“Ahhh! Ah!” A loud cry came from within the bungalow sitting in the middle of a bushy and deserted location. The surrounding trees cast their shade on it, keeping the environment cool. However, the agonized man seemed to be anything but cool.
In the wide empty room where he sat, tied to a white plastic chair, he groaned. Blood dripped from his nose and lips. His dark cheeks were sore and swollen. Yet, it did not seem like his tormentor was done. Not yet.
Kay’s tall figure hovered over him as he tried fruitlessly to speak. “I can’t hear you,” Kay said; his voice hoarse and his expression, grim. He moved closer, making a fist.
After he left the house earlier, he had gone straight to his parent’s house, accompanied by Jide, his childhood friend. Upon opening the gate, Mustapha was grabbed and bundled into Kay’s Hilux. Eyewitnesses raised alarm but the duo quickly got into the car and were gone in a flash. At the back seat, Mustapha tried to scream for help but Jide tied him up and gagged him.
“Keep quiet my friend!” He said. “You should have thought about the consequences of your action before you did it.”
Within the next Forty-five minutes, they arrived at the isolated building. A building belonging to Jide’s late Dad. It had been abandoned because Jide didn’t see the need for it at the moment.
After they arrived, Kay parked the car and dragged Mustapha out. It was not until he was tied to a chair and his gag removed, that he was able to speak; starting with a plea. He begged but his abductors were not yielding.
“Who paid you to accuse Nora?” Jide asked.
“Nobody. Ah!” He cried as the first punch hit his cheeks. The beating continued and tears followed. Still, he held back. It was not until Kay took over that Mustapha knew the men meant business. When he couldn’t take it anymore. He promised to speak up, but only if they promised not to beat him again. However, when he spoke, they couldn’t hear him well.
“Speak up, Mustapha. Or else I promise I’ll spend the rest of the day beating the devil out of you.” Kay threatened.
2:05 PM that same day, met Kay, Jide and a well-beaten Mustapha at the police station. Kay had brought him to give his statement, exactly as he gave it to them earlier. No twist or turns. At first, the police authorities threatened to arrest Kay and Jide for the abduction and unlawful interrogation of a valid eyewitness.
“He wasn’t valid then. It’s now he is valid.” Kay said, scowling.
A policeman yelled at Kay and threw insults at him for interfering in a police investigation.
“Do you investigate? Do you even know how to investigate? I have done your job for you and you’re here running your mouth? You are very stupid,” Kay insulted back, unwilling to control his anger. “You should have carried out investigations first, but you did not. You chose to collect money so as to blame an innocent person.”
Their argument escalated and insults, along with threats followed. A fight almost ensued but for the timely intervention of Jide, who pulled Kay aside, and the DOP, who knowing that he was dealing with a Minister’s son, decided to call his men to order.
“What is your problem?” Jide asked his friend. “I know you love this girl and you want to bring to book the person responsible for your injuries. But you have to take things easy. Getting yourself arrested won’t help you.”
“Arrested?” Kay frowned. “The first person to put a cuff on me will wish he was never born.”
After more rants and exchange of words, the men finally calmed down. Mustapha gave his statement before cuffs were placed on him. While he was led to his cell, Kay and Jide led a police patrol van carrying three policemen, to his house. He was not surprised to find Nora and Tayo there. However, he waved away their silent questions feeling good that his parents were still around, as well as Tunde, the driver. He was afraid he would meet their absence.
“That’s him,” Kay said to the policemen. His fingers pointing at Tunde. The policemen wasted no time bundling Tunde into the van. He kicked and fought; trying to get out of their grip, but he could not.
“What is this? What is happening?” Mr and Mrs Adepoju asked, randomly.
“If you’re so interested in knowing, you should have insisted on an investigation,” Kay said, his face void of expression. He was still very angry at his parents. He knew he’d eventually forgive them but not just yet. He wasn’t ready. He still wanted them to feel his pain so that next time, they’ll think before arresting another innocent person, especially if that innocent person was Nora. Besides, he didn’t take kindly to the fact that he was almost killed. Since his parents refused to find his real attacker, he decided to do it himself.
“Kayode, I know you’re still angry at us but, for how long will you be?” His father asked.
“Can’t you find it in your heart to forgive our mistake?” His mother followed.
Kay looked from his parents to Nora, then Tayo and finally a stranger who had just emerged from the garden. He was dressed in army uniform and boots. Probably the soldier Nora talked about; he thought.
“Is there a new housemaid in the house,” Kay asked, ignoring his mother’s question.
“Yes.. why?” His mother asked. “Hope everything is ok?”
“Mum, everything is not ok, especially if you have a new house girl. When did you hire her?”
“Yesterday,” Mrs Adepoju answered.
“Ok. Bring her, the police will take her too.”
“Kayode what is this about?” His father asked. Brows creased. “I don’t understand. And I don’t care if you’re angry at us. We are your parents, this is our home and these people are our employees. You’ll have to explain what is happening before I let you take them away.”
“But you didn’t find out what was happening before you let them take Nora away.” He accused. “Why should this be different? Give me one reason, why.”
“Because I don’t want to make the same mistake I made with Nora,” Mr Adepoju replied. “That one mistake has almost ripped this family apart. I won’t allow a repeat.”
“Kay,” Nora said, moving to stand beside the elderly couple. “Your parents and I, we’ve been talking, before you came. And….well…”
“They’ve been apologizing to you?” Kay asked.
“Yes.” She answered
“And is that enough to clear your doubts? Your anger?”
“Kay, mum and dad are truly sorry for everything that happened,” Tayo said, moving to stand in front of his still angry brother. “Can you blame them? They thought you were dead and they feared I could be next. They only wanted to protect their children. I think it’s high time the past be in the past and we forgive our parents. They still love us and no matter how angry you are, I know you still love them.”
Kay looked at Tayo, searching his eyes. After a while he sighed and tried to calm down, a little smile tugging at his lips as he looked at his kid brother. Tayo smiled at him. “The last time I checked, I’m your senior,” Kay said. “Since when did you become all grown up and smart?”
“Oh?” Tayo chuckled. “Don’t be fooled by that bro. That was a line from a movie I watched last night. It kind of felt right at the moment.” He grinned sheepishly.
Kay found himself trying to stifle a chuckle, but he soon let it out. Tayo had a very tricky way of getting past his resolve. “Ok, Ok. I hear you loud and clear.” He was especially pleased that his parents had apologized to Nora and that she accepted their apology.
The elderly Adepojus heaved a sigh of relief. They hadn’t realized how tense they were. Mrs Adepoju was the first to move to hug Kay. She had really missed him and him, her.
“I’ll really love a happy reunion now but first, please tell us what is happening.” Mr Adepoju requested.
Kay sighed. He looked back at the police van where Tunde was still struggling with the rope around his wrists and ankles.
“Tunde was the one who jumped me that night.” He said, turning to see the surprised expression on his parents’ faces. Nora and Tayo were not left out.
“And how did you arrive at this conclusion?” The soldier who had been quiet all along asked.
“I took away our security man this morning,” Kay confessed.
“What? It was you?” His mother asked. Brows raised.
“Yes. Me. I took him away before anybody could stop me. And then I beat him up until he told me everything that truly went down. That man,” he pointed at Tunde, “is heartless.”