As soon as she saw a huge sign board at the front of a building which stated, “LAGOS STATE TEACHING HOSPITAL”, Jummy literally jumped out of the car window before it was even parked. John and Samuel had expected this or perhaps something worse so if they were surprise at all, then it would be because they expected a more entertaining show and all they got was a fat lady jumping out of the window of a a salon car, not just enough fun!, John thought.
Leaving them to worry about parking the car properly, Jummy walked hastily into the hospital and went straight to the receptionist desk ignoring the long queue of people waiting for their turn to be attended to, that was how the hospital always was – very busy.
“Madam, please you have to wait for your turn, or do you think we are here to sell groundnut?” A lady asked Jummy from the back, Jummy just ignored her, she had better things to do than to reply sick old people, or so she thought.
She looked at the receptionist and asked for the room Zainab was as if she expected the receptionist to know every person in the hospital by their first names, the receptionist was in the mood of being nice and asked for more detail about the patient Jummy was asking for, Jummy went ahead to tell her Zainab’s full name and that alone did the trick. The nurse was a fan of Zainab and most definitely saw when Zainab was rushed into the hospital, she asked if Jummy was a friend or relative and after making Jummy promise to get Zainab’s autograph, she gave Jummy the ward number and even directed her, so much for being famous.
Zainab was still lost in her thoughts when Jummy pushed the door of the ward and bursted into the room with her large figure, Zainab was startled at first but when she saw it was Jummy, she became relieved and a huge smile formed on her face.
“What took you so long?” Zainab asked in a rather teasing tone.
“Long ke? Do you know how many red lights we crashed or how many right turns we took even where there were ‘No Right Turns’ sign boards? Just to get here?” Jummy asked, and for some strange reasons, she hadn’t been speaking too much pigin english of recent, Zainab noticed this but didn’t think it was worth talking about.
“Who is the ‘we’ you are talking about?” Zainab asked and speaking about the devil, both John and Samuel walked into the room almost immediately.
Jummy faced John and said, “we!”, and Zainab got the message, she was about to ask who John and his friend were when she saw the bandage on Jummy’s shoulder and that brought about thirty full minutes of explanation and questions, when they were done with analyzing Jummy’s case, Jummy then started with her own questioning.
“So what are you doing here anyway?” Jummy asked.
“All I know for now is an anonymous call was made to this hospital and I was brought here, the who, when and why still baffles me”
Jummy, who has never liked Richard for once then said, “I know Richard has a hand in this, after all, you were planning on divorcing him, so maybe he doesn’t take loosing lightly so he attempted to kill you”
How it happened is perhaps a miracle or maybe that’s how the brain works, but as soon as Zainab heard both the word ‘divorce’ and ‘attempt to kill’ in one sentence, the whole incident came back to her, she recalled Richard beating Clement and then pushing her away, due to the fact that, that was the last thing she recalled, Zainab assumed she had passed out. She went ahead to tell Jummy all she knew, and even chirped in the Dr. Daniel anonymous call part.
“He told you he has a record as proof?” Jummy asked.
“Yes, he said its in one of my bags at home…”
“Then what are you doubting him for, people don’t lie about obvious proves na, can you walk now?”
“Not yet, the nurse says, I’ll be good to go by tomorrow”
“Okay then, I’ll go to your place now and check for the tape, I’ll be back before you can say ‘African China'” Jummy replied and without even waiting for Zainab to approve or disapprove, she walked out of the ward. John and Samuel followed her once again, they seemed to be loosing their patients already, who wouldn’t?.
Richard had been sitting on a spot for hours just thinking, although he had concluded on what to do, sitting down and waiting for the worst to happen didn’t sound nice to him, he felt he needed to at least do something to improve his situation and that was when an idea popped into his head.
“Why don’t I go home and check out for any thing that might implicate me, for all I know, Zainab might still be on the floor in the basement, Dr. Daniel isn’t really someone I can vouch for” Richard thought.
He sprung up and went to the bathroom, he rinsed his face and toweled it dry, then he left the hotel, straight to his car and drove home.
He got close to home soon enough, he was smart enough to park his car a few distance away from his house, thinking it would give him an advantage.
He walked the distance to his house and stood at the “Mai shai” joint which was almost directly opposite his house. To avoid any suspicion, he bought “Mai shai” worth five hundred naira and a bottle of coke. He didn’t eat it, but just stood at point, studying his house just to make sure it was a safe entry. After standing and studying for five minutes and all that had starred back at him were three shiny glass windows, Richard was convinced the house was empty or maybe just Zainab’s body would be inside.
NB; Mai shai can mean a couple of things but it all comes down to the fact that, it’s usually sold by the northerners (aboki or mallam), although in this context, it refers to a bread and egg meal.
Richard walked in to the house trying to act as casually as he can.
Samuel had had a little experience with the Nigerian Army and thus his senses had been a little more sharpened during his service which was cut short by reasons he never told anyone, John had asked several times and the response he always got was, “don’t worry Johnny, you won’t understand”.
From his little experience, he knew that entering the house after so much had happened won’t be advisable, so he suggested that John parked the car about a mile away from the house and made them walk the remaining distance.
By the time the got within arms length of the house, Jummy was already sweating and had already burnt some useless calories, John noticed this and made a joke out of it, “Jumoke, you seem to have lost about two people my size just within this short walk, only God knows what would happen if you walked five miles” the joke wasn’t really funny but there was something funny about his accent that made Jummy laugh out loud, only to be controlled when Samuel shunned her.
After Samuel studied the house for a while, and all he saw was shiny glass windows starring back at him, he looked at both John and Jummy and in a military invasion tone, he said;
“Seems the coast is clear, let’s move in”
They had no idea that Richard was already inside.
At times, things happen for a reason, and other times, they just happen for no just reason at all. On another note, is there any such thing as coincidence? Or is everything pre-planned by the man upstairs? Just ponder over that.
While Zainab laid on her bed with kept her fingers crossed and patiently waited for Jummy and co to come back from her house, she kept on pondering about the anonymous call. Everything seems to start to make sense to her but she still had no idea who the anonymous person was, she really need to know the person, if not to do anything, just to say thank you at least.
As for Richard, she still had it in mind to divorce him, and if she had enough reasons to sue him, she convinced herself she was going to do it.
Richard was just about to enter the bedroom when he heard some footsteps, but he convinced himself that he was just halucinating since he hadn’t slept for a long while.
He stood at the door of the bedroom and quickly glanced round the whole room before eventually walking to it, even though he had slept in the room for five straight years, he still felt like an alien in the room and wasn’t comfortable one bit, he had this sick feeling in his stomach.
On the other part, Samuel seemed to be the one that was in charge of this operation as he led the way, and Jummy couldn’t quite understand why he made them tip toe into the empty house of her friend, she felt they were just deceiving their old age but decided to just play along so that no one would tell her “I told you so”, she hated that statement with passion.
John just silently did as he was told and followed the two of them from the back and looking over his shoulder at very short intervals.
“Where does she keep her handbags?” Samuel asked Jummy as they paused for a bit in the sitting room.
“In the bedroom of course…” Jummy replied curtly, she was getting impatient with all this games.
“Okay, where exactly is the bedroom?”
“You turn right, you turn left, you turn right again and you turn left” Jummy replied mischievously. Samuel looked at her in confusion while John at the back made to laugh but held his mouth with his hand and suppressed the laughter.
“Can you be serious for once?!” Samuel literally yelled at Jummy.
“I don’t get why we are doing all this C.I.A… F.B.I thing oh, isn’t it obvious no one is at home, in fact just follow me, I’ll take you to the room!” And with that, Jummy stormed out the sitting room and headed for the staircase which led to the upstairs where the bedroom was.
Samuel was furious and wished he had a rope which he could use to tie Jummy up. He followed her upstairs anyways.
Richard was already going through Zainab’s wardrobe when he heard the footsteps on the staircase, and this time, he was sure of what he heard, he instantly became both scared and alert.
He looked round the room, not sure either he should be looking for a weapon or where to hide, after a quick thought, he decided hiding was a better option since he was sure more than one person was coming, judging from the foot steps he heard, and that alone was enough reason to hide since he was out numbered.
He thought about running into the bathroom to hide, but the seemed to predictable, he looked at the wardrobe and without a second thought, he found himself squeezing his body into the wardrobe and locking up himself.
Jummy was just about to walk into the bedroom when Samuel caught up with her and held her hand, just to slow her down.
“How can you just go in like that without surveying the environment first?” He asked.
“It seems like you’ve worked in the military or is probably working in the military presently, so I understand why you are over protective. Just in case you military men peep before entering your friend’s room, we civilians don’t peep, not when we know there is no reason to peep, Kapish?” Jummy replied and shrugged off his grip then walked into the room.
She didn’t think twice before heading to the wardrobe, she already knew Zainab kept her hand bags there.
As soon as she opened the wardrobe…
TO BE CONTINUED.