiously.
    Damilola: “A child will come at the right time” he replied nonchalantly.
    The doctor told them that the reason they didn’t have children could be because of stress, therefore he recommended a one week vacation for the both of them.
    Question:Did you think Vacation is the best solution to their problem now or finding Dayo?

    Episode 26

    Damilola: “I cannot take a vacation right now, Tania, you know what is on ground” he said searching her eyes. He didn’t know what he was looking for, but he was not expecting the anger he saw in them.
    Tania: “Is Dayo your child? Why don’t we work on getting our own child?” she said in a biting tone.
    Damilola: “You do realize that you caused the accident that almost killed that boy, and perhaps made him run away. That child was given to us to spend a few days and we didn’t return the child the way we took him, are you not bothered about that?” he asked unbelievably.
    Tania: “I am but we didn’t tell the child to run away, do we pause our lives because he ran away? This is more important, I want to carry my child” she said and broke down in tears. Damilola felt compelled to console her and agree to the vacation. However, Damilola agreed to the vacation not because he wanted to go but because he wanted to find out what went on between Tania and Dayo.
    They went on a vacation to Obudu cattle ranch, where they stayed for a week. Tania made sure that her husband did not have a moment respite to think about Dayo. She learned almost all the styles in Fifty shades of Grey, and made sure her husband performed them with her.
    Damilola: “Tania, this is borderline ridiculous, did we come here just to have s-x? Please, I need a break” he said bitingly and left the room, with Tania still in her nude. Gone was the sweet Tania he knew in bed, this Tania just wanted to have a child, and was using him like a sperm donor, rather than a husband.
    Tania: “D--n him, he doesn’t even care” she said to the empty room, as she flung on a see through robe. Tania went out to the balcony that oversaw the mountain ridges, it was a beautiful sight. She felt eyes on her and turned to see a young beautifully sculpted man. His eyes were not just on her, but on the swell of her b----t and her poking n-----s beneath the flimsy robe. It felt exhilarating to be desired, so, she entertained his attention. The man blew her a kiss and she blushed. They continued their flirtatious dance, and when Tania saw that Damilola was not coming back, she took a long coat and put over her robe and then she went out the door to the next suite.
    It was a bold move and it was the first time she was cheating on her husband, but she had been aroused by the man’s physique and his attention. The moment she knocked on the door, it flung open and the man pulled her into the room. The man was called Skyby, a physical trainer based in Calabar, so he told her. He caressed her with his hands, his mouth and his words. Tania was on fire for him, and thoughts of her husband and his supposed betrayal was far from her mind.
    young woman feeding a young man on a bed
    All the styles that Damilola had been reluctant to try with her, she tried it all with skyby. They had s-x in the kitchen, the toilet and even dared having s-x in the balcony with Tania bent over the railing, in full glare of the world, it was the best s-x she had ever had. It was as if the s-x was a drug, Tania didn’t care that their suite was just next door, and her husband could have seen them. When they were exhausted, she sneaked back into her suite to find out that Damilola was back. He had a glass of wine in his hand and he was making a call. Tania listened and realized he was talking to Gberan and it was about Dayo. She felt the more pleased that she had cheated on him.
    “What a traitor” she thought.
    She had gone into the bathroom and didn’t hear Damilola shout Khadijat’s name. So there was no way for her to know that Damilola just found out that Dayo is his son, contrary to what she was told.
    Question: Will Tania be found out and would the s-x she had with Skyby come to haunt her in the future? What is the lot of Dayo, has his father found out about him too late?
    Sorry guys I didn’t update yesterday

    Episode 27

    Damilola dropped the call and went to the room, he began to pack his clothes into the suitcase. Tania was in the shower, when she came out and saw him packing, she was stunned.
    Tania: “Where are you rushing off to?” she asked.
    Damilola: “I just got a serious information, and I need to get back to Lagos immediately, but we still have money on our card, so you can stay back. God knows you need it” he said. It annoyed her that he was ready to let her stay here all alone, but when she thought of Skyby, she was ready to stay here alone.
    Tania: “Fine, do what suits you. I need to rest, so that the sperm can connect with the egg” she said and began to cream herself. When Damilola was done packing, he kissed her on the lips, she tasted like Brandy, and he did not have any brandy and he was sure she had not had any, because Brandy was her least favourite drink.
    Damilola: “Did you have any brandy?” he quizzed. Tania was caught off guard by the question, she looked at him with arched brows, wondering what he was on about.
    Tania: “You know that I don’t like brandy” she replied and remembered too late that when she was kissing Skyby, he had tasted like Brandy. But before she could do damage control, Damilola waved and left the suite with his suitcase in hand.
    “Free of Mr. Grouchy” she thought as she dressed up in a bum short that barely covered her butt cheeks, she wore this on a one-piece swimsuit, and went out to the bar, where surprisingly Skyby was waiting. He looked surprised, even though Tania could swear that he was faking the surprise.
    Skyby: “I saw your husband leaving a few minutes ago, thought you had gone”
    Tania: “Are you happy I stayed back?” she teased, twirling a red painted finger nail around his lips.
    Skyby: “I am overjoyed, it means my night is made” he replied licking his lips, “I see you are dressed for a swim, maami” he twirled her round and pinched a butt cheek. It sent shivers coursing through Tania’s body. For a long time, only Damilola had aroused her, but now this man was pressing buttons she didn’t know she had.
    Tania: “Come one” she pulled him to the pool side where she unbuttoned and removed the bum short she was wearing to reveal a gold toned swim suit. Her n-----s were hard and threatening to burst through the fabric of the swimsuit. She slowly went into the water and beckoned on Skyby to join her. He quickly undressed down to a pair of briefs, and dived into the water. He navigated to Tania and the first thing he did was to kiss her, and before long he pulled the swimsuit to one side and was thrusting in and out of her. For the first time in Tania’s life, she had multiple orgasms.
    When the sun rose the next day, casting a golden glow on the face of the earth, giving the ranch a beautiful leafy scenery, it met Tania in bed, tangled with Skyby. She was naked and her body looked and smelled like that of a satiated woman. Skyby woke her up with his lips on her n-----s, she moaned and began to say things she ought not to say.
    Tania: “You are the man for me, I never thought I could meet a man that knows how to string my cords. I wish I met you earlier, I would never have bothered about certain things that I have done” she said drowsily as he suckled on her b----t.
    Skyby: “What things are you talking about, like cheating on your husband? You are a bad, bad, girl” he said, dipping his finger into her moist depths. The more he pleasured her, the more she talked.
    Tania: “After what Damilola did to me, I thought I would never care about a goddamned man in this world. But you, I care about you, Skyby” she said.
    Skyby: “What did your husband do?” he asked, before taking his mouth back to the pit of her stomach, he felt Tania shiver.
    Tania: “That useless man impregnated a woman outside our marriage and brought the child to his friend. He has been keeping this away from me for years. The boy is 11 years old, for eleven years, the man I called my husband, whom I helped when we were all in America, lied to me. We have been trying for a kid but he doesn’t care, we came to this resort to have lots of s-x so I can conceive, but he acts like I am forcing him, do you even see him here?” she said with a tone of regret in her voice. Skyby could tell that no matter what she said, she still cared very much for her husband.
    Skyby: “So your husband has a child, but how did you come about this?” he asked. Instinct told her that Skyby was becoming too interested, but she didn’t mind, she just needed someone to talk to.
    Tania: “I found out from my friend, Bella. She knew about the deal from the onset. Although I am not sure she told me because she cared about me. She probably wanted the boy gone from her house” she said.
    Skyby: “What did she expect you would do?”
    Tania: “I have never tried to hurt anyone before, but I didn’t want Damilola to push me away when he didn’t need me anymore. After all, he has a son already” she broke down in sobs that raked her body the same way pleasure tremors had done.

    Episode 28

    Skyby: “It is alright, you got me now. Just tell me everything, don’t hide things for me. I really, really like you, your body is amazing, you make love with your soul and I have never had someone like you before” he said and rocked her. Tania slept off in his arms, when she woke up, he was making a call and whispering.
    When Dayo saw the man at the door, he was paralyzed with fear, against the light of the moon, he looked like an apparition.
    Dayo: “Please sir, let me go, I am just a boy without parents, my mother died giving birth to me and she begged that I become a medical doctor. I fled my daddy Gberan’s house because aunt Tania wanted to kill me. I know this because I saw the look in her eyes before she swerved the car and hit the bridge. Even mummy Bella doesn’t like me, neither does Ken. Everyone hates me but for my grandma, Madam Lagos. She is the reason I came to Oshogbo. Please don’t kill me” he pleaded. The man beamed a torchlight at him and in the glare, Dayo saw that this was not the man he had met at Obalende park in Lagos. It was the medicine man. He opened the door wider and beckoned on Dayo to leave. He had never used a motherless child for sacrifice, they were bad for blood sacrifices anyway. He told himself that he would explain this to his friend when he came back from seeing his family inside the village.
    Dayo ran as fast as his legs could carry him, even though he did not know where he was running to. Soon he found himself inside the bush, and this was where he fell on the dew soaked forest floor and cried.
    Dayo: “Oh God please I am tired, just take my life. Mother, I am sorry I cannot fulfil your dying wish, it is too hard. I don’t even know where I am, or how to leave this strange place, how then do I become a doctor” he cried, until he slept on the forest floor. He had a dream and he saw his mother. She was beautiful and she was clothed in a gown and a hijab covered her head.
    Khadijat: “My son, you are just as handsome as your father. You should not have run away from home”
    Dayo: “I was going to be killed. I don’t know what I did to aunt Tania, she wants me dead and I don’t know why” he said, not the least uncomfortable with talking with the woman whom he had never seen before. He instinctively knew that this was his mother.
    Khadijat: “Don’t you believe in God? He put you in my womb for a reason, and even when he took my life, he spared yours because he created you for a purpose, did you think really any man could take your life when God does not permit it?” she asked.
    Dayo: “I was scared. But that is all past, I don’t even know where I am, any idea?” he asked, sporting a smirk.
    Khadijat: “You will have to do this on your own, and don’t ever ask God to take your life, it sounds ungrateful. No matter how hard, always remember the dream” she said, and he was startled awake.
    Question: Do you think Skyby is there with Tania with an ulterior motive, who could he be working for? The future seems bleak for Dayo, will he lose his way?

    Episode 29

    Tania stayed more than the time on the credit card because Skyby took care of her remaining expenses. Even her husband called and asked why she was extending her stay, she gave him one flimsy excuse or the other., until he stopped asking. However, Skyby told her that he wanted to go back to the city as a job was waiting for him. It was then that Tania decided it was time to return to her husband. It was also then she realized that Skyby was not the kind of guy a woman married, Damilola was. No matter how much she felt he had betrayed her, he was still stable. Skyby was only good for the sheets, or so she thought.
    Tania: “I will visit Calabar from time to time” she said as she packed her things into her two suitcases.
    Skyby: “Sure, I am going to miss you, Ima mi” he said and smacked her butt.
    When she got back to Lagos, Bella called on her. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw Bella. Bella was a thorn in her flesh and she was beginning to think that perhaps she should take care of Bella. She decided she would talk to Skyby about it, didn’t he say he was there for her?
    Bella: “Why do you look like you have seen a ghost?” she asked walking majestically into the house, she could smell fear all over her. What was Tania hiding, she wondered.
    Tania: “What do you want?” she asked.
    Bella: “I didn’t know I needed a reason to come and see my friend. I heard you and Damilola are trying for a child again? Well, I don’t know if he would be interested now that he knows Dayo is his son” she said flicking off invisible dirt from her fingernails.
    Tania: “What did you say?” she asked suddenly alert.
    Bella: “While you were holidaying outside Lagos, your husband was intensifying efforts to find Dayo because he just found out that he is his son” she replied, still acting nonchalant.
    Tania: “Bella, what do you mean he just found out, didn’t you tell me he knew?” she asked, as her heart began to beat faster.
    Bella: “A little over sight, I thought he knew” she quipped, still not concerned.
    Tania: “Bella, you lied to me that my husband made a deal with your husband to keep Dayo with you guys, and now you are telling me you thought he knew. Did you use me to get rid of Dayo?” she asked inching closer to Bella menacingly, but the latter was the least bit afraid.
    Bella: “And did you try to get rid of him, is that the reason he ran?” she fired back into Tania’s face. Tania backed down and asked Bella to leave her house and never return. When Bella was gone, she broke down and began to cry.
    Tania: “I allowed her manipulate me, I allowed her use me. Damilola never betrayed me. He was the loyal husband he has always been. Oh my God, I have done so many evils because I thought he betrayed me” she cried.
    Dayo, walked through the village all night, when he was tired, he would slump on the floor, but when he remembered his mother’s voice in the dream, he would get up. When the first light of dawn broke through the trees, Dayo spied a river, he hurried there and bathed in it. After the river, he continued his journey and saw a mud house, outside was a line on which clothes hung. He took a trouser and shirt and wore it. He felt clean and fresh, but he also felt the first pangs of hunger since he absconded from the hospital. He saw a rickety signpost that read ‘Epetumodo’. He didn’t know where that was, but he followed the road until he saw a church, it was a catholic church. In front of the church was a long bus, and people were boarding the bus, Dayo did not ask questions, he lined up too and got into the bus. Inside the bus, he smiled at everyone, and nodded his head at every question. But after listening to the conversation of some of the people who conversed in English, he found out that they were going on a church retreat in Oshogbo. His joy knew no bounds as he thought of going to look for his Madam Lagos. He planned a way he was going to look for Madam Lagos, and it was asking from person to person.
    The bus journeyed for hours and finally got to Oshogbo. It was night by the time the bus reached Oshogbo, and Dayo decided to sleep in the church building where the others would sleep. In the morning, he would go look for his grandma, madam Lagos.

    Episode 30

    Tania called Skyby and talked endlessly about teaching Bella a lesson for using her for her own selfish agenda. Skyby asked her what she wanted to do to her, and Tania told him that she wanted Bella dead. Skyby asked her if she was sure, many times that Tania should have been suspicious, but she replied in the affirmative.
    Skyby: “Alright, I will get her for you, but you will be the one to kill her yourself” he said.
    Tania: “Kill her myself, I thought you would just take care of it”
    Skyby: “It is you, who knows how much she has hurt you”
    Tania: “Alright, alright, I will do it. When will you be in Lagos?”
    Skyby: “I will let you know” he replied and rang off.
    Tania: “I am going to use you as much as I can, and then I am going to dump your a-s. I might have gushed to you, but my heart lies with my husband, especially now that I know that he did not deceive me” she said to the phone.
    No matter how Gberan tried, there was no headway in Dayo’s case, it was like he vanished into thin air. His mother, Madam Lagos did not eat or drink, she locked herself in the guest bedroom, and sometimes at night, her cries of regret could be heard in the house. She regretted bringing Dayo to Lagos, she told herself she could have taken care of him in Oshogbo. If she had done that, Dayo would still be with them, she thought.
    Even Bella was not at ease since Dayo disappeared, her curiosity kept getting the better of her, Ken was the only one who was happy and at peace. Even though his father still did not spend time with him, and scolded him instead, he was still happy that Dayo was gone. Bella’s curiosity got her into the net of Skyby. She was watching her son do his home assignment when her phone rang.
    Skyby: “Meet me and I will tell you what Tania did to Dayo” he said.
    Bella: “Who is this?” she asked and Skyby could hear her fast breathing.
    Skyby: “Do as I say, I shall send you a message, it would contain the address of where you would meet me” he said and hung up. As he had said, a few minutes later, a text message came into her phone. She read the message and contemplated within herself if she should go or not. She thought of the power that the piece of information would give her over Tania and she decided to go. She called the housekeeper and put Ken in her care before she drove out of the house.
    The address was a warehouse on a deserted part of Tin can Island, she parked in the bushy path that led to the warehouse, and walked the short distance to the warehouse. As she entered, she met a muscularly built man, it was Skyby.
    Skyby: “So you want to know about Tania?” he asked.
    Bella: “Of course, what did she do, did she try to kill Dayo?” she asked anxiously, as she looked around the warehouse. There was an eerie feeling to the place, like trouble lurked in its shadows. She was too preoccupied with badgering Skyby for answers, she didn’t realize that Tania had walked into the warehouse. When she decided that Skyby was not going to tell her what she wanted to know, she turned to go and stared into the nuzzle of Tania’s gun.
    Tania: “My friend Bella, did you really come to hear my sordid deeds?” she asked sarcastically. Bella looked on with fright, her mouth dried and unable to move to form words. But one thing was sure in her mind, that she was not going to leave the warehouse alive.
    Question: Is Skyby on Tania’s side or is he setting her up. Also will Bella survive this encounter with Tania, or is this the end of her wicked ways?

    Episode 31

    Bella pled with Tania for her life but the latter was determined to end Bella’s life.
    Tania: “Yes, I deliberately rammed the car because I wanted Dayo dead, and even now I still want him dead, to pave the way for the child that I will bear for Dami. But my annoyance is that, you used me, you manipulated me for your selfish reason. Still, you are looking for information to ruin me, now you have the information, but you will not live to recount it” she said and pressed the trigger. Two things happened; one the gun clicked empty, and Tania suddenly began to feel dizzy, the gun dropped from her hands and she fell to the floor. Everywhere became dark in her eyes, and she slipped into unconsciousness.
    Bella took to her heels, crying and screaming, she ran alone on the deserted path. Skyby carried Tania in his arms, and took her to the hospital, in his car. So, he was there when the doctor told Tania, who had been revived, that she was not sick, but pregnant.
    Tania: “Doctor, are you for real? I am really pregnant?” she asked with excitement.
    Doctor: “Yes, you are pregnant”
    Tania: “Dami is going to be very pleased when I tell him this” she said to herself, oblivious of Skyby standing in a corner.
    Skyby became thoughtful, he had been having unprotected s-x with Tania, which was against the rules of engagement, and now she was pregnant. He couldn’t tell if the child was his or her husband’s. He was told to monitor her and get her to confess to her crimes, not sleep with her and make babies. It so happened, that an eye witness at the scene of the accident had told the police that Tania suddenly swerved and rammed her car, even when there was no oncoming vehicle in her path. The police concluded that it could only be intentional, but because they did not have a motive, they had resorted to a covert operation to get her to confess.
    Skyby: “Have you thought of the fact that this child could be mine?” he asked suddenly.
    Tania: “No way in hell, this child belongs to my husband. I had plenty copulation with my husband before I met you. I am certain that this child is my husband’s” she said vehemently and turned her face away.
    When morning came, Dayo left the church and began to wander the streets of Oshogbo, asking people for Madam Lagos. But no one knew who he was talking about. The day he left the church, he wandered without eating, but from the second day, he began to go to restaurants to wash dishes, and as a reward, they would give him food.
    He left off washing dishes in restaurants and began to do ‘Alabaru’ in the market, carrying people’s load for a fee. One fateful day, Khadijat’s mother came to the market to buy food stuffs. It was her first time out of the house since her husband’s death. She wore a black gown with black hijab. She had bought all the things she needed and was standing in the market when Dayo approached her.
    Dayo: “Iya wa, let me carry your load for you for hundred naira” he said.
    Khadijat’s mother: “You don’t look like a street child, what are you doing here?” she asked, not knowing that she was talking to her grandson.
    Dayo: “I am looking for Madam Lagos, it was the reason I left Lagos to come to Oshogbo.” He replied.
    Khadijat’s mother: “I don’t know anybody by that name. But if you insist on carrying the load, I don’t mind, but you must promise to come in when we reach my destination, so that you can have something to eat and drink” she said.
    Dayo: “Thank you ma, I would appreciate it” he replied with excitement.
    Khadijat’s mother: “How old are you?” she asked as the boy carried the load on his head.
    Dayo: “I am eleven years old, almost twelve” he said as they went on their way. Khadijat’s mother thought of her daughter who died while pregnant, if she had given birth, the boy would have grown up like this boy. Whenever she thought of her daughter, her heart ached.
    When they got to the house, she greeted her neighbour, Damilola’s mother. Over the years, the women had found succour in each other, each had been connected by the grandchild that they thought was never born.
    Damilola’s mother: “Neighbour I have news oh, I don’t know whether it is good news or not. When you are done, please come to my apartment. It is about my son” she said. A cloud came over Khadijat’s mother’s face, Damilola was the one who put her daughter in the family way, and though she had become close with the mother, she could still not forgive him for what he caused. She could never forgive that he deceived her daughter and abandoned her when she fell pregnant.
    Khadijat’s mother: “Neighbour, I am sorry but I don’t want to hear about your son” she said and turned to go.
    Damilola’s mother: “It is not only about my son, it is about our grandson, please come later” she entreated Khadijat’s mother, and went into her apartment. Khadijat’s mother was thoughtful for a while before going into her own apartment. She brought a plate of amala and ewedu for Dayo, and a cold bottle of coke. It had been a long while that Dayo had that kind of meal, since he left Lagos.

    Episode 32

    Dayo: “Thank you ma’am, may God bless you. I will like to be on my way now” He said after eating, and Khadijat’s mother brought out a thousand naira note, which she gave to him.
    Dayo: “Iya wa, this is too much, the money is just one hundred naira” he said looking at the note in his hand with wide eyes.
    Khadijat’s mother: “Take it my son, you need it” she said and bade him goodbye, not knowing that her grandson had come to her house.
    After Dayo left, she went to her neighbour’s house to hear what she had to say.
    Damilola’s mother: “My son just called me. Khadijat did not die in that accident as we thought, she gave birth to the child, but died on the operating table. However, the child is alive, but something happened and he ran away. He was staying with the son of the woman who saved Khadijat, and Damilola only found out after the boy ran away. They are still looking for the boy” she said.
    Khadijat’s mother sat down heavily on the chair, she thought that she was beginning to heal from the loss of her daughter and her grandchild, but now the wound had been ripped open. She began to shiver so much that, Damilola’s mother had to wrap a blanket around her.
    Dayo kept coming back every day to Khadijat’s mother’s house, to help her with chores and follow her to the market. The woman became fond of him and one day, after serving him jollof rice and a cold cup of water, she began to ask him about his parents.
    Dayo: “I have no parents, my mother died while giving birth to me. I don’t know about my father either.”
    Khadijat’s mother: “What is your name?” she inquired.
    Dayo: “I am Dayo”
    Khadijat’s mother: “That is a good name, but don’t you think you should return to school, education they say is the best legacy”
    Dayo: “I want to go to school because I want to be a medical doctor, it is my mother’s dream, but who is going to send me to school? That is why I am working in the market to save money to go to school” he explained.
    Khadijat’s mother: “It is such a pity, come back tomorrow I will have something for you” she said and encouraged him to be a good boy.
    The next day, she wanted to go to the market and was waiting for Dayo to come as usual, to escort her to the market. While she was waiting, there was a knock on her door. She went to open it and saw Damilola’s mother with some other people.
    Damilola’s mother: “Neighbour, this is my son, Damilola and he came with Madam Lagos and the man who our grandson, Dayo was living with” she said, with mixed feelings. She was happy to know that their grandson was alive and not dead with his mother as they had thought, but now they didn’t know where he was or what he was doing.
    Khadijat’s mother: “Did you say Dayo, how does he look?” she asked, as something told her that she had been with her grandson all the while, and had not recognized him.
    Damilola began to describe Dayo, there was tears in his eyes as he described the boy, whom he had loved, not knowing he was his son whom he had rejected.
    Khadijat’s mother: “Alhamdulilah, that boy has been with me all these while, and I didn’t know he is my grandson. Thank God for directing his footsteps to me, may Allah be praised” she said, and told them that they should wait for Dayo would soon come to follow her to the market.
    But they waited for a long time and Dayo did not come, they stayed in Oshogbo for a week, but Dayo did not show up. They were back to square one.
    Question: What has happened to Dayo, did he see them and run away again, or has something terrible happened to him? Also who does Tania’s pregnancy belong to, her husband or her lover?

    Episode 33

    After leaving khadijat’s mother’s house, Dayo had gone back to the market to continue his Alabaru job. When night fell, he went to an uncompleted building where he usually slept, just a few distances from the market. He had slept deeply and was already dreaming of his mother, it was his favourite dream. He always made sure that he thought of his mother alone, as he laid his head on the hard floor of the uncompleted building and stared at the starry night sky.

    On this night, after devouring the agidi jollof he bought from the market, he laid to sleep, and as usual was dreaming of his mother when he was startled awake by thud of feet. He got up to a sitting position and tried to see through the darkness, the people intruding his sleeping place. When he could not see anything, he stood up and tiptoed towards the sound of voices, and listened. He heard the voices of men and from their conversation, he could gather that they were planning to rob a house.

    “Oh my God, they are armed robbers! If they see me here, they might kill me” he thought as he squatted behind the wall. But he did not squat for long when he tried to adjust and hit a tin lying by the side. The noise of the rolling tin pierced the still night, and the voices stopped. Then Dayo heard someone say that, they were not alone.

    “Come out now and I might spare you, remain hidden and when I find you, I shall kill you” he heard a coarse voice say. Dayo was not ready to take chances with his life, so he jumped out and prostrated in front of the gang of thieves.

    Dayo: “Please spare my life, I am an orphan” he cried. He was asked to stand up and he stared into the scariest eyes he had ever seen in his eleven years of living. The leader of the robbery gang was called Stone, and this was because no matter how many shots was fired into him, it didn’t penetrate.

    Stone: “What did you hear?” he asked, looking at the boy who had disturbed their timeline. They were supposed to be across the street in the lemon painted house where the head of women in the market lived.

    Dayo: “I did not hear anything, please spare my life I am an orphan, I have no one in this world, I have nothing other than my mother’s dream. Please don’t kill me, I fled from death in Lagos to Oshogbo, please don’t kill me” he cried.

    Stone: “Pitiful. If we don’t kill you, we must take you with us, and to earn your keep, you have to prove your usefulness”

    Dayo: “I will do anything you want” he said anxiously, shivering in the plastic boot he scavenged from the dustbin.

    Stone: “You see that lemon house” he said pointing to the dimly lit house across the street, “You will go there and bang on the gate until someone comes to the gate. Oya, move” he said and pushed Dayo out of the uncompleted building. They went with him and hid in the shrubs around the house, while Dayo walked with shaky legs to the front gate. He knew what he was about to do was wrong, but he was faced with no other choice. He couldn’t risk that the guns in their hands were filled with bullets.

    Tania stayed in the hospital because the doctor said she was over stressing herself and needed to be on bed rest for a week. She had Skyby at her beck and call, but unknown to her, Skyby had recorded the encounter between Bella and Tania, where she confessed to trying to kill Dayo, and wanting to kill Bella. So, she was still on the hospital bed, trying to call her husband, Damilola when policemen walked into her hospital room.

    Tania: “Officers, how can I help you?” she asked, her voice shook to register her fear. She quickly hung up on her husband, whom she was about to call.

    Police man: “You are under arrest for intentionally endangering the life of a minor, with the intention to kill and the attempted murder of Bella” the police said and read her rights to her.

    Episode 34

    Tania: “I don’t understand a word you are saying. Did Bella tell you all these, you must know that she is a pathological liar and has been jealous of me for a long while” she said, thinking words would get her out of the conundrum she has found herself.

    Police man: “Whatever you have to say, you will say it at the police station. Now quietly follow us or we will be forced to apply force” he replied.

    Then it dawned on Tania that she was done for, if her husband heard any of this, he would have doubts and no matter how hard she tried to clear her name, he would always have doubts.

    Tania: “Please, how much do you want. I just found out that I am expecting a baby, my husband will be overjoyed, and this is just going to ruin the news. Please, any amount I will pay” she pled as she was led out of the hospital, with the doctors and patients gawking at her being handcuffed and taken away.

    Police man: “You are wasting your time, and even compounding your crimes. As we speak, your husband is being informed as we found that the boy in question is his son” the police man replied her brashly.

    Tania: “This is Bella’s handiwork, no doubt. Are you going to listen to that b---h?” she exclaimed, but the policemen did not reply her anymore.

    Damilola was confused and distraught. He had been happy when he found out that Dayo was his son. It meant he still had a chance to redeem his past mistakes, but having waited for a week without Dayo showing his face, he was convinced that something had happened to the boy. It hurt him to find out that Dayo did ‘alabaru’ when his father had plenty.

    Damilola: “Forgive me Lord, I was foolish. Forgive me Khadijat, I didn’t know better. My friends had their girlfriends abort babies, I didn’t understand why you were adamant about doing same, I thought it was the norm. Please forgive me” he sat and cried in a corner of his mother’s apartment. He felt a hand on his shoulder and when he looked up, it was his mother.

    Damilola’s mother: “How long are you going to beat yourself up about this. I think no matter the lives that was lost because of the decision you and Khadijat, bless her soul, made, it is time to forgive yourself and move on. Thank God, your son is still alive, pick yourself up and go look for your son” she admonished. When she was done talking, she told him that his phone was ringing, it was the reason she came. He thanked her and checked his phone, he had a missed call from his wife and another strange number. He thought that perhaps Tania wanted to nag about him abandoning his life and searching for Dayo, if Gberan could do it, why couldn’t he? He didn’t understand why Tania was nonchalant about Dayo’s plight, didn’t she love him? If she didn’t why did she take him out? His doubts about the accident arose again, but he pushed them aside and called back the strange number. The first words he heard shattered his world.

    Damilola: “Hello, Damilola here, who am I speaking with?” he asked.

    Police man: “Your attention is needed urgently, your wife has been arrested for a number of charges, among which is the deliberate ploy to harm a minor by name, Dayo” the policeman on the other side of the phone said. Damilola was stunned, he allowed the phone drop from his hand and shatter on the ground.

    Damilola’s mother: “What is it, omo mi” She held his hand, but Damilola did not say a word, tear drops just fell from his eyes like dominoes. The mother’s shouts brought Gberan from the other room, and he joined in asking Damilola, what had happened.

    Damilola: “My own wife tried to kill my son” he said, with glazed eyes that stared into space.

    Gberan: “I don’t understand you, what do you mean?” he asked.

    Damilola: “What don’t you understand, don’t you understand or do you shy away from the possibility? Tania my wife tried to kill Dayo! The accident was a deliberate incidence. The police just called, she has already been arrested” he said hysterically.

    Gberan: “I can’t believe this” he said, but he felt relieved, because he had thought that Bella had something to do with the accident. It was no news that Bella didn’t like Dayo.

    Damilola: “This must be God’s way of punishing me” he said and began to cry. Gberan felt piteous towards him, he had never seen a man look so broken.

    In prison, Tania was allowed only one phone call, it was expected that she would call her husband or her lawyer, but she called none of them. She called Skyby

    Question:why will Tania feel calling Skyby is the solution

    Episode 35

    Tania had thought that Bella was responsible for her present predicament because Bella was the one she confessed to at the point where she was about to kill her. But then she had fainted and in the excitement over the pregnancy news, she had forgotten that Bella was still among the living and had the ammunitions to send her to jail. So, she had thought she would call a lawyer and it would be her word against hers. But then she had overheard the conversation between two police officers just outside the door of the interrogation room. They were in a confused state, like they were waiting for something or someone. They had been whispering but she had heard every word.
    One of the police officer was telling the other that their hands were tied until Skyby brought the incriminating evidence. This information had stunned her and had hurt her, not because Skyby had used her for his personal reasons, but because she had been gullible and careless. Therefore, when it was time for her to make the call she was entitled to, she called no one else but Skyby.
    Skyby was also thinking about Tania, he realized that he had put himself in a delicate position when he slept with Tania. He had been given an important assignment of nailing Tania, he had done that but his extracurricular activity was going to jeopardize their case. If Tania found out that he was responsible for her arrest, there was no telling what she would do. He had barely finished the thought when his phone rang. He thought it was his supervisor and rushed to receive the call, but the voice he heard on the other end chilled him to the bones.
    Tania: “Did you really think I would not find out?” she asked in a cold and calm voice, that was devoid of any emotions.
    Skyby: “I don’t know what you are talking about” he replied.
    Tania: “You created this problem for me, so fix it because if I do, I will do it with you disgraced and ruined. I can tell the world you slept with me, I can even say that you are responsible for my pregnancy, I can spin any tale I want. Fix this now!” she ordered.
    Skyby: “Would you really jeopardize your marriage?” he asked playing any card to get him off the hook.
    Tania: “I would do anything to get out of this, my marriage is over anyways. If my husband finds out about this, he would never trust me, so Skyby, I have nothing to lose. Fix this or else you would have yourself to blame” she retorted and hung up.
    Skyby flung his phone at the wall. He hated himself for shooting himself in the leg. If only she had not been so irresistible and daring, more than any woman he had met, perhaps he would have managed to zip up his pants. Now there was only one thing to do, he had to fix the problem before it fixed him for good.
    When Tania dropped the telephone, she beckoned to the officer standing guard outside and asked to speak with the officer in charge.
    Tania: “You guys have got to charge me now or else I would sue your asses. Show me what you have got against me or let me go” she shouted.
    The guard hurried to call the detective in charge, he was the same man who had designed the plan, which involved Skyby, to entrap Tania. He came in after trying to call Skyby. He had barely spoken when Skyby walked in with an envelope in his hand. Tania looked at him wide eyed, with mouth agape. She realized that he had called off her bluff and went ahead to submit the evidence. The detective snatched the envelope and smiled wickedly at Tania, who still had unbelief written all over her face. But when the detective slotted the DVD into a player, his face contorted into fury. The file had been corrupted and was showing green and blue lines. He looked up at Skyby and asked for an explanation.
    Skyby: “I cannot understand this sir, the file has obviously been corrupted” he said, and caught Tania’s smirk just before it disappeared from her face. He looked towards the window and saw the reason her smirk had disappeared, her husband, Damilola had come.
    Damilola: “Tania, what did you do? Did you try to kill my son?” he asked, staring wildly at her.
    Tania: “What are you even yapping about, Dayo is your son?” she asked, feigning ignorance.
    Damilola: “You didn’t know” he said incredulously like he didn’t believe she didn’t know. Actually, he thought she found out, that was the reason she wanted to get rid of Dayo, “if you didn’t know, then why did you try to kill him?” he asked puzzled.
    Tania: “I should be asking you. I have no reason to hurt Dayo, that boy loved me, he is the reason I wanted us to try for children again, and guess what, it paid off” she said, holding on to him desperately.
    Damilola: “What do you mean?” he quizzed.
    Tania: “We are pregnant, and these policemen don’t know what they are saying because they seem not to have any evidence to prove their allegations” she retorted, “Why would anyone think I would deliberately jeopardize my life and that of a little boy, for what?” she emphasized.
    Damilola held his head wearily, the news was met with mixed feelings. He didn’t know what to think, the police couldn’t have arrested Tania unless they were sure they had something concrete to nail her.
    Detective: “In absence of evidence, you are free of all charges” he said grudgingly.
    Tania: “And make sure this doesn’t repeat itself or I will not be so lenient” she said and walked out of the interrogation room, with Damilola on her heels. She was walking so fast because she was afraid to face Damilola, but he held her and spun her around.
    Damilola: “What just happened here? Why do they think you tried to kill my son?” he demanded.
    Tania: “I was the one driving the car, they probably think the accident was deliberate. We should be talking about our baby”
    Damilola: “I am taking a leave from work, I am going to Oshogbo to stay with my mother for a little while” he said, walking away. It was Tania’s turn to run after him.
    Tania: “Did you understand when I said I am pregnant? What are you even going to Oshogbo to do, did your mother send for you, isn’t that where you are coming from?” she asked, holding on to him desperately.

    Episode 36

    Damilola: “So many questions Tania, I can’t deal with this right now. Dayo was last seen in Oshogbo, I need to look for him before something bad happens to him”
    Tania: “You are so worried about Dayo, what about your unborn child, do you even care what happens to him or her?”
    Damilola: “That child is safe in your womb, he or she has got you, but Dayo has no one, he is probably in danger as we speak. I have to go look for him, this is my redemption” he replied as they entered his car.
    Throughout the drive home, Tania kept thinking of all Damilola had said, it was obvious to her that Dayo would always be Damilola’s favourite child. Since he found out about Dayo, he didn’t even care about having a child, and now that she was pregnant, Damilola didn’t care because he had a son already.
    “Perhaps, I should finish what I started. It is the only way to ensure my child’s place in Damilola’s heart” She pondered. She brought out her phone and typed a text which she sent to Skyby.
    Skyby fought his conscience over what he did. He allowed a bad woman go scot free of the law just because he wanted to save his reputation and career. He was still thinking of his guilt when a text message buzzed in his phone. He read it and he felt a chill creep up his body. The text was from Tania and she said;
    “I need your services in Oshogbo, find Dayo and finish what I started. You cannot refuse me, if you do or announce my plans to anyone, I will deny it and I will make sure you lose everything you hold dear. I have proof of our escapades” Her text read.
    Dayo had banged on the door of the lemon painted house as he was told, and when the security man asked who it was, Dayo responded in a frail voice asking for help. He had to infuse emotion into his voice because his life depended on the gate man opening the door, if he didn’t, the robbers would just kill him. Luck was on his side because the gate man was a compassionate person. When he heard the voice, he knew it was that of a young boy, and it sounded like the boy needed help. He quickly opened the gate and began to ask Dayo what was wrong with him. He was too engrossed in asking Dayo questions to which the boy responded with nods and shakes of his head, that he did not see the robbers crouching in the semi- darkness. Before he realized that he was in trouble, a gun was pointing in his face.
    He looked at the boy and saw guilt in his eyes, and then he realized that the boy was part of them. One after the other, the boys trooped into the compound, the leader, Stone had one hand on the trigger and the other hand held Dayo by his shirt neck. They used the gateman and entered the main house where they assassinated the woman of the house and carted away millions of naira stashed in the house, and jewelleries.
    Dayo: “Did you have to kill her, you took away her valuables, why take his life too” he cried, hitting the leader of the gang.
    Stone: “Look here boy, we are assassins under the guise of robbers, we get contracts to kill people and we cart away their valuables to make it look like a robbery gone bad. You helped us get into that house, you are as guilty as we are” he said holding his gaze.
    Dayo: “You forced me, you were going to kill me” he cried
    Stone: “Stop this tantrum, you are not a baby. When I was your age, I was already on the streets making money”
    Dayo: “I am already making money, I like what I do, it is honest and does not offend God” he replied, wiping tears from his eyes. He could see that tears were not going to solve anything, these were hardened criminals, who were not moved by tears.
    Stone: “How much do you make in a day? With us, you can make so much money and do whatever you want to do with it. I heard you talking to that gateman, you sounded so real, you have got talent that we can use. Join us and make good money” he said and stretched forth his hand.
    Dayo: “Why can’t you just let me go, I won’t cause you any trouble” he begged, his pleas fell on deaf ears.
    Stone: “Letting you go is not an option, it is either you join us, or we kill you. We cannot risk you exposing us” he said, this time with more menace.
    Dayo stared at him in confusion, with tears beaming in his eyes. He wished he could turn back the hands of time, so that he would avoid sleeping in that uncompleted building, then he wouldn’t have come across these destiny destroyers. He wanted to be a doctor, not an armed robber or an assassin.
    Question: What choice would Dayo make, to be killed or to join them? Will Tania ever pay for her crimes?

    Episode 37

    Skyby arrived in Oshogbo the same day that Damilola did. They took separate flights and there was no way Damilola would have known that someone had been sent to snuff the life out of Dayo forever. Skyby stayed in the same motel that Bella stayed, when she was in Oshogbo. Damilola however went to his mother’s place.
    His first port of call was Gberan’s mother, Madam Lagos. He went to see her to thank her for taking care of Khadijat and taking care of his son. But Madam Lagos was in sorrow over the disappearance of Dayo. Judging from what Khadijat’s mother had narrated, she was sure that Dayo was in trouble, and it hurt her that she had failed at keeping her promise to Khadijat. So, when Damilola came with his vote of thanks, Madam Lagos rebuffed him.
    Madam Lagos: “What are you thanking me for, if I took care of Khadijat, where is she? What about Dayo, do you see him here? You impregnated a girl and you left her to face the shame alone, and now, years later, with the girl dead, and the child nowhere to be found, you come to thank me. Keep your thanks to yourself, and look for our Dayo, perhaps then Khadijat will forgive you and her spirit will rest” she said bluntly.
    Damilola was short of words, he stood up from the position where he had knelt to thank Madam Lagos, and left the house, with a heavy heart. How could he have thought that she would be nice to him? He wondered. She, who witnessed all Khadijat went through. He made a vow that he would not go back to Lagos until he found Dayo, dead or alive.
    Sunlight escaped through the little opening in the curtain and danced on Dayo’s face. He opened his eyes and he looked at the strange surrounding. The bed was a comfortable king size, whereas he was used to sleeping on the hard floor of the uncompleted building. The room was a beautiful, white painted room, and furnished with beautiful furniture.
    “This is not the uncompleted building” He thought and bolted up to a sitting position. Then the memories came flooding back. He was not in the uncompleted building because he had chosen life. He had been given two choices; to join a band of assassins c-m armed robbers, or to be killed, and he had chosen to live, even if it meant joining them.
    “Mother, what do I do, should I have refused and be killed. I don’t want to die yet, not without fulfilling your dreams. What do I do, mother?” he said to the empty room. Suddenly, the door of the room was opened and Stone, the leader of the gang walked in, with a smile on his face.
    Stone: “I am glad you choose wisely, would have been a pain to have to kill you” he said. Dayo did not reply, he just stared at him. Then he told Dayo to follow him, he took Dayo round the massive mansion where all the members of the gang lived. They ended up in the kitchen where the cook gave Dayo a plate of toast, with scrambled egg, and mayonnaise. Dayo ate with relish because, since leaving the house, he had not eaten good food. However, the calm in the kitchen was broken when one of the gang members rushed into the kitchen and grabbed the television remote. He switched on the flat screen television on the wall of the kitchen, and Dayo’s face filled the screen.
    Dayo: “What am I doing on television?” he whispered, even if he had shouted, the occupants of the kitchen wouldn’t have heard, they were engrossed in the words spilling out of the television. The television anchor was saying that Dayo was involved in an accident in Lagos, and somehow is in Oshogbo, working hand in hand with a gang of robbers who were known to always kill their victim. She also said that anyone who found him should report to the nearest police station. The question on everyone’s lips was, ‘How did Dayo run away from the hospital and end up in Oshogbo’.
    Stone: “So you are a runaway huh, your people must be looking for you” he said looking at the television screen thoughtfully.
    Dayo: “No one is looking for me, my mother is dead, my father rejected us. Madam Lagos probably gave up on looking for me now, after all we are not related” he said, as emotions clogged his throat. He missed the family that was not really his, especially his daddy Gberan. Every day, he tried to visualize what he was doing, now that he was no longer with them.

    Episode 38

    “He has a son, remember, and now that you are gone, he is focusing on his son” the voice inside would say, and it would bring tears, he would wish that his absence had created a vacuum in their lives, but in his heart, he believed that no one cared that much for him.
    If only he knew, that not only was Gberan looking for him, but his grandmothers and his biological father had paused their life looking for the son that Khadijat gave birth to.
    It happened that, the gateman while talking to Dayo had seen his face when he pointed a torch in his face, while talking to him. So, he had described Dayo to the police and the police artist had sketched Dayo’s face. It wasn’t long that someone recognized Dayo as the boy who was in an accident and ran away from the hospital, throwing his family into confusion.
    Skyby had also seen the news and had gone to the place of the robbery, he combed the area around the place, but there was no sign of Dayo. He saw the uncompleted building opposite the lemon coloured house where the robbery had taken place, and went there, hoping that he would find Dayo. He found signs of inhabitation, but didn’t see Dayo. There was no way he could have found Dayo because he did not come out in the day, and only came out at night, and only on nights when the gang had an assignment. He was always cooped up in the house, with the gang.
    Skyby began to hunt the places where the gang struck. He stayed close to his television set, and whenever he heard that the gang had struck a place, he would rush there, but he never found any clues. One day he sat down and asked himself why he was chasing after Dayo, did he plan to kill the boy when he found him, just because Tania asked him to?
    “Are you really going to be a child killer because you want to save your reputation?” he questioned himself. It is time to pull out of Tania’s web, he told himself. But still Skyby was not ready to have his career ruined so he made a gamble. He called Tania and offered her a deal.
    Bella, since her encounter with Tania had been living in fear. She decided to reveal everything to her husband, in a bid to get protected. She hoped that her husband would forgive her part in the disaster, and protect her, for the sake of their son. So, she asked to talk to her husband, one evening, after dinner. Since Dayo went missing, Gberan had become less of a happy man, but however, he became closer to his son, Ken. Ken reciprocated the attention, by doing everything to please his father. He loved all the sports his father loved and learnt all the skills his father was good in. He even decided to study engineering, like his father had done. Seeing the way Ken had turned out, Bella did not regret her actions. After all, they pushed Dayo out of the house, and gave Ken room to be all he wanted to be, without sharing the affection of his father.
    Bella: “Gberan, Tania is a killer, she tried to kill me” she dropped the bombshell. Gberan bolted out of the reclining seat where he was, lounging on the patio.
    Gberan: “I know you did not have any liquor this evening, so, what nonsense is this you are saying? Are you trying to tarnish the image of your friend? This is a new low, even for you” he said vehemently.
    Bella: “Will you just keep quiet and let me talk. She tried to kill me, and if she had not fainted then, you would have seen my dead body somewhere. When she thought I was going to die, she confessed to me that the accident was deliberate, she had meant to kill Dayo because I told her Dayo is Damilola’s son” she said and watched as her husband’s eyes got darker and darker.
    Gberan: “You told her that Dayo is Damilola’s son, how did you know that? Even Damilola didn’t know that, until after the accident” he said unbelievably.
    Bella: “Remember when I told you I was going to see my mother, I actually went to Oshogbo. I watched Dayo and Damilola together at the lunch we had, and noticed similarities in their looks. I was not sure so I went to Oshogbo. Khadijat’s father had just died…” she explained to her husband, whose eyebrow shot up the more she talked.
    Gberan: “I am scared of you, Bella. I cannot believe that you would go this far to fight against an innocent boy whom life had dealt enough blows. My mother was right, I should never have married you” he said. He walked back and forth, thinking hard. The more he thought about it, the more he could not believe that Bella could do all she did. Then he thought of Tania, the innocent faced woman was even deadlier than Bella.
    Question: What deal would Skyby make with Tania, and what decision would Gberan make about his marriage to Bella? How would Dayo escape the gang he had been forced to join?

    Episode 39

    Skyby flew back to Lagos for his meeting with Tania as scheduled. He chose a quiet bar tucked in the coastal shores of Ikoyi, there was no chance of running into someone he knew here. He sat closest to the waterfront terrace of Ember creek, and ordered a glass of cocktail. It was not long after he was settled, Tania strutted in, wearing a fitted denim trousers with an Ankara kimono over it. Skyby wondered how a woman so beautiful as Tania, could be so deadly. He imagined that somewhere in the recesses of her mind, she felt she was doing the right thing because she was doing it for love and her marriage.
    Skyby: “Leave the boy alone, he is not going to hurt you because he doesn’t plan to come back to Lagos” he said the moment Tania sat down.
    Tania: “What is this, did you suddenly have an epiphany?” she asked sarcastically.
    Skyby: “You have done enough harm to the boy, Dayo is now a member of a notorious gang which we have known for a long time, people think they are armed robbers, but actually they are assassins. It is only a matter of time before Dayo meets his death, don’t make it faster” he said emphatically.
    Tania: “Really, you thought you could just call me and start telling me what to do. Are you forgetting I hold the chips?”
    Skyby: “No, I hold the chips because I have the original copy of the video where you confessed to Bella and almost killed her. I also know you have no record of our debauchery, and even if you do, you cherish your marriage, that is the reason you want Dayo dead. So, yes Tania, I had an epiphany” he said with a sly grin, and brought out a disc plate. Tania made to grab for it, but he took it out of her reach.
    Tania: “So what exactly is the deal you want to make?” she asked, with desperation in her eyes.
    Skyby: “I will give you this disc, in exchange, you will leave Dayo alone, and you will never call me to do any of your dirty works. I am a police officer, not your henchman” he said emphatically.
    Tania looked at him for a short while, then she nodded her head and agreed to the deal. But when Skyby handed the disc to her, she smiled wickedly.
    Tania: “And now that I have this in my hand, what would make me keep to my end of the bargain?” she asked, with a devious glint in her eyes.
    Skyby: “You will keep to your end of the bargain because, your word is your bond, but most importantly because, there is more where that came from.” He replied and walked away from the bar. Tania looked after him with anger in her eyes.
    Unknown to Tania however, Bella had turned into a private investigator overnight, and had decided to find evidence to nail Tania. She felt that the only way she could really be safe was with Tania behind bars. So, she followed Tania everywhere. She had seen Tania meet with Skyby and had remembered Skyby from the warehouse, he was the one who had lied to her that he had secrets about Tania.
    “They are working together, what are they planning now?” she mused, as she watched them. Then, she saw Skyby give a disc to Tania, and she determined in her heart to get the disc and find out if it was evidence to nail Tania. She took another route out of Ikoyi, straight to Lekki phase 1 where Tania resided with her husband. The gate man allowed her inside because she was a friend of the family. When she was escorted into the large living room, she was served juice by the housekeeper. Not long after, Tania came in, she was shocked seeing Bella. When she saw the car outside, she thought it was Gberan that had come to visit, it never occurred to her that Bella would have the guts to come to her house. What did she have up her sleeves, she wondered.
    Tania: “What the hell do you want in my house?” she asked angrily.
    Bella: “I am really sorry, I agree I used you, that Dayo was a thorn in my flesh, and I wanted him out. But I didn’t have the guts you have, so I devised a means to get you involved. Please, ore mi atata, forgive me” she said and knelt down. Tania considered her eyes and she saw tears shimmering in it, she believed her and stretched her hand out to raise her up.
    Tania: “I forgive you. I understand, more than anyone, what we do for the ones we love” she said with a hint of regret in her tone.
    Bella: “Thank you for understanding me” she rushed and hugged her.
    Tania: “It is alright, I am glad we are friends again, even though you still carry fake Hermes Birkin bags” she teased and the two women burst into laughter.

    Episode 40

    Bella: “I miss your dodorishi , you never got around to teaching me how you make it” she quipped. Tania had totally forgotten about the disc, in her conversation with Bella. She rushed to the kitchen to instruct the cook on making a quick dodorishi. Immediately she left, Bella’s smile wiped off her face and she looked towards Tania’s bag lying on the couch. She saw the tip of the disc envelope peeking out of Tania’s bag. She walked to it, looking left and right, and quickly slipped the disc into her bag. When Tania came out again, she saw Bella standing with her bag, ready to leave.
    Bella: “Sorry dear, ken just called, he needs me. One would think with Dayo gone, Ken would begin to act like a boy, not a wimpy child tied to his mother’s clothes” she said trying to gain sympathy from Tania.
    Tania: “Oh dear, I understand perfectly. But give him time, he will come around” she said and kissed the air behind Bella’s ears.
    Tania was too excited over having Bella on her side and one less person to get rid of, that she did not notice the haste with which Bella jumped into her car and zoomed off. Even if she noticed, she probably thought it was usual with having a needy child such as Ken.
    Bella drove straight home, and went to her bedroom; since Dayo disappeared, she stopped sharing a bedroom with Gberan because all he did was complain when they were together. He blamed Bella for everything that happened even before she confessed to him. Now that he knew her part in it all, he stopped eating her food and cooked his food by himself. She locked the door and slotted the disc in her DVD player. The scene where Tania had confessed to her while pointing a gun at her played on the television screen.
    “So that man was videotaping it all. Wonderful” she mused. She had planned to find evidence to put Tania in prison, but now that she had the disc in her hand, she was thinking of many ways to blackmail Tania, and gain power over her.
    While she was locked in her room, her husband Gberan had called Damilola, who was faraway in Oshogbo.
    Gberan: “Ore mi, there is fire on the mountain. I have been thinking of how best to tell you this.” He said and paused.
    Damilola: “Tell me, what is going on, is it about Dayo?” he demanded.
    Gberan: “Yes, Bella told me that your wife deliberately tried to harm Dayo, and she even tried to kill her. But she became dizzy and fell. It was also Bella’s fault, she made Tania believe that you knew about Dayo long ago, and kept him secret from her. The police vindicated for reasons best known to them, but she really did it”
    Damilola: “I don’t believe what you are saying” he said. Where he was, he was grabbing his head. It was like his brain could not process what his ears were hearing. He had suspected but when the police didn’t have evidence, Tania had convinced him that there was nothing. Now, finding out that there was something, was throwing him into a state of confusion.
    Gberan: “I wouldn’t lie to you, and Bella wouldn’t lie because she was implicated in it, I saw fear in her eyes when she talked. I am contemplating divorce, but I am thinking of my son, we have only just begun to bond. I don’t know what a divorce would do to him” he was saying but Damilola was no longer listening, the phone had fallen from his hand.
    Gberan: “Are you there, Dami” he called into the phone, but the call had been disconnected.
    Back in Oshogbo, Damilola’s mother was just coming back from the market when she saw the phone fall out of Damilola’s hand, she dumped the sack bag on the floor and rushed to her son.
    Damilola’s mother: “omo mi, what is going on? I know Dayo will come back to us, don’t give up yet”
    Damilola: “My wife, Tania, was the reason Dayo ran away. She tried to kill him in that accident” he said flatly, his eyes were deep, black bulbs, that stared listlessly. He didn’t mind the shock on his mother’s face, he picked up his phone and dialled Tania.
    Tania had just remembered the disc in her bag, so she hurried from her bedroom upstairs to the living room below. But before she could go to her bag, her phone began to read, she saw it was her husband and hurriedly picked it up.
    Tania: “Hello, honey. How is mother and Oshogbo?” she asked with glee.
    Damilola: “You murderer, what did that little boy ever do to you?” he said in a guttural voice.
    Tania: “Hello, this must be a wrong number” she said, not believing that those words had come from Damilola.
    Damilola: “Shut up you wicked woman. I am giving you twenty-four hours to surrender to the police, this is my final gift to you as a wife. I will have my lawyer contact you to sign the divorce papers. Mind you, I am not giving you a penny” he said, wishing he could hurt her with his words because what he really felt like doing was squeezing the life out of her, with his bare hands.
    Tania dropped the phone on the glass table in the centre and sank into a couch. She held her head in her hands and cried.
    Tania: “I am finished. Mo ku oh” she cried.
    Question: Will Tania obey her husband and confess to the police or would she find a way out, like kill her husband?

    Episode 41

    Bella still had the disc in the DVD player when her husband knocked, she rushed to open the door. It was the first time since she confessed that he was knocking on her door. She forgot to pause the video and it was still playing when Gberan entered. He had come to talk to Bella about living separately and gradually divorcing because of Ken. But when his eyes fell on the television, he was stunned. This was evidence to nail Tania and his wife had it.
    Gberan: “How did you get this?” he asked. Bella looked at the television and covered his mouth with his hands. She ran to cover the television but it was too late. She began to stutter, then she stopped.
    Bella: “I stole it from Tania, she was working with a man I suspect to be a police man, he gave it to her” she explained, deciding to come clean.
    Gberan: “So why haven’t you given it to the police. I can’t believe that after everything you have done, you still find it hard to do the right thing” he lamented.
    Bella: “I know I have made mistakes but I did them from a place of love. I was scared, she tried to kill me once”
    “But you weren’t scared of stealing it from her” he mused but he didn’t tell her that, instead he made a deal with her.
    Gberan: “It is going to be hard to rebuild our marriage after everything, as the day passes without Dayo, the more I resent you. But if you can help put the woman who did all these behind bars, it would help towards forgiving you” he said, and Bella rushed to hold him.
    Bella: “If that is what it would take for you to forgive me, I will do it. I still love you, and everything I did was for the love of family, and I regret it” she replied and removed the disc from the DVD, then handed it over to Gberan.
    Gberan: “We are going to the police station right now. Perhaps if Dayo knows she is behind bars, he would find his way back to us” he said.
    “I hope not” Bella thought within her.
    Tania was frantic, she couldn’t hand herself over to the police and she knew Damilola would tell the police when the time elapsed. She typed a text message and sent to him. The text read;
    “I am sorry my love, all I did was because of a misunderstanding. You loved Dayo even before you knew he was your son, I saw that you didn’t care anymore whether we had a child together or not. I felt cheated and I acted out of fear of losing you. Is it a crime to love, because the only crime I committed was loving you. If you do not care about me, what about our child?”
    She waited for a reply but got none. She decided to activate plan B, which was running away. She ran up to her room, the disc, momentarily forgotten, and began to pack a few important things into her suitcase, including the certificate of occupancy of the house, and some other important documents that pertained to Damilola’s properties. She would sell the properties, and with the proceeds get a new life where no one would find her.
    “But as for you, Damilola, I will never forget how you abandoned me, and when it is right, I will come for you and your son, Dayo” she thought within as she looked around the room where she had spent so many years loving Damilola. A single tear trickled from her eyelid, and she whisked it away.
    “This is no time for crying, it is time to act” she thought and left her room.
    But as she hurried down the stairs, she missed a step in her hurry, and tumbled down the stairs. At the base of the staircase, she laid in a pool of blood, unconscious.
    Gberan drove his wife to the police station where she narrated her ordeal and everything she knew about Tania and Dayo. The police told her that they could not arrest Tania based on her words alone, that they needed proof.
    Gberan: “We have proof” he said and brought out the disc. The detective in charge was the same who had put Skyby on the covert operation. He was stunned when he saw the disc, it was identical with the corrupted one Skyby had given to them, but he instinctively knew that the one Gberan was holding, was not corrupted.
    Detective: “How did you get this?” he asked, yanking the disc from Gberan’s hand.
    Bella: “A man, who I suspect to be one of yours, gave it to Tania. I stole it from her” she replied, and went further to describe the man as the same person who lured her to the warehouse, so that Tania could kill her. The detective immediately knew that Skyby was the one Bella talked of, and it occurred to him that Skyby had been compromised. But before he could give the word to have Skyby arrested, another dirty cop close to Skyby informed him, and the latter absconded from town.

    Episode 42

    After playing the disc, the detective was sure his instincts had paid off and finally he had Tania. He mobilized his men and they went to Tania’s house to arrest her. When they got to the house however, they met Tania in the pool of her own blood.
    Detective: “Call the ambulance immediately” he said, and went to touch her neck, to feel for a pulse. He shook his head sadly.
    Bella: “Officer, she is still alive, right?” she asked, as fear gripped her heart. She clutched the hand of her husband because, even before the officer replied, she already knew the answer.
    Detective: “She is dead, she probably fell a long time and no help came. It is a pity” he said shaking his head.
    Bella: “Oh no, she was pregnant. It was her first pregnancy” she cried. The force of Tania’s death hit her so strong, she broke down and began to cry.
    Bella: “What is life, that we should live it unfairly in pursuit of love, family or fulfilment, not caring who we hurt or tread on. Life is fragile and can be snuffed out just like that” she snapped her fingers. Then she turned to her husband and began to beg for forgiveness, this time she was truly repentant., shaken to her core by Tania’s death.
    Seven Years Later
    It has been seven years since Tania died, Damilola never remarried. He had lost hope of seeing Dayo again, and had gone back to Lagos, where he gave all his time to caring for people as a doctor. He established an orphanage home, where abandoned babies could call home. He always said Dayo was his inspiration and he always wanted to put smiles on peoples’ faces as Dayo did.
    The day of the ground breaking, Dayo watched it all on television. He saw Damilola recount his affair with Khadijat and how he had fled to India to pursue his education while the woman he had impregnated suffered the shame alone. He talked about how he had his son close and never knew it was his son until he left. There was a lot of crying, as people listened to the sad story of a love gone sour by the occurrence of pregnancy.
    Damilola: “Dayo, wherever you are, if you are still alive, please forgive me. I wish I could ask for another chance to make things right, but I don’t know if I deserve such luxury” he said to the camera. His face filled the television screen and Dayo could see the unshed tears shimmering in his eyes. Suddenly, the screen went black, Dayo turned and saw Stone holding the television remote control.
    Stone: “Remember, you are no longer Dayo, you are Robert” he said angrily.
    Dayo: “Robert or whatever, I am still the one that man is referring to” he said, and his mind went back to the past, that he had tried to move away from.
    Damilola had been nice to him, he even set up a trust fund for him. He remembered the moments they shared and he wondered if his life would have turned out better if his father had not abandoned his mother. He also remembered Tania, the woman had probably found out about him being her husband’s son, that would explain why she wanted to kill him. He remembered the look in her eyes just before she swerved the car and hit the bridge. He also thought of what his life would have been like, if he had not run away, perhaps his daddy Gberan would have protected him.
    “Daddy? He is not your daddy; do you see him looking for you?” a voice said within him.
    Stone: “You are a fugitive as Dayo, you cannot go back. Robert offers you a new chance, and a new slate. You already passed your exams, you can go to any school in Nigeria” he said, intruding into Dayo’s thoughts.
    Over the years, he had become close to Stone, and though he had advised the man to quit the business he was in, his advice was always met with a deaf ear. Stone was greedy, he had come from extreme poverty, and after his University days, with no job, a politician had hired him to assassinate an opponent. The operation was successful and he was paid in millions. That was how he got into the crime business, and now he didn’t want to leave.
    However, he had protected Dayo as much as he could, but he never let Dayo go, as he felt Dayo would rat them out. But every day, he saw the loath in the boy’s eyes. Even though the boy saw him as an elder brother, and probably loved him, there was no denying it that the young boy loathed what he did for a living.
    Question: Will Dayo run away from Stone and his gang of assassins, or would he give up on his life as Dayo and embrace Robert?

    Episode 43

    Since Halima’s husband died, she had faced one persecution or the other, it was the reason she left Lagos for Oshogbo. But still, they took her to court every other day, dragging the wealth her husband had left behind. Most times, she travelled to Lagos for court hearings, for this reason she put Cassandra in a boarding school and after her secondary education, she was sent to the United States for her higher education.
    Ken had grown to be an upright child. He lived for his father’s approval, and did all the things boys his age did, and even more. He graduated from secondary school, top of his class, and was even the captain of his school’s football team. When his mother heard Cassandra had been sent to the United States to further her education, she also asked Gberan to send ken to the same school.
    Ken meets up with Cassandra in America and they begin to date. Cassandra, though dating Ken, kept imagining what Dayo would look like now. Though everyone thought Dayo dead, she still believed Dayo was alive somewhere. She didn’t know how she came about that conclusion, but she just felt it in her heart that he was still alive. So, subconsciously, she withheld her heart from everyone, including Ken, waiting for the day that Dayo would come back into her life. So, ken always felt like her heart was not in the relationship and he always complained about it. Until he pushed Cassandra into having a relationship with somebody on the internet.
    For his 18th birthday, Stone employs a tutor to tutor Dayo at home. He did this because, after watching the ground breaking of the orphanage established by Damilola, he could see the longing in Dayo’s eyes, and everyday afterwards, the boy got restless. Stone was afraid that he would abscond someday and rat them out. Also as a gift, he changed Dayo’s name officially to Robert with the help of a judge who was once his client. Dayo passed his examinations in flying colours and gained admission into the university of Osun, to study Medicine. He never forgot his mother’s dream, and everything he did, he did towards achieving his goal. Even joining the gang, was to preserve his life long enough to achieve his mother’s dreams. He had passed his Cambridge examinations and had applied to one of the Ivy league universities in America. Due to his high performance, he had been accepted into UCLA, but Stone had refused to let him go.
    Stone: “The only way you can leave us is through death” he stated bluntly.
    Dayo didn’t have any friends because, Stone did not allow him associate with anyone, for risk of being found out. So, Dayo found succour in the internet. This was a capital case of having all the things money could buy, and not being happy still. Stone gave him anything he wanted that money could buy, like clothes, phones, he could even drive any car he wanted in the compound, but his freedom he could not have.
    One day, he was on social media when a girl sent him an instant message, he opened it and viewed her picture. He was shocked, it was Cassandra of his childhood. She had grown more beautiful and robust, but her face had not changed one bit. He made to type a long message to her, as a friend who had found his long-lost friend. But he remembered Stone had warned him about contacting anybody from his past. So, he refrained from gushing to her and only replied ‘hi’. However, that did not deter Cassandra, as she continued chatting him up.
    Soon, they became close friends, and spent all their waking hours chatting. Cassandra told him about a childhood love whom she lost, and hoped to see again. But Dayo had no personal stories to tell her. He only told her about Stone, whom he lied was his father., and stories about his school and the course he was reading.
    Cassandra: “So, you are going to be a doctor. I guess you can treat my mother, she is always sad”
    Dayo: “Why” he asked, remembering the nice woman who rarely smiled, but had good eyes that reflected a good soul.
    Cassandra: “Well, my father died, and willed everything to me and my mother. But my uncles and aunties are unhappy with that, it is the reason they have been after my mother. She goes to court every other day, it is the reason she sent me to the States” she texted back. She was surprised that she told this stranger, things she did not tell her boyfriend, Ken.
    Dayo: “I am sorry about your father, he is probably in heaven smiling down on you” he said
    Cassandra: “You believe that, are you a kid?” she teased, but Dayo didn’t find it funny because, these were the words of his daddy Gberan, and he held on to it through the years, hoping that his mother was in heaven smiling down on him.
    Cassandra: “You never told me your name” she said one day and Dayo rushed to type his name, but held himself back when he remembered he was no longer Dayo.
    Dayo: “I am called Robert”
    Cassandra: “Rob, I am Cassandra”
    They became so close that Dayo began to have feelings for Cassandra, but the fear that he was living a lie kept him from entertaining such feelings. What hope was there for him, when Stone had forbidden him from meeting with anyone from his past. How could he love someone whom he couldn’t even tell his real name?
    Dayo kept a journal where he wrote down all his feelings which he couldn’t speak out. In the journal, he wrote about Stone and their love-hate relationship. He loved Stone because he had become a big brother figure to him, and he never involved him in the crimes they committed, since after he turned twelve and they became close. When they went for their operations, he took Dayo along, but always made him sit in the car with the driver, and he would always tell the driver that whenever there was incidence of police invasion, the driver should take Dayo away to a safe house. However, Dayo hated him also because, he had kept from living his life, it was like his life was paused. He had no friends, learnt nothing other than his school books and stuffs he found online. Things his age groups did, he could not do because he was a prisoner of Stone. Sometimes, he felt like Stone had grown too fond of him, that he was afraid of losing him. He had a tight hold on Dayo, that was choking him.

    Episode 44

    Inside the journal, he also wrote about meeting Cassandra again after so many years. He wrote about his feelings for her and how he was tempted to run away back to his family because then he would have a chance to pursue his feelings for Cassandra. One day, he had slept off while writing in the journal, and Stone had found it. He spent the night reading about Dayo’s thoughts which he had written in the book. He took Dayo’s phone and went to his Facebook messages, he saw the ones he exchanged with Cassandra, and then he typed one final message to Cassandra before blocking her. The message read “I am sorry but I have no use for your type, it was boring chatting with you, all you do is whine about your boyfriend. Do you even have a boyfriend, or you just want to make me ask you out? That is not happening because I have got a girlfriend and you are not in her league”
    The next morning, Stone had the housekeeper make breakfast for them and then he called Dayo to the dining table. It was the first time they were eating together; the dining area was rarely used as everyone ate in their rooms. But today, he had something important to tell Dayo.
    Stone: “I saw all you wrote in your journal” he said and watched Dayo’s face contort in anger.
    Dayo: “That was personal, I do not invade your privacy, respect mine” he quipped.
    Stone: “As long as you are in my house, you have no privacy” he said calmly, turning the pancake in his plate around, with his fork.
    Dayo: “Then let me go” he fired back.
    Stone: “After everything I have done for you, you have a future because of me. What chances would you have had doing Alabaru?”
    Dayo: “I am sorry” he said contritely.
    Stone: “You violated my instructions, I told you never to have contact with anyone from your past, but you did. Final warning, I don’t want to find out you have any contacts with Cassandra or any other person from your past” he said, this time his eyes were hard.
    Dayo: “She did not know it was me, I am not doing anything to jeopardize your safety” he entreated, Cassandra was the only link to his past and he needed that, to be sure he had not lost himself.
    Stone: “Our safety, remember that you are also a wanted person. Don’t forget” he replied and pushed the food away.
    “The only thing I remember is my mother’s dream. You forced me, it was that or my life, I can still explain to the police. Now more than ever, I have to attempt an escape from Stone” He mused as he watched Stone go up the stairs.
    Dayo settled down to his food, and ate slowly, enjoying every bite. Now, he had decided to escape, he felt free and peaceful. He realized that Cassandra had been the motivation to escape. Tomorrow he would attempt an escape from Stone. He had saved up some money, not knowing why he needed to, but now it would come handy. For the moment he left Stone’s grip, he was fleeing to Lagos and to the arms of his fathers, Gberan and Damilola. He had forgiven his father because it was the only way for him to be happy. He never judged people for their actions, only God had that right, his daddy Gberan had told him so.
    Question: Would Dayo succeed in escaping the bondage of Stone and the gang, or would he be stopped?

    Episode 45

    He was running as fast as his legs could carry him, the house was just ahead. He could see the lights of the house, the curtains were drawn, and the inhabitants of the house were probably asleep, unaware of the terror about to be visited on them. He could get in front of the ivory painted gate now, and he began shouting on the top of his voice.
    “Help, Help, wake up” he yelled at the top of his voice. But a shot rang out, and he was still gazing at the lit balcony of the house, when he felt a pain rip through him, he held his throat as blood spurted out of it. Before he fell to the ground, he saw a young woman come out to the balcony, he wanted to warn her, but the darkness enveloped him, and the world blacked out…
    Dayo bolted up from sleep like he was yanked out of the dream. He was sweating profusely and he felt a cold chill in his heart.
    “What sort of dream is this?” he pondered. He got out of bed and held his head, there was pain in his head, he thought perhaps it was the speed he used in waking up from sleep. He went downstairs to the kitchen to get a glass of milk. He always had a glass of milk before he slept, but last night he had forgotten, so, he attributed the nightmare to the lack of milk before bed. But when he got close to the kitchen, he heard whisperings and he stopped. He heard Stone’s voice as clear as day.
    Stone: “This operation is very important, there must be no mistakes” he said in his usual coarse voice. His voice was because of too much smoking of weed.
    “If you don’t want mistakes, then you must keep that protégé of yours, at home. I have a bad feeling he is going to spoil things for us one of these days.” One of the gang members retorted.
    “What is the essence of bringing him along, if he is going to sit in the car and not join the operation” another quipped.
    Stone: “Silence, you are forgetting the real issues, which is the operation, not Robert” he thundered, and everywhere became silent. They didn’t talk, neither did they move. Then Stone began to speak in the silence, detailing the operation and the timeline. He quickly jotted down the address of the house in his head and would have lingered to hear more, but someone came out of the kitchen.
    Dayo dived into the alcove adjacent the kitchen entrance. The alcove which was a small inlet in the wall, house supplies like cleaning agents, garden tools and other equipment. Luckily it had a door, and Dayo closed it quietly and from a little hole, he watched the gang member climb up the stairs. Dayo rushed out of the alcove and entered the kitchen yawning and walking like he was sleepwalking. Stone smiled at this and rushed to hold him thinking he would fall.
    Stone: “When will you outgrow sleepwalking?” he said fondly. He opened the refrigerator and brought out milk because he rightly assumed that it was milk that brought Dayo to the kitchen. As he poured the milk into a glass, Dayo looked at the people in the kitchen from under his eyelashes.
    Dayo: “Thank you” he said sleepily and walked back upstairs.
    In his room, the glass of milk was forgotten on the table, he was worried about what he had heard and the dream. Was the dream trying to tell him something? He wondered to himself.
    Cassandra did not understand why she couldn’t Robert(Dayo) on Facebook again, and the last message he had sent to her, sounded like something that couldn’t come from him. She was broken hearted over the easy way he had discarded her. While she laid in her dorm room, nursing her broken heart, her real-life boyfriend, Ken, called her and invited her out for dinner. She wanted to turn him down, but she saw the dinner date, as an avenue to forget about Robert, so she obliged him.
    She dressed in a little black dress(LBD) and strand of pearly necklace. At the restaurant where Ken had invited her to, she still could not concentrate, a young man in his twenties that had walked in, reminded her of Robert.
    Ken: “Were you even listening to anything I said?” he asked and followed the direction of her eyes to the young man who had entered the restaurant, “Really Cassandra?” he asked incredulously, not believing for a moment that he was sitting with a girl and she was checking out another man.
    Cassandra: “Sorry Ken, I have a lot on my mind” she said, trying to cover up with a smile.
    Ken: “I can see that” he said flatly, and with a hint of sarcasm. Cassandra raised her head up from the plate of spaghetti she was eating, at the sarcasm she had heard in his voice. and saw Ken looking at the young man with anger in his eyes. She chuckled.
    Ken: “I was asking if you would be going for the summer break” he said
    Cassandra: “Of course, I have missed my mother” she replied.
    Ken: “Then I am going too” he replied.

    Episode 46

    Cassandra shook her head at this, it repulsed her that Ken always did anything she did, even though he was not pleased with it. He did it to be close to her always. She wished that she could reciprocate his feelings, but she couldn’t. No matter how she tried to have some sort of connection with the opposite s-x, she couldn’t because they were not Dayo. It baffled her though that Robert was the only one aside Dayo who caught her fancy. She felt nostalgic towards her impending trip home. Whenever she was in Nigeria, she was always considering people’s faces, checking if she would see Dayo.
    The next day Stone asked to drive Dayo to the University for his clearance. He wished that he could keep Dayo at home forever, but it was not possible. He had discussed online learning with Dayo but he refused saying he couldn’t do any other course other than medicine, and Medicine could not be taken online.
    Stone: “Remember all I told you, measure your words and don’t answer questions that are too personal. Keep everyone at arms-length, and call me when you are ready to come home, I will come and pick you” he admonished before unlocking the door.
    Dayo exhaled as he stepped out of the 4matic car and walked towards the school gate. It was like the school was inviting him with open arms, he felt happy because he was closer to achieving his mother’s dreams. He rushed through his clearances because he had some other assignment to do. The address was still in his head and he wanted to check it out. He was certain that the occupants of the house would be visited by Stone and his gang soonest and he was wondering how e could help. It felt like he was meant to help them because he had been shown a dream. But he was also afraid because he had been shot in the dream. Any attempt to go against Stone would be met with death, he knew, but he didn’t know how to turn a blind eye, he had stumbled on their meeting for a reason.
    When he got to the address which he had heard from Stone, he knocked on the gate for a while before the gateman opened the small entrance gate a peep.
    Gate man: “Eh, eh, wetin you dey find?” he barked aggressively.
    Dayo: “Please can I see the owner of the house?” he asked
    Gate man: “Why, shebi you be one of those boys wey never chop belleful, wey dey come disturb my small madam anytime she come back from school abi, dey vamoose for here now before I comot your teeth” he said in pidgin.
    Dayo: “It is important I see someone from this house, something bad is going to happen if I don’t warn them” he said with urgency, but the gate man was the least bit concerned.
    Gate man: “That one na new format? Go think again, this one no follow. If I close my eye open am, and you still dey here, you go blame yourself for anything wey happen to you” he said closed his eyes. Dayo shook his head sadly and walked away. He went back to the University and then called Stone.
    Two days later, Dayo began to shadow his guardian, Stone, he needed more details about the operation, to inform his next action. He noticed they only had meetings when they were sure he would not stumble into their conversation, so he pretended to be asleep. Stone came to his bedroom to check on him and when he saw Dayo was asleep, he went away. Dayo waited a few more minutes and then he tiptoed to the kitchen.
    He heard voices and he listened. They were loud this time because they were having an argument.
    Stone: “The daughter complicates everything. We will have to eliminate both of them”
    “There is no need to do that, she is just a teenager” one of the members replied.
    Stone: “The client wants both of them dead, and we always do what the client wants. Our hearts have never been the thing we think with in this business. We won’t start now. We kill both of them. We leave the house by 8pm, operation ETA is five minutes. Remember when we are out there, we think about our individuality, if the police happen on the operation, run, and don’t get caught” he said with finality.
    Dayo could still hear murmurs among them but Stone’s words were final. He was shaken to his bones by what he had heard. They were going to kill a woman, and her daughter. He remembered the gate man he had met at the address, and his words. He had talked about a small madam, that could be the daughter they wanted to kill, he thought. His decision was already made, he was going to run away and save that family. He crept back up to his room and dressed in black sweatshirt and sweatpants. He opened his bedroom window, and climbed on to the window sill. From there, he stretched his hand and held on to the branch of a tree growing in the backyard. With the support of the tree he swung off the window sill and on to the tree.
    Question: Will Dayo succeed in warning the occupants of the house or will he be shot like in the dream? Also do you think the occupants of the house are related to Dayo in any way?

    Episode 47

    The night sky and blanketed with pearly
    stars. The air blew hot, and not one cloud
    threatened the ground with rain. Dayo
    trudged through the quiet street on which
    their house stood. Fortunately for him, the
    tree on which he had flung himself was close
    to the fence, and from the branches he had
    made a bridge to the street below. He looked
    in his pocket and saw that he had a few
    notes, they would be enough to take him to
    his destination. The burden of saving the
    people in that house laid squarely on his
    shoulders. It was his duty to help them, he
    told himself.
    From the street, he walked on to the road
    that was very busy at that time of evening.
    Dayo flagged down a taxi cab and entered.
    He gave the driver the address of the house
    he was going to, and gave him all the money
    in his pocket.
    Dayo: “Please sir, that is all I have” he said
    with a note of desperation. The driver drove
    to the address, and once again Dayo banged
    on the gate of the house. The gate man
    opened the gate and when he recognized
    Dayo, he grew angry.
    Gateman: “dem send you for me? Abi o ya
    werey?” he asked vehemently.
    Dayo: “I don’t know what your problem is
    with me, but the lives of the people in this
    house are at stake. I need to talk to
    someone. They should leave the house this
    evening” he said desperately. He felt like
    shoving the man away from the gate.
    Gateman: “You think say na by that ur
    oyinbo? I get pikin for university, so ma
    whine mi oh” he replied and banged the gate
    in Dayo’s face. Dayo paced in front of the
    house in confusion. He didn’t know what to
    do, he thought he could meet privately with
    the occupants of the house and warn them,
    but this gate man was standing as a
    stumbling block in his path. He thought of
    going to the police but that was going to
    endanger his life, if Stone found out, there
    was no doubt that he would kill him.
    Dayo: “What do I do God?” he asked aloud.
    Back home, one of the gang members was
    told to go and call Dayo for dinner. Stone
    wanted them all to eat together before going
    for the operation. Every night they went out
    for an operation, they expected death, it was
    the reason they ate. Stone’s policy was that,
    after pursuing money on earth, a man was
    not supposed to die on an empty stomach.
    But when the gang member went to Dayo’s
    bedroom, he found it empty. He checked the
    adjoining bathroom, thinking he was having a
    shower, but it was also empty. He rushed
    downstairs in alarm, and when Stone saw his
    face, he knew something had gone wrong. He
    had been having a sense of foreboding since
    the day dawned, but he attributed it to
    anxiety before an operation. However, seeing
    the face of his gang member, he knew his
    feelings were spot on.
    Stone: “What happened?” he asked anxiously.
    “Robert, Dayo, whatever he is called, is not in
    his room or anywhere in this house” he said
    with a ‘I told you so’ look in his eyes.
    Stone: “What!” he exclaimed and bounded up
    the stairs. He bashed into Dayo’s room, and
    confirmed what the other gang member had
    said. His eyes went to the open window and
    the branch of tree which looked pulled
    towards the window, and then he knew that
    Dayo had left the house through the window.
    “Where would he go by this time, and
    why did he leave like a thief. Has he
    escaped, would he go to the police” these
    were the thoughts running around in his
    head. He was confused for the first time in a
    long while. He could not abort the mission
    because commitments have been made. He
    had to hope that Dayo was not doing
    anything that was jeopardizing their safety
    and freedom.
    Stone: “We continue the operation as before”
    “We should have just killed that boy, there
    was no need keeping him. If you needed a
    son, you could have gotten any girl pregnant”
    one of the gang members said.
    Stone: “Shut up! Nobody questions my
    decision, no one!” he shouted, the veins on
    his neck protruding like they were going to
    burst out from under the skin, “We all
    concentrate on the mission, Robert is my
    problem, and after the mission, I will deal
    with the problem. Now, let’s have dinner” he
    concluded and everyone fell silent.
    They sat round the dinner table and ate their
    dinner in silence. Every man praying in his
    heart to come back from the operation, alive.
    At the back of their minds, was also a
    nagging feeling that this operation would go
    wrong. The fact that Dayo had left the house
    secretly was a source of worry to them.
    Stone felt Dayo’s disappearance was of no
    consequence to the operation because he
    knew nothing about it, or did he?
    He bolted out of his seat suddenly as
    everything became clear in his mind’s eye.
    The day they were discussing the operation,
    Dayo had stumbled into the kitchen and he
    had thought that he was sleepwalking, but
    was he really sleep walking or eavesdropping
    on their conversation. He had also been
    seeing Dayo everywhere he turned, like the
    boy was shadowing him.
    “No! it can’t be” He screamed in his heart.
    Stone: “We leave immediately, there might be
    a problem, but we might be able to salvage
    the situation if we hurry” he said and they
    hurried into another room where they kept
    their ammunitions.
    Dayo was sitting on a stone slab in the
    street, lurking in the corner and watching the
    house, he didn’t know yet what he would do,
    but he knew he would keep watch and not
    allow Stone to succeed in his mission. But
    due to inactivity, he dozed off, leaning his
    head on his thighs. Because he was sleeping,
    he did not see a car drive to the gate and
    Ken come out with Cassandra. They had
    gone on a date, and Ken had come to drop
    Cassandra, but he was pleading with her to
    let him spend the night at their place, instead
    of the hotel.
    Since he got back from America for his
    summer break, he had not gone home, even
    though his mother had been asking him to
    come home, as she had missed him. He had
    been staying in Oshogbo because of
    Cassandra, in a hotel. Their relationship was
    falling apart, and Ken was doing all he could
    to hold it together. He had decided to marry
    Cassandra, not just because he loved her, for
    he loved her, as she was a very beautiful
    young lady. But, he wanted to marry her
    because of her father’s estate which had
    been bequeathed to her.
    Ken: “Please Cassie, I am tired of the lonely
    nights in that motel. I am in Oshogbo
    because of you” he said
    Cassandra: “And I didn’t ask you to stay. I
    came home to be with my mother, can’t you
    just go to Lagos, your mother must miss
    you” she said. She wanted to end the
    relationship, but was afraid of hurting Ken, as
    the relationship went beyond them, but to
    their families.
    Ken: “Just tonight, I won’t ask you for this
    Cassandra: “No touching, understood?” she
    said and Ken nodded. The gate had the gate
    opened, waiting for them to drive in, and he
    hated the delay. He stamped his foot to
    register his displeasure. Ken hurried
    Cassandra into the car and drove into the
    Dayo was startled awake by the bleating of a
    goat passing by with her kids. He wiped his
    face and looked around him. He jumped up
    from the slab when he remembered what was
    on ground. He looked at his led lit wrist
    watch and saw that it was almost 8pm.
    Everywhere was dark and silent. He looked
    towards the house and saw that it was lit,
    the curtains were drawn and the occupants
    of the house probably felt safe, not knowing
    about the terror that was about to be visited
    on them. He had barely finished the thought
    when he saw a pair of headlights in the
    distance. He instinctively knew that it was
    Stone and his gang. There was no time, he
    ran towards the house, shouting and
    screaming on top of his voice.
    Dayo: “They are coming! Call the police, they
    are going to kill you. Somebody help!” he
    screamed. All thoughts of self-preservation
    had fled his mind, all he thought about was
    warning the people in that house. He didn’t
    need another death on his conscience. He
    remembered when he was eleven, when he
    met Stone for the first time. They had killed a
    woman, he had for the first time, witnessed
    He had reached the gate now, but the
    headlights were closer and he could see the
    distinct shape of Stone’s van. He banged on
    the gate, but the gate man did not reply.
    However, the balcony light came on, and he
    saw a young lady in the balcony. He felt a
    sense of déjà vu, it was his dream all over
    again. He continued screaming and then he
    really looked at the lady on the balcony, she
    was illuminated by the balcony lights, and
    she looked frantic.
    “Oh my God, it is Cassandra” he thought
    with panic.
    Dayo: “Cassnadra, it is me Dayo, you all are
    about to be killed. Call the police now, don’t
    die Cassandra” he screamed, his voice
    piercing the still night. Two shots rang out,
    the sound ricocheted in still night, and the
    bullets tore through the frail body of Dayo.
    He didn’t feel the pain yet, he was still
    shouting, and more shots rang out.
    The pain tore through him, as he fell to the
    ground. Lights went on in other houses, and
    dogs began to bark. The thought that went
    through Dayo’s mind as his world turned to
    darkness, was that, people were aware, the
    mission would be aborted.
    The van turned around in a hurry and zoomed
    off away from the house. But Dayo did not
    see this because the blackness had already
    enveloped him, and the last thing he saw
    was his mother smiling down on him. It was
    like she was saying, ‘Well done my boy’.
    Dayo had a smile on his lips when people
    came out to him.
    It was like the earth was mourning the flow
    of blood, as the sky opened its bowels and
    poured out rain. The rain washed the blood
    that flowed from Dayo’s body and soaked the
    Cassandra had to fight her mother and the
    gateman to come out of the compound. She
    was sure she had heard correctly, the voice
    that rang out in the night. It was the voice of
    Robert, the one she had heard on countless
    calls across the Atlantic, when they talked on
    phone through the night. But the voice had
    called himself Dayo, her Dayo from her
    childhood. She had seen the men dressed in
    black shooting at the young boy, and she had
    known then, that Dayo had come back for her
    and had saved her life and that of her
    Cassandra: “Mother, call emergency, Dayo is
    probably dying, he took the bullets that was
    meant for us.” She said and pushed her
    mother aside. She ran out the small gate and
    rushed to Dayo. She knelt by his side and
    unbuttoned his shirt as she had been taught
    in her First Aid class in Red Cross society.
    Then she saw the pockmark by his belly, it
    was the same that her Dayo had when they
    were little. She needed no other confirmation
    that this was Dayo and he was also Robert.
    There was no time to think of how things
    had come to this, she cradled his head in her
    thighs and began to coo to him.
    Cassandra: “Dayo, I know you are in so much
    pain right now but you have to hold on. I
    have looked in every face searching for you,
    and now that I have found you, I don’t want
    to lose you. Please don’t die, I need you,
    your mother still needs you to fulfil her
    dreams. Please Dayo” she cried and began to
    sing a song for him in Yoruba. She was still
    singing when the ambulance came and
    carried Dayo away. Halima and her daughter
    followed the ambulance to the hospital. She
    had heard about Dayo’s roots when he went
    missing. She had also met Damilola and
    known that Dayo was her friend’s son. She
    felt responsible for him. She had not been a
    good friend to Khadijat when she was alive,
    and now she swore to be a good friend to
    her in death.

    Episode 48 (Final) 

    In Lagos, Bella was preparing dinner for her
    husband, who would soon be back from work
    when she felt a sharp pain in her lower
    abdomen, like something was pressing on her
    bladder. The pain was so much that she
    fainted. She was lying on the kitchen floor
    when her husband came back from work. He
    had called for her and when she did not
    respond, he walked to the kitchen from where
    he was perceiving a burning smell. He saw
    that the sauce on the frying pan was burning
    and so catching fire. He switched off the gas,
    and then he saw his wife lying on the floor.
    Gberan: “Bella! Bella!” he shook her. In alarm,
    he swung her on his shoulders and carried
    her to his car.
    At the hospital, Bella had been revived, she
    thought that the doctor would tell her she
    was having a late pregnancy. She had been
    hoping that God would give her a child in her
    mid- age to keep her company, as Ken had
    outgrown her. Instead the doctor had a
    shocking news for her. The doctor told her
    she had stage 4 uterine cancer, and her
    chances of survival was slim, but he could
    have chemotherapy if she chose. However,
    without chemotherapy, she had six months to
    Bella: “Mo gbe! God this is too much oh. Is
    this punishment for what I did to Dayo” she
    cried, to the consternation of the doctor.
    Gberan just held his head in his hands. He
    was confounded, how could Bella have
    cancer? He was still thinking of the dilemma
    they had found themselves when he saw a
    call from Halima. Since his boss died, Halima
    had not contacted him, so, he was surprised
    when he saw her call. But he received it
    Back in Oshogbo, Dayo had undergone
    surgery to remove the bullets, the surgery
    had been complicated because of the
    massive loss of blood and his rare blood
    group, he was Rhesus positive, like his father
    Damilola. Halima called Gberan to tell him
    about Dayo and the condition he was in.
    Halima: “You need to let Damilola know, he
    is the only one who can give blood to Dayo.
    His life is on the balance” she cried and
    Gberan could tell she had been crying, even
    him was crying. He had mixed feelings, joy at
    finding Dayo again, and sadness at the
    condition he was in.
    Gberan hung up and called Damilola
    immediately. He appraised him of the
    situation and it was Damilola would go mad
    with fear. He got the address of the hospital
    and got on the next flight to Oshogbo.
    Gberan also called his mother and told him
    about Dayo. She did not hesitate to call her
    driver, to take her to the hospital.
    Damilola got to the hospital and donated
    blood for his son, the surgery was successful,
    but Dayo refused to come out of coma. His
    family converged at the hospital, even his
    two grandmothers, but Dayo’s eyes were
    shut tight, and his pulse got lower and lower.
    The doctor’s prognosis was bad, “He might
    not make it” the doctor said. The news was
    met with crying from everyone who had come
    for Dayo. Even patients in the hospital forgot
    their illnesses and joined in the crying when
    they heard the story of Khadijat and Dayo.
    Ken had been jealous when he heard Dayo
    announce himself, and when Cassandra
    rushed to him without hesitation, saying
    things to him and singing to him. But seeing
    Dayo lying so helpless, with different
    machines connected to him, and a breathing
    mask strapped to his nose, he felt piteous
    towards him.
    While others stayed in the hospital’s lounge,
    Cassandra refused to leave Dayo’s side, she
    stayed by him day and night. For three days,
    Dayo as in coma, and on the fourth day he
    went into crisis. The doctors worked
    tirelessly, trying to resuscitate him. But at
    11:59, the doctors pronounced him dead.
    While everyone was wailing the death of
    Dayo, Madam Lagos called her pastor on the
    phone, and told him to rush to the hospital.
    Madam Lagos: “I believe that if we join our
    faith with yours, that God can bring our son
    back to life” she said into the phone sobbing.
    The pastor came with some other pastors in
    the church. They began to intercede, raising
    their voices to heaven in a loud cry, asking
    that the soul of Dayo be returned. While they
    prayed, the body of Dayo was being prepared
    to be taken to the mortuary.
    Stone wanted to be sure that Dayo was dead,
    so he came to the hospital, and from the
    lobby heard the news of the boy who was
    shot and had just died. He left the hospital,
    satisfied. They had lost the contract with
    their client because they could not carry out
    the operation but he was happy that the boy
    who betrayed them and caused them all that
    trouble had left the land of the living.
    But the God with the longest hand that
    stretches forth from heaven to wrought
    wonders among men, heard the cry of the
    saints. Even Khadijat’s mother who was a
    Muslim was shouting the loudest ‘Amen’ to
    the prayers of the pastors. God heard their
    cry and just before Dayo was deposited in the
    refrigerator, he coughed. The people bearing
    him, flung him away and ran for their lives.
    How could a dead person cough, it definitely
    was the work of evil people, they thought.
    Dayo opened his eyes and saw that he was
    naked, he looked around and he could feel
    the stench of death around the mortuary. He
    ran out of the mortuary and in the hallway,
    he saw a green surgical garb. He quickly
    donned it and began to walk away from the
    The people who ran away peeped and saw
    him walking, they stared at him in
    amazement. The news spread like wildfire,
    and got to his family who were still praying
    in the lounge. They hurried to meet him, and
    Dayo could not believe his eyes. The last
    thing he remembered was falling because he
    had been shot, but now he was seeing his
    family and even the woman whom he always
    escorted to the market, Khadijat’s mother. He
    touched his hand, to be sure he was alive. It
    was his father who rushed and embraced him
    Damilola: “Oh my son, oh my son” he was
    too stunned for words, he kept crying and
    mumbling. Gberan joined the hug, he had
    forgotten about his wife who had just been
    diagnosed with cancer.
    After the doctor had certified him alright, his
    family gathered around him and began to tell
    stories of their lives after he disappeared.
    Dayo: “So this is my grandmother?” he asked
    looking at Khadijat’s mother. He could not
    believe that he had been so close to his
    roots and had not known. He embraced her.
    Damilola’s mother: “I am your grandmother
    too, I gave birth to your father” she said and
    everyone laughed. Then they asked him to
    tell them what happened. He told them
    everything about the look he saw in Tania’s
    house before she swerved the car. That he
    ran away because he was afraid of Tania. He
    told them about coming to Oshogbo to look
    for Madam Lagos and falling into the hands
    of a ritualist. As he talked, they oohed and
    aahed. They could not believe all the trauma
    he had gone through right from when he ran
    Damilola: “Tania is dead however” he
    announced and everyone fell silent to respect
    the dead.
    Damilola called the police and after hours of
    drilling, under the supervision of the doctors,
    they got the whole facts and knew that Dayo
    was forced into the gang. Cassandra and
    Halima also gave their testimonies of how
    Dayo warned them, even at the expense of
    his life. Dayo told the police that Stone and
    his gang were not armed robbers but
    assassins who robbed to cover their true
    The news of Dayo being brought back from
    the dead spread all over Oshogbo and even
    the country. Reporters travelled far and wide
    to see the boy, and many who did not believe
    on God and his saving power were converted.
    There was a great revival in the country, as
    many were led to the Lord through the
    miracle of Dayo.
    However, Stone was determined to finish
    what he started, he had heard that Dayo had
    been brought back from the dead, so he
    watched him. The police, with Dayo’s
    permission, used him as a bait. He went to
    the park with his father, Damilola. His father,
    did like he was going to get something and
    went away. Stone who had been lurking in
    the shadows came out and stared
    menacingly at Dayo.
    Stone: “I treated you well, but you betrayed
    me. The price of betrayal is death and this
    time you will stay dead” he said and pointed
    the gun at Dayo. Dayo had been kitted with a
    bulletproof vest, but he was still shaking in
    his shoes. He was staring death in the face.
    However, before Stone could pull the trigger,
    he was fired from behind, he fell and groaned,
    and immediately, police men sprang out from
    bushes and captured him.
    Bella underwent chemotherapy, her skin
    became pale, and all the hair on her head fell
    off. She looked like a scare crow as a result
    of the chemotherapy, but yet, the cancer did
    not go into remission. She had three months
    to live. The cancer had become worse and
    now she was bedridden. She asked to see
    Dayo, and Damilola brought Dayo to
    Gberan’s house.
    When Dayo stepped into Bella’s bedroom, he
    knew immediately that she was going to die
    that night. He could smell death before he
    had been touched by the hands of deaths
    and could recognize its cold, dark, presence.
    Dayo: “I forgive you, I hold no grudges” he
    said to the frail, sickly woman on the bed.
    Bella: “Thank you my son. It shall be well
    with you” she said.
    Dayo went back home with his father, and
    that night, a call came, Bella had left the land
    of the living.
    Ken had lost his mother and the love of
    Cassandra because she was now so besotted
    with Dayo, it was like Dayo did not leave. But
    he was comforted with the support of his
    family and friends. Three families were joined
    as one because of Dayo. Before Bella died,
    she had admonished his son to be a good
    man, even when it was not easy to be good,
    and so Ken heeded his mother’s words and
    lived amicably with Dayo.
    After the burial of Bella, Ken and Cassandra
    went back to school in the States, and
    Damilola processed his son’s papers and
    sent him to the United States to study
    Medicine and Surgery at UCLA.
    The hands of God are not short, that he
    cannot touch whatsoever is the ache in
    your life. He says call on me in the time
    of trouble, and I will deliver you. Strive to
    be good, even when it is not often easy to
    be good. Forgive all those who hurt you
    and never scheme evil against your fellow
    human, for the wages of sin is death, but
    the gift of God is eternal life. Embrace
    light and flee from evil.
    *THE END*


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