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Category Archives: NOVELETTE

BTG – Blood of the Innocent 9

BOTI EPISODES

NINE

“All that glitters is not gold.” Shakespeare.

•♦• 

DEATH had struck again. It had started with their parents. Taking their mother first, and then even before the full year was over, it took their father. Then barely three years after, it took little Jamuike. And now, another year past, it had taken her sister. Taken Chizu. Death had come in the form of an overdose of sleeping pills and had taken Chizu.

Chizu was dead. She was gone. It seemed so implausible that she had seen her only hours before—before death had visited her. It seemed incredible that only some short time ago, she had had a sister, yet now she had none. Her only sister was gone. Dead.

Chizu, who had been led astray. Chizu, who had craved so much, had so little and then lost the much she’d wrongly acquired. Chizu, who had, because of her insatiable desires, allowed her hands to be tainted with blood. Chizu, who had been gentle and kind and loving and—dutiful.

Nkem could not still believe it. That her sister had killed, or had allowed, her son to be killed. Slaughtered for wealth. It was harder to believe than the ugly fact that she had taken her life on the very same day she had come to her and confessed all.

BTG – Blood of the Innocent 8

BOTI EPISODES

EIGHT

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” Alexander Pope.

•♦• 

HE was gone no more. He was here, never really gone. He was back in her life; had been back for some time and now she’d accepted it, Chizu knew herself to be content once more.

Her son was back—for her.

She was ready; ready for what will soon be. Ready for, and has accepted, what none of them can put a stop to. Her phone had been buzzing, in its on-vibrate mode, nonstop since she left Nkem. She had instructed Nkiru to tell her that she had not come home, whilst she had the car hidden in the garage.

Nkem was not ready, and who would blame her, for what was about to happen. She would not accept, not now at least, what has been destined for her. She would want to stop it. Only it cannot be stopped. And if it could be, she, Chizu, would not want it so.

Her son was back in her life and she was at last content again. When she had not understood that this was meant to be, she had run from it and had fought against it. Now, when she had let go of every fight and had welcomed instead of rebuked what was to be, that contentment which had eluded her since he left, had returned and she was again at peace.

BTG – Blood of the Innocent 7

BOTI EPISODES

SEVEN

“Do not wait for the last judgment. It comes every day.” Albert Camus.

•♦• 

WHILE he lived in that other sphere, he did not live long enough to know in depth the guilt of wrongdoing. In this sphere where his life being violently terminated had condemned him to, the being that he was now refused to recognise that guilt.

“You are not meant to take life. None of us have a right to.”

“And I did not take it.”

“But you almost did.” Tobi’s voice accused, albeit quietly. “You sent down that chandelier light with the intent to kill him.”

“But it did not kill him.” His eyes smouldered with an impenitent glint. “He jumped back and saved himself.”

“And if he had died?”

He had thought about that possibility—after he had scaled out of harm’s way. “Then he would know what it is to have death served to you before you were ready for it.”

“You’re eaten up by your crave for vengeance.” There was no judgment in Tobi’s voice now and her eyes gleamed with compassion as they beheld him. “I fear for what will become of you.”

BTG – Blood of the Innocent 6

BOTI EPISODES

SIX

“There are things that once done, cannot be undone. Things that once said, cannot be unsaid.” Lisa Gardner.

•♦• 

NKEM was worried about Chizu. Each time they saw, and they rarely saw each other these days. She had a busier schedule and Chizu seemed to prefer to spend time with her new friends than with her. Whenever she made time for them to see, it was either she had already made plans with Annuli or there was some occasion to attend or a shopping trip to go on with women who seemed to have no regard on how they spend money.

It wasn’t just the money and time spent on shopping unneeded stuff that worried her. It was Chizu herself; it was her state of mind. She was most often absentminded when they were together and when she wasn’t inattentive and distracted, she acted in a jumpy manner. It was as if something continually kept her ill at ease. She was nervy and tense—and she always wanted to be on the move. Restless.

“I think it’s this their close association with Onwa that makes her this way.” She confided in her friend, Ogonna. “Even Ifee’s changed. He used to be so down-to-earth, so easy-going and simple of heart. Now he talks big and pompous and there’s no end to the things he will buy next. The wealth—” Nkem shook her head. “It practically came out of nowhere and seems to be all they talk about these days.”

“If they are close to Onwa then something must not be right.” Ogonna said in a quiet tone.

BTG – Blood of the Innocent 5

BOTI EPISODES

FIVE

“There will be killing till the score is paid.” Homer, The Odyssey.

•♦• 

DEATH was not an end, Chizu now knew that. It wasn’t a beginning either. It was a ubiquitous entity that followed you everywhere. It lurked in dark shadows and uttered its words in muted whispers. It accused. It judged. And it condemned. Death was in the house. It lived with them. It occupied every room. It lived—inside of her. She felt him, her dead son, right inside of her. Right inside her mind. He had taken a place inside her mind and she could not expel his onerous presence.

Ifee would not believe her. He was losing patience with her. He still thought she was imagining things and he was beginning to think that she was losing her mind.

The bathtub tap that had been turned on in their private bathroom and left to flood the bedroom just last week; he would not believe her even when she insisted over and over again that she had switched off that tap after her bathing and before leaving the house. Then the buttons of his brand new French suit which had been clipped off the suit; he refused to believe that it hadn’t been her who would so such a senseless, malicious thing. And he had strongly rebuked her when she’d reminded him that Jamuike had had the penchant for plucking buttons off clothes. Then just last night when the burner had been turned back on under the fresh pot of soup she’d prepared and the soup had burned to black nothingness, he had angrily rebuffed her claims that she had turned off the burner after cooking.

BTG – Blood of the Innocent 4

BOTI EPISODES

FOUR

“It is very hard for evil to take hold of the un-consenting soul.” Ursula K. Le Guin.

•♦• 

“WHAT happened?” Ifee demanded, still beset with the spine-chilling terror that had curdled his blood when he’d heard her piercing scream. “You fainted, why? What happened to you?” He’d never known her to faint and finding her crumpled on the floor of the hallway had terrified him like nothing else had ever done.

Chizu gripped onto his hand. “Jam… did you see him?” She was quivering and her eyes were darting about, wide with stark terror. “He was here… there… at the hallway.”

“Jamuike?” Ifee frowned, cast a glance over his shoulder at the door and then back at her. “Jamuike is gone, Chizu. He is not here. He cannot be here.” He gently rubbed her trembling hand. “You are still thinking about him. You haven’t completely let go and so—”

“No! He was here. I saw him!” Chizu bolted up on the bed and pushed her body against him. Her heart was pounding with fear. She was trembling with it. She could still see him—pointing his finger at her. Accusing her. “I saw him, Ifee. He was wearing his clothes… the ones he was wearing when we took to the hospital. The ones he died in. But he was different… his eyes were different. He looked at me with—” Hate. She spoke the word in her heart but could not voice it.

BTG – Blood of the Innocent 3

BOTI EPISODES

THREE

“Life is a gift, given in trust—like a child.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

•♦• 

LIFE was the most precious gift, wasn’t it?

It was a precious gift from the Almighty who created all things. It was a gift given freely to everyone. No one paid a price to receive this gift and no one gave a reward to the One who gave it for having been bequeathed such a priceless gift. So then, no one should steal that free gift from another, not when they hadn’t given it and they had their own.

It was what they had done—stolen his life from him. Robbed him of his childhood, just as he started living it. Robbed him of the youth he’d have lived and of the adulthood he’d never now experience. They had done that to him, thrown him into this empty existence where bitterness and rage kept him a prisoner from another existence.

They will pay. They will answer for it. Jamuike rolled to his back and swayed on the bed of feathery cloud, his eyes fiery with the promise of his vengeance.

•♦•

THEY said that time healed all wounds. But it wasn’t exactly healing that she felt, for that probably wasn’t possible as she still suffered moments of sadness. But those moments were losing their intensity. They were losing their grip over her heart and mind. Their potency had greatly abated. So had their power to overwhelm and bury her in that well of grief and guilt. Memories remained—they would never completely fade away—but they were no longer bitter tastes on her tongue. She thought of him, but she struggled to think of him in happy times.

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