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A Story written by Durodola OLAWALE YUSUPH (Durodolad9ty7@gmail.com +2348166920449, www.penprimus.com Info@penprimus.com)

The greatest cheat on earth will find it difficult to cheat nature, not because nature is cheat resistant, but because nature is life, and the moment you try to cheat nature, you are cheating life as a whole. I just doesn’t add up, peop le trying to stay awake all night Despite the sudden absence of her father, her brother and the gateman the previous day, Serena still one way or the other fell into deep sleep at a time. Waking up early this morning, she woke up to the emptiness of the ho use. “Abi rapture don sound ni?” Serena asked herself as she walked up to the living room, switched on the tv, hoping to find a giant headline. “Miracle: people gone missing.” The first channel, an Oyo state owned television station wouldn’t start broadcas t until 7am, she checked the National television, the Ibadan zone, they were broadcasting a breakfast show. She checked a few private owned tv stations, while one was showing British movies, the other was showing musical videos. “Even early in the morning? Films and music?” She thought as she switched on the decoder, connected it with the tv and picked up the remote. “Why am I doing this?” She asked herself “You want to check CNN, BBC and Aljazeera maybe everyone in earth had gone missing.” A voice in her s ubconscious replied. “You are just so dumb.” She screamed at the voice as she dropped the remote control. “l belong to you. When you talk, I talk, when you sleep, I sleep. I am dumb cos you are.” The voice replied with a laugh. Serena felt like hitting her self hard on the head. Who talk to their subconscious and get replied? Was there even anything like that? You asking yourself question and a voice within you answering. She concluded it has to be some mind stuffs and the way we see life in general. A man o nce said, “The world has no ceilling or a fence enclosing it, the world has no limit. The only limit that exist, exist in our minds.” The same way when you ask yourself, am I going to pass this exam and a voice within you which belonged to you, a voice tha t does everything the way you want it, acts on your command and whatever it is that is in your mind, the voice dwells with it. The same voice of yours that speaks with fellow human speaks to you within, says you won’t pass, then you surely would fail that exam or be a step away from passing which still means failure. Just then, the door into the living room opened and Dave strolled in like nothing happened. “Hey sis.” He said as he sat on a nearby couch. “Good morning.” She replied calmly. “Did you sleep we ll?” He asked. “Where are you coming from?” She asked. “What? What do you mean?” He replied. “You didn’t sleep in this house last night, did you? Same with dad ” “Oh! That?” He exclaimed more like waving off her question. Serena stood in front of him, arms akimbo “HI be going out in an hours time. Could you fix a quick breakfast for me? Am sure you can.” With this, Dave gently pushed her out of his way. “Dave!” Serena screamed loudly. Dave stopped in his tracks, turned to face his sister. “l asked you a qu estion. We need to talk. Where did…” She was saying. “l am tired.” He mouthed before walking away. Serena watched as her elder brother disappeared into the hallway “What’s going on again?” She asked herself as she made for the kitchen Listen to me W ole, this is not the end of the world, you have to take back Anita. She is still the mother of your children. Your lawfully wedded wife, your other half, the bone of you bone, the flesh of your flesh.” Mama Londoner said. “Mama, I am not taking Anita back. I will take care of my children myself Moreso, they are old enough to know what is right. The best that could happen is Anita coming to visit them, and nothing else.” Mr Oluwole Thomas replied, he was lying on the hospital bed after he suffered a relapse of his ailment which almost led to a cardiac arrest if not for the quick intervention of Dave and his gateman. “l am not categorically in support of the divorce in the first place and I am not in support of you taking Anita back. But I want us to make thi s family stronger, Wole, you know I don’t like Anita, I don’t need to tell you how much ” Mama paused. “But, please for the sake of me as old as I am, leaving the comfort of my home last night to be with you here, take back you wife.” Mama pleaded. “Mama, but.” Wole was saying. “sshhhhh! We make sacrifices. If Anita should leave, many things are at stake. am your mother, I cant push you into danger. Make this sacrifice because of your little girl, and believe me, you’ll be glad you did. Just call off the divorce.” Two hours had passed since Dave returned from wherever he passed the night and Serena who had as intructed had entered the kitchen, prepared breakfast of yam and fried egg, dished into a plate and according to Dave had dished another into a warm er which she placed on the dinning table. Sine Dave entered his room, she was yet to see nor hear from him, all she heard was the running water from his bathroom”Is everything set?” He asked as he entered the living room. “That’s it over there. Serena mu ttered pointing to the dinning and without another word, he walked into the dinning area and little had he sat down than his phone started ringing. “Hey bro, how you dey?” He said. “Am okay, how about you?” Nate’s voice sounded from the other end fine “Am .. I called your line but you weren’t picking up.” Dave said. “Yes, abeg no vex, I was not in the room when you called. What’s up?” Nate replied “O boy, something just came up o. You sha know about Dad’s recurring……” That was all Serena could hear bef ore Dave picked up the warmer and left the house without touching his food. While expecting him to return, at least, if he had gone to make his call outside, he should return. The next thing she heard was the sound of someone opening the gate and by the ti me she got to the window, Dave was driving out of the compound after which he locked the gate and drove off. Serena slumped back on the chair as hot tears rolled down her cheeks. “Why am I being treated like an outcast?” She asked herself as she thought ab out the event of the past weeks. First, it was Nate and Dave conversing in hushed tones, then came Nate detention at the police station where she played a major role in ensuring his release and Nate taking his time to explain the reason behind his arrest t o Dave who did little or nothing at securing his bail. Now, Dave, her father and the gatemen spent the night at only God knows where and now that Dave was back, he couldn’t even tell her where he spent the night or where the other were, rather, he just bos sed her around instructing her to prepare breakfast, and now he could only explain the whole situation to Nathan who is almost a three hours drive away from them in Kwara state. “Maybe I am not a member of this family.” She concluded as she brought out her phone and dialled her mother’s number, The phone rang for the first timer but no one picked upr therefore, she had to retry for the second time and in the middle of the third ring, her mother’s voice came on. “Good morning mum.” She said. “Good morning Se rena. How are you?” Her mother’s ever sweet voice came on. “Am fine and you?” “You don’t need to ask me if I am fine or not. You! Serena, you?” Her mother’s voice changed immediately such that, one could notice the anger and vernom that came with it “Mum.” Serena said. More of a question in a bid to confirm if she was on with her mother or not. “You are speaking with me. Yes. You never bothered to check on me for almost a month. No calls, nothing nothing. The last time we talked was when?” The raised voice returned. “check your call log, that is if you still have my number’ then you’ll realise that my number has been pushed behind into obscurity. Serena, is that how daughters treat their mothers? Is that how Stephanie treats her own mother?” The spit in her mouth had dried up as she listened to her angry mother. “For your information, Stephanie visited me yesterday. Yes, she did. She claimed she was coming from lwo road and she remembered that I am lodged at Womile hotel. You can imagine that? My daughter’s f riend visited me, but my own daughter is avoiding me.” Th voice at the other end was turning shaky. “l know your father asked you to avoid me like a plague And even Dave who does like I don’t exist now calls me everyday, I don’t know what happened to you. Serena, I am disappointed in you. Whatever happened to the mother and daughter love that we once shared?” Serena breathe in once her mother was done pouring out her heart, something she was grateful for. If it were to be in the case of her father, he won’t say a thing, but rather pretend like all was well and when you have offended him about five different times, he would let it all out, and apologising will be like pouring a cup of water on a raging fire “Mum, am sorry.” Was all Serena could say. “‘How ca n I see you? We have a lot to talk about” “Is everything alright?” Her mother asked. “Maybe when you answer my question, everything will be fine. I’ll be there in an hours time.” Serena said and hung up. As she made to leave the living room, a knock sounde person knocks like that, JAKE.

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