Betty lay on the bare floor, her face bandaged. Suzie is seated with her, looking dejected.
Betty barely opens her mouth. “Mma Pastor?”
Suzie sighs sadly. “I’m not going there again. She has—issues.”
Betty flinches in pain. “Not a good idea.”
Suzie looks surprised. “Mma Pastor? I thought you hated her?
Betty winces and shifts lightly. “She was the only one who tried to stop those mad men from taking me away—”
Suzie’s mouth drops open. “Mma Pastor? Hmm.” Looks at Betty with pity. “What did they do to your face?”
Betty breathes in and gasps as though to cry but finding that expression too painful. “They took the whole day, tied me up somewhere. The witch told them to give me tribal marks—” Gasps again. “They made more than fifteen marks! And then took me to the clinic to have the wounds dressed. Three full days and no relief. You saw how I couldn’t even talk that first day. I was in so much pain.”
Suzie covers her mouth in shock. “So sorry.”
Betty shivers. “They were professional tribal marks! Each one is so deep… My face can never be the same again… oh.”
Suzie shakes her head. “I’m so sorry.”
Betty points at the table. “Please bring me the glass of water and those tabs.” Suzie gives her the glass. She takes a tab and sighs heavily. “My whole body is in pain. She had them make all sorts of incisions on my body and even my my…” Sobs. “I’ll find that woman and kill her!”
“I’m so sorry.”
Betty slowly looks at her watch. “You should go home now.”
“No, please. I can’t. My mother will kill me.”
“You still have to go home sometime.” Shrugs painfully. “Maybe you should just go to Mma Pastor…”
“No, please. I came here and met your door open and entered your house… Please don’t send me away!” Paces frantically. “I would have just stayed here even if you didn’t come back… Please.” Goes to kneel close to her. “Please.”
Betty sighs. “Okay. But you must go tomorrow. You can’t hide here forever. You must go to school.”
Mrs. Uzo crosses the road to Mma Pastor’s house by the salon. She knocks on the door urgently. Mma Pastor opens to her. In Mma Pastor’s sitting room, Pastor is seated on the couch reading his Bible. Mma and Mrs. Uzo enter and exchange pleasantries. Pastor exits as the women settle down.
Mrs. Uzo sits forward, panicked. “Suzie hasn’t come back since! Three days now.”
Mma Pastor exclaims. “Why?! Oh Lord!”
Mrs. Uzo shudders. “The police have not seen her either. No one knows where she is. Did she come here at all?”
Mma Pastor shakes her head. “No, she did not!” Tries to hide her panic. “I followed her out but she just ran across the road… I went to the salon from there. Since then…” Shrugs.
Mrs. Uzo covers her mouth with shaky fingers. “I am doomed. Hey, God! Where will I run to? What will I say?” Turns to Mma, frenetic. “What did she tell you? Where will I go to?”
Mma Pastor sighs. “Did you ask the neighbours?”
“Every single one. I went to even her friends’ houses.”
Mma Pastor pats Mrs. Uzo’s hand. “Calm down. Let’s call your husband…”
Mrs. Uzo hisses. “No way. Suzie will never go to him.”
“You never can tell.”
Mrs. Uzo snaps. “I know my daughter.”
Mma Pastor shrugs. “The most important thing now is to find her.”
Paul is seated on Mr. Uzo’s bed, his arms folded in his laps, looking unhappy. Mr. Uzo moves around the room, busily, dressing up. He picks things from the room, and when he is ready, looks expectantly at Paul. They head for the door.
Mr. Uzo stops the car in front of the hospital. They come out of the car and walk inside.
Mmayen carries her scarf of clothes on her head and treks on Ikot Urua village path to another compound. She is welcomed by her mother, Nkoyo.
Nkoyo frowns. “Your husband chase you?”
Mmayen drops the scarf on the ground. “I chase myself. I want to go to Lagos. I am tired of this village.”
Nkoyo gasps. “Who do you know in Lagos?”
Mmayen pouts. “Ekaette.”
“Your rival! The witch.”
“I want to go to Lagos!” Mmayen stomps into her mother’s hut.
Udo walks into a chemist meets up with Mfon, who works as a sales girl. He is dressed in his school uniform.
Mfon’s face splits into a smile. “Heh, what are you doing here? Etido sent you?”
Udo shakes his head. “I really need your help, Mfon. My brother doesn’t even know I’m here, and mustn’t know.”
Mfon turns around from behind the counter and walks Udo to the road. “What is it?”
“First, I know Etido doesn’t like talking much but how far with Imoh? Any news from the people she lived with?”
Mfon sighs. “No, Udo. Thanks for asking. We’re just praying somehow Imoh will be found. Etido wants to use soldiers to harass the woman but everyone knows that woman is just as scared. She knows nothing about Imoh’s whereabouts.”
“Hmm, God will find her for us.”
“Amen!” Mfon corks her head. “So, what did you need help with?”
“Mfon, please. My brother must never know about this.”
“I won’t tell him.”
Udo sighs. “My girlfriend is pregnant. I know Etido spends his last kobo to make sure I do well in school, and he pays so much, everything to put me in that school. I know his sacrifice.” He swallows. “Please don’t tell him.”
“I won’t tell him, Udo. But how could you be so careless? Where is the girl?”
“She comes from a rich family. I don’t even know what to do. She said she’s afraid to tell her parents. She wants to run away from home.”
“You can’t let her do that.”
“She hasn’t come to school since three days now. Since she told me.” Udo breaks down.
Mfon shakes him. “Pull yourself together. Do you know her house?”
“Yes. She lives on Savanna.”
“Ah, rich people street. Na wa o. Maybe you have to go and look for her. I mean, what do you plan to do?”
“Can you get me drugs?”
Mfon frowns. “Drugs?”
“To flush it.”
Mfon screams. “God forbid. Udo? How can you even think that?”
“Well, what am I going to do?”
Imoh runs behind the kitchen door. With the man indoor all morning, she’s not sure what to do. She’s moved around the house like a thief just to clean, and thank God he hasn’t asked her anymore questions or touched her.
“God please help me here.”
The back door opens and she clenches her fists, willing herself not to breathe. There’s movement in the kitchen. The intruder opens the tap and seem to fill a container from the gushing water. Imoh risks a peep and sees Ade.
She hisses before she can stop herself. The boss’ driver is so full of himself. She has made it a point of duty to avoid him as much as his boss.
She waits till he’s gone and comes off behind the door. The kitchen is clean but Alice will soon be back from school, and she needs to make her lunch.
She walks on tiptoes to the sink. Surely Oga knows she’s in the house. Thank God he has kept to himself.
She hums a local song under her breath and doesn’t hear until a cold hand touches her neck. Imoh screams.
“Don’t be afraid. It’s me.”
She turns to him, trembling. What did he want with her? She has to beg him to stop touching her face or neck, talking to her.
“Are you afraid?”
Imoh decides to let him know once and for all. “Yes sir.”
“Don’t be. I want to help you.” Mr. Eke lowers his voice. “Do you want to go to school?”
Imoh’s lips tremble so hard she finds it hard to talk. “Yes sir.”
He breaks into a grin. “Hurry then. She won’t be home till I go and pick her. Go and pack your things. You’re going to school.”
Imoh frowns. “Now sir?”
“Yes. Don’t you want to go to school?”
She curtsies. “I want sir.”
He gives her a little push. “Good. Go and pack quickly. You are going to school. Now now now. Ade will take you!”
Udo comes down from a rickety bus on the main street and takes the turn that leads him to Savanna Street. He hopes he can get Paul outside the house so he can call Suzie out. It will all have to be by luck. He mutters words of encouragement to himself. Words he hopes will give Suzie courage to tell her parents. Words he doubts makes any sense.
A few houses away from the Uzos, a jeep navigates on to the road, and Udo waits for it to pass before he continues his walk. He doesn’t look at the passengers inside. It was a regular “big man’s” jeep.
Inside the jeep, Imoh is seated beside Ade, her shaky hands stiffly folded in her laps, trembling so hard, her few possessions packed into a leather suitcase Mr. Eke graciously gave her. She also has a note to the principal of a prestigious boarding school on the outskirts of Lagos. Imoh had never heard of the school, and she wonders how she will cope mid-way in the year. But going to school had always been her passion. Partially the reason her mother sent her to Lagos.
She had been disappointed before but no matter the high jump, she always scaled it.
End of Drama on Savanna Street Season 1.
Watch out for more suspense, more intrigue, more romance, and more drama on Savanna Street Season 2. Coming soon…