”Shut up! Shut up, shut up!!!” Teco-Musa orders as the ladies kept screaming and screaming .
”Shut up!! Guys if no one keeps quiet, shoot them all, I want peace, peace and quiet here” he says going back to seat, he wipes the knife with a handkerchief Don gives to him. He places it on the table.
Emeka is speechless staring as his father bleeds, he is jerking, the blood making a small pool around him.
His mother is screaming so is everyone else, the ladies. The men are stunned.
”Oh God!!’ Tammy exclaims, Mama Tito must have fainted, she wasn’t moving. Olive is shivering; Grace covers her mouth to stop her screams.
”I can’t be here, I can’t be here, we are going to die. We are all going to die” Olive repeats frantically.
”We are not, We are not, We are not!!” Grace says to her, not believing in the end.
Diana is too shaken to speak..
”You… you… you killed him! You killed my father, you-you..” Emeka can’t breathe, he can’t breathe ”You-you..” he felt dizzy, he felt like throwing up, he felt pain, ” You killed him, you killed him… oh God, no no!!”
”Ambrosssssss!!!” Mercy screams ”Ambrossss heyyyyy ahhhh ahh heyyy!!” she screams, crying shaking her head as he continues to bleed out, choking, dying.
”’What? You should be thanking me; you should all be thanking me, ungrateful fools. Now, joke and party is over, give me my money and my house so I can be on my way, yes?”
”I will kill you with my bare hands Teco-Musa, you will not be able to run away, you b—–d!!” Emeka says angrily, angry tears leaving his eyes.
‘Hey, you hated the man, you should be happy”
”He was my father, I had a right to be angry and hate him for what he did to me and my mother” Emeka cries, ”But I never wanted to kill him, never wanted to hurt him with my hands physically, I hated him, I wanted him to suffer, but I never wanted to kill him, I never wanted to kill him and you killed him, you killed him despite seeing my mother begging for his life, despite she forgiving him, despite me letting it go, you… you killed him. You killed my father. Oh God! What have I done? Mama what have I done? Dear God forgive me, father, Papa, forgive me” Emeka laments painfully.
”I give you five minutes, give me the money or I will order them to start shooting , starting with your mother, and your pretend fake wife there, and those two ladies and I will keep killing them all till you give me what I want, is your money or that house more important than your family’s life”.
”No!!” They are more important to me that my wealth.
”Give him what he wants, take the house, take everything… I pray God punishes you Teco-Musa… for killing my husband I pray God punishes you himself ” mercy wails cursing him ”You will meet the same end as you have given my husband, I curse you, as a wife I curse you”
”Okay, now I am bored with you!!” he grabs the gun from Don’s hand and points it to Mercy’s head.
”Kill me! You are a killer and all you have done will come hunting you, kill me, you already killed my husband, but know that the law will catch you up if not today but one day, if not the law, nemesis, if not nemesis, God. I curse you. You will face the same fate”
”Don’t! Go away from my mother, if you want to kill someone else, kill me, I am here, do it. It’s me you want right? You can kill me. Or take the house, take everything else and leave. Money, wealth, houses is not enough to equate my mother’s life, take it all, the documents everything is in my room. Take it and leave, please”
”But I don’t like your mother!!” Teco-Musa pouts
”Well you will have to kill me first!”
”Gladly, you got a sharp mouth, like father like son. I will kill you, I will marry your wife, I will use the other girls like my mistresses, smuggle them to be prostitutes and make money off them. This you house and your company, in fact I will take your entire life and guess what, the law won’t get me, why? I would give you a death such that they would think it an accident and since you stupidly sent all your staffs and guards away for your stupid stunt, no witnesses, see… I will show up at your office and all would be mine, I know people who know people, it would happen,” he c—s the gun ” Where is it, the money? Go show us, no in fact, someone else should, before you try to me smart… tell us where it is or your blood would be splattered all over the place”
”If I tell you where exactly, would you keep your words and let my family go, safe and unharmed?”
”If I feel like”
”It’s in my room, there is a safe. The room is upstairs”
”Well, who would show me the way, or who would go get it?”
”I will!!” Diana speaks up
Everyone turns. ”I will!!” she repeats.
”Nice sweetheart, untie her, make sure there is no escaping “‘
“The house is sealed, this is the only way out ” Don says pointing the main door ”We checked it, so she can go and come out only through this way, she can’t escape”.
There is a back door, and everyone in the house knows that… it leads to the staff quarters and to the compound and out the gate and Diana knows about that, Emeka looks at her.
She has seen Mama Tito go and come through there without going through the front entrance.
They untie her; she makes her way upstairs, while they watch. They don’t follow her, there wasn’t a need to. She only can go up and come down.
”Okay, now I am hungry, Agede? I see food there on the dining table, get me some, while I wait to be rich”.
He relaxes and waits.
Diana stares at wall, she shakingly pulls out the picture and stares at the safe.
”You planned this, you planned all this so you can get back at a woman who hurt you ten years ago did you not? because she broke your heart, so you planned all this, wooing her, making her fall so you can hurt her, what a brilliant man you are Odinaka, I applaud you sir I do” she could hear Teco’s voice in her ears
”You are nothing but a heartless gold-digger, a materialistic s–t, a woman without a heart, you don’t love anyone but yourself Diana, you love no one but money, luxury and yourself and you mean nothing to me, I stopped loving you the day you turned away from me. I stopped loving you when I realized if I didn’t, I would die. I do not love you Diana, all this was just a game, I was playing your game to ruin you and I did, you are nothing to me Diana. What is love? Love isn’t you Diana, so you can take your love and shove it. Love is Olive, love is her and I love Olive because she loves me truly, from her heart and she will never love me any less because she loves me for me, the man not his money. But you are nothing but a disgusting irritable materialistic gold-digger and I hate you” she could hear Emeka’s words in her head.
She wipes the tears that flows from her eyes, he doesn’t love her, it was all a lie. A big fat lie.
She is what he says, a gold-digger, she was..
She was a fool to think she could love him, she was a fool to think that he would forgive her wholeheartedly. She was a fool.
But she was done being a fool.
He hates her; he said she was a gold-digger, a heartless person? She accepts it, at least, that is who she is.
She stares at the money as she opens the safe ”And here was so much money that would take her away from here, far away, give her a new life, a clean slate, a new identity, a new start , buy her a man too, a new identity will heal her broken life, this was enough money for her pains” she grabs the briefcase and opens it..
The money stares back at her, she nods cleaning her eyes ”this would be enough money to forget about the incidence of tonight. She will take it, because she is one who loves no one but herself and money right? That is what he says?
Money would be the only thing that would never hurt her like this.
She cleans her eyes and carries the briefcase, she sees the documents of the house, she takes it and then she sees it, lying there on the table.
She stares at the door, then back at it.
She takes it and rushes to the bathroom, after a few minutes she comes out, drops it back on the table, opens the door and closes it, she begins to walk out with the briefcase.
They wouldn’t see her if she takes the back door, no one will, and by the time they come up to search for her, she would be long gone.
Yes!!! She would be long gone before everyone realises it, that means, they also wouldn’t know when they arrive. They wouldn’t see it coming.
”Boss man, I think that chick is taking too long!!!” Agede says looking up the stairs.
”How long does it take to go get cash from a safe and back here, surely not fifty minutes!”
Emeka notices his mother has grown so quiet, not moving, saying anything. He thinks she is in shock.
”Go find her, maybe she is having difficulties opening the safe” Teco-Musa is impatient.
Emeka began to laugh, shaking his head as it dawns on him. ”Don’t bother, she is gone, she must have taken the money and left” he says sadly… she left. She stole it and left. Through the back door. He was sure. She was gone. Diana was gone.
His heart breaks for the second time that night, for the second time in his life about a woman, He knew she was going to do it, he knew it..
His heart constricts. But it doesn’t matter, he needs to find a way to protect his mother, he looks at his father bleeding out… he had stopped moving. No sign of life. He was probably dead.
He must protect his family; no one else has to die.
”What? That b—h stole my money, my money?” he stands up shouting ‘How? How did she get away?” He points to them ”Go check, go find out, once you see her, kill her and bring the money back”
”She is long gone, you won’t find her, but look, I have more money, let me make a call and I will get money transferred to your account, right now?” Emeka tells him, his eyes darts to everyone in the room, he knows they are sacred; he wants to get them out, all of them out safe. He doesn’t care if he clears his account, give up his life for them too if Teco-Musa asks. He just needs to make sure no one else dies. Maybe it’s a good thing Diana left; at least she would be safe, far away.
”You think I am stupid? We give you a phone so you call the police right?”
”I won’t, I will not endanger the lives of my family, you already killed my father, I do not want the same fate to happen to my mother or my family, trust me”‘
”Boss, should we go check for her still, she wouldn’t have gone far, she might go call the police”
‘Iif she ran away with the money, she wouldn’t be going to the police Don, don’t be stupid, she would be arrested for stealing before they come to get us, she is just a thief as you say Odinaka, you should have let me kill her like your father, I am sure you are regretting I didn’t do it. She took your money and ran, haha, stupid plan, stupid you. Give him a phone Agede, put the call on speaker, if I don’t have my money within a few minutes, I will burn you and your family to the ground … and I will do it”
They bring the phone..
”Make the call, call out the numbers to one of these fools would dial” he motions to one of his boys who held the phone close to Emeka, waiting.
”You don’t need to do that, here is your money!!” Diana says throwing the briefcase to the ground near his feet as everyone turns to find her standing behind them.
”You… you didn’t leave?”‘ Emeka chokes disbelieving ”Why? You had the money, why didn’t you leave?”
He is shaking his head in disbelieve. An emotion suddenly swept through him, he didn’t know how he was supposed to feel, didn’t understand why he felt the way he was feeling. Why didn’t she go, she should have gone, that was her person, a thief, a gold-digger, lover of herself and money. She had it, she had millions of naira in that briefcase, why didn’t she leave? Why did she come back… why? He couldn’t believe she was the one standing there. Does it mean, does it mean all she feels for him was so real that the love for money took a back seat? Why did she not run away? He didn’t understand. His chest hurts, it hurts from this realization.
”Because I am all that you say Emeka, I am. I won’t deny it, but that was me before meeting you again, before falling in love with you for real, and you are right, I am a gold- digger, a materialistic s–t, I am all you said, a leopard who doesn’t change it’s spot, I love myself and money and the life of luxury and people without caring, yes I am. But that was me before today… and as I stared at that money, I remembered all you said to me a few hours ago, how you were angry and told me how you planned to ruin me and how you have actually succeeded, how I ruined your life and made you go through so many things, how you were happy to pay me back after using a page from my book. I was ashamed, I was sad and I was broken. I was hurt, feeling all those pain, having you toss me, ruin me, make our marriage null and void, I was in pains and I wanted to die and I told myself, this money would sort all my pains, it will. After all that is who I am right? The girl who loves money so much she can sell her soul to the devil. I wanted to hate you for today for this pain, but Emeka I couldn’t. I held the money and all I wanted was to get rid of it, from me. Money cannot replace the love I have for you, not today, not now, not ever. I used to be that girl Emeka, yes; all you said about me was true. But the girl who stands before you today, broken, is different, it’s the girl who wouldn’t run knowing that the man she loves and his family is in danger and the money in that briefcase is only what would save them. I will give it up a thousand times over to make sure you all are okay, I will. I don’t want your wealth Emeka, not as much as I love the man” She says with tears leaving her eyes and staining her cheeks, she sniffs. ”So Teco-Musa, there is money, a lot more than you ever borrowed from Ambross, a lot more than you deserve, even the house documents, it’s all there, now keep to your word, please, leave us alone, you already took a father and a husband, please take no one else. But if you must, start with me, because just like him I deserve to be punished…but no one else. Please”
Teco-Musa smiles coming to her ”Wow! I didn’t think I would ever see the day a gold-digger leaves the money for the man, did you hit your head love while you went up the stairs love, did you?”
She hits his hands away as he caresses her cheeks ”You have the money, please leave ”
Emeka shakes his head, speechless, he speaks ”You should have left, I… I expected you to I- ”
”I told you Emeka, I love you, the man, you. I don’t want this..That is not me anymore. I left once, I am not leaving you again.”‘
Teco-Musa grabs the briefcase, and places it on the table, his smile broadens when he sees the bonds and cash and then the documents ”beautiful!”
He swings it to Don who catches it, looking around, ”I should leave but, what if you all report me to the police, what happens?”‘
”We won’t!!” as though speaking as one everyone chorused.
”Oh, I need to make sure because you have seen my face and can identify me, Just to make sure you would not because now I know who you all are, if you do I will come back for you all… and just to show I am serious” he points the gun at Emeka ”Say hello to your father for me” he presses the trigger.
”No!!!” they screamed.
Emeka sees the bullet leaving the barrel of the shotgun, he closes his eyes as he whispers ”I am sorry mama, I love you” he waits for impact.
There was a loud thud as everyone screamed again.
Emeka felt nothing, no pain, he opens his eyes to see the horror on everyone faces, then he looks down..
Diana had hit the floor as the bullet ripped through her, the red patch appears on her chest, it was spreading, her beautiful dress was ruin, her beautiful face was contorted in pain.
”Oh oh God no… no… no… Diana… Diana… why, why did you do this…why… why?” Emeka crawls to her crying, a loud cry is heard from Grace, Olive is shaking, and Mercy is staring into space. Tayo looks struck. Diana, dear Lord! Tammy began to say his last prayers, Mama Tito was lying down there, barely conscious . ”no no..no no no! Diana Diana!” Emeka wails, he wants to hold her, stop the blood, he can’t.
”Diana no please no!!”‘ he cried.
”Stupid girl! Stupid girl! ” Teco-Musa spat ”you are lucky Emeka, your girl took a bullet for you. Maybe truly she does love you wholeheartedly, too bad your love isn’t meant to be. Oh well, now, you know what would happen if you report this or come for me”.
Don, Agede and the two other guys shake their heads ”What a waste” they laugh.
”No Diana, please please… don’t die please, why did you, why did you do this, why?” he cries, he can’t hold her, he can’t touch her because of his tied hands as she bleeds on the floor, he rests his head on her chest ”Please no stay awake, stay awake please don… help someone please help… no… no don’t leave me again, don’t… please” he begs in his tears.
Grace is choking, Mercy is staring into space … looking at her husband who had stopped moving and then at Emeka as he cried over Diana… she blinks, she blinks again. More tears fall. But she is quiet. She is staring past them and into space.
The tears roll out, but she is there, unable to move, to do anything… the pain courses through her body.
”I… I am sorry Emeka!!” Diana chokes ”I am sorry, forgive me, forgive me”‘
”I forgive you Diana please, please don’t die please… please…don’t, I am sorry for doing this… I didn’t think oh God!!! Someone help please, please” he cries on her chests as her face is close to his.
”I love you Emeka… I…” she chokes…”I love you!!!” she whispers.
Emeka cries as his heart is torn to pieces. ”Oh God! What have I done, what have I done?” he wails as he wishes to hold her, to stop the bleeding, to…to stop her hurting, her pain
She can’t die, she can’t. She can’t leave him again, not like his, never like this”
”Wake up Diana, please wake up” he begs as her eyes drifts close, it opens again ”I won’t let you go, don’t sleep please” he sniffs
She shakes her head opening her eyes, he could see the pain in her eyes ”you hate me!!” she whispers.
”No no… I did, but I don’t anymore. No, stay awake… Dee stay awake for me, don’t die I beg you, stay awake for me, I am sorry Dee, God I am sorry” he cries
As her eyes closes and opens, she tries to smile ”You don’t love me anymore, I feel so tired Emeka, I feel so..”
”Sssshhh Dee, don’t lose strength, just stay awake for me, please, please”
”I am tired Emeka, I feel so sleepy, so sleepy” she closes her eyes and opens it, then she closes it… her breathing labored.
”No Dee, you should have left! You should have left, stay awake for me Dee, please don’t leave me again, please, God!!!’ ‘he cries looking up to the heavens.
Teco-Musa and his men stare down at her. Don nudges him
”Gatto go boss!!”
They came, after receiving a frantic distress call.
”The caller identified herself as Diana Nkenchior, friend to Mr Odinaka Uchendu, she says they have been taken hostage by five people inside the house and they are all harmed, one member of the family has already been killed. she says there is a back door into the house and she has left it open for us, the gate is open, she said she saw two of their men at the gate to make sure no one goes in, no staff is around and a team of men who were supposed to be here are possibly dead,… when I asked how many harmless are there, aside herself she counted seven and a dead man who was shot, that is why the paramedics are here, so we go in subtly, you two man the gate, get those men down, we can’t go over the fence because it would set off the alarm, she said they are harmed, so be careful, we need to bring Mr Odinaka and his family out alive and take down Teco-Musa and his men, on my count” the officer says to his team of eight men as they are ready to come down from the car..
”Okay, you two in front, you four cover me, let’s go”‘
They alight from the back , they go close to the all to avoid being seen, away from the gate and made their way to Odinaka’s entrance .
Two men who were watching the gate acting like a security stood there watching. One of the police officers drops his gun with his team member, removes his barge and buttons his jacket. He comes out of hiding, walks to the gate.
”Hi, excuse me, I am lost but is this the Odinaka’s residence, I was supposed to attend a wedding here today and I wonder-”
”Get lost, wedding is over!!” the darker one with black shades saying flinging away his cigarette, they come towards him wielding their guns.
”Oh, my apologies” the office who approaches the security on says to them, while they both step out of their post fully coming to him… the two officers come behind them.
”Drop your weapons” the officer grabs one from behind placing his gun to his back, before the other one, would think to shoot, the police man who was talking to them at first punches the other guy, he hits the ground and passes out immediately.
They grab their weapons, handcuffs them and drags them to the corner.
They make their way using cars and trees to run-walk into the estate, staying away from the view of the windows so one see them coming.
When they heard the gun shot, they pause.
”Damnit!!” The team lead speaks into the coms ” Let’s close in guys, go go go go!!!” he waves to backdoor, giving them a go ahead to the direction, ”Go go go go!!”
They make their way to the back of the house, guns pointed, ready to impact.
”Ready, go!!” they enter the house through the back entrance passing the staff rooms, going slowly without alert anyone in the house.
”I got visual!” one of them says ”I got visual of harmfuls, I see Teco-Musa with a gun I think two people are down”
”I see four harmfuls aside Teco-Musa”‘ another say
”How do we proceed sir?”
”On my count … 1… 2… ” the third person asks him.
”Boss, let’s go, we got the money!” Don says telling him.. ”we can touch this place up with them in it, be gone before the news releases he is dead”
”True!!” he puts down the gun ”let’s go!!!”
They make their way to the door.
”Three!!!” the team lead says.
They burst through the door leading into the parlour.
”Drop your weapons, you are surrounded!” the police says pointing their guns to them.
Don and the rest turn in shock, they quickly point their guns to them as well,.
”How the hell?” Teco-Musa exclaims,
”Boss!!” his men call him,
Emeka and everyone are in shock as the police enters, how did the police know, how did they know…
Diana opens her eyes slightly, she drifts in and out of consciousness. She coughs turning to Teco-Musa
”Never trust a gold-digger in a room alone with money and a mobile phone on the table, now the Law got you!” she coughs
Emeka stares down at her, as she coughs again, blood sprouts down from her lips.
”You b—h!! You b—h!!” Teco-Musa flares as he directs the gun to Diana, intending to shoot her and kill her off once and for all. No one had being able to catch him, he had evaded the law for years, now this b—h, she, a thief, a gold-digger brings the law to him. Well, he would send her to hell before him.
He shoots, the police releases fire on him, it rips through his body as he falls to the ground, his bullet hits the wall missing Diana only by a few breaths spaces as Emeka docks away. Everyone who is still lucid is screaming.
Teco-Musa is convulsing on the floor, his men who had been too shocked to shoot stare at the police men in anger and c—s their guns.
”This wouldn’t go down well for you gentlemen, there are a few other dozen officers at the door, you will never make it out alive, your men outside have been pinned down, don’t be a fool, drop your weapons” The police team lead tells them. ”We are taking you in, dead or alive gentlemen”
They stare at each other, and then down at Teco-Musa who had stopped moving, his white cloths a map of red, the gun holes on his body was enough to keep a man dead like him forever. They drop their weapons and go down to their knees.
The police move in, taking their guns off them, handcuffing them and pulling them up, the other officers go around untie everyone else, Mama Tito who had fainted all this while is revived with water.
Grace rushes to Diana, Emeka finally was able to gather her into his arms ”Diana, Dee wake up, it’s over, please wake up” he shakes her gently.
”Get the medics in here” the police officers calls out as the paramedics are told to drive into the estate, they come, dropping down, pulling out stretchers.
”Dee, wake up Dee!!!”’ Grace is crying
”Let them take her to the hospital sir” The officer tells Emeka.
Emeka let’s her go as the men in white take her from him and places her on the stretcher and takes her away, Grace follows them. He rushes to his mother, carrying her in his arms, he rushes her into the medical bus, placing her on a stretcher, they place both his mother and Diana side by side, Grace and Mama Tito climbs in beside them.
”Go! I will follow behind you, Go!!” Emeka says jumping down from the car, he watches them drive off blowing it’s siren, there a third car there, the paramedics comes down with a stretcher.
He goes back into his house, Tayo is staring down at his body, Tammy is being checked by a paramedic, same with Olive, she is shaking and talking and crying, they take them outside, to the car and make them sit as they attend to them.
He looks away ”I killed him Tayo, I killed him!!” Emeka’s throat closes as he speaks.
Tayo is silent as a Medic comes to them ”it’s not your fault!!” He finally speaks.
”It is, you warned me not to. If I hadn’t done this, maybe this wouldn’t have happened to him, to mother, to Diana. I killed him Tayo, how can I ever forgive myself ? How can Mama ever forgive me ?” He slowly sinks to the ground, staring at his father’s body ”Papa, I am sorry!” he cries
The Medic bends to check Ambross ”He is dead sir” he tells him as he touches his neck, he grabs Ambross’s lifeless hand.
Emeka says nothing, grief washes over him. ”I killed him” he repeats”‘ I killed my father with my own two hands Tayo, Mama would never forgive me”
”It’s not your fault Emeka!!” Tayo repeats staring at Ambross.
”I killed him, if I hadn’t been seeking for revenge he would have still being alive. I didn’t plunge the knife but… I put him in harm’s way” Emeka cries.
Tayo turns sharply, he grabs Emeka by the shoulder and pulls him up, shaking him hard ”It is not your fault, it is not your fault, stop it!! You messed up, you didn’t listen, yes, but you didn’t kill him, he made his wrong decisions, Teco-Musa killed him. It is not your fault damnit!! You have a mother who needs you, Diana needs you, it is not your bloody fault. If you don’t forgive yourself it would shatter you forever. It is not your fault brother, he is gone, he is gone” he shakes Emeka again, he grabs him and hugs him, as Emeka grabs him too, he holds Tayo tight as he cries. Tayo holds him as he shatters. ”It’s not your fault. It’s not” He repeats.
”Sir! Sir, I feel a pulse, a tiny faded pulse but it is there, we need to get him to the hospitable now “The Medic raises up his head sharply,
”What?” The men let go off each other.
”He is alive, barely.”
Emeka pushes away from Tayo ”But how is it possible, how… He bleed out… so much blood, he isn’t moving.”
”We need to get him to the hospital sir, he is barely alive”
”Tayo, help me lift me father, quick!!” Emeka swings into action as they lift him to the stretcher and into the car, Olive and Tammy join them.
They drive speedily to the hospital.
Emeka didn’t take his eyes off his father, and he had a single prayer in his heart.
Lord, let him live, if not for me, but for Mama