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Truth Be Told (In Pursuit Of Kyenpia) by Sally

When David poured that insanely freezing bucket of water over me, I sprang up dazed and without thinking, stumbled towards him. He grabbed me by the neck and had me in a headlock.

“Abeg, stop it!” I complained and aimed my fist for his balls but he moved away, put one leg behind me and I was down to the floor.

“Okay, game over,” I said, knowing I couldn’t overpower him. For the umpteenth time, I wondered why I didn’t join the army to get the type of training my brothers got. They always bullied me.

“Oya!” he gave me a hand and pulled me up and hugged me but I pushed him off.

“No dey try dat kain rubbish with me!” I warned him and for the first time, really looked around me. “What type of place is this?”

“I asked myself the same question,” David answered with a smile. You don’t know where you are, do you?”

“You brought me here?”

“Me? Rudeboy brought me here. You have been in this place for months. You basically run the hotel from here.”

I ran my hand over my face, “oh, that’s messed up.” I began fishing around for my phones and when I found them on the bed, they were both dead, soaked from David’s childish, birthday prank. He shrugged when I showed him his handiwork.

“Use my own.” He threw his phone to me and I dialed my secretary to come and clear my valuables from the house and also Rudeboy to see me immediately. As I ended the call, I noticed the girl from yesterday standing by the door—obviously just waking up—looking from David to me with a confused expression.

“Hi, I’m David,” David turned to her with a smile.

“Yvonne,” she shook his hand. “Or just I… Ivy.” She was still confused. “Leo, you’re a twin?”


She nodded slowly. “You never told me.”

I also never told you I was mentally unbalanced but you figured that out on your own. Clap for Ivy.

So, you’re leaving?” she asked, not looking too happy.

“Yeah, I’m leaving right now. You live here too?”

She gave me a funny look briefly and then the sad eyes returned. “I’ll miss you.”

Okay, what did that mean? I will miss you as a roommate or I’ll miss you as someone I slept with?

I looked at her fully, assessing her statistics. I found her just okay. She was not my type.

“Thanks for everything, sha,” she said. “The money came in yesterday morning. I wanted to thank you but you were not at home, so…”

“You’re welcome.” I didn’t bother to ask her how much. Later on, when I went through my accounts and discovered two million naira missing, I almost choked myself to death.

“Call me once in a while,” Ivy said with a smile and her normal features transformed to something stunning.”

I looked at her again and wasn’t so sure Daniel had not slept with her. We were both suckers for dazzling smiles.

“So, how far with today, nah, wannabe?” David asked. “Any plans?”

I gave him a wicked smile and he knew whatever I had up my sleeves were not going to go down well with his wife if she ever found out. But the truth was, she never was going to find out.


It was a long day that found David tipsy and enjoying the city lights from my balcony back at the hotel. I had not done anything bad to him but almost got him killed three times. This was my own birthday; last year, he did worse to me.

“What’s up with you and that radio chick?” David asked me and I looked at him with a smile.


“Yeah, that one. You have been featuring on her show.”

I had no idea  but I said nothing.

“You really like her?”

No, Daniel does.  All the same, she struck us both somewhere deep.

“I’m crazy about Kyenpia. I think she’s the one.”

“She’s Ishi’s wife,” David said curtly and looked at me with a warning. I never did understand the relationship David and Ishi shared. Ishi was his other twin.

“She’s his friend,” I stated emphatically.

“Leo, Kyenpia cannot be one of your playthings. Ishi loves that girl. You don’t want to go down that road.”

“And who says I’m not in love with her too?”

“Daniel loves her. Not you. Until Daniel surfaces for real and decides to be the man that he is supposed to be, I advise you to stay away from her.”

I drew sideways and looked at David in annoyance. He had no right to butt in my issues and I told him that.

“You don’t want another family wahala on your head over this girl. Let her go, Leo.”

“Let her go? Where is this coming from? Did Ishi send you to tell me because I want to drive to his place now and stuff his mouth with my foot. What’s the whole drama surrounding the issue? I like the girl. I can’t stop thinking about her, day and night. No woman has ever done that to me. I see Kyenpia and I want to be a better man.”

“Then be a better man! Take your chances, go to her and tell her how you feel! Stop joking around because when you play those games, you’re hurting not just another person, but yourself! Yes, physically you can handle anything. You’re tough but you’re an emotional and psychological disaster waiting to happen. Leo,” he lowered his voice, “you think you’re strong but you’re not. That is why you switch from time to time because you never know how to handle pressure when it hits you. You run away and hide like a little child; it’s as if you’re trapped in some part of your childhood. One minute, you’re all grown and the next, you’re like the average teenager with hormones all over the place. You have to stop. You’re destroying yourself. That part of you called Daniel is the real you. He wants to live, he wants to come out. He’s the one who loves Kyenpia but you’re not allowing him stay long enough to turn your world around. He wants to be you but you don’t want to be him because Spirit still controls you. You’re still afraid of his voice and threats and each time you want to break free, he takes you back to those times he caged your little mind as a child. Spirit shouldn’t have that power. You need to know that he is just a shadow of the captain and you have to completely erase him. Grow up, wannabe. I miss my brother. I miss you insanely. I want Daniel back, but first Leonel, you have to go.”

I was silent for a long time. Everything he said was right. But it did not sink in. I took his words and stored them in my memory for later. I would come back to them when I had the time. At that moment, those words were not for me. I was in serious denial.

David and I gisted some more and later visited our mom at the fountain. He didn’t hold back his tears. To him, she put him to sleep twenty-five years ago and never came back. He didn’t have the chance to say goodbye. Her disappearance ate him more than it did me. They had a very tight bond. I knew I should tell him the truth but my alliance was with the captain.

Later that night, when I got back to my suite and had a hot shower, I turned on my iPad and logged into a particular IP address on the net. Once I got in, I retrieved recorded footage gotten from live video feed taken from my entire suite. I had no idea what to expect since I had been away for a long time but I wasn’t prepared for the shocking footage that met my eyes when I rewound back to the point I left off. As I sat there watching what Sugar and her friends did to me, I didn’t know whether to cry or to thank God for somehow keeping me alive. I lifted my shirt and my fingers felt the scars on my side. I hadn’t paid much attention to them earlier but now it all made sense. I reached for the new phone I just bought and fumbled around with the buttons. Straightaway, it dialed Sugar. She didn’t answer the first time but when I dialed again, she answered me with a sleepy voice.

“What do you want, Leonel?”

“Nice one, Sugar,” I said. “It was not in the plan.”

I imagined her getting off her bed, probably to stay out of earshot from the person she was in bed with.

“What was not part of the plan?” she asked.

“We need to talk. It seems our deal went awry.”

She paused and then finally burst out laughing. “I see what is happening. Somebody is finally awake and realizes he can’t play the game of the big boys.”

“We need to talk.”

“We have nothing to talk about Leonel.”

“I’m on my way,” I said.

I heard her muffled voice; she was talking to someone.

“Okay, you can come.”

The phone beeped off and I hurriedly dressed into something. Sugar’s place wasn’t far and was even shorter because the streets were virtually empty. In a couple of hours, Lagos wakes up to a new day of mundane, ferocious race for survival, a race against time. I wondered if it was worth it sometimes and that’s the problem with people like us who look at life from a glasshouse and not a peephole. We never really quite understand the rat race because we are larger animals in the food chain (or so we like to think). Excuse my digression.

Sugar’s gateman let me in and some guard frisked me at the front door before I walked in. The house was quiet and dark but I could see the reflection of the swimming pool cast over a massive painting of a half-naked man on the wall on my left. On my right was a staircase that led upstairs. I took double steps up. It was obvious she wanted to meet me in her private parlor since she hadn’t come down to meet me.

“I’m here!” I heard her say and saw her standing at her bedroom door. So far, in the short time I knew her, I had successfully escaped her sexual claws (well apart from that unholy night).

“Tired of hunting me?” she laughed and her heavy breasts without a bra bounced all over the place. Very unattractive. I closed my eyes briefly to banish the image of them bare but I was unsuccessful. The horrific frame of her nakedness from the rape video was still etched in my mind.

“Come in,” she said.

“No, I’d rather stay here.”

“Don’t worry Leo, I’m not going to rape you,” she laughed again. “Come in.”

“I just said no.”

“Come,” she walked to me and dragged me. At that point I was like if anything happened to me again, I deserved it. She led me into her room and it was dark like the rest of the house. I feared that she had all her gang members hiding in corners, ready to spring an attack on me.

“Turn on the lights, darling.”

At first I thought she was talking to me but when the lights went on and I saw the captain lying on her bed only in his boxers…


Contrary to what David said earlier, I was no kid. I knew when a man had needs that had to be met and for a man the captain’s age to be around someone like Sugar, he had to satisfy that craving. Sugar is called Sugar because she is sweet. Granted, she is on the fat side but she has the full cushion for the pushing. Trust Yoruba ladies and their behinds. So I understood the captain’s needs but to bring me up to their lust nest was unsexy.

“Hi, son,” he said.

Son? Why son? Why not Leonel or Spirit? What was this meeting about?

“Should I tell him or do you want to?” Sugar asked the captain.

“What’s…there to tell me?” I asked cautiously.

“We’re getting married!” For all she was worth, the weight, the braless boobs and bleached stretchmarks, Sugar was bouncing up and down excitedly like a twenty-five year old. I glared at the captain. Did he know this same woman screwed my life almost to oblivion? Of course, he had to know, yet he smiled at me with that tongue-in-cheek smile I hated so much. He was the beginning and end of the word ‘perversion’.

“Say hello to your new mother, son.”

Son, again?

“Welcome her to the family. I know everyone else would be pulling their hairs at this turn of events but I need you on my side. I need you to know you’re supporting me. Of course, it’s all political but Sugar is my guilty pleasure.”

“Let bygones be bygones, Leo. Your father has forgiven me for what I did to you. You should too. And I want to thank you for bringing us together.”

I didn’t know my mouth was hanging open until I felt saliva come to my lips. I swallowed. They both were looking at me in anticipation of what I had to say but I was speechless. How long their relationship had been going on, I had no idea but I blamed myself. Why? I freaking did not know. I badly wanted to retrieve my memory cards from my destroyed phones to find out what trails Daniel had left for me to follow. As it was, there were just too many holes. Why was Sugar thanking me for bringing them together? She and I had a deal before I disappeared and I never had the chance to see it through before she molested me. Did Daniel continue with the deal or did he go for revenge instead? I doubt that he sought revenge because if he did, Sugar would have been out of our lives. I needed answers and I needed them desperately.

“Aren’t you going to say anything?” the captain asked.

I knew he was full of shit, yet I couldn’t help feeling that I was second place in his life. I felt played and I was jealous. I wanted to say “hey, daddy don’t marry her! You’re sixty-one years old and you have been a bachelor for a long time. You don’t need her to make you feel like a man. Besides, you have me and I am a handful!” But I held my thoughts in.

Yeah, I was still a kid. I just couldn’t picture my dad with a new wife. Was Sugar going to have a child that I had to call my sibling?

Hey, sibling, did you know your mommy raped me? Oh yes, she did. And I have proof. Do you want to watch?

“Leo please say something,” Sugar begged.

“No. No, I have nothing to say.”

With that, I turned around and walked away.

© Sally


And Then There Were Two (In Pursuit OF Kyenpia)

The worst thing that can happen to a person with a split personality is for them to switch at the wrongest time.

God does love me, as I told you, but He likes to make jokes at my own expense. Ironic is the word I’ll use to describe His love for me.

So, there I was, with Titi rambling about how Sugar set her up to implicate her and from nowhere I shut down as Daniel.

Enter: Leonel.

I found myself standing in a strange, dark room with a dead but famous man lying on the floor and one of Stella’s friends, Titilayo, I think, half naked and hyperventilating intensely. I swore under my breath as I stood there, like someone lost in a maze.

Okay, Leonel, put your thoughts together. Find your phone and retrieve your memories.

I patted my pockets and found them empty.

Where on earth am I?

“Titilayo?” I pulled off the annoying mask that was itching my face. “What is going on here?”

The moment Titilayo saw my face, she backed away and started begging. At first, I didn’t comprehend what she was saying but I heard an “I didn’t mean to” “sugar forced me” and decided that was all I needed to hear. From past experiences, I kept further questions in and held from voicing them out. I walked to the door and pulled the handle but she ran to me and stopped me.

“Please, don’t leave me here. They’ll say I killed him. I didn’t kill him. Sugar is setting me up.”

“Titilayo, it is none of my business what you’re accused of. Go and handle your shit with Sugar.” I opened the door and walked out, not knowing I had thrown away the gift God had landed on my laps. Stepping into the club and seeing everyone in a mask, I quickly slipped my mask back on and found my way out. When I met security and valet service upstairs, they handed me my phones and key to my car. I drove from the scene and parked a few buildings away from the club and switched the phones on.

“Are you serious?” I laughed when I saw the date. I had been gone five months! “Damn! Five!” I laughed again. As I drove away, I spotted an ambulance and some government vehicles heading towards the club. Deep inside me, I was curious to know what was happening but I held back and made plans to enjoy my weekend. I had been gone for too long and my body badly craved pleasures that I was certain Daniel had ignored.

The night went by in a blur. I drank a lot, danced a lot and finally, ended up at the doorstep of one of my exes. She gave me the third degree of not being a victim of Okafor’s Law when I tried to kiss her and banged the door on my face. Almost morning and scared to drive with eyes that couldn’t stay open, I dialed Rudeboy or so I thought and told him where to meet me. An hour later, a pretty girl dressed in long tees and black pantyhose came

out of a taxi and entered my car.

“Hi beautiful,” I said not knowing who the hell she was.

“Leo, you speed-dialed me, calling me Rudeboy. Didn’t you hear my voice when I was talking? Do I sound like a rude boy to you?”

“Take me home,” I murmured. “Thanks for coming,” I crawled to the backseat and she moved to take the wheels. When we got ‘home’, she left me outside, murmuring that she had to go back to sleep. I followed her, ended up at the wrong door but she pulled me into our destination and banged the door.

“What is wrong with you, Leo?! You have been acting strange since yesterday! You didn’t tell me where you were going and I have been worried!”

“Sweetheart, I just want to go to bed. When I wake up later, we will talk, okay? Where’s the bed?”

“I don’t understand you! I have tried and tried but I still don’t understand you! From the guns…”


Daniel and his guns.

“To you and your fake accent, calling that radio show presenter every night and acting like a relationship expert! If you like her, go and meet her! Real men don’t have two faces! Me, I am tired and I am done! By Monday, I am out of here before somebody will come and kill me! I can’t handle it again, abeg! It was nice knowing you but it is over!”

“Right now, we’re not on the same wavelength. I’m about to zone out and I am very sorry for any BS I have put you through but can you stop talking so I can go to bed?”

“You’re a nice person but you can be better, Leo. Apart from that, you’re crazy, mentally unbalanced and you need serious help!”

Story of my life!

“Bed, please!”

She turned around and found her way to her bedroom. I followed her but on my way, found a room that looked like something I could sleep in. I wasted no time diving on the bed and passing out.

I woke up so many hours later, staring up at the ceiling. It was dark outside and so was the strange room I was in. The bed was mean to my back because the matress had gone flat from seeing better days; there was also, under my head, a pillow smelling of clamminess and a tincture of a perfume I had stopped using years ago. Daniel’s perfume.

I closed my eyes again, feeling for a bottle of brandy beside me. I pushed it to my lips and let the liquor fill me. I didn’t want to wake up now. Sleep was sweet. Dreams were better. Living in the past was bliss. I wanted bliss. So I went back to sleep and back to the place I called home so many years ago….

I found my mom in the kitchen, slicing a large piece of cake for some girls to take home to their father. She brought out a bottle of wine from the store and handed it to the girls’ mother. Both mothers smiled at each other and I secretly pinched one of the girls in a place I shouldn’t and she shrieked. I ran out of the kitchen and she ran after me. I let her catch me so I would pinch her again on her bum. I had seen the captain do it to his girlfriend so many times and she seemed to like it. My mom never liked it. She always gave him that nasty stare like the one she was giving me now. I pulled away from the girl and she also moved from me with her head bent. Her mother shook her head at her with an embarrassing smile and made her way to the front door. They were leaving. They were the last guests at our birthday party—my twin brother and I. My mom accompanied them out and I busied myself with bursting the decorative birthday balloons with a penknife someone had given me as a gift…

I should have woken up then but I couldn’t. Daniel was holding me bound in that dream. He wanted me to remember; he wanted us to remember and I didn’t know why.

My mom returned. She shut the front door and looked at my twin brother, David, who was wheezing badly. His asthmatic attacks had returned from nowhere. She signed to him to use his inhaler and he did. (My mom was a mute; she never spoke a word in her life).

“I want to sleep,” David hiccupped. “I’m tired.”

She took his hand and as they headed for the bedroom, she gestured that I stopped with the balloons but I ignored her. When she disappeared with David, the captain came in through the front door.

“Birthday boy!” he exclaimed and I ran to him excitedly and gave him a very firm handshake. I could smell Aunty Judith (his girlfriend) on him. She always smelled of onions and strong perfume and I hated that smell. I flashed the penknife in my hand at the captain’s face.

“Daddy, see my knife! Somebody gave me as a present. Is like your own!”

“Who gave you?”

“I don’t know. No name on the wrapper.”

He took the penknife and studied it with expert eyes. “This is not a bad present.” He smiled at me, “I got it for you.”

“You? Thank you!”

He pat my head and handed the knife back. I showed him some very expert moves with it and he was impressed. “Don’t let your mother see you do that. Where is she?”


“Your mother… Hey, stop playing with the knife.”

I still wasn’t listening, so he took the knife from me and intentionally made a cut in my palm. I grabbed and pulled my hand back. I opened my mouth to cry out but his eyes diced through mine and instantly  I shut my mouth and bit my lips instead.

“Let’s go and treat it.” He pulled me into the kitchen and produced a bottle of brandy from the top of the kitchen cabinet. Looking into my eyes, he grabbed my hand and poured the burning liquid over the wound. I felt the stinging pain but dared not show it. His eyes were smoldering spikes burning into my resolve and eventually, I steadied my breathing and calmed my nerves to give him a steady stare.

“That’s good, Spirit. Now…”

He put the bottle to my mouth and my mom walked in. She slowed down when she noticed what he was doing but hid her anger from me. I continued drinking the alcohol, avoiding her eyes.

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Continue reading And Then There Were Two (In Pursuit OF Kyenpia)

For Better, For Worse (Jamila) by Sally





The twins were playing in her backyard. David who was always weak after running around, ran to her panting, telling her Daniel was sticking his leg into a muddy pool in her tomato garden. She called Daniel’s name but the mischievous boy hid from sight and wouldn’t come out. Finally, she left the kitchen and went after him and the moment she stepped into the garden, darkness that started like a smudge in the sky spread above her in a rapid surge and she heard a frightened scream. She turned around to see who amongst the twins had screamed like that but she discovered she was no longer in the garden but a graveyard. At her feet was a tombstone in marble and engraved on it was: Daniel and David Igwe. Came Together. Died Together. Gone to Heaven Together. RIP.

“God forbid!” Jamila sprang up, waking from her nightmare. She looked around her and noted that she was sitting alone. The entire waiting room was dead silent.

“Ma’am?” a female voice called and she turned to face a young nurse who had just emerged from Daniel’s room. “Are you okay?”

“Yes, yes,” Jamila nodded and stood up. “Can I go in now?”

“Yeah, sure but you can’t stay too long, though. We only let in one person at a time and his parents are already there, so…”

“I won’t stay long. Thank you,” Jamila said through a tired smile and walked in. Luke and Emem were both asleep. Exhausted from keeping her eyes open for three whole days, Emem finally closed them about an hour ago and Luke who had been sleeping for almost three hours before that didn’t look like he was going to wake anytime soon. Earlier in the day, David was transferred to a specialist hospital where he was under strict medical observation and there were talks of an imminent surgery if his condition didn’t improve. Jamila secured her veil around her body tightly and in prayer, she counted her beads, moving her lips silently. She too was exhausted, having shuffled from one hospital to the other throughout the day, the stress was beginning to bear down on her weighty body. It was already 5am and yet Daniel made no signs of life; he just lay there like one long dead. She sighed, pulled a chair and sat beside him.

A song had been in her head all day. She hummed it to David earlier as he lay on his own sick bed, smiling weakly at her. He had held her hand and tried to hum along but his staccato breathing prevented him, so he smiled instead and every now and then, asked if his brother had woken up. Finally when the drugs he had been administered began to take effect, he begged to be carried on her laps so he could sleep and she promised that if he could just close his eyes, she would carry him like old times and hum him to sleep. The moment he shut his eyes, he went into deep slumber and she sat there for long, watching him until a nurse asked her to leave. Now here she was beside his twin, the song still on her mind, stuck in her throat. Maybe if she hummed he would hear her deep in his dreamless unconsciousness and it would stir up something and bring him back.

She reached out and touched his hand and it was cold. Tears instantly came to her eyes. He felt dead. Her little boy didn’t feel alive. He really was gone.

This was her boy, her little angel. From the moment he and his twin were born, she had fallen in love with them immensely. Not able to have kids of her own, she took care of her siblings’ children as if she had birthed them herself. They dumped the children on her the same way they dumped the load of all their problems and she never complained. She was the female version of her father. They both were generous, cheerful  givers, holding nothing back, willing to give their all and not care if they got nothing in return.

“Ma’am?” the nurse had come back. Jamila looked at her and stood slowly. She planted a goodbye kiss on Daniel’s forehead. She hadn’t yet made her peace, yet she whispered, “good night, Daniel. We will one day meet in al jannah.” She walked slowly to the door, tears blinding her vision from seeing him properly. Rigorously she wiped her tears with her veil as if trying to erase the agony she was feeling within and as she stood by the door and gave him one last look, she doubted if she could remain when the machines would be disconnected in less than an hour. How could Emem be sleeping so peacefully when her son would soon be taken by death’s angel? Surely the twenty-two year old mother of two knew something none of them knew because some sort of peace had come over her but Jamila didn’t care. No mother should be sleeping at a time like this. Ignoring, the scolding eyes of the nurse, she turned towards Emem to wake her and it was then she caught a slight movement in the corner of her left eye. So slight it was it could have been her imagination. But she saw it again and when she turned to see what it was, her mouth flung wide open. Daniel was staring at her with open eyes. After the first two seconds of shock, fear crept in for another two seconds and a thought crossed her mind that he was dead, that he had opened his eyes one last time and passed on. But the EKG was still beeping in rhythm and his fingers were clutching and releasing his robot. She tapped Emem, rushed to Luke and shook him firmly but quietly, afraid that any noise might push the boy back. Luke sat up immediately and turned to her.


She pointed and he followed her finger as it rested on his son.

“Daniel?” he whispered and Emem sat up with a spring.

“Daniel!” Jamila rushed to the child but like Emem held back from holding him, scared that they might hurt him.

“Daniel, can you hear me?” Jamila asked.

“Nurse!” Luke called but it seemed the nurse had gone to call the doctors and seconds later, a doctor and a couple of nurses rushed in and pushed them all out. Thirty minutes seemed like two hours as they waited restlessly for the doctors who eventually wheeled Daniel out to another room where no one was allowed in. Two hours later, Doctor O’Grady came out to meet them.

“How is he?” Luke asked and the doctor smiled.

“He’ll make it.”

Emem burst into tears and Luke held her. “Can we see him?”

“Not yet, we are running tests still but he keeps calling for his brother. Have you found out how David is doing?”

“We will, but what happened? How did he wake up?”

O’Grady shrugged, “never seen anything like this in my life. Your son was dead, sir. That I can bet my career and life on.” He shook his head, “but this other thing…this is nothing short of a miracle. When we are done, we’ll let you see him.” He smiled and walked away.

“I want to go and check on David,” Jamila offered, “and maybe get you people something to eat.”

Emem nodded in gratitude and Jamila walked down the hall to the double doors that led outside. There was still that hum on her lips as she hurried out and all the exhaustion from the past few days instantly disappeared. The moment she pushed open the doors, past a couple of guards she never remembered seeing, she stepped into a myriad of reporters outside. She almost lost her step and leaned backwards into strong hands that held her. It was one of the soldiers in her security detail. He pulled her through the crowd of screaming foreign voices and she was almost tempted to stop and answer their questions about whom they were now calling the “miracle of the decade” but she remembered her father’s stern warning about American pressmen, so she released a smile and fell into the car the soldier led her to.



Three Months Later




Jamila smiled to herself as she pushed away several popular, foreign magazines and newspapers whose headlines she had being going through on her bed back home in Lagos. She had only returned from the States two hours ago and longed for nothing but to stretch out and have a good sleep. Her boy was okay and so was she; it was time to move on to the next phase which was to take a much needed and carefully planned vacation. She wanted to visit her mother (Hajiya) in Sokoto to eat meals like tuwo shinkafa and miyan kuka, to inhale the dustiness of the northern air from the Sahara, to feel the sun burn her face and spend time with old friends from school. Luke will accompany her and stay for a week and it will be like old times because Hajiya would spoil them silly and retell tales of her simple life before she met their father and became his first wife. At this point, Luke will either be snoring away or reading a newspaper with feet stretched out on his mother’s laps as she groomed him. Yes, Jamila will enjoy her long vacation at home. The simple life was surely priceless…

Someone was banging on the door very loudly. Jamila sprang up, wrapped herself in her kimono and rushed out. She hurried downstairs and unlocked the door, letting Evelyn in. It was raining heavily outside and she was soaked through and through and was already causing a poodle of water where she stood.

“Ev, what is the matter?”

Evelyn looked round, her eyes scanning the ceiling and walls hysterically.


“They are hearing us. Everything we say and do, they are listening,” she whispered.

“Yes, I know,” Jamila smiled warmly. “They record everything. It’s for our own good. Why don’t you come upstairs and change into something dry and then we can talk?”

“No!” Evelyn moved away from her touch, “no, I can’t stay. I have to go back before Sam starts looking for me.”

Jamila narrowed expert and scrutinizing eyes at Evelyn starting from the top of her head and when she got to her mid-section she discovered the woman’s dress was stained in blood that the rain had somehow not washed away.

“Ev?” she took her hand, “come with me into the toilet where no one can hear us and you can tell me everything.”

Evelyn scanned the place one last time and allowed Jamila lead her into a guest toilet a few feet away from them.

“Okay, you can talk to me now.”

Evelyn squeezed her face beyond recognition and burst into tears. Jamila put her warm, cuddly arms around her and did her best to calm her. A few minutes after, Evelyn pulled away, sniffed and blurted, “Sam is a killer!” she looked at the light bulb above and continued, “he killed my sister.”


“And I’m taking her to the police as evidence. I’m reporting him!”

“Evelyn, relax and talk to me. What happened?”

“I will tell them everything! I will tell them all about you people and how you all kill people! I will tell them!”

With that she opened the door and ran out.


Related Posts–> For Better For Worse (Emem)

For Better For Worse (Evelyn)

                                                            For Better For Worse (Luke)





Daniel clung to the banister and groggily climbed up the stairs, his little head swaying from right to left. He had never had this much alcohol to drink in his life before. He had had a few shots of palm wine at the presidential villa when he suffered a mild case of conjunctivitis and his grandfather had told him it was good for his eyes. From that moment on, his father had been giving him little sips from his brandy, but nothing like today when he had downed almost half a glass of the burning liquid he had found in the kitchen. Now, he was sleepy and he was going to climb up to his room to give into nature’s dizzy spell. He knew his mother would be angry at him when she got back from church but she would pour out her anger on his father instead for allowing him drink.

He crawled up the stairs and the first thing he saw was the children’s sitting room with its large open glass doors that led to the balcony and for the drunk little boy, his bedroom seemed too far away at that moment. The sitting room welcomed him gladly and he staggered into a blast of cool air that hit his face and made him feel tingly, clearing  his dizzy spell momentarily. With a few more steps, the five year old walked to the balcony and stood before the railing and in no time, still standing, he rested his head and drifted off to sleep. The last sounds he heard were the voices of his father and his soldier colleagues doing their usual Sunday alcohol get-together downstairs.

Now last month, Luke and Emem had gotten into one of their violent fights in which Emem went into her usual fit of throwing things at Luke. It started in this sitting room. She had hurled a heavy encyclopedia at him, he moved backwards to the balcony to dodge it and in the process, fell backwards, slipped on one of the twins’ toys on the floor and hit his back on the railing. They ended their fight that night and each went to their separate bedrooms but none of them knew that Luke’s fall had made the old, rusted rails loose and the moment their little boy rested his weight on them, they gave way and he fell to the concrete floor beneath.

36 Hours Later

Dressed in casual clothes and accompanied by Jamila and a plain clothes bodyguard, Igwe followed a nurse to the private wing of the Head Trauma Center in West Virginia, USA, where Daniel was hospitalized. When he entered the room and Emem saw him, she rushed into his arms and broke into tears. Luke was sitting in a corner, Daniel’s twin on his lap, deep in sleep.

“It’s okay, Emmy. Daniel will be fine,” Jamila assured her and offered to take the sleeping child from his father but Luke held tight. He hardly noticed the presence of anyone else in the room; his eyes were bloodshot and distant. Occasionally, he would turn to his favorite son and stare at his frail body lying on the hospital bed, his arm over his toy robot but with no sign of life in him. The faint regular sounds coming from the EKG and a respiratory machine were the only assurance that the tiny heart was still alive. Luke feared that any minute now and it would all be silent. Then the world will blame him and tell him it was his fault his wife spent the whole of Sundays praying in church; if he was a better husband and father, she wouldn’t need God. They would also tell him it was his fault he had chosen Daniel as his favorite, pushing David to his mother; if he had loved both boys equally, not separating them, they both would have been under their mother’s protective radar and none of this would have occurred. They would blame him for leaving his glass of brandy unattended in the kitchen and say it was his fault the boy learnt to drink alcohol. Yeah, Luke knew very well what would happen. For the rest of his miserable life, the people that lived in that perfect world in his head that reality could not catch up to, would say the death of Daniel was all his fault.

“I’ll get the doctor,” said the nurse who brought Igwe in and she walked out. With his arm still around Emem, Igwe walked to Daniel and slipped his forefinger through his open palm and mumbled a prayer, then he looked at Luke who was not there with them and sighed. Overnight he had turned into a shadow of the man he used to be.

A doctor walked in, followed by another and a third. Emem went back to her seat beside her son and Igwe turned to the practitioners. The first doctor gave him a handshake, “Mr. President.”

Igwe nodded a brief greeting in return and acknowledged the other doctors.

“I am Doctor Steven O’Grady,” the first introduced, “and these are my colleagues, Doctors Scott Coleman and Wendy White.”

“Can we do this outside?” Igwe said walking out and they followed him to the hallway.

“Mr. President, my colleagues and I sympathize–”

“Get on with what you have to say,” Igwe cut him off.

O’Grady adjusted his glasses and began, “your grandson suffered from multiple fractures in his arms and legs–”

Igwe interrupted again, “I already know that. I want to hear about his open head trauma.”

“Yeah…he suffered severe open head trauma from the fall that–”

“Why are you referring to him in past tense?”

O’Grady became uncomfortable as he cleared his throat and continued, “I’m sorry sir.”

“Is he going to make it?” Igwe asked.

“I…am afraid not, sir. Daniel is…brain dead. I’m…sorry, Mr. President.”

Igwe crossed his arms and leaned on the wall beside him, looking straight into O’Grady’s eyes, making him even more uneasy. “So you’re saying there is no electrical activity and no clinical evidence of brain function?”

“Yes, sir. We did everything but it seemed apart from the insult of the initial trauma, he suffered from secondary brain injury maybe through transit…”

Wendy White cut in, “the doctors back in Nigeria did a great job or it could have been worse than this.”

“How are you sure he is brain dead? Is he not the one I see lying on the bed in there?”

O’Grady replied, “there are certain tests we ran which proved a complete absence of brain function—an absolutely flat electroencephalogram–”

“But he is still breathing!”

“Mr. President, to state or pronounce a person brain dead in the United States is a severe medical and legal process, usually requiring neurological exams by two independent doctors, hence the presence of my colleagues. The procedure entails scrupulous examinations to establish if the patient is really brain dead or is in a coma.”

“Just how sure are you that he’s not going to make it?”

White stepped in again, “Mr. President, sir…all you and your family can do right now is spend time with him.”

Igwe took a step closer towards O’Grady, piercing his eyes with his. The doctor tried to hold his gaze but failed and looked down. Something about the man’s eyes scared him deeply.

“And if I am not satisfied with your drawn conclusions and I decide to take him elsewhere, would it be a waste of my time and my resources?”

“This hospital is the best head trauma center in the world. Yes sir, yeah, it would be a waste.”

Igwe rested a warning hand on his shoulder for four long seconds. “For the sake of your reputation, pray to God that you are right.”

He walked back inside.

A Day Later

A second bed was brought into the room for David and placed beside Daniel’s the night before. If Luke ever thought any of his sons was going to spend time in the hospital, it had to be David who was born with Chronic Lung Disease. Daniel also had his own health issues but he overcame them in the first two months and grew to be a normal baby while his twin was near death his whole first year. It was during this time, Luke bonded with Daniel and changed his name to Leonel, meaning ‘young lion’ for to him he won where his brother lost. Now, he wasn’t so sure; the picture looked utterly hopeless. Both boys were bedridden and the doctors had told him this morning that if David didn’t get better by the next day, they might have to transfer him to another hospital for specialist care. His recovery depended on his brother’s a great deal. Luke understood this; he was a twin himself. So different from his sister, Jamila in so many ways especially in ethical matters, yet there was a bond between them that made him feel her heart millions of miles away.

Luke shifted his eyes to his wife and wondered how she was bearing up. The twenty-two year old who was more woman than most her age was resting on a couch by one of the windows, her eyes to the ceiling and lips moving in prayer. He loved her immensely but would never tell her lest it got to her head. Truth was he was madly in love with her and would turn the world away in an instant just to be with her for all of his life. He knew he had his guilty pleasure with his long-standing mistress who also had a son for him but Emem would always be the One. No one knew her like he did. To them, they saw a girl filling in shoes too big for her; to him, she was all woman if she could take him and his crazy all in and not lose herself in the process. Beauty became her so easily that he wanted desperately to tell the world what he felt each time he looked at her. She had this dimple on her left cheek that deepened whenever she smiled and he would just forget his name and become lost. Or was it her graceful fingers that God created and fell in love with so much he just had to take away her voice so the world could see his handwork? How about her lips that hardly ever moved yet spoke volumes every time he felt them between his?

A shiver passed through Emem and she was forced to open her eyes and look in the direction of the door and she saw Luke staring her way. He noticed her looking back at him and pulled himself away from his brief succor to the reality before him.

“The American Catholic people, and a whole bunch of religious zealots are standing outside in prayers and are going to be there all day and the next until they pull the plug.”

Slowly Emem sat up, and looked at him with a question in her eyes.

“May we speak outside?” he asked and she picked her crucifix and followed him out. He gently led her to the wall beside the window and she peeped in on her boys. “Em, Leo…Daniel is brain dead, meaning he is dead without that machine in there. The doctors are waiting for your word.”

She shook her head vigorously and turned away but he blocked her with his arm.

“He is dead. Read my lips, Emem. Dead. You have to come to terms with the reality of the situation.”

She shook her head again.

“There are people outside who have better things to do with their lives and who I would not have putting their white American noses into my personal affairs. Do you hear? So I want you to tell the doctor that he can just end my son’s misery or I swear that I will enter there and do it myself.”

She held him tightly, begging him with her eyes and noticed that he was in tears.

“Give me one more day,” she said, her lips moving. “Just today, and you can do anything after that.”

“One more day for what? For God to step in and do magic?” He forced her head to the window to look at their sons once more. “Do you need a sign from heaven before you can see that God has abandoned us?”

She tried to move away from him but he pushed her back.

“Emem, he is gone.” His lips trembled fiercely, “please, let him go. I can’t…I can’t stand him like this. I blame myself and forever will but please, lessen the pain for me.”

Still mouthing her words, she hit him in the chest, pushing backwards, “Daniel will live!”

He shook his head in tears, drew her back and rested his weight on her. “Please, please hold me. Please,” he sobbed. She put her arms around him and as he felt her hands gently caress his back, he held her tight for strength.


To be continued. . .


similar posts–> for better for worse (Emem)

for better for worse (Evelyn)