Click here to read Episode 6
Kola felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned and saw Eniola standing behind him.
‘I was very cruel to her. I called her names and made her feel less of herself. I always looked for ways to hurt her feelings. All she did was be a nice wife to me but I kept comparing her to other ladies. I killed her spirit.’
He swallowed hard. ‘I wish I have another opportunity to correct my ways. She has every right to hate me.’
Eniola sat beside him. ‘I’m Eniola.’
Kola smiled sadly. ‘I know you. Lola always talked about you. She showed me the pictures you took together back on campus. The moment I saw you talking to Doctor Victor, I recognized your face. My name is Kola. A horrible husband and father.’
Eniola didn’t say anything for a while. Kola hugged his feet and bowed his head.
‘I don’t have a marriage anymore.’
Eniola sighed. ‘For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root wax old and the stock die in the ground, yet through the scent of water, it will bud and bring forth boughs like a plant.’
Kola stared at Eniola, taking in every word she said. ‘You mean there is still hope for my marriage? Is it possible-‘
‘Thank God you are here!’ Tosin said, hurrying towards them. ‘Your Pastor is here with his wife.’
Kola didn’t welcome the interruption. He wanted to share deep secrets with Eniola. He wanted to talk about Bimbo, to let out everything that had stemmed from his relationship with her. How Bimbo had aborted twice even when she had wanted to keep the babies. He wanted to open up on the way he had treated Lola. He wanted to get everything out.
He stood up and walked back into the hospital with Eniola. The Pastor and his wife were seated in the Doctor’s office.
The Pastor’s wife clapped her hands. ‘Kola, you did not try at all. All these things were happening and you didn’t inform us. Imagine, hearing about the death of your son from a total stranger. I just accused Victor for not telling us too. This is so wrong. Why are you a member of our church if you cannot share your issues with us.’
She rolled her eyes at Victor. ‘Even though Victor has left our church. I wondered what we did to offend him. ehn…these days that the word of God is being watered down in almost all the churches. Still, both of you did not try.’
Kola bowed slightly. ‘I’m sorry ma.’
The Pastor turned to Kola. ‘We are sorry about your loss. The Lord comfort your heart.’
Victor introduced Eniola to the Pastor. ‘This is Eniola. She is a big sister to me and one of Lola’s spiritual mentors back on campus.’
The Pastor’s wife glanced briefly at Eniola and you could see she didn’t like her. ‘Well, now that we are here, We can take charge of this situation. Lola’s pathetic situation calls for immediate attention. I think we need to take her to a psychiatric hospital immediately. Omo yen ti ya were. She is not normal at all.’
Eniola stared at the Pastor’s Wife. ‘Lola is not mad. We are not taking her to the psychiatric hospital. I am already making arrangement with a psychiatrist who will attend personally to her. Until her mental health is restored, she’ll stay in my mother’s house.’
The Pastor’s wife flared up. ‘Who are you to give orders. Ehn! Lola has been under our care for years and all of a sudden, you know what to do with her.’
The Pastor tugged at his wife’s arm but she pushed his hand away. ‘Leave me, let me talk some sense into her head.’
Eniola was getting worked up. ‘Where were you when she was going through this depression. If you had been spiritually sensitive, I’m not sure she would have deteriorated to this state!’
The moment the words came out of Eniola’s mouth, she regretted it. The woman’s face was red with rage.
The Pastor stood up to intervene. ‘It’s okay.’
‘Don’t tell me it’s okay! Didn’t you listen to the insult she just threw at me? Who is she to talk to me like that? It’s not her fault. Christ is the leveler otherwise, she won’t have the guts to spill that nonsense. The platforms I have stood to preach, not even your generation to come will ever be invited to stand on those platforms. You don’t even know who you are talking to.’
‘I’m so sorry for upsetting you. You can do whatever you want with her. You are the shepherd over her soul. I shouldn’t interfere. I’m so sorry. I’ll wait outside.’
The Pastor’s wife waved her off. ‘Yes, please stay outside. This is a family matter.’
Eniola stepped outside, tears glistened her eyes. She leaned on the wall. ‘That didn’t come out right. I shouldn’t have said that.’
When she entered Lola’s room, Lola was fast asleep. Simi and Tosin were talking in low tones. They stopped when Eniola approached them.
‘How did it go?’
Eniola laughed dryly. ‘I opened my mouth and spilled trash to the Pastor’s wife. This my mouth ehn.’
Tosin exhaled. ‘That woman na fire o. We don’t see eye to eye at all. I’m just happy I don’t attend their church because I don’t know how I’ll cope under the leadership of that kind of woman.’
‘I think she is cool. She just got upset over what I said. Anybody could be upset.’
Simi clapped her hand. ‘Chei! This my sister. She always sees something good in people. The only time she acted otherwise was when a prophet came to our house. The moment they finished talking, my sister just burst into laughter.’
Tosin giggled. ‘I can imagine how embarrassed he was.’
Eniola smiled. ‘That was different jare. See, when the devil brings negative thoughts to your mind or someone says something that contradicts what God says about you in His Word, your very first reaction is what matters. You immediately let the devil know that he is a defeated foe. You give it back to him sharp sharp. Laugh at him. Respond with the Word. Just don’t sit there and take it in.’
Lola opened her eyes. They stopped talking. She faced the wall and went back to sleep.
Eben entered, followed by Kola who tip-toed into the room. Tosin hugged her husband and asked how the kids were.
‘I’ve taken Lola’s daughter and Nene to the house.’ Eben announced. ‘Hannah has been asking for her mother. I left her playing with the kids.’
Eniola turned to Kola ‘How far? You are taking her to the psychiatric hospital?’
Kola shook her head. ‘I’m going with your plan. She’ll stay over at your mum’s place.’
‘Your Pastor’s wife?’
‘She left angrily. The Pastor said I should do what I felt was best for her. That reminds me, how do we get to meet the doctor you talked about? I’m willing to pay any amount to get my wife back on her feet.’
Lola coughed and sat up.
Kola fled the room.
Simi sat back on the bed and resumed caressing Lola’s hair. Lola’s eyes gradually closed again and she slept off.
Lola was discharged a week later.
When Simi pulled up in front of the duplex, her mother was standing at the entrance ready to receive the new visitor.
Lola walked towards the building flanked by Eniola and the psychiatrist, Taiwo.
She stopped when she got to the front of the building. Simi’s mother approached her.
‘Welcome to my house. We have been expecting you. In fact, I have made delicious banga soup with pounded yam.’
Lola didn’t respond. She looked around and walked back to the car.
‘Lola, what is it? You don’t like this place?’Eniola asked.
Lola shook her head. ‘I want to go home. Take me home.’
Eniola sought Taiwo’s help. There had to be a way to convince her to go in. Lola needed to be away from her familiar environment so she could heal properly.
Taiwo rubbed Lola’s shoulders. ‘Lola, you are safe here. You’ll be well taken care of. Please come in.’
Tears were already forming in her eyes. ‘I want to go home.’
Eniola exhaled. ‘Holy Spirit, please teach us what to do.’
She pulled Taiwo aside. ‘What are we going to do? How do we make her stay?’
‘Let’s take her home. I’ll stay with her tonight. We should find a way to get her out of the house by morning.’
Eniola turned to her mother. ‘Mum, I’m so sorry. Change of plans.’
‘It’s okay. But let me pack the food into a warmer so you can take it along. Simi, come.’
Simi followed her into the house and after a few minutes, she came out with two food warmers. They left for Lola’s house. Eniola dialed Kola’s number.
‘We are on our way to the house. Lola insist on returning home. Please send the directions to the house.’
Few minutes later, when Simi drove into Lola’s street, Lola smiled and pointed to a building. The gate was opened and a green Toyota camry pulled out of the company. As the car drove past, Lola pushed Taiwo aside and stuck her head out of the window.
The car stopped. Kola sat there, wondering whether to come out or not. Slowly, he climbed out of the car. Lola jumped down and ran to him. She hugged him tight. When Kola’s hand went round her back, a tear dropped from his eyes.
‘Lola I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.’
He raised his head and glanced excitedly at Taiwo. ‘I can’t believe this.’
‘Not so fast. She might not feel this way about you tomorrow. We take it one step at a time. Let’s go back inside and I’ll show you the drugs she needs to take and when her appointment at my clinic will commence.’
Eniola placed her hand on Taiwo’s waist. ‘Thank you so much for this. I know you are a very busy woman. Thank you for helping us.’
Taiwo smiled. ‘You know this is little compared to what you’ve done for me over the years. I’ll be glad to do more.’
Kola couldn’t stop looking at his wife as they walked back to the house hand in hand.
How could he have been foolish not to notice how beautiful she was? He still remembered the day he proposed to her. He had been so scared that she would not consider him good enough. Every time she stood on the pulpit to sing, his heart pounded and until she left, he couldn’t take his eyes away from her.
He looked at his car parked outside the house. He’d drive in later. Right now, he just wanted to enjoy this precious moment with his wife.
The entrance door opened. A petite round woman came out and ran down the stairs.
Lola screamed in surprise. ‘Mama!’
The woman couldn’t hold back the tears. ‘Oh my baby!’
Lola wiped her tears. ‘Why are you crying?’
She laughed. ‘I’m just so happy to see you.’
‘That must be Lola’s mother.’ Eniola said.
Kola nodded. ‘She’s been calling to speak to Lola. I didn’t know how to tell her about Benjamin and Lola’s health. She just got out of the hospital too. But yesterday, she woke up and said she had a bad dream about Lola and she wanted to speak to her daughter. I had to tell her what happened. She got here today. I was already thinking of bringing her to your place when you called to inform me that you were coming here.’
When Lola entered the living room, she stepped away from her mother and hurried to the children’s room.
She entered the guest room. Empty. She ran to the master’s bedroom. Her kids were not there.
She returned to the living room, the smile gone. ‘Where are my kids?’
‘Hannah is having a nice time with Tosin’s kids. We’ll pick her up tomorrow.’
Taiwo turned to Kola. ‘Get Hannah on the phone now. She won’t rest until she speaks with her daughter.’
Lola returned to the guest room. The treadmill was still where it had been. She entered the room slowly and closed the door, staring at the treadmill. Her skipping rope was lying carelessly on the floor. Her gaze rested on the bed.
The memories returned.
She’d been feeding Benjamin when Tosin paid her a visit. She remembered the delicious cake Tosin gave her. What had happened next? She had just finished eating the cake when Nene ran to inform her that something was wrong with her son.
They had rushed Benjamin to the hospital.
Benjamin was in the hospital. What was she doing at home? She should be with Benjamin in the hospital.
She rushed back to the living room. Kola quickly handed her the phone.
‘Hannah.’ Kola said.
Lola took the phone. ‘Hello Hannah.’
‘Mummy! Where are you?’ Hannah cried.
That moment, Lola forgot about her son moved towards the dining room as she talked with her daughter. Mama and Eniola went into the kitchen to sort out dinner. Taiwo remained in the sitting room giving Kola instructions on the dosage of Lola’s drugs. Simi sat with them listening.
3a.m, Lola’s eyes flew opened. She turned to find her mother sleeping beside her.
She had seen her son under a tree in a place that looked like a forest. He’d been crying. A bare chested man sat beside him, laughing. He had dared her to come for her son. His laughter still rang loud in her head as she stood up from the bed.
I have to save my son. Benjamin. Oh my son!
She left the room for the children’s room. Kola was sleeping on the floor. There was no sign of Benjamin. Where was her daughter? Had she not heard her voice a few hours ago? Had the man taken her daughter too?
She disappeared into the kitchen and began to open the drawers. She needed something to defend herself against the man in case he was armed. As she opened the second drawer, she heard a voice behind her.
‘You will never see your son again. He belongs to me now.’ She spun around and saw the man who had captured her son.
‘Where is my son?’
The man laughed. As she moved towards him, he ran to the back door. Lola quickly reached for a knife but when she turned to face him, she heard the back door open. He was gone.
She ran out the door, pointing the knife into the darkness. The man was running ahead. She sped after him. He stood on the fence, laughing.
Lola’s eyes darted from the security guard who was snoring to the fence where the man stood, taunting her. The laughter drove an unexplainable rage within her. She grabbed the wall and tried to climb but fell back. The man was still standing on the fence, daring her to get her son.
Lola moved backward and with a force she never knew she possessed, jumped over the fence but in the process, the knife fell off her hand.
Outside the house, She heard the laughter again but didn’t see the man. She looked down the street. Everywhere was dark. She turned towards the direction of the laughter and heard footsteps.
‘Where is my son?’ Lola shouted. She saw the man ahead and chased him.
Kola stood up from the floor and stretched. Was it morning already? He tapped his phone. 3:27a.m. His back ached. He stood up and turned on the light. His bible was still opened beside him. He picked up the bible and his eyes caught a verse.
Help Lord, for the godly man ceases to be. For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. Psalm 12:1.
He sighed. ‘God, can I still be the man you want me to be? Is all hope lost for me? I have failed you, I have failed my family. I have become a bad representative of your name. Lord, show me mercy. I need you Jesus.’
He knelt down and bowed his face to the ground. ‘Lord please.’
A voice whispered in his ears.
And hope does not disappoint because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
‘Lord, let this love be expressed in my heart. Oh, teach me Lord.’
That Christ may build His roots in you. That you may have the power to understand as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is. That you may experience the love of Christ which passes all human knowledge.
‘Oh God! Plunge me into this life. Please Jesus, teach me. I can’t do this by myself.’
The door opened. Lola’s mother entered the room.
‘Kola. We can’t find Lola.’
Kola stared at his mother-in-law. ‘What!’
He ran out of the room. ‘How did this happen?’
‘She was sleeping beside me. I didn’t even know when she woke up. Look at what I have caused. I should have stayed awake.’
‘Mama, it’s not your fault. You can’t watch her all night.’
Taiwo came out of the kitchen. ‘Come and see something!’
They followed her. The floor of the kitchen was scattered with all kinds of knifes, spoons, plates. Lola’s mother held her heart.
Kola went to the back door. It was opened.
‘She must have escaped through the back door.’
Why had he ignored the prompting to remove the key after locking the back door last night? He had thought he was just simply afraid. Lola had been injected before she slept. He never thought this could happen.
‘Lord, nothing must happen to my daughter. This is not the covenant I made with you. Prove yourself faithful Oh God. Keep Lola safe. Protect her Lord.’ Mama said as they ran down the stairs.
The security guard was still snoring. Mama slapped his face. He froze for a second and when the second slap landed on his face, he jumped to his feet.
‘Is this what you were employed to do? Ehn. Where is my daughter?’
‘Did my wife walk out of this gate?’
The man shook his head. ‘I no see anybody. Na now now I just dey sleep. Nobody waka pass here. I swear. I don go round the house plenty times. I just say make I lie down small. Nobody come here.’
Kola went to the gate and saw that two padlocks were fastened on them. How had she escaped?
‘I swear nobody pass here. The gate still dey lock. I know my job and-‘
Mama moved towards him. ‘Shut up your mouth before I give you another slap.’
Kola turned towards the house. ‘Are you sure she is not inside the house. Maybe in a toilet or the guest room. There is no way she would have left this place without going through the gate.’
Mama sighed. ‘We have checked everywhere.’
Taiwo folded her hands. ‘We should call Eniola and the others. Let’s start a prayer chain. We will find her.’
Kola was clearly distracted. ‘Let me check the back of the house. She might be sitting there.’
The security guard walked ahead of them, holding out his torchlight. Taiwo suddenly stopped and turned on the torchlight on her phone. She began to scan the wall.
‘What are you looking for?’ Kola asked.
‘I have had cases of patients who jumped fences.’
‘This wall is too high for her to jump. I doubt if my daughter will do such a thing.’
Taiwo pointed at something close to where Kola’s car was parked. ‘What’s that?’
Kola moved towards it and picked it. ‘A knife.’ His eyes ran up the wall.
‘Are you saying she jumped?’
The security came out from behind the house. ‘Aunty Lola no dey dere.’
‘I need to get my car keys.’ He ran inside the house. Mama paced the compound, praying.
Taiwo called Eunice. ‘Lola is nowhere to be found. Please pray.’
As Kola came out of the house and climbed into the car. He dialed Eben’s number. ‘Lola is missing. We are on our way to find her. Please pray.’
Mama and Taiwo jumped into the car. Kola sped out of the compound.
Kola prayed as He drove. ‘Lola, you are safe. The Lord is your shield. He watches over you.’
At the end of the street, some men from the vigilante group stopped them.
One of the men pointed a torch at Kola. ‘Yes, who are you and where are you going to?’
No word came out of Kola’s mouth. There was a lump in his throat. Tears were in his eyes. He had to look brave. ‘I’m looking for my wife. She escaped from the house.’
‘Ah, she escaped. You have been beating her? Last week, one man for that other side kill him wife.’
Taiwo was irritated. ‘Nothing like that happened! She has some mental challenges.’
‘o ni skon skon.’
‘My wife is not a lunatic. Please did you see any woman around here? ’
Kola started his engine. The youngest of the men approached him.
‘Let’s go together. E farabale. We will find her. Akim, come make we go. ’
The two vigilantes entered the car and Kola drove off.
Tosin and Eben had received the news about Lola’s disappearance. As they held hands and prayed, Sayo, Tosin’s daughter, came into the room crying.
‘Mummy, I want to drink tea.’
One glance from her mother and the cry stopped. She went straight to her parent’s bed and lay down, sulking.
Eniola paced the living room as she prayed. Simi was on her knees.
‘Lola, in the name of Jesus, we declare that you will be found. We speak health to your body. We send the power of God to reach your sense organs. By his stripes you are healed. You spirit of depression, be gone in the name of Jesus.’
Simi clapped her hands. ‘Oh Lord, keep Lola safe until we find her. ’
Eniola eyes flew opened. She stopped praying for a moment. Why was Lola running after a man? Who was the man? When the man turned, the place where the eye sockets should be were empty. He had no tooth and no ears. He was so ugly.
‘In the name of Jesus, stop chasing Lola. Get away right now!’
Eniola saw the creature disappear. Lola stood, looking confused.
‘Lord, where is she?’
Simi had stopped praying and was staring at her sister. ‘Eniola, who did you see?’
Eniola didn’t respond. She sat on the floor and began to sing in tongues.
Kola parked his car in front of Apata area police station. Eben’s car stood beside his. Mama, Taiwo and Tosin stood by the cars, worried expressions on their faces. Kola and Eben came out of the police station. Mama rushed to meet them.
‘How far? Where are the police people? Why are you coming out alone?’
Kola shook his head and sighed. ‘God, please.’
Eben pat his back. ‘Let’s go round town again. We’ll find her.’
Click here to read Episode 8