THE GLOOMY CORRIDORS (Episode 19) – Olumide Fatunsin

When Josephine turned and saw him following her, she told him she didn’t need his assistance. As soon as she entered the toilet, Paco followed after her. Josephine screamed due to the impact of the door but Paco was already undressing her. Within twinkling of an eye, he had unzipped his trousers and was ready to force his way when Pascal hit him with a club. Paco’s muscular body resisted the impact of the club and he turned on Pascal to vent his anger for trying to snatch his love.

Josephine was helpless when he saw them fighting outside the toilet. It was a no retreat, no surrender brawl until Flavio arrived. He quickly went to the guestroom to bring a skirt to cover her nakedness. Before he could stop them, Paco was on the floor writhing in pain after he was hit with an iron rod. Pascal ordered Flavio to tie him up. Josephine, who was still in shock stood there wondering what had come over him. Pascal hit him with the same club twice and spat on him to satisfy his anger.

Paco rested his head against the wall after he had been tied.

“You have touched the apple of my eyes. You will regret your foolish action and forget the date you were born. Nonsense!” Pascal threatened.

Paco was breathing heavily when Pascal slapped him again,

“If you can’t control your emotion, be ready to learn it in a hard way. How dare you!”

“I love Josephine! She is mine. Where were you when we jeopardised our lives travelling to dangerous places?” Paco blurted out.

“So? Didn’t you profit from it? Answer me!” Pascal nearly strangled him with his tough hands.

Paco still determined to let out his bottled emotions, “I want Josephine and you can’t stand on our way. Never!”

Pascal then looked at Josephine who leaned against the wall watching the love triangle drama. He knew something didn’t add up with his startling revelations. He commanded Flavio to lock him up in the underground cell until further notice. He then gently led her to the guestroom and locked the door securely. He couldn’t ask her any question as they sat on the bed.

“Thank you very much for your love.” She muttered looking into his eyes.

“I want my daughter.” was his quick response.

“How about me? I’m here with you.” She tried to place her hand on his shoulder but he stood up.

“I will surrender myself in exchange for your daughter.” She told him.

“How? Surrender to Sir Finn?”

“No, to you!”

He turned sharply, “Are you in your right senses?”

“No, I have lost my sense of reasoning. It’s you and only you I want.”

He was about to respond when someone knocked on the door. After inquiry, he opened the door. Flavio informed him that Paco was still bleeding and writhing in pain. Within twenty minutes, they were at the hospital. At 7am, two men were at the gate waiting for the release of Blanco and Gordo. Without Pascal’s consent, Josephine released them. By the time he came back in the afternoon, he met the gate wide opened. He ran inside to be sure everything was intact only to find his daughter sobbing in the living room.

He was surprised to see her and asked her how it happened.

“I paid her ransom.” Josephine appeared with a glass of wine and sipped it.

“How? Where are Blanco and Gordo?”

“Calm down! Aren’t you glad to meet your daughter? At least, appreciate my effort.”

*Dad, I hate you! I hate your friends!” Anne blurted out.

Josephine clapped her hands and turned to him,

“Anne hates your friends but likes me. Why don’t you understand, Pascal?”

Anne burst out in anger, “Dad, I’m tired of living with you. Josephine can’t be my mother. Never!”

She dropped her glass of wine to give her a befitting reply,

“Do you know how much I paid to secure your freedom? Do you think you can stop your father from marrying me? Ask your father how I contributed to the running of our business. This is a matter between matured people. This is a love affair! Is that clear?”

Pascal, who was already tensed up silenced her with a bang on the table. They looked at him with their faces begging for favourable response.

“Why did you let the men go? Why did you rope in my daughter? Josephine, what’s your plan exactly?”

Anne interrupted her father,

“Dad, she has been trying to shut my mouth but not anymore. I’m no more a kid. I remembered she was the one who introduced you to this new business and your life has taken a downward trend. You forced me against my will to follow you everywhere. You have almost ruined my life. Dad, why?”

“Will you keep quiet? It’s for your own good and a better future…” He challenged her.

“For my good? Dad, a better future? Sir Finn touched my body? Is that a better future? Eddy introduced me to alcoholic drinks, is that for my good? I have seen you in your worst state of anger and hatred and that has rubbed off me. Is that the kind of daughter you are preparing for the future? Answer me, Dad!”

Her father sat there looking like a politician who just lost an expensive election while Josephine rested her chin on her left hand like a football coach whose team is conceding goals repeatedly.

“Dad, I have attempted suicide twice but it just didn’t work. I don’t know how but I know God loves me. Your friends have built thick wall around you which made it difficult for me to enjoy your fatherly care. Eddy knows my …I mean, Eddy… Eddy knows everything about us.”

Pascal knew she deliberately omitted something but listened patiently to her grown-up daughter who had suddenly grown beyond her age. He sighed deeply and looked at Josephine who looked remorseful.

“Josephine can’t be my mother. Dad, where’s my mother?”

Pascal stood up suddenly and …

To be continued in Episode 20.

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Olumide Fatunsin

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