Fiction, Snatched

Snatched 15

Episode 15

Life gives us not so rosy days but also gives rosy days. Not so rosy days tend to over stay it’s welcome to perhaps help us appreciate rosy days. Maybe our strength comes from fight against life and it’s odd, in between losing a piece of ourselves we don’t recover. Love simply makes it easier to live with. The voids are eventually filled with new memories, making you almost forget a void once existed.
Nobody can explain why certain things happen, if any can, I will need detailed explanation. I never envision my life playing out this way. Maybe I miss the right turn signpost somewhere along living, but it shouldn’t have led me to this point where it all seems….blank.
I have learned life won’t give problems without solution but it also won’t give you happiness without pain. Memory lane is such a tedious task that a one sentence summary is easier. I lost my family and my desire turned around to be selfish of me. While grieving my loss, my wife battled a brain disease along with her pregnancy, which took it’s toil on her.
Up till now, I haven’t accepted what lies ahead. In a matter of time, my wife Fegor, love of my life would die. How does one accept that? It’s like looking at the one you love and telling yourself it’s time to let go, which only happen after…
‘Mr Jite?’ Ada interrupted my line of thoughts. Tejiri glared at her.
‘S-sorry. Tejiri’
‘Hello there, Ada. How is my wife…nah…wife doesn’t suit her’ he flashed a smile at his pregnant wife who was seat on a pile of clothes. ‘Mother of my child’
Ada almost chuckled expect the situation wasn’t nice. ‘She doesn’t want to wear any of her clothes, she says she is fat’
He gasped in mock horror. ‘Nurse Ada, that is rude. My Fegor isn’t fat’ he kneeled in front of his wife. Lifting her face up till their eyes met. ‘You don’t want to wear these clothes?’
‘I am too fat for these clothes’
Tejiri turned to Ada and asked. ‘How long is she?’
‘It’s my big stomach’ she said sadly drawing his attention.
‘I like my woman big’ he winked at her.
She shyly hid her smile away from him. He tilted her face back to him. ‘I did a good job right? You fat and you look beautiful. I won’t get tired of looking at you…geez! these curvy body…hmm…’
‘Stop’ Fegor drawled.
‘It doesn’t matter how you look, my eyes will only be for you’ he cupped her face with his hands and leaned forward, gently placing his forehead on hers. ‘I don’t mind if you get fat, I would still want you.’ He whispered and placed a kiss on her forehead.
Ada watched him tease her, while calming her. Her tantrum were manageable with him around. He would somehow divert her mind and pacify her. Her lousy memory made it easy for her to fall for him all over again and he didn’t hold back his charm.
It was hard taking care of her but Tejiri refuse to keep her in a nursing home. Days when she didn’t recognise him, he smooth talk his way to her heart again.
She left the couple alone. She went to the kitchen to prepare dinner. It was friday night and they would arrive any time soon to spend the weekend with the couple.
***
‘C’mon Ruks’ Erica said getting out of the car. They were a bit late. They had to stop by her studio to get a surprise gift for Tejiri’s birthday. She couldn’t wait to see his reaction.
‘Ruks’ she drawled as she knocked on the door.
‘Try carrying these paintings’ he whined, balancing the framed painting in his arms.
‘Ada!’ She squealed when Ada opened the door. ‘Where is he?’
‘With his wife’ she said stepping out to help him with the frames.
‘Thank you’
Erica hurriedly went inside to find him but stopped by the door, listening to him cajole his wife. So much time had passed and though he seemed to be in a good place, but it still felt overwhelming. In a short pace of time, so much happened.
She leaned against the wall and closed her eyes. If she could make the pain stop, she would. A wet trickles soon soiled her face. Ruks who had gone in search of his friend, found her. Using his thumbs, he wiped her tears.
He gave her a full bear’s hug, enveloping her in his arms. He pulled her away, it wouldn’t be a nice sight if he emerged from the room and met her in tears.
‘Where do you want to place the frames?’ Ruks asked diverting her attention.
‘On his wall of memories’ she said picking up a frame. Removing the wrapper from it, she showed it to Ada.
‘Oh my God!’ Ada exclaimed. ‘It’s so beautiful’
‘My fiancée is a talented painter’ Ruks cooed with a sweet smile.
She ignored him. Who didn’t know her talent? ‘He will flip out when he sees it’
Flaunting her dental, she said. ‘That is the idea my dear’
They heard footsteps approach. They turned to the direction of it, to find them dressed in matching outfits. One would think they wouldn’t be so munchy given her ill health but they still serve couple and romantic goals.
‘Happy birthday’ Erica told him stepping forward, with outstretched arms for a hug.
Tejiri knew his friends would spend the weekend in his house like they always did. He was grateful for their care.
‘Everything will be alright T.J, you stay strong for all of us.’ She whispered in his ear. She gave him a tight squeeze before letting him go. She stole a glance at Fegor who was behind him, before returning her gaze to him.
Tejiri shook his head. She sighed.
‘Happy birthday’ Ruks stepped forward, giving him a quick hug.
Erica led them to the dinning where Ada was setting the table. After helping her out, she called the guys for dinner.
Scooping food into her plate, Ruks asked. ‘Have you seen her gift?’
‘You brought a gift? You know you shouldn’t have, your presence-‘ Erica interrupted him.
‘Are you going to see my gift or not?’
Chuckling, he nodded. ‘Where is it?’
‘Wall of memento’ Ruks answered for her.
He quickly checked on Fegor who was staring into space, with Ada by her side before going to check out the gift.
‘Wow’ he exclaimed. He didn’t think she would recall his small talks, draw and paint them out. It was a frame of his wife and his mother. Exactly at their favourite spot like he had told her during their conversation.
Tejiri trailed his fingers on the frame. He missed his mother and his family. Earlier during the day, presents were delivered from his father and mother in law. Maybe not right now, but eventually, his father and siblings would come around.
He returned to the dinning and gave her a peck on her temple. ‘Thank you’
Ruks stole glances of his friend who was bickering with his fiancée. It had been five months already but it wasn’t so long ago he saw his friend got crushed by life. He found a way to keep living.
Though her attention was on the television, Ada looked at Fegor at intervals. She wasn’t so good at expressing herself without a tantrum while other times when she space out, she wouldn’t feel anything. Alzheimer and pregnancy shouldn’t go together.
She didn’t know how long she sat there, but the trio joined her in the living room. She was bout to say her goodbyes when she left a wet sensation.
Looking down on the couch, she felt around, noticing it’s source from Fegor whose gown was wet from her waist.
‘Tejiri… are you prepared for your child’s birth?’
‘She isn’t due till-‘
‘Her water just broke’
All eyes flung to Fegor immediately. Within a nanosecond, Tejiri scoop his wife in his arms while Ruks grabbed the car keys and Erica went to fetch her bag.
They knew the drill for her delivery. They couldn’t afford to waste any time and her failing health was of great implication.
Ada accompanied them to the hospital. On their way, Erica called Mrs Onoriode. They paced the corridor while waiting, with a fear gripped heart. After hours of waiting, the doctor came out with Ada.
Their faces were downcast. Tejiri didn’t need to be told, the day was expected but still he wished it wasn’t soon. He sat on a nearby chair and zoomed out, lost in thoughts. He didn’t want to hear anything.
‘Tejiri’ Erica called softly, sitting beside him. ‘It’s a girl’ she paused. ‘Fegor doesn’t look good after the caesarian operation’
Ruks occupied the space on the other side of his friend. He placed his hand on his back, calming him. It was inevitable for his wife but losing her through the birth of his child might be more than losing her to alzheimer. Or maybe it was the opposite.
After a while, Ada resurfaced, asking Tejiri to follow her to see his daughter. He didn’t know how but he found himself following her. The birth of their child Fegor had once spoken bout with enthusiasm wasn’t aware of her birth.
At that moment, he realized he never got used to her lousy memory and it hurt just as much each time. To be with the one you love and not being recognized was a sanity deal breaker.
‘Please be quiet’ Ada said holding the door open for him to go in. He would need time alone with them.
He took a deep breathe and walk towards the bed and crib beside it. Sitting down, he looked at his daughter with a coy smile.
‘Hi there. I’m so elated you finally here. You still had a week or two but I guess you couldn’t wait to meet me, I love you so much’ he turned his attention to his unconscious wife. ‘I can’t raise her alone Fegor. She needs you and I still need you, I don’t think I will ever be able to let you go. You’re my wife, I love you always. We have been through….’ His croak voice trailed off. He stood up and went out to get his friends who was with Mrs Onoriode. He was glad she could make it.
He ushered them in. The smile on their faces was satisfying. They spoke in hushed voices bout the baby.
‘What’s her name?’ Ruks mouthed
‘Fegor?’ Erica answered.
‘Rachel’ Mrs Onoriode spoke. She was so confident he would name her after his mother.
‘Ruby Jite. Fegor loved the name’ Tejiri told them looking affectionately at his wife.
She might not wake up and it would be okay eventually. She fought hard but lost. On bonus days, she knew and loved her husband. Other days, she fell in love with him all over again. He could not get used to her ill health but if she couldn’t hold on anymore, he would be alright….eventually. He would give Ruby so much love she doesn’t miss her mother. They both had Ruks, Erica and Mrs Onoriode to hold their hands on days they would feel too weak to move.
Tejiri planted a kiss on her forehead. ‘Thank you for giving me Ruby. Everyday, I will tell her all bout you. You will always be in our hearts, we all love you’ he whispered in her ear.
Fegor may not wake up today but she might tomorrow.

The End.

Snatched

Snatched 14

Episode 14

Tejiri met his wife’s mother in tears in the living room. Ada by her side, pacifying her but was doing a terrible job. Fegor quickly rushed to her, worry etched all over her. Ada quietly stepped aside, giving them space. She pulled him along as she went towards the door. Taking a step forward, she whispered.

‘How is she?’

‘Your eyes are not deceiving you’

She narrowed her eyes looking at him suspiciously. ‘Where were you both?’
He leaned forward until their faces where inches apart. ‘I don’t need your permission to take my wife out’

She almost rolled her eyes at him, strongly resisting the urge to scoff. Days ago, he wouldn’t even speak much less step out of his room. ‘I am her nurse and caregiver. I am worried and her mother isn’t doing good.’

He sighed. ‘I know’
‘She has alzheimer’
‘I know’
‘Her mother blames herself’
‘I know’

Ada contorted her face. He doesn’t have any other word in his vocabulary?

Tejiri chuckled quietly at her expression. He pulled her in for a hug. ‘We are all worried and helpless. We want to help her and we are doing that. I don’t blame anyone but myself. Maybe someday, I will be able to forget myself.’

‘You should be telling Mrs Onoriode, Ruks and Erica that already’ she said dryly.
‘I know’

Ada growled at him. ‘I like you better when you didn’t speak’

Tejiri tilted his head to his wife and her mother. He felt his heart cringed. He understood why she blamed herself. It wasn’t any of their fault, they did what they did because they cared bout him. Maybe if he had been observant, he would notice his wife’s relapse. He never meant harm for his mother, if only his family believed him and not blamed him. But they were hurting, he was also hurt. He lost his mother. He wasn’t sure how to fix it.

‘How long does she have left?’ He found himself asking.

‘Not long enough.’ Ada replied sadly.
‘I am going out’

‘You will be back right?’ She was barely audible. It was Mrs Onoriode biggest fear that Tejiri would turn his back on Fegor and no one would blame him.

Tejiri saw the fear evident in her eyes. ‘If I wanted to leave, I would have done so already’ he told her before stepping out.

***
‘I really can’t spend the night Ruks’ Erica told Ruks for the upteemth time but he ignored her. After their talk, she forgave him and had been hugging her. ‘Fegor needs all the care she can get especially-‘ she suddenly stop. She recalled Fegor remembered a piece of her memory.

She tapped his arms. ‘Fegor was surprised you had a fiancée, though I think she-‘
Ruks released her abruptly and stared at her in bewilderment. ‘Fegor was surprised I had a fiancée which she didn’t know bout?’
Erica told him how she woke up and remembered a part of her life. He was stunned. ‘How….is it po…possible?’
She nodded with a smile.

‘Where is T.J?’

‘He took her out’
He gaped. ‘Why didn’t you tell me sooner? How is she? Shouldn’t she be at the hospital for check up?’

‘It’s not going to change anything, what’s the need?’
Erica wasn’t hoping for a bright tomorrow. Fegor’s fate was sealed, there wasn’t any escaping it.

‘She’s pregnant’

‘She has a nurse with her’

Ruks pulled her closer and tightly hugged. He was glad she was there for his best friend when he was scared and chickened out. He couldn’t see his best friend so hurt and sad.

***
Tejiri stared at the view ahead. He blamed himself for snatching away someone they all loved and cared bout, creating a void that might never be filled. He wasn’t allowed in last time he dropped by. He took deep breathe.

‘I might be rejected but I came by’ he comforted himself. He highlighted his car and went to the house. He was few steps away when he spotted his brother and sister carrying boxes to an open car.
‘Why are you here?’ Mine rudely asked him.
‘How is dad?’

‘Dad? Oh you mean the guy whose wife died because of your carelessness and selfishness? Well…he doesn’t want to see you’

‘Stop it’ Tega chided her. He turned to his younger brother. ‘Hi Tejiri’

‘Where is dad?’

‘I guess she….we are still upset bout how easily you gave up. We turned you away and you never came back until now. I hope you have found your peace’

‘Tega-‘

‘Is your wife dead? Is that why you are here to see dad?’

Tejiri remained calm.

‘I ran into Erica, I don’t know who she is to you but she seem to really know you. She apologized on your behalf and mentioned something bout a terminal memory loss and turbulence illness’

‘I don’t care if she is terminal or not, she killed my mother, it won’t change anything.’ Mine butt in.

‘No excuses is enough for our loss and I am truly sorry. Please I just want to see dad’

‘He is inside’ Tega told him, looking away.

‘Tega! He is not welcomed here’ she said clenching her teeth.

‘Let him go. We are taking dad with, he might not see him for a long time. He should say his goodbyes’ Tega said wrapping his arms around her.

Tejiri stepped in, looking around like he was a first time visitor in the house. It was long, way too long he was there. He went to his mother’s favourite place in the house; her wall of mementos.

He trailed his fingers over the pictures. If only he hadn’t called his mother to help calm his marital issue, she would still be with them. Guilt engulfed him. He slumped unto the floor, unable to hold back his tears.

Mr Jite was aware of the commotion outside, felt conflicted seeing his son Tejiri. He was at his house when the incident occurred and he knew it wasn’t intentional. He was sad over the loss of his wife and mother of his children but maybe he shouldn’t be so hard on his son.

He sighed. The past wouldn’t change but he wasn’t sure if he would let it go so soon. Everything around him, remind him of his wife.

He found himself walking towards his son who was crumbled on the floor. He sat besides him.

‘I know it’s not fair to you, it wasn’t intentional on your part but we will need time. I will need time to see part my pain….it is selfish of me but I do hope you understand we all lost someone we truly loved. You never got to bid her farewell and I don’t want you to. She will always be in your heart and ours’ His father explained to him.

It wasn’t fair but they all needed time to get over it. They sat in silence until Tega interrupted it.

‘We need to go dad’ he looked at his brother. ‘Dad is going away for a while’

‘Was there any plans of telling me?’ Tejiri inquired.

‘Yes’ Their father answered his question.

He watched them leave. His heart cringed in throes of agony. His mother was gone, his family gone…and his wife was next in line. He clasped his face, groaning. How did he get to lose so much in so little time?

***
It was late in the night when Tejiri got home. He met his friends Ruks and Erica waiting on him. He dropped himself unto the couch. He knew he would get it from them, if not, they wouldn’t wait up.

‘It’s late already, spill it and save all the not so thrilling air Erica’

‘I…I told her to wait with me…’ Ruks trailed off as he got a gaped expression from him. He composed himself.

‘Is there any problem at work? It’s been a really-‘ he paused. Erica was angrily glaring at him. ‘What?’

‘I am sorry. I shouldn’t have read Mrs Onoriode’s letter, I shouldn’t have chickened out, I shouldn’t have cancelled my wedding, I shouldn’t… I am so sorry you lost your mom’ he apologized quietly. ‘I applied for leave on your behalf and got you transferred to another department in the company. I figured you wouldn’t want to go on trips anymore’

Ruks could feel his burning gaze on him but couldn’t look him in the eye. Erica left her seat besides him and sat with Tejiri. Holding his arms, he gave her askance glance.

‘Ruks and I are back together.’ She announced happily.

‘Should you be holding another man’s hand in his presence?’ Tejiri teased her. She hit his arm. He winced.
Ruks chuckled.

‘Also…’

‘What is it Erica?’

‘Fegor is pregnant’

Tejiri was astonished. ‘Are you sure?’

She nodded. ‘So much has happened and we didn’t take notice it but Ada did and the hospital confirmed it.’

‘You’re going to be a father!’ Erica squeaked.

‘Congrats.’ Ruks said with a smile.

It took a while for the news to sink in. He hadn’t noticed her baby bump either, too much had happened to think he would have a reason to be happy again in so little time. His lips curled upwards into a smile.

I’m going to be a father. But Fegor….would she….please stick around longer…

Snatched

Snatched 13

Episode 13

‘If you could live this dream, would you want to wake up?’ Fegor asked.

Tejiri released her from his arms and held up her face, looking at her, he smiled. He wish he could stay in her arms but he couldn’t. He sat up and clasped his face, clearing the sleep from his eyes. He got out of bed, refusing to look at the bed to avoid being tempted to sleep in again. He had his bath and stepped out, Fegor was still in his bed.
‘Fegor?’ He called out confused. ‘I am not dreaming?’

‘I told you every morning when you open your eyes, I will be the first person you see’
‘I am awake and you are here too…so….’
‘Let’s go eat’ she said standing up.
‘I thought you had….’ He trailed off again.

He refused to utter the word alzheimer.
She raised a brow at him. ‘Had what?’
‘I am hungry’ he dragged her out for breakfast.

Erica nudged Mrs Onoriode at the sight of the married couple. She couldn’t help but smile. It had been dark for so long that a ray of light seem an illusion even though it wasn’t. She felt like the sight before her should not have to vanish but alzheimer wouldn’t let it be. More surprised than the sight is Tejiri in the dining room.

‘Have a seat’ Mrs Onoriode told them and heaped food on their plate.
‘Mom’ Fegor called her mother attention and gestured towards Erica.
‘She is Ruks fiancée’

‘What?!’ She exclaimed. ‘When did he get a girl much less engage her? Though he had always spoke of finding one true love, being happy and riding the storm into the sunset’ she said wavering her hand around, emphasising her point.
Erica, Mrs Onoriode and Tejiri shared a look. What was going on? She remembered Ruks all time words, she hadn’t lose all of her memory?

‘You know Ruks enough to know that he says those words?’
Fegor chuckled. ‘Who doesn’t know Ruks?’
‘Does it mean she didn’t lose her memory?’ Mrs Onoriode leaned close and whispered.
‘Maybe her pregnancy triggered her memory?’

‘We should get her checked’
Tejiri didn’t say a word. He just sat and concentrated on his food, he hadn’t spoken to them in a long time and didn’t know how to begin. He remained silent and calm. His interest was piqued when he heard his wife mention Ruks. It was a known fact that his wife had alzheimer but acting all normal was weird.

Tejiri didn’t have much of an appetite and their conversation didn’t help. He excused himself and stood up.
Erica and Mrs Onoriode stopped whispering.
Fegor hurriedly followed him. She caught up with him but didn’t know how to express herself. She had alot to say to him. He entered his car and she got in too before he drove off.

‘Should we be worried bout him?’ Mrs Onoriode asked from behind the curtain she stood spying.
‘He will be fine’ Erica replied. They had trailed the couple after they left the table.

***
Ruks flicked through the television channels for the nth time. Nothing caught his attention. He was worried bout his friend, but didn’t know how to reach out to him. The other day he had gone to visit him but he didn’t look at him not even a glance. He didn’t speak either. His loss had a tight grip on him, no one could blame him. First his wife had alzheimer then his mother’s death and his family blamed him.
He sighed tiredly. He tossed the remote control aside and clasped his face. He didn’t feel like going to work. Aftter weeks of drowning himself in work, he felt exhausted and a little guilt instead of his usual happy self.

His mind drifted to Erica. He missed her. He couldn’t help but feel bad for cancelation of their wedding, she didn’t deserve it. He could do better. He reached for his phone and sent her a message.

***
Mrs Onoriode waited anxiously for Ada and the doctor. She had sent for her to discuss her sudden juggled memory. She didn’t want to leave the house because her daughter and husband could be back any time. Though she really wanted to go with him, she didn’t. If she had a fit, he would call her. He hadn’t spent any time with them since the tragedy, seeing him eat with them eased their worry a little.

A knock interrupted her thoughts. She quickly went to the door, it was Ada and the doctor. She ushered them in.
She told him the changes in Fegor and her pregnancy. She was worried bout her and the changes might be good.

‘Her pregnancy will stress her body which isn’t too good but I won’t say her pregnancy is a bad thing. It will require more work from you in taking care of her and chances are her health might deteriorate sooner than expected.’

Ada glanced at Mrs Onoriode and reached for her hand to hold it. It was already hard, her grandchild would increase her worry and work load. The doctor continued.
‘She didn’t forget all of her memory. It’s possible she remembers a little bout herself and forgets completely the next one hour, three days or a week.’

‘Fegor can remember anytime and forget anytime?’

The doctor nodded. ‘It’s the reason we suggest family member to be involved on care giving because she might remember anytime and being with total strangers if she does could potentially freak her out’
Ada squeezed her hand as she noticed her eyes well up. She continued to ask the questions while Mrs Onoriode was quiet.

The doctor literally prepared them for an impending death. It would be a matter of time before she loses her speech and mobility ability, which isn’t a good stage in alzheimer. Her difficulty, fits, memory loss, fears, tendency to inflict harm would increase over the next coming weeks.
Mrs Onoriode cried her eyes out after the doctor left. Ada sat beside her, giving her support.

***
‘Do you know why we are here?’ Tejiri asked turning off the engine. He turned to her, he wanted to be sure her sudden memory wasn’t a fluke.

Fegor nodded and smiled. ‘I think so’
‘Think so?’
‘You would tell me you go to some place if you want to clear your head, think straight something of those stuff and this fits your description’ Fegor said pointing at the view ahead.

How could she remember three years and not recognize her mother three months? He wondered. He didn’t want to trouble his brain figuring it out. He would simply live in the moment, away from the obvious truth.

Tejiri highlighted the car and walked to her side of the car to open the door for her like a true gentleman. He helped her out of car and they walked the path of the grasses, heading into the shrubs filled field.
They didn’t speak to each other. They held hands and they would occasionally steal glances at each other. Tejiri drove back home after hours. He felt a sense of peace being with her.

***
Erica took a deep breathe and pressed the door bell. She didn’t know why he suddenly asked her to come to his house. She heard footsteps approach from within the house, she looked down at her clothes. She thought her knee length gown and jacket was casual enough. The door opened.

‘Hi’ Erica waved.
Ruks stared at her, he can’t seem to get enough of her each time he saw her. He realized he shouldn’t have let her go. So what if he feared the unknown, being with the one you love ease the fear.

‘Come in’ Ruks said stepping aside for her to enter. ‘What do I get you to eat or drink?’
‘I can’t stay for long, Fegor-‘
‘I understand’ He gestured her to take a seat, while he sat beside her on the couch. ‘I am sorry Erica’
‘It’s alright.’

‘I need to do this, I feel like I let you down and am losing you. I shouldn’t have cancelled our wedding, I should have talked to you, we would have sorted it out. That’s what a team does. I spend so much time avoiding you and working but it didn’t reduce my guilt and my wrong doing. You stopped asking why I cancelled our wedding’ he paused. He stole a glance at her, his eyes met hers. She had been staring at him. ‘Maybe if I didn’t cancel our wedding and didn’t read Mrs Onoriode letter, T.J’s mom would still be alive. I shouldn’t have chickened out, I am so sorry.’
Erica didn’t expect any of it. She stared blankly at him, she knew he was sorry after all, though he did avoid his friend house to avoid her.

Snatched

Snatched 12

Episode 12

‘Is it true?’ Ruks asked Erica as they walked into the house. She arched a brow.
‘Fegor’s pregnancy’
She nodded.

‘That’s not a good thing’ his voice was filled with sadness.
‘What do you mean?’

He sighed before turning to her, he held her hands halting her steps. ‘A child is a blessing always but this time around, it just adds to the difficulty and gloomy clouds hovering. Think bout it, T.J isn’t over his mother’s death, she has alzheimer-‘

‘The child didn’t come at the right time and everyone is already on their toes with caring for both of them.’ She paused. ‘I didn’t want to stay so you could visit more often, so I think you will have to get over it. I have to stay. Things got extra hard with a baby on the way and we need every support we can get, hope you know that’

‘You didn’t stop me’
‘What did?’ She asked placing a hand on her hips, with a questioning look.

Ruks headed to his friend’s room, leaving her staring at him as he walked ahead. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the answer to her question but it was an answer he couldn’t come to terms with. It was something he avoided, with hope that one day it would turn out to be a prank or a dream.

He didn’t know how to look at his friend without memories of his sudden misfortune. First his wife, then his mother and he just propelled down the hill in dolefulness. His once charming personality was gone, he was alone and lonely. Almost making him believe canceling the wedding was a great choice. He wouldn’t end up like T.J who fell in love and lost everything including himself.

He knocked on the door before entering. He met T.J gazing out the window. He went to him and sat beside him. Since he didn’t know what to say to ease his pain, he said nothing and let the silence linger.

***
Ada sat on a chair opposite Fegor’s bed. Her eyes transfixed on her, while she slept. She never expected she would one day have to care for an alzheimer patient. To her alzheimer was a folklore, meant only for knowledge in medicine, nothing more. But it took a different turn than she anticipated. Alzheimer’s was already dreadful and the roller coaster ride that accompany it was equally dreadful, capable of breaking a person.

At first she was inquisitive bout Fegor after her mother approached her agency asking for a live in nurse to care for an alzheimer patient but now she wished she wasn’t inquisitive. A few days was enough to make her wish nobody had the illness. A person with alzheimer forget who they are, those around them and feel extremely terrified of loved ones hurting them. On some days, it’s understandable that the illness speaking but it doesn’t prevent a snap of reality. A snap that drives a person crazy, depressed and into desperation, hoping for a minute when they are recognized. A minute wished for everyday but never comes.

It is heart wrenching, to look at someone you love and having them not recognize you. It is a horrific feeling only alzheimer caregiver feel. Mrs Onoriode perfectly know that feeling, it was the reason she stopped condemnation of her actions. She refuse to let others feel the hurt but sadly it wasn’t her choice to make though she had good intension. Fegor might never wake up to remember the love of people around her but it doesn’t stop people around her from remembering the love and showering her continuously with it.

Ada still had unanswered questions. What becomes of Tejiri? Will Fegor live long enough for him to overcome his guilt? Will her body be able to withstand the pregnancy stress? What happen in a moment of carelessness on her part? How long does Fegor have?

‘Ada’ Mrs Onoriode called her softly.
‘You need something?’ She asked, turning to her on her chair.
‘You should go home for the rest of the day’

Ada stood up from her chair and hugged her tightly. She locked her in her arms for few minutes before letting her go. She walked out of the room without saying a word.

***
Fegor fluttered her eyes open. She didn’t know how long she slept but she was felt a bit stiff and numb like she had been asleep for a really long time. She sat up on the bed and looked around, she didn’t recognize the room. She frowned. Why am I here?

She stood up and went out. She roamed bout the house, she was quite surprised to find her mother in one of the room. She stealthily left the room. She continued and saw a young lady on the sofa. She drew close to properly see her face but couldn’t recognize her.

‘Is she mom’s friend?’ She whispered. She resumed her tour of the house and saw Tejiri. She was so happy. She quietly joined him in bed.

Fegor didn’t know why she was in the house but as long as Tejiri her boyfriend and mother was with her, she was somewhat at peace.

***
Erica woke up with start. She checked her phone, she gasped. It was 2am, She overslept. She threw the blanket aside and ran to check on Fegor. She was tasked to keep an Fegor at night with Ada while Mrs Onoriode rested without a worry. They would always be on their feet during the day, they thought it wise to let her sleep all through the night.

Ada was told to leave early. It was just her keeping night watch. But for some reason, she overslept and was in panic mood. Five seconds was enough for Fegor to harm herself.

Erica’s eyes almost popped out of it’s socket when she found the bed empty. She couldn’t find her, she woke her mother.

‘Did you check if she went outside?’ Mrs Onoriode asked sitting up on her bed.
‘OMG!’ Erica gapped as she ran to the doors in the house. It was a relief it was locked. She wondered where she was when she realized there was a room she hadn’t checked. Tejiri’s room.

‘Maybe he carried her to his room while I was sleeping’ she tried to console herself. She was truly relieved to find her in his room, on his bed. She went to inform Mrs Onoriode before returning to her sleep.

***
Tejiri slowly opened his eyes, he was surprised to find his wife in his bed beside him staring at him. He thought he was dreaming and he confirmed it she smiled at him. Even if it was for a minute, he was somewhat happy. In the last months, he hadn’t had a moment of happiness. The loss of his mother was a major blow to him and his wife’s health added to the tragedy.

‘You kay?’ Fegor asked him softly.
He pulled her closer and buried his face in her neck, inhaling her scent. ‘I usually have scary dreams bout you, just this once, am glad you are not in pain’

‘You is not sleeping’
He frowned. Her smile grew bigger. She touched his face. ‘I am here’ with that she embraced him tightly.

In the living room, Erica eye’s were transfixed on the door. She was worried bout how Tejiri would react. She couldn’t sleep after she found Fegor in her husband’s room.

‘He would strangle her relax’ Mrs Onoriode said behind her.
‘It has been awfully quiet and I am worried’
‘Fine! I will go check on them’

‘No’ Erica yelled pulling her back. ‘Tejiri will take care of her, give them privacy’
Mrs Onoriode scoffed at her statement walking away.

Snatched

Snatched 11

Episode 11

The Jite family was entirely engulfed in grief. Months went by and their wife and mother was laid to rest but their hearts weren’t ready to accept it. Tejiri wasn’t allowed to pay his last respect because he was estranged from the family. He respected their wishes. They were angry and it would take time to heal their hurting hearts. Someone once said: home is where the heart is. But when a person isn’t welcomed at home, what becomes of the heart?
Months had gone by since Mrs Jite died but it was just like five minutes ago he had showed up only to discovered his mother died. It was a guilt he couldn’t rid himself of. If only he had answer the incessant ringing of his phone that day, maybe the result wouldn’t be so bad.

Mrs Onoriode leaned on the door frame, watching Tejiri. Some days, she felt like he was also sick. He would stare into space for a long time like Fegor, he lost his ability to function just like his wife also. They lacked motivation to live. The leave Ruks helped him take would soon be over but Tejiri was no where near stable.
She sighed quietly and walked to him. She enveloped him in a bear’s hug. She rubbed his shoulder in circular motion. ‘It will get better. Give it time’

Tejiri stared into space. Mrs Onoriode sat beside him. She tilted her head towards him. ‘I miss your smile T.J’ she started. ‘Not just your smile but everyone else. Ever since Fegor incidentally push your mom, nothing has been the same. It’s like happiness is on vacation and doesn’t want to return’ she paused. ‘Your wife is really having a tough time. Her alzheimer keeps us on our feet and-‘

‘Mrs Onoriode’ she heard Ada’s voice. She turned to the direction of the voice and saw her daughter’s nurse.
She quickly got up and followed her. She didn’t need to be told what it was. Fegor’s tantrums and fits wasn’t new. She could only try to prevent her from hurting herself or someone, though there was a nurse in the house, she didn’t leave it all to her.

***
Erica stood outside Ruks office. She contemplated going in or not. Staring at entrance door, she wondered if he would see her or not. If he refused to see her, there was nothing she would be able to do bout it. She glanced at her wrist watch, he should be in his office, she convinced herself.

‘I can just call him instead. It is so much easier.’ She slumped her shoulders. ‘I can’t blame him if he doesn’t want to see me, but I have to try.’ She took a deep breathe and walked in.
Erica bowed her head and walked in. Condolences flew in her direction. She nodded in acknowledgement and made her way to Ruks office. She knocked.

‘Come in’ came his baritone voice.
Erica opened the door and stepped in. She slowly lifted her eyes to look at him. He looked horrible and stressed. He seemed like all he did was work non stop.
‘Ruks’
Ruks looked at her. He was a bit surprised to see her in his office, usually she would call him if she needed something.

‘Is T.J…’
‘He is fine. Fegor… not so good with all the fits her memory loss is causing.’
‘So there is no problem?’

She took a seat opposite him, her eyes not leaving his. She didn’t say anything. After few minute of silence, he became uneasy. He shifted nervously in his chair. ‘Is there a problem Erica?’

‘Should there be any before I come to your office?’
‘You’re busy helping out with Fegor and-‘

Erica cut him off. ‘And you? What are you doing? All you do is work and it is written all over you. What happened to spending time with your friend? Yes, you call and check on him but you can do more. Are you holding back because of me? I can always leave Ruks. That’s why I came here, to tell you your obstacle is willingly retreating. I won’t be the reason T.J lose his best friend. He needs you, his mother in law needs you too. These months are not enough to get over the grief but with support, it gets better.’

Ruks was stunned. He didn’t expect to hear such words from her. Did he make her feel she was the obstacle preventing him from visiting his friend? When did he ever say or made her feel such?
He had not gotten over his guilt of reading the letter meant for his friend. His guilt had prevented him from going to see him, he didn’t know how to face him. He wasn’t very worried because Erica was there helping out his friend and wife.

She watched him for a while and he didn’t seem like he would try to stop her. She stood up to leave.
‘Erica wait’ He quickly went across to her side. ‘You won’t ask the reason why?’

‘Why you haven’t visited your friend?’
He shook his head. ‘Our wedding’
‘I didn’t ask back-‘
‘Why didn’t you?’ Ruks questioned interrupting her.

Erica forced a smile, turned around and walked away but his words stopped her. ‘I am sorry’ he moved towards her. He hugged her. ‘I am so sorry I cancelled our wedding. I am so sorry I walked out on you. I was scared, I didn’t know how to-‘
‘Fegor is scared, her mother is scared and worried. T.J is guilt ridden just like you, me and Mrs Onoriode, but we face each day because they need us. We can’t let our guilt stop us from being there for them.’
‘Thank you’ Ruks mumbled.

***
Mrs Onoriode rushed to the room to meet Fegor. The room was in complete disarray and her daughter crying profusely, screaming. Ada tried to get close to her but she seemed scared, she picked up a broken glass piece to defend herself. She tried pacifying her.

‘I won’t hurt you. I am your friend, I am not with weapon’ Ada raise her hands to show she isn’t armed.
Her mother watched helplessly. Each passing day, she loses idea on how to help her. She is a danger to herself, she gets new idea to harm herself.

‘Ada go get sedatives’ she said not moving from her spot.
She nodded and went to get it. After struggling for a while, they were able to get her down. They laid her on the bed and started cleaning when the door bell rang.
‘Please go get it door’ she said softly. She nodded and left.

‘Things would be different if you didn’t have memory loss ailment which is killing you. I wish I could help but I don’t know how to’ she didn’t realise a tear drop had escape her eye.
Ada walked into the room smiling, holding a white envelope. ‘It was from the hospital’ she said and handed over the envelope. She wiped her face and reached for it.

Mrs Onoriode opened the envelope with shaky hands. She brought out the sheet of paper. She gulped. ‘Just tell me what it is’
She simply couldn’t handle another bad news.
‘Fegor is pregnant’ Ada told her.
‘What?!’
‘It was the hospital that delivered it just now. We didn’t wait to collect the tests last time we were there. I guess so much happened we didn’t realise it.’

Mrs Onoriode looked at her daughter’s face, she trailed it down to her stomach. She didn’t know what to say.
‘Her husband would be so…..’ She couldn’t complete her statement. Tejiri was in grief and guilt ridden, he hadn’t spoken to anyone since his mother’s death.

Mrs Onoriode walked out of the room. She went outside the house and sat on the steps. She didn’t know how long she sat, but after a long while, Erica arrived and sat beside her.
‘How are they?’ Erica asked.
‘T.J is the same.’ She answered with grim look.

‘Fegor threw another fit?’
‘So much has happened in the last three months, two weeks and five days’
‘It will be alright.’ Erica consoled her.
‘She is pregnant’

‘Ada?! Why didn’t she tell us? We can’t let-‘
‘Fegor is pregnant’
‘That’s great news’ Erica was happy.
‘She barely remembers what happened five minutes ago, lack ability to care for herself, she has difficulty with speech, she is on a death watch…she is getting worse each day. How is her pregnancy great news to us? We watch her all day and night but she still manages to inflict harm on herself’

Erica nodded in agreement. ‘T.J is still grieving, I doubt he will be of help or be happy’ she saw Ruks approaching. She smiled faintly.

She nudged the woman besides her. She looked up and saw Ruks. She quickly stood up and hugged him.
‘I…I…’ He struggled with his words.
‘You are here, that’s all that matters. He is in his room’ Mrs Onoriode told him with a weak smile. Though he had not visited for a while, she was glad he eventually came.

Snatched

Snatched 10

Episode 10

Tejiri couldn’t bring himself to accept reality. Almost like he underwent shock and his mind subconsciously locked itself to avoid reality. He stared blankly into space. How long he stared into space, he didn’t know but the sky turned dark. A sign of an impeding water torrent, he sat unmoving in the park. Waiting. Soon it began to rain but he didn’t seem to affect him.

Despite being soaked, he didn’t blink for a second, he wanted to see her first. A blink of an eye was enough for her to disappear. He stared ahead, not bothered by anything.

***
Ruks told Mrs Onoriode everything Erica had told him. She was heart broken. She never wanted him to lose his family because of her daughter but eventually he did. She cursed herself for not stopping their relationship earlier. She was stretched out on the floor crying, beside her was Erica who also held herself responsible. She shouldn’t have told him anything. She should have understood her reason for not telling him earlier.

Ruks was scared. He had a feeling his best friend wouldn’t be the same and was scared of facing him. He scolded himself for his thought. He had to find him and ensure he was fine. He looked at the two women crying blaming themselves, he was partially to blame too. He shouldn’t have read a letter that wasn’t his, then he wouldn’t have left his mother’s side.
‘We should go find him.’ Ruks said in a small voice.
‘I will go with you’

He turned to the direction of the voice and found Fegor’s nurse. Has she been eavesdropping?

‘I had tucked in Fegor and was on my way out when I overheard what you said bout her mother in law. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can go with you to find him if you let me. They both can’t go with you’ Ada told him as if she heard his silent accusation.
Ruks glanced at the two women, they weren’t in any shape to find someone. Fegor was also in bed, taking her personal nurse was his option.
‘Let’s go’

***
Fegor slowly opened her eyes. It was dimly lit by the moon light seeping into the room. She didn’t know where she was, nothing was familiar. It scared her. She got of bed, she felt everything she could lay her hands on. She couldn’t get the hang of it. She tried to recall something, anything at all. But it was blank. Almost like no memory or knowledge in her head.

She wandered outside her room, her ears were filled with mourned sounds. She frowned at her blank brain and mind. To find a less scary place, she went into the kitchen. Her eyes instantly lit up as she saw the gas cooker. Her interest was pecked. She sauntered towards it.

She touched every part of the gas cooker, she felt herself relax. She continued exploring her new toy until she incidentally turned it on. Blue flames flared up but she wasn’t scared as she played with it.

***
‘I doubt he will be here. Let me go have a look’ Ruks told Ada turning off the engine and highlighted the car.

She knew the situation but it wasn’t in her place to butt in. Accompanying Ruks was a consolation to the scene she met earlier after tucking Fegor in bed. She stared at the clubhouse. Tejiri could be in here drowning in drinks. She finally understood her reason for writing off Fegor and her decision to leave. It wasn’t the best option but it was one to prevent heartache.

Mrs Onoriode, Erica, Ruks and Tejiri all had a reason to blame themselves. It would take a while to understand that their action was purely of good intention but unfortunately… His mother had to wake up and seek her son. If he was there, maybe it would be diff….

‘He isn’t in there’ Ruks said disappointed, breaking her trail of thoughts.
‘I…I…’
He raise a brow at her stuttering. She stopped.
‘Did you see something while I was in there?’
She shook her head. She opened her mouth to speak but stopped herself.

‘I am the only one out looking for Tejiri. If you know something or maybe saw something I missed….’ He trailed off.
‘I think he should be with his family’
‘He lost the mother, he blames himself so he should be comforting his family?’
Ada nodded.
‘I should have thought of this.’ He said turning on the car engine. He drove to his parents house.

***
Mine was going crazy after her explosion at her brother. She had lost all rational thinking. She wasn’t able to accept her mother leaving her because her favourite son refused to show up. She was there, her other brother Tega and his wife was present, even their father but it wasn’t enough. She needed one person who chose his weird wife instead.

Unable to control her rage, she stormed off to Tejiri’s house. She needed answers. Why didn’t he stay? His mother in law was around, why did he leave anyway? Why didn’t he pick his calls? Why didn’t he call back? Why did he let his mother die? Why did he ask her to help him sort out his martial affairs?

She got to Tejiri’s house in no time. She yelled his name as she stormed towards the house. Mrs Onoriode stiffen on her spot. She dreaded the next second. How could she face the roaring female?
Mine gave the door a big push though she didn’t realise it wasn’t locked. She met Erica and Mrs Onoriode wailing on the floor.

‘Why are you crying? It wasn’t your mother who died because she didn’t see her son. It wasn’t your mother who was pushed by a crazy weirdo. You said you didn’t know where he was but you appeared out of nowhere with him. You’re on-‘

‘Erica had nothing to do with it’
Mine tilted her head sharply at her.
‘I want answers.’ She screamed at Mrs Onoriode, who stood up after interrupting her. ‘Why did it have to be him? Why didn’t your weirdo daughter find some other guy? Why weren’t you present to sort out her martial affairs? Then my mother would be alive’

‘I am so sorry. My daughter didn’t push your mother intentionally. She was scared’
‘Sorry will not bring my mother back’ she retorted.
Mrs Onoriode didn’t hide her tears. ‘I really am sorry. I understand if you want justice for your mother, if it will ease your pain’
Mine snapped and attacked her. Erica sprung to her feet as she tried to get her hands away from her.

‘Attacking her won’t bring her back’
‘At least I won’t get to see them. Leave! I don’t want you anywhere near us…I just might not be able to stop myself from throwing you in prison for her death’

***
Angered by the sudden yells, Fegor threw things around. Anything she laid hands on were flung in different direction. The kitchen was soon in smoke as the flame devoured items thrown in it’s direction. She crumbled to the floor and hugged her knees tightly to herself. She just wanted the noise to stop. She didn’t want to be there anymore.

She opened her mouth to speak but didn’t know what to say. She panicked. She shut her eyes hoping the sounds will fade. In that moment, she heard a frightened voice.
‘Fegor!’ Erica stopped the fire before looked around for her in the smoke. She was trying to calm Mine when she heard crashing noise. Mrs Onoriode had taken a look at the direction of the noise but didn’t move. Erica guessed Fegor was the source but she didn’t expect flame and smoke.

‘Are you okay?’ she was stunned to see her burnt hands. She patted her shoulders affectionately, calming her. ‘It’s alright…come with me…don’t be scared’

Maybe it was because she really wanted out, she followed her obediently. Erica led to the room. Mine will be better if she let’s off some steam and Mrs Onoriode has to face them for her daughter’s deed. It was better to let them get it all out, she would simply check on them after she treats Fegor, who doesn’t seem to be in pain.

Fegor had a blank expression on her face. Not pain. Erica wiped her tears away as she lead her to sit on the bed. It was only Alzheimer that could make a person act all crazy and not feel a thing, that too with memory and knowledge.

***
Why are you here Ruks? Your friend isn’t here. He should have been here but he wasn’t. We have freed him from his responsibility towards us, he can go wherever he wants and that too without taking calls. It is painful but Tejiri will always be a reminder of our mother’s death’

Ruks walked out of the Jite’s home with his head hung low, Tega’s words echoing in his head. He met Ada waiting his car very nervous.

‘Tejiri isn’t welcomed home anymore. They are really upset.’ Ruks told Ada.
‘Where could he be?’
‘I am worried he might do something to himself in guilt.’

‘I don’t blame her for taking away her daughter. None of this would have happened’ Ada mumbled.

‘I don’t know where he could have possibly gone. He isn’t home. He isn’t at his parents, he’s not at the club wasting away. He isn’t the only one responsible for her, we all are. Erica, Fegor, her mother and myself. We all played part in it one way to get him out of the hospital to see his wife but it was out of good intention. I never wanted Mrs Jite to die. None of us did’ Ruks couldn’t hold it in anymore.

It wasn’t fair Tejiri had to take the whole blame from his family. How could he explain the ‘pure intention’ of his absence? Nothing could bring back the dead or fill the gap. It was useless to explain or plead. It was hopeless.
Ada heart ached. She felt sorry for him. He wouldn’t be easily found especially after being blamed for his mother’s death but they had to find him.

‘We should find him before he does something to himself’ Ada said after a while. Ruks opened the door of the car, it was her clue to get in.
‘If you were Tejiri where would you go?’
Ruks frowned at her.

‘He isn’t in any of the places we checked and he isn’t here. Where would he go? There must be a place he would go in a bid to get close to his mother’
He thought for a while. ‘Hospital’

‘They obvious kicked him out’
‘A place he would go with his family to spend time together….’
Ada nodded, urging him to go on.
‘I know where he is’ Ruks announced after thinking.

Snatched

Snatched 9

Episode 9

Erica was in a daze. She didn’t know how long she was stood there but when she looked around, she couldn’t find Tejiri. She panicked. She checked inside the ward, the corridor and every possible places around including the parking lot. He was nowhere to be seen. She wondered where he went. It dawned on her that Mine was no where to be found also.

She waited for you…
Maybe your presence would have avoided it
You could have asked her to stay longer
She wouldn’t be so broken
She left me…your brother and father….
I can’t forgive you

Mine’s words echoed in her ear. She gasped loudly, tears welling up in her eyes. She didn’t bother to hold them back, crumbling to the floor, she cried her eyes out. For Tejiri, For Fegor, and for the Jite family.
***

Mrs Onoriode was putting Fegor’s things into a bag, when she felt an intense stare on her. She ignored it. She knew her daughter Fegor was too ill to have an intense gaze on her. She inspected the room, not wanting to leave any item behind. When she found none, she sat on her daughter’s bed.

She was careful not to startle her. The last time it happened, Tejiri’s mother ended in the hospital. She felt strong a strong urge to caress her cheek, hold her hand, hug her….
‘She is still your daughter’
‘I will go get a taxi to-‘

‘To the airport?’ Mrs Onoriode turned sharply to the direction of the voice. She knew her plan flopped, there wasn’t any need to rub it in. The private nurse didn’t flinch under her gaze. She felt Fegor’s mother was being too hard, almost heaping blames on herself. Her daughter’s ailment wasn’t her fault.
‘I’m her personal nurse Ada, I shouldn’t interfere in my patient’s private affair-‘
‘Good.’ She stood up from the bed and walked out.

Ada sighed. Maybe this is her way of dealing with grief. Maybe she is shutting out the pain, refusing to hold unto hope. Hope of days that she would recognise her, call her mom, not scared to hold her…as simple as it is, it is hard to hold unto it. It might never come. Knowing she would never be the Fegor she knew, looking at her but missing her terribly. Her reason for leaving earlier was valid. It was hard as a mother, it wouldn’t be any lesser for a husband. She wanted to spare him the pain but despite his pain, he wanted something more from her beside her daughter. He want her.

‘Ada’
She jolted out of thoughts. She turned to direction of the voice. She found Mrs Onoriode by the door.

‘Don’t inform Mr Jite. I can easily get another nurse’
Ada blinked. ‘Are…are you threat..threatening me?’
‘Get her ready to leave. Thank you’ Mrs Onoriode turned and left.
‘Don’t inform Mr Jite. I can easily get another nurse….’ She trailed off. ‘She threatened me!’

***
Tejiri didn’t know when or how he arrived. One minute Mine was scowling and scolding him, next thing he knew, he founded himself in his parents house. He stared at the house for a long time. He wasn’t sure how he would face his mother. She would be so upset she woke up and he was absent.
‘Why are you here?’ Mine scowled at him.

‘M…mom…’
‘I told you mom couldn’t wait for you. She died Tejiri. She died. You would rather be with the woman who pushed your mother than to be with her in the hospital. She is gone now…go on be with your precious Fegor. You’re her family after all. We don’t have any relation anymore! You made mom die, how will I ever look at you again? Tell me!’ She yelled at him.

‘I left for a little while. Not more than… Why didn’t you call me? I wasn’t….’
Mine was glaring at him angrily. He was drawn to her swollen eyes from crying, how tired she was and upset.
‘Mom died?’ He mumbled. He couldn’t believe it. He was with her each day, he hoped she would wake up. He prayed for it each minute. He was stunned.

‘Mine…mom waited…’
‘Leave.’ She said turning away. ‘I don’t want you anywhere near my family, especially my father. Go be with your wife’ Mine said entering the house.
Tejiri blanked out.

***
Erica banged the door endlessly. She was territory afraid. She didn’t know where else to go. She hoped he wouldn’t turn her away, if he did, she didn’t know where she would go. She banged the door harder.
‘Coming’ a hoarse voice sounded from the house. Ruks opened the door to find…

‘Erica?’
‘Ruks…the taxi…’ She stuttered pointing at the car a little distance from her.
Ruks darted glances between the girl and the taxi. He was confused for a bit.
‘Pay the….’ She mumbled and went inside the house.

Ruks hurriedly went inside and returned with his wallet. He paid the taxi driver and went inside. He met her on the floor hugging her knees in the living room, crying.
He quickly squatted beside her. ‘Erica…what’s wrong?’ He hugged her, comforting her. He let her cry to her heart content before he spoke again.
‘What’s wrong? What happened? Please don’t cry’

‘T.J…T.J…’
‘T.J? Did something happen to him?’
Erica sniffed. ‘I…I was…’ She sobbed. ‘I searched for him. She died when he left, she waited, she yearned for him but I took him away’ She was barely audible.
He frowned. ‘What are you talking bout?’
‘I am a bad person’ she cried out shivering. He wondered what possibly shook her to this extent. He continued to calm her.

‘She died because of me’ she said still crying.
Ruks was shell shocked. She had a hand in a murder? He gently tilted her face to look at him, wiping her tears. ‘What did you do?’
Erica couldn’t get a grip on herself. She couldn’t accept Mrs Jite died because of her. She wasn’t bad to take away someone’s mother. ‘Mrs…Jite…’

‘Tejiri’s mother?’ He questioned.
‘She died’ she twisted herself in his arms to face a shocked Ruks. ‘I promise Ruks…I swear… I…I…I didn’t…’ She swallowed. ‘I didn’t do…intentionally’
‘How did it happen? Where? When?’
She continued crying.

‘Tejiri Jite’s mother is dead’ it sounded like a question. He hadn’t had time to catch up with Tejiri since he returned from his honeymoon. He only knew Erica spent more time with him as she would visit the office frequently to see him and go out with him. He thought nothing bout i t except she was avoiding him. How did she end up dead.

‘Where is Tejiri?’
‘I was standing there, I turned, he was gone’
‘I left Tejiri in the hospital with Fegor and her mother. How…?’ He paused to think. If something did happen, he had to be there for his friend. ‘When last did you see him?’
Erica was frightened. She didn’t know how to face him. ‘I can’t…’

‘Listen to me Erica’ he wiped her tears. ‘You are not a bad person, I am sure there is a misunderstanding somewhere. You would never hurt anyone. You reach out to a person without asking nor expecting any favors. You have a good heart. You didn’t kill her’ he hugged her tightly. ‘I need you to tell me where he is. He is alone and he needs someone’
‘I don’t know’ she said in a small voice, tears streaming down her face.

‘Take a deep breath. Tell me exactly what happened, don’t rush’ he told her calmly.
***

Tejiri was shocked. He couldn’t believe when he stepped out, his mother woke up, yearning for him. He shouldn’t have left her side. Slowly he made his way to her favorite spot. A park in town. She would always bring him and his siblings to the park, to spend time with them.
He thought if he stayed at her spot, she would eventually visit and he would ask for forgiveness. Then his family wouldn’t be so upset with him, they would accept him again.
****

‘Get her into the car’ Mrs Onoriode told Ada exiting the taxi she brought. She didn’t want to go to Tejiri’s house but she had no choice. She couldn’t pull through her plans to leave. She was stranded. If she went to a hotel, it would draw attention to herself like last time.
She gave the driver T.J’s address. She hoped he was home and if he spent time around his wife, he would finally understand her reason to leave.

Mrs Onoriode caught a glimpse of Ada in the rearview mirror. She gave her a slight nod. She sneered before turning to look out the window. After Tejiri found her, she promised not to leave again.
***

Ruks didn’t care bout the rise of the sun. He needed to find his best friend. Last night was the most terrible for his friend. He had checked places he could be but he wasn’t there. Erica was curled up in the front seat, crying. He glanced at her, before reaching out to her. She grabbed his hand immediately.

He hoped Tejiri was home. He told Erica to stay put while he checked his house. He ran to the door and knocked. It was opened immediately.

‘Where is T.J?’
‘He left the hospital with Erica hours ago. How is she? The emergency is resolved right?’
Mrs Onoriode couldn’t help but get a bad vibe while looking at him. He seemed bothered and he was searching for his friend…in a haste.

‘What happened?’