A self contained spin off story from Love like a fairytale; focusing more on Nneka, Nkiru’s sister. It’s adapted from the last episode of Love like a Fairytale.
For the story before this, see Love like a fairytale (E1 -7) available here:
E1 – http://www.naijastories.com/2015/12/love-like-fairy-tale-episode-one/
E2 – http://www.naijastories.com/2015/12/love-like-fairytale-episode-2/
E3 – http://www.naijastories.com/2015/12/love-like-fairytale-episode-3-real-deal/
E4 – http://www.naijastories.com/2015/12/love-like-fairytale-episode-4/
E5 – http://www.naijastories.com/2016/01/love-like-fairytale-episode-5-repentance/
E6 – http://www.naijastories.com/2016/01/love-like-fairytale-episode-6-deeds-past/
E7 – http://www.naijastories.com/2016/01/love-like-fairytale-finaleepisode-7-farewell/
“Will the court please rise!”
Everyone threw a quick glance at their neighbour. Many eyes flew themselves round the tight court room. Nkiru could see the two offenders of her soul tightly packed at one corner close to the jury’s position. The jury spoke amongst themselves quietly but with a resounding coarse voice. Almost everybody was doing something strange, and someone was doing something stranger – The Clerk refused them to sit even after the Judge had comfortably rested his heavy weight on his seat.
“You may now sit!” It was as though he could tell the people were not happy and suddenly realised his error to keep them standing for that long; some had even started to rain silent curses on him and his children, up to his fourth generation as the Ten Commandments in the Holy Christian book of Exodus indirectly taught them.
Nneka could not help but share painful and concerned looks for her mother and sister, they both sat on her left and right hand respectively. They pains were visible, clear as the day as earlier foretold by forecasters. It wasn’t as though she was exempted from this pain: Nonso’s death had its toll on everyone, even her little boy, Remy, had his share. The five year old was in The United States of America with his father for proper and evaluative psych therapy just as their Doctor advised: seeing his cousin die before his eye had done him more harm than anyone would have taught possible. He had been very withdrawn and uncoordinated since that day that the Doctor warned that if immediate solution wasn’t provided by experts, he’d remain scarred for life.
The past three months hasn’t been fun for her, she blamed no one for Remy’s predicament. Who would she blame asides those two awaiting judgement? But her husband, Deji refused to see things that way. It started with him wanting to throw Nkiru out of their home immediately after Nonso died. She couldn’t take it and threatened to come against him with every power her status as a Lawyer provided her – How low could he stoop so low in anger to want to send her sister and mother out on the street because Remy her son became a victim of her her Nephew’s death. Who said his life was more valuable than Nonso’s? Blood is blood, no matter who’s concerned. Remy’s her son as much as his. As far as she was concerned Deji had no right to turn the outcome of that day on her and their extended family because he’s related to them by marriage. Nkiru lost her only child that day for goodness sake.
The days that followed after that major argument brought the worst in Deji, he never mentioned sending Nkiru or her mother out of the house again, but his body language, and the hard time his mother and sister who he had invited to come live with them amidst this crisis was enough to tell Nkiru that Deji no longer welcomed her and her mother. They had to leave even though Nneka never wanted them to. Nkiru made her understand that saving her marriage was far profitable even as they waited for Nonso to be avenged by the judicial system. All these was six weeks ago. It took the system another six weeks to finally want to avenge her sister’s son. Another six weeks that saw her marriage of four years battered even more.
Not long after they left, Mama returned. Nkiru had checked herself into a mental institution to better cope with her emerging suicidal tendencies, the thoughts to ease her pain were becoming increasingly difficult to subdue. Mama had no where else to go and Nneka refused to stand by and watch her husband threaten to send her mother who had just been diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the brain to the street in the name of saving their son from constantly relieving that horrible day because he’d be seeing her always. The argument was loud and rough, worst still it was late at night immediately he returned from work. He was already carrying her bags out and Nneka needed to act fast – No one messes with her mother, not even her husband – She poured boiling water on him and hit him continuously with a heavy wooden plank till he ran out of the house with bare foot. He returned days later with a court paper of pending divorce. The only relation they’ve had all through that period till now has been the Doctor’s appointed for Remy’s psych evaluation, up till the day that they travelled to the US. She would have gone with them, but she had to be here for Mama and Nkiru. Her marriage was falling apart and she still had to be there for her sister, especially now that Nkiru’s a mess.
Nneka noticed Nkiru and Mama’s countenance at the mention of Tayo’s name. She looked up, only to see as Kachi shamelessly denied ever knowing him, a relationship Tayo confirmed to Nkiru existed that night he visited her while she slept. Nkiru’s heart skipped a beat at every interval of twos and she could tell the difference, she could always tell when Pain 2.0 had begun engulfing her sister. She stretched forth her hand, on behalf of herself and Mama to console her.
Mama had started hers, tears strolling down both sides of her aged cheeks. Crying was something not good for her condition but she didn’t care anymore, she still hasn’t forgiven herself for the part she played in bringing Nkiru and Tayo together – If she hadn’t played matchmaker, none of these would have happened, at least not like this. Nkiru never blamed her, but she blamed herself,
“Nwa mo! forgive me,” She kept pleading. Her repetition of the same statement was derailing the court proceeding. The Judge wanted Anwuli to testify, as Kachi had continued with his plea of not guilty and denial of involvement.
Nneka was finally able to get Mama to calm down, her consolation was on the agreement that those two murderers were going to get what they deserved, their own share of judgement for breaking the, ‘thou shalt not kill,’ rule.
Nkiru sat calmly. Too calm for Nneka’s likening. Nneka had to occasionally call her attention to know if it was still her or she had experienced another of her increasingly common out-of-body outing, but she was fine: within her she had accepted Nonso’s death as part of life just as her counsellor had made her understand, all she needed to achieve now was coming to terms with it on the physical plane.
They all watched Anwuli run her mouth. Nneka thought she had a sadistic blend of wit, that was the only reason why she’d openly justify her conscious resolve to run an eleven year old boy with a car. Nneka couldn’t understand what more statement the Judge wanted. Everyone was shocked when the accused stood boldly at the stand during last two weeks hearing, and confessed to running Nonso with a car for the sake of causing Kachi pain for wasting her youthful years with false promises of giving her a child. As a Lawyer, Nneka understood that such a confession was enough to further press charges and transfer both of the accused to a maximum security prison, as they were hardened to the core. But no! This Judge didn’t do any of that, he wasn’t really moved, and kept blaming lack of time for the incessant adjournment. He appeared shady to her.
“Order!” The flabby looking Clerk called for sanity. The murmur was a mini protest because the Judge had announced the case adjourned again, this time it was a two months break as against the usual one week; this was the third adjournment he had initially referred to as the final hearing. The public wanted justice and the Judge clearly was delaying it.
Nneka found herself softly crying, another day of reliving their heartaches without finally getting the justice they deserved. She looked at Mama, and could she the pains that the bottle of her heart could no longer contain, the protracted trial was killing her faster than the cancer was. Nneka wondered how Nkiru would be feeling, if she the sister felt this way.
Nkiru was no better, her tears knew no bound, the cold and strong lady at the start of the trial wasn’t the same one sitting here now. She shivered in pains, she could see her boy, her little boy was running around the court room and she could see him, whether he was actually here or not she didn’t care, she stood up with wide embrace to hug him and he ran towards her, “My Nonso,” she cried to the pity of people around who noticed her pain and discomfort. Nkiru pulled her down to sit, “Nonso isn’t here,” she pleaded with her sister, that her son was dead and she needed to be strong to fight for his justice. The sudden remembrance of the truth did more to provoke Nkiru than make her find peace, she cursed her sister for forcing her to relive her pains.
Nneka wanted to reply but could find the right words to pacify her sister. All that didn’t matter anymore because of the gun shots that followed. Everyone scampered for safety. All except three persons: The man and woman who got shot, and the elderly woman who fired the gun.
The Judge, Clerk, and two Police officers were no where to be found at first until noise slowly returned to the court room by members of the public and press who finally realised what had happened. The men of power shamelessly of surfaced from underneath the Judge’s table were they all hid for their own safety as against the public’s that they swore to uphold.
It took Nneka a while to regain her full composure, her ears still tingled over the sound of the gunshot which was fired close from where she sat with her family. By the time she opened her eye, she could see her mother holding a pistol with her hands stretched out waiting for an officer to come cuff her.
“What did you do Mama?” Nkiru asked from behind Nneka, she pushed herself to the front in time, enough to listen to her mother tell her the sacrifice she just made was for her. Nkiru needed closure to heal and move on, and her mother’s depleting life and cognitive functions made the choice easier for her to exchange her life in vengeance for her Grandson.
Their Mother was finally cuffed and carried away, both sisters held onto each other and slowly walked behind the crowd that wanted to see the elderly woman courageous enough to take justice for herself. They didn’t fully understand her story.
Nneka’s phone rang. The wrong timing would have seen her reject the call, but it bore a US number, and she assumed it could only be from Deji. She picked. She wiped her tears to clear her voice, Deji couldn’t know for now what happened here today. He spoke to her huskily: Remy had just come out of brain corrective surgery, and the only people he could conveniently remember and desperately wants to see are Nkiru, Nonso, and her mother. Nneka put off the call, she couldn’t bear the thoughts that followed next.
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