Apologies my friends, I had intended to post the conclusion sooner than now, but I was distracted by some pleasant and less pleasant activities. Here is the final part. I hope U enjoy it. Pls put reactions, criticisms and marriage proposals at the comments section or follow me on twitter.
WILFRED CROSSFIRED II
Just when you thought that you had everything down to a science, a blow to the face comes from nowhere to shatter that illusion.
Angela was deep in thought as she waited impatiently for Jeffery Asuqwo to answer her call. When he finally did, her heartbeat increased and she looked around self consciously.
His voice seemed to envelope her head like a dryer at the salon. She could hear loud music in the background, and female laughter. Her heart sank.
“HAVE YOU CONSIDERED MY REQUEST?”
“Yes I have and the answer is yes”
“GOOD…WE’LL GO OVER THE DETAILS TOMORROW”
Tonight’s fun was definitely not for her, Angela thought. Jeffery obviously had adequate female company, her swollen face and black eye would surely be surplus to requirement. If only she could capture him…and handcuff him to the bed. Just for tonight. Angela smiled at the idea as she walked to the bathroom.
By the time she called her friend Kachi, Angela Okoli was physically out of her matrimonial home. At Sophia Hotel, with only Jack Daniels to hug, her beautiful mind started to drift.
It wasn’t that Clement was a bad person, she thought. He was just a jealous man who married a beautiful extrovert…like her. Maybe there was something about her that riled him up.
Angela wasn’t sure if Jack Daniels was in charge at that point, but thinking of Clement that way somehow made her feel better.
Having made sure the three children were all sound asleep, Kachi was about to leave the children’s bedroom when her phone rang. She quickly darted out and shut the door gently. It was her friend Angela.
“Hello Kachi, how is she?”
“She’s fine, we really had a great time, but she’s asleep now”
“Do you want me to wake her up?”
“No no no no no, I’ll come and pick her up in the morning”
“Your voice sounds funny”
Kachi was one of the few people who knew a bit about Angela’s frustrations at the home-front. She always provided a listening ear. This time she got an earful.
Kachi put a smile across her lips and snuggled up to Bobby in the sitting room. She kept the rictus on her face and said
“That was Angela, says she’ll be here for Ify in the morning”.
Bobby merely mouthed the word OK while giving her the briefest of smiles, before turning back to the television. Kachi leaned back to look at the TV screen. She couldn’t immediately identify the teams playing, so she paid attention to Bobby’s body language.
Kachi had completely mastered the art of pretending to be a football fan. No cheer shall escape her lips until Bobby’s team scores a goal.
At 4 years old, Ify did not fully comprehend why her mother was leaving her at uncle Edwin’s house.
“Is uncle Edwin your brother?”
“No, he’s my step-brother”
“Mommy, what’s a step-brother?”
Angela’s explanation wasn’t clear to Ify’s young mind, but like most children of that age, she was soon talking about other things. Angela was relieved. Her step-brother Edwin and his wife Nkem were quite capable of taking good care of her daughter till she returned from Lagos.
Angela worked at Servicom, a company that provided IT solutions to businesses that ranged from Oil and Gas, Banking, to Fire and Security. As a Business Analyst, her duties also involved using her good looks and sociability to the advantage of the company. In reality, she was a key part of the IT start-up’s objective of maintaining excellence and profitability.
She had to be present at the start of projects, to interpret the business challenges of clients to the Technical team. Her communication skills were also required to sell the solutions to the clients. She did not intend to travel to Lagos with her boss, but things were crowding her mind and she felt she needed the fresh air. Angela had fully made up her mind to escape, before Clement turns her into a beautiful corpse.
As the hotshot MD of Servicom, Jeffery Asuqwo at 38 years of age would be considered a catch by most women. Tall, with broad shoulders and perfect teeth, he was so complete. His winning ways were contagious, like he was the main character in a toothpaste commercial. He had everything that was desirable to the ladies, except he also had a wife and son in Vancouver.
On their second day in Lagos, Angela and Jeffery went out to celebrate. They had successfully added Nigerian Breweries Plc to their list of clients. Angela allowed the drink to assume control as she flirted shamelessly with Jeffery during their night out. Despite her outward merriment, Jeffery could sense that something was troubling her. He nevertheless kept his composure and regaled her with jokes and compliments. Soon he realised she was drunk, so he cut the night short and took her back to the hotel. Angela barely made it to the bed before passing out. Jeffery was baffled at how quickly she had started to snore, he just shook his head and left.
The next morning, Angela woke up with a blinding headache. Still in yesterday’s clothes, she vaguely remembered the events of the previous night. She was afraid she’d said or done something embarrassing. Her phone rang as she reached for it and she reeled back in mild shock. Her nerves were jumpy. The caller ID showed ‘Edwin’.
“Sister, I tried calling you yesterday…but your phone was switched off”
“Ok, what is the problem”
“Ify is missing”
Angela was speechless. She must not have heard right, she thought. But further queries only led to increased panic. She immediately regretted embarking on the trip.
Jeffery was very understanding, he kept reassuring Angela that her daughter will soon be found. He must have been talking to the car door. For Angela was in a trance-like state and did not register any of his words of consolation.
Prophet Ebenezer of the Lord’s Kingdom Church, situated off Psychiatric Hospital road Rumuomoi was the neighbourhood oracle. The founder and sole spiritual head of Solution Ministries was short, muscular and loud. He could cast out demons, see the future, and heal the lame. He was also available for the barren and the unmarried. Prophet Ebenezer could provide jobs for the jobless and probably raise the dead if need be…for a fee.
He had prescribed an all-night prayer session for Edwin and Nkem. It was to petition the supernatural to reveal the whereabouts of a missing child. They were to come with 40 thousand naira, a bag of rice, 4 tubers of yam and a he-goat. They duly complied. By dawn, their faith was rewarded.
Having returned from Onitsha, Wilfred had set about the task of arranging ‘new arrivals’ in his ‘boutique’ at Rumuola road. An unusual weakness had come upon him suddenly and he had decided to take a break. He closed his shop and went home. He did not pay much attention to the White Volkwagen Golf that pulled away from the shop next to his as he headed home.
He ate a little meal at home and fell into a deep slumber. He did not wake up till the next day, he even thought he was still dreaming when the mob attacked him.
The police laughed at his ‘statement’ and told him that his days of making penises disappear and kidnapping people were numbered. His swollen lips and ‘black eyes’ were even more confused as the police officers dumped him in a cell.
Edwin in his statement to the police told them that he sold electrical equipments at Rumuola road. That his wife Nkem had earlier left the child with him since she was going to the hospital for ante-natal care. That he was attending to customers when the little girl must have gone outside. He mentioned that he suspected Wilfred because when he went outside to look for the girl, she was nowhere to be found, and Wilfred’s previously open shop was closed.
The police received 5,000 naira from Edwin to ‘assist’ them during investigations.
Edwin told Angela on arrival that the culprit had been arrested in connection with the crime.Although she screamed and shouted at her step-brother, deep down, Angela blamed herself. She had not wanted to overburden Kachi and Bobby. If only she had asked them, she agonized.
The first ray of hope strangely came when the abductors called to make their demands. She was shocked that they had her number. She became a bit calm after briefly hearing her daughter’s voice. The scary voice on the phone warned her to cease further contact with the police. They also demanded 10 million naira as ransom before ending the call.
Now she has to face Clement. The thought brought fresh tears to her eyes. When Clement said “HELLO”, Angela thought she was going to have a heart attack. When he started screaming, she just sat on floor and put the phone in her lap. She allowed the tears to flow freely.
Clement had stormed off in his Acura MDX and driven straight to Uniport. There he picked up Sandra one of girlfriends. He was amused to see that some of Angela’s things were missing from the house when he returned home the next day. Where would she go, he thought. Her mom was dead and she had no relatives in Port Harcourt. He was sure that by the time he returned from duty off-shore, she would be back.
It was not easy being a Petro-Physicist at Exxon-Mobil. The risk of working off-shore, plus all that seismic data he had to interpret on location meant that whenever he was on land, he had to explore new ‘methods of drilling’ and enjoy himself to the fullest.
At work, his mind was not on Angela and her wahala, so when she called, it was a big surprise.
Clement arrived that night with 4 mobile policemen. Being an acquaintance of the Commandant of the MOPOL Squadron in Port Harcourt had its advantages. Edwin and his wife Nkem were arrested. Prophet Ebenezer was also arrested as he was about to have dinner with his family. He assured his family members and a guest that it was a misunderstanding, and that he will return to them soon.
The prophet’s attempt at conversation, his proclamation of innocence and threats of “touch not the lord’s anointed” were completely ignored by the men in bullet-proof vests. They slapped him around a bit before bundling him into their truck.
Even in police custody, Edwin insisted that Wilfred was the culprit. Wilfred maintained that he knew nothing of what Edwin was talking about. So to extract the truth, Wilfred was handcuffed to a chair and beaten to pulp.
Perhaps it was the excruciating pain, perhaps it was the shock of finally coming face to face with his accuser. Suddenly Wilfred could recall that Edwin was a passenger in the white Volkswagen Golf that drove away as he was going home. He also told the police that he had noticed a little girl on the backseat.
The police now turned their attention on Edwin. He explained that a friend of his named Lucky had paid him a visit that day. Wilfred must have seen them when they were on their way to pick Nkem from the hospital.
“But your wife says she came back to Rumuola road in a taxi…and you told her the child was missing”.
Edwin soon confessed after being beaten severely by the policemen. He promised to lead them to where they had hidden the child. They police promised Edwin that he would be set free once the child was rescued. Edwin claimed that it was the work of the devil, that his friend Lucky had talked him into it.
“I would never do such a thing” he cried.
Lucky Amadi lived alone in the house his late father had built at 13 Robinson Close, Rupokwu. The last house on the Close, it was secluded and formed a perfect hideout for various illicit activities. With police hidden in the shadows, guns trained on his back, Edwin knocked on Lucky’s gate.
He came outside wearing a faded green T-shirt over a pair of khaki shorts.
“Who is that?”
“It’s me, Edwin” in a harsh whisper.
Lucky was relieved, they had earlier agreed not to communicate using cellphones, he had even discarded the SIM card he used to call the woman. Perfect timing he thought, Edwin was wise. He smiled and opened the gate.
Ify was still asleep when she was rescued. She was delighted to wake up in her mother’s arms as both parents fawned over her with worried faces. They were relieved to find her hale and hearty.
Wilfred was set free the next day, but not before parting with a ‘bail’ of 10,000 naira. They threathened to rope him in if he did not co-operate.
Despite being caught up in the crossfire of Angela and Clement’s marital conflict, nobody offered him any apologies or showed appreciation for the part he played in solving the case.
Nkem was also released from custody due to her health condition. She also had to bail herself despite being an unwitting participant in her husband’s evil machinations.
“I knew she was going to give me a lot of trouble and I was prepared to handle her like a man”
Clement told the marriage counselor.
“Her own mother deserted her father while she was still very young, so that she can fulfill her sexual urges”
Angela was furious at Clement’s accusations and angrily turned her gaze on him.
“Now I can see that wife-beating runs in your family”
“Didn’t one of your uncles kill his wife in the seventies?”
“My mom had warned me about you from the beginning,
She even said I was crazy for marrying you and she was right!”
The City of David pastor had his hands full as he tried to instill marital responsibility back into the consciousness of the warring pair. Eventually they both agreed on a separation. Due to the demanding nature of his job, Clement grudgingly accepted that it would be better for Ify if she stayed with her mother. Angela had to promise not to make any travel plans in future without including her daughter. Clement was quite free to visit whenever he returned from off-shore duties.
Wilfred refused to testify during the criminal trial of Edwin Madu, Lucky Amadi and Boniface Okoro also known as Prophet Ebenezer. He however showed up in court occasionally to observe the proceedings.
The court decided that Boniface Okoro was eligible for bail. Edwin Madu and Lucky Amadi were remanded in custody.
Wilfred Ejezie made sure that he was always updated with adjournment dates as the trial progressed. It helped him sleep at night.
After a period of 11 months, the magistrate set aside a day for which judgment shall be pronounced. After going through the charges on that day, the magistrate read out the sentences for the accused persons. On the charges of conspiracy, false accusation, abduction, kidnapping and civil disturbance, Lucky Amadi and Edwin Madu were both found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. Before presenting the court’s decision on Boniface Okoro, the magistrate admonished the court about how the neglect of family structures , greed and intolerance has led to the decay of moral values in the society. Then she turned her gaze upon the wide eyed form of Boniface Okoro.
“Prophet Ebenezer” she said with a glint in her bespectacled eyes.
“Have you been close to the lord lately?”
Boniface Okoro nodded his head energetically an expectant smile forming on his face, hope rising in his sunken chest.
“Prophet Ebenezer, what do you foresee to be the ruling of this court?”
Someone’s open file rustled with papers as a hush fell in the court room. All eyes were now trained on the hapless prophet who seemed to be having speech impairment.
“I believe the court will set me free since I am innocent” he mustered.
“ORDER IN COURT”
Kept the murmur to a minimum, it soon died down completely.
“On the charges of false testimony, fraud and civil disturbance, the court hereby finds you Mr Boniface Okoro guilty on all charges, you are hereby sentenced to 6 years imprisonment”.
The gavel fell once, but it was deafening to the ears of Boniface Okoro also known as Prophet Ebenezer.
Everyone was on their feet as the magistrate calmly made her exit. No one noticed a smiling Wilfred, staring cross-eyed at the magistrate with unabashed admiration.