May 19, 2022

Whereas before, it had been dark, I saw light flooding me around. I opened my eyes and saw the white lights with the white linoleum floors. I panicked, was I back in the mental home? Did Nora succeed a second time? I made to get up from the bed, but the pain shot through my side, and I yelped out. Then I saw Banke jump out of the couch close to my bed, she had been sleeping and had been woken up by the sound of my cry.
Banke: “Oh my God, you are awake” she said as tears filled her eyes, she kissed my cheek and rushed out of the room, shouting “Doctor”. Within seconds, two doctors rushed in, with Kunmi and barrister Indimi in tow.

Doctor: “You all should wait outside while we check for his vital signs” one of the doctors said and shooed them away like chickens, while the rest prodded me, and wrote in their pads.
Leke: “What happened to me?”
Doctor: “You were shot and brought by your lady friend. She was quite brave as she said you were pursued by gunmen. The police are outside, waiting for my signal to come in and get your statement” he said as he pointed a tiny light into my eyes. I remembered the incident clearly; I was surprised I was still alive. I thought I had died, but here I was, given another chance. “By whom” a voice in my heart asked. I couldn’t answer that question, so I shrugged it off. Then it hit me like thunderbolt.
Leke: “Doctor, how long have I been here?” I asked in panic.

Doctor: “You have been unconscious for the past three days”

Leke: “Three days?” I asked, my eyes bulging out of their socket. All I was thinking of was the scheduled hearing for the counterfeiting of my father’s last will and testament.
Doctor: “Relax, you had surgery to remove the bullet. You were lucky, if it had gone any lower, it would have hit a vital organ and you would be dead.”
Leke: “Please call barrister Indimi anyway, it is important” I said anxiously.
Doctor: “Don’t go spiking your blood pressure now, I will call him now” he said his eyes on one of the machines plugged to me, as he went out of the room. He came back with barrister Indimi.
Indimi: “You gave me quite a scare, am not as young as I used to be” he said rubbing his eyes wearily.
Leke: ‘Nora tried to kill me” I said assuredly.
Indimi: “We don’t know that for sure, there is no evidence, only motive. It is very circumstantial”
Leke: “What about the hearing?” I asked.
Indimi: “I stalled it, Nora has damaging documents on your father, it is possible of crumpling the Aboderine business dynasty, and she is prepared to do it. She told me so, in many words” the barrister replied.
Leke: “You are telling me the problem, but not the solution, are you not the adult here?” I asked acidly, I was angry at him, even though I shouldn’t.

Indimi: “It depends on you, my hands are tied, we have to get the documents, but how do we do that? The judge wants an answer in two days from today”
Leke: “Answer to what?” I asked quizzically.
Indimi: “If there should be out of court settlement or not. Nora has us by the groin”
Leke: “I do not want any out of court settlement. I would lose everything buy Nora must pay for her crimes” I said vehemently.
Doctor: “You are getting agitated; I think the barrister should leave. I will sedate you so you catch some hours sleep, when you wake, the police will get your statement”
Leke: “My answer is no” I said emphatically, as the doctor inserted the syringe into my vein, and my eyes drooped with drowsiness.
For a week, I was in the hospital recuperating and Banke was by my side, Mary had come to see me, even Prisca. I saw her watch Banke feed me with sad eyes. I loved two women, but I wanted to be with only one, that is Banke.
When I was discharged, I reached out to Mary. I took the time to visit her in her ghetto neighborhood. The visit was important, because the day of the hearing was approaching and anytime now Nora would leak the incriminating documents. She didn’t invite me inside, she brought out a chair and placed it in the long, narrow passage on which rooms faced each other.
Mary: “How is the wound, is it healed?”
Leke: “The pains are almost nonexistent now, but the wound is there” I replied.
Mary: “Thank God you are alive. I want to tell you that I am ready to testify against Nora about her bribing me to change my statement”
Leke: “It is more complicated than that. I need something from that house, and I need Iya Biliki’s help. Only you can contact her”
Mary: “Alright, I will contact her in person. Whatever she says, I will call you and let you know” she said
Leke: “This battle will soon be over” I said and got up abruptly, but my side gave me a sharp pain and I yelped.
Mary: “Careful Leke bobo” she said in the tone she used when I was little. I turned and gave her a hug, I needed it and she needed it too.
At evening, Mary called to tell me that Iya Biliki had agreed to help me. She told me that there was a little back gate at the house that no one used, and truly I didn’t recall any gate like that. I was to be at the gate by 4pm, which was when Nora goes out in the evening. Banke had offered to come with me, but I had refused.
Leke: “Nora doesn’t know that you and your sister are on my side, I want to keep it at that”
Banke: “Be careful, I can’t lose you, baby” she kissed my fingers, she was romantic like that.
At 4pm, I was at the gate, it was rusted and vegetation was already growing on it. I heard a creak and the gate opened slowly.
Iya Biliki: “Oya come fast oh” she said and led a way through a path curved out in the carpet grass. It led to the servants’ area of the house. She didn’t go through the front door, but instead in the servant area, there was a spiral staircase that was dusty like no one used it. She pushed the door open, into a musty room. It was filled with boxes, that, after a closer look, I realized they were my mother’s.
Iya Biliki: “Dey waka come” she said as she opened another door in the room, and I saw that we were in the hallway of the living area. I walked tentatively to my former room, as I remembered from the last time, Nora now occupied the room, and if there was anywhere, I could find the documents in this house, it was her bedroom. Iya Biliki stood guard outside while I went in. The room was dimly lit, so I used my phone’s light and navigated the room. I checked everywhere but couldn’t find anything. I was beginning to sweat profusely, I couldn’t search forever, and there was no telling when Nora would be back.
Leke: “Could it be it is in a safe deposit box? Oh no” I whispered to myself and leaned on a wall in defeat, I had failed. If we did an out of court settlement, Nora would demand for anything, it would be my father’s situation all over again. I pushed my hands against the wall to support myself, and it resounded. I looked at it quizzically, and wondered why a brick wall would echo sound. So I moved my hands flat against the wall and found that it was not really a wall, but wood polished to the same color of the rest of the room. Then, I found a tiny button that I wouldn’t have noticed. I pressed the button and the wall gave way to reveal a safe. I looked at the dial; there was no way I could get the code, and there was need to be discreet. I put in my father’s birthday, but it didn’t open, i tried the day i went into the mental home, seeing she decided to use my room, but still the safe did not open. I was losing time, and anxious, sweat beads creased my brow even though the room was chilled from the air-conditioner.

On impulse, i tried the date of my mother’s death, and heard a click sound, the safe had unlocked. I opened the safe to reveal file folders up to ten, and an object wrapped in a dirty rag. I unwrapped it and behold it was a knife with black things on it like dried blood. My eyes widened as the realization hit, this was the knife used to slash my mother’s throat. I took the documents an d the knife wrapped in the dirty rag and went back the way I had come. As I was rounding the corner, I saw Nora’s range river driving into the compound. I thanked my stars that I had left at the time I did.
The day of the hearing, it was held in the civil court, the case was called and the lawyers deliberated. Barrister Indimi brought out the authentic last will and testament which was back dated, and therefore it invalidated the one that was done in the period of his sickness. But Nora’s lawyer argued that the real will was outdated because Bamidele my father had no hope of seeing his son, and so he gave all, to the only survivor of his family, that is his wife Nora.
I whispered to Indimi, I didn’t mind if I was playing my card early, it was the only concrete proof, I couldn’t sit here and watch Nora’s lawyer turn everything upside down.
Indimi: “There is one more piece of evidence, a voice from the grave” he said dramatically. Nora turned to look at him, wondering what he was on about.

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Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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