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For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.
I wring my hands in worry. This is the second day, and Baby is not responding. I don’t understand what the doctor is saying. Her cuts are healing nicely, but she is not responding to treatment. It doesn’t make any sense. The doctor is suggesting that she has lost her will to live. She has not opened her eyes since that time. I fall to my knees beside Baby’s bed. How long will I continue like this? Just when I think our respite is about to come, there is always something darker waiting to grab us. I look up towards the heavens. God, where are you, in all of this? My pastor has come to pray, and some people have stopped by – Tessy and her kids, my friends, Baby’s grandparents, Baby’s teacher, some of her friends, our extended family. I found her early; that must be some sign she would live right? I could have slept till noon, but I didn’t. That must count for the beginning of a miracle, no?
Leke is sleeping in the chair beside her bed. We are all expectant, she should be awake by now. I pray, cry, pray, cry, cry, and cry and cry some more, until the veins in my forehead begin to show and I can’t breathe anymore.
‘God, I believe in You. Please wake my daughter up. Please. Please God. I beg you. Whatever You want God! I will give the rest of my money to the building of the new auditorium. I will go for evangelism every Friday. I will sweep the church every Saturday. I will increase my tithe to 20%. Please, whatever it is, I will do. Save Baby, please. Help us. Help us. God, please. Please. Please…’
I don’t know how long I am there for, making promises to God, the ones I can keep, the ones I can’t and some imaginary ones. The nurses sidestep me as they see to Baby. I need to go home, to clean up and prepare so that Leke could come and get refreshed too. As much as the hospital management has been kind to us, I wouldn’t want us to become fixtures. And I needed to sleep. I had not slept a wink since the incident happened. My sleeping pills were in the house, and sleep was the last thing on my mind. I have always had problems sleeping for as long as I can remember. I rouse Leke from his sleep and tell him what I have planned. He nods sleepily and continues with his sleep. And I drag my weary self from the hospital to find my way to the house.
I wander around in a haze. First, I spend hours in Baby’s room just going through her things and crying again. I cry as I clean the house, and make a light dinner for Leke and me. I was even able to do the laundry. I am extremely tired, but I can’t bring myself to sleep. How had I fallen asleep that morning? I just don’t get it. When I finally let myself stay in the bedroom, I move towards the dresser. I have to sleep, I am not of much use to anyone like this. My sleeping pills were missing. I run towards Leke’s side, nothing. I move the dresser forward and check, still nothing. I go to the kitchen to check, zilch. I am getting really upset. I have not gone this long without taking my pills. Another thirty minutes, and I still have not found it, I begin to cry. Leke would come in a matter of minutes and I was supposed to be well rested. Oh God, please.
The sound of my phone ringing has me running towards Baby’s room. It is the doctor. I speak breathlessly into the phone.
‘Hello Madam. Your husband…’
I drop the phone in disbelief as I catch a glimpse of a shiny object under Baby’s pillow. I dive for it. My sleeping pills bottle is empty. I don’t know how I get to the hospital, but I am in front of the doctor’s office, my eyes wild, my breaths short and my heartbeat erratic.
We stop at the same time. Under other circumstances, I would have laughed, but I didn’t. Just then, I notice the way his forehead was wrinkled.
‘What happened? You stopped talking on the phone. Where have you been?’
‘I was at home.’
‘I need you to have a seat. It is good you are here. I have two things to tell you.’
I could tell that he had debated with himself on how to break whatever news it was to me, and he had finally decided to go straight to the point.
‘I also have something to say, but you go first’.
He swallows and I nod in encouragement, I even manage a small smile.
‘Your husband has been missing for two hours’
He is a bit surprised at my reaction.
I pat his hand. ‘Leke is not missing. He will come back. What’s the other thing?’
Two powerful words.
He didn’t answer. It made sense. That’s why Leke is missing. I turn to him and hold out the empty bottle. His eyes widen as he reads the label. He lets out a loud gasp. I am too numb to cry. I didn’t think I will ever say this, but I think I am done with tears and prayers.
‘She is still there?’ He nods. It hurts so much, every breath is a pain, every step is torture, but I make it to Baby’s side. I wonder how Leke is feeling. He never handled the whole episode well. I want to pray that God should watch over him for me, but I can’t. If God really cares, He has a funny way of showing it.
Two hours and forty-nine minutes later, Leke is nowhere to be found. Where are you Leke. I finally look up, ‘God please, return Leke safely’. I had barely finished speaking when a nurse came to tell me I was needed in the doctor’s office. Maybe God answers prayers. In the Doctor’s office, there are two policemen. One of them looks very familiar. I heave a sigh of relief.
‘You found him?’
The doctor nods. He gestures towards a seat. ‘You need to talk to them. Ideally, you should be at the station, but this is an unusual circumstance. I will be outside.’ He slips out quietly.
‘Aunty Pearle’, the familiar policeman starts, ‘Your husband is at the station’ I wait for the ‘but’. The other scratches his head. ‘Mr Bosun is also there.’
It doesn’t make sense. Bosun and Leke are not supposed to be around each other. I know our lawyer worked on it.
‘How is that possible?’
‘Your husband was at Bosun’s house. He set it on fire.’
My limbs go cold and I suddenly cannot move.
I nod in response and ask him to continue.
‘It was quick and intense. Bosun came back as soon as he heard and found Leke waiting around the house watching the fire.’
‘Did Leke fight?’
‘No. He has not spoken a word since. Maybe you will come talk to him.’
I don’t know how I feel. A bit of happiness, that Bosun has had a taste of what we have been experiencing. Revenge is sweet, and that’s just the truth. I am not sorry. I am not. I have nothing left. Then I remember.
‘What about Tessy and her children?’
They exchange glances. ‘They didn’t make it out of the fire alive’
I laugh long and hard. Leke is brilliant. Who would have thought he had it in him? There I was berating him for taking things into his hands. The policemen look at me strangely. Vengeance is satisfying, honestly. I follow them out as we head to the station. As soon as I set my eyes on Bosun, I laugh again. He looks so miserable.
I look to the policemen. ‘If Leke is not talking, how do you know he set the house on fire?’
They look puzzled. I don’t trust Bosun one bit. Bosun could have on elaborate plan to protect his wife and kids because he knew Leke would come. After all, they are best friends. ‘Did you see their bodies?’
Bosun looks at me which so much hurt. ‘Tessy thought you were an angel’.
I bow my head in shame. He continues, ‘I saw him with the gallon of fuel okay. And the match box.’
Where is Leke? The policemen bring him out and I run into his arms. He just stands there like a scarecrow – blank eyes and a glazed stare. I shake him violently, screaming at the top of my voice.
‘leke! LEKE! LEKE!’
He says nothing, does nothing. It’s not like he heard. I look at Bosun. ‘Is this how you saw him?’ Bosun nods.
‘I guess we are even then’.
This is my life now. Baby gone. Leke traumatized. He killed – four people – so he would face trial like Bosun too. It is going to be a very long year. I only hope I get to the end in one piece.
P.S The end. Thank you for following Baby’s story till the end. What do you think about it? Could the ending have been better? Were the events too tragic? And the bible verses, did they flow with the story? Feel free to let me know what you think. I would really appreciate that, too.