Thursday, 8 February 2018

YELLOW SHADOWS - EPILOGUE

EPILOGUE






Beatrice was tired of the noise and disturbance every other night. If she were still in the USA, she would have called the cops for the nuisance. She was a medical doctor who worked all night and had to sleep in the day or all day and had to sleep at night. She had complained a few times to the resident and to the estate agent and admin office but nothing had been done.


She had just returned from work and was trying to take a warm bath in her tub and finish a book before heading to bed. She was forty years old and single and she had learned to start enjoying her loneliness.


She tried to assimilate the first few paragraphs but the music from the other flat was killing it for her. How on earth could someone play music that loud and not think it would be a disturbance to their neighbors? She’d had enough. She climbed out of the tub and pulled on her bathrobe before storming out.


She knocked on the door several times in anger but no one was answering. That was a little weird and strange. Usually, Tony would open the door and roll her eyes and promise to reduce her noise. She pushed the door and noticed it was not jammed. It was unlike Tony to forget to lock her doors. Besides, it was a security jam lock door.


Beatrice pushed the door open and looked around. The living room was scattered. The throw pillows had deep fist impressions. She started to get bothered. Had there been a fight with that her arrogant and rude boyfriend?  She followed the sound of the music to trace where it was coming from;  the bedroom.


Tony was not in the bedroom. She opened the bathroom door and then she found Tony’s body in the tub.



“Jesus Christ!!!!” Beatrice screamed. She rushed over and dragged her out of the tub to the bathroom floor. She checked her pulse and heartbeat.


Immediately, she started with chest compression. She pushed and pushed, at the same time speaking in tongues, pushing hard in her spirit man. 


“Holyspirit you have to help her! The devil cannot take her life! Not this young life! God please!” Beatrice wept as she tried to administer CPR. 

She reached for her phone in her bathrobe pocket and called the hospital where she worked which was about ten minutes away. She requested for an ambulance.

After several compressions, she tried to open her airways and then started to give mouth to mouth.









***





The scissors fell from her hand and she felt the force release her gradually. She tried to struggle and free herself and it felt easier this time.


“Jesus! Jesus!” She mumbled. Her speech was not coherent.


She opened her eyes and saw so many moving images at the same time. She could not comprehend what was going on. She heard the sound of the ambulance and many voices. She realized that she was being whisked away…back to earth, back to life!





It was not the time to die yet.









The End! 



*YellowShadows
*FisayoTalabi

YELLOW SHADOWS - 10

EPISODE 10





Soft jazz music filled the room and in the air was the scent of richly perfumed candles. She blinked again and got off the bed. She was naked. Her clothes were not sprawled on the floor. They were neatly folded on the couch by the wall of the bedroom. She cringed as she started to recollect what happened the night before.


“Good morning.” Toba said walking in. He was dressed for work in a suit and tie that fit him perfectly.


“What time is it?” She said, searching for the clock.


“Not to worry. Your last day of work was last week Thursday. You can stay in bed today. Idris will go to the market to buy foodstuff. You can give him a list of whatever you need to make us dinner today. Your parents and mine are coming over in the evening.”


She heard everything he said and she was starting to have a headache trying to assimilate everything.
She remembered what happened the night before. He drove her to his place and locked her in his bedroom. He started to drink and say a lot of horrible things to her. Then he pushed her to the bed and despite her screaming and scratching, he forced himself into her and wouldn’t stop for such a long stretch of time. He did it twice and threatened to go again if she didn’t stop weeping.


“I’m going to the police. You raped me. I’m going to put this out on social media, Toba. I am going to ruin you. I don’t care how powerful your family is. You kidnapped me and raped me!” She started to weep.


He went over and sat beside her.


“I just couldn’t resist you. You’re so beautiful, Tony.” He held her face. She pushed him off.

“I’m not going to marry you.” She said.

“Yes you are going to marry me. I think March will be a good time. You should start thinking of a date to tell our parents this evening.” He said.

She tried to get off but he pinned her down.


“What do you want from me?” She cried.


“Your loyalty, you whore!” He yelled angrily.


He stood up and ran his hand over his head.


“What? How dare you?” She continued to cry.


He grabbed his phone and opened a link then threw it in her laps.


“Oh my God!” She screamed. She recognized what this was.


He sighed.


“I felt bad for what I did. But this? You’re a liar. A hypocrite. A two-timing manipulator!”


She cried as he sprawled out those hurtful words.


The night before, when they arrived at his premises, he started to apologize again then he got a call from one of his friends and he excused himself to answer it. He said it was important. She was still sitting in the living room, trying to figure out what was going on when he stormed in and pushed her into the bedroom and locked her up. She hit the door and screamed and cried. They were alone. His houseboy only worked 6am- 6pm. No one could hear her because he had loud music playing in the living room.


She looked at the clip. Jimi had finally made good on his threat. It was the sex clip. Her face was very conspicuous. So were her buttocks and her breasts and everything else. The video had been edited to read “Lagos Big Boy Toba Akinyemi’s Wife-to-be is a cheerful giver”. Jimi’s face was also shown. He had nothing to lose. She couldn’t help crying.


“I…I’m sorry. I didn’t know he was going to send it to you.” She cried.


“I thought you would try to convince me and say it is photoshopped.” He said angrily.


“I…”

“Maje sent this to me. He said the man in the video is your ex and he sent the video to him because he knows it will get to me. He’s asking for Two Million Naira if I don’t want the video to go on Instablog and all the other blogs.” Toba said.


She went on her knees and held his legs.


“Please…I should have told you. I’m sorry. It was once…and it was that time we had a fight. Please.”


“You did this and you still had the right to be mad at me for chatting with Feyisara. I didn’t even sleep with her after that first time.” He said.


“Babe, please.” She cried. “I was confused.”


He chuckled.


“At least we are even now,” He said. “I need to get to work and sort things out.”


She nodded.


“What should I make for dinner?” She said in the midst of tears. She knew there and then that she no longer had any choice.


He grinned evilly and laughed.


“Any nice three course meal for your parents and your in-laws.” He said.


She nodded. She was not a good cook. But that was not the time to say anything about that.


“Oh my God!” She screamed. She searched for her phone. She couldn’t find it anywhere. It was Monday. Her meeting with Mrs. Pius was for 8a.m at her office in Ikoyi. The time was about twenty minutes past 8 already. Her head still hurt horribly. The migraine seemed stubborn.


“You’re looking for this I presume.” He held her phone.


She reached for it but he took it away and put it in the inner pocket of his jacket.


“Toba please. I have the job interview today. Please.” She cried.


He shook his head.


“I told you I don’t want a career wife.” He put his hands in his pockets. “There’s Forty Thousand Naira with Idris. If you need more money, ask him to call me. Don’t think you can run away. I’ve asked security not to let you out.” He gave her one final look of disgust before he walked out and headed downstairs.



   
Dinner was a collaborative effort of Idris and herself. She had decided on bread and pepper soup as appetizer, Jollof rice and chicken as main course and fruit salad and ice cream as dessert. They were easy meals to make and she thought it would impress Toba. She was still making the fruit salad when she heard him drive into the compound. Her heart skipped beats out of fright. The Jollof was not yet ready. She hated the situation she found herself in. Her world was crumbling faster than she had ever imagined. All day she had cried and thought of Mrs. Pius. Her chance had gone out the window just like that. The woman would never take her seriously. She thought of Dan but there was no way to reach him. She didn’t have his number memorized else she would have used Idris’ phone to contact him. Kiky changed her number a few months back and she didn’t know it at the top of her head. Her parents were the last people she could call. She didn’t want them to have any idea about what she had gotten herself into.


“Welcome.” She said as she saw Toba open the kitchen door.


He looked at his watch. The time was 5.50pm.


“Idris you can leave as soon as the food is ready. Tony, go get dressed. We are meeting our parents for dinner at Eko hotel.” He said and headed for the bedroom.


She stared at Idris in confusion. Idris looked confused as well. He didn’t know what to say.


“Madam no vex.” Idris said. That was all he could say. He knew obviously that she was not a kitchen champion and he felt so much sympathy for all the time and effort she had put into making the dinner happen.


She smiled and left for the bedroom. Toba was getting out of his work clothes.


“Hi.” She said softly.


He turned to look at her.



“Hey.” He said blankly.


“Why did you change your mind about dinner here?” She said.


He shrugged.

“I changed my mind.” He said.


She sighed.


“Toba please. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I accused you of all that. I’m sorry about the video and everything. Please. What do you need me to do? I’m really sorry. Please…just let me go. Don’t let me make this harder for both of us. If we break up he won’t have any reason to ask you for money. Please.” She pleaded.



He pushed her aside and went into the bathroom.







***



She was wearing the same outfit from Sunday night. She didn’t have any clothes at his house and she hadn’t gone back to her own apartment. Thankfully she washed her underwear in the morning and dried them with the Drying machine in the laundry. The drive down to Eko hotel was loud with silence. She could literally feel the ice berg poking in her heart from the cold attitude. When he parked, he closed his eyes for a bit and then looked at her.


“They’re here already. If you mention a word of what happened, trust me you will regret it.” He said.


“Toba…please…why are you doing this?” Her voice shook. She held his arm but he shook her hand off.


“Here’s your phone. Tell them your battery was drained if they ask. They might have tried to call you.” He handed her the phone.


It was switched off. She switched it on as she got out of the car. Toba held her hand as they walked together into the reception and he helped her as they descended the wooden staircase leading to the restaurant downstairs by the pool side. She was a bit confused at his gesture but then she realized it was to hide the dirty laundry. Of course, their laundry was soaked in extreme stinking filth. She wondered how many more disguises would cover it up.


She went on her knees to greet his parents and she hugged her own parents. The whole kneeling thing was just to show the in-laws-to-be that she was cultured. She knew her mother would love that for she could see her beaming with pride already. Her father asked if she was okay. He noticed she wasn’t her usual bubbly self.


After some introductory talk and ice breakers, his mother went straight to the point. She asked if they had picked a date. Toba looked at her. He had food in his mouth.


“Um…February ma.” Tony said reluctantly.


“Oh…that’s good. That’s less than four months from now. These children.” His mother laughed. Her mother joined in on the laughter.


“Such short notice to start coughing out huge sums of money.” His father said and all the parents burst out laughing.

“So is February for the traditional wedding or the destination wedding?” Her mother asked.


Tony looked at Toba.


He cleared his throat.


“I have an announcement to make.” He said.


Everyone’s attention turned to him, including Tony’s. Her heart was skipping beats. She had never been that nervous.


“Go on dear.” His mother urged.


He smiled.


“I am calling off the wedding.” He said.


They were all silent. Not because they chose not to speak but because they didn’t know what to say. Tony didn’t know if to be relieved or not.


“Ki lo sele? Are you fighting each other?” Her mother asked and his father asked same as well.


“With all due respect sir,” He looked at her father. “Tony is a loose woman. She is a dog and I can’t marry a woman like her. She is absolutely undomesticated and I thought I could live with that but I can’t be with a woman with no morals…no virtue…” He went on.


She wanted to faint. She wanted to pass out on the spot. But it wasn’t happening. She started to weep.
“Are you insane, Toba? Chief…” He looked at Toba’s father. Tony’s mother put her hands over her mouth in surprise. His mother looked just as confused too.


“No I am not. You might want to have a look at what your daughter is dishing out to men!” He opened the link on his phone and placed it right in front of her father. Her mother peeped to have a look. His parents tried to stretch their necks to look at what was going on.


“Toba, please.” She couldn’t control her tears. She was shaking. Her head was spinning and spiralling out of control. 

“The man she slept with is asking me for Two Million Naira if I don’t want this circulated on social media. I’m not paying a dime. I had a meeting with him today and told him to circulate it if he wants to. I have nothing to lose.”


They all heard the sound of her moaning in the video. She couldn’t bear it. She ran over to her parents’ side and smashed the phone on the floor. An infuriated Toba got up and slapped her.


“Will you stop this rubbish! How dare you lay your hands on my child!” Her mother interfered. 

His parents were still in shock. His father tried to hold him back. They were starting to cause a scene.

Her father was quiet. She saw his eyes filled with tears. She had been trying to avoid this. She had brought shame to the man who loved her most. She went over to him and knelt but he got up and left.

“How could you! How did you let this happen?” Her mother cried. She looked at Toba’s parents who were looking very confused. In the midst of all the confusion, at least one thing was clear. There was no longer a wedding.


People started to stare so his parents got up and left with their son. She went with her mother who was trying to catch up with her father. Their driver had brought the SUV to the drive way and her father got in. He called her mother to get in too.


“You’re not the girl I raised anymore. I am ashamed of this person you have become. I don’t ever want to see you again.” 

Those were the last words her father said to her. She saw her mother crying and pleading all to no avail.







An Uber had brought her home. The migraine wouldn’t go away. She didn’t know what to do. She 
called Kiky and told her everything. She wanted to know if her father had calmed down yet. Kiky said they were not yet home. She missed Feyisara but she couldn’t have a friendship with her anymore. She checked her phone and saw some missed calls from Dan. She figured it was about the job with Mrs. Pius. She wanted to call the woman back but she didn’t know if it was a good time to or not. Dan’s call came through again and she answered it.

“Hello.” She said weakly. Her voice was croaked.

“Tony…are you okay?” He asked.

She burst out crying. She couldn’t help herself.

“Is everything okay? Where are you?” Dan asked.

“It’s about the job right? What did she say?”

He sighed.

“She felt insulted. She called me and told me that Mr. Wright started to complain about your work ethic and she still wanted to give you a chance but you stood her up and all sorts. Wait…are you okay? We can explain to her that something happened…maybe she can find another position for you. How come you never told me about this all this while?” He said.


She sniffed.


“Another position?” She asked. She wanted to confirm what he said. 

“She employed someone else today for the position she was going to hire you for.” He said.

“Oh God!” She cried.

“Look, are you okay? Did Toba do something to you?” He asked. He was worried.


She hesitated at first but she said; “I’m home. Please can you come over? I need to talk.”


She hoped it was not a bad idea having another man in her house after everything that happened. But she really needed someone to talk to.


“Um…I can’t. I am in Abuja with my woman. Tony…I was going to tell you. We’re having our family introduction this weekend.” He said.

“Oh…em…okay. I…congrats. I gotta go now.” She said and ended the call immediately. She felt a tinge of jealousy...although she didn't know if she had any reason to be. 





She looked around her living room. She grabbed a pillow and started to scream. She wouldn’t stop. She screamed and hit the couch countless times. She couldn’t control her tears. She had hit rock bottom. Everything was going down the drain. She didn’t have her old job, she didn’t get the position she wanted, she didn’t have the new job, she couldn’t correct the impression Mrs. Pius now had of her, she had an active sex tape which was probably already being passed around, she had lost Toba, lost Feyi, lost a lot of money, and most importantly lost the love of her parents and the approval of her father.



She was Daddy’s girl. They had a really strong bond and she knew that he was very proud of what she had accomplished in her career even though he always wanted her to come and work in the family business. She couldn’t get over his last words to her.



She went to her fridge to get some booze but she knew that it wouldn’t make anything better. She would only end up drunk on her floor probably in her own vomit. She couldn’t go have sex with some random person. Sex, she had now learnt, was absolutely ephemeral and created more vice than virtue to her already growing list of problems.


She knew what she needed to do.



In tears, she got out of her clothes and underwear and went to the bathroom. She filled her tub which she rarely used with warm water and lathered it with fine bathing foam. She lit her nice scented candles and put on her general playlist on her laptop. She needed a warm bath to soak in and ease out all the filth in her body and in her soul. She stepped into the tub and sat in it for a while, thinking but trying not to think. She listened to the lyrics of the loud songs playing from her laptop.


First there was Davido bragging about being rich and having a rich father. Then there was Rihanna’s Disturbia, Chainsmokers’ Don’t let me down, Dido’s Life for rent and a string of other songs. She continued to cry. She didn’t know what next step to take beyond the bath. Who would she call? Where would she go? How would she cope?


Slowly, she drifted into the water and let herself slide in. Her head went in and she put her fingers over her nostrils and pressed them together. She felt her lungs quiver and she opened her mouth to gasp for air but she shut it and kept stiff, waiting for death to come quick. She had no reason to stay anymore.  Everything was destroyed by her own indiscretion.










Her mother had dressed her up in a pink floral dress with a big bow behind. She wore a pretty straw hat and she was the centre of attention. Everyone looked at her and watched her sing. She had a nice little voice but everyone was getting entertained by looking at her cute face. That was her eight year old self.

“My name is Bose Lewis and I have a presentation to make today,” She started. She saw her mother clap with so much vigor. Her father watched her and he had his arms in the air, cheering. Kiky was sitting on their father’s lap and also clapping.


“My memory verse is taken from the book of Psalm 46 Verses 1 to 3; God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, thought he earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.


The next person was Toba. His memory verse was Psalm 34 Verse 4.


“I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”


His parents were talking to each other. They were arguing over something. They did not realize he had spoken until someone informed them. They started to clap but they did not clap as much as her parents had clapped for her. He sulked and walked away.


They; all the kids from childrens' church;  all gathered in one line and started to sing:

“I will cast all my cares upon You
I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet
And anytime I don’t know what to do
I will cast all my cares upon You.”





Her fifteen year old self: 

She found herself in her bedroom on the double bunk she shared with her sister Kiky. Kiky slept on the upper bed and she slept down. She always wrote in her diary before she went to bed. She opened the diary and some of the words she had written stared back at her.


‘I will be a great lawyer. I will pass all my exams and I will continue to praise God all my life if He helps me to pass my WAEC and JAMB at once. I will never disobey God. If I disobey I will ask Him to forgive me. I will be a lawyer and a good woman and I will make impact in my world. I will own a car before I am 25 years old. I will buy land before I am 30 years old. I will build a house before I am 35 years old. I will have a husband who fears God and children who fear God. I will teach people about the goodness of God in my life.
If God makes my daddy’s business bigger and better I will forever give glory to God and tell the whole world that He is a Good God. I will win 100 souls for Jesus before my 20th birthday.’

She went on and on in the words of her diary.

Then she heard her Father’s voice. It was that time when she had an accident playing football outside the house with the neighborhood kids. He saw her bleeding knee and held her close to his chest as he rushed to get her into the car and headed to the hospital.

She remembered all the times he told her he loved her and he was proud to be her father no matter what happened. 

The last image that flashed through her mind was her mother weeping. She hated to see her mother cry.


It struck her when she realized what would happen if she cut the thin thread between life and death. Literally, the scissors were in her hand already and she felt every nudge to cut the thread. She didnt know where she was. She couldn’t place exactly what was going on in her subconscious. She tried to step back but her body was not co-operating. She tried with all of her might but her legs would not move. She tried to speak, to plead with whatever force was holding her still. She knew the feeling. It was familiar…like sleep paralysis. It was that same force as though someone stronger was pinning her down and her body couldn’t get up. She tried to scream but her voice was in spasms. She didn’t have the strength to keep her head above the water.


She heard music. It was a hymn.


When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound,
And time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather
over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder,
I’ll be there.


When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.
On that bright and cloudless morning
when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather
to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder,
I’ll be there.


Let us labor for the Master
from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over,
and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder,
I’ll be there.










*YellowShadows10
*FisayoTalabi