Story: “Even The Rich Also Cry” (Episode 22)

    Major Festus told his driver to take him to the police station; he sat in the car deep in thought.

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    Along the way, he scrolled through his phone and found the number he wanted and dialed it. The call didn’t connect on the first dial, he tried again and Omos picked;

    Omos: “ha… Major sir, you remember me today. Good evening sir.” He said, his voice sounding excited on the phone.

    Major Festus: “I don’t want to waste much of your time. Where is your late brother’s wife?” he asked.

    Omos: “Egbe? I have not seen her in a long while. I tried to get in touch with her, in order to give her the money you sent but i could not find her again.” He replied, his voice dropping an octave.

    Major Festus: “you do not know where your brother’s wife is? For seven years, you could not find her and you were not bothered? I gave you three million naira to give to that woman; money that she could have used to better herself and start a new life, and you used that money on yourself, abi?” he asked, slowly getting angry.

    Omos: “no sir, I did not use the money o. I only invested it in some businesses so that when she shows up, I will give it to her sir.” He replied quickly.

    The lies irritated Major Festus. He breathed deeply and tried to calm himself then he held the phone to his ears again;

    Major Festus: “there is a woman here, claiming to be the mother of my son. I want you on the first flight to Lagos. You are going to identify her for me, is that understand?” he asked

    Omos: “yes sir.” He replied.

    Major Festus: “do not joke with me if I don’t see you here first thing tomorrow morning, I will make you wish you never set your eyes on me.” He said.

    Omos: “I will be there sir.” He replied, obviously scared.

    Major Festus grunted and ended the call. He placed the phone by his side and stared out as lit street lights flashed by. His phone vibrated on the car seat. He turned to look at it; it was not a number he recognized. He picked up the phone and answered the call.

    Voice: “Major Festus Olayinka, good evening.” the voice said.

    Major Festus: “good evening, who is this?” he asked, his face fixed in a frown.

    Voice: “the life of your son lies in my hands, so you better be civil. I want you to come to me with one hundred million naira in mixed naira bills. That is the ransom for your son’s life. I want you here, at an address I am going to call for you, tomorrow by 8pm. I hope it is not too difficult for you?”

    Major Festus: “how is he? I want to speak to him? How do I know that you truly have him?” he asked, his voice shaking with fear.

    Voice: “don’t worry; let me put him on the phone. Say hi to daddy.” The voice said.

    Desmond: “daddy! Please help me! I want…” his voice filled Major Festus’ ear then was suddenly cut off.

    Voice: “tomorrow by 8pm. This is the address…” The voice said and ended the call.

    Major Festus: “please… please! He is all I have!” he shouted into the phone but the call had ended. He threw the phone on the floor and screamed in rage then he burst into silent tears. After some minutes, he sat up straight

    Major Festus: “take me home.” He said, his voice cold.

    The driver obeyed and turned the car around.

    As they got close to the house, he stopped the driver and came down. He sent the driver home, then he crossed the road and walked some distance. He soon stood before a house some blocks from his own. He rang the bell at the gate. He knew it was late but he needed information and he needed to understand. The gate man allowed him in and he walked to the door and knocked. A woman opened the door and after taking his name went back. After some few minutes, she ushered him in and closed the door behind him. He walked to the sitting room and stood still;

    Major Festus: “I am sorry for coming so late.” He said.

    Mrs Bakare: “it’s no trouble. You know we old people, we rarely sleep. Please sit.” She said
    Florence drove like a mad woman along the express. The note she had found had promised her freedom and the end to all her travails. She was smiling and singing as she drove. “Finally I will be free, free, free… free to pursue my own dreams, free to be who I want to be. Free of that man’s chains, of golden gilded cage.” She thought happily.

    She soon got to a poorer part of town. The houses there were broken down; paint peeling off the wall, dirty stinking gutters full with stagnant water lined the port holed road. She increased the beams of her lights, so she could properly see the road ahead; she didn’t want to end up in a ditch. She soon saw the house, she had been told to find. She stopped her car and gazed about suddenly realizing that she was in an unknown place and at night for that matter. She could be robbed, raped or even killed here and no one will care. She carefully stepped out of the car; peering around in the evening gloom. She jumped as a frog suddenly started croaking. She laughed at her fears and walked away from the car.

    At the front door to the dark and quiet house, she tried the door handle but it was locked. She knocked but no one answered. She thought of going back to car and driving away but decided against it. She instead went to the back of the house. She had to maneuver her way through wet grass and weeds until she got to the back door. The door was made of iron but it was rusting. She grabbed the handle and turned; the door opened with a loud squeak. She looked about her, worried that someone must have heard the sound. Nothing moved in the night.

    She pushed the door slowly, enduring the continuous squeak as the door opened to reveal a kitchen that had not been used in years. She entered the kitchen and turned around.

    Florence: “hello! I am here now! Is anybody here?” she asked.

    She heard a noise above her. She came out of the kitchen into the house proper. She saw the stairs and began to climb. At the top, she stopped and repeated her shout. A door opened and a torch shone on her face

    Doyin: “oh! It’s you. Come and help me.” He said.

    Florence: “Doyin what are you doing here?” she asked, surprised

    Doyin: “setting you free off course.” He replied, smiling.

    Florence: “how do you intend to do that?” she asked, looking at him suspiciously.

    Doyin: “everything in its own time, darling. Now please come and help me lift him; he is a bit heavy.” He said and walked back into the room.

    Florence followed him and stopped when she saw Desmond lying on a dirty mattress, tied like a goat. She swallowed and stared at Doyin

    Florence: “I don’t understand; what are you doing with the boy?” she asked. For the first time, she truly became worried.

    Doyin: “oh he is a gift.” He replied, as he stood by the boy. “For your husband.” He added

    Florence: “Festus… he is coming here?” she asked, suddenly excited.

    Doyin nodded his head and bent to grab Desmond by his shoulders. He raised him, grunting but could not lift him. Florence rushed forward to help him, her head filled with the news that her husband was coming. She bent to lift the boy, then she felt a sharp prick on her neck. Her hand instinctively went to the place as she raised her head to look at Doyin. As her eyes clouded, she thought to herself; “he reminds me of…” she fell to the floor passed out.

    Doyin stepped close to her and looked at her speculatively

    Doyin: “now let the games begin.” He said, rubbing his hands together……








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