Basheer held me in his arms long after the police left. He wiped away my tears and soothed my fears. I was grateful for this connection with him. I had missed him so much.

We prayed together. Two units of solah asking, no, begging Allah to return our son to us. I felt a lot better, hopeful that Allah had answered our prayers and the police would walk in with my son.

Any moment now.

A’isha and Muslimah arrived shortly after Maghrib. They both pulled me into an embrace immediately they stepped foot into the house.

“Hadiza I’m so sorry. We came as soon as we could.” A’isha said. I could tell she had been crying too.

“Yes. As soon as I read your message on the group chat, I called A’isha so she could come to pick me up. I couldn’t reach Jemima though.” Muslimah added.

I nodded. “I noticed she’s the only one who hasn’t read the message. I’m sure she will get in touch soon.”

Basheer cleared his throat. “I’ll leave you ladies… to talk.”

My eyes followed his retreating back until he was out of sight. I didn’t want him to leave me alone, but I knew he wouldn’t stay here whilst the girls were around. I appreciated my friends’ support but I didn’t want this newfound connection with Basheer to be broken just yet.

“How did it happen?” Muslimah asked, breaking into my thoughts.

“Yes, how? I mean that girl looked like she couldn’t hurt a fly!” Aa’ishah looked perplexed.

I sighed, before launching into the story of how everything happened. However, I was careful to leave out the details of where exactly Big Mummy and I went to. Thinking about our doomed visit to Shaakirah again made me feel guilty and so ashamed of myself. If I hadn’t left my baby alone he would still be here, safe and sound in my arms. Pressure began to build behind my eyes. I choked them back. It didn’t help that Aa’ishah and Muslimah were crying as they listened to my woeful tale.

“If you guys are crying, what do you expect me to do, ehn?” I sounded braver than I felt

Aa’ishah sniffed. “Sorry. I can imagine what you are going through now. I don’t know what I’d do if …” She shivered stopped mid-sentence.

She didn’t need to complete the sentence. Muslimah and I knew exactly what she meant.

“Mas’ud will be found in shaa Allah. I have faith.” Muslimah spoke through her tears.

“I believe so too. Jazaakillahu khayran my loves. Your support means so much to me.”

We hugged one another again. I was grateful to Allah for friends that weren’t afraid to show up when I needed them the most.



I moved closer, the young mother’s voice swirling around in my head. Where had I heard that voice before? The hospital at the antenatal clinic? A supermarket?

For the life of me, I couldn’t remember…

The young mother stood up, carrying the child in her arms. Apparently, she had managed to convince him and they were ready to board the bus. She looked over her shoulder, eyes wildly darting around the park. That action allowed me to see her face. Although she was still far off, I could recognise that face anywhere.

Hadiza’s maid. I couldn’t remember her name now but was a hundred per cent sure that the girl standing a few yards away, was my friend’s maid.

I stopped in my tracks, momentarily shocked. As far as I knew she didn’t have any children, so that could only mean one thing. She was holding Hadiza’s baby! I began to tremble all over. Fear dug its claws into my heart. Hadiza would NEVER leave her child alone with her maid, especially to go on a trip. With shaking hands, I dug out my phone from my bag.

“I have to call Hadiza,” I repeated over and over again.

I switched on my phone, careful to keep my eyes on the bus. I dialled Hadiza’s number immediately. It was important for me to make sure before I took any action. If only I had seen the child’s face, there would be no doubt in my mind…

Pick up. Pick up. Please Pick up.

“Hey Hajia, where you dey go?”

Two tall, hefty men appeared in front of me, effectively blocking my view of the bus.

I no go anywhere, abeg commot for my front.”

Hajia, na my bus you go enter o, no min’ these guys.”

Another man joined them, effectively blocking my view of the girl. They formed a semi-circle around me, shouting at one another.

I tried to sidestep them, craning my neck to catch a glimpse of the bus. The bus was preparing to leave the park now, already inching slowly towards the exit.

Come on, Hadiza pick up the call!

I tried again. No response from Hadiza. I decided to call Basheer. No luck form him either. By now I was really, truly worried. Something was definitely wrong.

My instincts suggested I try Whatsapp. The message that jumped at me from our group chat knocked the breath out of me.

Salam guys. Zulay (my maid) took Mas’ud. We have no idea where she is. The police are already involved. Please make du’a. I am a mess right now.

Subhanallah! I turned back immediately. The bus was already at the exit. I began to run, waving both arms over my head as I did.


No one heard me. Or maybe they just didn’t care. The park was too crowded, too noisy. It was getting dark too. I searched my mind frantically for any bright ideas. Think, Jemima, think!. This may well be the only chance to catch Zulay, and I couldn’t allow it to slip out of my fingers.

I stopped just as the bus left the park. It hit me right there and then. The one thing I could do.

I raced towards the mechanic’s shop.

Madam we don dey wait you since…”

“Una don finish my motor?!”

I didn’t wait for an answer. I snatched the keys from the bewildered apprentice and hopped into my car. I accelerated out of the shed like a madwoman, barely registering the mechanic’s screams asking for his wages.

The only thing that mattered now was catching up with that bus.


Ohhhhhhh! Jemima is my star right now!

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Read Chapter Sixteen

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