The bang sound awoke Osahon from her shock. Both men had stopped fighting but they hadn’t let go of each other’s arms. The drop of the gun was accompanied by a gush of blood, the bullet had caught him. The moment Osahon realized who it was that had been shot she yelled, “Nooo!” Tears rolled down her cheek as she shook her head in dismay, whispering, “Why?” Osato and Osasu who were still terribly frightened embraced each other with closed eyes, hoping that their father had not been shot. Tayo stood up from where he knelt and sluggishly sank into a nearby couch. Mr. Idemili staggered as he withdrew himself from George, he couldn’t believe what was happening to him. He had a thousand thoughts running within him and questions he couldn’t answer. He muttered words that formed a sentence like, “Is this how I will die?” George just stood there gallantly as he watched his blood flow on the living tiles.
The bullet that lodged in his abdomen appeared to have caused massive internal injuries; death was inevitable. Then Mr. Idemili whispered again, “I am going to die. Whoever kills will be killed, right?” “You didn’t kill him, you only defended yourself.” Tayo quickly retorted. George fell to the floor with his hand grasping the lower section of his stomach. He wanted to say something, but each attempt cost him a deep cough that ended in a splash of blood from his mouth. One moment the room was in chaos and what followed was an eerie silence with its occupants looking helpless and confused. They watched him die without anyone attempting to save his life. The girls ran to their father and hugged him, Tayo who had just been treated to a death fright stood there, watching the lifeless George. At this point, the transfixed Osahon confusingly broke into tears.
Tayo finally found his voice, “I think we need to inform the police,” he said to Mr. Idemili. Mr. Idemili who was still being hugged by his daughters nodded in agreement to what Tayo proposed. The girls finally let him breathe and then Osato whispered, “God, thank you for sparing my father’s life.” “I thought we had lost him, thank you God,” said Osasu with a sigh in reference to her sister’s statement. Osahon let out a heavy sigh as she folded her hands and then blurted out,
“Don’t thank Him yet girls. That’s your father lying down in a pool of his own blood.” At that point, she became the center of attention. The girls suddenly became clueless. What was she saying? Mr. Idemili walked closer to her and asked in an anxious manner, “What? What are you saying?” “I am saying George is the father of the girls, not you Emeka. Not you,” she gently replied as she sobbed on.
Trembling as he walked over to the crying woman, Mr. Idemili questioned her. “Are you saying that I, Emeka Idemili” – he beat his chest with is left hand as he spoke – “I am not the father of my daughters?” He questioned her as he turned around to face Tayo. He halted for few moments and then started walking towards him. He stopped just when he got to where the gun had fallen. He bent to pick it up and screamed as he let a bullet into the air, “Will you start talking or do you need me to ask again?” “I think I need to get out of this place sir. I think this is family business,” Tayo said, in an attempt to excuse himself from the brewing home battle. Emeka replied with yet another scream, “no one leaves this house until I say so. Sit down!” Tayo complied without saying a word. Osahon started her narration. Her expressions were somewhere between nonchalant and fearless. “I have known George all my life. We were meant to get married but he wasn’t ready; he didn’t have a job and couldn’t take care of me. I waited for him, hoping that his hustle would be fruitful. I guess he was just unlucky. I have never stopped loving him. And then I met you, you were everything George was except that you were already rich and he was merely surviving. I couldn’t turn down your proposal so I agreed to marry you. Remember the doctor said you needed treatment because you suffered from low sperm count? You wouldn’t listen; you simply stuck to your mother’s herb. Don’t blame me! I met George again and he saved me from barrenness, and then you became a father. Ever asked yourself why I begged you to relocate us to Lagos from Enugu? I was running from George, just to make you happy. I finally convinced you to get treated, and you did. But your elitism won’t let you father your own child, two is just perfect, three is a crowd, is what you always said. I wanted a third child, your child! But you denied yourself that. I always prayed against this day, I guess God isn’t wicked after all, he knows what prayer to answer. I am sorry girls, but your dad just killed your biological father.”
The living room became a graveyard. Mr. Idemili sat down on the spot where he previously stood. Tayo prayed within for the umpteenth time, “God save me from this one and I promise to serve you for the rest of my life.” Mr. Idemili tightened his grip around the gun as he stood up. He was about to say something when Osasu vomited all over the floor and her sister. The sight of the vomit nauseated Osato and that caused her to vomit too.
“We should call the police sir.”
Tayo whispered aloud, an intentional means of disclosing why he was visiting. Everyone including him was still tense and so he got no response to his proposal. He continued anyway, “but before we call the police sir. Sir…”
“Speak up young man,” Emeka’s anger was momentarily rekindled. “I am responsible sir.” Tayo voiced nervously. Emeka thundered quietly, “responsible for what?” “Osasu and Osato, their pregnancy sir.”
Silence gripped the room again, this time it lasted about 10 minutes. Finally Mr. Idemili stood up from where he sat laying the gun on the arm of the couch and said, “I forgive you.” With a sigh of relief Tayo expressed his gratitude, “thank you sir. God bless you.” “Not you!” Emeka retorted, “her.” He nodded at Osahon.
The strange and sudden clemency left their mouth ajar.