FOURTEEN

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‘I don’t feel too good.’ Hester sat back and
closed her eyes.
She had mumbled but he heard her. He was
driving the car and she was seated in front while Godwin and Kalu were behind.
They were coming from a book launch in
which Ethel had been invited.
‘Do you want out?’ He glanced at her.
‘It is not a sick feeling Ethel, it is a feeling that
something is wrong. ‘ She adjusted herself on
the seat and peered at the rear mirror.
The guys behind looked at the rectangular
clear space of the tinted windscreen while
Ethel glanced at the rear mirror not slowing
down.
‘We are being followed, I’ve noticed those grey
vehicles from the express. ‘Ethel announced.
Hester exhaled. He had noticed too, how could
he have been so calm.
‘We have to inform the rest, we have to turn
back at the next diversion. ‘ Godwin said.
Wale,
Dominic, Chime and Precious were in the car
preceding with Dominic driving. ‘
‘We can’t turn around, they will block the road
or there be obstruction of traffic, besides, the
next turn will be too bumpy. There is a close
nearby, we will head for there so we can
prepare for them. Kalu call Wale and inform
him. He looked at her as he changed gears.
‘Don’t panick Hess, you don’t have to worry
since we are all here.’ She said for him
knowingly.
Ethel could not help but smile at her
statement. ‘I was actually going to say Hess,
don’t be nervous, just stay close to us.’
‘I don’t know if I have problem with grammar
and interpretation because I doubt if there is a
difference between the two.’
He only beamed respecting her instinct. He
reached out and gave her hand a brief
squeeze.
She said a short prayer in her mind.
‘Sir message delivered. ‘ Kalu reported and
patted his gun.
Ethel glanced at the mirror once more before
saying a prayer in his mind.
+++++

****
They all walked casually into the uncompleted
building at the close obeying their opposers
who held them at gun point.
Ethel and Hester walked side by side.
As they entered, they gave their environment a
bird eye view. They saw a couple of guys
already there waiting, making their total
number five.
Ethel almost regretted his decision because it
appeared he had walked into their bait.
‘There are three more, look up.’ Hester
whispered but her companion heard her.
It was a three storey building in a well
spacious environment though not completed
but fenced.
‘Miss step aside. ‘ One of the guys said.
‘Allow me remove sand from my shoe, I can’t
walk well.’Her voice was polite and her face
sober.
He nodded and she stooped.
She lost balance purposely and Ethel stoop to
help her.
‘Ethel I’ll try to distract them.’
Their gaze locked momentarily and before
Ethel could discourage her. She stood.
‘I’m through. ‘ She beamed.
‘Let’s go.’ He said.
She followed taking three steps forward then
stopped.
‘Come on, let’s go.’
‘Where am I going to? ‘ She faced him.
‘Just come along, you will find out soon.’
‘What! I should just follow you without
knowing where am going to? ‘ She glared at
him.
‘You don’t have to worry.’ He smiled displaying
a set of tobacco stained teeth.
‘You must be kidding! ‘ She shrieked. ‘Are you
so into guns that you don’t have time for the
news. With a sane head you expect me to
follow you to an unknown destination with the
increasing rate of molest and kidnap!’ She eyed
him.
He laughed spiritly. ‘You don’t have to be
afraid, trust me, you’re safe.’
‘Sorry to disappoint you fine boy, I never trust
strangers and I am not going anywhere with
you.’ She folded her arms, her expression had
no iota of doubt.
Another bodyguard was behind her.
‘Enough of jokes.’ His voice was hoarse as his
brows narrowed into a frown. ‘Can you see
what we are holding? ‘
She appeared offended and the pitch of her
voice increased. ‘Are you saying am blind! ‘
‘Take it easy …’ He began.
‘You must easing out of your mind! You think
you’re the only one that can use style to abuse
someone ehen! ‘ By then all attention was
directed to her. She covered the distance
between them. ‘Because of all this toy things
you carry about, you believe you can do what
you like! ‘ She hissed and made it long.
Flabbergasted by her outburst, he stared
confused. She snatched his gun.
‘Is it not it? ‘ She turned it from side to side
examining it strangely. She tossed it high up in
the air, once …twice and caught it expertly.
The bodyguards they held them at gun point
moved towards her.
They thought she had lost her mind except her
companion who admired her wisdom.
SHe planted herself between two of the guys
and glanced at them smiling. With precision
she went high in the air and sent a kick to the
armed guy who lost balance and fell. She
attacked the other with a couple of gist.
A gunshot rent the air.
She dived for a nearby stacked bags of
cements.
The fight started and gunshots were fired.
She watched and saw Precious hide at a
strategic position and stood at regular intervals
to shoot. She creeped towards him and looked
up just in time to see a guy up aimed at him.
She slided on the concrete, hitting his legs in
the process. He lost balance and fell. The
bullet punctured the wall above them.
Precious gasped and took in deep breaths.
+++++
****
Hester peeped and a couple of the guys came
out from a room and ran down the stairs. She
crossed over and hurried along the corridor.
She entered the room.
The guys were there alongside him. They aimed
their guns at her.
‘I came here voluntary to see you and guns are
aimed at me.’ She appeared offended as she
directed her gaze to him. ‘My good will is now
bad.’ She turned and began to walk away.
‘Goodbye Oladimeji. ‘
‘Sweetheart …Sweetheart. ‘He called and stood
from the wooden bench he had been seated
on. ‘Don’t act that way, you know I have been
dying to meet you.
Since the day he had set eyes on her, he had
been convinced she would make a great first
lady, probably her achievement and goodness
will douse some of the wrongs they claimed he
had done and give him an upper hand in his
political career. Nothing else matters.
She turned on a heel to look at him with a sad
expression. ‘I thought I was mistaken. ‘She
pursed her lips.
‘No …not with me Sweetheart. ‘ He turned to
look the guys in the room. ‘Do I have to tell
you to cast your weapons aside? ‘
He didn’t finish before they obeyed.
‘Come here Sweetheart. ‘ He opened his arms
with a smile.
She walked gallantly to him and held his arms.
‘Let me first take a good look at you before
embracing you.’ She touched his face and
looked him over. ‘You are sad Oladimeji, you
are not happy as you appear. ‘ She appeared
disturbed.
‘You don’t have to bother about me, I’m the
best I can be.’ He relaxed.
With her hands trailing his body, she stood at
his back and place her arms around
him.’Oladimeji, ‘ She called softly. ‘if I don’t
bother about you, who will hmmm …?’
‘Many will but you’re topping the list.’
She raised an arm across his chest and rub her
face against his cheek. ‘You actually being
realistic. ‘
‘You don’t know how you’re making me feel, I
want to be this close to you for life. ‘ There
was a bulge of his third member as he felt her
fingers stroke his chest and the warm air from
her nostril caress his cheek and earlobe. He
exhaled. ‘Sweetheart stop running away. You
only break my heart when you do so because I
love you very much.’
She allowed a moment to pass and then she
grabbed his neck and produced her knife.
They brought out their guns.
She beamed. ‘I am grateful for the rays of light
penetrate this building. She raised the knife
and it shimmered.
The other guy had seen her in action and he
had no doubt. Scorpion gave her a bitter look.
‘She can’t do it! ‘ He told them seeing their
reluctance.
Her grip tightened around his neck, she
pierced the side of his neck until blood
dropped down to the collar of his shirt. He
struggled in vain.
‘Drop your …guns.’ He managed.
They glared at him.
Her grip tightened and he used both hands to
try to relief himself. ‘Obey. ‘ He voiced out.
She placed the cold pointed edge of the knife
to puncture the other part of his neck when
they bend to lower their weapons.
‘Throw your weapons towards me and walk to
the wall behind you, sit, place your hands on
your head and face the wall.
They did as instructed.
Ethel entered the room and stopped in his
track shocked at the scene before him.
‘From all indications, Oladimeji you’re greatly
in lust with me and I am  really tired. This whole
nonsense has stop because I don’t lust or love
you.’
‘No …no …no.’ He said.
‘Marriage is not by force!’ She was irritated
and released her grip on him .
‘I don’t care, I need you in my life …please. ‘
He looked up at her.
She became furious and let go of him.
He staggered, felt his neck while breathing
heavily through his mouth and nose.
She took few steps backward.
She gathered momentum, came closer and sent
her kneel to the midsection of his back.
He lurched and fell flat on his face and
sprawled forward. He groaned heartily,
coughed and spat blood mixed with sand. He
writhed in pain.
She stooped. ‘Oladimeji go fishing for your own
kind of fish. I can’t be yours, no matter how
hard you try.’
He looked at her, his face smeared with sand.
‘You …you belong to me. Nothing can …can
ever change that. ‘
‘What a dark ambition, so you call cold murder
nothing? ‘ She gave him a cold stare.
The shock registered on his face, he opened his
mouth but he couldn’t talk.
‘You’re a murderer and you want me to marry
you. ‘
He shook his head and a moment passed as he
mustered strength. ‘You are mine and there is
nothing you can do about…! ‘
She didn’t allow him finish as she stood and
registeref a kick on his side.
And another,
And then another.
Ethel observed that each kick was delivered
with more power than before.
Oladimeji wailed, begged and cursed.
She pulled him up with both hands. He
staggered, all dusty and smeared with blood,
saliva dripping from his mouth. ‘This is for
Osagie.’ With a hand clutching his collar of
shirt, she delivered a blow to jaw and he
slumped passing out.
If Hester did notice his presence, she didn’t
show it as she walked to the men facing the
wall angrily. She pat one on the shoulder.
‘Stand. ‘
Ethel knew he himself wouldn’t defy  such an order
laced with so much bitterness.
Scorpion stood face to face with her with an
incredulous expression and a bloodshot eye.
She was the reason half of his body was
scarred.
‘I believe you’ve not forgotten this face.’
‘So! ‘ He was boiling with rage.
With the back of her right palm, she sent a
slap hard across his face.
He tasted blood as his vision became blurred.
He lurched, his leg hitting a plank, he fell hard
on his buttocks groaning.
She had knew this day would come when he
had started smoking like a chimney and had
encouraged others in the car to do so via the
voyage from Kenya to Nigeria.
Scorpion struggled to his feet and both hand
clenched into fist. ‘Are you crazy! Is something
…’
Ethel was about to advance a warning when he
saw a rope covered the distance between
them.
Scorpion screamed.
‘Next time you will be more careful of who you
pull the trigger at.’ She gave him another swing
of the rope and didn’t stop until he fell to the
floor trembling in pain.
She picked the guns and looked at rather
baffled Ethel. ‘Let’s get out of here.’
She began running.
Ethel followed suit.
+++++
He approached the swimming pool and halt in
his steps when he sighted her seated on a vinyl
chair with her head buried in her palms.
He continued his strides rather slowly and
lowered himself to the seat beside her and
waited.
It was few hours after they returned.
‘Hester, can I please talk to you? ‘
She lifted her head but didn’t look at him.
‘You know you can talk to me.’ He was
concerned.
‘I know but there is nothing to talk about .’ She
heaved.
Ethel allowed the silence to stretch.
She fiddled with her fingers. ‘I could have
killed Oladimeji today, I could have killed
Oladimeji today. I wanted to …I just wanted to
…to end it all, to pay him back in his own coin
for everything …everything Ethel. I just wanted
to …’
‘Hush …’ He gathered her in his arms. ‘I know
that feeling … I wanted to too. ‘ He exhaled
and glanced at the cloudy sky . ‘Life is not all
us about us deardarling, it more about what
God wants or better still need from us.’
Hester sighed. ‘So God approves all that has
been happening to me?’
‘His ways are not our way neither are His
thoughts ours. A hair of yours cannot fall to
the ground without his permission. Your life is
graven upon the palms of his hands. ‘ He felt
her tremble. ‘Life is not all about us dear
darling, it is all about God. What he approves,
no matter how hard it maybe. ‘
She heaved. ‘Maybe if I had a big bro, things
will be different. ‘
Ethel chuckled and helped her up. ‘I am  baby
sis, you wanna back or come on my shoulder. ‘
She smiled shyly before covering her face with
both palms. ‘Shoulder. ‘ She whispered.
Ethel lifted her to his shoulder and head
towards the house for dinner.
++++
****
The finger that was tracing the encyclopedia halt and she look up in the library having
been distracted by shouting and wailing.
Hester stood, hastily arranged the book before
heading out.
He met her halfway towards the direction of
the wailing and shouting. On him was every
indication of anger as he walked pass her
without even a glance.
She lookef back at the retreating figure with a frown creeping into her countenance.
She continued towards the direction of the
voices she was hearing.
She entered the torture room. ‘Jeez! ‘ She
exclaimed at the gory sight before her.
Whatever happened to them! Her brows
creased as she looked the two security men
over.
Wale and Dominic exchanged glances.
‘Are you going to tell me what happened to
them? ‘ She looked at both of them.
They exchanged looks.
Hester rolled her eyes, exasperation building in
her. ‘Are you going to tell me what happened
or do I find out from another source? ‘
‘Emmmm …our lady… they were punished by
the boss.’ Wale told her.
‘Punishment? ‘ Her brows darkened
thoughtfully. ‘ Ethel cannot do this to them for
nothing.
‘Yes … that’s true. Our lady …ummm …they …’
His voice trailed off as he glanced at Dominic
once more.
‘Wale please what is it? ‘
‘Our lady …’ He exhaled. ‘The boss discovered
that the ambush that you faced at the salon by
Ola boys was as a result of the information
that Daniel and Kunle sent to them.’
‘What!’ She exclaimed in disbelief and spun to
face Dominic for confirmation.
‘It’s true.’ He confirmed sadly.
‘Oh-my-God.’ She took a couple of steps back.
She remembered how jovial she had been with
them, how she via the sincerity of her heart
had told them where she was headed to. How
close she would have been a captive of
Oladimeji once more. ‘Oh God.’ She muttered
as the painful feeling of betrayal surged
through her.
‘Our lady …please forgive …forgive me… ‘
Kunle apologized and wheezed.
‘I’m sorry please… ‘ Daniel had bloody saliva
dripping from his mouth.
Hester walked out .
‘Please our lady …’ Wale followed her outside.
She stopped.
‘I know I shouldn’t ask at all considering the
intensity of their offense but please …please
help us.’
‘Wale, they need hospital help. ‘
‘We can’t do that our lady, the boss forbids us
leaving in any of the cars for the hospital. You
are the only that can help.’
She opened her mouth to reject the obvious
request but didn’t have the heart to do so.’
‘Please our lady, please …’
She swallowed. ‘Let me see what you have in
the first aid box. Give me few minutes, let me
get somethings from my room.’
‘Thank you our lady.’ Wale gave her a low bow.
+++++

***
From the top of his mansion, he watched as
she took a walk around the hexagonal shaped
swimming pool and the well trimmed flower
lawn.
He saw her sit on the chair facing the pool,
she placed both legs up and placed her head
on my knee caps. Even from the distance, he
perceived she was crying.
The same reason she was crying was the same
reason that had prompted him to mete out
same punishment to them -the feeling of
distrust, the feeling of being betrayed of one
that was trusted not just to anyone but a
dangerous enemy.
Ethel came back to reality with a start and saw
her sitting on a swing and it was moving fast.
He suspected he saw for distraction from her
thoughts.
He stood and head for the ropes with knots,
the fastest way to reach down.
He grabbed one of the swing ropes. ‘Take it
easy darling .’ He tried to reduce the swing
speed. ‘I’m sorry Hester.’
‘I feel awful Ethel.’ She wiped her tears with
her palm. ‘I don’t know Why we can’t entrust
our sincerity with others without the fear of
betrayal. ‘ She stared into space.
♬ Where do broken hearts go and they find
their way home back to the open arms of a
love that is waiting there if somebody love
you,
would they always love you
….♬
Ethel sang for her and she was mesmerized as
a smile formed on her lips. How she had
thought he was a wonderful tenor Singer.
The swing movement was now to and fro.
‘Ethel… do you know Where broken hearts go?
‘ Hester was thoughtful.
‘No Hess, I don’t know. ‘ He answered
honestly. ‘
‘I wish I knew where they go because my heart
need to visit there desperately. ‘
‘Victoria once said to me, -my bf has got the
most generous heart on planet earth. I kinda
doubted that until today. I marvel that you
treated Daniel and Kunle despite what they
did.’
Hester shrugged.
‘There was time when Victoria stumbled on my
diary and saw the epitome of my idea woman.
Guess what she told me? ‘ He beamed pushing
the swing .
‘I wouldn’t know. ‘ She replied nonchalantly.
‘She said her best friend will suit me well and
being with you make me acknowledged the
possibility. She …’
‘You must be out of your mind! Stop this swing
now! ‘
‘Why are you burning up?’ His voice was
teasing.
‘I ain’t burning up ’cause I don’t have fever! If
you don’t stop this swing now, I will jump
down.’ Her face was flushed and her eyes
sparkled.
‘I believe if you hear the conclusion, you will
feel better. ‘
‘I will feel better when I bring the sky down,
peg your ears on it and put it up for the world
to see the price of being defiant! ‘
‘You don’t have to worry about that, I will get
you a sword.’ HIS hands were still on the
swing.
‘It’s a joking matter now but wouldn’t be when
you appear earless at the CNN TV interview for
young African entrepreneur.’
Ethel laughed heartily. ‘I believe Osagie and
Victoria would have made wonderful couples.
Will you like to see what.Osagie and I was back
in south Africa. ‘
‘Photographs? ‘
‘Yup! ‘ He stopped the swing.
Hester jumped down with a smile. ‘I love
photographs! ‘
How relieved he felt that he had made her feel
better. He loved her smile and the way it made her
eyes sparkle.
‘And Ethelbert? ‘
‘Uh-huh? ‘
‘You voice is soothing when you sing. ‘ She
faced him.
‘Woah!’ He fanned himself with both palms. ‘I … I
feel so hot that I need to immerse myself in
the pool before I melt away. ‘
‘Go ahead.’ She folded her arms.’ How long will
that take? ‘
‘The rest of this year .’
Hester rolled her eyes before bursting into
bouts of laughter.
+++++

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