It was raining that December morning Ezinne died, we knew before Tope said it because you see, it doesn’t rain in December, but it rained that morning.
This meant we would be next. Wasn’t it what Baba said? That we were not meant to touch the right wrist of Chief – he was fortified, touching his right wrist was challenging that power. Who did Ezinne think she was? A hero? Yes, Chief would have strangled her and used her for the blood sacrifice, but the rest of us would have been alive,wasn’t it all for the greater good?
I toss my phone on the bed and head for the door, the person on the other side had been knocking persistently and I was prepared to tell them off – if I was going to die soon, I deserved some peace and quiet in advance.
It was my mother and I have never seen her so angry. She stared at me,holding the door ajar and her face broke.
“Nene,why is your nose bleeding? “
“Blood? Where? “
I dabbed my face and found the culprit, crimson in all its glory. It was a deafening silence as mother shuffled her way into my apartment. She was a formidable woman, my mother,retired director of a popular bank, smart woman. Oh, and beautiful too, I owe my good looks to her. She turned to me with a questioning expression on her face. I couldn’t explain the blood, so I blurted something else.
“Ezinne is dead, mom”
This came out sounding like an accusation, but mother was too shook to notice. She held on to the banister for support and her voice had gone down a notch when she asked,
This sounded like a cry. My mother had loved Ezinne like her own, from the day we met at the social hall in Unilag, during my freshman orientation. Ezinne was a freshman too but she was the life of the party. I remember how she bubbled over to where we stood, fumbling with the dispenser.
“Those things don’t work “
She said with a laugh and proceeded to kick something on the right side of the machine,then raised a perfectly arched eyebrow at me.
“You can turn the switch now, the Machine just needed a little convincing”
She laughed again, that high pitched cackle that would sound silly on anyone else. She was like a lightbulb in the dark, and in the space of the next five minutes, we knew she grew up in Lagos, her parents were divorced and her mother, dead. Too much info? Well, that was Ezinne.
She said she recognized my mother from the news, a launching ceremony yesterday – I didn’t even know there was a launching or that my mother attended, I didn’t watch the news, but Ezinne did. Everyone knew my mother already but with Ezinne, it was different,one would think we had known her forever. She knew when we moved to Abuja, and why. Mother couldn’t stop beaming, she fell in love with Ezinne that day and took her as her daughter – at least, the day she took us to Chief for the first time, it was what she introduced her as.
“Chinenye Yetunde Fapson! Will you answer me? “
Earth to, Nene.
I wiped the blood from my nose, it was dripping consistently now.
“It was Chief! “
The statement was enough, no further questions asked. We both knew what had happened and the implications.
She told me to call Tope,to get here as soon as she could. We had a funeral to plan, and we’ll be dead by the morning, too.
You see, what we did was what people called ‘Runs’, but we were professional escorts in actually fact. How do you think Mother got all her high profile clients and climbed her way up the banking ladder? We did the groundwork,she ran the overhead. It was good business and we were making money.
It started one December evening when I was 7 and now that I think about it, all the bad things happened to me in December. Mother had brought a client home, trying to convince him to have an account with her bank. He was a popular exporter and I remember seeing his adverts on TV, he was worth a lot of money. When he left our house that night, Mother had 500million sitting pretty in her account and my innocence sacrificed on the altar of greed.