The madam presses the palms of her hands to the space below her eyes. Her red fingernails flash. “After we swam,” she is saying, “the driver took us to see my father’s land.” Oga-Samson’s own hand rests on his wife’s shoulders. He is rubbing her mango flesh colour skin.
My entire body trembles and I turn to the big fat driver. Precious is his name. He is loitering in the doorway. “Two people?” I say. “How can two people not see where my child went?”
“House girl, abeg, shut up this your mouth!” The driver’s eyes are hard like dried beans.
“I will contact the police.” This is from the oga.
“I have already called them,” the madam says.
There is a rush-rush in my ears. I fall to my knees. “The police?” My body shakes because I dey fear the police. “Oga, abeg, make I look for her myself. Madam, tell me where your father’s land dey? I am sorry but you did not look for her well-well. She will answer me. She will come out when I call her name.”
“Samson, let’s just wait for the police,” the madam says.
But she is not looking at me. She is looking at the oga and so I take hold of his shoe which is soft-soft like the lamb rug that is beneath my knees. “Oga, please, why your wife dey stop me? Dis one no be her pikin!” The madam sucks in her breath harsh-harsh and I am pleased. It is the truth. She is not the mother. She will never be the mother no matter how many swimmings and outings and paradings of my daughter that she has been doing.
“Get up! Get up! Oya!” It is Precious again. He comes towards me, waving his big hands in my face.
I spring to my feet. It is as if I have the strength of twelve men. “Touch me na two of us go die here today!”
He stills and triumph shakes my body despite my small self. Despite his big size.
“Let the police come, Olori,” the oga says to me. His voice is gentle now, as if he is weary from all this business and a pain settles in my chest because I know that this is not my oga speaking. The man sitting there is under his wicked wife’s spell.
Suddenly, all I want is to lie down. Forget what is happening. Sleep like I do whenever he and the madam are out and then jump to attention when I hear car tyres crunching. My eyes look at the sofa that is at the other end of the room. It is under what resembles a child’s painting with its black and yellow splish splash that Madam calls modern art. “Enwere ajo omume ebe a,” I say in Igbo. There is wickedness here. I click my fingers three times at them and suck my teeth. As I run out of the room, I hear the madam’s “What did she say?”
The afternoon heat hugs me tight like a baby’s arms as I rush down the stairs and into the compound yard. The smell from the flower bushes that are set out in squares among the gravels fills my nose. The two security guards at the entrance do not stand when they see me. “Dipo!” I shout. “Open the gate!”