"The court may rise!"
The loud and banging voice of the clerk pushed the people off their seats to respect the judge. But my heart was pounding rapidly and my bladder was growing enormously in urine. That was fear. I rested my head on the tip of the wooden table. Should I continue or should I abscond?
"The court may sit!"
I groaned internally, my decision had been made. I looked at the masses. The reporters were on standby, ready to write and deliver. The photographers were ready to take all angles of pictures of me.
I looked at the spiral bound book once more and started to read aloud.
"On the 15th of April, 2016, Mr. Tolu Olugoke, the accused was arrested with a charge of physical assault on a thirteen-year-old identified as his daughter, Mariam, the victim."
I paused for a second.
"Is the accused present? I said, looking at both the defender and the prosecutor.
"Yes." The defender said standing up.
He gestured with his hands to a guard closest to a brown door and the guard opened the door and a man dressed in an orange jumpsuit appeared and he sat beside the defender.
I looked closely and observed the handcuffs on him, I needed no seer to explain that he was the accused.
"Defender, you may speak". I said with all authority in my voice.
"Your Honor, Physical assault on a minor is outrightly wrong, but my client seated here, was dead drunk. When a man is drunk, he has no knowledge of his deeds. He succumbs to the alcohol and it sways him into unknown atrocities, he would never harm his daughter deliberately. This is his first offence on the law. So, I beg that you give him a lighter punishment."
"And the accused my client doesn't want to speak"
"Objection, Your Honor." A husky voice identified as the prosecutor boomed across the court.
I decided to go with the flow of intense acting.
"Thank you, Your Honor, you see my colleague is quite inefficient with his facts. This is not the first time the accused has physically assaulted his daughter. We cannot allow emotions to change the law. Physical assault is an offence defined by section 265 of the Nigerian constitution. I have pictures of the victim's injuries. But before that I want to call a witness. Shall I proceed?"
I was surprised by the undue intelligence of these two lawyers, seated opposite one another with different views.
"You shall proceed!"
The prosecutor waved his hands at a middle-aged woman seated at the front rows in the court and she seemed to be calm. She was guided towards the witness box which was flanked with a Bible and a Quran.
"I promise to say the truth and only the truth, so help me God." She said gripping the Bible with care.
"So how are you related to the accused and the victim." The prosecutor asked as he was now beside the witness box and facing her.
"The accused is my husband and the victim is my daughter" She said gripping the ends of the box tightly.
"So, Mrs. Olugoke, can you give us a recount of what happened on the 15th of April at 9pm?" The prosecutor asked.
"I was coming from the market and when I got home, I heard my daughter screaming. I rushed inside and I saw my husband, dead drunk gripping my daughter by the neck and he was beating her with a belt. She was strapped to the bed, weak and helpless and that bastard over there is looking for pity"
"No, he should be sent to rot in jail. To reflect on his devilish deeds. And this is not the first time he had assaulted her. He has been doing it for many times without remorse." Mrs. Olugoke said as hot loud tears escaped from her eyes, streaming down her face.
"You may leave." The prosecutor said gesturing to the bereaved woman inside the witness box.
"Your Honor, this is enough proof that the victim was really assaulted by her father. I hope that you will give a wise decision." The prosecutor continued, bowing.
I was completely awed, but I was here to replace my brother accidentally for a brief time and I wouldn't help to solve his problems related to his profession. I preferred another lasting method.
"The case is adjourned till the 20th of April, 2016." I said swallowing my fear and the pounding in my heart.
There were stirs from the crowd as they wondered what more the judge wanted. The defender was happy but the prosecutor was flaring up in rage.
The crowd once more stood up to respect the supreme body seated before them as they bowed. I stood up to leave but something pushed me back. I walked few centimeters and bowed to the amazement of the crowd. The photographers took a snapshot of that moment no matter how brief it was. And I quickly walked through the adjoining doors that welcomed freedom to my nostrils.
The panting and deep breaths of James was so observable as he was scared of the pestle resting in his assaulter's hand. The hooded figure went behind James to free the ropes holding him and the wooden chair together. The hooded figure dragged him by the collar towards a large round bucket filled with water that was stinking even without being close to it.
The hooded figure made James to kneel before the large bucket and he removed the tape from James's mouth which made him to whimper in pain. The hooded figure dipped his head into the large bucket pinning his neck into it. James identified the water as less ordinary as it smelt of the gutters. The water was obviously filled with faeces of poultry birds and goats. The hooded figure raised James's head slightly to his satisfaction and was about to proceed but James was very stiff.
"Please, I will give you any amount. Please don't do this to me. This is an offence punishable by law. Do you know that?" James said as he had swallowed bits of the water mistakenly.
"I am afraid that I do not desire your money, what I desire is your life." The hooded figure said chuckling in amazement.
Then the hooded figure raised his arms to remove his hood and the mask covering his eyes. James noticed his eyes were prominent with eye bags which meant lack of sleep.
"Do you remember this face?" He said, gripping James's neck in a forceful manner.
"No, I do not, maybe it would be identifiable in jail." James said smiling with no visible sign of fear.
He smacked James across the face and then put his hands on James shirt shifting his face to meet James's and he whispered.
"The quicker you remember me, the faster you die!"
JOHN'S POVBreath in! Breath out! Breathe in!Those were the words that I kept saying as I splashed water on my face. After the thorough refreshingly moment, I looked at the mirror and started to undo my tie. A huge feeling of disappointment had settled on my brows and I hit my palm on my forehead severally.I straightened my clothes and reached for the door knob but the knob also moved at that same moment, it caused a frenzy of fear and I screamed."Eniola, what are you doing in the men's toilet?" I said, putting my hands on my chest."I was searching for you everywhere and I figured you might be right here," Eniola chipped in smiling."Thanks for caring," I muttered in a sarcastic manner and fled through the doors.I removed the judge’s robe, placed it on my right
JAMES'S POV Flashback I walked into the court with a confident smile as usual. I knew the hearing of the day and even without glancing through it, I knew the verdict already. It was a planned event and well already paid for. I knew I was doing the wrong thing but the gift Danjuma would give would act as a consolation. "The court may sit!" I was so lost in thought that I couldn't even hear what the clerk was saying. I knew I just had to do this. "On the 4th of April, 2016. Mr Femi Salami was arrested with a charge of murder on the victim, Mrs Sade Salami,who is identified as his mother. He has undergone two trials and this is the last and final trial" "Is the accused present?" I continued.
JOHN'S POV"Now I am really confused ,it was her mother all along. What then was the pity stunt she pulled in the court?" I asked, looking intently at Eniola."As far as I know, only Mariam can divulge that information," Eniola muttered."And how is Mariam going to be the solution. She's not going to be in court and her innocent father will go to jail." I said yelling at Eniola."Quit yelling at me." Eniola hissed."Mariam will come to the court if she wants to tell the truth and that's all." Eniola said fastening her seat belts."We should have probably kidnapped her." I muttered under my breath."Excuse me?" Eniola said frowning."It's nothing. Don't bother." I said hurriedly."So where's the way to your house?" I said kicking the car to a start."Turn left, then go right and drop me,"
ENIOLA'S POVIt was really a bright Tuesday morning as lawyers adjusted their ties and their assistants running behind them to give them a breakdown on the day's turn in. I walked through the stairs with caution as I wanted to impress James with my black jumpsuit. I saw a familiar figure advancing towards me and I smiled and walked faster to catch up with him."You look more handsome than normal." I cooed."You look undeniably stunning Eniola." Ayo said ,blowing an invisible kiss."I know." I said.I grabbed his hands and interlocked it as we walked towards our respective offices."So how's everything?" Ayo said smiling at me."Well it's been a roller-coaster." I chuckled."And James?" Ayo asked."Well he's not so bad and he's kind of annoying" I pouted."It's being a lo
JOHN'S POVI reclined into my seat, reading newspapers were exhausting. The same headlines everyday. I knew that if I wanted to act like a judge at least I should be able to take a book and read on it.I stumbled on a textbook titled Elon Ad Vortem. It was an unfamiliar language that kept me intrigued. I checked it up on the internet and I couldn't belive that the meaning was so simple in contrast to the name itself. It meant Peace and Justice. I opened the pages and flipped through it .It was quite an heavy and voluminous textbook and the bulky paragraphs didn't help my condition.I can't do this. I opted to ask for Eniola's help.I yelled her name but I got no reply. Maybe she was trying to ignore me as usual. I stood up and checked through the glass windows and Eniola was fast asleep like a bird except that she was snoring loudly.I wanted to wake her up but I was scared of th
JOHN'S POV"Eniola why do you have anti-depressants in your bag?" I asked."Well it's for a friend, she asked me to buy it for her." Eniola said smiling."It's half filled Eniola." I stated shaking the bottle."Well it's none of your business." Eniola said grabbing the bottle from my hand."You just made it my business." I screamed."Eniola, get inside the car please." I continued.Eniola looked at me briefly. She waited for me to open the car and she flew into it without saying a word. There was a moment of silence in the car as Eniola kept tapping her hands on her laps in nervousness."I am going to drive to where we can talk about this." I stated.I got no reply from Eniola as she looked outside the window. I sighed deeply and the car kicked into life. There was a provision store nearby a
JAMES'S POV"Are you mad?"That was the first statement that jolted me back to life. The trailer didn't hit me. Apperently, the driver seemed very experienced in situations like this. My eyes opened to meet a furious driver hitting his car in anger."If you wanted to die. You should have taken rat poison instead of saving yourself this stress. Why do you want to implicate me? I can barely make ends meet." He screamed."I am so sorry sir. I didn't mean to jump in front of the road ,I am injured sir. Please help me." I said dropping on my knees.The driver inspected my injuries carefully, drinking in the possibilities of leaving me on the road to die or taking me to an hospital."Are you an armed robber."He said taking few steps backward."No sir, I was kidnapped." I said panting heavily."Alright, I'll get you to a h
JOHN'S POVA part of me felt pity for James and another part was giving in to less concern. I shifted comfortably on the chair wondering how James was ever hospitalized. He might have had cancer, I thought sheepishly. I shifted my head in confusion as the first ray of sunlight entered into my eye and I whispered silently. I stood up and adjusted the window blinds and the door knob shifted again to give a spotlight view of a stunning Eniola in a white gown."Good morning." Eniola greeted shly."Good morning Eni."I said smiling, letting go of the window blinds."Thank you for yesterday." Eniola said dropping a foodflask on my desk."I figured you might not have had breakfast." Eniola continued smiling."Oh yeah. Thank you." I said chuckling.Eniola smiled once more and left. Throughout our brief conversat