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STORY: 7 Days (The Past Came Haunting) 6-7

“I struggle not for the Lilly in the water
Just so, I don’t get drown for it.” Ikise Atabang


EPISODE 06


Saturday.
12:06 PM

Amaka
++++++++++++++++++++

I was in the car coming back from my JAMB lessons when I remembered Val, the guy I met on Tuesday morning at the ATM booth. I remembered he had said hi and I had ignored him. I was in a hurry to get to my lesson venue on time that day as it was my first day and I didn’t want to create a bad impression of myself.

I never liked it when people thought my dad’s status was getting to my head. So when I discovered I had forgotten my ATM card, I went back hoping to meet him again. Luckily for me I did meet him, he had kept the card with him and waited for me.

We talked for a while and it was fun. I almost forgot I was in a rush. He had this kind of aura about him and I felt comfortable talking to him. I liked the way he called me, just exactly like my dad. He wasn’t the cutest guy I had ever met, certainly not the hottest, but there was something special about him. I liked him.

“Chiamaka, why are you smiling?” Sam my driver asked peering at me from the rear-view mirror.

“It’s nothing, just remembered a joke”. I lied.
“Do you mind telling me?” He asked. I couldn’t see his face but I was sure he wore a smile on his face.

“No, you wouldn’t find it funny”.

I went back to my thoughts. I had exchanged contacts with Val and he had promised to call me after his lectures. I had asked about his school, department and level and he had told me. I was very excited; he was a student in the school I was also aspiring to enter. I told him as much, that it was my dream school and that I was going for my JAMB lessons that morning. He had told me to study hard so that I could join him in the den.

I came home that afternoon after my lessons and had wanted to give him a call. There were so many things I wanted to ask him about his school but had a change of mind. He was probably in class, since he had said he would call after his lectures. At that moment, my dad called me. He took the phone from me, switched it off in my presence and said he would be keeping it till I was done with my JAMB exams. He said he didn’t want anything to distract me.

Recalling the incident, I laughed remembering that I had almost cried. My phone was my only friend. It was the only thing that kept me busy. My dad didn’t let me make friends especially guys, he didn’t allow people visit me nor was I allowed to pay anyone a visit. That’s was the major reason he employed Sam. To make sure I didn’t disobey those rules.

How could dad do this to me? I queried. How could he seize my phone when I needed it the most. I just made a new friend and we had a lot of things to discuss. These thoughts occupied my mind until an idea occured to me.

‘Sam must have told my dad I had exchanged contacts with a guy’. Yes!

That must have been what happened. I had my phone when I sat for WAEC and my dad didn’t seize it.

“Uncle Sam?” I called. “There’s something I want to ask you”,
“Ok?” He said.

“My dad seized my phone since four days ago”. I waited and watched his reaction. He didn’t say anything but glanced at me from the rear-view mirror. I continued. “Do you happen to know why?”

“He surely has a reason my dear. Your dad loves you and all he wants is for you to be a responsible woman in the future”.

“I know all these but he doesn’t have to seize my phone. I’m no longer a kid”.
“You told him right?” He went mute. “C’mon you promised to be honest with me.”
“Look, I was only doing my job”. He defended himself.

I knew then I had been right all along. So my dad didn’t seize my phone because of my upcoming exam. He actually seized it so whoever would be unable to reach me and probably lose interest finally. Oh how worried Val must have been trying to reach me! I tried to imagine what could be going on his mind or how he would feel. Enough was enough! I was going to talk to my dad when I got home.
+++++

My dad was a retired Major with the Nigerian Army and in his early 50s. He was also a politician, a former Speaker in the Delta State House of Assembly and a business man. He owns several filling stations and estates in the major cities of Port Harcourt, Asaba, Lagos and Owerri.

According to what he had told me, my mum had died after giving birth to a set of twins. A boy and a girl. My brother had followed suit few months later. Since then my father had been the one taking care of me. He loved me so much, there was no doubt about that, and he made sure I lacked nothing. I loved him too. The only problem I had with him was his strictness and over protectiveness. I was 17 for chrissake. He had ruined many vows of friendship for me in the past but sitting in the car that afternoon, I vowed not to let it happen again.

I got home and after several minutes of explaining, begging and arguing with my dad, he gave me the phone. He explained away his actions as being for my protection. I assured and promised him that I would be very careful.

“Amaka” my dad called. I answered, My eyes fixed on my phone as I waited for it to boot up.

“The boy you met, you said he’s in UNN?”
“Yes Dad” I responded absentmindedly.
“What course is he studying?”
“I don’t know yet dad. I didn’t ask him.”

I tapped my data button and my phone began to vibrate, with dozens of notifications. I had tons of messages to reply. I quickly opened my WhatsApp and saw I had chats from Val. I smiled, excused myself and went straight to my room, Val wasn’t online so I gave him a call. He didn’t pick at the first ring. I called again and he picked up. His end of the conversation was scratchy. He was watching a football match and promised to return the call later. I was a tad sad. It seemed the match was more important to him than taking my call. Alas, I fell asleep.

Val
++++++++++++++++++++

Few Hours Earlier

I was watching Man Utd playing home and losing to Burnley when my phone rang, I ignored it. It rang for the second time and I wanted to terminate the call when I caught sight of the caller ID. It was Amaka, the girl I had been trying to reach through to four days now. I picked up but I wasn’t in the mood for calls at the moment and the place was quite noisy so I told her I’d call back later.
+++++

“Amaka disappoint me….” I sang for her immediately she picked up.
“You eerh” She laughed and I laughed too.
“Honestly I’m very sorry for what happened. I have not been with my phone that was why I couldn’t call or reply your messages earlier. I just got my phone today”. She apologized.

“Well it’s nothing, it’s actually nice to hear your voice again”.
“Thank you. I got my phone back and you were the first person I called”. She said
“Wow my head is swelling oo. But what happened to your phon?e” I asked and she narrated everything to me.

She told me almost everything about her and I felt sorry for her. It was as if we had known each other for a long time. I got to know her father was a retired Major in the Nigerian Army and somehow I was scared. I had heard stories of how soldiers dealt with people who tried to mess up with them. I told her about myself too.

We spoke for over 30 minutes before my airtime got exhausted. Cynthy was the only girl I had talked at length to on the phone. She called back and we spoke for some time before we decided to switch to WhatsApp.

It was fun chatting with her, She was chatty. Our chats consisted of emojis, stickers and voice notes. We chatted throughout the night, something I had not done in years. I fell asleep a happy man.

To be continued….

Valentine C. Azuka
Valcee [Honest Pen]


“I struggle not for the Lilly in the water
Just so, I don’t get drown for it” Ikise Atabang


EPISODE 07 (I)


Sunday
7:47 AM

Val
++++++++++++++++++++

“…the Mass is for everyone but the Holy Communion is only for Catholics ….”

The croaked voice of our Cathechist boomed through the microphone. He was quite old and one wondered why he was yet to retire. He loved his job so much. This much was obvious in the manner he rendered his service to God and the congregation at large with such happiness and pride. Story had it that he wanted to be a Reverend father but couldn’t make it.

I recited the prayers said before receiving Holy Communion and joined the queue as we walked up to the altar like saints. Yeah I might not be a very good boy but that doesn’t mean I joke with God either.

I knelt and patiently waited for the priest to feed me the body of Christ.

“The body of Christ…” the priest said dipping his fingers in the chalice, I raised my eyes and was about to reply, ”Amen” when I caught sight of the altar servant holding the Communion plate beside the priest.

I was shocked. Before me in an altar servant’s apparel was Ijabu, looking all immaculate. Were my eyes deceiving me?

“How could he be both Cultist and altar servant?” I wondered.

“The body of Christ…” the priest repeated. I responded and brought out my tongue. He placed the holy Communion on my tongue which disappeared into my mouth immediately.

I walked back to my seat and spent the rest of the Mass thinking about how to deal with what I had just discovered, my eyes intent on Ijabu.

The mass ended and I watched in bewilderment and confusion as he led the procession, carrying the cross as they walked from the altar through the central aisle of the Church to the entrance.
+++++

I walked back home pondering on what to do with what I had seen. I was really perturbed. Reporting him to the Chaplain seemed the right thing to do, but I couldn’t bring myself to. I had made myself a promise not to have anything to do with the cultists again. Besides, there was no evidence to back up my claim. I decided to let it slide; to pretend as if nothing happened.

After all who was I to judge who was worthy to serve God and who wasn’t? I brought out my phone which has been on silent mode while I was in the Church and saw that I had missed calls from Amaka. I smiled, dialed her number and wondered why she must have called. Didn’t she go to Church?

“Hello Val! Happy Sunday”, she had said immediately she picked my call.

“Same to you, ma’am. Hope you attended Mass?” I asked her.
“Sure, I attended the 5:30am mass. What about you?”

“I’m just going back home from Church. I missed your call”. Someone called my name and waved from distance, I waved back.

“Yeah actually I wanted to tell you that my dad wants to meet you …” She was saying but I cut her short.

“What? Your dad wants to meet me? Why? Hope I’m safe?” I asked stopping in my tracks and wondering why Amaka’s dad, the retired Major would want to meet with me.

She laughed. “Calm down. Yes like I said, my dad wants to meet you. Is that a problem? Don’t tell me you’re scared already?” She continued, laughing as she said so.

“Well honestly, I’m scared, surprised and confused. Why would he want to see me?”
“I think he just wants to know more about you. Meanwhile he said he liked the course you’re studying”. I relaxed a bit.

“Hmmm that’s good to know. I guess you’ve really told him much about me. Okay, there’s no. problem I’ll meet him”.

“Make it 3 PM and meet me in front of the bank where we met. My driver and I will pick you up”
“Ok ma’am. I’ll try”.

++++++++++++++++++++

2:43 PM

“Guy so you dey serious?” Paul asked pouring out some groundnuts he would use in drinking garri into a plate.

“Ehe nah, I am very serious”, I picked some groundnuts from his plate.
“But guy, so you are yet to learn your lesson?”

“What do you mean?” I asked pretending not to know what he meant.

“What if they kidnap you? Do you even know where you’re going? For how long have you known this girl? You guys just met o”. Paul questioned with a serious look.

“See, I know I just met this girl but I have known more about her in less than six days than I knew of some girls in years. As for kidnapping me, that’s why I am telling you where I’m going to. They live at that GRA not so far from school, so if you don’t see me till tomorrow morning go and report to police. I have told my friend Ebo too”. I said with a mocking smile.

“Ok nah, I don hear. But it’s risky oo” Paul said as I headed to the door.

“Life is all about risks”.

To be continued …

Valentine C. Azuka
Valcee [Honest Pen]
©2020

EPISODE 07 (II)
++++++

30 minutes later


I sat down face to face with the Major.

He wore a serious look and looked at me as if he could see through me. He looked quite young with his beardless face, and I guessed he would be in his early 50s. He had told Amaka to leave us immediately he sat down. I was nervous.

“Why did you collect my daughter’s contact?” He finally spoke after several seconds of inspection. I was thrown off balance, I didn’t expect the question, at least not for a start. He didn’t ask what state I was from or about my family. I was really upset with the question but I composed myself. That’s one of my hidden talents. Composure.

“Sir, I … I like her and I’d love to be her friend. She is beautiful, smart and humble”. I said with a serious look not knowing what he expected to hear from me.

“So do you go about making friends with every beautiful, smart and humble girl?”

“No Sir. Of course not”.

“So why her?” He asked at once. My eyes fell to his fingers. He still wore his wedding ring. “I think she likes me too.” I said with my eyes still on the ring. He went quiet for some seconds before he spoke again. This time he spoke to me as a man would to a man as a father to a son, as an adult to a fellow adult.

“You know, her mother was very fair and beautiful just like her”, He caressed the ring. “She was from Anambra state. We met when she was 20 and got married the next year. I was 15 years older than her. Can you imagine? But we loved each other so much”. He went on to narrate almost everything about his wife to me, including how she died. His infant son too.

“Amaka is the only one I have now and I’d do anything in my power to protect her. She might not understand the reasons I do some of the things I do. She thinks I don’t want her to make friends but that’s not true. It’s for her own safety. I’m trying my best to protect her”. I nodded my head. I knew where he was going, he would eventually tell me to stay away from her daughter.

“I was once a young guy like you and I understand the feeling of having beautiful girls around. It’s normal. I don’t know much about you but I think you’re a good boy. Tell me about your parents”.

I told him about my parents and he kept bombarding me with questions.

He was interested in my course choice. He told me he loved the course, that it was a profession of his closest friend. He asked me if I knew Adekola David to which I said no. He went on to tell me he was the current Deputy Governor of Lagos State and a friend.

We spoke for some time about many other things including football and I found out he was an Arsenal fan. When he was done talking with me, he called Amaka.

“Tell Sam to come take your friend home”, he stood up to leave.

“Dad, did you say my friend? Is that a go ahead?” She asked with a funny look.

“Yes, you’re free to be friends”. Amaka stared at me in surprise as his dad climbed the stairs.

“What did you guys talk about? What did you tell him?” She asked me immediately her dad was out of sight.

“Many things. We talked about many things, men’s stuff mostly”. I said grinning.
“He likes you. This is the first time my dad likes my friend. I’m so happy”.

“Everybody likes Val”. I said boastfully.
“For your mind nau”.

She gave me a hug and held me tightly. I reluctantly caressed her hair. She lifted her head from my shoulder and our eyes met. There was a burning sensation in her pretty eyes.

We stared at each other for some seconds before I shifted my gaze to her pink lips. My eyes were still on her lips when she said those words.

“I love you Val”.
“I love you more, Amaka m”, I shifted my gaze from her lips to her beautiful eyes.

“May I kiss you?”
“That’s not the right question Val”. She pouted her lips. I looked at her thoughtfully for some seconds.
“Amaka, would you be my girlfriend?” She smiled.

“Yes”.
“Oh! Now, may I kiss you?”
“Yes”. It sounded like a whisper but audible enough.

It was as if we were being programmed. My head kept leaning towards her and downwards and hers upwards. Our lips met and we kissed passionately in their sitting room. It was as if the whole world doesn’t exist. Just the two of us and nothing else matters.
+++++

Author’s POV (Point Of View)
++++++++++

While Val and his new girlfriend were sharing some wonderful moments in Major Ibori’s sitting room, a strange dude was outside the gate talking to an unknown guy over the phone in a hushed tone.

“… see Mufi, you need to wait behind and find out who the boy is. We need to know everything about him because he’ld be the one to lead us to Chiamaka”.
“Yes boss! No yawa”.

To be continued

Would the Cultists allow Val this time around?

End of season 01
The story just begun.
Season 02 coming up next

Valentine C. Azuka
Valcee [Honest Pen]
©2020

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