TURMOIL- CHAPTER NINETEEN
After Basheer rushed out into the night, the whole house became silent- except for the sound of me bawling my eyes out. I couldn’t bring myself to stop the tears shooting down my face in torrents.
A’isha crouched beside me and tugged gently at my arm. She was crying too.
“Hadiza, please stop crying. Mas’ud will be safe. Basheer too. They will come home to you safely biidhnillah. Have faith”
Faith. I did have faith, but it was becoming harder by the minute to hold on to it. However, A’isha was right. I had to get a grip and begin to think. Maybe even make sense of everything that had just happened. I allowed her to pull me up, and she led me to the sitting room and into a chair. Muslimah followed close behind.
“Let me see the text,” I said while wiping at my tears.
A’isha showed me.
Zulay is on her way out of the city. Luxurious Marcopolo. White. ABC Transport. Plate number: EW80- PHC. Just left the ABC bus park at Rumoimei headed for Lagos. Hurry!
I held my head in my hands. Subhanallah. “What was she doing there in the first place? Was she going on a trip we didn’t know of?”
“I think I know” Muslimah spoke up.
“What are you talking about?” A’isha asked.
Muslimah was shaking her head vigorously. “Jemima came to me two weeks ago, talking about leaving her husband and all. I thought I had managed to convince her not to, but it seems I was wrong.”
“That explains it. Jemima was probably at the park and had somehow seen Zulay with Mas’ud. If she hadn’t been there…”
I shuddered to think what could have happened.
“You should have told someone, Muslimah.!” A’ishah exclaimed
“How was I to know she’d follow through with her threat?” Muslimah shot back.
“It would have made a difference, Muslimah! Didn’t you call me immediately you found out about Mas’ud? Why didn’t you do the same when Jemima was in trouble?”
“Guys, please.” I cut in holding my palms up. Arguing would do this situation no good. I glanced at both my friends. They appeared to be listening to what I was saying. “Now, I don’t mean to sound selfish, but I think it’s a good thing she was there. Thanks to Jemima, we know where Mas’ud is.”
Divine Providence, that’s what I called it.
A’isha’s shoulders slumped “I see your point Hadiza.” To Muslimah she said. “I am sorry for yelling at you. It’s just that I’m worried that something might happen to her or the baby.”
“It’s fine. I’m worried too, but she’ll be alright. Basheer is headed there…”
“… and the police too.” I interrupted Muslimah. “The three of them will come back to us safe and sound. A’ishah remember you told me to have faith a few minutes ago? Well, I’m telling you to do the same too.”
“I hear you loud and clear Hadiza,” A’isha whispered.
Muslimah’s phone began to ring. “It’s Abdul”. She pronounced a worried look on her face. “What do I do when he asks for Jemima?”
“Tell him everything.”
There was no use hiding or keeping information from Abdul. He was probably searching for any leads to help him find Jemima. He had a right to know.
As soon as the connection died, I flung my phone on to the passenger seat. I concentrated on the bus right in front of me. Adrenaline coursed unchecked through my body, urging me to do what I wouldn’t have done normally. My muscles felt stronger, my senses more attuned to every sight. smell, and sound than they had ever been. I gripped the steering wheel tighter, steeling myself for what I intended to do next.
I took a deep breath and swerved to the left, yet again. This time I pressed the accelerator to the floor and my car shot forward. I stole a glance at the speedometre through the corner of my eye. The needle was nearing a 100km/h. My car had overtaken the bus now. In one swift motion, I swerved to the right, directly in front of the bus, blocking its advance. I knew the driver would have no choice but to step on his brakes. Tyres screeched. People screamed. I closed my eyes and prayed.
Thankfully the bus came to a halt mere inches from my car. Alhamdulillah. I could hear some of the bus passengers shouting curses, some were thanking God, others praised the driver. I prepared myself for the tirade that was sure to follow.
Soon. the car door slammed shut and thundering footfalls approached my car.
This is it, Jemima.
It was very dark outside, so I switched the lights on. I slumped deeper into my seat, face contorted into what I hoped would pass for pain.
Then I waited.
This had to work. For Mas’ud’s sake, it had to.
I swung into action immediately I disconnected with Muslimah. I tore out of the house and drove in the direction of Rumoimei. I tried to wrap my head around all the surprising information I had heard.
Mas’ud had been kidnapped.
Jemima was trying to track him down. Pregnant and alone. In the dark. On a dangerous freeway.
Panic seized me, took over my faculties, clouded my senses.
I stepped harder on the gas pedal. I didn’t care that I was driving well over the speed limit. All I wanted was to get my wife back safe and sound.
What was Jemima thinking? What exactly did she think she could do? On her own, with no back up whatsoever. She could be too impulsive for her own good sometimes.
The sound of tyres squealing and people screaming penetrated my thoughts. It was too late before I realised what was happening. My SUV was head to head with an oncoming car. I tried to swerve to avoid it- but failed. Our cars collided. There was an explosion. A ball of flames. A fist of grey smoke. I couldn’t tell if it was from my car or not.
My SUV flipped more times than I could count. My torso hit the hood of the car and jerked towards the dashboard. My forehead collided with the window. The car stopped flipping after it hit something solid. Perhaps a tree. Or a rock. Steam rose from the back, the odour too pungent to describe.
I tried to take off my seatbelt but was unsuccessful. I could taste the coppery blood pooling in my mouth. I felt it graze my teeth and soak my tongue. I felt my bones cracking, each crack like rocks drilling into my skin. I sucked in cramped air. I could feel my lungs collapsing. Bright spots appeared in the corners of my vision. A buzzing noise filled my ears. I succumbed to the agony and began to fade farther and farther away into nothingness.
And then I died.