THIRTEEN

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Oblivious to her, a tear dropped from her eyes
as she listened.
‘Running around won’t help you, instead you
will only hurt yourself, it may even destroy
you. Beside Oladimeji is where you belong. ‘
Douglas said.
‘Do you know where I am? ‘ Her voice was
calm and controlled.
‘I don’t care about where you are as far as you
can trace your way back to Oladimeji and make out with
him.’
‘Daddy, daddy, daddy …’ Hester gave a short
laughter. ‘How I love you? ‘
‘Come on Hester, I know what is good for you.’
‘If that was your good, it means you know
nothing about me. Besides, it has never come
to my knowledge that a man who forced his
daughter into marriage knows best. Dad, you
betrayed me so terribly that no matter how
hard I try, I can’t find the littlest justification
for you. I trusted you, loved and respected you
and could have done anything for you because
I believed you were the best. I never could
have believed you could have done that …to
me.’
‘Honey, listen to me…’
‘You listen to me! ‘ Her voice rose as she
interrupted him. ‘You decisively threw it all to the
whirlwind and didn’t care. You threw it all out
when you told me I’ll marry Oladimeji whether
I like it or not. The wound has clot though it is
leaving a scar.’ She exhaled. ‘Daddy you don’t
mean anything to me again and anymore. I
have lost people that mean a lot to me but I
am alive. I will thrive Mr Onyema, I will thrive
and be fine all by myself. Leave me alone! You
all should leave me alone. Don’t call me again!
Forget Hester.’ She ended the call.
While the phone was yet in her hand, another
call came through. She picked.
‘Sweetheart, why …’
‘Mum, since you walked in with your lovely
box of wedding cards, my life has not been the
same again. I have been wanting to ask you a
question. Wasn’t it normal labor you had with
me? Was my birth more difficult than
Agatha’s? ‘
‘No Hester.’
‘Then why? Why should you joyfully want to get rid
of me? Did your parents force you to marry
your husband? ‘
‘No but …’
‘Then why are you determined to make me a
lost child in the heart of a desert. Why for the
goodness sake? Why do you want to rid me and
my destiny? Why? ‘
‘We are doing what is best you.’
‘You just killed my emotion Mum! The
president son doesn’t deserve your first
daughter and favorite child?’
‘Listen dear …’
‘It doesn’t make sense anymore, stay out of my
life!I am not desperate for your
recommendations. ‘ She tossed the phone to
the head of the bed, got down on her knees
and wept.
+++++
****
‘Madam, ‘ The hair stylist beamed. ‘The style
you chose was made for you. I have not seen
anyone it suit so well as it does to you.’
‘Thank you.’ Hester turned her face from side to side to
admire her reflection.
The continuous banging of the gate made them
all to become alert.
Hester stood and head for the window that has
a better view of the gate. She saw three men as
the gatekeeper opened the mini gate.They had
a dialogue and she tried to read their
countenance and lips.
‘Oh! it’s the president son! I wonder what he
want this time. My life! ‘ The owner of the
saloon wailed and sat on the floor.
She had guessed that already , she left the
window and set to work. She poured a keg of
hair conditional and shampoo on the tiled
floor close to the entrance.
All the client and attendant, even the saloon
owner had moved to a corner as they watched
her browbeaten.
She looked at the window once more, she saw
two approaching while the other stayed behind
checking out the premises. The gate keeper was
shaking his head. She glanced around, switched
off and unplugged an extension cable. She cut
off the cable and the plug with the knife she
had on her.
She stood, legs slightly apart waiting for them.
Silence prevailed.
The door opened after a couple of minutes,
as soon as he stepped in, he slipped losing
complete control since it was unexpected and
there was nothing to cling to for support.
As he came to a confused halt, she registered a
kick to his forehead and he was put out of his
confusion once and for all.
Hester quickly picked his gun.
The other entered and before he could fathom
what had happened, he slipped with such a
force that propelled his companion forward.
‘poo! ‘ He exclaimed in disgust and a scowl.
‘Stand. ‘ She pointed the gun to him.
He struggled to his feet, walked slowly and
carefully to the nearest wall to support
himself.
She swing the cord she was holding towards
his direction.
He groaned in pain as it landed on his back.
She continued until he was wailing, pleading
and bent over writhing in pain.
‘Could someone please help me inform their
companion out there that they need help.
Amazed by her actions, one of male attendant
volunteered. He went through the back exit.
She watched from the window.
He came in and slipped, but because of the
previous falls, it wasn’t as slippery as before.
His grip on his gun was still on the gun as his
buttocks his the ground.
Hester sent the cord to his palm in quick
succession.
He let go of the gun as swing both hands trying
to get rid of the pains that now possessed them.
He stood and she sent him back to the floor by
swinging the cord towards the direction of his left
leg. He fell on his back.
She began giving instructions. ‘Take the
unconscious guy to their car. Yes please both
of you can help.’
‘You help him up, can’t you see your
companion need urgent medical attention. ‘ He told the last guy.
+++++
****
‘What is happening here? Where is Hester? ‘
Ethel glanced around at their faces.
‘Sir …sir, she is not around. ‘ Kalu replied.
‘Not around. ‘ He said and a frown creeped and
overshadowed his countenance. ‘Where is she?’ His voice was calm.
‘Emmm … sir, she …she …’ Precious began
unsuccessfully.
‘What the in the world is going on here?
Dominic, Wale, talk to me, what’s happening! ‘
He demanded losing his cool. He turned to his
personal assistants.
They all got to their feet and they panicked.
‘Sir, she left by 10 am in her car, she told me
she was going to shop and make her hair.’
Dominic explained and lowered his eyes.
‘Ten am! ‘ Ethel screamed, just to be sure.’ He
looked at his wristwatch. ‘Jesus Christ! ‘ He
exclaimed. ‘How come none of you called
to inform me! ‘
‘Sir …Sir, you were in an important
conference.’ Wale stammered.
‘I don’t need you to remind me because I’ve
not forgotten already!’ He snapped. ‘What is
wrong with you Wale? What happened to you
thinking out of the box! I left this house by
7am, did I spend the entire time in
conference, couldn’t you have send me a text
message. ‘
‘I’m very sorry sir.’ Wale lowered his eyes.
‘Wale and Dominic, saying am disappointed is
a lifetime understatement! Both of you are
aware of  the effort that was put in to rescue her.
You are aware of what she went through in the
course of her escape. You all saw the
breakdown her health experienced. What if
other commitments had come up and I had to
lodge outside ehen? No one would have
bothered to tell me. You all would have sought
solace on a rocking chair. ‘
‘Not so sir, we would …’
‘Keep quiet Dominic, what more time are you
waiting for!’ Ethel interrupted sharply. ‘ six
hours fifteen minutes is gone. Did she spend
all those hours shopping and making her hair?
He paused momentarily as if waiting for an
answer
None of them could meet his gaze, they knew
there boss was hardly angered and when he
was does, it was usually for a good cause.
‘I expected better of you all, I trained each and
everyone of you not to take chances. I am
disappointed and we will have this
conversation again later in a different way.’ He
heaved and loosed his tie.’ Everyone get down
to your various system and …’ It dawned on
him. ‘Chime? ‘ He called.
‘Yes sir. ‘
‘Did you attach the tracker I gave you for her
car? ‘
Their breath hung.
‘Emmm …Yes sir.’ He replied and exhaled
knowing he would have been the first recipient
of his boss anger.
‘Get down everyone, let’s find her car. Stop
looking at me as if I’m suddenly growing
braids, we haven’t got time! ‘
‘Is somebody looking for me? ‘
They all turned towards the direction of the
voice, and there she was at the door all of a
sudden with a charming smile.
Despite the rebuke they just received, they
were thrilled to see her.
Unknown to him, he let out a sigh of relief. He
could have embraced her.
Hester took in the room before walking in. ‘Hi
everybody. ‘
‘Our lady. ‘ They chorused acknowledging her.
‘Hi boss.’ She flashed him a smile.
‘Hi Miss Actor. ‘ He returned teasing her
likewise.
‘I have something to tell later but for now, can
i check out somethings about Oladimeji via this
control room?’ She stood in front of him with
her head tilted to a side with one of her best
smiles.
He nodded his approval and she expressed her
gratitude and sat.
‘Who will assist me? ‘
‘I will.’ Dominic offered.
‘You look stunning. ‘ Ethel acknowledged
before heading to the fridge.
‘Thanks.’ Hester beamed.
She called the codes and they set to work,
what appeared on Dominic’s screen was
projected.
‘Symbols, that are difficult decode.’ Dominic
commented after a number of unsuccessful
effort.
‘Seems Oladimeji delight in using technical
symbols. I marvel at his techniques. ‘ Wale
added.
‘Osaz will always say that the only good thing
Ola did with his life and his father wealth is to
be a guru in system engineering. ‘ Ethel was
seated on his seat , he looked away from the
projected and drank from the bottle of water.
Hester nodded slowly as his statement clarified
some of the things she had noticed in
Oladimeji’s in the course of her escape.
‘I suppose those are high profile security
symbols. ‘ Hester said.
‘Yes Hess.’ Ethel wheeled his chair close and
stretched his hand to do some typing on
Dominic’s keyboard. ‘ That represent a
warehouse. ‘ He announced after about 30
seconds .
Hester looked at the projected screen and dual
symbols in a scrutinizing manner .
‘This other ones appears to be a nut case.’
Ethel said after few seconds.
They nodded their agreement.
‘Kalu get me my laptop. ‘ Ethel instructed.
‘Kalu wait …’ She stopped him when he was at
the door. ‘Those three symbols at the right
represent firearms and ammunition. Dominic
please excuse me.’ She wanted to confirm.
He stood and they exchanged seats. Soon a
different display on symbols was on the
screen. When it was zoomed, half of the guys
in the room exclaimed. Blinking was – High
profile weapons.
Ethel raised his brows taken aback.
‘What in the world do Oladimeji need all those
for? ‘ She pondered aloud.
‘The election. ‘ Ethel was calm but conveyed
his sadness.
‘The election? I don’t understand. ‘ She gave
him her full attention.
‘I don’t think I will be far from the truth to
say that Oladimeji intend to become the next
president of Nigeria by peace or war.’
‘That is true boss. ‘ Precious agreed.
‘Heaven forbids that he becomes a president. ‘
Dominic said with a frown.
‘Are you saying that for my sake? ‘ Ethel
inquired.
Dominic shook his head with a bitter smile. ‘if
that happens, I will opt for any other country
in Africa, in fact, I will readily choose Iraq
because in no time at all, Nigeria may become
a branch of Hellfire. ‘
Hester shivered slightly despite the sweatshirt
she had on.
Since somewhere in their various minds, they
knew his statement was far beyond any form
of joke, they displayed no sign of amusement.
‘Is Dimeji that loaded to afford those weapons?
‘ She was brainstormed.
‘I am aware he owns a couple of business. ‘
Wale said.
‘His finance and aid from his father can’t
afford him such luxury. Do you realize what it
takes to ship those from wherever to Nigeria. ‘
Ethel was thoughtful.
‘I think he is into illegal business. ‘ Kalu
expressed.
‘I think so too.’ Chime seconded.
‘There is only way to find out, our lady help us
with the last two symbols. ‘ Wale implored.
Ethel stood and rubbed his forehead. ‘There is
no need for that. ‘ He frowned. ‘I know what
that represents, Demeji is into drug trafficking.

‘What! ‘ Hester gasped.
‘Yes. I’m going to find out all there is to know.
‘ He head out to the balcony with a new
resolution.
+++++

****
‘That is serious Hester. ‘
‘That has to stop. I can’t continue to belly
Dimeji and his excesses. I am going to sue him.

‘You said what?’ He braced up his ears so he
could hear her well.
‘I will sue Oladimeji. ‘ She repeated with a
serious expression.
Ethel burst into laughter.
‘What …what is amusing you? ‘ She was taken
aback.
‘You …you don’t understand. ‘ He went down
from the sofa to the floor still laughing.
Now, she was confused. ‘Ethel, is something
wrong, are you all right? ‘ She frowned
worried.
Her statement seemed like a fuel to propel his
laughter. He laughed hard and long.
She stood upset. ‘Fine! You can laugh all you
want since am now an object of amusement. ‘
She turned to leave.
He grabbed her hand. ‘Hester please …’ He
burst into another bout of laughter.
‘You don’t have to plea. It’s a free world, you
can laugh all you want. Leave me alone. ‘ She
tried to remove his hand but his grip became
tighter.
‘Dearie I’m sorry, I really am.’ He stopped
laughing and cleared his voice.
‘Can you leave my hand now? ‘
‘If I do you will walk away. ‘He stood.
‘Yes I will, I need to take a nap.’
‘Oh my darling is angry with me! ‘
‘It is not a crime to laugh. You will offend me
if you don’t leave my hand now.’
He let her go. ‘I shouldn’t have laughed, it is
just because i couldn’t help it. Please forgive
me and sit, please …’
She forgave him and sat.
‘Thank you.’ Ethel beamed and sat beside her.
‘Shey you bi yankee babe? ‘
‘Ethelbert please …’ She rolled her eyes.
‘You bi Yankee babe.’ He was affirmative.
She smiled. ‘I believe you’re not saying that as
a joke, hit the nail on its head.’
‘You’ve a great psychological instinct. ‘
‘You’re a psychologist. ‘
‘Wait up girlfriend, tell me something I don’t
know. ‘
‘Studied it online and have a certificate to that
effect. ‘
‘Did you…?’
‘Let’s finish one first. ‘ She interrupted calmly.
‘You’re a Yankee babe because you want to use
oyibo method here. Suing Dimeji won’t work.’
She exhaled before sitting back understanding
him.
‘Come on Hess, you can’t blank out that way. ‘
‘What is your advice to me? ‘
‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’
‘I can’t join him, the option left is to beat him.
‘Oh my …’ She muttered.
He watched her.
‘I will like a quite moment to myself. ‘
‘Should I excuse you? ‘
‘No, watch the soap opera, you will narrate it
later.’ She stood and head for the stairs. ‘Thank
you Ethel.’
He nodded and his eyes didn’t leave her until
she was out of sight.
+++++

“… fear bring about doubt, lost of self,
but standing tall to it brings faith, boost your
energy and gives you victory. ”
The voice of the great friend she had made
within few months came back to her.
“Stand up for what you believe in …fight for
what belong to you and never try to relegate
your Creator to the background.
The voice of her best friend’s  father seconded.
”… stand up to this occasion. “
The voice of her best uncle followed.
“Sweetheart, there somethings I cherish and
respect about you, you are generous with your
patience but you freak me out anytime you
rise to an situation. ”
Next was her best friend voice.
Hester blinked severally into reality. Her photo
album was opened on her lap. She flipped it
opened and a photograph of her Japanese
defense instructor came to view. She had being
his best student during her time. She stared at
it until she drifted away once more.
“Hester, from what I saw on your registration
form into this institution, you wanted to gather
this knowledge since it is your leisure time.
The attitude and spirit you put during your
training process surpass mere leisure. You gave
it your best, you made friends with your
superiors and learnt, you took correction with
no display of rebellion, you focused. I hardly
get close to my students but you broke that
rule. Eventually you’re through, you still
extend funds, assist students and watch
training classes. Going to back to your country
will leave a hollow in our hearts Since we don’t
when to anticipate your return. You’re a great
person with a good heart. Contrary to what
you’ve filled, I think you will need the
knowledge later in life. I trust you not to
forget what you’ve learnt, remember you
shouldn’t use your power to intimidate others.
My dear child, never stand up against another
except it is the only way.”
Those were the exact words of her master the
day she had come to bid farewell.
‘Dear Lord, the handwriting on the wall is too
clear and bold to ignore, please come to my
aid. Guide me o thou great Jehovah. ‘ Hester
closed her eyes
+++++
****
‘One of these days Chime, you will teach me
how to knot my tie that way. ‘
‘Thank you sir.’ He gave a low bow to
acknowledge his boss indirect compliment.
‘We are using the black Bentley, Suzuki, Toyota
Camry and Hyundai. You, Precious, Kalu and
Godwin will be driving. You all should be out in
seven minutes. ‘ Ethel instructed.
‘I hope there will be room for me.’
They both look up at the stairs towards the
direction of the voice.
There she stood elegantly looking in a
beautifully designed and decorated ankara
fabric, gele with a bag and heeled shoes to
match. Seeing her make you want to exclaim
Africa Queen.
‘Wow, our lady! you look good indeed.’ Chime
said.
‘Ah-na! I wish I was putting on white so I will
readily walk side by side with you…down the
aisle. ‘ She sang.
‘Our lady! ‘ Chime chuckled and strode out of
the sitting room feeling elated. He was suited
up in white.
She came down the stairs.
‘You look like the one and only, breathing
taking Queen H. Hester.’ He beamed and gave
a low bow.
‘Thanks. ‘ She chuckled. ‘You aren’t looking bad
either.’
‘That is what a lady says when she don’t want
to hurt a man by saying the truth.’
‘Ethel, i wouldn’t say something I don’t mean
afterall, you can’t beat me.’ She winked at him.
‘My dear, your dressing is charming my heart
away. I wouldn’t sit beside you in church so I
will concentrate.’
He burst into laughter. He was in native, the
igbo style, he even had a red cap on.
‘Will there be room for me in the car? ‘
‘Sure. Can I? ‘ He extended his hand.
She gladly took it and they walk outside by
side.
+++++

***
The Suzuki preceded the Bentley were Ethel and
Hester were and the other vehicles followed.
Ethel was silent throughout the entire ride
even as he listened as Dominic and Kalu who
were in front commented on the sermon,
sharing what they learnt.
He glanced at Hester who was relaxed with
here eyes shut. She had sat beside Chime in
church and they were before him. He saw her
wipe her tears during the sermon.
No matter how he tried, he couldn’t
comprehend Oladimeji driving force. He felt
sorry for her, imagine loosing two friends
within a season.
Based on Oladimeji terminating the life of his
best friend, he was not going to let it be swept
under the carpet.
He would carry his research and strike in due
time.
Rumors were now flying about the President son
having a hand in the assassinated construction
engineer.
++++

***
He coughed once, twice and spat blood. His T
shirt was soaked in blood and one of his eyes
was filled with blood.
‘Don’t torture him anymore, take him out and
butcher him. ‘ Oladimeji stopped spacing, his
face was so distorted in anger that one could
never believe he was actually handsome. His
eyes were red due to sleeplessness and the
nightmare he had been having for the past
couple of days, in fact since he heard the
rumor, he had not been himself.
‘Boss …boss please have mercy on me, they
are …are no rumor. ‘ He inhaled deeply and
sobbed. ‘I shot him boss …I never knew he was
Osagie Osahon. ‘ His whole body shook.
‘You are wooden headed! . ‘ Oladimeji
screamed exasperated before slapping him. ‘Oh
you’ve ruined me!’ He wailed. ‘ Are you blind!
Do you need a telescope to you he was the
one!’
‘I’m sorry boss …I never knew, please have
mercy.
‘Out of all the whole none entities in a Kenya,
you chose him to pull a trigger! ‘ He glared at
him hysterical.
‘I was only following … order.’
He placed both hand around his neck and
squeezed it.’That order will kill you! You
bastard, before you ruin me, I will completely
destroy you and you will be a thing of nought. ‘
His grip tightened.
++++

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