Something terrible has just happened. The groom has died on the wedding day, in front of the whole congregation, in the presence of the ministers of God. The bride fainted, the congregation scattered, the officiating ministers were confused and everybody was running helter-skelter. Somebody called upon his wife and signaled to her to let them go straight home. Another ran out of the church before he realised he has not collected his newspaper from the boy who borrowed it. Two people lost their phones in the pandemonium. Janet and Sandra were wailing-the bride needed attention!
Somewhere secretly some people were praying fervently with their bibles in their hands, speaking in tongues. They were intercessors. They believed in prayers, but to what extent will their faith help in this situation? Then an ambulance arrived. They put the dead body in it. That was when it became cleared that the groom has gone and the cry of the mourners rose higher.
That was not the first time Linda would be experiencing such tragedy. Her first love died even before any other person knew they were dating each other. The second died a week to their traditional wedding and this one died on the wedding day. She was certain it was not coincidental; perhaps she fell from the back of her mother. But her mother has denied such belief, telling her, her tragedies wee mere unfortunate incidences, but can she believe? Her mother’s strict warning against her wedding was another reason for her to suspect that a bad incidence was on the way and now that it had happened, she was ready for the worst, but first she decided to know the cause of her tragedy.
Like a movie star, she broke loose from her friends who were comforting her and ran towards her room. Her friends ran after her, she got to her room and jammed the door. Her action was so surprising and terrifying that the only meaning Sandra could read to it was that she had run mad, so when other people were struggling to force the door open, Sandra was busy on the phone calling the psychiatrist.
Linda entered and went straight to her wardrobe, she opened it. Beneath her clothes was hiding her pistol. She took it and get ready for action. When the door was finally opened, the first person to enter was Janet. She was confronted by the tiny nozzle of the gun.
She wanted to scream, she wanted to plead for favour, she wanted to pray for mercy, all at the same time but words failed her. She just stood motionless and speechless. Others followed and were faced with a similar condition.
Linda ordered them to an adjourning room and locked them up. She got to the sitting room and found Sandra; she ordered her to another room and locked her up. In a jiffy, she jumped over the fence to avoid the gateman and went straight to where her mother was.
Everybody was surprised to see her. She told her mother she wanted to talk with her confidentially. So they both went to a separate room. There Linda told her mother she wanted to know the cause of her tragedies. Her mother told her that her tragedies were unfortunate acts of God and no human can explain the cause. Unconvincingly, Linda took out her gun and threatened to kill herself and her mother if she refuse to tell her.
Her mother knew she wasn’t bluffing, so she told her the real cause of her problems but what she told her was surprising, so unbelievable that she fainted when she heard.
Deaconess Felicia Akinwale was a renowned Christian. A good example to new believers. A Mother in Israel, a Prophetess and a Deaconess. Her husband, Pastor Akinwale was a co-founder of a popular church with over seven thousand members in Lagos alone. He was a perfect preacher and a good singer. He was talented with the gift of tongue and interpretation of tongues. He dreams and he can interpret dreams perfectly. So for Linda to believe that her parents, whom she respected so much, can go to an herbalist for a child no matter the number of years of barreness was difficult for her. But what really made her fainted was that her mother told her that the herbalist has made her vow that she would not allow her to marry any man on earth because she has already had a husband in the sea where she was taken from. She was a child of a devilish vow and was destined never to get married.
“You cannot understand my situation,” Linda told Sandra
“I need not understand you, but promise me you are not going to go crazy again because I can’t handle you alone,” Sandra replied.
Linda pitied Sandra. “This stainless girl cannot do anything to stop my action,” she thought to herself.
Since she had been revived in her mother’s house she had determined that she would kill herself. She has fainted three times in the past twenty four hours and she wished she would just faint and never come back to life again. Janet has seized her gun and has removed all dangerous objects in the house, but she has some quantities of niposin, a deadly poison.
“You cannot stop me, Stainless” Linda said, calling Sandra by her nick name.
She moved towards the fridge at one corner of the room. Sandra suspected she was about doing something dangerous. She wanted to follow her but it appeared something held her back. Linda opened the fridge and took out a small black bottle. Now Sandra was sure she wanted to harm herself, yet she was held back.
Linda opened the bottle and said “Before you get close to me I would have been on my way to hell,” then she drank the content.
Sandra rushed towards her. Linda ran to her room. She closed the door. Janet has removed the lock on the door, but Linda kept the door closed by supporting it with all her weight. Sandra pulled with all her effort, but she was too light for Linda’s weight. She tried but all in vain until the effect of the poison started making Linda loose energy and consciousness, then the door was opened.
Sandra carried Linda to the sitting room she did not know what to do. She was confused, and then she saw the telephone box. She ran towards it and called a doctor.
Habby and Parker were friends. They have been friends since childhood. Habby was a born again Christian but Parker never go to church nor mosque. More than that, he was a kleptomaniac. He would steal everything he could lay hand on, whether valuable or valueless.
“If you can have just a session of deliverance service with my pastor, you will be set free of your problem” Habby told Parker as they were climbing up the stair case to Doctor Jackson’s office
“Who told you I have a problem” Parker queried
“But you know yourself” Habby replied.
They got to Jackson’s office and were told Jackson was busy attending to Linda. They chose to wait for him. While they were waiting, Janet came; she asked after Linda and was directed to where Linda and Jackson were. When Janet was told that the doctor was with her friend and will want to see her she left with such a hurry that she forgot her handbag at Jackson’s office. Jackson told her that Linda was okay but he cannot discharge a suicide victim alone without handing her over to somebody to prevent repetition of her action. Though Linda claimed she took to suicide because she lost a loved one and that she has overcome the shock now, Jackson still stressed the importance of keeping a close watch over her. The bill has already been paid so Linda was released to Janet.
Habby left his brother’s office briefly and returned. When he got back he saw Parker closing Janet’s handbag. He has some money in his hand.
“Return the money,” Habby said.
“Is it your money?” Parker asked.
“I said return the money or I will report you to my brother.”
“Go ahead, maybe it is your brother’s money,” then Janet entered
“I forgot my bag,” she said.
Linda was feeling lonely. The harmattan was not helping either. It was two days after she was discharged from the hospital, three days after her suicide attempt, she thought about four days ago. The day that supposed to be her most memorable day. The day she had been looking forward to. She thought about the happy and glamorous mood the day had started with, the kind of guests that have graced the wedding occasion, but suddenly, by virtue of a devilish vow, the day turned to a tragic day, a bad Saturday that created an unforgettable bad memory for her.
As she was feeling the cold she felt loneliness as well. Her friends have accidentally or deliberately abandoned her. Sandra took her to the hospital after her suicide attempt and has not come to see her after that. Janet took her from the hospital to her own house. But last night, she went out with her boyfriend and has not returned.
The picture of her dead husband came to her or perhaps her fiancé, for he has not given her ring nor signed the wedding certificate before the tragedy occurred. Then the telephone rang. She stood up and moved towards the box. As she was going the harmattan was making her hair to fly to right and left.
“Hello! Who is speaking?”she said as she lifted up the receiver.
“Hello, its Doctor Jackson” a deep masculine voice replied.
“Hey! Doctor!” She shouted with such an excitement that the man at the other side was surprised.
“Hello, hope no problem” Jackson asked surprisingly.
“Not at all Doctor, I am only happy that you called”
“Who is speaking?” Jackson asked.
“Linda. Do you want to speak with Janet?”
“Not really. I just want to be sure she is guiding you”
“But I am not a kid Doc. and I enjoy life”
“All right, keep fit, life is good”
“Hold on Doc.” Linda said quickly
“What is it?”
She kept quiet
“You were saying something”
“Yes, I wanted to say something”
“But you have forgotten?”
“Then go on. I am listening”
“I wanted to say ………”
She stopped and became quiet again
“Hello, are you still there?” Jackson asked
“Yes, I am here.”
“Then go on. I am listening.”
“Doctor, can you please come over? she requested
“To your place?” he asked
“To Janet’s place. Do you have her address?”
“Yes. I have it in your file.”
“So will you come?”
“Maybe when I close from work today.”
“No! Please come now.”
“But I can’t, I am at work.”
“Please Doctor, come now,” Linda pleaded
“O.k. I will be on my way now.”
“I will be expecting you,” Linda said as she dropped the receiver.
She knew she had acted foolishly. Why did she invite the doctor? Certainly there was nothing to discuss with him, but she was lonely and she needed to talk with somebody and a man will be better – a handsome, soft-spoken man like Doctor Jackson.
“I have been here for the past fifteen minutes and you have not said anything” Jackson said as he sipped the cold water he accepted from Linda
“But what did you want me to say Doc.?
“You invited me here. At least it must be for a reason.”
“Yes I wanted to tell you about myself and my problems.”
“Then go ahead”
“But you have known already.”
“What? I hardly know you Linda.”
Maybe Doc., but you have known everything I wanted to tell you.”
“Okay, tell me again,” Jackson insisted.
“Doctor, I need not tell you again that my husband is dead. I need not tell you again that I am lonely. I need not tell you again that I need a companion. Maybe I may need to tell you that my friends have deserted me. Doctor, I need someone to console me. My life is collapsing”
The doctor looked at her; he saw a genuine call for attention. He pitied her. What a beautiful and lovely girl! He noticed tears dropping from her face. The tears made her look more feminine. It had been long that he has seen a matured lady crying softly last. He felt an urge to wrap her in his palm then he rose up and moved towards her. He sat beside her; she rested her head on his chest. She relaxed completely. The tears continued dropping. He took out a white handkerchief from his breast pocket and started cleaning her face, and then the door opened. Janet stood at the door way.
Janet saw Linda relaxing completely on Jackson’s chest while Jackson was cleaning her face. She waited for few seconds at the entrance. Should she go in or turn back? She asked herself. She waited momentarily, then she closed the door and moved back.
Habby was reading his best Bible verse, the book of Luke chapter 17 verse 6. It was his best verse simply because it was his pastor’s best verse and his pastor was his best friend, mentor, hero and role model.
It reads “So the Lord said ‘If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you”
“Oh boy! I don’t know when you now turned to a pastor.” Parker who was sitting beside him said.
“Parker, you need a deliverance. Come to my church and let my pastor pray for you.” Habby replied.
“Am I sick?” Parker asked examining all his body.
“Yours is more than sickness, Parker, don’t deceive yourself. Come to my church. I trust my Pastor”
“Let your Pastor pray for his family first” Parker replied then Jackson entered with Linda.
“Welcome bros” Habby said. Jackson did not replied, he just went straight to his room and Linda followed him.
“Is that not the babe?” Parker asked.
“Which babe? Habby asked back.
“The one that wanted to kill herself.”
“Yes. So you can still remember her.”
“Men! Doctors dey enjoy o,” Parker said in pidgin English.
“You are not serious.”
When Jackson and Linda came out of the room, Jackson called Habby and the two of them moved out of the house.
“How many times will I tell you that I don’t want to see that stupid thief in my house again? Jackson said angrily.
“But brother, it is not his fault. My pastor used to say it is the work of the enemies”
“Keep shut! Now go and send him out” Jackson said and walked towards his car. Linda followed him.
Habby went back inside and saw Parker coming from his room.
“Where are you coming from?” he asked.
“From the toilet”
“No you are not coming from the toilet. You have gone to steal something”
“Okay, let me search you”
“No. You are not searching me” Parker protested.
“I am searching you” he insisted.
Linda was not sure whether she was in love or not. “This Doctor is cool, handsome, nice, rich, caring and lovely. But is it not too early to fall in love again?” she thought. At the same time she knew she was not growing younger. They said love is a thing of the heart. The moment she was rescued by the Doctor her heart has clung to him. When she heard his voice on the phone two days later, his voice warmed her heart, when she placed her head on his chest, her heart burnt like hell. Then he took her home, straight to his bedroom. There she surrendered everything to him. But was she not endangering this innocent man’s life? Three men have gone!
As Linda was thinking about Jackson, Jackson too was thinking about Linda. She was pretty, very beautiful, highly educated and literate. He believed she was just the best for him. But why did she refuse to marry him? She had told him in a very clear tone that she cannot marry him. Is he not good enough as a husband or has she not overcome the shock of her formal husband’s death? Did she think it is too early to start another affair? Well, Jackson has a taste for quality and this lady did not fall short of it. Whatever it may take, he decided he was going to ensure he marry her.
Habby was worried; something kept telling him that this lady his brother was following has something to hide. She was too beautiful to be ordinary, too smart to be natural. She looked like a goddess, she walked like a mermaid. Perhaps she was one of the ladies his Pastor used the book of proverb 7:27 to describe or the one in the book of revelation chapter 17.
“Hello, Habby, you are deep in thought” Jackson said as he tapped Habby who did not notice his arrival till he was tapped.
“Welcome brother, you came late, hope no problem?”
“No, just spending some time with Linda.”
Habby saw an opportunity to discuss Linda’s issue.
“Sorry bros, I have a feeling against that your girlfriend.”
“You have something against her?” Jackson asked surprisingly.
“No. Just a natural feeling.”
“O.k, share your feelings.”
“She looks as if she came from the sea.”
“How do you mean?”
“I feel she is a sea goddess” Habby dropped the bombshell.
That night Jackson could not sleep, she was thinking about Linda and about Habby. Habby told him Linda is from the sea, though he said it was a natural feeling, he has no evidence to support his suspicion but Jackson knew Habby very well, since the time he has become a Christian fanatics his feelings are always very accurate. Will it be accurate this time? If yes that would mean trouble. Jackson was not ready to marry a goddess and at the same time he did not want to lose Linda. He thought about Linda again. How he met her, how they became friends, how she has refuse to date him, how he has struggled to win her heart. Does this beautiful lady look and behave like a mermaid? Perhaps he needed to see Habby and demand better explanation.
He looked at his wristwatch. It was eleven thirty. Habby must have slept, but he will wake him up and apologize for disturbing his sleep. He stood up and moved to the door.
As he opened the door, he was confronted by Linda, wearing black suit. He was shocked; he wanted to rush back but later summoned courage and waited.
“How did you get here at this time?” he asked.
“We need to talk Jackson,” Linda said neglecting his question.
After they have settled down in the sitting room Jackson asked the question again
“Linda, how did you get here at this time of the day?”
“Habby let me in,” she replied
“How? He must have slept.” He asked again not satisfied with the first answer.
“I tried your number, it didn’t go, so I called his number, he woke up, came out and opened the gate and the door for me. I was about knocking your door when you opened the door.”
Still not satisfied with the answer, Jackson asked
“Linda, tell me the truth, are you from the sea?”
Habby knocked at the door of Linda’s office and entered without waiting for a reply. He went straight to a sit directly opposite Linda.
“Good morning sister, Linda, I have come to apologize.”
“Apologize for what?” Linda asked
“I heard everything you discussed with my brother yesterday. I caused it all.”
“I was the one who told my brother that you are a sea goddess.”
“I know but that has not made you offend me in any way.”
“Well, have you forgiven me?”
“You did not offend me”
“Still tell me you have forgiven me for my conscience will not let me rest. My pastor used to say our conscience is our judge on this earth”
“Okay, I have forgiven you” Linda said.
“Thank you.” He said, rose up and walked slowly towards the door. When he got to the door, he looked back and said “Sister, there is a solution if you admit that you have a problem”
Linda bowed her head in submission. Certainly she knew she had a problem but can she confess that to Habby her fiancé’s blood brother? Habby took out a copy of the Holy Bible from a bag he was carrying and slowly walked back to Linda.
“Take sister, this may help you” he said
“I have one before” she said.
“It doesn’t matter” Habby said, dropped the Bible on her table and quietly walked out of her office.
There is something very important that I want to discuss with you,” Linda told Jackson on the phone.
“So when shall we meet?” he asked
“Will you pick me when you close this evening?”
“O.k. I will”
By 6:00p.m Jackson picked Linda and they drove to a garden near Linda’s work place.
“What did you want to tell me” Jackson asked.
“All this while I have been hiding something from you” she replied.
“And what is that?”
Linda remained quiet. It seemed she was afraid of saying it. Jackson could easily sense that. He became more uneasy as she continued looking more disturbed.
“I am listening, Linda”
“I am sorry for not having told you before”
“It does not matter, it ceases to be love if it ceases to be secret” Jackson said.
She kept quiet again.
“Tell me Linda. I promise it won’t stop our marriage”
“But you cannot marry me”
“If I don’t marry you then I won’t marry at all”
“The sacrifice of marrying me is too high you cannot pay it.”
“I had known the cost of marrying you before and I am prepared to lay down my life because of you”
“How do you know?” she asked.
“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eyes and hears what is inaudible to the ear.”
“Are you saying you are ready to do anything because of me?” Linda asked.
“I know of those that have died but I am not scared”
“Are you sure?”
“Linda, I told you lovers alone wear sunlight. Woe unto the man who has not learnt while young to put his hope, trust and life in the dictates of his heart. Flowers are for lovers, roses are for honeymooners. My heart says you are forever for me”
“Now that you have known my cross, what is your plan? Linda asked
“I will follow the rainbow to the end. If you are ready to be mine forever, I will follow you and make a heaven out of hell” Jackson replied.
“Can you die for me?” she asked.
“If I die for you I will go to Silibaquees, the paradise of lovers”
Linda moved very close to him and whispered
“I was born never to get married”
“I had known and will break the jinx with my last breath”
She moved closer to him and said
“True love is like a ghost, everybody talks about it but very few have seen it. Today I know, I am among the very few that have seen true love”
He gently pulled her towards himself. She rested her head on his shoulder and remained quiet. Both were silent for a long time looking directly into each other’s eyes. Then Jackson talked.
“I saw something in your eyes.”
“It is in yours too” Linda replied.
“What did you see?” Jackson asked.
“I saw a lady, beautiful and elegant. She sent me to you”
What is her message?” Jackson asked again.
“She said she loves you” Linda replied.
“So did the man I saw in your eyes too. He said he will die for you”
It was 7’Oclock, the closing time of the garden. The gardener came in to announce to them that the garden has closed. He saw two figures stuck together in the dark. They were kissing passionately with tears dropping from the lady’s eyes. “This is tears of love,” he thought. He slowly turned back and left them to satisfy themselves.
The struggle for their survival started that day. They weighed all available options. Linda ‘s mother told them the herbalist that did the medicine for her when she was barren. He was called ‘Baba Osun’. He was a very popular herbalist in her home town. Linda and Jackson decided to visit him. One Sunday, they went to the village to meet Baba Osun.
“My daughter, it was the fault of your mother. I asked her to come back after the rituals but she did not.” the old man said after they have narrated the issue that brought them.
“So is there any solution Baba?” Linda asked.
“Yes my daughter, there is a solution”
“Thank God!” both Jackson and Linda said together.
The herbalist stood up. He was very old. He managed to walk to a place he hung a local chain. The chain was made with traditional beads with three small sea snail shells attached to it.
“Take this. It is called gbekude” he said. Linda stretched her hand to collect it
“No, let your husband collect it. He is the one that needs it.”
Jackson collected it and the old man continued his speech.
“My son, the prince of the sea, who is the divine husband of your wife, will want to attack you by exactly midnight on your wedding day, but if this chain is on your neck, he will not be able to do anything for you”
“Are you saying this chain must always be on my neck? Jackson asked
“No my son, he will not attack you before the midnight of your wedding day and if you escape death on that night you have escaped it forever. Only if you escape death on that night, I repeat. ”
“But with this chain on his neck he will escape death” Linda said like asking.
“Yes. That is why I am giving you”
“So this chain must be on my neck on my wedding day” Jackson said
“Exactly” the old man replied.
“Are you sure the chain will work Baba because I am getting afraid.” Jackson asked.
“Don’t be afraid my son. It worked for Olugbon, it worked for Aresa, it will certainly work for you”
Jackson did not know who Olugbon and Aresa were but he guessed they too must have had similar problems like his. They thanked the old man, gave him some amount of money and left.
That day, they started planning their wedding.
The wedding date was fixed. It would be done in December. Some people thought it was too early for Linda to remarry, some felt it was necessary.
The reception took place on a field facing the church. The field was specifically constructed for hosting events. People trooped in, in large number. Almost everybody in the street came to get a glimpse of what was happening as a popular musician was invited to stage a live performance.
Habby stopped a bike in front of the reception ground. He has been sent by his brother home to bring him his tablet.
“Hey! Best boy, where are you going? Parker shouted from a distance.
“I am going home. Come along”
“What is the matter, the party has just started?
“I just want to bring something for the groom”
They boarded the bike together. When they got home, Habby hurriedly opened the door and asked parker to wait at the sitting room while he went to Jackson’s room.
Parker was alone when the telephone in the sitting room rang.
“Hello, who is speaking?” Parker asked as he picked up the receiver.
“It’s Pastor Jordan. I want to speak with Habby,” the man at the other end replied.
“Hold on,” Parker said then he called Habby.
“Habby, Pastor Jordan!” he shouted.
Habby rushed out for joy as he heard the name of his pastor who has travelled for some time. He was so excited that he forgot to lock his brother’s room.
While Habby was talking with his pastor, Parker quietly tiptoed to Jackson’s room. He looked around for what he could steal.
Habby finished his discussion and looked for Parker. He saw him coming from his brother’s room.
“Where are you coming from. How many times will I tell you never to go beyond the sitting room?
“I am coming from the toilet” Parker lied.
“It is a lie. You are coming from my brother’s room”
“Your brother’s room. What is my business there?”
“O.k. I am going to search you”
“Oh boy! You always embarrass me with this your constant searching. You are not searching me this time” Parker protested.
“There is no embarrassment there. It is only you and I that are here”
Reluctantly, Parker raised up his hands.
“And if you search me and see nothing what will happen?”
Habby ignored the question and started searching him. In the first pocket, he found a sum of seventy five naira and a pen.
“That is my money” Parker said. Habby returned it. He checked the second pocket. There he found only pieces of paper. He returned them and checked the breast pocket. He did not see anything.
“Obby,” Parker said and set to move, then Habby noticed his trousers have a back pocket.
“Wait a minute” Habby said and dipped his hand into his back pocket. He brought out an old fashioned chain with small shells of sea snail attached to it.
“Who owns this?” Habby asked
“Look like your own?” Parker asked back.
Reluctantly, Habby put the gbekude chain back to Parker’s pocket and they both started to walk out of the compound.
“My pastor is back,” Habby said.
“Congratulations,” Parker replied.
The party ended exactly 7:00pm. It was full of glamour. There was no night party. By 7:30 everybody has gone. The couple started receiving text messages from friends and well wishers.
“Now I am finally yours,” Linda said as they entered Jackson’s bedroom.
“Yes. It is a dream come true,” Jackson replied.
“It is a great day. I have let the whole world know that I have returned to the bone from which I was made.”
“But remember we still have a hurdle to cross this midnight.”
“How can I forget? Are you afraid?” Linda asked.
“Sincerely, I am” Jackson confessed
“Don’t be afraid, I have known Baba Osun for years. He has a very good reputation”
“But this is a matter between life and death and we can’t afford to fail”
“We won’t fail.”
“The man claimed two people have used the chain before”
“Which two people?”
Jackson thought briefly and then said
“Olu something and Haares”
“Oh, Olugbon and Aresa. Do you think they were human being?”
“Are they robot?” Jackson asked.
“I am not sure of what they were. I think they were factual characters in Yoruba ancient movies,” she said and then noticed that Jackson was confused.
“Any problem?” she asked.
“I am looking for the gbekude chain. I put it here before leaving for the church in the morning”
“This is a very expensive joke” Linda said.
“It is going beyond a joke because I am sure I put it there and now it is not there”
“Has anybody entered this room since then?”
“Only Habby that I sent home during the reception time”
“Then call him and asked him,” Linda said almost shouting.
Jackson called Habby.
“Please did you help us see one locally made chain under the files here when you came in the afternoon? Linda asked.
“A locally made chain?” Habby asked back trying to recollect something.
“Yes,” both Jackson and Linda replied simultaneously.
“The chain has three small snail shells attached to it” Habby asked to be sure.
“Exactly,” the couple replied at the same time again.
“I didn’t know that it is yours,” Habby said.
“Thank God you saw it. So where is it?” Linda asked.
“I said I didn’t know that it is yours. I saw it with Parker and he has gone with it”
“Did you allow Parker to enter my room?” Jackson asked angrily.
“I am sorry brother. He sneaked in”
“What! You allowed that stupid kleptomaniac to steal my chain” Jackson said furiously and slapped Habby hard.
Habby was shocked. Tears dropped from his eyes, not because of the pains of the slap, but because he did not expect Jackson to slap him.
“Brother, you slapped me because of a local chain”
Jackson did not reply. Linda moved close to him. She pressed his head firmly to her chest and said
“Sorry Habby, we are very sorry, but the chain is not just a local chain. It is very important but you won’t understand”
“That is not the issue now,” Jackson interrupted “How can we see Parker?” he continued.
“He will either be at home or at Floyd’s place” Habby replied.
“Let’s go” Linda said and they all rushed out.
Habby was surprised why they put much concern on a valueless chain to the extent that they did not even wait to remove their wedding outfit. When they got to Parker’s house they met his grandmother.
“Parker at this time? Habby you should know that Parker cannot be at home around this time,” the old woman said.
“Hope there is no problem?” she asked.
Nobody cared to answer her.
He will be at Floyd’s place. Let’s go,” Habby said.
Along the road they sighted Parker on a motorcycle. Linda waved to the cyclist and he stopped. They rushed out to meet him.
“Where is my chain?” Linda asked angrily.
“Your chain? I cannot remember when you gave me a chain,” Parker replied.
“Parker, please where is the chain I found in your pocket when you left my brother’s room this afternoon?” Habby asked politely.
“Okay, I didn’t know that is the chain you are talking about”
“So now that you have known, where is it?” Linda asked.
“I have given it to Floyd to help me sell it”
“And where is Floyd?” Jackson asked.
“He is not at home. I am coming from his house,” Parker replied.
“Where did he go?” Habby asked.
“I don’t know. I met only John the gardener and I did not bother to ask where he went to ”
“Let’s go!” Habby said and all of them entered Jackson’s car and he drove as directed by Habby to Floyd’s house.
When they got to Floyd’s house they met their gardener.
“But you have been here just now Parker and I told you he is not around,” the gardener said.
“But where did he go to sir?” Habby asked.
“He said he is attending a Christmas party at the beach”
“When will he be back?” Linda asked.
That was when John realized that Linda and Jackson were also with them. He became curious about what the newly wedded couple wanted from Floyd.
“I said when will he come back?” Linda asked again.
Tomorrow morning. Very early tomorrow morning,” John replied.
“That’s too late” Jackson said.
“Just too late” Linda repeated.
“Which beach did he go to? Bar beach?” Linda asked.
“Yes but you can’t see him there. It is going to be a great party. So many people will be there. Trust any party organized by the Leed Music”
“Let’s go. We will see him,” Habby said optimistically.
They all rushed towards the car. John was confused more, especially when he saw “Just Wedded” labeled on the car and the bride still in her wedding gown.
“Excuse me sir, and you ma,” he called Jackson and Linda.
“They returned to him. Habby waited but Parker proceeded to enter the car.
“Sorry sir, hope there is no problem?” he asked.
“We have told you that there is no problem,” Linda replied.
“But this is nine O’clock and you are still going up and down in your wedding outfit. I wish I could know how important what you need Floyd for is.”
“Don’t worry. It is very important and we don’t have all the time to waste here,” Linda said, held Jackson’s hand and dragged him to the car.
While John was talking with Linda and Jackson, Habby was watching and Parker was busy inside the car looking for what he could steal. He opened the driver’s drawer and found a handkerchief used to wrap something, he knew it was not money, but it could be something valuable. He removed the handkerchief and was shocked with what he saw – a pistol. “So this man carries a gun around” he said to himself. He tried to close the drawer back then Habby, Linda and Jackson arrived.
“What are you doing there?” Jackson queried.
“Nothing,” parker replied.
“You want to steal something again? The one you caused we have not settled it. Now get out of the car,” Linda ordered.
“Parker slowly moved out of the car and the remaining three entered.
“Wait!” parker said beside the car. “You have a flat tyre,” he added.
“Flat tyre?” the three in the car chorused.
Everybody alighted from the car. Jackson got tensed up. He looked at his wristwatch; it was two minutes after nine. Now he has less than three hours more to get the chain. He has an extra tyre but it will take him not less than twenty minutes to fix it. He dreaded the hold up that he would inevitably encounter on the way to the beach, the probability that he would see Floyd amidst the crowd and the chances that he would not have sold or lost the chain. “Will I still make it?” he asked himself rhetorically.
Parker walked away. Jackson rushed to the boot of the car, took out the extra tyre and a jack. Linda assisted him. Habby was confused. He did not know the need for this urgency. He guessed the local chain has some spiritual power. Then he decided to call his pastor. With the emergency with which he left home he did not remember to take his phone from the table in his room where he put it but he knew his pastor’s number off hand. He did not want to disturb Jackson and his wife for their phone he therefore looked for a place he could make a commercial phone call. There was one around but when he got there they told him that the person doing it has closed for the day. He was directed to another place and from there to yet another place. Most of the business centres around the place have closed but he determined he must find one.
Jackson finished fixing the tyre at exactly twenty five minutes pass nine. He looked around for Habby, he did not see him. He tried calling his cell phone, it rang but was not picked. Parker has gone, Linda has sent him away. The Gardener was no longer in sight. He may not be living there. And Jackson did not know Floyd neither did Linda, so there is no reason for the two of them to go to the beach alone.
“What are we going to do now?” Linda asked her husband.
“I don’t know. I just don’t know,” he replied.
“We have just two and a half hours more,” Linda observed.
“And we can spend all of it here if we don’t think fast,” Jackson replied.
“So what are we to do?”
“We know Parker’s house. We have to go and beg him to come along with us,” Jackson suggested.
“That thief? How are we sure he will be going to his house?”
“It is getting close to ten O’clock, he can’t be going elsewhere”
They drove towards Parker’s house. Along the way they saw Parker trekking. Jackson stopped beside him and said
“Habby left us, saying he wanted to make a phone call and he has not returned. We tried his phone number several times it was just ringing nobody picks it. I guess he left it at home. Can you please follow us to the beach for the two of us have no idea of how your Floyd looks like,” he pleaded.
“No, I can’t go. It’s almost ten, if I go I won’t be able to return home tonight and granny will be worried” Parker explained.
“Please! It is very important” Linda said
“Parker looked at Linda” But you sent me out of your car just now,” he reminded her.
“I am sorry Parker. I am very sorry,” she replied.
Parker pitied them. He knew they were seriously disturbed. He wondered what they needed the old chain for. He has given it to Floyd to help him sell it but he doubt if anybody can buy it.
“I will go” he finally agreed.
Parker entered the car and Jackson drove towards the beach at a very high speed. Soon they met a police road block.
“Hello, congratulations new couple,” a young police officer said to them.
“Thank you,” both Jackson and Linda replied.
“But why are you returning at this late hour?” the policeman asked.
“We are going to a party at the beach,” Linda replied.
“Great! So you are spending your wedding night at the beach”
“Yes. Leed Music is organizing a great party,” Linda replied.
“I know but it is a Christmas party and its meant for boys and not for honeymooners” the young officer said.
“It does not matter oga, that is our choice” Jackson said.
The police officer was not satisfied.
“Please can I search you?”
“No problem, as long as you are not going to waste time. Time has seriously gone” Jackson replied.
“I won’t waste your time but the party is till dawn, so you need not be in too much haste”
Jackson looked at his wristwatch, it was 10:12pm. The police officer searched the boot, he searched under the chairs. He did not see anything unusual then he asked Jackson to open the driver’s drawer.
Inside the drawer something was wrapped with handkerchief, the officer was not interested in it. As Jackson was closing the drawer, the officer suddenly noticed some exposed part of the gun where Parker has not wrapped it back very well when he was hurriedly returning it.
“What is that?” the young officer asked sharply.
Jackson took it out. It was a revolver. Jackson himself was surprised.
“Gun! Who owns it” the policeman demanded. Then he shouted aloud to his colleagues “Area! I have just caught somebody with a gun”
“I own it and I have license for it” Linda replied confidently.
“Where is your license?” a superior police officer demanded. By then there were five police officers surrounding them. Three were carrying riffles.
She opened her handbag and took out some papers. She handed them over to the policeman. The police boss look at the papers properly for an appreciable period of time and then said “That you have a license does not mean you should be carrying gun to the beach, disguising with a wedding gown, young woman. You will have to write a statement at our station”
“Sorry oga, but we are in a hurry, I even explained that to your boy and he promised not to delay us. Can’t we write the statement here?” Jackson asked.
“You are not serious, you are a criminal, you are telling me you are in a hurry. You are in a hurry to go and kill abi? Officers put them in our car,” The boss ordered. Immediately two policemen with guns led the couple towards where the police car was parked.
“Is this young boy not among them?” one policeman asked pointing to Parker.
Parker took to his heels. A police officer fired immediately. Parker fell down, blood rushed out from his nose, Jackson and Linda were terrified.
“You have killed the innocent boy” Linda said panickly.
“Don’t worry about the boy. Worry about yourself,” a policeman said.
“Wait officer, we are in a hurry. What do you want us to do?” Jackson asked.
“Etisalat. Now you are talking,” the police officer said. “Let me go and ask my oga at the top” he added and left. The remaining three waited. He said something to the police boss who signaled to the officer with them to lead them back to him.
“I think you suppose to know what to do,” the police boss said.
“Excuse me sir, I don’t know what to do” Linda said sharply.
“Relax, Linda, I will settle this matter,” Jackson said.
They started negotiation. The police demanded twenty thousand naira bribe, but both Jackson and Linda have with them only thirteen thousand, five hundred naira. They finally settled for ten thousand naira. They paid and were allowed to go.
“It’s 10:30, I just pray there will be no hold up” Linda said helping Parker to treat his nose wound as Jackson drove speedily.
“Look at what you are just talking about” Jackson said pointing to a long queue of vehicles.
“But what would have caused this hold up at this time?” Jackson asked, certainly not expecting any answer.
They spent about thirty minutes in the traffic hold up before the road got free then Jackson sped as high as he had never done before in his life.
They got to the beach at exactly 11:27 pm. Jackson was discouraged with the multitude he met at the beach. They had only 33 minutes to look for Floyd and collect the chain from him. That is if he had not sold it or left it at home or if he himself was at the beach. Jackson and Linda became apprehensive, they were sweating seriously as Parker was searching everywhere for Floyd. Even Linda appreciated Parker’s effort as he was running up and down ensuring he searched everywhere perfectly and yet quickly, as if he was aware of their time constraint. Occasionally, he would meet people he knew and they would tell him more about where to see Floyd. At least that gave assurance that he was at the beach but was he with the chain? Would they see him before midnight?
Both Jackson and Linda were running after Parker as they could not afford to lose him amidst the crowd. Suddenly Jackson realized he was running from the sea god and now, somehow, he had found himself beside the sea. Was he not endangering his life the more?
The search took about twenty minutes. They were lucky as Parker spotted Floyd .
“Floyd!” he shouted. Jackson and Linda were happy but they hoped the boy had the chain with him for there was no more time left for another journey. It was exactly fourteen minutes to midnight.
“Oh boy, so you are coming too” Floyd said.
“Please I am here for a very serious business,” Parker said. “Where is my old school chain?” he asked.
“Is that the business?”
“Please I am serious”
“That is not a problem,” he said putting his hand in his pocket.
Linda was relieved; she looked at her wristwatch. So they have made it thirteen minutes to deadline. It was a great adventure. They have spent their wedding night in an unforgettable way. It was worth a story.
Floyd brought out a two hundred naira note, he handed it over to Parker.
“What is this?” Parker asked.
“You are to give me a fifty naira change” Floyd said
“How do you mean? I said my chain”
“You asked me to sell it and I sold it for one hundred and fifty naira. So you are to give me a fifty naira change,” Floyd explained.
“So you have sold it,” Linda said.
“Yes madam. Is it your own?” Floyd replied.
Everybody rushed towards Linda. They fanned her and poured water on her
“But why all these. Do you need the chain badly?” Floyd asked.
“I think so,” Parker replied.
“We can still get it back,” Floyd said.
“Now?” Jackson asked as he was fanning Linda.
“Yes. I sold it to the Mallam over there” he said pointing to the place where Jackson parked his car
Jackson was confused. It was ten minutes to midnight. The chain must be collected back and be hanging on his neck before midnight if he must to stay alive. Now his wife was unconscious. Should he leave her and go for the chain or forget about his own life and try his best in the remaining ten minutes left for him on earth to revive his wife.
Luckily, Linda was revived.
“Come on Linda, we can still get it,” Jackson said
“Are you sure?” Linda said as she was managing to breathe.
Floyd ran towards a barbecue’s spot. Jackson, Linda and Parker ran after him. Other people were surprised and confused. They asked themselves what could be the problem of the new couple.
They got to the spot six minutes to midnight. The man there was busy preparing suya. There was nobody with him.
“Aboki, the chain I sold for you now,” Floyd said.
“Ehen, e dey with me,” the man said in a typical Hausa accent.
“I want it back. I will return your money to you”
“Please be fast, Mallam, we need it immediately now” Linda said realizing that they have just about five more minutes.
“Relax madam, I don pay for am,” the man said.
“Don’t worry, we will return your money two folds” Linda said.
The man was surprised. He showed them the chain which he had already put on his neck.
“Are you talking about this chain?” he asked
Jackson and Linda were full of joy as they saw their chain. Jackson hurriedly looked at his wristwatch; it was four minutes to midnight.
“Yes, that is the chain, bring it now,” Linda said.
The man guessed the chain must be very important to them and therefore decided to make a business out of it.
“Sorry aunty, the chain na my own now except if you want buy it”
“We are ready,” both Jackson and Linda said simultaneously.
“Na six thousand naira o” he said.
“Haba! Mallam, but you bought it one hundred and fifty naira” Linda said.
“Who tells you, I buy am 150? Walahi talahi I buy am 600”
“But Floyd said you bought it N150” Parker said.
“Floyd, how much you sell am for me?” the Hausa man asked Floyd frankly.
“That is not the issue now. How much do you want to sell it last? Floyd asked back
“Listen, Mallam, we don’t care to buy it six thousand naira but we have only three thousand, five hundred naira with us here. Please collect it from us,” Jackson pleaded.
“Mba. Six thousand or nothing” the man replied.
“Okay can you take the money we have and the key of our car? By tomorrow we will come and balance and collect the car” Jackson suggested.
“Me I can’t ride motor. So I no need your motor. Come tomorrow with the money and come collect the chain”
Linda looked at her wristwatch; it was two minutes to midnight. She realized the Hausa man may not change his mind within the next two minutes. Luckily enough, their car was parked very close to where they were. She collected the car key from Jackson and ran to the car. She took her gun from the car and ran back to the Hausa man. She pointed the gun to him. Then, it was a minute to midnight.
“Madam, you want kill me because of ordinary chain?” the man said fearlessly.
“I don’t have time for much talk. Give the chain to me before the count of five or I will blow your head,” Linda replied and started counting.
The Hausa man removed the chain from his neck. Jackson looked at his watch, it remains 25 seconds before midnight, then 20 seconds, then 15 seconds.
“Bring it fast or I will kill you,” Linda shouted.
It remained 10 seconds. The Hausa man suddenly turned back and threw the chain into the sea and said
“Kill me now. Kill me and go take it from the sea. Desperate Yoruba”
Linda’s hands were shaking. Jackson was sweating. Parker and Floyd were watching. The Hausa man was indifferent. Then it was midnight.
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