Wildfire (Episode 2)
A short story by Ebuka Stan
Ifeanyi didn’t know when he slept off. But he awakened with his hands clutching his chest an hour later. A bad dream. He stared at the wall, eyes empty, until the alarm blared and reminded him that it was six in the evening. He put on his blue shirt and black jeans, buttoned it up and climbed down the stairs.
As soon as he entered the living room, his boss saw him and smiled. “There he comes. The man of the hour. Please sit,” his boss said as he beckoned. Chief Obinna was adorned in a white Agbada attire and a red cap. Beside him was his wife, Adanna. She was stunning in a red velvet dress. Ifeanyi sat beside her. Their eyes met but Ifeanyi looked away.
The couple looked so lovely together. A week earlier, they had celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in a plump fashion and they spared no expenses. The event was graced with the bigwigs of the Nigerian business community.
“My son, I and my wife are grateful to you for everything you have done for our family over the years.”
Ifeanyi’s mind was far away. The Chief’s voice jolted him back to reality. He bowed his head.
“I must confess that I took a risk when I told you to come over to the business,” Chief Obinna continued. “But you turned out to be a fast learner. And I had never had such a humble servant. You always knew what I needed even before I asked for it. I am so grateful. It’s so painful to let you go but it’s time. You have served us well.”
Chief Obinna’s face beamed as he brought out his Cheque book. He picked up a pen from the glass table and began to scribble down the words on the Cheque. Adanna looked on with love in her eyes.
“Yes, five million Naira and you deserve every last penny,” the chief was saying.
But Ifeanyi was no longer listening. He suddenly found it difficult to breathe. It was as though a force was pushing him to do whatever needed to be done to set himself free from his terrible nightmares. He opened his mouth to speak but a leg brushed up with his. He looked down. It was Adanna, the chief’s wife. But he refused to look at her.
“My son, you have done well. Thank you,” the chief said as he tore out a page from the cheque book and was about to present it to the young man when Ifeanyi interrupted him. “Sir, there is something I want to tell you.”
Surprised, the chief stopped and stared at him. “Alright, what is it, my son?”
At that moment, Ifeanyi stood up and knelt down in front of his Master. Adanna’s eyes w¡dened. The chief was taken aback by his action. “Wait a minute. This is not necessary. You don’t have to kneel down to thank me, son.”
But the young man’s eyes were already red with tears. “No sir, this is different. Please, forgive me sir. I…don’t…know how to begin.”
The chief gasped. What is happening? He wondered.
Wildfire (Episode 3) continues
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