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    Major Festus sat down and gazed at Mrs Bakare silently. The woman stared back at him from above her glasses without saying anything. Festus sighed.

    Major Festus: “I want information concerning your ward, Miss Martha.” He said softly.

    Mrs Bakare gazed at him without giving any sign that she had heard him. He sighed again and continued;

    Major Festus: “she made a claim at the hospital that I find hard to believe. She claims that she is the mother of my son, Desmond and that her name is actually Egbe Osunbor; is this true?” he asked.

    Mrs Bakare: “according to her story, she indeed is that Egbe Osunbor. Let me tell you her story.” She said. She went on to tell him of how Egbe came into her life and how she had grown and developed from the semi illiterate girl she had been when she arrived Lagos.

    Major Festus: “Why didn’t she tell me when I returned from the States?” He asked.

    Mrs Bakare: “would you have given her Desmond? Would you have let her even come close to the boy?” she asked.

    Major Festus: “I have decided to return Desmond back to her. My home is not a place for a child to grow up. There are too many dangerous secrets hidden in that place.” He said.

    Mrs Bakare: “have you found the boy?” she asked

    Major Festus: “soon very soon. This letter is for Egbe. I might not be able to see her again. Tell her that I was only human and that I am sorry.” He said and handed over a sealed envelope to Mrs Bakare.

    Mrs Bakare: “are you travelling again?” she asked curiously.

    Major Festus got up and nodded at Mrs Bakare then he left the house.
    ====
    Florence opened her eyes to find that she had been tied up like Desmond and her mouth covered with a cloth. Unlike Desmond though, her eyes were open. She looked around and tried to sit up. As she sat up, the door to the room opened and Doyin walked in.

    Doyin: “you are awake. That is good. How do you feel?” he asked, pushing the cloth covering her mouth aside.

    Florence: ”no matter what you and Festus have agreed, he will not be happy that you tied me up like this or his precious son.” She replied, mustering some haughtiness.

    Doyin chuckled then he walked around her and started checking the ropes around her hands and around her ankles

    Doyin: “you still think you know what is going on. Do you think I was at that boutique by mistake? Do you think that it was a coincidence? I had been watching for weeks before that day. Do you think the fact that I am a doctor at your family hospital was a coincidence? No my darling love, it was not. It was the reward of long planning. And you fell like bowling pins into my well laid trap. If not for your husband’s brother, messing up the simple job of killing him, I would be a very rich man now.” he said, smiling.

    Florence: “I don’t believe you. What did I do to you that would make you plot to destroy me and my family like that?” she asked, as fear gripped her heart.

    Doyin: “you will know real soon. The pieces are still incomplete. You rich folks think the world is your playground. You play with people’s lives, their dreams, the fears and you are not bothered when they break and crumble. I am going to make you a scapegoat. Your rich friends will hear story and tremble. Relax; you will soon hear the story.
    ====
    Omos arrived in Lagos very early in the morning. Major Festus picked him up from the airport personally. He tried to engage the Major in a conversation but he was not interested. From the airport, they drove straight for the hospital. At the hospital, Festus led him to the ward room, where Egbe had been moved to. He stood at the door and watched the crowd of people gathered in the room, chatting and laughing. It seemed like her colleagues from the school she taught in, had sent a delegation to come and greet her. He turned to Omos and motioned him forward. The man entered the room.

    Benita was the first to see him. She gasped in surprise.

    Benita: “brother Omos what are you doing here?” she asked without thinking.

    The room went quiet and everybody turned to him. he stood where he was fidgeting. Then he stepped forward to the bed and peered at Egbe

    Omos: “ha Egbe it is you. so you have been hiding in Lagos all this while.” He said, smiling.

    Egbe’s eyes widened in surprise on seeing him; she had not set eyes on him after the day he came with his dumb proposal. He looked older and fatter; he looked different. They all looked different. He could see the way, he looked at her.

    Egbe: “Omos, how did you find me?” she whispered.

    Omos: “the Major that took your son, he sent for me.” He replied, pointing to the door.

    Egbe’s eyes sought Festus at the door but he was gone. She felt sad that he had not stopped to say hi. She turned back to Omos

    Omos: “erm… don’t be angry o but he had given me some money to give you years ago. I didn’t see you so I invested the money but the investment didn’t work out well. Just give me time, I will pay back. Please can you help me to beg him?” he asked; his eyes on the floor.

    Egbe smiled and sighed. “Some things never change.” She thought to herself.
    ====
    When Major Festus had confirmed that the woman he had known as Miss Martha Bakare was indeed Mrs Egbe Osunbor, the birth mother of his son Desmond, he quickly left the hospital. He had no expectations from her. All he needed to do was get back her son in one piece, which was all. He drove straight to the bank and met with his bank manager. He explained his needs to the man and the man immediately set to work. He sat in the manager’s office and stared at his phone. He had thought of involving the police but the caller had warned him from making that mistake. He compromised by putting two pistols and a box of bullets in the glove compartment of his car. When he was ready, he would arm himself with them.

    After several hours, the bank officials loaded the money into his car. He had driven a four wheeler this time, so that there will be space for the money. The officials finished loading it and left. He thanked the bank manager and drove away. He drove back to his house and ordered his gate locked. He had recruited extra guards for the day. he ordered his cook to prepare him a good meal. After eating, he went to sleep.
    ====
    Major Festus arrived at the venue of the ransom exchange at exactly 8pm. He got out of the car and locked the door. He stared at the house quietly. He walked to the door and turned the handle and the door opened. He entered and stood still. There was no one in the entrance. He walked to the sitting room and met the same empty silence. He turned around at the sound of footsteps and a strong light shone into his eyes

    Doyin: “Major Festus please welcome to our little get together. Please can you get rid of the gun on you?” He said politely.

    Major Festus had been shocked on hearing Doyin’s voice. He had not really expected him to be in front. He had expected Florence to be the lead in the farce that they were playing. He removed the gun from his belt and dropped it on the floor.

    Doyin: “good man. Now come up, let me introduce you to everybody.” He said.

    Major Festus slowly climbed the staircase and stood before Doyin. The young man grinned. Doyin had a gun pointed at him.

    Major Festus: “the money is in the car. Where is my boy?” he asked.

    Doyin: “but sir, you don’t understand. It was never about the money. Please come.” He said, motioning him forward with the gun.

    Major Festus walked on until Doyin told him to stop. They stood before a door which Doyin pushed open. He entered and his mind exploded in confusion. Florence and Desmond laid tied to the floor. He looked at Doyin in surprise.

    Major Festus: “I thought this was your plan?” he said, talking to Florence.

    Florence looked at him with pleading eyes. Desmond laid on the ground whimpering. He had urinated on himself.

    Doyin: “please Major take a seat somewhere, I have a tale to spin.” He said, as he pushed Festus forward………

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