Police Commander Derbie Gyeshie looked at Adobea’s shattered face with deep compassion.
They were in the living-room of Agya Asare’s house.
All the family members were present. Derbie was accompanied by two high-ranking policemen.
Adobea was wearing blue jeans and a white blouse. Her hair was neatly-combed back and tied with a lovely pink band, but her eyes were enormous, swollen and almost tragic. It was quite evident that she had cried a lot.
It was the seventh day since Shalom’s family came for him and evidently, she was still grieving.
“As I was saying, Mr. Jack Larbi wanted the rewards to go to you, Adobea,” Derbie said gently. “There was a reward of twenty thousand cedis for the capture of Bobigodi, the kidnapper of the school children. There was also thirty thousand cedis reward for the capture of Doctor Odabor. So, a total of fifty thousand Ghana Cedis for you, Adobea.”
She held out the enveloped towards Adobea.
“It is a cheque with your name on it, Adobea,” she continued. “You’ll have to sign the documents attached, and we’re good.”
Adobea Asare sat still and stared unseeingly at the policewoman.
“Adobea, Adobea, aaba!” Kofi Gyan said quickly. “Take the envelope, Adobea. Take the envelope!”
“I just don’t know what’s wrong with this girl,” Agya Asare said indignantly. “You love the boy, but he has a family and a girlfriend. And you spend your days crying! Are you normal in the head?”
“Leave her alone, Agya!” Maame Fosuaa said sharply. “Love is not a light switch that you switch on and off as you wish!”
“So, you prefer her like this, eh, woman?” Agya Asare said. “Sitting at one place, not eating and staring at the walls haaaaaa like a tree?”
“Paapa, allow her, please!” Grace said as she tried hard to hold on to her anger. “These things take time!”
“She should be grateful that boy didn’t put his thing inside her!” Agya Asare said. “He’s been putting it into anything that crosses his penis, even he put it into the anus of that girl!”
“Shut up!” Adobea screeched so loudly that Agya Asare almost fell off his seat.
“Eii,” he said with sudden trepidation.
Adobea glared at her father fiercely as if she wanted to hit him, and then tears slowly formed in her eyes and fell down her cheeks. She cleaned her face with the back of her hand and took the envelope from the commander.
Adobea pulled out the cheque which was stapled to two documents.
Commander Gyeshie gave her a pen and indicated the portions she had to sign. Adobea signed quickly and tried to smile but her lips trembled and tears fell down her face.
She stood up quickly and fled from the room as they all stared after her helplessly. She raced through the halls as her tears blinded her and she fell on her bed and buried her face in the pillows.
Adobea bawled her heart out.
Eventually, her door opened and she heard someone come in.
“Go away, Paapa!” she cried in a broken voice. “I can’t take any more of your words.”
“It is me, Adobea,” Commander Gyeshie said kindly.
Adobea quickly sat and looked at the kind-faced policewoman.
“I’m so sorry, Commander,” Adobea whispered as she put her hands to her chest. “I didn’t mean to be rude. It is just that…my heart is tearing up. It feels like a knife is cutting through my heart. Oh, Lord, I can’t live without him!”
Derbie nodded and sat down beside her on the bed. She placed the cheque and a copy of the document carefully into the envelope and put it on the pillow.
“The look in your eyes right now is the same look I saw in Shalom’s eyes when they took him away,” the commander said carefully. “There was something about those people that simply didn’t sit well with me so I made them understand that we shall be doing follow-ups to ensure the kidnapping, if it is true, doesn’t happen again. Do you know they’re in Takoradi?”
“Oh!” Adobea exclaimed with misery. “So far away? Oh! I won’t see him again!”
She began to weep tragically.
Commander Derbie put a hand on her shoulder.
“Stop crying, young lady,” she said reassuringly. “They stay at Beach Road. Luckily, my older sister operates a nice little restaurant at Beach Road near the Larbi Estates. Her name is Theresa. She informed me that Jack Larbi and his father used to come to her restaurant a lot and that she is quite close to them. Even after his father’s death, Jack always came to her restaurant for lunch until his strange disappearance.”
Adobea was now looking at the policewoman with wide eyes.
“Wait a minute,” she whispered gravely. “You mean your sister is the friend of…Jack, my Shalom?”
Commander Gyeshie nodded.
“And not only that, Adobea,” she said softly with a puckered brow. “I’m extremely worried. According to my sister, that Beatrice is not Jack’s real mother.”
“What?” Adobea asked, stunned.
“Yaw’s real mother was called Agyeibea,” the policewoman continued. “She lived with her husband for several years but they could not have kids. Fortunately, she gave birth when she was forty-five and her husband was fifty years. To Jack. When Jack was ten years old, his mother became very ill and bedridden. She was hospitalized at home and Beatrice was her nurse. She evidently managed to worm her way into the heart of the grieving Isaac, who married her five years later. And then, less than three years later, Isaac also died, and a year after that, Jack – that is Shalom – mysteriously vanished.”
“Yesu Kristo!” Adobea whispered with sudden fear. “And Samuel, his brother?”
“Samuel is Beatrice’s son from a previous marriage,” Commander Derbie said carefully. “So, he and Jack are just skewed step-brothers.”
“My Shalom is in danger!” Adobea whispered with horror.
“Well, it all seem kinda fishy to me, lady,” Commander Gyeshie said with narrowed eyes. “I have a feeling those people are trying something really rotten. That Lucille girl, I was told, came on the scene after Jack’s father died, and within a few months had managed to wriggle out an engagement to Jack. Isaac Larbi was a famous physicist and inventor, and used to have a partner called Michael Obeng, but it seems they had a fallout and Isaac sacked Obeng from his practice. In the latter years of his life, Isaac worked only with Shalom. Now, my sister tells me this Michael Obeng is in the house again, and seems to be quite close to Mrs Beatrice Larbi.”
“Oh, I need to see him!” Adobea cried in anguish. “He needs to be protected! I’m convinced they know about his kidnapping and also about his brainwashing experiment! They are obviously after something! Oh, but you should not have released him to them!”
“Under law, I could not hold a man who obviously is retarded from his family,” Commander Gyeshie said slowly. “They would have hit us with a lawsuit that would have tarnished the image of the police. Adobea, can you take a few days off from the office?”
Adobea looked at the kind woman and nodded miserably.
“I took some days off when Shalom went missing,” she said despondently. “And when they took him away I asked for my accumulated leave days. I simply could not bear not seeing him. So, yes, I have about forty working days leave now. Why did you ask, please?”
“Wonderful to hear that, Adobea,” the commander said with a relieved smile. “I have a plan I wanted to discuss with you. Right now, you have a little money in that envelope. I spoke to my sister, and she says she can take you on as a waitress in her restaurant. If, indeed, Shalom used to frequent her restaurant, then there’s a likelihood he might show up there pretty soon.”
Adobea’s face showed a glow of light for the very first time in a week, and her stunned expression made the policewoman smile.
“Oh!” she whispered. “You would do that for me?”
“Yes, but none of the others must see you, Adobea,” Commander Gyeshie said quickly. “I want us to find out what is going on! I know Shalom would be delighted to see you again, but you must keep your presence there a secret. So, I want you to find out all the information you can get and brief me every two days. Are you willing for a bit of police work?”
“Anything that will bring me close to Shalom will be heaven-sent!” Adobea whispered as tears shimmered in her eyes.
“Good!” the commander said with a smile. “Now, we have to agree to a simple plan of action. So, listen to me carefully now…”
Four people were standing behind the glass partition looking into the big room where Jack Larbi was lying immobile on a huge bed.
He was dressed in a blue pyjama and there were huge machines around the bed attached to Jack’s body by nodes and straps. There were about six monitors in the room, some of them beeping.
“Oh, what’s happening to him?” Lucille cried, obviously disturbed. “It has been two weeks now, Doctor Obeng!”
“Yes, Mike!” Beatrice said through tight jaws. “That nosy policewoman in Suhum called last night. She wants to send a policeman over. I had a tough time convincing her that Jack is undergoing medical examinations and that she should reschedule to next week.”
Doctor Michael Obeng was wearing his white tunic with his hands linked behind him. He puffed his cheeks and blew air slowly.
“Well, I tried to get to the passwords to the vault, but whatever it is, the two bastards kept it out of their conscious mind,” he said coldly. “So, I reset his mind back to a time after his father’s death.”
“Oh, no!” Lucille said with sudden fear. “Then he will still remember seeing me and Sam together, doctor!”
“And what’s wrong with that?” Samuel said bitterly and angrily. “You better stop your shitting and fuckery, Luce! Remember that I brought you in just to try and get the passwords to the vault from Jack-Lord, and you fucking failed miserably! You’re my chick, do you understand?”
He grabbed Lucille’s arm but she pulled away from him with a cry of despair.
“I fell in love with him, Sam!” she hissed furiously. “My God, Sam! Yes, I was your girlfriend but you saw it fit to push me to your step-brother because you wanted the contents of the vault! Remember how I complained and begged you not to do it? But you wouldn’t listen! Now I love him, do you understand? I love Jack!”
“You fucking whore!” Samuel hissed furiously and slapped Lucille across the face nastily.
She screeched with pain and put a hand to her cheek.
“Stop that nonsense, Sam!” Beatrice cried furiously. “Have you now become a beast? Leave Luce alone!”
“Shut the fuck up, mom!” Samuel said with dark, angry eyes as he eyed his mother venomously. “You suggested this, remember? You know I love Luce and yet you said that way would work! And now she’s here telling me crap! Listen, Luce! If you fuck with me, I’ll tell Jack everything about you, do you hear? I’ll fuck you up!”
“You wouldn’t dare!” Lucille hissed menacingly. “If you do that, he’ll also know the part you played in brainwashing him and dumping him in a brothel, Sam!”
“Oh, you two belt it up already!” Doctor Obeng said with disgust. “We all stand to lose greatly in this! Of course, I didn’t make him remember that incident between you and Sam that he stumbled in on. We’ll send him to his room now and take off the machines. Lucille, you have to go in to him!”
“No, she ain’t going nowhere, fuck it!” Samuel said furiously.
“Stop being a sissy, Sam!” Doctor Obeng exploded furiously. “What do you think is going on here? Word of this gets out and all of us would spend the rest of our lives in jail, dammit! Get over your silly jealousies! Jack needs to see Lucille first. If he remembers seeing her making love to you, then it would mean the reset didn’t work! If he accepts her and continues as if nothing had happened, then it would mean the reset worked and then we can move on to Plan B!”
Samuel grunted and glared venomously at Lucille.
“You go in there and if he doesn’t remember anything about the incident you will tell him you want to wait until the wedding before you consumate your love, do you hear me?” he said in a dangerous voice. “I swear to you, Lucille, on my father’s grave. If you screw that bastard again, I’ll strangle you with my bare hands! Do you understand?”
Lucille, quite frightened by Samuel’s look and voice, nodded fearfully.
And so, almost two hours later, Doctor Michael Obeng returned to the incredibly beautiful and luxurious living room and faced them with a grave face.
“He’s up now and in his room upstairs,” he said in a voice that was not quite steady. “Time to know if the reset worked or not. Go to him now, Lucille.”
Lucille sprang to her feet and began to move off.
Like a caged panther Samuel blocked her way suddenly and gripped both her arms so fiercely that they hurt her a great deal.
“Don’t lock the damn door, do you hear me?” he hissed furiously. “I’ll be right outside listening! You fuck up with me and I’ll get in there and kill both of you!”
“You’re hurting me!” Lucille screamed painfully. “You bastard! This is why I fell in love with him because he’s always been a gentleman to me! Maybe, you should go in and see if he remembers, and then he will beat the shit out of you like he did the last time!”
“Let him go, Sam!” Beatrice screamed shrilly.
Samuel pushed Lucille away from him angrily.
Lucille almost fell, but she regained her balance and raced up the curved, intricate staircase. Samuel grunted with green jealously and followed her.
Lucille gained the landing and hurried down an L-shaped corridor at the end of which were two huge double doors. She was weeping as she pushed one open and entered.
She closed it behind her and leaned against it.
And then she looked at the bed where Jack was wearing only a pair of boxers and looking at her.
Lucille’s breath was held as she waited with great fear and agony, expecting him to explode with raw pain like he had done the last time he had gone to the garden room and caught her and Samuel making out on the sofa.
Slowly, she breathed out and tears came to her eyes when she saw the huge, beautiful and love-filled smile on his face.
The reset had worked!
Jack could not remember that day!
“Lucy-Doll,” Jack Larbi said sweetly and held out his arms. “Where have you been all day? I was about to call you, my darling!”
“Oh, Jack, my love, my sweet love!” Lucille cried and rushed towards him, but she stopped halfway, turned and raced to the door. With trembling fingers, she turned the key two times, and imagined the look of murder on Samuel’s face outside the door.
She then turned and pulled down the zipper on the back of her dress and allowed it to slip past her shoulders and cascade to the floor. The way Jack had treated her in Suhum had filled her with such raw horror, but she could see now that it was all over, and that he did not remember that witch girl called Adobea.
She raced to the bed and fell against him.
‘Oh, Jackie, my love, my sweetheart!” she murmured as she kissed him tenderly. “I missed you so! Oh, Jack!”
He giggled softly and shook his head.
“Ah, Lucy-Doll!” he whispered tenderly. “Wasn’t it just this morning that we made love?”
“This morning?” Lucille whispered with sudden disorientation, and then reality hit her savagely. “Oh, yes, my love, this morning after swimming. But I missed you every second ever since!”
“Ah, but you’re a nymphomaniac, my darling,” Jack whispered as Lucille pulled out his erection from his boxers, pushed him flat on the bed and rubbed his shaft gently to bring him to full girth.
“Yes, yes, Jackie, my darling!” she groaned ecstatically. “Your nympho, my love! Only your nympho!”
She could not wait for any foreplay because she was already so much aroused. Her unsteady fingers ripped her panties off one leg and then she straddled him and brushed his elongated shaft across her wet jade gate, and then she gasped as she slid down on him gently.
She saw the love on his face, love mingled with lust and sheer devotion now as he grabbed her waist gently, thrusting upwards as she moved her hips sweetly on his rhythm.
“Oh, Lucy-Doll, my heart, my breath!” Jack Larbi whispered. “I love you so!”
“Oh, Jackie, Jackie, Jackie!” Lucille whispered with relief as her lips claimed his in a long, sweet kiss and her tears fell on his cheeks. “I’m so happy, Jackie! I love you with all my heart!”
Outside in the corridor, Samuel groaned with sheer torture and crashed his head savagely into the wall, opening a nasty cut on his forehead that rained blood on his face immediately!
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