Banke and Lolu arrive at their destination without difficulty. Lolu surveys the environment as they approach the door to an apartment.
“Are you sure about this?” He asks Banke for the umpteenth time.
Banke ignores his question as she approaches the door. She had explained everything to him on the way to their destination and she wondered why he was still bent on making her change her mind.
She takes a deep breath as she knocks on the door. She knows she should not be here but there was no turning back. She needed to know. The door opens and the sight before her shocks her to the marrow. She staggers backward and Lolu catches her before she hits the ground.
The whole place smells antiseptic. Lolu hated hospitals. Now, he was in one simply because Banke did not heed his advice. He had misgivings about the trip immediately she told him her mission. But she had been too stubborn to listen. It was what he admired about her, though. Her dogged attitude.
But right now, that attitude had put her in a precarious situation.
Immediately she collapsed, the person at the door had been shocked. Both of them carried her into her car and she was rushed to the nearest hospital. Lolu immediately put a call through to Bola, giving her directions of how to get to the hospital. He asks her to take a cab to hasten her journey. He refuses to give her further information as he does not want to get her unnecessarily scared. He is also unsure of the true identity of the person at the door and jumping to conclusions could result in a disaster.
Banke rouses out of her unconscious state in fits. Lolu, who had been sitting in the single couch in the hospital room rushes to her bedside. She opens her eyes and they immediately fill up with tears.
“Thank God you are awake.” Lolu says holding her hands.
Banke looks around her. “How long have I been here?”
Lolu has no idea as he had lost track of time. “A few hours. But I am glad you are fine.”
Banke begins to cry.
“Banke, why? I warned you.” Lolu says.
“Please call Bola.”
“I have called her already. She’s on her way here.”
“Call Tayo too.”
“Banke, are you sure about this?” Lolu asks.
“Just do it Lolu.”
Lolu nods as he takes his phone out of his pocket. He takes out Banke’s phone from her handbag and scrolls through the contact list for Tayo’s name.
“Good afternoon Inspector. My name is Lolu. I am Banke Davies’ colleague.” Lolu says introducing himself.
He gives him a run-down of everything that had taken place in the last few hours. Tayo is very upset that Banke had refused to heed his warning. He however tells Lolu that he would notify the police station closest to them to visit the hospital.
Two cops walk into the hospital just as Bola is getting there. She gives her mother’s information quickly to the receptionist and she is directed to her room. She takes rapid steps to the room. As she enters, she says a hurried hello to Lolu and rushes to her mum’s bedside. “Mum, what are you doing here? What happened?”
“I needed to see your father’s killers.”
“I recognized him.” Banke says sobbing.
The cops have also been directed to Banke’s room. One of them peers into the room interrupting mother and daughter.
“Mrs. Davies?” He asks in a bid to identify her.
“Yes please. Come in.” She says signaling to them.
“Excuse me, madam. Sorry to interrupt. We were just called by our boss to make an arrest.”
“Yes, I would give you his address.”
“Banke, he is still around. He just walked towards the end of the hall to make a call.
He wanted to be sure you were fine before he left.” Lolu says.
“The b—–d.” Banke curses in anger. “How can I be fine? Officers, please go ahead and do your job.”
“Yes ma’am.” The officers reply as they step out of the room with Lolu behind them.
“I want to see his face, mum.” Bola says as she leaves her mum’s bedside.
“No Bola. I don’t want you getting traumatized for life, please.”
“Mum? I need to know why he killed my father.” Bola says as a tear slides down her cheek.
“Bola…..” Banke is saying as her daughter walks out in tears to look at the face of her father’s killer.
Lolu comes back into the room and sees Banke in tears. He moves towards the bed to console her. She had gone through enough pain during Femi’s death. He understood that she needed to do this. She would have no rest until justice was served.
Bola suddenly rushes back into the room crying hysterically and shaking. “Mum, there must have been a mistake.”
Banke is confused. “I saw him.”“It can’t be Gboyega.” She cries.
Banke sits up. “What? Gboyega?”
“Yes mum, my boyfriend. It can’t be him.
The cops are taking him away.”
Lolu looks at both mother and daughter in confusion.
Bola runs out of the room as she tries to stop the cops. “Please my mum must have made a mistake. He couldn’t have killed my father.”
Gboyega looks confused. He had been trying to call Bola. Whenever he was in a confused state, he called her and she always had a way of easing his nerves. The network had been poor and the call had not gone through.
He was walking back towards the waiting area when Lolu pointed him out to two cops.
He looked at Lolu and wondered what he had done wrong. He was about to ask him when Lolu turned to go back to the room and Bola walked out. He was shocked to see her coming out of the room where the woman they brought in had been hospitalized.
“Your father? What’s going on Bola? What are you doing here? Why are you in Shagamu?” He looks at the officer who is about to take him away. “Officer, why am I being arrested. Please what did I do wrong? I only helped the woman because she collapsed in front of my door.”
“They said you killed my father. I know my mum must have made a mistake.” Bola cries.
The officer reads out Gboyega’s rights and is about to lead him out of the hospital premises.
Shock is written on Gboyega’s face. “Your father?” He asks looking at Bola. “Your father?” He looks at her as it suddenly dawns on him. “Femi Davies?”
Bola wipes a tear and looks at him with astonishment. “Yes, Femi Davies.”
“Oh God, oh God!” Gboyega laments as the event of the night of the robbery flashes back. He lost his parents in his third year in the university. This was some months before the night of the robbery and he had needed money to bury them. His father’s family had told him and his brothers that they had to come up with the money to bury their father. Each member of his father’s family had come up with an excuse not to finance the burial. The financial burden of burying his parents had fallen on him. He reached out to a few members of his mother’s family but what he got from them was just enough to buy the caskets. He still had other expenses to cover. He told Kofo his problem and she gladly offered to help but under one condition. He had to rob his way to get the funds.
It had been a ridiculous offer. He told her he couldn’t do it and she had told him it was fine.
His parents could continue to rot in the mortuary. He had been so pained by Kofo’s offer.How can I rob and kill to bury my parents?But Kofo la!d out the plan for him.
He only needed to rob. He did not have to kill.
He knew Kofo could easily give him the money but she refused to. She said he had to work for it.
Everything had gone on smoothly with the travel luggages loaded into the car Kofo had stolen until Femi Davies decided to lift up his head. In his jittery state, Gboyega had shouted at him asking why he had to raise his head.
And Kofo had wasted no time in putting a bullet to his head. Gboyega had been very furious.
She had promised that there would be no killing. She told him she did it for him as a minor mistake would make the cops trace the robbery to him. Even though, he was still upset, he believed her. She was experienced in armed robbery and he had none. She disposed of the two cars and he sold all the items in the travel luggages. Wrist watches, gold jewelries and expensive shoes. He gave his parents a befitting burial but he never forgave himself.
The name on the luggage tag continued to haunt him.
Bola breaks down into tears as she looks at Gboyega’s face. She did not need to ask him.
The answer was clearly written there.
She begins to back away from him.
Gboyega stretches out his hand to her. “Bola, I’m sorry. I did not kill him. Please believe me.”
Bola cries and she runs towards her mother’s room.
Lolu who had been watching the whole drama by the door takes her in his arms. This was too much for anyone to bear. Both mother and daughter were hurting and he was caught in between them.
The officers lead Gboyega out of the ward into the hospital premises.
Bola suddenly tears herself away from Lolu and runs outside the hospital room.
“Bola, Bola.” Lolu calls her but she refuses to look back.
He wants to run after her but he looks back and sees Banke also in tears. He is confused on what to do. He walks back to Banke’s bedside and pulls her into his arms.Bola stops short as she sees Kofo walking into the hospital premises. Her informant had given her good news this morning and she had left Lagos very early. She had gone straight to Gboyega’s apartment and Zolch had told her he was in the nearby hospital. She had rushed to the hospital immediately.
Gboyega is also shocked to see Kofo.
“Hello officers.” Kofo gives them a cheery smile. “What’s going on here?”
“Officer, she is the one who shot Femi Davies.” Gboyega points at her.
“Excuse me. What are you talking about?” She asks as she walks towards Gboyega.
The officers ignore Gboyega and push him forward.
“Officer, she killed him. Just like she killed so many others.” Gboyega shouts trying to exonerate himself and hold on to a lifeline.
“I think you are nuts.” Kofo retorts.
Bola stands there watching the whole scenario.
Her mind casts back to the night her mother had told her about her father’s death.
She remembers her mum had said they were two men. But she said she had been too scared to lift up her head, so she had not seen the other man.What if the other man was actually Kofo? “Officer, I think you should listen to him.” She says as she walks towards them.
“What do you know you little twat?” Kofo barks.
“Enough to know that you must have pulled Gboyega into this.”
Kofo bursts out into laughter. “I did not come here to trade words with you.”
“So why are you here?” Gboyega shouts.
“Were you looking for me to force me to warm your bed just like you did months ago or to see them arrest me for a crime you committed?”
Bola takes a look at Gboyega and fresh tears spill down her cheeks. Unfortunately, he is too enraged to realize that his statement is having an effect on Bola.
“Tell them Kofo. How you changed your name when you came to Lagos so no one would trace the man you killed in Calabar to you. What about your gang members you killed? And the many others you robbed for a living.” He continues.
“Officers, I think you should take this man away.” Kofo warns.
“Tell them about Senator Emilolowo’s death.”
The officer holding Gboyega stops immediately. “What did you just say?” He turns Gboyega to look at him.
Gboyega looks at him wondering what he has just said.
“What did you just say about Emilolowo?”
The officer asks again.
Kofo notices that the tables are about to turn.
She moves towards Gboyega, anger burning in her eyes.
The officer asks yet again. “Repeat what you just said about Emilolowo.”
“She ……” Gboyega is saying when Kofo suddenly takes swift steps towards Gboyega, crooks her arms round his throat from behind and puts a pistol to his head.
Her movement had happened so swiftly that the officers got caught unawares.
They are stunned and they take positions with their pistols stretched out towards Kofo and Gboyega.
“Don’t do it Kofo.” Gboyega pleads.
“Oh, you’re so stupid.” She says.
Bola begins to cry. “Please Kofo, don’t kill him.”
“Oh, mummy’s girl wants you.” She sneers. “But you ain’t getting him.” She says in anger.
The environment is suddenly tense. One of the cops takes out his radio to call for back up but Kofo shoots into the air to warn him. “Don’t you dare?”
The gun shot startles everyone and people run into the hospital in a frenzy. Bola begins to tremble. She gets down on her knees. “Please Kofo.” She pleads in tears.
“Put the gun down.” An officer says.
“I’m not going down without a fight.” Kofo says. Her gun still on Gboyega’s head.
“Madam, put the gun down and no one gets hurt.”
“Please Kofo, let me go.” Gboyega pleads.
“You mofo, that’s what you have been asking for. And you ain’t getting it.” Kofo barks.
“I’ll do whatever you want. Just let me go, please.”
“It’s too late for that, boyfriend.
You bungled the opportunity. Say bye bye to mummy’s girl.” Kofo says as she pulls the trigger.
Gun shots and screams rent the air. When the chaos settle, Gboyega and Kofo’s lifeless bodies are taken away by the cops.
The Abandoned Child continues tomorrow