08:15 AM, IDARA MAXWELL HOUSE
“Why don’t we go see my mother right away?” Eve asked, eager to get going.
“Your husband said you are not feeling fine, why don’t you at least sit down and have a bite of the food on the table?” Idara asked, still keeping the warm smile on her face.
Eve would love to be on her way immediately but she had to sit down in spite of herself. Idara was a loose cannon, you can’t tell when she would go off. Strangely being happy that day, Eve thought it wise not to have her snap out of it. Lost in thought and oblivious of everyone at the dining table, Eve ate very fast. She was not aware of how hungry she was. They had eaten very little since they were taken and brought to Idara’s house. Stanley and Idara were surprised at how fast she ate. They stared at each other and at Eve unbelievably. Stanley had to touch her to get her attention. When she raised her head, her lips were covered with fragments of food.
“What?” she asked, showing no knowledge of why Stanley touched her.
Idara blinked at Stanley, giving him a cue to let her be. Eve turned her attention back to the food continued to devour it at stunning speed.
For some time, Stanley looked at her wondering what was going on in her mind. Since he could not figure her out, he decided to eat as much as he could. The funny thought on his mind was that they might not get another chance to dine sumptuously that day, given the situation on hand.
A few minutes later, Idara was frozen, watching Eve and Stanley consuming the food on their plates as if they were competing with each other. Idara had to wave at her domestic assistants to bring more food at the dining. Just then Eve raised her head from her plate and said,
“I am done, let’s get going.”
“Don’t you want more food?” Idara asked looking surprised.
Eve shook her head and replied, “No ma, I am okay. Can we start going? I can’t wait to know that my family members are fine.”
“They are fine Eve; I have been in touch with my boys who are keeping an eye on them. Relax, we will soon be on our way.”
09:00 AM, MR. NATHAN’S HOUSE
About forty-five minutes later, Idara Maxwell and her entourage arrived at Eve’s parents’ house. Stanley and Eve were not allowed to come out of the car which drove them to the house. Idara had taken over fifty armed men, she knew the city was boiling and did not want to get a nasty surprise. She also had on herself about seven different guns. Eve’s parents, brothers and sisters were shocked to see that number of armed men drive into their compound. With the city burning and people being killed, Eve’s father, Mr. Nathan, had to send his wife and children inside and came out with a pestle to welcome his armed, uninvited guests. Eve watched from the car she sat in and wondered what would happen next.
“Who are you?!” Mr. Nathan asked. “I don’t remember inviting any of you to my house! By the way, how did you get past my gate?!” Mr. Nathan continued.
From the living room his first Son Abel watched with a gun his father did not know he owned in his hand. He was determined to shoot one or two people if his father was harmed. The entire Nathan family had not been that scared before.
“I have brought back to you what you thought you lost so that you can help me take that which you have right now, which happens not to be yours anyway,” Idara Maxwell said walking toward Mr. Nathan menacingly.
She deliberately brandished a Russian made automatic shotgun in her hand.
“I have never met you before, and I doubt very much you have anything of interest to me. I am certain of it, I have nothing which you want in my house! Please be on your way out of my house now!” Mr. Nathan demanded.
“Mr. Nathan, I am shocked to see you show such bad manners to a guest. Why don’t you give me a seat and find out what I have brought back to you?” Idara said, wearing a cunning smile.
“I don’t open my doors to uninvited guests who come to my house with guns, old lady!”
Inside the car Eve and Stanley understood clearly the mind game Idara was playing. She was deliberately showing off her mean side and at the same time trying to convince Mr. Nathan that she had come for good. She wanted Eve’s father to be afraid of her. She was also going to use Eve and Stanley to bargain for the videos by making it seem like she was the one who saved them. Maybe she did. After all it was her son Maxwell, who began it all. Idara raised her gun, Mr. Nathan stepped back and raised the pestle in his hand as if he could bat bullets away with it. Idara stretched her hand toward one of her boys and handed the gun to him. Inside Abel aimed at Idara, breathing heavily. He would drop her dead if she dared shoot his father. She held her hands high like a soldier surrendering to an enemy and said,
“Okay, I am sorry Mr. Nathan, I should not have entered your house with this sort of bravado. You know the city is burning, I could not have made it here without this sort of firepower. Stepping closer to Mr. Nathan she stretched her hand toward him for a handshake and said, “Nice to meet you Mr. Nathan, I am Idara Maxwell. Your daughter is just like you; she wouldn’t run from a fight.”
Mr. Nathan took her hand and shook her firmly, letting her know he was not afraid, though he was terrified.
“Which of my daughters are you referring to?”
“Eve of course. I know her very well. I am sorry about what happened to her.”
Mr. Nathan bowed his head for a moment. Idara read grief on his face. Placing her hand on his shoulder she asked, “Why don’t you let me in and find out what I might know about Eve?”
She could see light in Mr. Nathan’s eyes, a glimmer of hope that perhaps his daughter was alive. He had been holding out for that since no one had seen her body since she was taken along with her husband, from the hospital where she was mending after the shooting. He lowered the Pestle in his hands and said,
“Come with me. Please don’t play any fast move on me, I will kill you here if you try it.”
“Eve might still be alive,” Idara said, surprising Mr. Nathan.
He turned and looked at her with hope. His eyes moistened and he said,
“Please don’t raise my hopes and don’t say that to my wife’s hearing. She would die if it turns out to be a lie.”
Immediately Idara sat down in Mr. Nathan’s exquisitely furnished living room, she said,
“Okay, I lied to you. It is not that I know Eve might be alive, I know that she is alive with her husband!” she shouted.
She knew what she was doing; she wanted to raise the hopes of all the people in the house and then give them conditions to fulfill before they would see Eve.
In a moment the entire Nathan family were in the living room staring at the old woman for explanations.
“I don’t believe you! Show me a proof that Eve and Stanley are alive. I want to see something!” Mr. Nathan said.
At the dining, Abel sat, his hand resting on his pistol. He did not trust the old woman. Idara reached into her hip pocket and removed her Samsung phone. She punched a few keys on it and handed it to Mr. Nathan. He took it from her pressed the play button of a video file on the phone screen. His family members crowded around him except Abel. The video showed Eve and Stanley huddled up together on a bed talking.
“That video was recorded last night. If you do what I want you to do, I will help you get Eve and Stanley back,” Idara said.
“What do you want old woman?” Mr. Nathan asked.
“I don’t like to be labelled that. I am not very old to be referred to that way. I have a Russian boyfriend. I make him cry out loud in bed. If I was as old as you meant, I doubt he would be crying pleasurably each time he had me. Apologize to me, please.”
“I am sorry lady, I didn’t know you have a boyfriend,” Mr. Nathan said sarcastically.
“Thank you. Your wife received a parcel some months ago. It was sent to Eve using this address, I want that parcel now. Once you give it to me. I will make sure your daughter and her husband return to you safely.”
Before Idara could finish speaking, Helen, Eve’s mother, ran upstairs to her room. In a jiffy she was back with a basket containing all the parcels she had received for Eve.
“I don’t know what you are looking for, but here are all the parcels I received for her,” Mrs. Nathan said, almost in tears.
Idara stooped over the basket and began to sort through the parcels carefully. When she had found what seemed like what she was looking for, she tore it up. Inside were two DVD plates and a sixty paged signed document. She could tell whose signature that was. It was her son’s signature. She skimmed through the document and almost slumped to the ground because of the information it contained. She found that the document had her name, and detailed a bit of information Jimmy her son, was not in a position to know.
Slowly Idara stood up.
“I want my phone back!” she demanded.
“Is that what you are looking for?” Helen asked.
“Yes!” Idara snapped. From the look on her face,
Mr. Nathan could tell all was not well. She dialed a number on her phone and said afterwards,
“Bring Eve here!”
The doors of the Daimler SUV outside swung open and some armed men led Eve and Stanley into the living room. Before Mr. Nathan and his family had the chance to celebrate that Eve and Stanley were alive, Idara drew another gun from her thigh, cocked it and pointed it at Eve.
“What do you know about my son Jimmy? Tell me now!” Idara demanded.
Her hand was shaking. Eve knew she would shoot her if she hesitated.
“I met him in South Africa some years ago! He tried to kill me!”
“Why would he send these documents to you? Who are you, Eve?!”
Eve raised her hands in surrender and shouted in fear,
“I don’t know! The last time I met him, he was going to kill me! I am a nobody! My name is Eve Nathan! Please Idara, don’t shoot me!” she lied.
“I think whoever was killed in that nightclub was not my son. Jimmy is still alive. And if you tell me this minute that Maxwell is alive, I will believe you. The two of you have till evening to spend with this family. By 5:00 pm, my boys will bring you back to my house. I want to know why Jimmy sent these to you,” Idara said.
12:25 PM, ANNABEL MAXWELL’S HOUSE
Chucks drove into the premises and leapt out of his car, leaving the engine running. He had a gun in his hand. Inside Annabel was pacing frantically, she was hysterical.
“When did she arrive in the country?!” Annabel demanded over the phone. She lowered her phone and said to Chucks,
“That old woman posing as Idara Maxwell is really my grandmother! I just found out she has been in the country for five months now. I don’t understand how that is possible. She was near death when I visited her in Moscow!” Annabel exclaimed.
“You said over the phone that she has Eve and Stanley, what does she want with them?” Chucks asked.
“She is looking for the videos. If what I just heard is true, she may have found them.”
“You don’t seem happy about that. Is anything wrong with her finding the videos? She is your grandmother, if she has the videos, then you have them as well. How did she find them anyway?”
“I don’t have the details yet, but my boys saw her leaving Eve’s father’s house a while ago. Maybe Eve had been in possession of the videos all this while.”
“That is not possible! Eve didn’t know where the videos were!” Chucks said, defending Eve.
“Maybe not, but how do you explain my grandmother getting her hands on the videos after visiting Eve’s parents?”
Chucks had no explanation for that. He could not even process the thought of Eve knowing where the videos were all along.
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