Lagos, Nigeria

October 10, 1989

The lady watched the children closely and bid her time. She was not in a hurry; she was more interested in results. She knew enough about how people goofed when they weren’t patient enough. She wondered if nobody ever told them patience is a virtue. It was a good thing she had common sense. 

From her position behind the willow trees – which formed a hedge around the entrance of the park – she could see the children playing in the park with the nanny watching them like a hawk. Who could blame her though? Watching those children was her source of livelihood and she was obviously doing a good job of it.

But watchful nanny or not, she had to do what she had to do. She had taken months to gather her facts and strategize. She felt like she knew them like the palm of her hands, knew all their schedules. The children of the rich seemed to be full of them, ranging from piano lessons to swimming classes and ridiculous of all, dance class. Who took dance classes in Nigeria, for crying out loud?

The man must really mistake our dear land for the country where she read he got his degree, she thought in derision. 

At that exact moment, she sighted the oldest, Tade who was about six in a tussle with his sister, Lade. The girl might be three but she sure knew how to hold her own, the lady decided when she saw the girl go for the jugular. 

She quickly caught herself when she discovered the beginnings of a smile on her lips and mentally dismissed them, telling herself to put her head in the game. She wasn’t interested in them; her target was the months old baby in the walker, sitting just at the foot of the nanny. Stealing a baby from the foot of a woman wasn’t going to be easy. 

But she was a woman on a mission and she had time on her hands. If she couldn’t achieve her aim today, she would just have to come back again. The after-life of her baby depended on it. 

She briefly felt an iota of guilt over what she was about to do but squashed it immediately. This was solely Dr. Westfield’s fault, not hers. He had betrayed her trust and this was exactly what happened to betrayers. He had gone about professing to be the best gynecologist in town and everybody had also said the same, till she believed him.

But what had she gotten for her trust? A stillborn and insufficient blood that all thanks to God and none to that slimy doctor had not caused her death. Nice woman that she was, she had planned on letting him go. It was just a matter of time before the fate of Judas Iscariot was visited on him; she had been so sure of it that she had waited to read the news of his suicide on the dailies. 

Except her baby wanted differently. What could she do when her baby wanted more? Hadn’t her baby appeared to her in a dream and told her to take one of Dr. Westfield’s children to replace her? Hadn’t her baby said that was the only way she could rest in peace?

Every mother would understand what she was about to do, even the crazy women in her neighbourhood who claimed she was insane – whispering about like she didn’t know what they said about her – would understand her plight. This was so not an act of wickedness; it was solely out of respect for the dead.

Deciding snatching the baby and making the run for it was out of the question, she knew it was time for plan B. Smartly, she had somewhat befriended the nanny over the months in case an anonymous kidnap was not viable.

Although the alternative plan was more dangerous, she had to take the risk for her baby. Her story about been a barren woman who liked been around children, with the hope it would trigger her miracle had been sheer genius. It had appealed to the sympathetic side of the nanny so much she let her play with the baby anytime they ‘coincidentally’ met at the park, which had happened to be every weekend until recently when the lady deliberately pulled back.

She came out from her hiding place behind the bushes and made a beeline for the wooden seat where the nanny was perched

Sighting her, the nanny called out, “Aunty, how far? E don tey wey we don see you o.” 

The lady deliberately cooed sweetly at the baby on the walker before turning to her, “Yeah, I’ve been really busy with work. I’m really happy to see you guys though.”

“Abi? I sure say Shade sef dey happy to see you.”

“How’s everything going?” She asked innocently.

“Aunty, we thank God o. Everything dey fine,” the nanny replied.

“That’s good, hope you don’t mind me sitting with you?”

“Aunty, how na? Abeg sidon jor.”

The lady sat down at that and they shared a companionable silence, watching the kids take their turns on a metal swing some distance away.

She was thinking of giving up and postponing her escapade when at that moment they saw Lade fall off the swing and let out a deafening shriek.

They both sprang up automatically, motionless for some seconds.

Then the nanny, regaining herself, skimmed a confused gaze from the now hysterical Lade to the baby, obviously at a loss what to do.

“It seems she has injured herself. Why don’t you go on and check what’s wrong while I help watch beautiful Shade here?” the lady offered.

Looking grateful and relieved, the nanny said, “thank you Aunty,” and with that, strode away.

The lady waited till she saw the nanny bent and preoccupied with the wounded Lade. She also noticed thankfully that Lade’s scream had managed to distract the sparsely populated park. Then she casually picked up the baby, made sure nobody was watching and went the same way she came. 

To be continued next week.

Watch out for chapter one but tell me what you think in the comments. Will love to hear your views.