By: Adeyosola Abigail
It was a cold Friday night. The dark clouds getting ready for its precipitation. Funke, who was alone in the house, had a thick cloth wrapped around her body in the bedroom. she made sure all the windows were locked, she assumed it would rain heavily.
“Mum! Dad! Where are you?” She called out if someone would hear her, but her father and mother left the house earlier that morning and promised to be back before sunset. Titi, the house help, had left the house around 6 pm to get airtime in the next street. It was about twenty minutes before 8 pm already, Titi was not back, and Funke’s parents were not home.
Few minutes after she called out, she heard sounds coming from the main entrance of the house. With gladness and hope in her heart to meet either her parents or Titi by the time she opened the door, she jumped down from the bed, ran to the sitting room, and opened the lock. To her surprise, she saw a lady who claimed to be her neighbor three houses away.
“Your parents called me to check on you,” the lady said, “they said they are on their way here. I think they are not here yet due to the traffic jam. . .I hope you’ve had something to eat”.
“No ma’am” Funke replied.
“Would you like to come over to my place? I’d get something prepared for you”
“Okay ma’am, but what about aunt Titi?”
“Yeah, your aunt Titi, what about her? Is she in too, why would your parents call me if she is around” the lady replied, not sure of what to say.
“She’s not, she left since and not back yet”
“Oh! Yes, I remember your mum said your aunt Titi had an errand to run for her, so when she gets back she’d pick you at my place” she continued, trying to convince the little girl
“Oh! Dear you can call me Madam Tinu”
“Okay, Madam Tinu” Funke replied smiling.
“Go make sure everything is well kept and your windows are locked, I’d be waiting”
“Yes Madam Tinu” Funke replied, as she confirmed all locks, took her cardigan along and left the house with Madam Tinu.
As soon as they left the house it began to rain heavily.
. . . Two days ago
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were in the sitting room watching their favorite TV series on Wednesday evening. Titilope, the house help, walked in from the kitchen with her left hand on her head with gestures of one who is in search of something.
“Titi… What is the matter?” Mrs. Johnson asked her smiling
“No…no.. nothing ma” Titi stammered — her display of timidity.
“Come on tell me what is it, when you start behaving like this, it’s either you’re not feeling well or you need something urgent. So spit it out”, Mrs. Johnson said
“Or is it the weekend?”, Mr. Johnson added
“You this girl ehn.. we’ve not forgotten, you can return to what you were doing” Mrs. Johnson concluded with a kind gesture.
“Thank you ma, thank you, sir,” Titi said as she left
“Honey, let me join her in the kitchen” Mrs. Johnson left her husband for the kitchen.
The door bell rings
“Come in..” Mr. Johnson replied as his eyes caught some attractive scenes on the TV.
“Good evening sir” Mr. Olalekan greeted.
“Oh! Mr. Lekan, what a surprise visit!” Mr. Johnson stood to welcome his guests, greeted the lady that came along, and offered them a seat
“This is my wife,” Mr. Olalekan said.
“Good evening sir,” The lady said to Mr. Johnson.
“You are welcome ma”
Soon Mrs. Johnson entered the sitting room to know who came visiting since she had heard voices from the kitchen. She was introduced to her new neighbors by her husband.
Mr. Lekan was a colleague to Mr. Johnson at his former place of work before they were all laid off about three years earlier. They still kept in touch till now. Mr. Olalekan had bought his land through Mr. Johnson who wasn’t even aware they had moved in until Mr. Olalekan came visiting. They had moved in two weeks ago, but due to work the Johnson’s were mostly away from home, they just happened to be at home this Wednesday.
Mrs. Johnson ran to pick her phone that was ringing on the dining table.
“Yh….this Friday will be fine, though I’ll be going out with my husband. You’d have to get here early. . .Alright” as she ended the call. The visitors were ready to leave.
“Oh! How about my little girl, what’s her name again….” Mr.Olalekan tried to remember the child’s name
“…Funke” Mr. Johnson replied
“Yeah… Funke.. how is she?”
“Very well, she should be sleeping now”
“Alright my regards” Mr.Olalekan bidding bye as they left.
Funke, the only child to Mr. Michael and Mrs. Ololade Johnson, clocked ten two weeks earlier.
After dinner, Michael told his daughter about their new neighbors living three houses away, extending their greetings to her, and ending the discussion around visiting them by the weekend. Funke was happy on hearing that, hoping to have new friends, since she was told they had two children.
Back to present day
Michael drove in with his wife to their compound at about a few minutes past 8 pm. The rain had subsided after a heavy downpour that Friday night. Titi had called earlier saying she wasn’t leaving the house again, that she would stay behind and watch Funke till Mr. and Mrs. Johnson got back from their outing.
Titi was meant to leave for her home that Friday to see her parents as agreed. Every three weeks, she went for that weekend visit. They were resting assured that their daughter would be safe till they were back home. . .but they met the unforeseen.
“Mummy Funke calm down,” said Iya Shola, their neighbor next door, who on getting outside to check if the rain had caused any damage to the cage of her little birds had heard Ololade’s shouts.
“Have you called Titi?”
“Her line is not going through” Michael replied with one hand resting on the wall and the other holding his phone across his head.
They were still standing at the balcony, refusing to go in if they didn’t see their daughter.
They waited a few more minutes, Micheal tried Titi’s line again, still unreachable.
“Titi! Where did you take my child to? Where are you?!”Micheal said with the phone still close to his ear.
…. to be continued …
©️ Abigail Adeyosola