Shackles from a Broken Soul

By Amarachi Okpunobi

The smoke emanating from the burning frying pan set on fry in the kitchen filled the house and contaminated the once fresh and cool air of the house. The broken dishes layed on the floor like the foundation of an anthill. The spilled oil could hardly let one see the beautiful tiles of the floor in the kitchen. The littered Vegetables became the flowers surrounding the anthill. Grains of rice followed each other from the kitchen to the dinning like the queue in Nigerias Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and remained looking at each other with the face of probably saying ‘temporarily out of service’. The dinning became a typical toy room of the kids as the spatula, spoons, knives, fork and dish covers that flew on the air few minutes ago were lying still like the grave. The door to the entrance of the house was wide open, neighbours stood a far from the gate startled and filled with bewilderment.

“Henry couldn’t be that heartless, Could he?” One of the neighbors asked rhetorically.

“The devil must have envaded this home this hot afternoon”, Mama Dera snapped. It used to be just mere shouts from the two. Who would have thought that such wicked incidence would have taken place here?, She added.

But Daddy Nene is a gentle and peaceful man. what could have happened that led to this act of cruelty? Something must be amiss somewhere”, one of the bystanders thought aloud.
Nene, a fourteen year old beautiful girl sat helplessly on her wheelchair with her face flooded with tears. She wished she could scream aloud and Mummy will come back. She wished the police men who seemed not to be doing anything but kept parading the house in search of only God knows what could understand. Was that going to bring her Mother back? Was those stares from neighbours going to call Daddy back. Can anyone tell Daddy she is choking to death? Can anyone call Daddy back to show him the wreck he has turned their once peaceful house into? Can anyone understand her tears? She was there! She watched Mummy gasp for breath and fought for her life. If only she was fast enough to check the last handbag for the inhaler, she would have saved mummy from the cold hands of death. If only Daddy looked back while he angrily drove away, Mum would have finished preparing lunch and the kitchen would have been cleaned up before now. But Daddy knew, he knew Mummy was choking. He knew Mummy’s health condition. He knew all these”.

“Young lady, you’ll come with us to the station”, a police officer standing behind had said.
Nene wheeled herself as the police man helped her enter the police van. Her face looked pale and sick. Yes! She was actually sick, that was the main reason she was absent from school. No thanks to that accident that kept her on the wheelchair, probably she would have saved mummy faster.

Nene kept looking back as the van moved. She knew that her life has been wrecked apart. Mummy is not coming back neither is Daddy anywhere to be seen. Life was going to be miserable. Everything was going to change. She wondered pitiably what her life would be turning into in forth coming days. She wondered if Daddy would be put behind bars if he was caught. What if Daddy didn’t even know mummy has gone.

The wind that blew as the van moved was beginning to dry the tears yet, it kept flooding like rain. She saw the birds as they perched from one tree to the other and couldn’t help wishing she was one of them; they are free and they worry less.

Sooner than later, they were already in the police station. Same police man helped her down the van and she wheeled inside the office as directed by the policeman.

“Young lady can you now please tell us what happened, I mean everything, do not try to hide any part of it from us, we’re here to help you”, one of the sergeant said. “Maybe he’s right, was he actually a friend or was he trying to get back at Daddy?” Nene thought. Nene has come to love her family so much irrespective of the ups and downs Daddy and Mummy always have at home. She knew Daddy hates to be questioned, she knew Daddy hates it when Mummy says no to his opinions. I am the man in the house not you, Daddy would always tell mummy.

That hot afternoon, Daddy had rushed into the house shouting mummy’s name like there was a fire on the mountain, maybe there really was. Mummy was in the kitchen preparing the lunch while Daddy came back. Mummy had refused to provide the documents for the 41 hectres of land along Ibadan express way. Daddy would complain that he had no heir to his properties. Who would have foretold that it was eventually going to end in such a miserable way. Mummy vehemently stood her ground of not giving the, documents.Trust Daddy’s anger. It took the better part of him and that was it. He panel beat mummy like a slave who stole from a master and was given jungle justice. Mummy struggled for her dear life but the time was ticking so fast. Mummy slumbed in the dinning room panting for air. Nene who had watched the whole incidence had rushed to mummy’s room to get her inhaler. That was when Daddy drove out of the house full of fury. Maybe he had thought it was her normal crisis but life left her slowly before Nene could get the inhaler.

The sergeant listened and recorded Nene’s testimony sympathetically. He patted Nene on the back and assured her of justice for her dear Mother. But on the contrary, Nene loved Daddy, going behind bars was only going to hurt her more. The fate of daddy kept ruminating in Nene’s mind as the police went ahead to declare Mr. Henry Obidike wanted.