“You are bleeding ma”, the statement cut through Tiffany’s racing thoughts. She looked up at the lady sitting across from her, the lady to whom she owed her life. Tiffany noticed the worried expression on Shola’s face…. Yes Shola, that’s her name. Tiffany knew that name would forever be dear to her heart. Tiffany looked down at her bleeding feet and said “I know I’m bleeding, the wound is quite deep, don’t worry once Dr. Kola is done, I will have him check it… Shola, please don’t call me ma, I’m Tiffany and we are probably age mates. There’s no need for you to call me ma” Tiffany scoffed and rolled her eyes playfully.
“Actually… I didn’t mean your feet, I meant the side of your head and your arm” Shola said as she pointed at Tiffany’s right arm. Tiffany looked at her arm and saw the large gash in her arm. She touched her head and felt the moistness of her blood. It was only then she realized that she actually felt pain from those areas. The rush of adrenaline from the past two hours was probably preventing her from feeling as much pain as she should actually be feeling. Her mind went back to the events of that morning. She felt like she had just gone through a scene in a thriller movie of some sort. What if she had ignored the phone call as it had become her habit since losing Brian? What if she didn’t believe Shola? She remembered Shola’s shakey voice has she said “Please don’t call the police… please just come alone. Come to the address I will send in a message. Please trust me my life and ….” Victor’s hurried footsteps on the staircase cut through her thoughts, “everything is going to be perfect now… ” she thought.
Victor got into the smaller living room of their duplex where Shola and Tiffany were seated. He was alarmed by the injuries on Tiffany, “Babe! Oh my God! What happened? Were you ambushed? Who did this? You need a Doctor? What’s going on?” Tiffany tried to stop Victor’s questions, her heart felt warmed as she realized how worried Victor must have been after she called him asking him to come home because there was an emergency. She was a lucky woman and she couldn’t help herself from chuckling as she said “Calm down Victor, I am fine”. Victor assessing the wounds on his wife was getting more confused “You don’t look fine to me, you need to go to the hospital. I am taking you there right now! You can explain to me what happened on the way but your health comes first, before you get any infections” Victor reached for his phone “I’ll call Dr. Kola…”
“Daadaa!” Victor heard what sounded like Brian’s voice, he turned around to see Dr. Kola carrying Brian who was already stretching out his arms for Victor to carry him. Victor was in shock, this was his son. His son that was supposedly dead. He took Brian from Dr. Kola in disbelief, Brian was real, he looked leaner but he was Brian. He hugged his son and his eyes began to tear up, he closed his eyes and said a short prayer in his head; oh God please let this not be a dream. He opened his eyes, Brian was still in his hands. Tiffany was looking up at him with that mischievous look that always turned him on, the look that had been scarce on Tiffany’s face since the loss of their son. “This is real right? I’m not dreaming… or am I?”
“I need to get bandages and some other items for Tiffany’s wounds, it looks like she would be needing a few stitches but let me get some stuff, I’ll be back shortly” Dr. Kola said and walked out of the room. “What’s going on here? Tiff? Brian! Brian is alive! How? What happened?” Tiffany smiled and relaxed into the chair she was actually beginning to feel tired and woozy she said, “Victor meet Shola, she was a staff at Brian’s crèche before the collapse and she was the one I handed Brian to that fateful day before I left the Creche” Tiffany looked from Victor to Shola “Shola meet my husband; Brian’s father”. Victor looked at the lady whose presence he had been oblivious to before, Shola responded and greeted Victor. Tiffany continued “Shola, can you please tell Victor everything you told me?”
Shola looked down at her palms, she was still hoping and praying her regrets would not be so much concerning her decision. She knew with her actions from that morning, it was over between her husband and her. He would definitely not take her back. She looked up at Tiffany who gave her a reassuring smile then looked at Victor and started to recount her story. How she had stepped out of the building with Brian after Tiffany left the Creche. She had taken him because he wouldn’t stop crying and she knew he loved going out, so she had thought that would keep him quiet as she also needed to buy lunch. It was against the rules of the crèche for her to take Brian out but Brian was determined not to stop crying and she was hungry and nobody was watching so she went out. He kept quiet as soon as he got out of the building. Not long after she crossed to the other side of the road, she had heard the loud noise from the crèche. She went on to explain how scared she was when it happened, calling her husband, telling him how she escaped with a baby.
“Don’t go back there, just come home with the baby, you said no one knows you are out and everyone in the Creche is most likely dead right? Just come home and I will handle it” those were the words Shola’s husband had said to her after the collapse. Shola narrated how her husband had convinced her that they could make money out of Brian by asking for a ransom from his desperate rich parents. She accentuated that she only reluctantly agreed after her husband reminded her that it was because of their poverty they lost their own daughter too and that it was a blessing from God that Brian was with them for them to make some good money. She went on to describe how her husband got their phone numbers and they had agreed that Tiffany would be the best person to call after they heard that Brian was the only child after several years of waiting.
“Things went downhill after my husband decided to change plans the day I was to call you for the ransom… he said that he found a ritualist who could use Brian as a sacrifice so we would become insanely wealthy. I had become fond of Brian by then, he’s a very lovable child. I also know what it feels like to lose a child, so I couldn’t bring myself to agree to killing Brian” Shola paused to clean off the tears from her eyes and blow her nose. “My husband changed towards me when I didn’t agree. He took Brian and me to an uncompleted building and locked us up there. Apparently the ritualist had traveled for some days so my husband felt he needed to restrain me and keep me away so I wouldn’t ruin his plans. The ritualist was to come back today. I knew I had run out of time so I somehow managed to steal his phone and replaced it with a bar of soap when I hugged him as he left, pretending to have come to my senses by agreeing with his plans “Tiffany smiled at Shola and continued the story “So she called me, warning me to be fast that her life and Brian’s life depended on it. All I needed to hear was Brian’s name and I raced down to the address she sent to my phone”
Tiffany enumerated with pride how she found Shola and Brian only to realize that Shola’s husband was close behind. She had made the decision of tying Brian unto Shola’s back so she could carefully climb out the window while she would manage to hold off Shola’s husband. Shola got down safely just as soon as her husband managed to open the door she had tried to secure with a metal table. She had no time to climb down carefully like Shola did, so she jumped down. “I most likely got the injury on my arm from the jump, I landed on my side but while we were running towards the car as her husband was chasing us, I stepped on a sharp glass. My fancy slippers were not ideal for the adventure I suppose” Tiffany laughed with pride “Well we got into the car right on time and I sped away like a mad woman”
Shola said amidst tears “I’m sorry for causing you so much trouble, I didn’t intend for it to end like this. I allowed myself to be used by my husband to do evil, I am so sorry. Please I don’t want to go to jail or face any charges, please I am sorry…” Victor with Brian already dosing off to sleep in his arms walked up to her and gave her a pat on her shoulder “It’s okay Shola, if anything we are grateful to you and we owe you a great deal, because of you Brian is alive. I don’t care about any other thing, because of you Brian was not in that building for that we are grateful”. “Yeah Shola, although if I had to go back in time I would just simply take Brian with me that fateful day but trust me if I had to jump through a window, have cuts and bruises, risk my life and fight your crazy husband all over again to save Brian… I would happily do it but of course with a better footwear” Shola looked up at the family she had only just met, it was obvious their home was based on love, the understanding and playfulness only pointed at the fact that they were close. Maybe in another life she would have this… for now she was grateful for the fact that she had helped put smiles on the faces of loving parents who had thought they had lost their only son “Thank you for understanding” Shola said.
“Yeah it’s cool” Victor said as he put sleeping Brian on the couch, he walked towards the door and bolted it. He paced back and forth and stopped in front of Tiffany “So I really would love to boast about how my wife is a brave woman whose love for her son made her turn into a real life hero… however we need an official story to explain how we got Brian back without getting Shola into any more trouble” Tiffany got up and limped towards her husband, the pain was finally kicking in, she held her husband and looked into his eyes and whispered “now this is what I’ve been solving in my head and me holding you now just made me figure out the last piece of the puzzle. So I will take it from here”. Tiffany let go of her husband and looked at Shola then dramatically cleared her throat and said “So this is the official story….”
A night can never defeat sunrise
1. Please drop the official story they should use that would protect Shola and somehow punish her
husband at the same time not put Tiffany and her husband into any kind of mess.
2. What are your thoughts on the story as a whole?
3. Is there anything you could have done better if you were in Tiffany’s shoes?
4. What are your thoughts on Shola’s character?
5. See! I didn’t kill the child.
New beginnings has officially come to an end. Watch this space for the next short story series – The Triangle