THE LAST SMILE Episode 6 by NISSI ADEOLA
Nurse Rola stared openly at Tinuke with her mouth agape. She couldn’t begin to fathom the weight of what had almost happened in her absence. She had noted something spooky in the way Tinuke made an appearance, especially with the scenario she created the previous day but she had thrashed her thoughts with the fact that lovers fight and reconcile.
Tinuke also stared wide-eyed at the nurse. Why was she staring at her like she was an abomination? If she didn’t take enough time to see to her dressing, she would have assumed that she was robed in rags with the way the nurse’s eyes bulged out to glare at her.
“I said: what are you doing madam?”
“Excuse me? I am visiting a patient. Is there anything remotely wrong with that? You let me in, remember?” Tinuke was beside herself with rage as she glared at the rude nurse.
The nurse came into the room fully and closed the door. “What are you doing with a pillow? You want to commit murder? I need to call security” she took out her phone.
For the first time, Tinuke saw the pillow she clutched in her hands and dropped it like it was on fire. She blanched. “Security? Wait, no. I don’t even know how the pillow got to my hand”.
“Explain that to the police when they arrive” the nurse hissed. She already had her phone against her ear.
“What? No…” Tinuke tried to pass but the nurse blocked the exit. She had no choice but to push the nurse out of the way, causing nurse Rola’s phone to slip out of her grasp, shattering on the floor.
Tinuke fled, with her heels making crazy noise on the tiled floor. The nurse took her time, gathering her precious Samsung S4 phone, giving Tinuke enough time to make an escape. The nurse didn’t even seem keen on pursuing her. When she got to the end of the hall, she paused for some seconds to regain her composure, then she walked fast but calmly in order not to rouse any suspicion. She hoped to God that the nurse would not emerge from behind. She hurried to the reception to sign out in the hospital’s register with a strained smile. She almost raced out of the building, looking behind her constantly to be sure she was not being followed. She stopped the first bike she sighted and jumped on it.
Nurse Rola went to the doctor’s office feeling very agitated and frightened and angry. The demented lady had succeeded in shattering the screen of her phone. She could only imagine what she would do if she sighted her now. She would make sure Tinuke pays for what she did.
When she was given permission, she entered Doctor Tunde’s office with rage written all over her. At the same time, she didn’t know what would happen when the doctor finds out that she let a murderer get away unscathed.
“What may I do for you nurse Rola?” She had been standing there for some minutes without speaking and Doctor Tunde became forced to interrupt her thoughts.
“Sir, something just happened some minutes ago.” Doctor Tunde gave her his attention. “Someone came to visit the patient in ward 7; the one brought in by Mr Raymond. Her name is Miss Tinuke. She said she brought some provisions for the patient and I let her in”.
The doctor was sort of surprised because he remembered the reception Tinuke gave him days ago when he went there at the middle of the night. Knowing that more info was still coming, he waited.
“After dropping the provisions, she said she needed some privacy with the patient, so I excused her. When I got back, I saw her with a pillow clutched in her hands in a fierce manner, suggesting that she wanted to suffocate the patient”.
“What?” He exclaimed, jumping out of his seat immediately.
“But sir…” She was not allowed to finish her statement when the doctor shoved her out of the way, causing her phone to slip from her hand again but luckily, it fell on the leather chair. She took it and ran in pursuit of the doctor.
Doctor Tunde got to ward 7 and checked everything he needed to check to be sure that Tinuke hadn’t done anything stupid. Relieved, he faced the nurse who was already behind him. “Where is she?” He growled.
“Sir, I am sorry, as I was calling the security, she pushed me away and ran. I have evidence sir, when she pushed me, my phone fell and the screen cracked. See sir” she raised the phone for doctor Tunde to see.
“I see” he said glaring. Instead of saying anything, he left the room. The nurse pursued him.
“I am sorry sir”
“I am not angry at you Rola, you would get your phone replaced, don’t worry.” She sighed. Doctor Tunde opened the door of his office and called the security with his intercom.
Fred sat in his apartment in Abuja, still feeling that unhindered fear. When his father had died and left him with this apartment, being the only property he owned, he had doubted if he would ever step into the house, not to mention, reside there. He had arrived in Abuja, instead of the Ogun state he had told his friend Chika. He knew that it was easy to be tracked down if he had told Chika the truth. That the police would be searching the wrong place should have at least put his mind at rest, but no. he felt even more agitated, shaking and jerking at every sound. If he was ever told that he would murder a human being in his life, he would not have believed it, but here he was, running away like a common criminal.
He stood up and paced the sitting room in slow strides. As much as he tried to block out the day everything crumbled, he was not able to shut it out. He held his head as everything came playing back, making him feel crazy. He had murdered the love of his life with his own hands; how unthinkable. He heard something and froze. It sounded like a knock, or was he imagining things? He stood on that spot until he heard the knock again, louder this time. He heart raced. Nobody knew he was in Abuja. He had told no one. Who could be at the door?
The sweet smell emanating from the kitchen was enough to renew Raymond’s hunger. Bose’s cookings were always divine, both in aroma and in taste. Even though he was in his room, the aroma dragged him to his feet. He opened the door and went down stairs. Bose was apparently very occupied with whatever she was doing not to have noticed his approach. He dropped his suit jacket on the couch and made for the kitchen, unable to resist the aroma.
What he saw took him by surprise: Bose was standing by the cooker, with her ear-piece jammed in her ears, dancing. She wore an army-green nicker that was halfway down her thigh and a red tank top which clung to her body firmly. He had never seen her dress so… boldly, ever since she came into the house. He swallowed hard, the food forgotten as he stared at the person he had come to take as a friend and a sister.
Bose became aware that she was not alone and she turned slowly. She was a not surprised to find Raymond there, since they were the only two people in the house. For some seconds, they just stared at each other until Bose looked away in a shy demonstration. Ray just kept on staring at her, trying to think about something that was nagging at his head.
She removed the ear-piece slowly. “I… erm…” she coughed slightly. “The food is almost done” she said, barely above a whisper. Instantly, Ray remembered the reason he came down.
“Oh… OK” he turned back and retreated.
Bose exhaled deeply. She must be out of her mind to assume anything. She rushed back to the cooker to monitor the soup on fire.
Wheat and egusi soup landed on the table some minutes later. The soup was adorned with all sorts of fishes and meats. Since eating with ray on the same table has become a regular phenomenon, she also served her food and went up to call him.
She stood at the entrance of the room for some time, trying to calm her nerves but, unable to gather much courage to enter, she just knocked and talked to him through the door.
“Sir, your food is served”. After receiving a calm reply, she hurried downstairs. Instead of sitting close to Ray’s seat, she sat down far away from his seat on the table for her own sake. She watched his approach to the dinning in calm steady strides. Her pulse quickened as he sat down without even glancing her way.
Ray did not waste any second before he dug into his meal. The aroma had kept him salivating and imagining all along, what it would taste like.
After the first mussel, he nodded his head appreciatively. “Hmmmm…. This is good. Very good” he murmured and Bose smiled her thanks. She was happy that he had finally broken the silence by saying something. After ray had eaten sufficient amount of food, he looked up, noticing for the first time that Bose was seating at the far end of the table.
“Why are you seated there? He looked surprised. “come here” he patted the space beside him.
She moved her food to the chair beside him and sat, still with her head low to her food. “I have the distinct feeling that you are not telling me something”. Ray said, putting a cup of water against his lips.
Bose swallowed hard. She finally managed to raise her head to look Ray in the eye. “Madam… Your fiancée was here yesterday” she blurted. She had deliberately decided not to tell ray anything about her encounter with Tinuke, and when he had arrived and asked if anyone came in his absence, she had answered in the negative.
Ray nodded knowingly. “And?”
“she wasn’t happy at all when I blocked her out, in fact, she was so angry that she almost went crazy with rage” Bose said, remembering that episode with a smile.
Ray blinked. “Well, as long as she did not carry out any of her displays on you, there is no problem” he swallowed another mussel of wheat but when he got no response, he looked up from the food to gaze at Bose. “Did she hit you?”
Bose blanched and rejoiced internally that he was concerned about her. “No… No. I mean, she tried to but I didn’t let her. Then she started saying all sort of things like getting me fired and so on”.
Raymond relaxed. “Well she didn’t employ you, did she?” he washed his hands and stood up, gathering the plates. Bose tried to help him but he succeeded in packing them, telling her to pack hers. After dropping the plates, he invited her outside. Sitting at the veranda, he had a clear picture of what was on his mind. He had suspected it for some time now but looking at Bose, he knew it was way beyond a vague thought.
“I want to ask you a question Bose, please answer me truthfully” he looked deeply into her eyes, trying to make her feel at ease when all he was doing was the exact opposite.
“Are you in love with me?”
THE LAST SMILE Episode 7 by NISSI ADEOLA
Deolu sat in his office, looking lost. Everything about the last three days was affecting him severely. He had called his friend, Caleb, in Ogun State who was a policeman to comb the entire state for that son of a bitch who is behind Lucy’s disappearance. He was able to persuade Fred’s neighbor; Chika to give him a picture. He had seen Fred with Lucy countless number of times and he, for some time thought the two were dating until Lucy wiped out that doubt. His jealousy never made him like Fred, instead, it made him despise him but never did he know that someone so close to Lucy could hurt her. His forehead showed sweat beads even though the office was chilling, considering the air-conditioner. Never in his life had he known such misery. His head rested on the back-rest of the office chair as he gazed blindly at the ceiling. He was oblivious to the consistent knock on the door until the door opened and his secretary walked in; he was still lost in his thoughts.
“Sir”, Fadeke called. He did not hear her until she called louder for the second time. When he came back to his senses, he gazed at her for some seconds like he had forgotten who she was.
“Oh… Fadeke. What is it?” he rubbed his forehead.
Fadeke’s face held concern as she spoke. “Sir, it is already some minutes past six. I wanted to ask if I could leave since there is nothing left for me to do”.
Deolu is the owner of D&C Limited. The firm engages in supplying quality furniture to both private individuals and companies. The company is well known for the quality doors, slates, roofing sheets, cupboards and the likes; that everyone building one thing or the other ends up buying their things from D&C.
Deolu sighed as he gazed at the time. Fadeke should have closed since 5 O’clock and now he had kept her for more than one hour extra, doing nothing at all.
“You can go” he said, dismissing her.
“I am sorry sir but; is everything alright? I have not seen you like this before.” She was genuinely worried.
Deolu smiled faintly. “Nothing is alright but don’t worry. It is personal; just go home, ok? Thanks for your concern” he stood also preparing to leave. She wanted to probe but decided otherwise and left. Deolu decided the family house would be better for him. He would have people around who can take his mind off this trauma; he doubted that though.
Just about an hour drive and he was in the family house, surrounded by his extended family members. His father and mother were not around when he got there. The general discussion they were having was only making his situation worse so he retired to his room. Deolu lay lost in his own world on the massive bed. He hadn’t been able to stop his brain from thinking about Lucy. He picked up his phone and dialed Caleb again.
Fred was glued to the ground as his mind desperately searched for a way out. He never
imagined that the police would catch him so soon, and he was a hundred percent sure the police were the ones knocking. His cloth was already soaked in his own sweat as he stood, unable to move a nerve. The knock became persistent and louder, matching with the intensity of his heartbeat.
“Fred” someone yelled from the entrance. “Freddy”. Fred exhaled audibly and almost collapsed in relief. He had never been so scared. He knew that voice like the back of his palms. How did that freaking guy know I am in Abuja? He got to the door, peeped to be double sure his guess is not wrong before he opened the door.
“Wetin dey do you? You no fit open door since?” Chris was angry and scared. He had been worried that something might have happened to him in there, not allowing him to answer the door.
Fred glared at him for some time and hissed. He was still trying to regularize his heartbeat. He had a desperate urge to pee.
Chris took a look at his sweating profile and opened his mouth again. “Ol boy, wetin do you? You dey run race for here? Or…” he smiled and winked. “any chick dey room”.
Fred hissed for the second time and closed the door.
“Who told you I am in Abuja?” he asked through gritted teeth. “You almost sent me to an early grave with fright”
Chris widened his eyes and folded his arms across his chest. “I never knew you could be so afraid with a mere knock. Bless the Lord for this surprise visit”. He was definitely enjoying himself. Fred fought the huge urge to deliver a solid punch but calmed himself.
“Answer the damn question” he growled.
Chris raised his hands in surrender. “I was passing by this place yesterday night and saw the security lights on. The light could not have come on by itself, so I figured it could only have come on with the help of someone. You are the only one with the key so…” he left Fred to finish the remaining in his imagination. He went over to the seat and collapsed in it since Fred was not ready to offer him a seat. He turned to glare at Fred who was still at the door.
“Why did you not tell me that you were coming to Abuja as you usually do? Have I offended you or is there something you are hiding from me?”
Fred and Chris had been friends, right from their secondary school days. They came to Lagos from the village together, making them look more like brothers. Chris’ moving to Abuja because of his business had put physical distance between them but they still communicated very frequently and Fred stays in chris’ house whenever he is in Abuja.
Fred did not know what to say to the accusation and he said the first thing that came to his mind.
“If you call me often, I would have told you”.
Chris laughed. “You can’t be serious. I called you last week. Why should I call you every day? I am not your girlfriend and neither am I gay”. Fred laughed for the first time, trying to use his laughter to ward off the awkwardness he was beginning to feel. He also sat down opposite Chris.
Chris looked thoughtful for some seconds. “Speaking of girlfriends, now that we are face to face, tell me about this girl you have been crazy about. Did she finally accept you?”
Fred blanched and sat still like someone in another world. He could practically see the scene where he picked up the knife from the tray. The fright in her eyes would haunt for the rest of his miserable years. He had killed his love with his own hands. She tripped over something and fell and…
“Fred… Fred” Chris yelled already close to the chair. Fred almost jumped out of his skin. He was sweating profusely. “What is the matter Fred? You don dey see spirit? See as you white”.
Fred almost had a panic attack at the mention of spirit.
“I think you need to leave Chris, I am not in the mood to receive visitors” he rose up.
Chris was now worried, very worried. “Do I look like someone who takes orders or advises? Sit. I must hear whatever your problem is before I leave this place.”
Fred swallowed and glared. Hr dragged a bewildered Chris and pushed him out of the door. He slammed the door and fell into a heap on the floor.
The silence was a piercing and extremely uncomfortable one. Bose had never known this much tension in her twenty three years of existence. Raymond was looking at her in a very disturbing way. His gaze seemed to be penetrating her thoughts and she was certain he could hear her pounding heart. She has always been aware of Raymond’s powerful presence but never had it been this overpowering; it is probably because she is seated very close to him now. Although the sitting arrangement is not one of intimacy, judging by the space between them, she still felt she was seated too close.
“You have not answered me Bose” Raymond said after waiting for what seemed like ages and did not get any response.
Bose’s eyes were on her fingers as she struggled to keep them from shivering. “I don’t know what you are talking about sir” she managed, surprised that she didn’t stutter.
“Yes, you do” he said softly, already knowing the answer he was expecting.
Bose shivered visibly. “I… I don’t… I don’t know what to tell you” she stammered.
“Tell me the truth”
“Yes” she dropped already in tears. Ray was motionless and speechless. He had suspected this but now that it was out on display, he didn’t know how to handle it. After some seconds of ‘no movement’ on his part, he pulled Bose into his arms and held her. She cried in his arms for some minutes while Ray just kept quiet, trying to think. He pulled away from her and held her shoulders.
“Bose, please stop crying and listen to me” he hates women in tears. He left her shoulders and held her face with his arms. “Listen…” he was interrupted by the ringing of his phone. He was sorely tempted to ignore the call until he saw the caller. He excused himself and received the call. It was Doctor Tunde.
“Hello Doctor… Yes… You don’t mean it? Wooow… I would be there in a jiffy.” He ended the call with a million smiles on his faces.
“The girl is conscious now” he exclaimed. Bose rejoiced, putting aside her emotions. Raymond picked up his car keys and jumped into his car.
Tinuke lay on her bed with her eyes glued to the rolling fan. There is nothing fascinating about three blades going after each other when it is obvious none of them would succeed in catching the others but still, she had her eyes fastened on the fan. Her mind was elsewhere. Throughout the previous day, she had perambulated anxiously, hoping no one would come for her and luckily, no one did. How can that freaking nurse think I am a murderer? But wait, how did that pillow get to my hands? She wondered.
Her mind shifted to Ray. He hadn’t called her and has not picked up one of her nine hundred and ninety nine calls. How can he just ignore her like that? she felt like a piece of used product. ‘He feels he can just use me and dump me like that, well I would not be so sure if I were him’ she said to herself.
She finally stood up from the bed with the perfect idea of her next line of action in mind. She is officially Ray’s fiancée and nothing stops her from moving in with him, or so she thought. She packed a small suitcase, filled it with clothes and other necessities. It had been a while she called her friends and they seemed to have forgotten her. She would call when she is fully settled in her future husband’s house.
Ken and Bewaji Jones entered the house and sank into the leather couch. Their faces were drawn. It had been a rough day. They had been going to every television station to announce that their daughter is missing and also to publicly declare a search warrant for Fred. One million Naira was promised as reward for anyone who leads them to either the guy or their daughter.
It hadn’t been easy at all emotionally. Bewaji cries most of the times and Ken was too preoccupied trying to pet his wife that he didn’t even know how to vent his anger and fear and anguish. Things had gone worse when a possessed lady asked them to check the mortuary. They had both rejected it, saying that their daughter would never be in a mortuary.
The maid brought them dinner and Bewaji refused, saying she would eat when she sees her daughter. Ken tried to beg her but she would have none of it. Ken was not hungry but he wanted Bewa to be strong, it is only in her strength that he found his courage and strength. He sighed as Bewaji rested her head on his shoulders, crying. Lucy, my Lucy, where are you? He wondered with pain tearing
Raymond got to the hospital and practically sailed the distance between the parking lot and the doctor’s office. He had become a regular face and no one delayed him. He got to Doctor Tunde’s office and entered with smiles pasted all over his face. He was ecstatic.
“A lovely evening it is Doc T.” he said, sitting.
“With a lovely news to go with it” doctor Tunde replied with a smile.
“When did this happen and how?” Raymond was curious. He wished he had been there when she opened her eyes.
Doctor tuned smiled. “Some minutes before I called you. I went to her room to perform some doctorate rituals, in order to be sure everything is going well when she opened her eyes. She made some discomfort sounds which alerted me and I was so happy that she had finally come around. I never expected it to be this quick though. There is no doubt about the fact that she is very strong and God is solidly behind her.”
Ray agreed. He could not remember when last he had been this happy about something. “Forget this talk, let me see her” he was already on his feet.
“Did I tell you that your fiancée was here?” that surely got his attention and he sat down again.
“What do you mean?”
Tunde smiled. “Tinuke was here, told the nurse she brought provisions for the patient and was caught with a pillow clawed tight in her hands but she escaped”, he said.
Ray stared for some seconds. “Wait, you are not thinking that she tried to… tried to…” he could not complete the sentence.
“Kill her?” Tunde asked with a faint smile.
Ray was speechless. He rubbed his palms together and swallowed painfully. “Let me see the girl, we would come back to this later” he stood up already furious. Tinuke was constantly making his life hell on earth.
They entered the room with the doctor ahead and Raymond behind him. Tunde smiled but the smile was not returned by the girl. Seeing her eyes open for the first time ever was like a miracle. Her eyes was on the doctor. He asked her how she was doing but she said nothing; it didn’t look like she had ever opened her mouth because it seemed glued to eachother. For some seconds, he thought she was deaf when she did not respond to anything the doctor said.
“Look. This is the man that brought you here” for the first time, her eyes left the doctor and that made it obvious that she could hear what was being said. Ray’s breath was knocked out of him as those dark eyes rested on him. ‘Beautiful’ is a word but it is not weighty enough to describe this lady. He was held spellbound by her stunning beauty but what really gripped his heart was the pain he saw in her eyes. The pain was so evident in her dark eyes. He tried desperately to regain his breath. The only desire he had was to remove that pain. He desperately wanted to drive that pain away and make her laugh. He sat down gently on the chair beside the bed and took her hand slightly. He felt a totally strange emotion and he stared at her hand for some time. He had forgotten about the presence of Tunde.
“I am Raymond, please what is your name?” he asked gently so as not to startle her.
For the first time since she became conscious, she opened her mouth to the surprise of both men.
“Brenda” she whispered.
THE LAST SMILE Episode
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