TURMOIL CHAPTER FOURTEEN
“You should have been here! With him! Instead, you went out on an ill-informed whim and ended up making a fool of yourself. While you were out playing Wrestlemania tag-team with Big Mummy, our son was being kidnapped. I hope you are satisfied.”
“I said I’m sorry! It’s all my fault… I admit it. Please don’t make me feel worse than I already do.”
Hadiza sat on the sitting-room floor, face downcast. Her face was streaked with tears, her eyes swollen from crying too much. I would never forget the look on her face when she broke the news about Mas’ud’s disappearance to me. There had been such fear, helplessness and guilt in her eyes, and it was still there. I couldn’t bear to see that wounded look in her eyes, so I turned my back to her. Doing this made me face Big Mummy who was sitting in the dining area, crying her eyes out as well. She hadn’t uttered a word since I arrived.
“Please Basheer. We-we h-have to do something. I d-don’t want to lose my baby… I- I can’t…”
Hadiza burst into a fresh round of tears. Her pain tore at me, and I yearned to take her in my arms. But I was just so angry at her. She was right however, I had to man up and do something. I closed my eyes, clenched my fists and started to count to ten. I was trying to clamp down on the fear that was slowly wrapping itself around my senses, shutting my brain down. Little by little, I began to regain composure; the trembling in my hands and body ceased. I wiped the sweat from my brows and forced myself to think.
What do you do when your child gets abducted? Especially if the deed was done by someone you never expected. Definitely, call the police first. Anything else could come after
“I’ll call Obi. I’m sure he’ll send some of his officers over. We have to call the agent we got her from too, Mrs Anibaba. Although I doubt Zulay would go there.” I turned my attention back to her but didn’t look directly at her. “Please get up Hadiza, tears won’t do any good in this situation.”
She winced loudly as if my words had struck her. I hadn’t meant for the words to come out harsh, but they had, and I couldn’t take them back. The damage had already been done. Hadiza and I could iron out our issues later. First, we had to find our son.
I fished out my phone from my pocket and dialled Obi’s number, all the while praying for my son to be unharmed wherever he was.
Hang on Mas’ud. We are coming for you.
Everything was a blur the moment the police stormed in. I barely registered the questions, but methodically supplied answers. The detective assigned to question me was kind and patient. He allowed me ample time to answer and didn’t seem to be in any hurry.
What is your child’s name?
When last did you see your child?
“Around noon, before I left the house.”
What happened immediately you arrived home this evening?
I told them.
Have you seen your maid with anyone strange in the area lately?
“I-I’m not sure.”
How old is your child?
“One and a half years old.”
The police were questioning everyone in the house, Big Mummy, Basheer. Some officers were searching the house, starting with Zulay’s room. I didn’t how all that would bring my baby back though.
“Sir, please shouldn’t you be out there searching?. My son could be in more danger every second that passes by!”
Everyone in the room turned their attention to me. Basheer, who had been speaking with one of the detectives walked up to the couch where I was seated.
“Officer, could you take a break? My wife is obviously distressed right now. You can ask me any other questions you have”.
Basheer sat beside me on the couch and put his arm around me. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Basheer had been distant all evening. And angry. I could tell from his words and actions that he blamed me for what happened. He hadn’t even looked at me for longer than a few seconds, but I glimpsed the accusation in his eyes whenever we locked gazes. His aloofness hurt, but I accepted it because I deserved it. Mas’ud’s disappearance was my fault after all. If I had followed my gut and stayed in the house with my baby, this wouldn’t be happening.
I held myself stiffly, afraid to lean into Basheer. There was nothing more I wanted in the world at that moment than lean into him and draw strength from him. But I was scared that if I did, he would shun me… and that would surely break my already fragile heart.
“Alright, sir. I was just about to ask madam if I could get pictures of your son and maid.” The detective said.
“Sure I have them here.”
Basheer handed the detective two passport photos, one of Mas’ud and the other of Zulay. At that moment I was glad I’d agreed when Basheer had insisted that we asked Zulay to fill an employment form. He had given her a copy and kept the other one.
“Very good sir. I think we can work with the information we have for now. We will also contact the Lagos HQ, so they can handle the agent, Mrs. Anibaba. They’ll simply watch her for now, to see whether Zulay will go there.”
Basheer nodded. “Alright officer. Obi assured me I could trust you specifically, to do a good job.”
“Ah yes, sir. The DPO told me how important this case is. I will try my best sir.”
Basheer pulled me closer to him and began rubbing my arm. I couldn’t resist anymore, I just sank into his embrace. Subhanallah, I hadn’t realised how much I had missed being in my husband’s arms. If he was merely putting on a show for the officers’ benefit, then I might as well enjoy it while it lasted.
“Is there anything else you need, officer?”
The detective shook his head. “Not now sir. I am just waiting for the other officers to complete their search and we’ll get a move on. Don’t worry sir, we’ll find your son.”
I prayed to Allah that would be the case.
I sense a truce maybe? 🤔
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