Dayo’s back is on the wall as he tries to recollect himself. In the haze that the blows have brought to his eyes he hears Malik’s voice scream, “Nnafuka, Nnafuka.” He sees a shadow throw the door open and he tries to stagger up but falls back on his buttocks.
As Nnafuka aims for the hallway, having thrown the door open, Malik grabs her by the dress and throws his arms around her waist. As he tries to pull her in, Nnafuka somehow manages not to raise her voice but she struggles, the stamping of her feet drowning Dayo’s voice which is going, “Nnafuka. What. Are. You. Doing?” Once or twice it seems to Malik that she has the body of a fish because she almost slips out his arms, trying so hard to set off along the hallway.
Malik manages to pull her in, throw her in like a heavy bale and then shut the door, bolting it almost immediately.
When he turns, Nnafuka is on the window, trying to grab the branch closest to the window, aiming for the ground. It is Dayo who throws all his weight on her and pulls her in, then pushes her to the bed.
“What is wrong with you?” he screams. He pulls the table, shattering the bottles there, throwing the flower vase on the floor.
“Dayo, calm down,” Malik makes to reach Dayo.
“No, I won’t,” He says to Malik. Then he turns to Nnafuka. “Is it not enough that you killed that poor boy? Is it not?”
“Dayo, we are not sure she did it.” Malik turns to Nnafuka, offering his hand to her as she lay in bed, her hair partly covering her face. As Malik’s hand hangs in the air, waiting for Nnafuka to take it silence blares into the atmosphere like a speaker.
Then Nnafuka speaks up. “Yes, I did it. I gave him the disinfectant. She mocked me, Malik. She mocked me with…”
Malik’s hand falls to his side.
“This is not time for those crazy talks of yours, Nnafuka,” Dayo cuts her off. “Get up from there and let us leave this hospital. The police will be here anytime soon.” Dayo turns to Malik. “Pack up whatever belongs to her here and let us leave.”
Malik stands transfixed where he is. He cannot believe that Nnafuka just mentioned that she had a hand in the death of Doctor Abiola’s son. When that call had come to him, he had believed that there was a misunderstanding somewhere. He had come to Dayo, his heart filled with the conviction of Nnafuka’s innocence. He had come to help his friend’s wife evade the police, to help her evade the wrong judgment which would have come on her head through the present administration’s desperateness to make a statement to Nigerians that there was hardly corruption in the police system but a fight against crimes such as hers. If he had known that Nnafuka had taken this monstrosity he saw her perform in the play house that day to the extent of taking a harmless boy’s life he would have given up on the news and only left Bida.
“Malik,” Dayo calls to him. “Please help me pick her things. We need to leave this hospital.”
Malik looks at Dayo and turns to Nnafuka. Then he turns to Dayo again. “Dayo, did you hear her? She really did it.”
“What are you talking about, Malik?”
“She did it. She killed that boy.”
“Yes, I did.” Strangely, there is a smile on Nnafuka’s face.
“I cannot get involved in this. I have gone too far already. I feel that my hands are already soiled. I cannot do this, Dayo.”
Malik turns his back on them and begins to walk towards the door. Dayo’s mouth falls open. He runs to Malik, blocking his way.
“Please don’t do this, Malik. This is my wife. How do you expect me to give her up just like that?”
“I have a girl waiting for me to take her hand in marriage. How do you expect me to give that up, Dayo? Your wife is a criminal. She should be in prison waiting to die by hanging.”
Dayo raises himself on his toes and pushes Malik to the wall, his arm under his chin.
“We have been friends since God-knows-when now. Malik, are you going to give us up?”
In his inability to breathe properly, Malik begins to form a fist, the veins in his arms popping out.
To Be Continue On Wednesday