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As soon as he stepped out of the gate, he saw an okada man with a passenger approaching them slowly, he thought for a while that it was his dad at the passenger seat until they went closer, snatched Annie from him and zoomed off. He stood dumfounded for a minute and started running after them when realization of what happened had dawned on him.

He ran for some time and when he realized he had gone too far from home, he turned back with his hands on his head, wailing loudly.
Sammy: “Oh God please save my sister, bring my sister back please. God almighty please help me. Do something please” he fell on his knees as soon as he got back into the house. “God you were there when I promised my mum that I’d take care of Annie please don’t make me fail my mum.

I also know you took my mum away but seeing Annie makes me happy and makes me feel she will grow up to become like my mummy someday. Please don’t take her away from me too. Wherever those men are taking her to, please keep her safe. Please sir” he prayed and prayed with tears streaming down his face, he remained on his knees with hands clasped together until he fell flat wearily and slept off on the floor.
He walked around aimlessly in the cell not knowing what to do, how fate turned around to haunt him all of a sudden was more than he could take in. He thought of his wife who died so suddenly and now he has landed himself in jail for no apparent reason. Earlier that day, he thought he had heard Ophelia’s voice briefly but then it was like she had vanished with the next wind that blew.

He did hear the policemen talk about The Professor but he never got to hear his name fully. He asked them what his offense was but they told him they were under orders not to tell him. He knew his human right was being violated but who would be there to listen to him? He was on his own. He thought about his children, he prayed in his heart that Ophelia would be there with them.

As he kept pacing around the cell, one of the inmates who was popularly called Ogbeni in the cell which contained six inmates including Richard jerked up angrily, unable to hold the disturbance any longer.
Ogbeni: “Na wetin dey do this man sef? You dey craze? Why you no go gree make person sleep wella?” he said with a deep voice.

Richard: “I am sorry please, you go back to sleep!’’
Ogbeni: “Who you dey speak English for? See me see wahala o. boys wake up, this dude dey speak English” he said as the rest of the inmates started waking up one after the other. Boys! Wetin una wan make I do to this mumu ajebutter guy?” he said looking around like one in a trance.
“Make we roast am” they all chorused.
Richard: “Please guys, lets handle this wi…”before he could say anything further, a blow flew into his jaws and sent him writhing on the floor.

Ogbeni: “Abeg boys help me roast this guy sharp sharp” he ordered and they descended on him, beating, punching, biting and tearing at his flesh. His pleas got to the officers and two of them went to put everything in check.
1 st Officer: “Hey wetin una dey do? una wan kill am?” he said as the 2 nd Officer used his gun to hit on the iron gate in order to restore order.

Ogbeni: “Officer we na gentle boys o, make una go back” Then the officers turned and left.
After that, Richard became extra careful in the cell before he got himself really roasted.
She wept all through the night, she was the cause of Richard’s predicament yet she was unable to do anything about it or even be there for his children. “ Will he ever forgive me? Oh God! I know I have never prayed before but do not let anything happen to his children at home, do not let him lose his job cause of this. I will be truly damned” she prayed in her heart.

As soon as it was daybreak, before her parents opened the door to the room, she went and sat down in front of their door to make it seem she had been there all night. Her dad was always the first to get out of the room, he always reads in his study in the mornings. He was surprised when he opened the door and saw her sitting there with her back leaning on the door.

Prof. Harry: “What are you doing here madam?” he asked appalled at her guts.
Ophelia: “Daddy” she said as innocently and weakly as she could.
Prof. Harry: “Did you stay here all through the night?”
Ophelia: “That is not the issue here daddy. I know I have been rude to you lately, I am here to apologize”
Prof. Harry: “Follow me and stop sitting there like a homeless girl” he said and started walking away while she rose up and followed him. He sat on his favourite spot right in front of the 60”Flat Screen Television. “So I am listening”
Ophelia: “Everything was my fault dad, that man is innocent. I lied to him that night that you sent me out of the house” she looked down unable to meet his mystified gaze.

Pro. Harry: “You did what?”
Ophelia: “I wanted to prove to you that I could as well live my life the way I dimmed fit. Dad please, his last child is just three months while the first is almost seven years old and they are all alone at home. Please sir, set him free” she started to weep profusely.
Prof. Harry: “What on earth do I do to this child? Well I can see you deeply care about this man.

Only God knows what you saw in him. I will set him free today so stop crying okay? Just that I will have to stop you from seeing him, you cannot be with a widower who is even a Yoruba man. Not while I am still alive”
Ophelia: “Daddy, do you want to see me dead? By now I am sure you know I am crazy. I do crazy things and committing suicide is something trivial for me. You want to be childless for the rest of your life? I know it’s you who can’t have children anymore not mum. So if you want me dead then you will keep insisting the way you are doing now.

Thank you very much daddy, I know you will let me have my way, thanks on behalf of Richard too” she went closer, hugged him and placed a light kiss on his cheek.
He was dumbfounded, one thing he was sure of was that she could carry out her threat and imagine what the headline would be ? ‘The daughter of a professor in a well know university committed suicide last night’ and then the details of the incidence will be exaggerated. He quivered at the thought of losing his only child too and then he resolved to just swallow his pride and watch her do her thing.
On getting to the police station, she was told that Richard had already been released and that he had gone home. She knew that was her dad’s doing, probably trying to make up for his misdeeds. She got into the car which she had left there the other day and zoomed off towards Mainland. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic jam.

When she drove into the compound, she met Richard with his hands on his head pacing around restlessly. The bruises on his face was something to write home about but what worried her the most was the look on his face. She parked the car and got out hastily.
Ophelia: “Baby! I am so sorry for what happened…” she apologized as she walked up to him.

Richard: “This is not the time for apologies…I know you did try getting me out yesterday but what I don’t know is whether you left my children in this house all alone last night because right now, they are nowhere to be found. Where are they?” he asked hopefully hoping she’d tell him.
Ophelia: “Oh my God! I don’t know where they are, I was unable to come back here last night because my dad grounded me, I was unable to leave the house”

Richard: “Now I am doomed. Oh Sammy. Where do I search? Who do I meet?”
Ophelia: “Let’s calm down first and think about our next step. Have you called some of his school friends? Those he visits at home?”
Richard: “None of them have seen them. I have to get to the police station to file a missing person report” he said and dashed inside.

Ophelia: “Will the police really be able to help in this situation? All they’d do is ask you to write a report then after that you’d be on your own. Let’s go to Radio and Television stations. Paste their pictures around town and see how that would help?” She said. Following him slowly as tears cascaded down her beautiful face.
Richard: “We can do all those, as long as my children will be found” he replied desperately.

Ophelia: “All these is my fault, what do I do in this messy situation now?” she thought sadly.
The two men walked way into the bush with the baby in the tallest one known as Bayo’s hands. They made sure they were not sighted or followed by anyone.
Bayo: “I think this place is okay right? Let’s do it here” he said stopping.
Kunle: “Wait! We need another one because if you go first then she will no longer be a virgin”
Bayo: “Yes but someone still has to go first, Baba said before 9a.m and it’s already 8:30. Let me do this one first then tomorrow we will get yours” he said placing the sleeping Annie on the floor.
Kunle: “No let me go first, we will get yours tomorrow.

Do you think I am a fool? Do you know how long it took us to get this one? We roamed the streets for three days and you want me to just relent when I was the one who sighted her first? No way!” he said, pushed Bayo to one side and…
OMG! What are those two hoodlums up to?
*_To be Continue…_*

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