She wandered about in the forest which mostly had gigantic ominous looking trees at every corners. Birds of different shapes and looks flew about carelessly since they knew no one would dare walk into their domain to try funny things with them. Earth animals crawled lazily about and thanks to her skill in the farm and in tackling with such animals, she was able to survive her first night there but not without sustaining one or two injuries when she tried clearing a path for herself. Her leg had been caught in an overgrown bush and she had tumbled down onto the spikes of a cactus trees.
She finally sat down on the floor where she had managed to clear and started looking around. Fear gripped her at last when she noticed how dark and eerie the forest had become. She imagined being bit by a poisonous snake, a scorpion or any other deadly crawling animal and she closed her eyes frightfully. She thought of her husband; had he been there, would she have been unfairly treated?
“Where are you husband? Are you fine? Have you eaten? Have you found him yet? What are you doing right now? I need your help right now, I don’t think I will be able to survive this, I don’t think I will be able to come out of this alive. Please find my son and bring him home. Tell him how much I missed him, tell him how much I loved him and I never wanted to give him up. Tell him how sorry I am that I didn’t run away with him instead, I hope he is living a good life”
She couldn’t help but worry about her family despite her own predicament. she laid her head down gently on the pile of grass she had gathered for the purpose and closed her eyes, awaiting the worst.
Sukanmi: “I haven’t seen him” he lied.
Kemi: “Are you sure? Something tells me you know where he is. I can read you like the back of my palms. Please tell me the truth, I can’t let my marriage be destroyed, not when I am pregnant”
Sukanmi: “You are pregnant? Oh my God! Congratulations mum. I am so happy right now I feel like spinning you around in my arms but I am afraid I’d break you into pieces with the way you look” he sat by her side after jumping up to his heart’s satisfaction.
Kemi: “Yes dear. I am very happy myself and I know he will be elated by it too” a smile crossed the corner of her lips.
Sukanmi: “Hmmmmmm….Mum I think you should forget about him now. He is not worth it but don’t worry, I will be here for you. I will take care of you and my baby brother or sister. I promise you that with my life” he held her warm hand in his. She did look quite sick, he noticed for an umpteenth time.
Kemi: “Dear, did something happen? You have to forgive his attitude towards you, no matter what, you should still respect him. He is your dad”
Sukanmi: “You just don’t know what I know. That man has been cheating on you for a very long time now and at the same time lying to the other innocent woman who only wants to be happy again. I feel for you two innocent women though” he said to her but in his mind. He dared not say that out.
“I know mum. I don’t disrespect or hate him in anyway. I just want you to be happy and to be treated as the great woman you really are. Please get yourself back together again. Don’t forget you are with a baby now and you can’t let anything happen to it. I am here for you”
Kemi: “thanks my dear. I will do as you have said for sure. Any gist?” she winked at him.
Sukanmi: “Uhnnnn well… I might be getting married soon”
Kemi: “What? To who? A guy?” she sat up suddenly, looking aghast.
Sukanmi: “Not a guy. There is this very nice lady who wants no one but me. I think I can heal from there if there really is healing for me”
Kemi: “Awwwwwww…but does she know about your uhnn…”
Sukanmi: “She doesn’t. I can’t get myself to tell her just yet. I hope I find the courage soon” he looked downcast.
Kemi: “It’s gonna be fine dear. I wish you all the best no matter what” she said, drew his head to her bosom and started combing her fingers through his hair. He always liked that.
She sneaked into her mum’s room that night, she needed to talk her out of her decision to marry the man she perceived as an opportunist. She needed her mum to reason with her and snap out of her reverie.
Suzan Snr: “What is it?”
She asked indifferently without shifting from her position on the bed. She was still shaken by the way her daughter stood up to her that morning. Something like that had never happened before, they always agreed over almost everything and she had never been that rebellious before. She was so shaken she stayed in her room all through that day after dismissing Abodunrin.
Suzan: “I am sorry for talking to you like that. I was just too overwhelmed with the sudden news. I am sorry” she did feel remorseful when she realised how shaken her mum was.
Suzan Snr: “It is okay dear. Come here” she sat up and spread her arms inviting her for an embrace.
Suzan: “Thanks mum” she said as she walked into her mum’s embrace on the bed. she laid her head on her chest.
Suzan Snr: “But why do you hate him so much?”
Suzan: “He looks like an opportunist to me. Something tells me he is lying to you even though I cannot pin point what that lie is. Mum I still think you should reconsider marrying him. You know I have never reacted the way I did today before. I really have a strong feeling that he is not the right man for you”
Suzan Snr: “Hmmmmm… I have observed him quite well and I feel he is sincere. Being a divorcee or a widow is not easy. The loneliness you feel, the longing. I just want to be with someone. I am tired of being alone in my old age” she said coolly.
Suzan: “I just don’t want all the years you have been on your own to go to waste. I don’t think I will ever be able to accept him but if you have made up your mind, all I can do is support your decision. There is nothing I will say anymore”
Suzan Snr: “It will mean a lot knowing you are in support. Lets always support each other. I love you girl. Now go back to your room before I open my eyes, you must learn to sleep there now, you will be getting married soon and you will not be expected to run into your mum’s room in the middle of the night” she smiled broadly at her daughter who laughed out loud.
Tolu: “Start digging na. you no see wetin we dey do?”
Mazi Nnamdi: “Never! I will never dig the grave of the departed. I am going back home” he threw the shovel on the floor.
Tolu: “Na die you go die. I go kill you here bury you beside the dead man, no person go know. you dey craze? Aina I go kill am o” he growled.
Aina: “Baba he will kill you o. Please start digging before he starts o” he warned.
Mazi Nnamdi picked the shovel up slowly and began to dig. Soon, a casket showed on the surface, Tolu jumped into it, opened it and started removing the stuffs on the dead man. Wristwatch, nice clothes, shoes, cash, necklace. He was more than happy with his loot. He jumped out and they moved to another grave stone.
Mazi Nnamdi: “Aren’t we going to cover it back?”
Tolu: “Leave am, time no dey. We suppose don dig three graves now. Hurry them vigilante go soon pass here” he urged them on.
He sighed helplessly and joined them in the next dig. Just then, they had a loud whistle close to where they were digging. They had been spotted by the vigilante group and were already surrounded. Tolu and Aina started running immediately but Mazi Nnamdi remained in a spot, unable to move even a muscle.
Some of the men ran after the two guys while the rest of them pounced on Mazi Nnamdi throwing him to the floor immediately and tying him with a rope.
Mazi Nnamdi: “Please o. I didn’t know this is what they do, I was forced to come here and he threatened to kill me I didn’t dig” he pleaded
1st Vigilante: “Shut up man. You are going to be dead by tomorrow morning. Jungle justice awaits you. So an old man like you would come out in the middle of the night to steal from dead men? Dishonor them by not even covering them back. is that fair? By tomorrow morning, we will make sure we take you to the market square and state your crime there, you will be surprised by what an angry mob can do” he kicked him in the face and two of his already weak teeth flew out painfully, blood started dripping from his mouth immediately.
Question: Will he be lynched? Should Suzan Snr listen to her daughter and not marry Abodunrin?
To be continued…
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story. If you know anyone that was raped, molested before in respective of his gender please encourage them to share their stories with us.
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