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Hi everyone,

Finally, the big awaited announcement is here!!! 🙌🙌
It has been a while and I have reeeeaaallly missed everyone. I hope you enjoyed Mark of Cain; a big thanks to everyone who encouraged both me and the writer by dropping comments and giving your feedbacks. But as promised, after a long but fruitful pause, a new story is coming up by yours truly – me!

I bring to you something new, something different… More than a figment of my imagination, I bring to you a story originally written by life itself! A story realer than real!!!

From the Nissi Adeola stables, for the first time ever, I present to you ‘Starless Nights’ – A true life story.

‘Starless Nights’ commences on the 4th July, 2017 and unlike the usual routine, Starless Nights would be posted every Tuesday (once a week) 😸. Please spread word on social media…

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CAPTION IT YOURSELF!

RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS.

Script Title: Caption it yourself

Director: Edwin Oko Lamptey

Location: Inside A “trotro” (Commercial bus)

Imagine yourself in a trotro. The main occupants are usually the driver and his conductor. You join the bus at a bus stop. The conductor employs a few “delay tactics” to get more occupants into his car. Note: It is rush hour and traffic is building up; very fast! It’s past five minutes, the car is still at the bus stop. The driver makes knee-jerking movements, as if he is moving the car.

The occupants start to complain. He calls out to his conductor who pretends not to hear him. Ten minutes in, a couple of passengers get off the bus and hurriedly join another car going towards their destination. The conductor does not want more passengers getting off so he quickly runs back and joins the car. He shuts the door and exchanges words with a few irate passengers. The driver intervenes and calm is restored. Immediately, the conductor starts collecting fares. Your fare is proportional to the distance you want to travel (even though it doesn’t make so much sense sometimes judging by our pricing methods). A few passengers argue it out with the conductor. A well dressed man pays his fare but the conductor informs him that he has to add some more to equal his destination. The man pleads, the conductor disagrees so a “Good Samaritan”, saves the well dressed man from embarrassment by paying the difference.

A woman hands the conductor somewhat of a huge denomination. The conductor complains of not having enough change. He hands the woman her change; but not the exact change. The conductor needs to add the same amount he was asking from the well dressed man to make the woman’s change accurate but he struggles to get it. A few stops ahead, the woman gets off and does not take the rest of the change. The driver moves the car.

A passenger seated at the back alerts the conductor that he would alight at the next bus stop. The conductor nods and pulls his head out of the car to prospect for more customers. The driver zooms past the proposed bus stop and stops the car at another bus stop way ahead. The passenger at the back is fuming because he has to walk backwards to reach his original stop point. He insults the driver and his conductor. The driver pleads and says he can only stop at designated bus stops so he had to do the right thing once he has missed the chance to stop at the desired bus stop. The conductor doesn’t see what he has done wrong. A few seconds after the passenger at the back alights, the driver stops right in front of a “NO PARKING…NO STOPPING”, sign post to pick another “customer”. The other customers in the car accuse the driver and his conductor of being bias. The driver and his conductor “shut them up” by saying, they had to pick that customer because any of them could have been in that same situation when they were in a hurry. The whole bus is quiet.

The driver makes another stop before the main lorry station (which is supposed to be the last stop) and says that is his last stop. Many passengers fume and accuse the driver and his conductor of deception. No matter how much they complain, the driver doesn’t budge, he even turns off the ignition to tell them how serious he is. On the other hand, some passengers are happy because the driver has actually saved them some walking time because their destination is pretty much closer to their current stop than from the main lorry station. They gleefully thank the driver and get off without saying anything foul to either the driver or his conductor. You are one of these “happy bunch”, you get off too and start walking towards your destination…

Now, Let’s edit this script through the lens of REALITY….

Life has a way of offering all of us a “levelled playground” for success regardless of your family background, occupational status, educational background or financial standing i.e (the bus stop)

When the bus of success pulls over at the bus stop, most of us get on. The “hungry ones” (the people with the get-rich-quick mentality, those with ideas that need to be swiftly put into action and the like) cannot stand the long wait so they get off and join a faster bandwagon to success i.e (their destination).

Life will still go on whether you are in a hurry or not.

Life demands from everyone exactly what it wants, you cannot shortchange life if you expect to get to your destination. No matter how much you put on appearances, life would always have a way of exposing pretence. There are days when the pocket is genuinely ‘not good’ but life and success don’t care. They will take from you exactly what you must give to reach your destination i.e ( the fight over the fare)

In life, you are bound to meet many “Good Samaritans”. The mistake we sometimes make is that, we confuse the role of our helpers and make them our sole source of financial and other forms of support. We should sometimes learn to be dependent on our own resources no matter how little they may be.

Life would always demand whatever it wants from you but there are times that what you give out would not reflect what you expect in return. Life can sometimes shortchange your efforts i.e ( the woman with the “big” currency denomination being shortchanged by the conductor).

You need to constantly remind yourself of your future and how big (or small) you want it to be. Life won’t offer you success on a golden platter if you ask for it just once. You need to constantly work on it and make people aware of it. If you don’t do it, you would miss your destination and none other but yourself would have to pay for it; sometimes even after you put in your best and meet all the requirements.

Life can stop you at any point naturally and take something from you but you cannot stop life or even ask for a timeout to get ready for success. You need to make yourself relevant and strive to be significant i.e (the drop off and pick up scene).

Life can sometimes decide how far you can go. It would be entirely up to you to decide at that point what lessons you’ve learnt and what the way forward would be. Life might throw many shots at you. Always make sure that should life decide to “dump” you off at a point you didn’t plan on getting off, you would get off at least with a smile on your face.

THIS IS A RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT. EDWIN WROTE IT!

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART….EPISODE EIGHT (8).

“What is it?”, Henry asked. “I know you have your own misconceptions about all that has happened and I won’t be surprised if you are biased in your judgment”, Johnson started. “Sandra is not who she claims to be”, Johnson revealed. “So who is she?”, Henry enquired. “She told you a concocted story of how I tried to rape her before our wedding and how her father wanted to take me to court for harming her daughter”, Johnson continued.

“None of what she said is true because she made me do something and when I started questioning her motives, she framed me and had our wedding called off.

At this point, Henry appeared to be very interested because he wanted to know what was really going on. He was now convinced that he had to take steps to withdraw from the web he was trying to get himself into.

“Johnson, before you continue, I really appreciate what you are doing but the information would be of no use to me because I have made my decision to stay away from Sandra for good”, Henry started. “If she had told me early on that you guys had something going on, I wouldn’t have started seeing her in the first place”, Henry said. “I am really sorry for what has happened between the two of you but I’d rather stay out of all this than get myself entwined with such stuff, honestly”, Henry added.

“You might think that saying this would absolve you from any future turn of events”, Johnson said. “I don’t think you know it yet but you are in too deep to back out now”, Johnson revealed.

“What is that supposed to mean?”, Henry asked.

“I know Sandra has told you about the dark secrets of Kaprisky Law Firm including all the underhand and shady deals and has also told you about her father’s incestuous tendencies towards her right?”, Johnson enquired.

“How did you know all of this?”, Henry asked in shock.

“Let’s leave that question for another day”, Johnson said.

“Why are you doing all of this and telling me all these things?”, Henry asked. “What do you stand to achieve?”, Henry quizzed.

“I just want to prevent what happened to me from happening to another person, more so, someone like you who has a bright future ahead of you”, Johnson said.

“Wow!”, Henry exclaimed.

“Listen to me carefully”, Johnson started.

“Wait!”, Henry exclaimed. “Right now I am confused, I don’t know who to believe; you or Sandra”, Henry revealed. “Can I ask you something?”, Henry enquired.

“Sure…go on”, Johnson answered.

“Do you still love Sandra?”, Henry asked.

Johnson looked at Henry without saying anything.

“So I take it from your silence that you still care about her and love her”, Henry said

Johnson nodded his head.

“Do you want Sandra back?”, Henry went on to ask.

“I would give anything to be with Sandra”, Johnson finally spoke.

“Let me get something clear, the same person you are asking me to steer clear off as if my life depended on it is the same person you’d give anything to be with?”, Henry enquired. “Where is the correlation in this?”, Henry interrogated.

“You won’t understand”, Johnson cut in. “Despite what has transpired between us and the misinterpretation of facts, I still love Sandra and I know that deep within her, she still harbours some feelings for me”, Johnson explained.

“So what is stopping you guys from getting back together?”, Henry  queried. “Sandra thinks I am back here to get back at her for what she did to me”, Johnson said.

“You keep talking about what she did to you but you are refusing to tell me exactly what she made you do”, Henry said. “Can I ask another question?”, Henry asked. “Yes you can”, Johnson answered. “Did the two of you ever make love?”, Henry asked.

“Yes we did”, Johnson answered. “Several times”, Johnson added.

“So how come you were accused of trying to rape her if you had already made love to her?”, Henry asked. “That is where the complication is”, Johnson answered. “This is really serious”, Henry said. “You know what, I have to go now” Henry said. “You can take my number and call me”, Henry suggested. “But before I go, I want you to understand that Sandra and I are done”, Henry revealed. “You can have her for all I care”, Henry conceded. “The truth is that, I don’t know which of the accounts to believe and like you rightly said, I am too young to get myself involved in all of these things”, Henry said. “I wish you luck in life and goodbye”, Henry finally said and exited the main gates of Kaprisky Law Firm…

That night, Henry lay in his bed and thought about the countless romantic chats he had had with Sandra nights before. He was missing her but he had to fight off the urge of getting involved with her in any way. He was in love with Sandra but he didn’t want to get hurt. He thought about Julius and his advances, he was fighting wars on many unusual fronts. He wanted to stand up to Johnson and call his bluff so he could fight for Sandra’s love. He was madly in love with her but he could not fathom why Johnson spoke with so much authority and he felt the sense of suspense around whatever that transpired between himself and Sandra prior to his meeting her.

“Edwin and Kennedy would know what to do in times like this”, Henry said to himself in the middle of the night. He picked up his phone to call one of his friends only to find out that he had missed several calls from Sandra and another strange number. He refused returning any of the missed calls. He called Kennedy’s number.

“Hello”, Henry said as Kennedy answered the call.

“Finally, you have remembered that I exist”, Kennedy complained. “I wonder why you always say that”, Henry rebutted. “You can also call me when the need arises but you expect me to be always doing the calling as if I am your girlfriend of some sort”, Henry continued. “Anyway, that is not why I called”, Henry said.

“You are in some form of trouble with your girlfriend I guess”, Kennedy said sarcastically.

“This in more than trouble, Ken”, Henry said. “This is the most messed up case I have ever heard in my few years on this earth”, Henry started. “What is the matter this time”, Kennedy asked inquisitively.

Henry narrated Johnson’s part and involvement in the story to Kennedy.

“This is unbelievably horrifying”, Kennedy said after Henry finished his narration. “I knew that this girl was up to something fishy”, Kennedy confirmed. “Henry, please stay away from her for your own good and the welfare of your entire family”, Kennedy advised. “You are like my brother and I don’t like the way this is going one bit”, Kennedy said. “You know that as for Edwin, he would not ascribe to all this bullshit so it would be best if you don’t inform him about this”, Kennedy advised. “You can tell him about it when all of this blows over and you get this girl and all her troubles out of your life”, Kennedy added.

“I would take your advice”, Henry said.

“You better do because should you make any false move, you’d face the punishment and backlash alone, trust me!”, Kennedy warned.

“Thanks, Ken”, Henry said. “I need to get some sleep now”, Henry added. “Goodbye, Kennedy”…

Ben was sitting in his gigantic living room; the lights were off. He was drinking from a glass that contained some shots of whiskey. He heard some footsteps and quickly turned on the table lamp beside him.

“You startled me!”, Sandra said. “Why are you still not in bed?”, Ben asked. “I can’t sleep”, Sandra responded. “Stop lying to me”, Ben started.

“Dad, do you love me?”, Sandra asked. “What is that supposed to mean?”, Ben asked. “Are you saying this because of Johnson?”, Ben asked. “Exactly!”, Sandra exclaimed. “You accepted him back because you want to have your way”, Sandra accused her dad. “You know full well what his presence can do to me”, Sandra said. “If anyone gets to hear what I did, you know it is going to end me in jail and I know you would not want that to happen so why did you accept him back at the firm when you know how much of a threat he is to me and all of us”, Sandra complained.

“I am your father and I know what’s best for you but if you push me to the wall, I would destroy you without even thinking about it”, Ben said. “So you are doing all of this because of Henry?”, Sandra inquired.

“Yes!”, Ben exclaimed.

“What has he done to you?”, Sandra asked. “I just don’t like him and I don’t want you to have anything to do with him!”, Ben screamed. “You belong to me and only me!”, Ben added. “Is that why you influenced the pastor to say that we could not get married?”, Sandra enquired. “Ha-Ha”, Ben laughed. “Money gets a lot of things done nowadays”, Ben responded. “And is it for the same reason you accepted Johnson back just to blackmail me into doing your bidding by forcing me with threats so I can stay away from Henry?”, Sandra asked. “Yes!”, Ben exclaimed.

“What kind of man are you?”, Sandra asked. “The kind that would do anything to ensure the safety of his only daughter”, Ben responded. “I am beginning to hate you, dad!”, Sandra said and walked out of the living room in tears…

For a whole week, Henry did whatever possible to avoid an encounter with Sandra or Johnson. He gave Sandra the excuse that he was engrossed with work and could not talk much. During that week, he came an hour earlier for his lunch and ate it in his cubicle. Anytime Johnson wanted to talk, he gave him the excuse that he had gotten over Sandra and did not want to be reminded of anything that would arouse his feelings for her anymore. Sandra always tried whatever means to get to speak to Henry. “Henry, I really appreciate what you are doing”, Johnson said in one such encounter. “You don’t have to thank me”, Henry said. “You have what you want and I have to live with that”, Henry added. “I still don’t have Sandra back yet”, Johnson said. “It doesn’t really matter, now that I am out of the way, you can have her”, Henry said and asked to be excused to avoid talking too much.

“Henry, why are you acting this way?”, Sandra asked Henry when it had become obvious that he was avoiding her. “The story might have been different if you were able to muster the courage to tell me about Johnson and the fact that you were about getting married to him”, Henry revealed. “Is that why you are acting up?”, Sandra enquired. “Is that why you are refusing to answer any of my messages or return any of my calls?”, Sandra asked. “Sandra, I am trying to stay away from trouble and it is quite obvious that you and Johnson have some unfinished business which is actually no business of mine”, Henry explained.

“What did Johnson tell you about me?”, Sandra asked Henry. “I don’t know what he holds against you but I would rather you speak to him yourself”, Henry answered. “Come on Henry”, Sandra pleaded. “Please tell me what he told you about me”, Sandra reiterated. “He just said you did something that he took the fall for”, Henry, said. “Don’t mind that liar”, Sandra said. “He is a schemer just like my dad”, Sandra revealed. “I think this conversation has run its course”, Henry said and parted ways with Sandra…

That weekend, Henry was at home in his room when there was a knock on his door. It was his mother. She had come to inform him that there was someone at the gate who wanted to see him. Henry rushed outside bare-chested thinking it was Edwin or Kennedy. He got the shock of his life when he arrived in the hall and saw Sandra sitting in the sofa.

“What are you doing here?”, Henry asked in shock. “And how did you find my house?”, he enquired. “Is that how you welcome your visitors?”, Henry’s mother queried as she was getting acquainted with Sandra. “I came to see you”, Sandra said politely. “I hear she is the daughter of the owner of the firm you are working at”, Henry’s mother said.

“It is national service, mama”, Henry corrected his mother. “Why don’t I leave you two alone”, Henry’s mother said. “I hope you would stay for lunch”, Henry’s mother asked Sandra.

“Maybe”, Sandra answered.

Henry’s mother smiled and rushed to the kitchen to continue with the cooking. In a matter of minutes, she was screaming out Henry’s name. Henry rushed to the kitchen to find out what the noise was all about.

“This is an opportunity for you to be made a permanent worker at the law firm after your national service”, Henry’s mother started. “From the way I see things, the lady likes you, I am a woman and I can tell if a woman is in love”, Henry’s mother continued. “Please be nice to her and always bear in mind that one good turn deserves another”, Henry’s mother added.

“Mama, I don’t want to wade in this kind of conversation with you for now”, Henry said. “When she leaves, we would talk about it”, Henry said and left the kitchen to join Sandra in the living room.

“Let’s go to your room”, Sandra suggested. “I have never taken any girl to my room before”, Henry replied. “There is always a first time”, Sandra rebutted. Sandra managed to convince Henry and he led the way to his room with Sandra following close behind.

She made herself comfortable on his bed and took off her shoes and stretched out her legs fully on Henry’s bed. It was the first time Henry was seeing Sandra’s legs; fully bare, long, slender and spotless. He sat in the only chair in the room and stole glances at her.

“What are you doing here?”, Henry asked. “Like I said, I came to see you so we could talk things over”, Sandra said. “There is nothing to talk about”, Henry fired back. “Of course there is”, Sandra rebutted. “Henry, can’t you see that I love you so much and that I am willing to do anything to see us together?”, Sandra asked. “That kind of talk doesn’t move me anymore”, Henry said. Sandra approached Henry and knelt down in front of him. “Henry, please don’t do this to me”, Sandra pleaded. “Make love to me if that would make you see how serious I am”, Sandra pleaded.

“What?”, Henry exclaimed.

“I mean it, Henry”, Sandra reiterated. “Make love to me”.

“My mum is here”, Henry said.

“Don’t worry, I won’t scream”, Sandra assured and started touching Henry’s nipples. In a matter of seconds, Henry could not resist Sandra’s touches. He headed straight for Sandra’s breasts and grabbed them. “I feel terribly aroused”, Sandra moaned. “I am starting to feel dampness in between my thighs”, Sandra added.

“I feel so horny”. Henry huffed…

WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT? WILL HENRY BECOME ANOTHER VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE? WHAT HAS SANDRA DONE? WHY IS SHE KEEPING SECRETS? YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE. FOLLOW THE STORY FOR MORE TWISTS AND TURNS. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND THIS IS A RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS PRODUCTION.

FOLLOW THE EPISODES HERE:

EPISODE SEVEN:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-seven-7.html

EPISODE SIX:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-six.html

EPISODE FIVE:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-five.html

EPISODE FOUR:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-four.html

EPISODE THREE:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-three.html

EPISODE TWO:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-two.html

EPISODE ONE:  http://randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-scent-of-your-heartepisode-one-1.html

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE SEVEN (7).

Henry looked at Sandra in bewilderment as she introduced Johnson as her ex-fiance. He was left in shock. He could not believe that Ben would be so wicked to want to marry his daughter off at such a young age. “Hi, I am Henry”, Henry said as he extended a warm handshake to Johnson but he was met with rivalry; as was to be expected.

“Nice to meet you”, Johnson left Henry’s hand hanging in mid-air without responding to his gesture. Sandra, feeling somewhat embarrassed held Henry’s hand and dragged him towards the elevator leaving Johnson standing alone in the lobby as the two of them walked off.

“Your ex-fiance?”. “Like seriously?”. Henry asked as the elevator dinged signalling them to enter. “It’s a long story; a story I don’t want to recount because of the painful memories it brings up”, Sandra said.

“Are you kidding me, Sandra”, Henry rebutted. “You thought an ex-fiance was not an issue worth discussing because it brought back bad memories?”. “That is quite unfair; very unfair to me, Sandra”, Henry lamented. “I expected you to tell me what I was getting myself into”, Henry started. “I put all my cards on the table and I expected you to do same but not telling me that you were about getting married to someone and making me find out myself and in such a cold manner is so not cool”, Henry said.

“Henry, that part of my life is a part I am trying so hard to leave right where it belongs; in the past and so I didn’t think it was worth bringing up”, Sandra defended herself. “Moreover, I didn’t want to complicate matters for us because we had things going on perfectly”, Sandra added as she warmed her way up to Henry and placed a kiss on his lips.

“That is beside the point, Sandra”, Henry insisted.

“How did you expect me to tell you this?”, Sandra enquired. “You wanted me to walk up to you and say, ‘Oh Henry, I was about to get married to someone which turned out not to work out?”, Sandra enquired

“That would have been a good start”, Henry cut in.

“I was scared and I didn’t want you to see this differently”, Sandra said. “Well, congratulations, you’ve succeeded in tricking me”, Henry said

“Henry please don’t do this”, Sandra pleaded.

“What else are you keeping from me aside this bombshell of an ex- fiance?”, Henry asked.

“Nothing!” Sandra screamed.

“I don’t believe it; I am being very honest”, Henry said

“Henry, what is that supposed to mean?”, Sandra started. “Are you going to let this news tear us apart?” Sandra asked.

“Tear us apart?”, Henry asked sarcastically. “We’ve already been torn apart by the things that have happened ever since I decided to go out with you”, Henry said. “All the forces of good and evil are against this relationship”, Henry said. “Even men of God are against this union”, Henry continued. “I really think the time has come for us to end all of this once and for all and move on separately with our lives”, Henry said.

“Are you in any way insinuating that all that has happened and all that is happening now has something to do with me?”, Sandra asked

“Obviously!”, Henry answered. “We don’t need a soothsayer to tell us what is very obvious”, Henry added

“Wow!”, Sandra exclaimed. “I can’t believe that you have come to such a conclusion without hearing me out first”, Sandra said.

“What is there to hear out after this?”, Henry asked. “Is it the fact that you forgot to tell me that you were almost married?”, Henry asked. “Or the fact that your dad thinks we are the worst match or the fact that God spoke through your pastor warning us of getting together?”, Henry asked. “All these are clear indications that we cannot be together, can’t you see it?”, Henry quizzed.

“I can’t believe you are also thinking like them”, Sandra said. “I should have seen this coming”, Sandra added

“Don’t deal me these cards, Sandra!”, Henry cut in. “You knew what you were getting me into but you chose to keep me in the dark by not telling me all I needed to know”, Henry said

“I have to say that I am rather disappointed that you have fallen for these lies and schemes obviously being orchestrated by my father and his stooges with the hopes of tearing us apart”, Sandra said

“Oh, so it’s a lie that Johnson is your ex-fiance?”, Henry quizzed.

“Why are you so quick to judge me?”, Sandra sobbed. “Why are you allowing all of these things to get to you?”, Sandra said.

“Sandra, I think we should stop seeing each other for our own good”, Henry said as the elevator dinged as it got to his floor.

“Don’t do this to me, Henry, I love you”, Sandra said as she held Henry from stepping out of the elevator.

“I think it is the best thing to do in light of all these circumstances”, Henry said. “Love is not enough to sustain this relationship”, Henry added

“No, Henry, we cannot be separated; I won’t allow it to happen!”, Sandra said.

They both looked intently at each other.

“Henry, forgive me for not telling you about Johnson”, Sandra said softly looking deeply into his eyes. “But please don’t let this be the reason we are going to get separated over.  “I have my own reasons”, Sandra continued.

“Which are?”, Henry asked.

“Johnson tried to rape me before our wedding”, Sandra revealed.

“What?”, Henry exclaimed. “Isn’t that rather absurd?”, Henry asked. “But why would he want to do that if you were going to be his wife sooner than later?”, Henry asked further

“One of many of my dad’s schemes”, Sandra replied. He was overprotective as always and didn’t even give us a chance to be on our own”, Sandra started. “He always had people watching us and was jealous of the fact that I was finally warming up to Johnson”, Sandra explained. “As this went on, it infuriated Johnson so much so that when he finally got the two of us to be alone, he tried to have sex with me to get back at my dad for being overprotective”, Sandra narrated. “We struggled and I pleaded with him to take it easy because we were going to get married soon and he could have me to himself but he just wouldn’t listen”, Sandra explained.

“I got injured during the struggle and to my surprise, my father showed up”, Sandra said. “To cut the long story short, I tried to defend Johnson and tried to convince my dad that what he saw was a misinterpretation of Johnson’s feelings towards me but my dad would have none of that”, Sandra said. “So he quickly called off the wedding and filed a lawsuit against Johnson for trying to rape me”, Sandra said.

“That is why I didn’t get married to Johnson”, Sandra added. “I have to go now, and you also have to get going before you lose your job my love”, let’s chat during lunch time”, Sandra said and pushed Henry out of the elevator…

A few hours later, Henry and Sandra were seated together at the plush cafeteria of Kaprisky Law Firm having lunch.

“I am sorry for judging you earlier today”, Henry said. “I didn’t know you had to go through such an ordeal”, Henry said.

“Henry, there is something inside so strong that keeps telling me that both of us can be together regardless of the opposition that comes our way”, Sandra said.

“Sometimes, I believe that all these things are meant to happen to make our bond stronger but on the other hand too, I believe we cannot be anything more than friends because of the opposition we face; first it was your dad, then your pastor and now Johnson, your ex-fiance”, Henry recounted.

As they spoke, Johnson entered the cafeteria and headed straight for their table.

“Hello Sandra”, Johnson said.

“I was in your office and I was told you were having lunch so I was hoping we could use this time to talk”, Johnson added.

“And who said I wanted to talk to you?”, Sandra asked.

Henry got up from his seat and started his way towards the exit.

“Henry, where are you going?”, Sandra asked. “We haven’t finished talking”, Sandra added.

“I have to head back to my office; I have some work I need to finish”, Henry said. “Moreover, you guys have some catching up to do”, Henry added.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Come on Sandra”, Henry said. “You haven’t seen Johnson in a while and it would be good for you two to get along”, Henry said. “Okay, call me when you close, I want to see you and talk to you about something”, Sandra said, sensing tension between the two men. “Sure, I will”, Henry added and walked away.

“What do you want from me Johnson?”, Sandra queried

“I hope you didn’t sell him the story about me wanting to rape you before our wedding and that your dad wanted to have me imprisoned”, Johnson said as he sat down.

“Isn’t that what you tried to do to me after I refused to give into your sexual desires?”, Sandra accused Johnson.. “Why have you come back here, Johnson?”, Sandra queried. “I thought we agreed that you were not going to show your face here anymore”, Sandra added.

“Yes, I agreed not to come here anymore but I just couldn’t help it anymore”, Johnson started. “I am tired of living with the fact that I am the beast when in actual sense, you who portray yourself as the victim; the weaker one is worse than the devil”, Johnson said.

“How dare you speak of me in such a manner?”, Sandra fumed.

“Isn’t that exactly what you are?”, Johnson said.

“I won’t sit here and have you spew garbage against me for no reason, Johnson”, Sandra said and got up to leave. “You will definitely be exposed come what may, and that is a promise”, Johnson called after her

“And who is going to see to that?”, Sandra queried. “You?…Very funny”, Sandra added. “You are going to live with the ‘rapist’ tag forever. “I can assure you that it won’t be long before everyone knows who you truly are Sandra”, Johnson said and drew closer to Sandra and held her by the arm.

“Let go of me!” Sandra exclaimed. “In case you have forgotten so soon, let me remind you of who I am”, Sandra started. “My name is Sandra and I will always have my way”, Sandra said. “Let me also assure you that before you even think of selling me out, you’d be out of here and this time, I am going to ensure that you disappear for good”, Sandra said. “I don’t even have to worry my head over you because no one is going to believe you because when it goes down to the wire, it’s going to be your word against mine and I need not tell you how it is going to turn out”, Sandra added and gave out a cold laughter

“You don’t know what is coming, Sandra”, Johnson said.

“Ha-ha”, Sandra laughed.

“I do know what is coming Johnson; I always do”, Sandra added.

“Despite all that has happened between us, I still love you Sandra”, Johnson said as he stood in front of Sandra. “I thought you said you could never love a snake like me after all I put you through”, Sandra rebutted. “What you made me do was strange but just so you know, I did it out of love and I did it because I wanted to save you from the implications of your action”, Johnson added. “Stop brushing it in my face”, Sandra rebutted.

“You should be worshipping me by now because I saved you from disgrace and jail”, Johnson said. “Yeah right”, Sandra rebutted. “This secret must remain with us and die with us”, Sandra said.

“Then you are going to have to do exactly what I tell you to do”, Johnson said. “Is that a threat or something?”, Sandra asked. “You can call it whatever you want”, Johnson responded and left Sandra standing alone in the cafeteria…

Sandra rushed to her father’s office after leaving the cafeteria to find out why he had agreed to take Johnson back after her ordeal with him. “Why did you accept to take Johnson back here?”, Sandra queried. “Ha-ha”, Ben laughed. “Did you expect me to consult you before recruiting staff members?”, Ben queried. “You and I know that Johnson is no ordinary staff member”, Sandra said. “His presence here makes me feel very uncomfortable and reminds me of the torture I had to go through because of him”, Sandra said. “Are you in any way asking me to fire him because you feel uncomfortable?”, Ben asked

“Maybe”, Sandra answered.

“Sandy, both of us know that Johnson is one of the bright minds we have here at Kaprisky Law firm. “Well, I beg to differ”, Sandra rebutted. “I think you should not mix work with pleasure and you both would get along just fine”, Ben insisted. “Sorry but I cannot give in to your demands of cutting Johnson off because we need him here”, Ben said.

“Fine!”, Sandra said and walked out of the office.

At 5:00 P.M that day, Johnson went in search of Henry and found him at the  entrance of the law firm.

“Henry…Henry…Henry!”, Johnson called out as he drew closer to Henry. “Hi”, Henry said as Johnson approached him. “Sorry for ignoring you earlier today, I was being a complete jerk because I was jealous”, Johnson started. “Don’t worry, I would have done the same thing if I were in your shoes”, Henry said. “Do you want to say something?”, Henry queried.

“Yeah”, Johnson answered.

“What is it?”, Henry enquired.

“I need to tell you something about Sandra; something only known to Sandra and myself and it is going to change your perception of Sandra going forward…

WHAT HAS SANDRA DONE? WHAT DID SHE MAKE JOHNSON DO? WHY WOULD JOHNSON SACRIFICE THE TRUTH OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?…. FIND OUT THIS AND MORE IN THE NEXT EPISODE OF “THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART” . MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND THIS IS RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS RELOADED!

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE SIX

Henry got out of Ben’s car even more confused than before. He walked across the face of the currently stationary car and met Sandra standing at the other side of the car. She was all smiles.

“Things are beginning to look up”, Sandra said, still beaming with smiles.

Henry looked at her and feigned a smile.

“What is that supposed to mean?”, Sandra asked after deciphering the look on Henry’s face.

“What is what supposed to mean?”, Henry asked feigning ignorance.

“The smile”, Sandra started. “It didn’t look genuine at all”, Sandra added.

“Really?”, Henry asked. “That’s how I smile all the time”, Henry said.

“That is a lie”, Sandra said. “Did my father threaten you in any way?”, Sandra asked, drawing closer to Henry.

“Honk-Honk-Honk”, Ben’s car horn sounded, signaling for the two of them to break it up as the driver revved the car’s engine.

“Get in the car!”, Ben ordered Sandra as he rolled down the car’s tinted glass window.

“Let’s talk during lunch time”, Sandra said and quietly got on board the car.

Henry stood there for a while as he watched Ben’s car slowly zoom past him and vanish into the clear.

“What is all this?”, Henry asked himself as he pondered over what had just happened. As he stood there, he remembered that he had to fetch the evidence of threat on his life from Julius’s office.

“Oh my God!”, Henry exclaimed as he made his way into the building and into Julius’s office. He zoomed past the reception without saying his normal “good morning” and chatting with  Audrey, the beautiful receptionist. Audrey looked on in disbelief as Henry walked past her desk and stood in front of the elevator door waiting for it to open so that he could go up.

“Henry!”, Audrey called out. “Is everything alright?”, she asked.

Henry turned and looked in her direction.

“Everything is fine, Audrey”, Henry answered. “I am just running late for an important discussion with my boss”, Henry answered.

“Okay”, Audrey replied. “I thought you were quarrelling with me because I know your first point of call when you come to work is my desk”, Audrey explained.

“Yeah, but I hope I can be pardoned just for today”, Henry said as the elevator door flew open. “I would come down for a chat during lunchtime”, Henry said and hurriedly entered the elevator before it got full.

Henry immediately head for Julius’s office when he got to the floor of his department.

He was so much in a hurry to get into Julius’s office and get his hand on the only piece of evidence that he could use as proof of the threat on his life.

Henry was shaking like a leaf as he walked towards Julius’s door. There were a handful of people on the floor so he timed his entry to synchronize with the blind spot of all who were present. He lurked around the entrance to Julius’s office till the conditions were right for him.

Once he saw that the coast was clear, he barged into the office with alacrity so as not to be spotted by anyone and banged the door behind him.

“What is the meaning of this nonsense?”, Julius yelled as he quickly retracted his hand from the front zip compartment of the trouser of one of the male workers at the firm.

Henry froze at the sight.

“What are you doing here?”, Julius barked.

“I…I…I…I…”, Henry stammered as he was taken by surprise both by Julius’s miraculous presence and current posture. The young and handsome worker jumped out of his seat and struggled to remain calm as if nothing was happening but his efforts were a little too late. “I…I…I didn’t know you were in here”, Henry said.

“That is beside the point”, Julius barked angrily. “Is this your office?”, Julius asked rhetorically. “This is not your office therefore you cannot come barging in here without permission”, Julius continued as he fumed. He was almost going into a fit of rage.

Henry pressed himself against the door not knowing whether to go out of the office or stay and take the bashing. He was literally rooted to the spot where he stood and searched the desk for the piece of paper. The other worker looked on timidly as Julius threw verbal punches at Henry.

“I didn’t know you were in here”, Henry spoke. “I came in to check if the place was clean enough”, Henry said.

“Nonsense!”, Julius fired back. “Is that your job?”, Julius asked.

Henry stood there in silence.

“Answer me!”, Julius screamed.

“No, please sir”, Henry answered. “But…”, Henry wanted to explain further when Julius shut him up.

“I don’t want to hear another word from you”, Julius said and turned to speak to the young man. “Fred, I am sorry for the inconvenience but I guess we have to finish this meeting a bit later in the day”, Julius said, signalling for the young man to take his leave.

As the young man made the effort to leave, he stared at Henry and whispered “Not a word to anyone or else you are dead”, before shoving Henry away from the entrance and walking out of the office, shutting the door behind him.

Immediately the young man left, Julius composed himself.

“Lock the door and take a seat”, Julius said calmly and pointed to the seat in front of him.

Henry could not believe what he just heard. He could not believe that Julius could switch from throwing tantrums to becoming so gentle within seconds. He walked slowly to the designated seat after he had locked the door and sat down, crossing his right leg firmly over his left leg for security reasons.

Julius took his seat and placed both hands on the desk to make them visible to Henry.

“I know why you came running in here”, Julius started. “I thought you would be smart enough to keep the piece of paper as evidence so I also came in very early today to cover my tracks”, I was surprised to find the note still here”, Julius continued. He pulled out his drawer, took out a piece of paper and immediately put it into the little paper shredder that was fixed on his desk. “Your evidence is gone”, Julius said, with a smile on his face.

“I can tell from the look on your face that you met Ben”, Julius started. “And I don’t need a soothsayer to tell me that your encounter with him was not pleasant”, Julius added.

Henry sat across Julius with his head bowed down and looking very timid but alert to any suspicious move.

“I can protect you, Henry”, Julius said wooingly. “I can make all of your fears and frustrations disappear and I can speak to Ben on your behalf to grant you genuine blessings to be with his daughter, Sandra”, Julius counted. “All you need to do is to allow me have you and I promise you, all your troubles would vanish”, Julius said. “I am your friend and as it stands  now, you need me more than I do you, so giving in to my request would be the most humane thing to do”, Julius courted. “It is actually your only option if you asked me”, Julius continued. “What do you say?”, Julius asked

“Sir”, Henry started. “I never thought that it would come to this”, he said. “I am really desperate right now and I really need a solution to all of this mess but even in my desperation, I still cannot come to terms with what you are asking of me”, Henry explained. “If I give in to your demands, it would mean I’d have to be with you and be with Sandra at the same time…”. “Exactly my point!”, Julius exclaimed. “I am not prepared for that kind of commitment”, Henry said, shivering like a leaf.

“I am sorry sir, but I can’t see myself playing such a role”, Henry said.

“Then I don’t think you are also prepared to have your peace of mind because I know Ben and I know he can make your life a living hell if you want him to”, Julius stated.

Henry’s heart sank.

“Sir, please understand me”, Henry pleaded.

“This is what I am going to do”,  Julius started. “Like I did the last time we had such an encounter, I am going to allow you to have a couple of days to think this over”, Julius suggested. “I am the only friend you have left and I can promise you one thing, if you give in to my demands, I would be really gentle with you”, Julius added. “Have a nice day, young man”, Julius said and asked Henry to leave the office. Henry had a disgusted and disappointed look on his face as he walked out of the office

At lunchtime, Henry met up with Audrey. Immediately he was done, he walked back to the office. As he stood in front of the elevator, waiting for it to open, Sandra came running towards him.

“Guess what?”, Sandra started, looking very giddy.

“I am not in the guessing mood right, Sandra”, Henry replied looking and sounding very indifferent. “I spoke to my dad and he wants the three of us to have dinner together this weekend”,

“You did what?”, Henry asked out of shock.

“Relax, young man”, Sandra said jokingly. “He won’t bite”, Sandra teased. “He just wants to get to know you”, Sandra exclaimed. “What do you say?”, Sandra asked.

“It sounds too sudden and I think we should take things slow”, Henry said, thinking about the threats he had to recon with.

“It’s fine”, Sandra reassured. “We are going to have a thrill time together, trust me”, Sandra said as the doors of the elevator parted. “Call me”, Henry signalled and walked into the elevator leaving Sandra standing alone in front of it.

After a lot of persuasion, Sandra finally got to convince Henry to come over for dinner at her house that weekend. Henry dressed up smartly and arrived at Sandra’s house at exactly 6:05 PM.

“You are looking dashing!”, Sandra remarked as she ushered Henry into her house.

“Honestly, my nerves are killing me right now”, Henry confessed.

“Ha-ha”, Sandra laughed. “Is that why you are coming in here all dressed up as if you are going for an interview for the world’s most important job?”, Sandra teased.

“You can have your laugh”, Henry said. “After all, I am in your lion’s den”, he added.

“Henry, like I told you over the phone, I have spoken to my dad at length and I know this is very genuine, trust me”, Sandra reaffirmed.

“If you say so”, Henry said and they both walked into the main house.

Dinner was brief. They all ate their food in silence. Henry ate his food in silence and with fear. After dinner the three of them moved into the living room to chat.

Ben kept a close eye on Henry’s moves and made sure he kept eye contact with him to make him aware that he was not in any way doing Henry any favours. Henry sat across Ben in a couch and Sandra sat close to her father but not on the same couch.

“Are you a christian, Henry?”, Ben asked.

“This is the weirdest question ever for such an occasion”, Henry thought to himself.

“Yes, please Sir, I am”, Henry started. “My parents are devout Christians and they made sure to bring us up in a god-fearing manner, sir”, Henry answered as if his life depended on it.

“Call me Ben”, Sandra’s father requested.

“Okay sir…sorry…Ben”, Henry fumbled.

“This might sound a little bit forward and a bit rush but I want you to accompany us to church tomorrow”, Ben suggested.

“Wow, this sounds very rush indeed”, Henry said. “I have a program at church tomorrow and…”, Henry said and looked at Sandra.

Sandra returned Henry’s stare with a stern look and mimed the words, “Don’t mess this opportunity up”

“But on second thoughts, I think I’ll pass on the program and go with you to church, sir…sorry…Ben”, Henry said and looked at Sandra again who was now beaming with smiles from temple to temple.

“Great!”, Ben exclaimed. “Then I guess you should take your leave now so you go home to prepare for tomorrow”, Ben suggested.

Sandra saw Henry off and as they walked down the long, decorated aisle leading to the main gate, he engaged her in one last conversation as Ben stood on the corridor watching their every move. “What is the name of your church?”, Ben asked. “I don’t know why my father made us stop attending our church to attend this new church”, Sandra said to evade the question. “It is one of these newly created one-man, prophetic, charismatic churches with those funny string of names”, Sandra continued. “Ha-ha”, Henry laughed. “It can’t be that bad”, Henry said. “What is the name of the church, Sandra?”, Henry insisted. “Promise me that you won’t laugh if I tell you the name”, Sandra pleaded. “Come on Sandra, you should know me by now, moreover, I have no right to question your religious preference”, Henry affirmed.

“Okay”, Sandra said.

“Living Streams Of Flaming Grace International Church”, Sandra revealed.

“I beg your pardon?”, Henry asked as he burst out in uncontrollable laughter.

“Living Streams Of Flaming Grace International Church”, Sandra repeated.

Henry could not control his laughter and struggled to hold his breath to cease the laughter. “That is a mouthful!”, Henry exclaimed. “You promised not to laugh”, Sandra complained.

“I just couldn’t help it”, Henry pleaded.

“Just so you know, my father is the financial secretary and head of protocol at the church and he is held in high regard”, Sandra revealed.

“Why am I not surprised?”, Henry started. “Your holy prophet is going to milk him dry with financing of church projects”, Henry teased. “Get out of my house and don’t be late tomorrow”, Sandra teased and playfully shoved Henry out of the house.

The next day, Henry reported early at Sandra’s house even though he knew they were to attend the second service which was not bound to start until 10:00AM. At half past 9AM, they all left for the church.

Living Streams Of Flaming Grace International Church was a small church with a seating capacity of not more than 200 people. The church was expensively decorated as imagined by Henry and had many pretty young girls. More than half of the congregation was made up of women of all ages. The atmosphere was charged with songs and different dance styles as Henry watched on. There was a brief sermon and then announcements were made. After the pretty announcer finished her piece, the man who gave the sermon took over the microphone and started speaking, “Today’s service is a special anointing service and I would like to invite our financial secretary and his family to the altar for special blessings”.

Ben and Sandra started their way towards the altar but Sandra signalled Henry to follow them up the altar. Immediately all three of them were standing in front of the congregation, the prophet went into a trance.

“The spirit is speaking to me”, the prophet started. He walked towards Henry and spoke. “Young man, you are in love with this young lady, am I right?”, the prophet said, pointing to Sandra.

Henry nodded. Ben’s eyes were firmly shut.

The whole church went into an uproar after Henry’s confirmation.

The prophet continued. “The spirit is telling me something”, the man of God said. “The spirit says that you two will get married but not for long because you are going to divorce this young sister over here and marry another lady”, the prophet revealed. “But we as a church will stand in the gap to break and loose the hold of divorce in your lives in the name of Jesus!”, the prophet screamed and began to pray and the entire church followed his lead. After about five minutes of loud prayers, the prophet signalled for the congregation to be quiet, said a separate prayer for each of them and sent the three of them back to their seats. As they sat, Ben leaned in and whispered to both Henry and Sandra, “The voice of the prophet is the voice of God and God cannot lie, so I would leave you two to ponder over what you want to start”. “God reveals to redeem, Dad”, Sandra whispered back to her father. “We would find a way around this”, she added.  Sandra looked at Ben but Ben shook his head in disbelief and disappointment. “I think we should heed the caution from your prophet because I once received a similar warning from another prophet when I was younger”, Henry said.

Sandra’s eyes began to fill up with tears.

After the service, Sandra rushed back to the car leaving Ben and Henry behind. She did not say a word on the drive back to the house. Henry requested to be dropped off at a bus terminal to continue his journey home. Ben gladly granted his request.

“Baby”, Ben started as he drove both of them home. “I know you are disappointed but it is better to be safe than to be sorry”, Ben added.

“Why do I have the feeling that this is just one of your manipulative strategies to rid me of my own happiness?”, Sandra said.

“Are you calling the prophet a liar?”, Ben asked.

“I know what you are capable of doing and I know that you can buy the conscience of any man”, Sandra said

“Including the conscience of a man of God?”, Ben asked.

“Let’s just drop this topic for now”, Ben suggested.

“Before we do, just know that I love Henry and we will fight this together”, Sandra said.

“Ha-ha”, Ben laughed.

“Didn’t you see the look on that young man’s face as the prophet spoke?”

“I don’t want to be a part of these schemes anymore!”, Sandra exclaimed and disembarked the car to open the gate to their mansion.

For the rest of that day, Sandra  failed in all her attempts to speak to Henry because he refused to answer any of her calls or reply any of her messages.

The next day, Sandra pressured her father into waking up early so they could go to the firm. Ben obeyed Sandra’s command and by 7:00 AM, they were already leaving the house. As the driver of the car  moved into the car park, Sandra saw a man standing at the entrance of the  building

“What is he doing here?”, she turned and asked her father.

Ben had already realized Sandra wanted to say something.

“He called the office last week and requested that we give him a space to do a project and I agreed”, Ben answered.

“You hate him with passion so why did you agree to help him now?”, Sandra asked.

“Let’s just say I changed my mind about him and I am prepared to give him another chance”, Ben said.

“Well that is your choice but I hope our paths don’t cross”, Sandra said and opened the door to alight. “Just be nice”, Ben pleaded.

Sandra alighted and made her way into the office.

She walked past the man without saying a word.

“That was to be expected”, the  man said and followed Sandra into the building.

Henry was having his usual chat with Audrey when Sandra walked in with the man following closely behind.

Sandra stopped at the receptionist’s desk and smiled at Henry. “Henry, we need to talk”, Sandra said. Henry said his final words to Audrey and walked with Sandra towards the elevator with the man still following closely. As they waited for the elevator doors to open, the young man caught up with them. “I am trying to be nice so at least you should hear me out”, the young man said.

Henry was startled.

“Can you just stop following me?”, Sandra pleaded as she spoke to the man. “I can’t really do this right now”, Sandra added.

“But just so we are clear, I would like you to meet this young man”, Sandra said as she pointed to Henry. “Johnson, meet Henry, my boyfriend”, Sandra said before she continued, “Henry, this is Johnson, my ex-fiance…

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE TOLD! THIS IS SURELY A RECIPE FOR DISASTER. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND I AM BACK!

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE FIVE.

Henry’s was startled and confused on seeing the man. The man stood in the doorway to  signal to Henry that he knew exactly what he was doing and sent the indication that he was not lost but was standing there for a reason.

“What do you want?”, a scared Henry asked as he walked backwards and found himself on the other side of Julius’s desk. “You are the one I directed to the conference room yesterday, aren’t you?”.

The man was silent as Henry asked him questions but only looked intently at Henry.

“What do you want?”, Henry screamed to signal to anyone who was in the building that he might be in trouble and needed assistance.

“You remember me from yesterday, don’t you?”, the man finally spoke.

Henry nodded. “The conference room guy”, Henry said.

“What are you doing here?”, Henry asked.

“Yesterday’s meeting was not our first encounter”, the man revealed. “I have been watching and following you these past two days”, the man revealed. “I followed you back home two days ago”, the man said. “I know where you live, I know your family members and I know you would not want any harm to befall them”, the man continued. “I stayed here all day because of you so you should know how serious what you are doing is affecting the one who hired me”, the man said.

“Someone hired you to follow me?”, Henry enquired.

“Don’t be stupid, Henry”, the man started. “I believe you know better than this”, the man added. “Let me explain things to you briefly”, the man said as he walked up to the desk Henry stood behind and took a seat.

“I want you to stop seeing Sandra for your own good”, the man started. “I was hired to scare you off but I guess our encounter yesterday was enough”, the man recalled.

Henry nodded timidly.

“Now tell me, how far did you think this could go?”, the man asked Henry as he placed his hands on the table revealing some scars on the back of his hand.

“How far? “, the man asked. “Just so you know, I am willing to do anything to see to it that my client is happy and I wouldn’t mind breaking a few bones to ensure that I achieve my goal”, the man added.

“There is nothing going on between Sandra and I”, Henry rebutted as he stood his ground.

“I beg to differ but that is not what my client thinks”, the man said.

“Henry, this thing is bigger and messed up than you think”, the man tried to explain. “You are like a very tiny dot in this chain and it would take very little effort to erase you and believe me, the world won’t lose sleep over your disappearance”, the man added. “You are not the first person I have been asked to come after”, the man revealed.

“Henry, I chose to be gentle with you because I realized you were scared senseless yesterday as you are today”, the man said with a smirk on his face. “I’d expect that you listened to me and do exactly as I have instructed”, he added. “Just steer clear off Sandra and we all go home happy”, the man said. “You get to keep your job and if you are dedicated to not having this encounter with me in the foreseeable future, you would do what we have agreed on right now”, the man said and got up to leave. As he got to the doorway, he turned, looked intently at Henry one more time and said. “I am not this gentle and pleasant often so should there be another encounter, you would see my unpleasant tendencies”, the man said sternly. “It’s a free world Henry, so the choice is yours”, the man added and left  the office.

Henry stood at Julius’s side of the desk with his legs quivering with fear and tension as the man finally left the room.

“I am now fully convinced that Sandra was the girl in the pastor’s vision”, Henry said as he tiptoed to the door to check if the man had truly left. He slowly pushed his head out of the doorway and looked in all directions for signs of the man. When he could not sight him anywhere, he quickly withdrew into Julius’s office, shut the door and turned the key twice.

He leaned with his back against the door.

“All of this was real after all”, Henry said to himself.  “What am I going to do now?”. “Do I have to inform my dad that my life and possibly that of my family’s could be in danger should I fail in staying away from Sandra?”, Henry thought out loud. “Should I opt out of this national service and apply next year at another institution?”, Henry said to himself. “Should I involve the police into this matter?”, Henry  soliloquized.

“I think I should seek counsel from Edwin and Kennedy”, Henry said and reached for his phone from his left breast pocket. He dialed Kennedy’s number first and waited for it to ring. As the phone rang for the first time, the was a sudden forceful crank of the door knob leading into Julius’s office. The sound frightened Henry so much that out of reflex, he dropped his phone unto the tiled floor, cracking the screen and causing it to go off due to the impact.

Henry started to back away from the door and the feeling he felt in the presence of his “assassin”, began to come back to him. There was a number of forceful cranks on the knob. When the cranking stopped, the person behind the door started banging on the door.

At this point, Henry knew his assassin had definitely returned to harm him this time. He quickly took cover behind Julius’s desk and frantically looked around the room for something to arm himself with.

Typically of the room he found himself in were stacks of books placed neatly in their shelves. In one swirl movement, he looked on Julius’s desk as the banging on the door continued and armed himself with a stapler and a small statue of  Atlas holding the globe.

He placed his weapons behind him and asked, “Who is there?”. There was no answer but the knocking continued, this time louder.

“Who is that?”, Henry reiterated as he tightened his grip on the stapler in his right hand.

The banging stopped.

There was a brief moment of silence and suddenly, there was a very gentle knock on the door.

Henry began to sweat.

“Please, who is it?”, Henry asked one more time.

“It is me Sir, the janitor”, the voice from the other side revealed. “I want to come and clean the place sir, the voice added.

As Henry recognized the voice, he heaved a sigh of relief as his confidence returned to him and he mustered courage to answer the door. Before he got to the door, he dropped his “weapons” from where he picked them, picked up his cell phone from where it had fallen and unlocked the door for the janitor to come in and go about his business.

“I thought Mr. Julius was here”, the janitor said as Henry unlocked the door.

“No he is not”, Henry said. “He asked me to do something for him early this morning and since I didn’t want to get distracted, I locked myself in here”, Henry explained. “But on your way here, did you chance upon any strange looking man?”, Henry enquired. “No please”, the janitor answered. “I see many strange faces here every day but I don’t pay attention to them because but that is not what I was hired to do”, the cleaner said sarcastically. “My job is throw the rubbish away”, he added.

“Alright”, Henry answered.

As Henry exited the office, he remembered the wording in Julius’s warning in the file and it sent shivers down his spine…

That day too, Julius, Sandra and Ben didn’t show up at the office. When the day was over, Henry left the office for the house but this time, he gave every little occurrence on the way back to his house grave attention. He flawlessly made the effort to ensure that he was not being followed by anyone. When he got home, he went straight to his room and locked himself inside…

Sandra was under a mild form of house arrest by her father. He had taken her cell phone from her so that her contact with Henry could be minimized. She lay on the bed with tears in her eyes and memories of Henry in her mind. Every thought of him made her heart miss several beats and sent sweet tingling feelings through her entire body. The feeling gave her a sense of reassurance that she was meant to be with Henry.

She was now convinced that she was madly in love with Henry.

As she lay in her bed, there was a gentle sound and the door to her room slowly flew open. Ben, appeared standing in the door way with the light from the lobby assisting in casting his shadow unto Sandra’s bed.

Ben had dark brown hair, which was thick and lustrous. His eyes were mesmerizing. His face was strong and defined, his features molded from granite. He did not look as old as he really was. He had dark eye brows, which sloped downwards in a serious expression. He usually put on a playful smile which sometimes drew a hard line across his face. He possessed strong hands which had become slightly rough from working hard jobs as a young man.

He walked into the room and shut the door. His voice was deep, with a serious tone.

“Sandra, are you still crying?”, Ben asked as he walked up to her and took a seat at the edge of the bed.

“No, I am not crying”, Sandra said in the most sorrowful tone of voice imaginable. “So why are you sounding that way?”, Ben asked.

“It’s nothing, I am fine”, Sandra responded.

“Sandra, ever since you were born, I have made it a point to protect you in the best way that I know how”, Ben started.

“Your way has been wrong all this while!”, Sandra rebutted as she sat up on her bed revealing her red, sunken eyes.

“What we are doing is wrong, daddy”, Sandra said as she wiped away tears from her eyes. “I want us to stop it”, “I want to have a normal life”, Sandra started. “I want to be free to choose my friends and not have you interfere with it”. Sandra revealed. “I want to talk to someone”, Sandra said as she started crying. “I want to be free”, Sandra added.

“Sandra”, Ben started. “The world is full of liars, cheats, gold diggers and opportunists”, Ben said. “They are just waiting in the shadows to pounce on you once they realize how vulnerable you are”, Ben revealed. “This young man you are getting yourself attached to falls within the category of people I am talking about”, Ben said. “Because he knows whose daughter you are, he wants to take advantage of you, can’t you see?”, Ben said. “I don’t want you making the mistake of entrusting your future to such a person”, Ben continued.

“How can I tell who is good for me or who is not if you don’t allow me to go out there and experience things for myself?”, Sandra questioned. “Allow me to make my own mistakes and then I would concede defeat that you have always been right”, Sandra pleaded. “Just this once dad, allow me to do this on my own without your interference”, Sandra begged as the tears flowed freely from her eyes. “Are you asking me to wait till you get hurt before I protect you?”, Ben enquired.

“Daddy, people get hurt, cheated on, lied to and betrayed once a while and they eventually get over it”, Sandra explained. “Should I get hurt along the line, I would cry but trust me, I would get over it no matter what”, Sandra preached.

“In all the years we have been together, I have never seen you this adamant and strong-willed”, Ben disclosed. “What has come over you?”, Ben queried.

“Nothing”, Sandra answered.

“But let’s just say something I have never felt before has been awakened inside of me”, Sandra said with pride written all over her face.

Ben was adamant when he spoke.

“There is no telling that no matter how many times I try to convince you, your mind has obviously been made up and my words are going to mean virtually nothing to you”, Ben opined. ”

“I have never been so sure in my life”, Sandra said. “Daddy, please give me this chance to prove to you that I can do this and that I am strong enough to face the world on my own”, Sandra added. “I just want to fall in love like every other normal young lady”, Sandra stressed. “Even if I don’t peace while I am at it, I would know that I was advised against it and I refused to listen”, Sandra revealed.

Ben looked at  Sandra with awe. “That’s a first”, Ben said. “I have never seen my little girl so happy like this in a long while”, he added. “I am convinced that you know what you are getting yourself involved in and I am prepared to let you have just one shot at this”, Ben explained. “But let me throw this caution to the wind, should I get word of any foul play, that young man would be as good as dead”, Ben added.

“None of that is going to happen”, Sandra said confidently.

Her father went further up the bed and hugged her. “I know what is best for you and I would expect that you listen to me”, Ben said.

“I can do this”, Sandra assured him.

“You know I would always be here for you when things go bad right?”, Ben said as he began to caress her.

Sandra’s first instinct was to break his hold but she didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize her being together with Henry. So without putting up a fight or showing any signs of disgust, Sandra quietly  sat on the bed as Ben caressed and fondled her breasts. He soon took off her clothes, placed her on the bed and gently parted her skinny thighs. As soon as he was on top of her, she closed her eyes and all she could imagine was how making love with Henry was going to feel like. Tears run down her cheeks as she lay there, motionless. She clinched the bed sheet firmly and whispered, “I love you Henry, I really do”…

The next day, Henry was almost running late for work. He spent the whole night on the phone with Kennedy and Edwin updating them on the happenings at work that day involving the alleged assassin. Edwin advised that Henry stay away from Sandra for good per the man’s instructions. Kennedy even wanted to have the matter reported first to Henry’s parents and then the police to ensure their safety but Edwin and Henry vehemently disagreed. “I would have none of that!”, Henry remarked. “I don’t want to get my parents involved in this thing”, Henry added. “Moreover, the people we are fighting are far more powerful and wealthy so the police would deem it a foolish case at best”, Henry explained. “Even if I really wanted to get the police involved, what sort of evidence do I have to back my claims with?”, Henry asked.

“You can use the note from Julius’s office”, Edwin suggested. “I don’t have it”, Henry said. “Where is it?”, Kennedy asked. “I left it in the file on Julius’s desk”, Henry answered. “Are you kidding me?”, Edwin asked. “You have to get that file before Julius or anyone gets it and ends up destroying it eventually.

“Okay”, Henry started. “My boss didn’t turn up at the office yesterday so I would wake up very early and go and pick it up before anyone else does”, Henry said.

It was that same morning that Henry was running late for work.

When he entered the premises of Kaprisky, it was almost half past seven in the morning. As he hurriedly made his way to the main entrance to the building, he had a shock of his life as Ben’s car pulled up right beside him.

Henry kept walking.

The driver was ordered to follow him. When the car got close to him, the left back door of the car flew open, “Henry, get in!”, Ben ordered. Henry declined the offer and slowly backed away out of fear.

“Get in!”, Ben ordered, this time very sternly.

“I can’t sir”, Henry said.

“Henry please get into the car for Christ’s sake”, a female voice spoke from the passenger seat in the front. Sandra pushed her head through the seats and signaled for Henry to get into the car. On seeing Sandra, Henry was at ease and slowly entered the car, although all of his confidence had deserted him in the process.

Immediately Henry entered the vehicle, he was orders to shut the door. “My daughter has spoken to me at length about you”, Ben started. “Even though I have my own reservations, I am going to allow the two of you to be just friends and nothing more”, Ben explained. “She seems to have a lot of faith and confidence in your friendship and I hope that you have the endurance to keep it that way”, Ben continued. “Therefore, I give you permission to be her friend but be warned, should she come complaining about your attitude, be sure to brace yourself because you will witness hell on earth”, Ben promised.

“Stop it Daddy”, Sandra screamed.

Henry sat in the back seat of the range rover like a newly-confirmed mute.

He did not say a word.

“Can you excuse us while I have a word with Henry?”, Ben asked politely looking at Sandra.

Sandra knew that she would not like what her dad would say to Henry but she had to obey him. “Every worthy venture comes with great risks”, Sandra said to herself and disembarked the sports car.

“Sir please I don’t understand all of this”, Henry started as Sandra shut the door. “If you care to know, I was threatened yesterday by some guy who was asking me to stay away from your daughter”, Henry remarked. “Today, you are telling me to do the very thing I was threatened not to do”, Henry added. “I just don’t get what is happening”.

“I am glad you received that message yesterday and I hope you would know what is best for you to do what is expected of you”, Ben said.

“So why are you asking me to go against your warning just to put my life and that of others in danger?”, Henry queried.

“My daughter seems to believe that she is in love with you and so are you”, Ben said. “She doesn’t want to listen to me, her father, who knows what’s best for her so I am letting her hear what she wants theoretically but in practice, I would never allow it to happen”, Ben added.

“Now I am confused”, Henry said. “What exactly do you want me to do?”, Henry asked.

“I want you to make her believe that all is well between you two”, Ben said. “Again, I would expect that you say nothing of what ensued yesterday with our mutual friend or details of this conversation to Sandra”, Ben warned. “I hope you can do that without any difficulty”, Ben said.

“Yes sir, Henry replied.

“You are a smart young man and I know you would figure out what’s best for all of us and not cross the line”, Ben said. “I think we are done here so get the hell out of my car”, Ben ordered…MORE SOON

CAN HENRY KEEP UP APPEARANCE? NOW THAT SANDRAIS MADLY IN LOVE WITH HIM, WOULD HE SUCCEED IN GETTING HER TO STAY AWAY FROM HIM? THE WEB OF SCHEMES IS JUST ABOUT TO BEGIN…STAY TUNED. THIS IS A MASTERPIECE FROM THE STABLES OF RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY.

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE FOUR

IT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE BUT IT IS FINALLY HERE….

THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE FOUR

“Henry, my dad is ruthless and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you”, Sandra said as she held Henry’s hand tightly in a dimly lit apartment.

“Let’s run away to a faraway place where my father or anyone cannot find us so we can be together forever, just the two of us”, Sandra suggested as she held on to Henry’s right hand even tighter. Sandra had packed a little travelling bag with some clothes and quickly grabbed it from the wardrobe. She launched herself toward Henry as she married her palm with his and they quickly made for the exit.

“Where are we going?”, a puzzled Henry asked as he was being pulled towards the door by Sandra. “We are running away like you suggested”, Sandra answered as she quickly scanned the room with her eyes to see if she had left something behind.

“I suggested?”, a totally confused Henry asked.

“But where can we go without your father finding out?”, Henry asked, now feeling reluctant to leave the room in which both of them found themselves. He pulled his hand out of Sandra’s and started retracing his steps to the opposite end of the room. “What are you doing?”, Sandra asked as she walked towards him. “We are running out of time”, Sandra revealed.

“Stay away from me!”, Henry screamed. “Just stay away from me!”, Henry reiterated.

“Henry, I thought you promised to love me and would stand or fall with me regardless of the opposition we faced”, Sandra enquired with tears in her eyes. “Please don’t cry, Sandra, you know your tears make me weak and helpless”, Henry said as he quickly moved in on Sandra to stop her tears from flowing.

“Then prove your love for me; run away with me, take me away from this torture and stay with me forever”, Sandra said, hugging Henry tightly.

“Give up everything and start all over with me”, Sandra begged.

“This is not how I wanted all of this to play out”, Henry started. “I expected us to talk to your dad, make him understand and ask for his blessings for the two of us to be together”, Henry said. “I didn’t expect that we were going to have to fight to be together, Sandra, don’t you get it?”, Henry enquired.


“Henry, both of us cannot fight my dad even if we tried”, Sandra explained as she looked into a drawer and stashed some money into her purse.

“As it stands now, we can not have everything going our way all the time and you and I know full well that every true and worthy cause faces fierce opposition”, Sandra rebutted. “This is the test of our love and we have to pass it by all means”, Sandra added.

“Run away with me, Henry!”, Sandra insisted.

“Okay”, Henry answered as if he was under  a spell.

“I am willing to lose everything for your sake and even if I have to die, I would be glad I died fighting to be with you”, Henry said in a shaky tone.

He mustered courage, walked up to Sandra and held her hand tightly. “I love you so much, Sandra”, Henry said and pulled her towards the door. Immediately the door cranked open, there was Sandra’s father standing right in front of the opening, blocking both of them from leaving the room.

“Where do you think you are going?”, Ben asked in the most angry tone of voice imaginable. “Where are you taking my daughter?”, Ben asked. “I would make sure I have you arrested for kidnapping and I would personally make sure that you rot in jail”, Ben said in a fit of rage. Ben launched himself at Sandra in a bid to grab her and yank her from Henry’s hold.

As Ben made his attack on Sandra, Henry turned to shield Sandra from any possible attack from her father but in his desperate attempt to shield her, she had surprisingly vanished into thin air.

Sandra was nowhere to be found. He looked around the room and it appeared empty. Sandra’s father, Ben started walking towards Henry. He stretched forth his hand aiming for Henry’s neck and suddenly, Henry woke up.

“My God!”, Henry exclaimed as he opened his eyes and saw himself on his bed; sweat dripping from his cold face. “It was only a dream!”, Henry exclaimed as he made the sign of the cross to console himself. He touched his face and pinched himself a couple of times to be double sure that he was not still having the nightmare. He cast his mind back on the last conversation he had had with Sandra the previous night.

“That portion was not a dream too?”, Henry asked himself as Sandra’s parting words came hitting his conscience. I recall what Sandra told me vividly.

“Oh my God, I am in trouble, please if you truly love me, save me from the fury that is about to be unleashed upon me”, Henry prayed. He felt with his hand all over his bed in search of his mobile phone in the dark room. When he finally reached for it, he turned on the phone’s screen and used the dimly lit device to illuminate the room in search of any figure hiding in the shadows waiting to attack him. “What have I done?”, Henry asked himself. “See where my desire has led me”, Henry continued. He tried to go back to sleep but even sleep had eluded him.

“I am doomed!”, Henry lamented.

“Sandra would be the reason for my failure”, Henry said.

“Sandra is the lady the pastor talked about!”, Henry said. “She was the lady the man referred to in his vision!”, Henry exclaimed.

Like magic, immediately those words came out of his mouth, his mind went back into the past; to many years before that fateful night and the conversation with Sandra…

When Henry completed Senior High School, his mother asked him to accompany her to a prayer group meeting one night. During the prayer session, the leader called Henry and told him this, “You are highly favored and it makes the devil very jealous of your bright future”, the man revealed. “You have many weaknesses”, the prayer leader said. “You have a haughty character and you are quick-tempered”, the man continued as he began to get into what seemed like a trance-like posture. He was however ably held upright by two other members of the prayer group “One more thing, if ever you are going to fail, it will be because of a woman so choose your friends and lovers wisely!”, the man exclaimed and stood at attention after which he asked the people gathered together in the meeting to pray for Henry.

After the prayer meeting, Henry’s association with girls plummeted. He kept more company with guys than ladies and even up until the time he completed university, he didn’t have a girlfriend. He found company and solace in his two faithful roommates, Edwin and Kennedy. Even way back in the university, Henry stood up most of his blind dates and hook-ups set up for him by his roommates. He had made it a point and a rule to steer clear off female friendships so as to avert the fulfillment of the prophecy.

“How come I didn’t see this coming?”, Henry soliloquized as he looked down upon his mobile phone.

It was 2:24 AM.

Henry knew it was only a matter of hours left before all hell broke loose upon him at Kaprisky Law Firm that morning.

Henry went through the  contacts on his mobile phone and called Edwin.

There was no response.

He called a second time and still there was no response.

He then did the next obvious thing; he called Kennedy. Kennedy answered the call after the phone had rang like six times.

“Did someone die?”, Kennedy asked immediately he answered the phone. Before Henry could answer, Kennedy went on again, “Or is it Edwin?”, “Is he alright?”, he asked. “If you called to ask for money, then I am sorry, but you dialed the wrong number, dude”, Kennedy said.

“I am the one who called you so shut up and let me do the talking and stop making these unnecessary insinuations”, Henry cut in.

“You can’t call me at this ungodly hour and bark at me”, Kennedy said out of anger. “My phone is my private property and I can choose to answer it or otherwise”, Kennedy added.

“Ken, my situation is getting worse with each passing moment”, Henry started. “Apparently, Sandra is involved sexually with her own father”, Henry, revealed

“Incest?”, Kennedy asked. “What?”, he exclaimed. “I am as shell-shocked as yourself”, Henry confirmed. “As it stands now, he has found out that I may be involved in a way with his daughter and he appears not to like the sound of it and he is said to going to come after me for my foolish courage”, Henry explained. “What is all this trouble?”, Kennedy asked. “Can’t you just stay away from this girl?”, Kennedy enquired “Ask again, my brother”, Henry seconded. “I don’t even know what to think or what to do”, Henry confessed.

Before he could continue, his phone beeped signaling an incoming call, he took it off his ear and checked, it was Edwin. “Hold on, Kennedy, Edwin is calling so let me join his call so we can have a conference call”, Henry told Kennedy.

“Are you having an emergency?”, Edwin asked when Henry conferenced the call. “Hahaha”, Kennedy laughed out loud. “The same thing I asked him when he called me”, Kennedy said. “What’s up?”, Edwin eagerly asked anticipating a positive response. “Henry’s issue is getting murkier”, Kennedy answered. “It appears his girlfriend’s dad is sleeping with  her and is coming after Henry out of jealousy. “This can’t be real!”, Edwin cut in abruptly. “This is the worst kind of story I have ever heard”, Edwin started.

“I think it’s about time we put an end to all of this nonsense!”, Edwin said angrily. “I cant be losing precious sleep over this madness”, Edwin burst out, to the surprise of both Henry and Kennedy. “I think your girlfriend needs a psychologist and I think you also need to stop fueling all her fantasies by avoiding her”, Edwin said. “It is because of the attention she is receiving from you that is making her cook up all these cock and bull stories”, Edwin ranted. “These stories are so bizarre that, it wont fit into any storybook or movie”, Edwin continued.

“Slow down, Edwin”, Kennedy  said realizing how angry Edwin was getting.

“Come to think of it, what proof do you have of her incest claims?”, Edwin asked as both Kennedy and Henry listened so quietly that you could literally hear a pin drop. “Have you had any form of encounter with her dad before?”, Edwin asked.

“Yes, but briefly”, Henry responded with a meek voice resembling that of a child who was being scolded for misbehaving. “And in that brief encounter, did he come across as an incestuous father?”, Edwin questioned.

“No he didn’t”, Henry answered.

“So why then do you let us lose sleep over such fabricated stories?”, Edwin queried.

“But…”, Henry started

“But what?”, Edwin rudely cut in. “To be totally honest with you, this matter is beginning to get on my nerves”, Edwin revealed.

There was a long silence.

“You guys remember the prophecy about me with the girl in it right?”, Henry enquired. “Could she be the one the man was talking about?”, Henry asked with a worried tone of voice.

“That is true!”, Kennedy exclaimed. “How could we have forgotten the hell and embarrassment you put us through because of this unfounded prophecy?”, Kennedy said sarcastically. “And now, you walk unaided into the same thing you have been trying to avoid for years with your two eyes wide open”, Kennedy questioned. “That is the irony of life, we end up crash-landing into the very thing we keep running away from”, Kennedy added.

“I still maintain that the pastor was lucky and just guessed that scenario”, Edwin cut in.

“If it was just a mere guess, why are all the things he said falling in place?”, Henry quizzed.

“Why me and why now?”, Henry questioned.

“Henry, you are making this too hard on yourself”, Edwin started.

“Till Sandra’s dad personally asks you to steer clear off her beloved daughter, let’s just assume that all that you have heard are not true”, Kennedy finally said. “I am beginning to take sides with Edwin on this particular matter”, Kennedy added. “Let’s all catch the little sleep left for us to catch before morning”, Edwin  suggested. “We can update one another as and when the need arises, goodbye”, Edwin said and was the first to end the call.

“Don’t worry, Henry, everything will be fine”, Kennedy said, yawned and dropped the call.

Henry was left all alone in his own dilemma. Instead of going back to sleep like his friends, he lay on his back and looked up at the ceiling fan as it swirled. “It is easy for them to whine and rant because they are not in my shoes”, Henry talked to himself referring to Edwin and Kennedy. “If all this is true, how can I stand up to Ben and Julius?”, Henry continued.

He tossed and turned in the bed and as he was finally about to doze off, his phone’s alarm sounded and he had to get ready for what could possibly be his worst day on earth…

Henry walked through the car park towards the entrance to Kaprisky Law Firm. As he walked, he looked through the car park to see if he was going to see Ben’s car parked among the fleet of luxury cars at the car park.

Ben’s car was not there.

Henry walked briskly past the reception and quickly stood in front of the elevator waiting for it to open so he could go up into his office. As he stretched forth his hand to press the elevator’s button, he realized his palms were very wet from anxiety and tension. He placed his hand in his pocket in an attempt to wipe his hand on the handkerchief he kept there. Immediately, his hand touched the handkerchief, a hand tapped his shoulder and he jumped up like a frightened cat that had been startled. As he turned, he saw an unfamiliar face.

“Oh, I am so sorry to have startled you”, a tall, dark man probably in his mid-thirties spoke. “I am looking for the conference room”, the man spoke. “The lady at the reception asked me to go down this hallway but I can’t seem to find it”, the man said.

Henry’s heart was still racing inside of his chest. “Okay, when you get to that door, turn right and count three doors, the fourth one on the right is the conference room”, Henry said as he pointed and gave directions to assist the man. As soon as the man was on his way, the elevator door opened and Henry rushed into it without second thoughts.

“It was thirty-seven minutes past midday and Henry had heard or seen no sign of Ben or Sandra. Even Julius had not showed up. Henry began to get worried. All his colleagues had gone out to have their lunch already but Henry insisted he was not hungry.

Henry kept thinking of how he was going to face Ben if it so happened that the two of them had to face off in a confrontation. It was almost 5:00PM and there was still no sign of Ben, Sandra or Julius. Henry began to suspect that something had happened to Sandra. He picked out his phone and called Sandra.

He called her four more times and there was still no response from Sandra. “What has happened to Sandra?”, Henry asked himself. In his state of confusion and helplessness, he decided to call Julius and find out if he was going to come into the office that day. Since he knew Ben and Julius were friends, he had the conviction that if anything was going on, Julius would definitely have wind of it.

“Hello sir”, Henry said as Julius answered the phone. “Are you going to come in to the office today?”, Henry asked politely.

“I am already inside the building”, Julius answered. “I just came in”, Julius added. “Meet me in the lobby downstairs”, Julius requested.

“Before you come, I want you to pack your bag”, Julius ordered.

“The hour has finally come”, Henry said as he walked to his desk to pack the bag in which he had his files and documents before making his way downstairs. “At least, I should be thankful that they are just sacking me”, Henry said to himself. “It could have been worse”, Henry said to console himself.

“Good afternoon Sir”, Henry said in a shaky tone as he reached downstairs and met Julius.

“Good afternoon, my boy”, Julius responded giddily.

“I want you to close early today because I want you to carry out a task for me very early tomorrow morning”, Julius revealed.

Henry heaved a heavy sigh of relief.

“They are not going to terminate my appointment?”, Henry thought to himself as he listened attentively to Julius.

“I am going to work on a case but I am sure it would take me late into the night”, Julius started. “I would leave the finished work on my table but the client and his lawyers would pass by  very early for it so I want you to report to work tomorrow earlier than usual so you can hand over the file to them”, Julius explained. “I would call you and give you details of the file after it is done so please keep your phone close to you”, Julius added.

Henry was so shell-shocked by Julius’s request that all he could say was, “Yes Sir”.

“I will call you tonight so be sure to get some rest”, Julius said and held the front door open for Henry.

As Henry walked out of the premises of Kaprisky Law Firm, he could not believe what was happening. He knew within his heart of hearts that something bad was going to happen. He just kept his faith, went home and immediately after getting something to eat, went straight to bed. He sent messages to Edwin and Kennedy updating them on the happenings of the day and they assured him that nothing was going to happen.

Around 10:38PM that night, Julius called Henry and gave him details of the file in question and asked him to be sure to be in the office before 6:30AM the next day so that his clients could pick it up for an early court hearing.

The following day, Henry obeyed his boss’s instructions and showed up at the main gate of Kaprisky at exactly 6:20AM. He quickly went up to Julius’s office to pick up the file in anticipation of the clients. It took him no time to get into the office. The building was virtually empty save the two night security guards at the gate. When he picked up the file, he realized it was so light in weight and wondered why it had to take Julius so long to work on.

Out of curiosity, he decided to take a quick peek at the work Julius had done.

To his surprise, when he opened the file, written in capitals were the words, “WE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. WE ARE CAPABLE OF MAKING LIFE FOR YOU AND YOUR UNBORN GENERATIONS A LIVING HELL. KNOW YOUR PLACE AND STAY THERE FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!”.

Henry’s heart sunk after it had missed several beats. He turned to leave the office but there was a figure standing in the doorway.

Henry froze.

The figure approached Henry.

Henry recognized the figure instantly. It was the man whom he had given directions to the previous day… MORE SOON!!!

HENRY IS IN TROUBLE. HAS HE BEEN SET UP? FIND OUT MORE IN THE NEXT EPISODE OF  THIS CHILLING SAGA. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND THIS IS ANOTHER STORY FROM THE STABLES OF RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS.

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE THREE.

“I beg your pardon but what did you just say sir?”, Henry asked out of shock, surprise, wonder and horror all mixed in one.

“I am asking you to sleep with me like a woman sleeps with a man”, Julius reiterated. “I mean I want to make love to you”, he rephrased.

Henry’s heart missed several beats.

“Sir please I can’t do that”. “It is out of place and equally out of this world for you to think up something of this magnitude”, Henry said as he backed away but was stuck between the wall and Julius. “I am sorry if you picked up the wrong signals but I don’t do men”, Henry blurted. “I have never considered sleeping with a man before and as a matter of fact, I never consider doing that, never, not even for all the money in the world!”, Henry exclaimed.

Julius just kept staring at Henry seductively as he went on in his ranting spree. “More so, I thought you said I was like a son to you so why would you even think about sleeping with your son?”, Henry quizzed.

Julius laughed out so loud after Henry’s submission that it made Henry look and feel so stupid.

“Sir please this is not a joke”, Henry said as he started to get uncomfortable in Julius’s presence.

“I know”, Julius responded. “That is why I said you were like a son to me not as if I was insinuating that you were my real son”, Julius explained with laughter.

There was a long silence as both Henry and Julius stared intently at each other. “Or is this some form of sexuality test?”, Henry asked as he began to feel that Julius was just playing a prank on his sexuality to ascertain whether he had more than one sexual preference.

Julius laughed out even louder.

“Tests are conducted in classrooms and not in bedrooms”, Julius said with a smirk on his face. “This is the real deal, Henry”, Julius confirmed. “I can see that my actions have taken you by surprise but it is not as if it was not to be expected”, Julius started. “I saw this from miles away so your reaction is nothing new to me”, Julius continued. “You know another thing that is not new to me?”, Julius asked rhetorically. “Just like all the other young men before you, you would come begging and crumbling at my feet to crawl into my bed”, Julius said.

“The comment sent shock waves down Henry’s spine.

“I am not the first?”…”He put others through such an ordeal?”… “Why did they choose to give in to him?”… “What would he do to me if I told him that I would never be interested?”, all these questions flooded Henry’s mind as he took in the shock from Julius’s last statement.

“Sir, please I want to go home”, Henry pleaded. “I promise not to tell anyone about what just happened here”, Henry said. “After all, I have signed a nondisclosure agreement so whatever I say can make me liable for punishment”, Henry added.

“You are very smart”, Julius started. “In fact, you are too smart for my liking and I’d give you credit for that”, Julius continued. “The others didn’t resist this much so let’s see how long you can keep up with your hard-to-get antics”, Julius added. Julius backed away and gave Henry some space to pass. Henry quickly seized the opportunity to move clear off Julius. “You don’t need to be scared”, Julius reiterated. “I would see you in the office on Monday”, Julius said as Henry started his way towards the main gate.

“One more thing”, Julius started. “I’d be having someone come over next week  and I can make you watch to see how we do it, that is if you don’t mind”, Julius suggested.

“I do mind and I still can’t believe all of this is real”, Henry said as he turned to listen to his boss. “Sir, I would very much appreciate it if you stopped giving me gifts”, Henry said. “I feel patronized already”, Henry said out of disgust. “The gifts are in no way linked to all of this”, Julius inveigled as he walked over to where Henry was standing. “It is still the same thing to me”, Henry countered. “I would like to take my leave now”, Henry finally said as he picked flirtatious signals emanating from Julius body posture as he approached the place where he stood. Henry quickly rushed to the entrance leading out of the house.

When he got to the gate, the gatekeeper looked at him suspiciously as he made his way out of the house. Henry also returned the favour by giving him a very stern look as he opened the gate for him to let him out of the house.

Immediately Henry stepped out of the house, he pulled out his phone and called his two friends, Edwin and Kennedy and asked them to meet up with him at his house.

Henry got home after an hour and waited for his friends to arrive. When they did, he asked that they spoke outside the house.

“I am in deep trouble”, Henry started.

“What is the matter?”, Edwin asked.

“This national service posting will eventually do me more harm than good judging by the bizarre turn of events”, Henry said.

“Henry, just cut the chase and get to the crux of the matter”, Kennedy said impatiently and out of worry.

“I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone this but you two have stuck with me in times that no one else did and you guys are more like brothers to me so I suppose telling you this won’t hurt anyone”, Henry started.

“What are you talking about?”, Edwin asked.

“What have you done wrong?”, Kennedy chipped in.

“As it stands now, the only thing I have done wrong is accepting to work as a national service personnel at Kaprisky Law firm”, Henry started. “From what I hear, Kaprisky’s integrity as the whole world knows it is just one big fat lie, a scam, to say the least”, Henry recounted.

“What is that supposed to mean?”, Edwin cut in. “You’ve been at the firm for barely a year and you know all this?”, Edwin quizzed.

“My informant is no other than the daughter of the owner of the firm”, Henry revealed. “According to her, the supposed flawless reputation of Kaprisky is  built on a foundation of lies, trickery, underhand dealings, coercion and corruption”, Henry revealed.

“Wait a minute”, Kennedy cut in. “Are you telling us that you believe her?”, Kennedy asked.

“I don’t think she can lie to me”, Henry said.

“Really?”, both Kennedy and Edwin exclaimed.

“Henry, ask yourself this question”, Edwin sat and spoke. “Who would say such damning things about her father’s line of work to someone she barely knows and expect that person not to have his or her own reservations about what is being said?”, Edwin asked. “And come to think of it, did you bother to ask her why she chose you besides all her rich and powerful friends to reveal this to?”, Edwin questioned.

Henry looked startled as the questions kept hitting him.

“I really don’t know why she told me but I am yet to find out if there is an ulterior motive behind all of this”, Henry said. “That is even the least of my worries, Kaprisky can be the mafia for all I care”, Henry continued. “There are more serious and pressing issues that I need to deal with now”, Henry said.

“My boss is gay and wants to sleep with me”, Henry revealed

“What?”, both Edwin and Kennedy exclaimed.

“You heard me right”, Henry said. “I am just coming back from his house and he came unto me without warning”, Henry said. “He said he was in love with me and wanted to sleep with me”, Henry added

“Prior to today, he always gave me gifts and spare change when I ran errands for him and I thought he was doing it out of goodwill but I realized that these gestures were all part of his schemes to get me to go to bed with him”, Henry exclaimed

Both Edwin and Kennedy looked shell-shocked as Henry narrated his ordeal to them. “He even said that he had slept with countless young men before me and he knows that with time, I would eventually give in to his demands”, Henry added.

“This is crazy”, Kennedy said. “But are you sure you are not making all of this up?”, Kennedy asked.

“You know me to be a lot of things except being paranoid and exaggerating stuff like this”, Henry said in his defense.

“I have never seen myself this scared and confused all at once before”, Henry said.

“So what are you going to do about this?”, Edwin asked. “Because obviously, you can’t continue to be in the same office with a man who has such bizarre sexual intentions”, Kennedy said. “I think you should quit”, Edwin suggested.

“No!”, Henry exclaimed. “I can’t quit”, he added. “What am I going to tell my father if I quit?”, Henry asked rhetorically. “He would definitely want to know why and I can’t see myself telling him the truth”, Henry said. “So what are we going to do now?”, Kennedy asked.

“I promised him I was not going to tell anyone about this and I have also signed a nondisclosure agreement with Kaprisky Law Firm so anything I say that is out of place can be used against me”, Henry said. “The last thing I need is to be engaged in a legal battle with Kaprisky as the opponent”, Henry conceded. “So I intend to stay on at Kaprisky and see out my national service with them and leave the place immediately”, Henry said. “From Monday, I would do my best possible to steer clear off my boss and avoid his advances to the best of my skills and ability”, Henry said.

“How long do you think you can keep up with this plan?”, Edwin asked.

“For as long as I can and I am determined to see it out”, henry said getting back some assurance in himself.

“These people are very powerful and would go to any length to see to it that they get whatever they want so you better tread cautiously”, Kennedy advised.

“I won’t lie to you guys for anything but the mere thought of all of this sends shivers down my spine”, Henry confessed. “I just hope that things go according to plan so I can finish this service quickly and get the hell out of that place”, a determined Henry said.

“All of this wouldn’t have happened if you were humble enough to have accepted your earlier posting but you vehemently turned down the offer and now look at the mess this God-given posting is doing to you”, Kennedy said sarcastically and they all broke out onto laughter sending some of the tension out of the conversation…

On Monday morning, Henry’s heart sank when he heard the sound of his cell phone’s alarm. He contemplated calling in sick or going to work. On second thoughts, he decided to reluctantly get out of bed and get ready for work. After forty five minutes, he was having some breakfast and getting ready to leave the house.

He arrived early at work and set up his boss’s office. The photocopying machine in front of their office had ran out of paper so he decided to go down to the storage room to get a refill. He decided to use the stairs instead of the elevator so that he did not have to go through the ordeal of meeting his boss on his way up to the office.

It was a long flight of stairs but Henry cared less. After descending five floors, Henry found himself on the final flight of stairs leading to the ground floor of the building. He looked down the staircase from where he stood and saw Julius ascending the same stairs that he was on.

Henry had just walked into the very thing that he dreaded and had taken pains to avoid. His first instinct was to go back up the stairs because Julius was yet to see him. Henry looked up and could not see himself undoing what he had just done by choosing to take the stairs instead.

He decided to face off with his boss.

“Why did he choose to take the stairs today of all the days?”, Henry soliloquized. “Is he also trying to avoid me?”, Henry asked as his legs trembled as he decided to go down the final flight of stairs.

“Good morning sir”, Henry stammered as he and Julius met on the same stair.

Julius did not respond but kept ascending the stairs as if Henry was not even standing there.

Henry was startled.

Henry stood on the staircase and watched his boss go up the stairs. After a few steps, Julius turned. “Henry, see me immediately after you are done with what you are doing”. Henry’s heart missed several beats and he stood there speechless, only nodding with his head to signal to Julius that his request was heard.

Henry trembled as he went back up the stairs with the papers in his hands. He was so tense that he could not feel his feet. He walked into Julius’s office and with a stern face, Julius gave him a tall list of duties to finish before the day ended. Henry grabbed the list and quickly dashed out of the office like lightening.

“So far as I am far away from you, that is all that matters to me”, Henry said as he looked at the tall list in his hand to accomplish…

Henry and Sandra kept contact with one another and their bond kept growing. Henry never mentioned his encounter with Julius to Sandra even though the incident had taken place over two months ago. Henry had started developing feelings for Sandra but anytime he wanted to tell her about the way he felt about her, his intuition told him not to. “She is way out of your league”, the voice in his head would often tell him. “You don’t expect to get yourself involved in more drama than you already find yourself, do you?”, the voice in his head would ask.

One night after work, Henry decided to tell Sandra about the way he felt about her. He called her and started, “Sandra, there is something I really need to tell you and I need you to pay close attention”.

“What is it?”, Sandra asked with laughter. She had come to know Henry as one who always joked around so more often than not, she didn’t take the things he said very seriously.

“Talk to me”, Sandra pushed.

“Sandra I am in love with you”, henry blurted.

“Hahaha”, Sandra laughed out hysterically.

“This is not one of them jokes, Sandra”, Henry said, feeling very embarrassed.

“I know, I know”, Sandra responded still laughing ridiculously.

“So why are you laughing?”, Henry enquired.

“I am laughing because there is no such thing as love and my father has made me see over a thousand and one times that love does not exist”, Sandra said.

“Love does exist!”, Henry rebutted. “What I feel for you can attest to that fact”, Henry said.

“So how do you know that you love me?”, Sandra asked.

There was a brief pause.

“It is a feeling you have”, Henry said.

“Ever since I was a child, my dad kept me from mingling with guys”, Sandra started. “He has been very protective and he would do anything to see to it that I am safe and happy”, Sandra added. “What is more, I have never had a boyfriend my whole life even though I know it sounds embarrassing at times”, Sandra said.

“My dad always finds a way of driving any guy that comes lurking around me out of my life and I have learnt that way of pushing people out of my life”, Sandra explained. “Don’t be surprised if I tell you that we can’t be friends anymore and that I can’t talk to you again because I know that day will surely come and even though it hurts me, I cannot do anything about it because…I have to go now, I will see you tomorrow”, Sandra said and hang up in the middle of the conversation.

Henry lay on his bed and wondered why Sandra would allow her dad to control her life at her age. He was lost in thought. “Maybe I can talk to her father about her”, Henry thought to himself. “That would be suicidal”, Henry said on second thought. “I am pathetically in love with Sandra and I would stop at nothing to get her to love me”, Henry said to himself…

The next day, Henry was going about his normal routine when he met Julius in the lobby.

“I  still haven’t heard anything from you concerning our arrangements”, Julius said.

“What arrangements, Sir?”, Henry asked feigning ignorance.

“You know damn well what I am talking about!”, Julius exclaimed.

“I get it now”, Henry said. “But like I said earlier sir, I am not interested in it”, Henry said.

“I can see you still need more time”, Julius said. “Do well to see me in my office after lunch”, Julius added and walked past Henry.

After lunch, Henry rushed to see Julius in his office because he did not want to do anything that would merit being reprimanded. On his way into the office, he met Ben, Sandra’s father coming out of Julius’s office.

“Good afternoon sir”, Henry greeted politely.
“Good afternoon”, Ben responded and continued to walk past Henry.

“My regards to Sandy”, Henry said as he turned.
Sandra told Henry that it was only his father who called her SANDY.

Ben stopped, turned and looked at Henry before nodding his head.
That night, Sandra called Henry and was furious over the phone. “What did you tell my father about us?”, Sandra asked fuming.

“Relax, I just told him to extend my regards to you”, Henry said.

“Are you out of your mind or something?”, Sandra asked. “What is that supposed to mean?”, Henry asked back. “I told you about my dad and the best thing you could do was to ask him to extend your regards to me?” “Why did you do that?”, Sandra asked. “Can you just stop freaking out and listen to me?”, Henry pleaded. “There is nothing to listen to!”, Sandra said. “Why are you making it seem as though I have done something so terrible?” Henry asked.

“Henry, please listen to me carefully”, Sandra said as she started to cry. “I would be a liar to say that I don’t have any feelings for you”. “You are patient, funny, gentle, kind and hardworking and I could not have asked for someone more as a potential boyfriend but I  wanted all of this to be hidden from my father but now, he knows that I know you”, Sandra explained.

“What is wrong with that, Sandra?”. “Isn’t that rather a good thing; that your dad knows you have a boyfriend? “, Henry asked

“Everything is wrong with that Henry, everything is wrong with that”, Sandra reiterated.

“This is a part of my life that I have not shared with anyone but I don’t know why I feel I have to tell you”, Sandra started. “I think it is because I am in love with you too”, Sandra conceded.

“Here is the thing, ever since I turned eighteen years, my dad had been obsessed with me and for a long time, he had brainwashed me to sleep with him several times”, Sandra revealed. “He would never allow me to keep male friends because he said he was going to provide all my needs including my sexual needs”, Sandra continued now crying uncontrollably. “I have realized how messed up I am and I am putting a stop to it that is how come I chose to become friends with you and I have fallen in love with you”, Sandra revealed. “Now that my father has found out that you are just a friend to me, he is going to come after you and he would do anything to you to get you to stay away from me forever!” Sandra added. “I am sorry Henry, but my father is coming after you”, Sandra said…

HENRY IS ABOUT TO GET CRUSHED. HE IS DEALING WITH ADVANCES FROM HIS BOSS AND NOW HE WOULD HAVE TO FIND A WAY OF SURVIVING ANOTHER ONSLAUGHT FROM ANOTHER RUTHLESS FATHER AND LOVER… MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY. NEED I SAY MORE? JUST BUCKLE YOUR SEATBELTS! THIS IS ANOTHER THRILLER FROM THE STABLES OF RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS  ®.

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE TWO

Sandra walked gorgeously and headed towards the empty seat that was closest to Henry. Henry could not believe his luck when it became obvious that Sandra was heading in his direction. He imagined Sandra all dressed in a wedding gown walking down the aisle to be betrothed to him. Henry snapped back into reality when Sandra got close to him and pulled back the seat so as to be able to sit down.

 

“Hello”, Sandra said with a bright smile on her face as she took her seat. Henry was dumbfounded. He could not come to terms with the fact that such a beauty was talking to him.

“Hello”, Sandra said again.

 

“Oh hi, hi”, Henry finally responded. “I heard you the first time, I was just trying to figure out the best kind of answer for such a beautiful and eloquent young lady like yourself “, Henry said jokingly although quietly.

 

“Very funny”, Sandra replied as she extended a hand to greet Henry. “Nice to meet you”, Sandra said as she waited for Henry to mention his name. “Oh I am Henry”, Henry said as he took Sandra’s soft hand into his and exchanged pleasantries with her.

 

Both of them turned their attention to the instructor after acquainting themselves with one another.

 

During the entire period that Henry and Sandra sat together, he kept stealing glances at her fair-colored thighs because the dress she wore revealed them when she sat. After the day’s session, the instructor asked the national service personnel to fraternize with each other before leaving. Most of the guys gathered around Henry and wanted to find out if he possibly had any information about Sandra. One of the national service personnel, Gideon, spoke as the boys huddled together.

 

“This Sandra chick is really fine”, he started, looking in her direction as she chatted and giggled heartily with one of her female colleagues. “I would do anything to get her phone number”, Gideon added.

Another guy laughed and said, “We are here for business and we cannot afford to be distracted by women because they are the fastest in bringing a man down”. “Gideon, I think you are barking up the wrong tree if you harbor any ambitions of ever dating that young lady”, the other guy continued. “Moreover, you don’t expect to take care of her with your meagre national service allowance, do you?”
“Hell no!”, Gideon responded and they all broke out laughing.The attention of the ladies was drawn to the hysterical laughter and they turned to look at the faces of the guys. “Gideon noticed that they were being watched and prompted the other guys, “Hey, the ladies are looking at us and it seems they are talking about us”, Gideon warned. The other guys looked in their direction and noticed that they were truly being watched. They all turned to comport themselves.

 

At 5:00 PM, the instructor walked in and told the national service personnel that they could go home and report at 8:00 AM the following day for the training to continue. Some of the personnel exchanged phone numbers and made their way out of the plush offices of Kaprisky Law Firm. As Henry and Gideon made their way down the flight of stairs, they saw Ben, the man who came into their training room earlier in the day to ask them to introduce themselves, talking heartily with Sandra. Henry’s heart missed a beat when he chanced upon the two of them talking. Henry and Gideon walked past them quietly though disappointed and turned to see the two of them laughing heartedly when the got to the entrance.

 

“You see?”, Henry started. “The wealthy old men always get the fine ladies”, Henry added. “She would only be interested in his money and the connections she would get by affiliating herself with him”, Gideon rebutted. “Do you think a pretty lady like that would marry a potbellied, old bloat like that man?”, Gideon quizzed. “I don’t think so!”, Gideon answered his own question before allowing Henry to even say a word. “I think we are being too judgmental”, Henry started. “I am sure they are just discussing official things and not what we are thinking”, Henry added to give himself some assurance that nothing was going on between Ben and Sandra.

 

“Moreover, Ben does not come across as that kind of person who would be interested in sleeping with young ladies, he is a married man”, Henry added

 

Gideon and Henry made their way through the open car park of Kaprisky Law Firm and headed for the bus stop to join a commercial bus back home. As they stood waiting, a blue range rover evoque drove out of the premises of Kaprisky Law Firm and seated in the back seat were Ben and Sandra being chauffeured by a smartly-dressed driver. As the car passed by the bus stop, Sandra looked out of the window, saw and waved at Gideon and Henry. The two young men reluctantly waved back at her feigning smiles.

 

“I told you!”, Gideon exclaimed when they both saw the occupants of the luxury car. “I hope you would believe me now when I tell you something”, Gideon said. “All girls like cars and money and they can dump their boyfriends who do not own cars and jump into even a rickety car of another man, provided the car can move”, Gideon said sarcastically. “All girls are the same!”, Gideon added as he looked around to see if some of the people at the bus stop were listening to their conversation. Henry was shell-shocked. “For a moment, I thought she was an exception but she fell for it like a tree being felled with a chainsaw”, Henry said. “What is it with girls and cars?”, Henry quizzed. “And she even had the effrontery to wave at us, shameless girl!”, Henry retorted. “That explains why she even joined the training session at the time she did”, Gideon explained as Henry nodded his head attentively. “She knows that her boyfriend, Ben would defend her at any given time because of the sexual favors she might be giving him”, Gideon added. After a few minutes, a bus that was going in Gideon’s direction came by and Gideon boarded the bus, leaving Henry lost in thought to wait for the next bus going in his direction.

 

When Henry got home after his first day at Kaprisky Law firm, his father asked him to brief him on the happenings at Kaprisky and if anyone asked him any suspicious questions about the posting. Henry narrated what ensued that day to his father and assured him that nothing would happen provided he did not do anything that would put him into trouble. Later that night, Edwin and Kennedy came visiting Henry.

 

They met in Henry’s room.

 

“How did your first day at work go?”, Kennedy asked immediately he entered the room.

 

“It is just National service”, Henry answered in an indifferent tone. “I wonder why you all think it is such a big deal”, Henry added. “It would not have been a big deal if you had been posted to any other place apart from Kaprisky Law firm”, Edwin cut in. “Anyone of us would kill to walk the halls of Kaprisky so to us, it is a privilege to be associated with someone who has been there and seen it all”, Edwin added.

 

“Very true!”, Kennedy seconded Edwin’s assertion.

 

“You should be excited about your prospects and stop being an ingrate and a pessimist like you always have been”, Ken reprimanded. “Or is anything the matter?”, Ken enquired.

 

“Everything is fine and just so you know, my day was fine too”, Henry added.

 

“What is eating you?”, Edwin asked, looking at Henry who was laying on his bed and going through his phone.

 

“Everything is fine”, Henry answered, looked at Kennedy and Edwin simultaneously and went back to concentrating on what he was doing on his phone. “You can talk to us if you are having any challenge, you know we’ve been like brothers for over four years and we’d be willing to assist you in the best way we can”, Edwin suggested. “I am serious about what I said; everything is fine, trust me”, Henry said. In fact, since you guys are insisting, why don’t we go out for some drinks?”, Henry suggested. Kennedy and Edwin agreed and the three of them stepped out of the house. Before they drove out of Henry’s house, he cautioned, “I hope you two have money on you because the bill will be on both of you”. “Don’t worry about that”, Kennedy said and they left for the pub in Edwin’s car.

 

After an hour and a half, Henry came back home to prepare for the next day. He ironed his clothes and polished his shoes. He then took his shower and went to bed. As he lay in his bed, he could not stop thinking about Sandra. There were flashbacks of the entire escapade involving Sandra. “Why am I even worrying my head over someone’s daughter?”, Henry soliloquized. “It is not as if what she chooses to do with her life is any of my business, after all, life is how you make it”, Henry said. He only managed to sleep after minutes of torturous images of  Sandra and Ben making love to each other dangling in his thoughts.

 

The next morning, Henry hurriedly prepared for his training session at Kaprisky. He knew that if he spent too much time at home, he was going to get stuck in traffic so he left home very early. He was the third national service personnel to arrive the following morning. Soon, all the other service personnel started trooping into the conference room for the day’s session except Sandra. They all sat in the same seats and positions they did the previous day. Even as at 9:39 AM, Sandra had not still showed up. At 10:27 AM, the doors to the conference room crept open and Sandra slipped in quietly and took her seat, close to Henry’s.

 

“You are late”, Henry whispered as he breathed a sigh of relief after seeing Sandra again. Immediately he said that, he kept a straight face. “Yeah I know”, Sandra replied in an almost inaudible tone. “We had to do some stuff before coming”, Sandra explained. “By ‘we’, do you mean yourself and Mr. Ben?”, Henry enquired.

 

“What is that supposed to mean?”, Sandra enquired.

 

Henry looked puzzled and was speechless. He made a face which sent negative signals to Sandra making her look very silly

 

“I don’t know what you mean by the insinuations you are casting but yes, the ‘we’, refers to myself and Mr. Ben like you are saying who happens to be my father and also doubles as the owner of Kaprisky Law Firm”, Sandra reiterated…

 

At lunch break, Henry and Sandra spent the entire period talking.

 

“Wow!”, Henry exclaimed as Sandra narrated her life’s story to him. “I have been in school all my life outside this country and I felt I had to come back home to assist my father in the best way I can”, Sandra said. “I will go back to start and finish my law degree and then come back here to see how far I can go in the firm”, Sandra added.

 

Sandra and Henry had known a great deal about each other by the time the day’s session was coming to an end.

 

When they closed that day, Henry scolded Gideon on their way to the bus stop. “You don’t need to judge people you know little about so quickly”, Henry said with some authority. “I spoke to her and she is nowhere near the qualities you ascribed to her”, Henry explained. “I cant believe you managed to talk me into believing all the crap you were spewing about Sandra”, Henry teased.

 

“Okay”, Gideon started. ” “I concede defeat on this matter and I agree that I judged Sandra too quickly”, Gideon said. “But come to think of it, you seem to be so interested in this matter…or are you in love already?”, Gideon enquired. “If that is the case, you better wake up from that dream and face reality because Sandra would never fall for the likes of you and I”, Gideon revealed as they walked to the bus stop. “It would be a classic case of barking up the wrong tree”, Gideon added and boarded the bus heading in his destination.

 

After weeks of vigorous training, the national service personnel were to be assigned departments to work in after they had been made to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Henry was assigned to the finance department because of his skill set in business development. Sandra was assigned to the legal department to partake in court hearings and proceedings. Even though Sandra and Henry seldom saw each other at the firm afterwards, they kept constant contact and became very good friends.

 

Henry’s immediate boss at the finance department, Julius, was a chartered accountant and was also a very shrewd businessman who kept raking in profit for the company. He was in his mid forties’ and was unmarried. He took a special liking to Henry and wanted to nurture him in the best way he could so he could also rise in the world of business and law. He always sent Henry on errands and gave him lots of spare change no matter the amount. He did not also hesitate in teaching Henry many business principles when he had the time.

 

One day after work, as Henry walked out of the premises of Kaprisky, his boss, Julius offered him a ride to his house. Julius  dropped Henry off at home and gave him his phone number and asked him to call him if he needed any form of assistance.

 

Henry appreciated all that his new boss did for him and always talked to Sandra about him.

 

“Julius is one of my father’s very long-time, trusted friends”, Sandra revealed to Henry in one of their phone conversations. “He also invested heavily in terms of finances when my father was starting Kaprisky so he is more like a right-hand man to my father”, Sandra added. “I see”, Henry cut in. “No wonder he is so rich”, Henry said.

 

There was an awkward moment of silence.

“Why are you so quiet?”, Henry enquired

 

“Can I trust you with a secret about my father and Kaprisky?”, Sandra asked out of the blue.

 

Henry hesitated in his answer.

 

“Yes you can”, Henry managed to let out.

 

“Are you sure I can trust you not to tell anyone?”

 

“Yes you can trust me”, Henry reassured.

 

“Okay, Kaprisky didn’t get to where it is just by hard work alone”, Sandra started.

 

“What do you mean by that?”, Henry asked, trying to seek for some clarification

 

“My father and Julius have done many illegal and scandalous deals to get them to where they are today”, Sandra revealed. “These deals include bribing judges, bribing the jury, getting false testimonies, intimidating opposing lawyers and even bribing some of them to skew cases our way so we can win easily”, Sandra said

 

Henry’s heart missed several beats. “Why is she telling me this?”, Henry thought to himself. Henry did not know what to say in response to Sandra’s revelations. Worst of all, he did not know why Sandra was telling him all of these things

 

“Now that we have made a name for ourselves, we have cut back on the underhand dealings”, Sandra added.

 

“But why are you telling me all of these things?”, Henry mustered courage to ask.

 

“I am telling you all this because I trust you and I believe I have also won your trust in the few weeks that we have known each other”, Sandra started. “My dad has always kept me away from  people in this country and as it stands now, you are the only close friend I have, so I think my secrets are safe with you, right?”, Sandra enquired.

 

“Yes, your secrets are safe with me”, Henry answered.

 

“Can we change the topic now?”, Sandra asked.

 

They talked about other matters and bade each other goodnight after they had exhausted topics to discuss.

 

The next morning, Henry rushed to his assigned office. He had many doubts about the entire firm after what he had heard from Sandra. The respect he hitherto had for the firm had reduced drastically. He now had a biased perception about Kaprisky. The weeks that followed saw his output as a service personnel plummet.

 

Julius called him to his office and wanted to enquire why his productivity and posture had changed negatively. He managed to convince Julius that he was having some issues at home and that he was going to change for the better. Julius insisted on having a one on one session with him over the weekend so they could talk about his problems. Henry reluctantly agreed even though he knew he had no issues at home whatsoever.

 

On the agreed date, Henry met Julius in his house.

 

Julius’s house was a joy to behold. It had many things that any young man could dream about. Henry sat at a mini bar and waited for Julius. Julius arrived and poured himself a glass of whiskey.

 

“Sir, this is a nice house”, Henry said. “Yeah I know”, Julius responded. “Now talk to me, Henry”, Julius started. “What is wrong with you?”, he asked. “Sir please I am fine”, Henry answered.

 

Julius shifted his seat closer to Henry’s.

 

“Henry, you are like a son to me and ever since I saw you, I saw a reflection of myself in you and I believe you are destined for greatness and I know you are going to achieve all of this right here and even more if you put your mind to it”, Julius said as he pointed to certain portions of the house. “Take a walk with me”, Julius ordered and took Henry’s hand into his as he showed him round the house.

 

When they got to a secluded portion of the house, Julius stopped.

 

“Like I said Henry, you are like a son to me and I would help you to become just like me if you are willing to learn”, Julius said

 

“I am willing to learn, sir”, Henry said with a determined look on his face

 

“I would teach you all you need to know but before that, I would want you to sleep with me”, Julius said

 

“I beg your pardon?”…

 

 

IF YOU THINK THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF HENRY’S DILEMMA,  YOU BETTER RECONSIDER THAT THOUGHT BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT SEEN NOTHING YET! STAY TUNED FOR MORE INTRIGUE AS HENRY FACES THE HARSH REALITIES OF LIVING AS AN AMBITIOUS YOUNG MAN. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND THIS IS ANOTHER MASTERPICE FROM RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHTS! YOU GET THE DRIFT?

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THE SCENT OF YOUR HEART…EPISODE ONE.

 

Henry woke up with a smile on his face. He looked around him and realized he was in a once familiar space.

“Oh thank goodness!”, Henry exclaimed when he realized he was laying on the bed in a room.

“I am glad that we were able to get back here in one piece even though I can’t seem to recall how”, Henry soliloquized . He looked around and saw two figures coiled in the bed next to his.

His other two former roommates, Edwin and Kennedy were sharing one bed even though there were bedding arrangements for three. Henry laughed when he saw the posture in which his former roommates and two close friends lay in the bed; cuddling like husband and wife The night before, they had had one too many drinks by accident. Henry prided himself as one who could never get drank so the previous night, he, together with his roommates and a host of other friends went out clubbing and unfortunately, it turned out to be a drinking contest to find out if Henry could truly withstand a few shots of alcohol. Henry accepted the challenge after his two close friends called his bluff. The last thing Henry could clearly remember was the twelfth glass of six shots of whiskey he had to drink. The events that followed gave him a sharp headache as he tried to recall even though fragments of the happenings on the night came to mind.

“I have never done anything this crazy my whole life”, Henry said to himself. “I cannot believe that I let these people talk me into doing all of this”, Henry said as he looked up and saw the ceiling fan turning slowly over his head. His phone’s battery had run down and it was flat out. He ransacked his bag in search of his charger. He simultaneously drew the attention of his roommates and close friends whilst he was at it.

“Edwin, Kennedy, wake up!”, Henry shouted a number of times as if he was dreaming. Henry was having a katzenjammer and he knew full well that his former roommates were going to suffer the same fate when they woke up.

There was a knock on the door.

“Come in”, Henry called out as he plugged his charger to power up his cell phone.

A young man walked in. Henry turned to look at who had entered. The young man was dressed in a suit

It was the guy from the next room.

“Are you guys not getting ready?”, the young man quizzed. “The graduation ceremony will start in a few hours”, the young man added…

Henry and his friends had come back to their university to officially crown their four-year university tenure. They were so gay that they decided to go out and have fun the night before the graduation ceremony. Henry rushed to the bed in which his roommates lay and vigorously shook the bed.

“Idiots, wake up, wake up!” “We are going to be late for the graduation!”, Henry added. Henry managed to wake them up as they all prepared hurriedly for their big day.

Henry and his roommates arrived late at the venue. Henry was supposed to be seated in the front row because he was going to be called upon to receive the award for the best student in his department. The hall in which the ceremony was being held was fully packed with graduates, family members and well-wishers. Henry could possibly not see himself walking up to find his seat in the front row because he knew all eyes were going to be on him.

“This is all your fault!”, Henry exclaimed as he turned to face his roommates who were standing right behind him.

“We didn’t ask you to accept the challenge to drink so much”, Ken responded. “After all, we are also graduating too”, Ken added. Henry stood outside and listened carefully as the Dean of Students in his university gave his speech. It was time for the special awards and Henry knew that he had no option than to walk all the way to the stage to receive his award when his name was mentioned. During the rehearsal for the graduation the previous day, he counted the awardees and knew he was the sixth person in line. So when the fifth awardee’s name was mentioned, Henry asked Edwin to help him adjust his gown.

“You’ve made us proud son”, Edwin said jokingly as the three of them quickly posed for a selfie before Henry’s name was mentioned by the Master of Ceremonies. Henry heard his name loudly through the surround sound system and started to make his way up the long aisle leading to the podium.

He staggered uncomfortably as he walked. He could only hear whispers from many people as they searched around the hall to see where the awardee was coming from. This made Henry more tense. As he walked up, looking straight on, a hand touched his gown. Henry turned and saw his mother almost tearing up. At the sight of his mother, Henry gained some more confidence as he walked up majestically to the front row amidst cheers from the graduating students who knew him and applause from those who did not. Henry received his prize and on his way back, he stopped and gave his mother a passionate hug before going on to join his friends outside.

Soon, it had become official. Henry and his roommates were now ‘certified’ graduates. It was now time to make merry. There was a lot to eat and to drink. The graduates randomly selected tables of their mates to introduce themselves to their visitors, share memorable moments, partake in the consumption of the variety of sumptuous dishes and take lots and lots of pictures. Edwin was in a dilemma as to which of his ex-girlfriends’ tables he could show up at without being embarrassed.

Edwin changed his girlfriend every semester when he was in school. Sometimes Henry and Ken even had to take note of the names of Edwin’s countless girlfriends so as not to mistakenly call out the wrong name when they came visiting. As luck and friendship would have it, Edwin managed to get Ken and Henry to follow him and the three of them expertly made stops at the tables of all seven ex-girlfriends. Seven because Edwin decided to stay single during his last semester in school. The whole place was a chaotic beauty. There were people dressed in different cultural attires. The suits stood out as most of the guys who were graduating were clad in them.

After the merrymaking, Henry and his friends saw their parents, family members and well-wishers off and returned to the hostel for a final night of fun before departing the following day.

The graduation board had planned a night of fun and music for the graduates so they were all expected to meet up at an agreed venue to party all night long with some invited artistes.

The graduates had already been assigned National Service postings; a one year service that is rendered by every graduate after successful completion of the years of study in the university. Henry and his friends had also been posted. Ken had graduated with a Second Class Lower in Metals and Metal Fabrication. Ken was posted to a prestigious private bank and he was overly excited about his chances of being retained after he had completed his service diligently. He had already hinted that his chances were brighter than the sun. Edwin had graduated with a Second Class Upper in Physical Education. Edwin had been posted to one of the country’s leading telecommunications company. He had already been assigned a car. Henry had also graduated with a First Class in Business Administration and Development. Henry had been posted to teach in a primary school in a remote part of the country.

When the postings were announced, both Ken and Edwin had the laugh of their lives when they sighted Henry’s place of posting.

“Teacher Henry, teacher Henry, someone has broken my pencil”, Edwin would mimic a little child sarcastically just to mock Henry. Ken on the other hand sought to encourage Henry slyly by saying, “Don’t worry, it is only for a year afterwards I would employ you in my bank because by then, I would have been made a branch manager in one of the bank’s branches. “Edwin would also provide you with free airtime and free internet access”, Ken would often add.

Henry hated himself and the entire posting system for treating him so unfairly as compared to his qualification as against that of his roommates. He often complained bitterly, “I would not teach in any primary school after all the hard work I put in school”, Henry complained. “I would rather be remembered as the only person who did not go through the National Service program than one who went to teach in a godforsaken no man’s land”, Henry lamented. Henry’s father was a business man and he assured Henry that he was going to try his best to have the postings changed for Henry even though he knew the repercussions were going to be grave if his son was to be caught. “I am speaking to some friends of mine and they are asking me to be patient, because there are a lot of higher ups who are also not satisfied with the postings of their children”, Henry’s father assured Henry one evening. “As soon as they are sorted out, you would also be sorted out”, Henry’s father added.

One whole month had gone by and still, both Henry and his father had heard no word from the people who had promised to help them.

A second month had gone by.

During the wait, Henry had already given up and had resolved to reapply for the National Service program the following year. He therefore put together his CV and started looking for a job even though he had not even started  nor even completed the mandatory National Service.

Many companies wanted to employ him due to his amazing CV and dazzling analytical and problem-solving mentality but there was a hurdle. As a matter of law, many of the companies that wanted to employ Henry were required to only take on staff who had completed their National Service and had a certificate to prove it. Henry came back home dejected after every interview. After one of such returns, he came home to meet his father seated in their hall. “Good afternoon”, Henry greeted and dropped himself like a log on the couch out of exhaustion.

“I have good news”, Henry’s father started.

“What is it?”, Henry responded with an indifferent tone.

“Sit up right because you would want to hear this news”, Henry’s father said.

Henry reluctantly sat up right in the chair.

“The people finally came through and gave me a call just after you left for your interview”, Henry’s father started.

“Which people called you?”, Henry asked not looking too amused by the delay tactics his father was using. “Tell me already”, Henry insisted

“Okay, okay”, Henry’s father gestured with his hand when he noticed his antics were getting his son infuriated.

“Your National Service posting has been changed!”, Henry’s father announced.

“What!”, Henry exclaimed as he adjusted himself properly in his seat with his face now broadly lit with escaping beams of smiles from his cheeks.

“Hold it, hold it”, Henry’s father said. “Now, you have been posted in the heart of the City”, Henry’s father continued.

“Are you kidding me?”, Henry asked looking very excited and was starting to get hyper.

“Relax, relax, relax!”, Henry’s father reiterated. “Now get ready for the best part”, Henry’s father said. The whole room was suddenly plunged into slow-motion state as Henry anticipated the next words that were going to come out of his father’s mouth. Henry fixed a zoomed-in gaze on his father’s lips. “You were posted to Kaprisky Law Firm”, Henry’s father finally revealed.

“I don’t believe it!”, Henry said out of ecstasy.

“You had better believe it because this is proof of the posting”, Henry’s father said as he passed on a letter in his hand to Henry. Henry greedily grabbed the letter and read out loud its content. As he read, he could hardly stand still as he kept fidgeting.

“I can’t believe this; I just can’t believe this”, Henry kept saying. When Henry had finally settled down after the hangover excitement frenzy,  he asked. “You must have paid so much for the change to be effected on this”, Henry told his father. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you this, but the truth is that, I paid nothing”, Henry’s father said.

“But how?” Henry asked. “You and I know that Kaprisky Law Firm is the best private law firm in this country and it takes only the best of the best law school graduates to walk the halls of Kaprisky” Henry retorted. “You and I also know that even though I have ambitions of becoming a lawyer, I am nowhere near that feat”, Henry said. “You must have surely paid some sort of bribe, just tell me how much you paid”, Henry said excitedly as he went through the letter again.

“It is good to have friends but it is important to keep old friends”, Henry’s father started. “Last week I made a personal effort to follow up on the posting issue”. “On reaching there, I saw a familiar face so I talked to him and lo and behold, he was my mate in school and as a matter of coincidence, he is the head of IT at the secretariat so he asked me to give him your name and assured me that he would do everything in his capacity to help me”, Henry’s father continued. “What you have there in your hand is the assistance he gave to me”, Henry’s father revealed pointing to the letter in Henry’s hand. “However, you would have to go back to town and to the offices of Kaprisky to present your particulars because the deadline for submission is tomorrow”, Henry’s father said. “They are about to start training the second batch of their National Service Personnel”, Henry’s father added.

“How do you know so much?”, Henry asked looking on as he marveled at his father’s wealth of information on the subject. “We live in a world where people know people and people use their privileges to carry out favors for one another”, Henry’s father said. “You better get going now before they close!”, Henry’s father ordered.

“Yes sir!”, Henry responded.

Henry rushed into his room, quickly put on a new shirt, grabbed the bag that contained all his official documents and dashed out of the house after taking some money from his father. He successfully went through the registration process at Kaprisky. He was told to report after three days to start the training program. When all protocol had been duly observed and the due diligence had been carried out,  Henry headed back home. He took a detour on his way back and asked his two friends, Ken and Edwin to meet up with him because he had something to tell them.

After work, the three young men gathered in front of a popular eatery. Edwin ordered for food and drinks for all of them. “Teacher Henry, what made you decide to call this meeting?”, Ken asked sarcastically. “Things are pretty much going to change around here”, Henry said. “And what is that supposed to mean?”, Edwin asked.

“You see the way many people have been taking the banks and telecommunication companies to court over matters of interest with you lot always losing out?”, Henry started looking and pointing at both Edwin and Ken simultaneously. “All that is about to change now because I would start working at Kaprisky Law Firm soon and I would ensure that you win every little legal battle for half the price”, Henry bragged. “It is a lie!”, Edwin started out of disbelief. “Say no more”, Henry said and dug his hand into his bag and handed Edwin the letter of appointment. As Ken and Edwin looked at the letter, Henry started enjoying his meal.

“You and your father are criminals!”, Edwin exclaimed. “How did you manage to pull off this miracle?”, Ken added his voice. Henry slouched in his seat and said, “This is as a result of having high and mighty friends in high places”

“I didn’t even call your parents criminals after you guys secured what to me was the most shocking postings ever”, Henry said sarcastically. “Because both of you are total misfits at your places of posting”, Henry added and all of them burst out laughing.

“Your father definitely has mighty friends because everyone knows that Kaprisky Law Firm is…” “…the best private law firm in the country”, they all sang in unison to conclude Ken’s statement.
“Congratulations, Henry!”, both Ken and Edwin opined.

They all enjoyed their meal and chatted for a while before they parted ways.

After the third day, Henry put on his best official clothes and left the house very early in the morning for his place of posting, Kaprisky Law Firm. The new service personnel that had been scheduled for the training were eleven in number. The ladies were six and the required number of guys made up the difference. In the middle of the training, the doors leading into the conference room where the training was being held flung open and at the entrance stood a pot-bellied elderly man. All eyes turned to look at him as the new personnel had no idea whom the man was. The man signaled to the trainer to carry on with the session. The personnel that were being trained turned their attention back to the trainer. As the trainer, a junior associate at Kaprisky Law Firm took the new personnel through the company’s history,  the pot-bellied man walked up to the front and introduced himself, “My name is Ben”. He requested that all the eleven personnel mention their names and the university they graduated from. After that was done, he told them that he would have someone join them in the course of the day before wishing them well and politely asking to take his leave.

Around midday, after the personnel had been treated to a world-class lunch, the doors to the conference room flung open again and this time, a gorgeous young, light-skinned, exquisitely  dressed, curvaceous and possibly well-cultured young lady started her way up the aisle to the front.

“Hello everyone”, the young lady greeted. “My name is Sandra and I am to join you in this training”, the young lady said confidently. She looked through the room to find a seat which had not been taken. She looked through the room and spotted the empty seat; it was right next to Henry…

THIS IS A BRAND NEW ONE!!!THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING!!! I WILL TRY TO DO SOMETHING NEW THIS TIME. BUCKLE YOUR SEATBELTS BECAUSE THIS SUSPENSE AND ACTION-FILLED THRILLER HAS GOT NO BREAKS ON. MY NAME IS EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY AND IN CASE YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN,  THIS IS JUST A RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT! SPREAD THE WORD!!!

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