Story: “Even The Rich Also Cry” (Episode 18)

    Two days after, the accident, Festus invited the two women, the cook and maid, questioned them thoroughly on the events leading to the poisoning of the jollof rice.

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    The cook claimed to have never left the kitchen except when she stepped out to watch a programme on the television. Even then she claimed not to have gone far from the kitchen as can be testified by her madam, Lady Florence, who had called her when she got to the kitchen and didn’t find her there.

    Major Festus: “are you saying that for a while you left your madam in the kitchen alone?” he asked.

    Cook: ”no sir. She no dey kitchen when I leave. Aminu come to tell her say somebody is looking for her at gate. As she leave the kitchen, naim I left to come watch the programme.” She replied.

    Major Festus: “so for some minutes, no one was in the kitchen? Where were you then, Maria?” he asked turning to the maid. “What time was this?” he asked, turning back to the cook.

    Cook: “we just return from church. E never reach two hours.” She replied.

    Major Festus: “so that was between 11:30am to 1pm, am I correct?” he asked. The cook nodded her head. “Maria, where were you then?” he asked.

    At that moment, his phone rang. It was one of the nurses at the hospital calling to inform him that Egbe was awake and asking for him. He immediately got up and called his driver to get one of the cars ready. He turned to the women,

    Major Festus: “if your madam comes, make sure you call me, is that understood? We will conclude this discussion later. You can go back to your duties.” He said then left; the women’s gratitude trailing after him.
    Egbe looked terrible, she knew this from the way Major Festus looked at her. Her face was bandaged and she had not been able to lift her right arm. She tried to smile but her jaw hurt. She raised her left arm and he came to her quickly.

    Egbe: “how’s Desmond?” she asked. Major Festus didn’t hear so he bent over, placing his ear directly over her lips. She repeated her question.

    Major Festus: “I have not seen him yet. I came here directly.” He replied, trying to smile.

    Egbe nodded and closed her eyes, obviously tired. Festus bent over her and kissed her on her lips. Her eyes flickered opened and they searched his face intently then she blinked and closed them again. Major Festus raised himself from the bed as a nurse entered the room and beckoned to him. He looked at the nurse curiously as he followed him out. He smiled at Egbe then he faced the nurse.

    Nurse: “sir we have a problem.” He said, his hands twisting in front of him like he was washing clothes.

    Major Festus: “what is the problem?” he asked, frowning.

    Nurse: “well sir… you see sir… I was supposed to check on your son by 9:00am this morning but today’s my wife’s appointment with her doctor. She is 6 weeks pregnant…” he stopped and stepped back as Festus stepped forward

    Major Festus: “what is wrong with my son?” he asked, then he turned and started running towards Desmond’s room.

    Nurse: “no sir, that is the thing sir, we can’t find him sir.” He said, his voice sounded loud in the sudden quiet hospital as Major Festus skidded to a stop and turned to the nurse

    Major Festus: “what?” he said, his eyes wide with sudden fear.

    Nurse: “your son has disappeared sir.” He replied.

    A piercing scream filled the corridor. Both men turned to find the door to Egbe’s room wide open and that was where the scream had come from.

    Major Festus: “you are dead. All of you are dead.” He said then he brought out his phone and dialed the barracks. The nurse and other doctors who had rushed down on hearing the noise shuffled uneasily as Major Festus ordered soldiers to come over to the hospital. He walked to the entrance door and locked it. His face was totally blank.
    Florence entered the house, watching out for Festus. She had been out for two days, sleeping in her club room. She was tired and angry. She had used inferior tools in her quest for freedom. “If you want to get things done, do it yourself.” She thought to herself as she fell on the chair. She turned as someone stepped into the sitting room; it was the maid. Her nerves were messed up. The woman greeted her and she waved her away then she frowned and called the woman back.

    Florence: “I thought your oga sacked you?” she asked.

    Maid: “yes o but he told me and cook to resume today before he left the house.” She replied.

    Florence nodded her head and the maid left. She got up and climbed the stairs to her room. She needed to think and be prepared for her husband’s return.
    As soon as the soldiers got to the hospital premises, they started questioning the hospital staff. Doyin being the doctor in charge of Desmond was called to be questioned and he told them when he had seen the boy last.

    Festus left the soldiers to their work and went to Egbe’s room. She had been crying he could see. He walked to her bed and sat beside her. Now that it was just the two of them, he let his straight back slump and the rage fled like a leaking balloon. He sighed and stared on the floor. He held Egbe’s uninjured hand and rubbed it silently.

    Egbe: “where is he?” she whispered.

    He looked at her and shook his head sadly.

    Major Festus: “I gave my word that I would give him the best in life.” he muttered to himself.

    She said something but he didn’t hear her well. He drew close to her and leaned close to her lips

    Egbe: “find my son, Major Festus Olayinka, or I will haunt you for the rest of your life.” she whispered.

    Major Festus drew back in shock.

    Major Festus: “your son?” he asked, looking at her.

    Egbe: “my name is Egbe Osunbor, the widow of Sergeant Ehizogie Osunbor. Find my son o.” she said a bit louder then she started coughing.

    Major Festus looked at her like a man struck by lightning. He stood up, his face blank.

    Major Festus: “I am a fool.” He replied then he left the room.

    Egbe stared at the closed door as tears pooled in her eyes. She didn’t even know who she was crying for now; her missing son or Festus.
    Florence opened the door to her room and entered. The room was dark as all the curtains were drawn over the windows. She closed the door and walked to her bed, taking off her clothes and lying down. As her head touched the pillow, she closed her eyes, then someone chuckled in the room. Her eyes flashed opened and she turned around. She saw the shadowy figure seated on a chair facing her bed.

    Olamide: “I was digging for silver and I stuck gold.” He said, getting up from his seat. “I have come to renegotiate our agreement.” He added, his eyes sparkling in the darkness….:.








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