The next day Osonye and Nonye devised a devious plan to abduct the little Ekene from school.
Ifeoma had a house help called Gloria who helped her out in taking Ekene to school and also bringing him back home.
His school was a little bit far from home because there was no good school around their vicinity where they could register him.
So on the scheduled day, they parked close to Ekene’s school waiting for when Gloria would arrive to pick him. If it was easier for them, they would have picked him right from school but it was against the rule of any school to hand over any child to the person who was not known to the school.
As soon as the househelp stepped outside carrying Ekene at her back, Osonye started the car.
“Osonye, drive carefully, don’t run them over, just hit the girl lightly” Nonye instructed.
“But is it not better we kill them here once and for all?” Osonye asked
“Do not disobey the words of the wise queen or else you see yourself in a terrible situation that nobody will be able to help you out” Nonye warned
“Hmm, OK, I have heard you.” Osonye replied
The househelp was just walking quietly on the foot path of the road, carrying Ekene at her back, chanting along with him as he sang one of the nursery rhymes they taught him in school.
The two women drove behind them, driving as if they had lost control and then hit them.
Osonye drove skillfully that she did not cause them any serious harm.
The househelp fell to her face on the ground, and Ekene started crying because his face hit Gloria’s head.
And the two ladies rushed down from the car, acting so concerned. Some passersby rushed to the scene to know if the victims sustained serious injuries.
“OMG! Did we kill them? OMG!! Let’s rush them to the hospital right away…… Please is there any hospital around here?” Osonye asked the people who rushed to the scene”
“Yes, it’s is just down there” a man answered
“OK, let us get them in the car and take them to the hospital”
People who came around did not bother to follow them because they saw that the victims sustained only minor injuries, that it was not something serious. And they went about their normal businesses, making Osonye and Nonye’s job easier for them.
When they got to a lonely place, they entered one side and dropped Gloria who was still unconscious. The girl did not sustain any serious injury, but the fear made her heart flipped, and she fell unconscious.
One hour later, she woke up and found herself in an unknown place.
Nonye and Osonye took Ekene to the Wise Queen’s place.
“Now, this is good. What we need now is where to keep him.” Wise Queen said
“Wise queen, you know he can’t be with me” Osonye blurted
“I know, but you have to arrange for that. Take him somewhere far away and get someone paid to be looking after him”
And Osonye took Ekene to a far away village, where nobody would be able to find him. She contracted with a woman to be looking after him”
Ifeoma and her family were already worried. They had been to Ekene’s school but did not meet anybody there.
“Mummy, what if something has happened to my son? I am so scared right now” Ifeoma feared
“Ifeoma, nothing will happen to Ekene. Hmmm,,, but I think we should lodge a complaint to the police right away” Mrs Ogochukwu suggested
As they were still discussing, Gloria returned home looking frightened and asked: “Aunty, is Ekene at home?”
“Where are you coming from by this time and where is my son?”Ifeoma asked
And Gloria burst into tears and explained what happened. How she was saved by a man who put her in a bus that brought her to a bus stop close to their street.
It was now clear to them that it was a kidnapping case. They rushed to the police and lodged a complaint. The case was picked up from there. They started investigating and Gloria was the first suspect, they suspected she connived with the kidnappers to abduct Ekene.
Ifeoma was no longer herself, she kept on crying and then remembered Austin. She called him on phone and explained what happened to Ekene.
“Oh my God! Who could have kidnapped that innocent child? Please pull yourself together, nothing will happen to him. He will be found, trust me.” Austin consoled.
After they ended the call, Austin immediately called Kanayo and informed him what happened.
“No! No!! No!!! It can’t be my son. Have they involve the police?” Kanayo asked
“Yes off course, there is a serious search for him.” Austin replied
“Austin, I think I should be returning to Nigeria tomorrow or next. I am no longer myself here” Kanayo said
“And what about the business? You still need to finalize everything before leaving”
“Austin, I have lost everything in life. The only person I still hang my hope on is Ekene. This money I’m pursuing now is for him, so that he won’t get to lack anything in life. And now he has been abducted, who knows what they might do to him. What if they kill him, Austin?” Kanayo wept.
“No, let’s just be positive for him. Being positive will render the abductors powerless over him”
“Austin, I have not meet my son and ask him for forgiveness. I was planning to bring him home once I return to Nigeria. If anything happens to him, I won’t be able to forgive myself. Infact, I will kill myself if he doesn’t get found alive”
“You have to be strong for him. We all need to be strong for him. He will be found” Austin consoled.
That night, Ifeoma was crying profusely praying for the safe return of Ekene and then slept off.
Ekene came to her in a dream and said: “Mummy, why are you crying? Don’t you trust your son? Nothing will happen to me. I don’t want you to continue crying like this. I will return to you oneday, that is my assurance to you, I only allowed to be abducted so that the enemies will be finally put in there place and they won’t get to trouble us again, so I am giving you my word.. I want you to trust me”
“Trust you? OK promise me you will return soon.” Ifeoma requested, stretching out her hand
And Ekene slapped it and said “I promise, Mummy”
And the two laughed out in joy. Ekene stood and wiped her face, and said “I love you my sweet mother” and then turned to leave.
And Ifeoma woke up immediately…. and blurted out Ekene. She rushed out to stop him from leaving, but she could not find him. She started shouting his name, searching for him in the whole house, waking everybody from sleep.
“Mummy, I just saw Ekene now. He touched me, wiped my tears….and…and…”
“Ifeoma, I think you just had a dream” Mrs Ogochukwu cut in
“No Mummy, it’s not a dream. I can differentiate dream from reality. It was so real. Trust me”
“Ifeoma, everything will be alright. Trust me, Ekene will be found soon.”
No hospital in the city gave acceptance of admitting any accident victim of such.
Kanayo had returned to the country, he also joined in the search. He does not know how to approach Ifeoma physically because he had called her on phone severally, but she kept ignoring his calls.
Rather, she sent him a message which reads:
“I heard you have finally considered Ekene as your son. Well, that is good to know, but don’t have the notion that I will get into talking terms with you because of that reason. Do anything you know that will bring my son to me. All I care about now is my son and nothing else”
When Ekene’s photo was displayed on the national television as a missing child, two of the persons who saw them on the day of the accident recounted to the police how it happened, how the two ladies carried them in their car and drove Gloria and Ekene to the hospital. They gave the colour of the car and the type.
And when police informed Kanayo of the new development, he quickly interpreted it to be Osonye and her friend.
To be continued.
Just a Tear by Ngozi Lovelyn O.