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Sisterhood

Chief Inspector Yemi Adedeji sat in her office, wishing that the time would go faster. She resisted the temptation to look at her watch again and forced herself to think about other things. Like what she would do with her husband after work.

At the thought of him, she sighed with longing. Anyone who didn’t know her would think that she was in the throes of teenage love; little would the person know that she had been married for thirteen years. She smiled at that; she was lucky, she mused, not many people got to marry their first love. But theirs had been a love affair that had spanned the duration of their teenage years and finally when she was twenty-two and he was twenty-six, they’d gotten married.

Finally, she couldn’t resist the temptation and took a glance at her watch; 1.50pm. Ten more minutes and she would be out of the drab office and on her way home, to her source of joy.

Her phone beeped, she picked it up, and read the message. It was her sister Bola. She had informed her that she had gone home to prepare their dinner. Yemi had not bothered to inform her that she and Mike would not eat at home that night. Let her suffer a bit, she thought as memories of what her sister had done to her filled her with barely contained hate. She fought the memories, fighting for control, trying not to let her past ruin her present mood. But she was as helpless as a goat being led to the slaughter; like an ant being crushed by a boulder, she was crushed by the weight of the painful memories that made her fight for her breath.

Instantly she was flung back eight years ago, to the day her elder sister, Bola had shown her that family could be evil too; Bola had shown her that it took more than blood relations for people to be family.

She and Mike had been a successful couple; and although she was a policewoman and he a businessman at Alaba International Market, their marriage never suffered because of her absence. Mike was a very understanding man, he took care of the house whenever he was chanced and he never saw it as odd. Especially when she was pregnant.

At this juncture, she tried to come back, to block out the events that followed; she knew that if she went down the road her thoughts directed her to, she probably might be in a sour mood for her date with her husband. But like a terrifying horror movie, she found out that she was unable to stop her mind from dredging up the worst period of her life; she felt like she was strapped to a chair and was forced to watch her life being played in front of her. And try as she might, she was unable to move or in the least close her eyes.

The turning point in her life had started on the 18th of July, 2008. She was seven months pregnant then and she had taken an early maternity leave. It was easy for her to do because she rarely took her leaves, so they had accumulated and she decided to take the extended leave at once. That evening, she had prepared a delicious ewedu soup and amala with a perfect and smooth surface; the only thing that was left was for Mike to come back and enjoy himself.

But he had run into their compound, face gaunt and looking like he had escaped from a horror film. She had rushed to him and asked what the problem was. He had stared at her, barely seeing her, and then muttered, “Fire!” before prancing up and rushing out again, towards the direction of the market.

She had been scared that he had lost his mind, but it was later that she had understood what he meant. His shop was among the many that had been engulfed in a fire that had ravaged the market. The worst part was that they had taken a ten million naira loan and had imported goods from China.

In a series of events that were more suited to the scenes of a Nollywood movie than her life, she watched helplessly as the bank took over their house and their properties, forcing them to look for accommodation elsewhere. Mike was an only child, and his parents lived in the village. They had not wanted to go back to the village; it would have been a huge disgrace to go back with nothing. So Yemi had pleaded with her elder sister, Bola to accommodate them, till they could find their feet again. Yemi knew that her sister had always seen her as a rival, but she wasn’t prepared for the way Bola readily agreed to have them stay in her house.

Although her sister had told them to stay in the boys’ quarters instead of the guest house, she had been overjoyed that she had hardly noticed the satisfactory smirk on her sister’s face. Two days after she and her sister moved into her sister’s house, Bola had called her and her husband into the main house for a meeting. There she told them that they had to be cooking separately—Yemi had to get her own cooking utensils and foodstuffs.

She had listened with a sickening feeling as Bola’s husband, Ade, had told them that the reason for the decision was because of her: she was a pregnant woman, and her diet was different from theirs. Without saying a word, she had agreed and had borrowed some money from her sister to buy some kitchen utensils and foodstuffs.

She finally forced herself to escape from the reel of the horrible memories. She looked at her watch and saw that it was just two minutes after two. She quickly cleared her desk and ran out of the station. She jumped into her car and drove out.

On her way she dialed her husband’s line, but it was unreachable. She cursed under her breath; she had told him many times to buy another line that had more network reception, but he had preferred that damn network. She eased between two commercial buses and stopped at the red light. Luckily, the road was relatively free, and within twenty minutes, she rounded the corner to the estate where she lived.

Mike and I have come a long way, she thought. And instantly, she fought the surge of memory, but she lost again. She had been the one who had summoned the past and it had come without hesitation. As she relived the past, she drove on, the car more or less being on auto pilot.

The day she went to the market to buy new things for her life in her sister’s house, she had been hit by a speeding bus. She had lost consciousness and had been rushed to the hospital. When she regained consciousness, the first thing she noticed was that the familiar bump in her midsection was not there anymore. She had screamed for her child and when Mike rushed in with the doctor, they had tried to calm her down. In the end, she learnt that the accident had caused her child to die, and in the process of taking it out, she had lost her womb too.

That had been the last straw for her. She had been depressed, oftentimes she had wanted to end her life, but Mike had been there, comforting her and promising her that everything would be better. It was her husband that had saved her, he had been the rock she held on to when the storm of life threatened to carry her away.

Her sister had tried to seem sympathetic, but Yemi had developed such a hate for her, that if she had not been in her house, she would have surely stabbed her elder sister to death. But she had swallowed it all, telling her husband that they had to leave Bola’s house within the next month or she would go back to her parents.

She did not know how he had done it, but three weeks later, they had moved out and within the next four years, they had slowly rebuilt their lives and had risen to their former status in life.

She sighed as she drove past her automatic gate. As she stepped out of the car, she told herself that going down the memory lane was not that bad. If she skipped the part where she lost her child anyway. She went into her house, telling herself to hurry up. She was already late for her date with Mike. They had agreed to meet at the restaurant instead of coming back home and leaving again. But she felt hot and dirty; she needed a quick shower before she could be comfortable with going on a date.

The house was quiet. Her sister was probably in the kitchen, cooking what only she would eat. She decided not to bother her yet. Of course she would know that she had come in, so she headed to the room she shared with her husband.

Her hand was on the door knob when she heard it. She paused, trying to make sure that she was not imagining it. But she heard it again; she held her breath, and listened. There was no question about it, she thought. She thought about turning back, but decided to be sure. And she pushed the door open.

There they were, Bola’s legs spread as wide as the Third Mainland Bridge and Mike—her husband, her world—in between her legs, his manhood dangling, nodding in agreement to the evil they were up to. They were so shocked that they did had not made a move to cover themselves. It was Mike who recovered first. He made to stand, but Yemi quickly whipped out her service pistol and pointed it at them.

Prevented from any other course of action, he blurted out the first thing that came to his mind. “Baby, what are you doing here?”

Yemi gave a cackle of incredulity. “What am I doing in my own room? Really, Mike? Is that the best thing you can say?”

He hung his head. Bola’s eyes darted from left to right, probably looking for an escape route. But Yemi had conveniently blocked the door as she brought a seat and sat down at the door. Then she addressed her sister.

“Bolanle, I do not know how I ever wronged you in this life. You’ve never wanted anything good for me. Despite everything I passed through in your hands, despite the fact that I lost my unborn child because of you, I still took you in when your husband died and left you nothing. What did I ever do to wrong you?”

Bola just stared at the bed, tears running down her cheeks. Yemi felt like beating her till she choked on her blood and died, but Mike interrupted her thoughts.

“Sweetheart, it’s not what you think. Please let me exp—”

“Explain? Oh please, Mike. I’m not dumb. I know what I saw. I’m just surprised that you would choose to betray me, betray everything we’ve shared and gone through this way. I mean, she was the person that killed our unborn child. She is the reason I am unable to give birth to any child. Yet you decided to… to fuck her!” Yemi spat out, anger, hurt and humiliation, causing her head to ring and her eyes to blaze.

Then she continued, “I don’t need to ask how long this… affair has been going on. I don’t want to know. I guess the reason you told me to go directly to the restaurant is because you wanted to have a little bed time with my own sister before meeting me. Isn’t it?”

He couldn’t say anything, he shifted uncomfortably and tried to use the sheets to cover his flaccid manhood. Bola had by then covered her body with part of the bedsheet. They were silent for a while, the atmosphere charged with a variety of emotions, but it was Yemi’s heavy breathing that could be heard the more.

Suddenly, she was unable to contain it anymore, the years and years of bottled up feelings erupted, blinding her with rage and hurt. “Bola,” Yemi called to her sister. Her voice was eerily calm, almost robotic. “I guess you’ve always wanted to take my happiness before you could feel yours. This time you took everything. And I hope you enjoy it. I really hope you do.”

Yemi thanked her stars that made her to get a silencer few months back. She screwed it on her gun, picked her phone and dialed Emeka, her colleague.

“Hello, Emeka,” she said with a fake frantic tone, “please send some men over to my house, alongside some forensic people. I just got in and saw my husband and my sister dead in my room.”

That done with, she shot Bola first and without a moment’s hesitation, fired at her husband’s forehead. Then she carefully wore some latex gloves and picked up the shell casings of the fired bullets and put them in her bag. She carefully looked around for anything that would implicate her, and finding nothing, she carefully wiped the chair she sat on and went out of the room.

Few minutes later, she heard the siren call of the police coming into her house. She had been crying for a while, so it wasn’t hard to show them how distraught she was about the double murder in her house.

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