Bode stared at the smiling face of his wife for the last time; the pain and anguish that had been his constant companion for the past three months now welled up afresh. From a distance, he heard the deep guttural groan of a wounded animal in pain. The sharp piercing of glass through the soft skin of his thumb brought him back to reality; only then did he realize the sound came from him. Carefully, he extracted his wife’s picture from the offending frame and placed it in his breast pocket.
He picked up his carry all, gave his house a last glance and closed the door with a tone of finality.
“This is where we say goodbye,” he muttered under his breath.
He strode purposefully to a non-descript car, threw his bag in and wove his way effortlessly through the bustling Lagos traffic with the ease of one who had a mastery of the road. He drove about aimlessly for a while; he was on a mission and he had lots of time on his hands.
He had resorted to this course of action because nothing else had worked – not his pleas to Professor and Mrs. Wilson, his in-laws, nor his threats, nor the law.
He snorted. “Law my foot!”
He was pitched against powerful forces that had the law eating out of their hands. No, the law had failed him miserably. Now he would take the law into his own hands and damn the consequence and yes, he was ready to lose his life in the process. Not that it mattered anyway; he had been a walking corpse ever since his wife died, leaving Boluwatife, their one and half year old son behind.
All efforts to retrieve his son from his ruthless aristocratic grandparents had failed, but things were about to change. Oh yes, he would make sure of that if it was the last thing he did.
He had gone over his plans countless times, every detail was in place. Surely, nothing could possibly go wrong.
He parked the car a good distance from the prestigious St. Saviors’ School and waited with bated breath. Sure enough, some few minutes later, a silver E-class Benz drove into the school gate. That’s it, the time had come.
Bode gripped the steering wheel with sweaty palms, his heart slamming into his rib cage. Gently, he started the car and slid behind the Benz, which was now on its way. He made sure to maintain a good distance.
Just as the Benz was approaching the high way, Bode swung into action, accelerated and rammed his car into the Benz. Immediately, he got down from the car before the driver could and bent down to check the damage.
“Are you blind? You dey craze? You no dey see?” The driver bellowed in righteous anger.
Bode made as if to prostrate but suddenly brought his head up with a force that would have taken out Incredible Hulk. He felt deep satisfaction from the crunch as his head hit the driver’s jaw. When he rose, the driver was sprawled awkwardly on the floor, out cold. He didn’t stand a chance.
He rushed to the passenger side and snatched the little boy from the petrified Nanny. He snapped him into the car seat, stuck a dummy into his mouth to stifle his cries, and drove off like a wild man.
As he hit the express, he forced himself to calm down and drove for another thirty minutes until he ran into some traffic. It was expected. He had gone through this route several times. In ten minutes or less, the traffic would clear and he would be well on his way out of town. For the first time since Kemi, his wife died, he allowed himself the luxury of a laugh. It came right from his belly and found its way through his chest like a spring of water on a parched land. The little chuckles that echoed behind him brought him back. He looked at Boluwatife and was even happier to see him laughing along with him.
“That’s right son! I’m happy we’re back together again.”
Twenty minutes later though the traffic was not moving. It was a standstill. Perhaps there was an accident? He didn’t see any mobile ambulance around or the traffic officials either. Curious, he asked a driver who had earlier strolled to the front what was going on.
“No mind these yeye police jare. Them say them dey look for one man wey steal pikin. Like say the man go dey stupid to carry pikin wey he steal come pass this road,” the elderly man retorted in frustration.
Bode’s heart stopped for a second, then started beating wildly again. He felt faint as the blood rushed to his head. He was trapped. His eyes skittered back and forth, there was no way he could drive out of here, he was hemmed in on either side…no chance of escape.