Tayo’s car horn blared as he approached the gate, he had left the hospital alone and in fury the moment he realized Osato had forgotten Johnson at home. What type of mother forgets her child in a duplex for hours? While he was driving down to the house, he almost knocked down a crossing pedestrian, but he couldn’t get his sorry self to apologize to the almost-turn-victim; all he wanted to do was get home.
“God please have mercy, I can’t afford to lose two sons in 24 hours; please God.” He prayed in his heart as he sped home recklessly.
He was finally in front of the gate and was blaring the car horn, but Musa wasn’t there to open; “where is the son of a who-or-re!” he yelled behind the wheel before making his way out of the car.
At this point in time his anger hit a boiling point of about 35 degree Celsius. He slammed the car door and jogged towards the pedestrian gate; Musa’s cubicle was just beside it. He was either in deep sleep or was having his bath, whichever it is he was doing; Tayo hoped knocking on the gate will send the awareness of his presence to Musa. He soon arrived at the gate to find a padlock on it,
“Ah, Mogbe! Where has this one gone to? Why does it have to be today? Why, God why?” he questioned with his voice trembling with echoes of tears. He looked up at the heavily secured fence and gate; both were laced with barbwire. There was no getting in, and so in the absence of former, he decided to break the padlock; he hit a button on the car remote that opened the trunk, and collected a wheel spanner. He hurried back to the gate and hit on the lock with the spanner as he cursed Musa’s name beneath his heavy breathe.
Osato just sat transfixed beside Osaso as they drove home, she knew better than to have followed Tayo; he was angry, and her presence would only make him angrier. They had left the hospital the same moment he did, but Osaso couldn’t drive at a similar speed and with the same tenacity, and so they were several minutes behind him. Osato had just lost a child; she was supposed to be in the comforting arms of her husband, but she was being condemned by herself. How could she forget her son because his brother was dying? She soon broke the silence with tears,
“This is what desperation has led me too. I wasn’t ripe for it; I wasn’t ripe for this marriage. Now I have killed John and left Johnson to his own fate. Please God, kill me already! The wages of sin is death, abi?” she sobs on.
“Hey” Osaso cuts in, “nothing is going to happen to Johnson. I am almost sure Tayo has him by now, and to think that Musa was in the house. I know he is in safe hands. And please, God isn’t wicked, He doesn’t punish people for their sins, He forgives. Please stop talking about dying; all will be well.” She concluded by patting Osato on her shoulder with her right hand while she controlled the steering with the other.
Musa used to be the gateman for the Idemilis, and his humble and diligence personality had earned him the love of everyone of them. Above all he is very funny, a character that made the girls persuade Emeka to let him live with them as their gateman after they had put to bed. Musa had been with them for about 5 years; he had become a part of their family and had been entrusted with certain responsibilities. The girls were so fond of him while growing up; they taught him how to read and write, and always complemented his efforts with gifts whenever he showed improvement. Furthermore, he has a sharp instinct; he always knew what to do and when to do them, but on this day he was nowhere to be found.
Tayo was sweating profusely; he let out a grunt with each hit he gave the lock with the spanner. The duplex was the last house in the close, and so no one noticed what was going on with him; everyone paid attention to their business in the estate. Tayo’s shirt and tie were no longer on him; both lay wildly on the car bonnet. After 15 minutes of intensive labour the padlock finally gave away; he rushed into the house in a search of Johnson. Tayo combed all the rooms including the kitchen and the store, he couldn’t find his son.
“Johnson!” he yelled, hoping to hear the scream of a child, but that attempt was futile. He sank helplessly into the couch beside him, breathing heavily as he whispered, “Johnson”, and then removed his phone from his pocket. He had just dialed Musa’s number when Osato walked in behind Osaso.
“Where is my son?” she asked as she gazed into Tayo’s eyes for an answer. All she got was, “the MTN number you have called is currently switched off,” from Tayo’s speakerphone.
She asked again, “Tayo please where is our son?”
“Don’t you dare ask me such question?” he screamed at her.
“Easy dear, easy, don’t shout on her. She just lost a son, and it wasn’t her fault. She was under intense pressure. So, please, do not shout at her! Calm down!” Osaso countered in defense of her sister.
“Okay. Alright, I am sorry. But I didn’t forget the boy, and I can’t find him either; I cannot find Musa too.”
“Have you called his number?” Osaso retorted,
“I just did, and it is switched off.” Tayo declared.
Osaso walked up to her husband, knelt before him and wrapped her hands around his neck, “I understand that you are worried, I am too, and so is Osato. If Musa and Johnson are missing, then I’m sure they are together and safe; let’s exercise little patience, they will be back soon.” She kissed his forehead, and then walked over to her sister and held her close.
They had left the gate ajar earlier, and so he gained an easy entrance. He just walked straight for the duplex, opened the door and let himself in.
“Who are you?” Tayo asked giving him a ferocious look,
“Me I be Sule,” the Hausa-Fulani man responded,
“Sule, did nobody teach you how to knock where you come from?” Tayo further asked. The man looked clueless for a minute before finally letting out a response,
“Musa I say make he give am for oga this liter.” He pointed the letter to Tayo who received it, and let himself out of his presence.
Tayo opened the letter; a rumpled paper that smelled of onion and smoke, and read it out spontaneously:
“Dear Mr. Coker, I have taken my boy. The mother keep one, and I keep one too. Ask the mother who is the boy’s father. Don’t find me, you will not see me. Goodbye.
Written by @fragiletimbzz
Next episode; same time, next week.