Read Chapter 53 here.
“You need to calm down, Ayesha.”
“Calm down? It’s been five days, dad. Five days since I last saw my son. How could I possibly stay calm?”
“The police say they are on it.”
“On it, how? They have no leads and no suspects. How can you rely on their apparent efforts to return Panyin to me?”
“And Auntie Ida? Have you confronted her?”
“About what exactly?”
“What do you mean about what, dad? I’m telling you, she has him. I wanted to go to her, you told me not to and that you’d handle it. Why are you hesitating, dad?”
“If indeed, she has him, then there’s nothing to worry about. She’s his granny, remember?”
“What if she thinks it’s Kakra? She’d only see him as the heir to her husband’s properties and do away with him.”
“She took care of them, Ayesha. I’m pretty sure she knows it’s Panyin she has.”
“Still not comforting knowing how much she hates me now.”
“Well, if you’re lucky to relive life, you’ll stay away from your godfather’s bed.”
“Whoa, where’s that coming from?”
“You do realize that all the crap that has been happening to us is because of the line you crossed, right?”
“The line I crossed? What about you and Nadia?”
“At least I had the sense to stop it before it got any deeper. You decided to continue after getting married to the extent of bearing him a child. Now, here we all are, having to live with the consequences of your mistakes.”
“I thought we were past that. The ship has already sailed and there’s no point crying over spilt milk.”
“Spilt? My career hangs in the balance. Omar and I had plans for running for the highest office but because of your war with Ida and that video that came out, that door is possibly closed forever.”
“Oh, so that’s what is irritating you? The fact that you may never run for President? Your grandson could be in mortal danger and you’re thinking of a political title?”
“Listen, we all have our headaches right now. Why don’t you go sort out yours while I think of handling mine?”
“Fine. I’ll go. I don’t know what it is about politics. It seems you all lose sense of family when you get into it,” Ayesha said, grabbing her car key and walking out of the house. Bibi entered the living room. She heard a car engine start.
“Is that Ayesha? Where is she off to?”
“To see Ida, I’m sure.”
“And you let her? You think it’s a good idea?”
“She’s old enough to fight her own battles, my dear. If things go south, I’m sure I’ll be duly informed.”
“Okay, since this is a father-daughter affair, I’ll keep my nose out of it.”
“Much appreciated,” Tariq said, walking out of the room.
When Ayesha arrived at Ida’s house, she was having a massage. When she entered the house, she began going from room to room in search of Karim. She paused when she opened a door and found Ida on a table, a masseur doing his work on her.
“Just barging into rooms now, eh? Did I not teach you anything at all?”
“Where’s my son, Auntie?”
“Where’s Karim? I know you have him. Where is he?”
Ida’s eyes met the masseur’s.
“Could you give us a minute?”
“Okay, excuse me then,” he said and left the room.
“He’s cute,” Ayesha couldn’t help but pass the remark.
“You know I appreciate the finer things in life.”
“Enough with the punishment, please. Let me have my son back.”
“I have been stripped of my husband and daughter and I’d love to have some young energy around me.”
“All you needed to do was ask, Auntie instead of rolling out all this drama.”
“Ah well, I must do something to occupy me now that my family is gone, right?”
“So, where’s he now?”
“He’s safe. That’s all you need to know. It looks like I got the wrong boy. I’d have loved my husband’s love child.”
Ayesha inhaled sharply.
“But he’ll do just fine.”
“Huh? Kindly call the masseur back in to continue his work.”
“Who? Oh your husband? Behind bars somewhere.”
“Please tell me where he is.”
“I honestly don’t know. Now leave before you undo all the good work the cute guy has done.”
“I’m not leaving without my son.”
“Then make yourself comfortable in Nadia’s room. Brian! Please come and continue. We are done talking.”
The masseur entered. Ayesha glared at Ida who moaned when he resumed the massage. Ayesha walked out.
“My door…” The door slammed shut. Ida sighed.
Ayesha received a phone call on her drive back home. She tapped the call button on the monitor in her car.
“Good day, madam. Am I speaking with the wife of Jamal…?”
“Yes, you are. Who’s asking? Do you know where he is?”
“Where are you now, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“On my way home, I’m driving. What is it?”
“I’d kindly ask that you find somewhere to park, please.”
“Okay,” Ayesha said, suddenly anxious. She pulled the car to a halt and exhaled.
“We have some news.”
“Where is he? He was moved from the facility he was at without my knowledge.”
“He must have been taken out of Accra because he was found in the Eastern Region.”
“Eastern Region? Why would they take him there? Is he okay? Is he being brought back to Accra?”
“The official report said he attempting to run away and got involved in a police chase and…he was gunned down.”
Ayesha opened her mouth to say something but no words came out. Tears ran down her face.
“Hello madam, are you there?”
“Is he…did he make it?”
“Unfortunately, he passed upon arrival at the hospital…”
Ayesha ended the call. She screamed and slammed her full fists on the wheel. She noticed her hands were shaking and she gripped the wheel. She did a U-turn and stepped on the accelerator.
Ayesha entered Ida’s house in a rage. She was neither in the living room nor where she was getting the massage. She opened her bedroom door. She heard the toilet flush and closed the door.
“Who is it?” Ida asked as she came out.
“You did this!” Ayesha shouted as she pounced on Ida who screamed in shock when Ayesha’s fingers found her throat.
“What has gotten into you? Let go of me!”
“You got my husband killed. I’ll never forgive you!”
“Let go! I can’t breathe!”
Ida pushed Ayesha away from her. They were both panting.
“I don’t know what has gotten you riled up but I assure you, I’ve done nothing.”
“Jamal is dead because of you!”
“How is it because of me?”
“You got him moved, didn’t you?”
“How is that a cause of death?”
“He got gunned down like a common criminal. He died in a strange place without saying goodbye to his loved ones. All because you wanted to see me hurting?” Ayesha said painfully, walking towards Ida.
“Stay back, Ayesha.”
“Or else what? I’ll be a good person to rid this world of you. You killed your husband, got your daughter to kill herself and caused my husband’s death. Why should you be allowed to live?”
“Calm down before you do anything stupid, Ayesha.”
“Oh I’m past the calm down threshold, Auntie. You’ve taken everything from me and it ends today.”
Ida quickly opened the bedside drawer and pulled out a gun.
Ayesha backed away when Ida pointed it shakingly at her.
“Don’t let me use this, Ayesha.”
“You have a gun? What for?”
“For personal protection. I was advised to keep one since a lot of crazies show up when you enter politics. It seems they were right.”
“You will shoot me?”
“If you take more than one step towards me, you leave me no choice. It will be an act of self-defense.”
Ayesha took one step forward.
“Don’t dare me, Ayesha.”
“Why don’t you do it? You’ve killed everyone. Maybe you’ll go after my dad next. So, do it and let’s get it over and done with.”
“I don’t want to hurt you, Ayesha.”
“Oh really? What have you been doing to me for the past couple of months? Tickling my ribs?”
“Calm down and let’s talk like adults. You’re too upset.”
“Of course, I’m upset. I’m a widow and I’m not even 30 yet!”
“Which means you still have your whole life ahead of you!”
“You don’t get it, do you?” Lost the fathers of my children and my sister. My father resents me because I’m indirectly involved in the death of his brother and best friend. I’ve no one to lean on right now and it’s all because of you!” Ayesha said and reached out for the gun.
There was another scuffle and the sound of a gunshot.
Ayesha woke up with a start. She placed her hand on her heaving chest to moderate her panting. What sort of dream was that? She knew it was a long bad dream but somehow it was fading from memory. The harder she tried to remember, the faster it faded.
She got out of bed and splashed water on her face. When she stared at herself in the mirror and blinked, her mind was completely blank. She heard the door open.
Ayesha stepped out of the bathroom.
“Yeah? Why are you looking at me like you’ve seen a ghost?”
“What’s that supposed to mean? Did you have a bad dream or something?”
“I…how long have I been asleep?”
“Quite a while. At a point, I was worried because you were too still. What was the dream about?”
“Nadia? We’re leaving.”
Ayesha rushed out and ran into Omar’s arms.
“You’re alive!” she sighed in relief.
Omar gave Nadia a questioning look. Nadia shrugged with a shake of the head.
“Oh God, thank you,” Ayesha said repeatedly as she held onto Omar. He hugged her back.
Ida walked in with a suitcase.
“Ready to go?” Omar asked her.
“Where are you going?” Ayesha asked as she stepped back from Omar.
“To the airport.”
“To the UK…I told you about it, Ayesha,” Nadia said.
“Shall we? I don’t want to miss my flight,” Ida said, walking out of the living room. Omar picked up the suitcase.
Ayesha turned to Nadia.
“I told you mum said they just need sometime apart. Not sure what the timeline is.”
“So…I’m not…?” Ayesha asked, staring at her naked ring finger.
“You’re not what?”
The drive was quiet. Nadia was crying quietly while Ayesha’s mind was racing; hoping to make sense of the flashes of the dream she had just woken out of. She was still absentminded when they arrived at the airport. She came to herself when Nadia tapped her arm.
“We’re here. Let’s see mum off.”
They got out of the car.
Omar and Ida exchanged a few words. Nadia hugged her mother.
The scene felt too familiar to Ayesha. Flashes of her scuffle with Ida in the dream came to mind. She walked up to Ida and hugged her.
“Please don’t go,” she pleaded softly.
“I have to, sweetie. I need space to clear my mind,” Ida said.
“You’re the only mum we have. You leave us and you’d never know how we’ll turn up. I just had a very confusing dream…like a premonition of what’s going to happen to us if you leave…and it’s not pretty.”
“It was only a dream, honey. Who knows, I might be back earlier than usual. Don’t worry, you and Nadia have each other. You’ll be fine.”
“You were pointing a gun at me in the dream, Auntie. This wasn’t just a dream.”
“Really? Then whatever you did in the dream must have been terrible. Do you remember what you did?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Then it doesn’t matter. I know you won’t do anything to offend me that much.”
Ida hugged Ayesha and Nadia. “Take care of each other, okay? I’ll be back soon.”
“Ayesha dear, are you alright?” Omar asked Ayesha on their drive back home. Ayesha was too absentminded to hear him.
“Whatever dream she had must have really shaken her,” Nadia said to her father.
She looked at him.
“Tell us about the dream you had.”
“Don’t recall everything…still trying to piece the flashes together.”
“Okay, what do you remember?” Nadia asked from the front seat.
Flashes of seeing Nadia unconscious on the bed and seeing the pill bottle came to mind and being at the cemetery while Omar’s casket was being lowered into the ground came to mind. She opened her mouth to speak but changed her mind.
Some weeks later, Ayesha and Nadia were at Omar’s residence one evening, watching a Netflix show on the bed. Nadia dozed off halfway into the episode. Ayesha heard Omar’s car coming into the compound and engine going off. She got out of the bed and left the room.
Omar had entered the house and was seated on the sofa with his head thrown back.
“Are you sleeping?”
“Ayesha? Aren’t you supposed to be asleep?”
“Was watching Netflix. Coming from work?”
“Yep. Tired as hell.”
“Want me to get you something?”
“No, I’m good. Thanks.”
“Come on, let’s get you to bed,” Ayesha said, taking his hand and pulling him back. He didn’t budge.
“It’s better to sleep on your bed than here,” she said, trying again. This time, he pulled her to him. She gasped, thinking she was about to fall on him but he caught her just in time.
They stared into each other’s eyes; each of them breathing heavily.
“Maybe we shouldn’t…”
Lips met and fingers intertwined.
“Omar! Still in bed?” Tariq asked as he opened the bedroom door. Ayesha opened her eyes at the sound of her father’s voice. Their eyes met as he entered.
“What the hell?”
Omar woke up.
Omar turned to find Ayesha next to him.
“What’s going on here?”
(c) Josephine Amoako 2021
Thanks for reading to the end. You’re the real MVP!