“David,you have been reserved and taciturn.You have refused answering my questions and i cant condone it any longer.What happened to my daughter.What led to her fainting”Mr.Uwa asked,the pain and anger of his daughter still missing,showing all over him.It was already getting dark.They just returned from the police station after making a report. “Did she fight with the maid? Were they fighting?”His wife added. David shifted on the chair where he sat and stole glances at them.He felt bad within himself.He didn’t know how to tell his inlaws what happened because all these while he had felt like someone under someone else’s control. He concluded it would be better if Angela told them by herself. “She just fainted.Nothing more.What else do you want me to say”David replied calmly,pacing up and down. “Who’s that woman we saw earlier? Is she the mother of the maid? And why were they leaving with the bag which i believe is hers?”Mrs uwa asked. “She is her mother.oh,what do i do now? Where else do i go in search of Angela”David lamented,carefully avoiding more questions. “Pray nothing happens to my daughter because if anything happens to her,you will regret it”Mr uwa assured him while signaling to his wife to follow him as they have stayed too long. “Wherever my daughter is,the living God that i serve will protect her.David,You must show me where they live”Mrs uwa who stood on her feet,said,referring to David. “Is it necessary? i went there severally,she wasnt there.Nobody was at home”David replied her. ***Mr.Uwa’s house*** “I have been thinking”Angela’s mother whispered to her husband,reaching for her bible. “What about?”Her husband asked. “Do you remember that Adaora’s two children died with her husband in that ghastly motor accident that made headlines on several news forum?”She asked. “I do remember that” “I was suprised when they said she’s the mother of that girl Angela brought in”She said vaguely. “She might have adopted her” “My mind doesnt seem to think that way.We have to get going,the pastor and prayer warriors would soon be arriving at the church for the vigil.Trust God,Angela will return safe and sound.Our God answers prayers”She assured him and glanced at the wall clock. 9:15PM “Everything is happening so fast but i believe my daughter is safe.God will protect her”He agreed. The air was filled with the voices of prayer;a miraculous medium of miracles.Prayer,which changes things beyond human comprehension. The prophetic voice of the pastor was heard saying that Angela is in great danger but needs divine grace.At a point,he called out her husband’s name,telling everyone to pray upon him for liberation from any power acting upon him. **** David woke up the next morning feeling so fresh,despite being up in thoughts all night till sleep stole him at the early hours of the morning.He rubbed his hands against his eyes,surely,something he couldnt explain died in him last night. Tears trickled down from his eyes when he remembered what he has been doing.He had been busy going against the promise he made to Angela on the alter.He had been commiting adultery with their housemaid. “What happened to you David? What went wrong”,he wept,”Forgive me Angela,i have wronged you,please come back to me.If you leave me forever,i will never forgive myself.Oh God please bring Angela back to me…” **** Angela’s eyes were swollen.She cried all night,while gigantic mosquitoes feasted on her delicate skin.She was kept in an uncompleted building with two young men watching over her.She was too weak to cry again, they didnt give her anything to eat.She wished someone she knew comes to her aid just as it happened in the dream.She blamed herself for not telling her mom about it;perhaps,they might have prayed it away. She just laid there,tied hands and legs pretending to be asleep. She soon felt a touch and opened her eyes,it was Ebere. “How do you feel,dear friend?”she asked with a wicked smile. “My God is alife and He will surely vindicate me because i am innocent of your accusations.I have finally come to believe that the devil you know is better than the angel you dont.Ebere you are a betrayer”Angela weakly said and spat on her with enough strength. “Have your fun,you may never be able to do that again for life”,Ebere said using her handkerchief on her face,”i advice you start saying your last prayers because before dawn tomorrow,you would be no more.i’m sorry.And corncerning sonia,dont worry,she is not taking over your home.she is going to jail for murder” Sonia and her mother were at her aunt’s place whom they pleaded to let them stay with her for a little time watching the mid day news when Sonia saw it.Her photo was shown on the television with the caption,”wanted” According to the new,she ran away from home with her mother when she discovered that someone saw her kill somebody. Hot tears rolled down from her eyes as she fell into her mother’s arm,sobbing sorrowfully in fear.
“Mom,i’m in trouble.The police wants me.They want me..”Sonia wailed between throaty sobs. “Haven’t she had enough? Must she do this?”Adaora kept asking.One could easily conclude she was asking the broadcaster on the t.v “Mom,what do we do now? I do want the police to catch me.People have seen the announcement already.What do i do?”Sonia asked in despair as if the police were already on their way to get her. Adaora held Sonia’s face and made her look into her eyes. “Listen to me.Dont be afraid.You are not going to prison.That is a promise i’m making to you.Even if it means me going against my will,I will do it.You have suffered enough under me.I dont think i deserve to be called your mother”Adaora told her,nodding gently,fully prepared to do whatever might be of help to Sonia.Even if it meant revealing her secrets which she knew wont sound good to anybody. David was kneeling in the church.He had been there for hours.He was tired,worn-out,weak and hungry but there was no piece of appetite in him.The absence of Angela was making him abnormal.He abandoned his work,which was a great risk.He had searched every searchable place for her.No good news seem to have entered his ears from the police. “We are trying our best”That was all they kept saying. He made no sound kneeling there in the church all alone but he was crying and praying to God to bring back his wife. Sonia looked at herself in the mirror,standing infront of it.The brown weavon Adaora fixed on her really disguised her.She looked totally different. “We are leaving this place immediately to a more secure environment”Adaora said. It was getting dark.The sun was no longer up in the sky.Pehars,it has gone to give other people somewhere its light. Angela could hear the sounds of nocturnal insects and animals.The two guards were there as usual,making sure the place was guarded.She had begged them to have mercy on her,telling them she would give them whatever they wanted if they let her go but not even a single word war heard from them,which left her wondering if they were still there,as she was blindfolded. She soon felt a hand around the back of her head and shook her head in retaliation,hitting the hand with her head. “Don’t let me smack your head”She heard the angry voice of one of the guards,who brought his hands back to untie the cloth tied around her eyes. Some drop of tears fell from Angela’s eyes as the blindfold was removed.The ropes on his hands and legs were also untied. She lifted up her face and present were the old ‘dibia’ and Ebere with the two guards.“The gods are ready to accept your blood and the sacrifice must be made before dawn tomorrow.So,we have come to prepare you for the sacrifice”He said,dipped hand into his animal skin bag and brought out a white chalk which he circled round her eyes.Angela wanted to say something to Ebere but she was too weak to do so. After circling her eyes to his satifaction,he brought out a white gown and gave it to Ebere. “Take off all her clothes and make her wear that white.Not even her inner wears should be on.That is what the gods demanded.If she refuses to let you do it,then the guards will have to do it with all pleasure”He instructed,making some incantations. Ebere looked at the white gown in her hand and looked at Angela.From,Angela to the two guards and back to the white gown in his hand. “Look away,you two”She told the guards who obeyed and turned away their faces. She dropped the gown on the ground and removed Angela’s top and her brassiers.She pulled off her skirts and her innerwears and then,rolled the gown on her.Angela expressed no fear while she did all that.She uttered no word to them. “Make sure you forgive Sonia in your heart before you die because i made her do what she did.She killed somebody and i caught her.I have a very good proof and so,i told her about it and told her what she must do for me so that i do not expose her.And she did it.Yes,i personally brought her to you because i wanted to use her to have my revenge on you”Ebere whispered into her ear,leaving her more suprised than she was. “We are coming back by the early hours of the morning for the sacrifice”,the ‘dibia’ said and turned to the guards “make sure she doesnt escape.If she does,you will be used for the sacrifice” The guards tied her hands and legs again but this time,by the order of the ‘dibia’ which he claimed came from the gods,her eyes were spared. Angela could see Ebere smiling as she followed the old ‘dibia’ out of the place. Angela looked at the guards,there weren’t the type that hears or understands words as please,have mercy or i beg. She looked up to heaven,allowing the stream of tears to run down her cheeks. She remembered her parents and David. “If i die,oh lord,take care of my husband.Give him the strength to move on” She laid down softly,praying dawn never comes.
Bisi peeped again at the lady standing in the compound through the window.She was in no way familiar.Bisi had seen her walk bodly into the compound not long ago. “Bisi,Kilode? You have been peeping out through that window for sometime now”Her mother shocked her,coming closer to see what she was peeping at. Bisi had gasped,jumping back ,out from the window side,facing her mother. “Iya mi.You startled me”She said with a pouted lips,making a face. “Leave the road jare,let me see something”Her mother murmured out,ignoring her complain and looked out through the window to have a view too. “Who is she?”She asked,still observing the lady in a black suit with a dark lense covering her eyes and a red handbag in her hand.Her red high-heeled shoe seem to make her taller. “I don’t know o.She just entered the compound”Bisi explained. “She is not a ghost.She is a visitor.Go and open the door for her,lets know who she is and what she wants” Bisi looked at her mother vaguely and made for the visitor boldly,like a child whose father sent to steal.Such a child they say,breaks the door with his feet. The lady smiled as she saw the door open.She wiped the sweat off her face with a little white handky which she produced from her handbag.Bisi closed the door behind her.Goodday.Are you looking for anybody?”Bisi asked the lady who removed the glasses from her eyes,holding it with her left hand. “Actually,i came looking for you”She said,smiling,stretching forth her right hand for a handshake,”I’m mrs.Johnson Eze” Bisi shook her hand,capturing her face with her eyes and imagining if they have met before. The lady sat on the plastic chair provided for her in the sitting room,looking around in keen observation.She had told Bisi’s mother she wanted to have a little talk with her daughter.The trouble-less woman left them alone,hiding somewhere close, eavesdropping. “I am mrs.Johnsom Eze.I am a banker”,she opened up,getting nods of agreement from the anxious looking Bisi,”I learnt Sonia is your friend.She is the main reason why i am here” “I hope all is well?”Bisi asked.Worry lines etched on her forehead.It’s been quite long since she heard last from Sonia. “I am her account manager.The reason why i came looking for you is because i haven’t been able to contact her.She won 5 million naira in the save and win promo from our bank…” “5 million naira! Oluwa jesu”Bisi exclaimed,covering her mouth with her palms. “Yes.5 million naira and the bank wants her to come and sign some docvments within 7 days before redeeming the money or she lose everything.I have been looking for her but she’s nowhere to be found.The house she lives with her mother has been on lock for days.I don’t know if she travelled with her mother.I haven’t been able to reach her with the phone number she gave to me and today is the 5th day. Do you know where i can find her? These are some papers i need her to sign for me”She made to open her bag to bring out some papers but unfortunately,the bag turned upside down,letting everything in it fall on the floor.She bent down,carefully picking up everything.At last she presented few papers to Bisi. “She needs to sign these” Bisi nodded in excitement.Wishing she could just fly wings and get Sonia to sign them immediately,so as not to miss the 5 million.That’s a huge amount one should never miss,she thought. “I haven’t seen her too o.But there is a place she stays.She works as a househelp there.I will go and check on her”Bisi volunteered. “She isn’t there.Dont you know any other place she could be? I thought she is your friend.Just help me out.The bank will reward me too when she receives the money.If you help me,i will give you 500,000 naira” “Five hundred thouzon naira!”Bisi exclaimed,not believing her ears. The lady noddded and gave her a paper containing her 11digits mobile number. “Call me as soon as you sight her.Don’t even let her know about it.I have to get going”She said, standing up. “I will do just that”Bisi assured her as they shook hands again. Bisi watched her walk magnificiently out of the compound. “Bisi.Who told her Sonia is your friend?”Her mother asked coming out of her hiding. “Iya mi,you are asking me as if i am a diviner.I don’t know ni.Five hundred thouzon.Iya mi,we are rich”Bisi chanted. Her mother’s eyes caught the attention of something.It was under the chair where Mrs.Johnson sat.It was a laminated card.She went there without wasting any time and picked it up. “Iya mi,what is it?”Bisi asked coming to view the card as her mother’s face changed after seeing what was on it. “This is her voters card and she just got it few months ago.She could be lying…” Bisi collected it from her and saw the passport on it.It was no doubt the lady that just left but Mrs.Johnson Eze was not written anywhere on it.There was nothing like banker as occupation on it.Miss EBERE Ezibe was the name on it. She turned to face her mother. “I sense trouble”Her mother interjected.