A story written by INEGBENOISE OSEODION OSAGIE. (07068221839, 08093828575, [email protected])
Ivie walked past the gate. The gateman welcomed her without the usual smile that bared his front fawn teeth. He asked after Oga, lifting his djellebah as though preventing its hem from touching the ground. She told him Oga was doing fine, which he rightly understood to be the opposite. He swore to kill the entire policemen if they inflicted a scratch on Richard and would then pack his entire belongings and run out of the country to a place as far as Sudan.
On the veranda, Ezinne stretched on a recliner with folded hands, fixed on the mini garden. Her braid dropped on both sides of her head, tapering the head into a slender bottle form. She shifted her eyes to Ivie and later returned them to the garden. The white of her eyes had turned grey. She adjusted into sitting and spared some space beside her, which she tapped for Ivie to sit.
“Why did you shoot Bakare?” Ivie asked, watching Ezinne’s lips for its next motion.
Ezinne returned her gaze to the wilted lavenders and peonies. “Because it was the suitable thing to do.”
Any response than that would have bettered the remainder of the tragic day. It was true; Ezinne shot Bakare. She let an innocent Richard hurt in jail.
“What did Bakare do to you?”
“I would beg you to help me ask him. Then you tell me what he says.”
“What about Richard?”
Ezinne’s eyelids dropped. She began sliding her thumbs over each other. “Richard will get out of jail when he is done.”
“Done with what?” She pushed her head forward to see Ezinne’s full face. “Richard has been in jail for over four months, likely to extend than that.”
Ezinne spun to her. “He will soon be out. His tenure will soon be over.”
“Tenure for what?” Ivie wondered if the woman could hear the words evolving from her mouth. “Richard did nothing to warrant a minute in jail.”
Ezinne turned to Ivie and fixed on her. “Who determines that? Let’s not lie to ourselves.”
“What’s gone into you, Ezinne?”
“Nothing. Everyone only got what they deserved. Including me.”
“You shot a man, and you’re sitting here a free woman. I doubt that is what you deserve. You tried killing a man, and you’re letting an innocent man, your husband, suffer your crimes.”
“I shot a man. You ought to be scared of me. What are you doing here?”
She ought to be scared. Where was the fright? Why did she feel like squashing the bones that lined Ezinne’s neck instead of being afraid? “I’m scared of you, but that won’t stop me from striving to learn the truth. Why haven’t you told the police what actually happened?”
“You heard Bakare’s testimony in court. He told them everything that happened. It’s painful they refused to follow up on his words. It’s the world’s way of controlling justice. When Richard is done paying for his sins, the truth will unfold. Then my time to pay for my sins will begin.”
“What are you saying? Richard is the most unfitting man for that cell.”
“No one can deceive himself.” She paused. “Or herself.” She turned to Ivie and held gaze with her. “How many times have you had s*x with Richard since you knew him?”
Ivie’s breath ceased. Ezinne’s entire words clogged her nostrils. “E…zinne.”
“I’m not holding anything against you. The world is fair because it gives everyone fair justice. It will deal with you as it pleases. Bakare is suffering for his deeds. Richard is suffering for his deeds. And you. The demon that controls your fingers is enough suffering for your deeds. Very soon I will be suffering mine.”
Ivie tightened her lips and crushed the tiny bones in them. “I wish the police would arrive right now and place the handcuffs round your wrists.”
“If wishes came true, you’d long be dead. You’re lucky I knew of your sins late.”
She rose and stared at the woman. “I pray one day you realize the evil you’ve done.”
“I realized that years ago.”
Before she reached the gate, she turned to Ezinne. “And I never slept with Richard.”
“Let’s not lie to ourselves,” Ezinne muttered.
To Be Continued….