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HER LAST WISH Chapter 77


HER LAST WISH Chapter 77

(Moremi)

Zeemah Writes 📝

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“Did anything happen?” Layla asked Dan who has been looking quite flushed around her since the kiss happened.
They both remained in the living room after having dinner.

When he came in earlier to have lunch, a part of him was kind of glad Layla wasn’t awake.
He was still so shaken by the kiss then and didn’t think he could face her.
After lunch, he had waited in the shop longer than normal because he was avoiding her.

Dan wondered if she really forgot about it?
Well, she was intoxicated. She couldn’t have known.
He wondered what she would do if she knew she had kissed him. She’ll probably be terrified.

“You don’t remember anything?” he asked and immediately regretted it.
His question boldly meant something had happened and if Layla doesn’t remember, she’ll demand to know.

“I remember kissing you” she smiled.
“Huh?” his eyes widened.
“And I remember holding you close” she pressed her lips together.
Dan blinked rapidly. “Are you… still intoxicated?” how in the world did she remember and doesn’t seem the tiniest bit upset.
“Do I look like I still am? Well, I’m not intoxicated anymore. Even if I was, Aunt Esther’s very spicy meal already retrenched it” she laid flat on the three-seater couch, looking really relaxed for someone who kissed someone she doesn’t like.

“Dan, I’m sorry if that made you uncomfortable. I wasn’t. . . thinking straight”
“It’s totally fine. I knew that. But aren’t you upset?” his eyebrows were raised.

“Is there a reason I should be?”
“I mean,” he paused, swallowing hard. “You did something you wouldn’t on a normal day”
“And who says I wouldn’t do that on a normal day” Layla said and quickly added that she was joking when she saw how red Dan turned.
“Oh” he sighed, wearing a smile that strained the sides of his mouth.

They both turned to the TV when the silence seemed awkward.

***

“Not me thinking I would learn more about Yoruba language when I come here, it’s been a week and few days and the only thing I’ve learned is Mr. Femi’s last name” Layla laughed.
“You actually can, you only need a lot of time. It’s harder for you because you didn’t grow up here. You know I’m Hausa but because I grew up in Lagos, I know how to speak Yoruba so well. I think It’s one of the easiest languages to learn. Most people understand Yoruba even if they can’t speak it” Amina said, walking through the market with Layla, ignoring the market women calling on them.

“Exactly, it would have been easier if I had grown up here. By the way, I’m intrigued. I’ve seen pictures of Nigeria markets but it feels great to finally be inside one” Layla smiled happily.
The market was so different from any other she’s been to, it looked quite populated and rough yet appealing.

The noise was almost overwhelming and the market women didn’t stop calling on them to patronize them.
When they first stepped into the market, Layla had wondered why so many people were calling them and almost pulling them to their stalls.
Amina told her it was the norms and she should just ignore them as long as she wasn’t interested in buying anything from them.

“Oyinbo, buy from me, I get big fish o and I go sell am for you for good price” another market woman called on Layla.
She smiled at the woman, who looked quite stunned.

As they walked further into the market, Layla wished she could buy from everyone here, some were seated under the sun and some by their stalls, most looked exhausted and few wore bright smiles.
The one thing she noticed since she got to Lagos is that the city has this hustle bustle vibe, people working hard to make ends meet, it’s rare to pass by a street without sighting multiple stalls or shops. She finds it greatly fascinating.

Amina finally stopped in front of a woman, selling pepper.
“Good afternoon Ma” she smiled.
“Amina” The woman’s face lit up. “How are you? It’s been a while o, I hope it’s not that you’ve started buying pepper from another place sha”
“Ah, no o. I didn’t come to the market because we didn’t have anything to buy.”
“Ehn ehn, I was sha saying I didn’t see my customer. Ah, did she come with you?” the woman asked, seeing Layla behind Amina.
“Yes” Amina pulled Layla to her side.
“How are you?” the woman smiled.
Layla returned her smile. “I’m fine”
“We both want to buy pepper,” Amina said. “how much own is in the list Aunt Esther wrote for you?”
Layla squinted her eyes at the paper. “Seven hundred Naira”

They left the woman’s stall to get more things on their respective lists and it surprised Layla how Amina succeeded in pricing things far lower than the price the traders initially called.
She knew every nook and cranny of the market and Layla wasn’t surprised.

They got on the bus home after they were done in the market.

***

“Excuse me” Amina said for the second time to Elizabeth who was standing in front of Aunt Esther’s shop.
She wouldn’t have said anything to her if she wasn’t obstructing the way.
She was done cooking and decided to come spend some time with her friends.

Elizabeth acted deaf, and continued listing the things she wanted to buy to Dan.

“Move out of the way” Amina said again, her anger brewing. Elizabeth yet acted deaf.
“Would you please move out of the way; she wants to come in” Dan said.
“Who?” Elizabeth asked, looking at Amina like she wasn’t there.
“Wow, I didn’t know you’ve gone blind. Where’s your support cane?” Amina raised a brow as she glanced Elizabeth over. “Ah, it’s not here with you, no wonder you’re having difficulty seeing properly”

“What’s so big in your body that I have to move before you can pass. You can fit into this tiny space without a problem, after all, you’re no different from a cockroach” Elizabeth sized her up, irritated.
“If only you don’t look like two elephants joined together, I would have no problem fitting into that space” Amina retorted.

“Elizabeth, even a baby can’t fit into that space. Just move a little so she can come in” Emeka said.
“As in eh, I don’t understand what the problem is sef! How do you expect her to pass through that space, it won’t take you anything to move naw! Nawa o” Dammy sigh.

“What’s going on?” Layla asked as she approached the shop. She’s been in the kitchen with Aunt Esther and only came to get seasoning cubes.
“I want to go into the shop and she’s not moving out of the way, you people should better tell her if you don’t want to separate another fight this afternoon o” Amina eyelids squinted.
“Hey, you should move out of the way. It won’t cost you anything” Layla said, wondering why people intentionally cause trouble that can be avoided.

Elizabeth hissed, moving a bit.

Amina walked past her, her body hitting Elizabeth’s as the space between them wasn’t enough.

“Are you mad!” Elizabeth’s voice was harsh, her face etched with anger.
“You are obviously the mad one here, you just acted like one” Amina hissed.
“There’s no how her body wouldn’t hit yours when you only moved a little. All these isn’t even necessary, you guys are not kids naw!” Dammy sigh.
“It’s none of your business!” Elizabeth slammed, and then pointed at Amina. “Better warn yourself, it won’t take me anything to break you into two! Tiny thing.” Elizabeth scoffed.
Dan quickly started picking out the things Elizabeth wanted to buy, on sensing trouble which might be avoided if she leaves.

“Tiny thing yet I beat you like I was beating my younger brother, you should be ashamed of yourself. I know that’s what is still paining you, and I’m going to make sure you collect another round of correct beating, it seems that one wasn’t enough to set your head straight. Fat fool” Amina said only for Elizabeth to angrily stone her the bread she was holding.
Before anyone could blink, Amina lurched at her, slapping her across the face and in seconds, they were hitting each other over the display glass.

Damilola and Emeka pulled Amina from the glass, back into the shop while Layla struggled to pull Elizabeth away as she was the only one outside with her.
Dan was still quite stunned at how fast it all happened.

“Gum body!” Elizabeth shouted at Amina, breathing fast “Acting like you’ve never seen Oyinbo before in your life! Do you sit in mummy David’s shop this much when these people have not come, ehn!”

Amina laughed, “Just say you’re pained! you are thinking that way because that’s what you can do. And for clarity, I spend a lot of time with them because I enjoy their company and not because they are whites, I would do the same with any other person! Why am I even explaining myself to a shallow minded person like you!” Amina said and Emeka handed her her hijab which was removed during the fight.
“Shut up! Clinching fool, you better tell them to throw you inside their luggage when they’re going, you’ll kuku fit in without a problem. Dwarf!” Elizabeth hissed, adjusting her cloth.

“See mumu, acting like she’s not badly wishing to be their friend. I can see through your pretense. Tell me, when last did you comman buy something from mummy David’s shop! Isn’t there a shop in front of your house that sells all these things? Why is it that you suddenly started coming all the way from your house when they arrived” Amina said. “Mutum wawa!” She added, insulting Elizabeth in hausa.

“Dan, just give her whatever she’s here to buy so she can leave” Layla sigh.
“I already got it ready,” Dan said. “Here.” he handed it to Elizabeth.

“You, I’ll make you regret ever raising those short hand of yours to slap me. Just be watching your back!” Elizabeth threatened, picking up her purchase.
“If anything happens to her! I swear, you’ll be in trouble. If I don’t lessen all the fat in your body, lemme know what will happen! You don’t expect her to be looking like mumu when you stoned her bread. Get out of here jare, troublemaker” Dammy hissed.
“How could you make such a mean threat. Really” Layla shook her head.
“You better take back that threat you just made. If anything happens to her, something will happen to you too o” Emeka said.

Elizabeth threw the money on the display glass, hissed and walked away.

“This is serious” Dan breathed, picking up the money.
“That girl has problem o, Hian.” Emeka said.
“She literally caused trouble without a reason” Layla wore a disapproving look.

“Aunty Moremi, my mummy said where’s the Maggi?” David said.
“Geez! Dan, I need four seasoning cubes please”

***

They didn’t realize Dammy had freeze until it was her turn to throw the dice.
They’ve been having fun for a while, playing ludo game.

“Dammy, it’s your turn” Amina said but Damilola didn’t move, her gaze locked in the direction of the shop’s door.
“Ah, she’s thinking about how to win” Emeka laughed. “I’m going to win all of you here, just wait and see”
“Dammy” Layla nudged her and when Dammy didn’t move, they knew something was off, they didn’t think to trace her gaze to the shop door before but now they did.

Her uncle stood there.

Amina screamed, unable to help it.
The rest of them held their breath, almost freezing alongside Dammy.

“So, it’s true” He said, through gritted teeth.
With the rage on his face, one would never think it had to do with seeing his niece with her friends.
It felt like the rage had something more crucial to it.
“Come inside” He said to her in Yoruba and she slowly got to her feet, breathing hard and fast.

Dan who was about standing up to confront him was held back by Emeka, who signaled him not to make any move or he’s only going to make Dammy bear the brunt.
“It’s only going to make him punish her more, please” Amina whispered to Layla who was also about getting up.

Dammy walked away with her uncle and her friends remained gloomy for the rest of the day.

***

“I don’t think she’s going to come” Amina said.
It was minutes after Dammy’s uncle walked past them and Dammy didn’t come out to them like she normally do.
“You don’t expect her to after her uncle saw her here yesterday, who knows what he did to her sef” Emeka shook his head…

“Don’t you think we should go check on her?” Layla asked, few hours later.
“What if her uncle suddenly comes again, he’s going to punish her because of us” Amina said worriedly.
“David and Amarachi can be on the lookout for us, they’ll alert us when he’s coming. Let’s check on her”

~~
“Why would he lock you in!” Dan said, his eyebrows lowered and pulled together.
They all pressed their heads on the net door, seeing Dammy hazily.

Dammy looked really uncomfortable and she was really trying to hide the fact that she was in pain.
“Why aren’t you standing straight? What did he do to you?” Layla asked.
Dammy shook her head. Holding the door tightly as the pain gripped her again.

“You’re not even saying anything, did he hit you?” Dan asked.
“I’m fine. I was starting to miss you guys already. Thank God you even came” she grimaced.
“Where did he hit you this time? Your back?” Amina asked.

“I’m in pain” Dammy finally confessed when the pain seemed almost unbearable, her voice breaking.
“Where did he hurt you?” Layla asked, her calm voice the exact opposite of what she was feeling at the moment.
God knows if Dammy’s uncle appears now, she’s going to make his head collide with an object.
“Check under that bucket if you’ll see the key” Dammy said feebly.

“It’s not there” Dan said after checking under the bucket, he went further to ransack the other stuff by the bucket and finally saw the key under an empty tin.
He quickly opened the door and they could see Dammy clearly now.

Their hearts broke for her. She looked completely different, in an extremely bad way.
Her eyes looked huge and red and her face looked like someone in a grief.
She looked to have aged more within the last time they saw her yesterday and this moment, she was still in yesterday’s clothing.

The pain on her face was so obvious now, and Amina started crying when Dammy held her for support.
They wondered with a heavy heart what he did to her to make her turn this way within the period of yesterday afternoon and this morning.

“My… Back” Dammy sigh, slowly turning and even before they opened her cloth, they knew she was badly injured; with the blood stains.
Layla swallowed hard. “He hit you till you stared bleeding?”
Dammy shook her head.
“Do you want to start covering for him again!” Amina nearly screamed at Dammy as she wiped her tears.
“I’m not. He didn’t hit me. It was. . .” Dammy hesitated. “Hot iron”

They were all confused and Amina spoke up first.
“You mean, you were ironing cloth and the hot iron mistakenly touched your back and burnt it?” They all knew that didn’t seem likely but that’s the only incidence they could attach this to.
They didn’t want to even think about the other possibility that was sneaking into their thoughts.

Damilola shook her head.

“He. . .” Amina paused, badly hoping it wasn’t what she was about to voice out. Her uncle wouldn’t be that cruel right? “Burnt your back with hot iron”

They screamed when Dammy nodded and a more piercing scream escaped their lungs when Emeka opened her cloth, revealing the injury.
It had actually taken Emeka some time to open the cloth as it already stuck to the injury, it was really painful for Dammy as he gently peeled the cloth off it.
The flesh on that part of her back was completely peeled off and they could kind of see through the injury, the burn looked quite extreme. He must have pressed the hot iron on her back for a long moment.

Layla crouched to the floor, palming her face as tears escaped her eyes.
“He did this to you because you were hanging out with your friends” Dan’s voice broke, his rage amplifying, he’s never felt the urge to hurt someone as badly as he did now.

Amina cursed at him in both in English and her language as she cried.
“You need to go to the hospital” Dan said. “I can’t believe he locked you in, after doing this to you. What if you die!”

“You guys need to leave, he’ll be home soon” Dammy said.
“Don’t tell me; you’re still not going to turn him in after this thing he did to you?” Emeka asked.
“I can’t”
“Wow, just wow” Amina laughed humorlessly, wiping the tears on her face.
“Before anything,” Layla swallowed hard “Dammy needs to get medical care as soon as possible, she’s badly hurt, anything could happen to her!” she got back to her feet.
“Exactly, let’s get her to the hospital” Dan said.

“Dammy is never going to agree to go to the hospital, there’s a nurse in our street, she’s very competent, she once treated my brother. Let me goan call her, hopefully she’s not on afternoon shift because she works in a hospital” Amina sniffed.
“There’s no need for that. I’ll be fine, I just need to. . .” Dammy was saying.
“I swear if you don’t allow us call that nurse, don’t talk to me again in your life!” Amina cut her short, looking like she meant what she just said.
“My uncle will soon be back” Dammy’s voice trembled in fear as tears laced her eyes again. “He must not see anyone here. If the nurse comes, he’s going to meet her here. You guys should just leave. I’ll be fine”

“We’re not leaving here until you get treated, let him meet us here. It’s this afternoon he’ll regret ever coming to this life” Emeka threatened.
“You know no matter how pained we are about this thing, we can’t confront him because Dammy is going to bear the brunt” Amina sigh.
“I know but we’re not leaving her in this state until we ensure she gets medical care, it’s dangerous to waste any more time. Go ahead to call the nurse” Layla said.
“Don’t go, I don’t have any money to pay the nurse. You guys just leave, please” Dammy pleaded.
“I’m going to pay the nurse; whatever amount she charges. Amina, summon her immediately” Dan said.

~~
“She said she’s coming” Amina said on returning from fetching the nurse.”

Dammy was seated on the floor now, and they all surrounded her in silence.
She kept sighing in pain at interval, her eyes opening and closing.
And they watched her, their hearts breaking and filled with raw hatred for her uncle.

“Uncle Bode brought me here after my parents died, even when no other family members wanted me and he has been taking care of me since then. He gives me food to eat, a place to live, he paid my school bills before I was given scholarship, bought me clothes and made me live the life I couldn’t even live with my parents. He wasn’t like this before.”

“That’s the reason you’ve been refusing to have him apprehended?” Layla slowly asked.

Dammy nodded. “Partly, before my mother died, she told me never to be ingrate, never to stand up to people who helped me regardless of what they do to me. I should overlook whatever they do and think of the help they’ve rendered to me instead.
Maybe she knew she was going to die because that was the last promise she made me made to her. It might seem like a dumb reason but I’m never going to break it. I’m never going to go back on my last words to my mother. Besides, my uncle was once so good to me for me to even think of having him punished for whatever he’s doing to me now. I’m sure he’s going through a phase; all these is going to pass and everything will be back to normal. I’m telling you guys these because I know how badly you want to help me and I’m really thankful for that but you guys shouldn’t bother, don’t waste your time trying to help me. My mind is made up.” she said.

They stared at Dammy in what seems like disbelief.
This is the reason dammy has been hesitant to testify against her torturer!

“Wow” Emeka shook his head.
“I don’t… know what to say to this,” Amina sigh. “But this doesn’t just make sense to me.”
“You’re being confined with your mentality Dammy! You’re actually manipulating yourself! Damn” Dan sigh, he couldn’t believe this was the reason. . .
“You misunderstood your mother. She sure didn’t mean it this way. If she were to see you now, she’d be the one to order for the arrest of your uncle and make him rot in jail for torturing her daughter this much. Your mother didn’t intend it in the way you’re making it seem. Dammy, you’re only to tormenting yourself for no reason. Gosh” Layla looked really pained.

“Fine, your uncle wasn’t this way. He helped you and all but that shouldn’t be the reason you should have subjected yourself to him to treat you as he pleases. Making him pay for the torture he’s making you go through doesn’t in any way make you an ingrate. Your life matters and it should come first. He might kill you at the rate this is going, you need to let go of this mentality you have and help yourself” Dan said.

“He knows you have no power to stand up to him and that’s the reason he’s doing this to you” Emeka sigh.
“He’s well aware you feel obligated to him because of the fact that he helped you.” Layla added.
“You think because you’re indebted to him, you should endure everything he’s making you go through even if he kills you?” Amina asked.

“The help has been rendered meaningless from the moment he started abusing you, it doesn’t count anymore” Dan said.
“He was good to you; that was in the past. He has now turned a monster, every good he did in the past is now void. He once broke your hand and now burnt your back with hot iron, amongst other torture. How much more are you going to endure under the cover of ‘he was once good to you’?” Layla asked.
“Is it until he kills you?” Amina added.

Dammy stared at them as they talked on and on, she didn’t know if it was the pain, she was feeling but none of their words moved her. Her mind was stoic.

“When is the nurse coming?” She asked and they stopped talking, without being told, they knew Dammy was indifferent to everything they just said.

**

“I have a plan” Emeka smiled after the nurse announced she won’t only treat Dammy’s back but have to place her on IV fluids as well due to how weak she was. And they were skeptical about it because it’s going to take several hours and her uncle will be back from work anytime soon.
They couldn’t be gladder when Emeka said he had a plan.

“What’s the plan? we need to act fast” Dan said.
“Dammy, can we get his business line?”
“His business cards are in the shelf; you should see his business line on it”
“What are we to do with it?” Layla asked.
“Well, if our plan succeeds, he won’t be home today or rather comes back late at night after Dammy would have gotten the proper treatment” Emeka smiled.
“Really? So, what exactly are we to do with it?” Amina asked.
“We’ll call him and,” Emeka grinned wickedly. “offer him a contract”

“Huh?”

…………………

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