“We’re going to restart your case from the top and follow through it”, the judge explains briefly.
The lawyers and Zaynab nod with agreement. The judge clears her throat then begins her interrogation.
“Mrs Adebisi, your lawyer is Mr Dawson...correct?“,the judge looks at Zaynab who’s leaning tiredly against the stand.
“Are you okay?“she asks Zaynab when she doesn’t reply.
Zaynab who looks like she’d drop any second looks at the judge and nods.
“Yeah and uh yeah he is”she nods.
“Your husband was Abiodun Adebisi, correct?“.
She hums and rubs her face before nodding.
“And what is your plead?“.
Zaynab looks at Mark Dawson, who is also one of Fawaz friend.
He shakes his head and she sighs.
“Not guilty”she whispers.
“I’ve read your statement and the little girls statement. But I would love to hear what made you kill your husband personally”.
All eyes are now on Zaynab who rubs her forehead.
“It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t mean to. I- just. I was trying to- he was a b-“she stops and her voice cracks.
“Its alright. Take a minute”.
“I didn’t mean to. I really didn’t. We were both fighting for the gun. He was going to shoot her and I tried to stop him but I don’t know. All I saw next was him on the floor. But I didn’t do it intentionally”she explains with tears in her eyes.
The judge watches her as she finishes then she looks at Mark.
“I’ve heard your lawyer, you and Abiodun’s lawyer. Nothing adds up. Why would a father want to kill his own daughter? Can you tell me that?“.
“His daughter?“Zaynab scoffs and wipes her tears.
“He has no feelings whatsoever for her. He treats her as if she isn’t his at all. She meant nothing to him”.
“The way you speak of him, sounds to me you didn’t get along?“.
“You can say that again”Zaynab sighs.
“He wasn’t always like that though. It was weird. Actually deceitful. When we first met, he was this nice, kind guy. The way he walked, talked, it just matched his words. I fell for that person. Buuuut everything turned sideways a month after we got married. He changed, he’d just start yelling at me for the littlest things. It got worse when he started putting his hands on me. It got even worse because most of the time I’d have to go to the hospital.
So one day he just decides that we were moving from Ireland to Detroit. He told me to quit my job so I did. I packed our tho gs and we got to Detroit. Turns out he had a wife. Not one but two. His first wife died because of him and his second wife.....well thank God she didn’t die from him shooting her. So basically yeah, am his third wife. He had a daughter that he doesn’t even know where she is and then his second daughter is Abisola. He abused not just me but Abeke also and even Abisola.
He didn’t tell me any of this before, I had just found out from his wife who told me everything. First of all, he’s not even an optician, he’s a drug dealer. He’s in a gan-”
“Sorry to cut you off Mrs Adebisi but why didn’t you leave then? You had all the signs before you even moved to Detroit so why did you stay?“,Carl (Abiodun’s lawyer) asks her.
The judge glances from him to Zaynab who sighs.
“Well at first it was because I just felt so dumb like. It was humiliating...not because I was tolerating it but because I was warned about him. Literally none of my family felt right about him but I didn’t listen...I just got mad at them each time until they just stopped. But by the time I realized what a fool I was and decided to leave anyways, it was too late. He wouldn’t let me go. He’d even threaten to kill my entire family. The same threat he told Abeke. He threatened us with that each time. Not even just that, we weren’t allowed to do anything without his permission. He had cameras all around the house, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room, every single place. We couldn’t even escape even if we wanted to, he’d always catch us.
We were close one day actually. I had put chilli in his food. He got knocked out from the numbness he felt. So we had a chance. And we were close to escaping too but”.
“But what?“the judge asks her.
“We got stopped by a cop. Who was his friend. He gave him passes every time. He took us back to him”
“A cop? From here?“the judge and just about everyone in the court room gasps.
“Yeah. I can’t remember his surname but I know his first name. Nate and he has a scar under his eye”she tells the judge who hums as she writes on her book.
“Take me back to the last scene”.
Zaynab sniffs and wipes her tears.
“So he came home drunk and was just in a bad mood. He called for Abisola, his daughter. He was yelling at her and made her cry. He got irritated by her crying and slapped her. Things got out of hand and Abeke and I got our asses beat, anyways. He was strangling the two of them, so I knocked him down with a stool.
Abeke who was now fed up decided we were escaping. He nearly killed her daughter so it made sense. I went up to get Abisolas teddy bear when all of a sudden I hear screaming. When I got down he was smashing Abeke’s head into the wall. At this point I was just done.
I told Abisola to go to our hiding spot which she did. I attacked Abiodun from behind and just kept hitting him with the stool but got pulled back by Abeke. We tried to run out but he got my feet and dragged me backwards.
Long story short, he pulled out his gun, shot Abeke, punched me in the face, my vision blurred. All of a sudden I see him aiming the gun at Abisola. I don’t know what came over me, I just attacked him. Next thing I know we’re both wrestling for the fun. It slipped from his hand and into mine but I didn’t know what to do now. I had the gun but I’ve never used it before and I swear on my life I wasn’t planning on using it either. But I didn’t even have time to think it through when he grabbed the fun but his hand pressed on my finger which was apparently on the trigger, I think that’s it anyways, because he was just on the floor bleeding after that. That’s when the cops came in”.
Zaynab sucks in some air slowly with a shaky breath and looks up slolwt at the judge who’s staring at her.
“So domestic violence”.
“Something like that. But I swear I didn’t mean to. It wasn’t intentional. Being the reason for someone else’s death is something I prayed not to be a part of”, a tear slides down her cheek as she finishes.
“You said he had cameras around the house?“the judge asks her.
The judge looks at Mark who smiles then walks towards her with a phone in his hand.
“Abiodun was smart. He had his victims planned out carefully. He used different names for them all until he had them together. The real reason why he does so is still not certain but he just tortures them. He’s also responsible for the death of his first wife Zara Adebisi. These documents are medical proof of his fingerprint at the scene of murder and that is his first wife Zara. His daughter who goes by Salma is still missing to this day. This is the picture of his first wife and the second wife who is in a critical condition at the hospital right now and also his daughter Abisola”,Mark explains while handing the judge different papers.
“Abiodun was smart but unfortunately not enough. He had all the videos from his house backed up into his phone. Fortunately for us we were able to retrieve the video essential to this case. In this phone is a video of what happened exactly at the time prior to his death”,Mark tells the judge who hands the assistants the phone.
They do their thing and I guess backed it up onto a laptop.
The screen turns on and shows Zaynab in some sweatpants and white shirt with her hijab in a bun. She’s walking down the landing with a teddy bear in her hand when all of a sudden there’s yelling coming from down the stairs.
She drops the bear and gasps loudly then runs down the stairs and towards a crying Abisola who’s watching as Abiodun smashes her mothers head into the wall with no mercy.
“Hey baby, go to the hidespot. Don’t come out until I tell you. Go now”.
Abisola runs out of the house leaving Zaynab, the bastard and Abeke. She rushes to the stool and smacks it on his head making him drop Abeke then she continues hitting him.
“Your going to kill him, let’s go”,Abeke pushes her off.
The clip skips to Abiodun and Zaynab wrestling for the gun.
“Goodbye Zaynab”,Abiodun smirks smacking the gun off her but then a gunshot goes off and Zaynab jumps back in fear and screams loudly as Abiodun hits the floor bleeding.
She throws the gun down instantly and her chest heaves up and down with shock.
“Abiodun? I didn’t mean to. Am sorry. Oh my God. Am sorry I di-“.
She rushes to him and holds his cheek.
“Please please don’t die don’t die. Am d-“.
She starts panicking and when Zaynab panics, she cries which is exactly what she’s doing now. This is when the cops run in with guns aimed at Zaynab.
The video ends and everyone looks at Zaynab who covers her face and shakes her head.
I can’t believe she’s been going through all this and none of us thought to look for her when she just stopped talking to us all, including her parents. She looks so broken. I pray that bastard goes to hell. I just want to hold her and assure her that she’s now safe. That no one will ever hurt her again. That we got her, I got her.
“Aside from that, I want you to look at the pictures of his wives and his daughters properly”,Mark says.
The screen is blacked out then a picture of his wives and daughters appear.
I feel a tug on my shirt so I look down to find Salma smiling up at me.
“What’s wrong?“I ask her and put her on my lap.
“That’s my mom”she whispers.
I look from her to the picture of Abiodun’s first wife, Zara then at the picture next to her of a smiling Salma.
“Salma”the entire row of our family gasps loudly then all eyes land on her.
“But your honour. I do have a witness to testify against him. As much as I’d hate this, its the only way to prove that Mrs Adebisi isn’t lying. My witnesses are Abiodun’s two daughters, Abisola and Salma”,Mark says.
“But I thought Salma was missing”the judge raises an eyebrow.
“Yeah, she was. I was going through the evidences when I came across a picture of her. She’s adopted by a friend of Zaynab’s.... Aayan and Aamanee Ali”,Mark explains then he turns towards Salma who smiles and jumps off my lap.
“Be careful up there”Aamanee whispers.
“Okay”Salma holds Marks hand. He leads her towards the front. The judge stands up and with the help of the guards beside her, she reaches Salma who hands her hands in front of her and rocking side to side.
“Hey sweetie. How are you doing?“,the judge smiles and sits on the stairs with Salma beside her.
“Am fine, thanks for asking”,Salma whispers politely.
“Aw your adorable. Look. I know this is a very bad situation so its up to you if you want to witness against your father”,she tells Salma who bites her lip.
“He used to beat me and mommy everyday. He killed mommy too. He didn’t like me because I wasn’t a boy. He said he didn’t love me and he wanted me dead so my mommy told me to run away. Her friend took me to Ireland but daddy killed her too leaving me on the streets. That’s when I met my new parents”she smiles at the end.
“And you’re happy with them?“the judge chuckles as Salma nods her head frantically.
“Do you have anything else you want to say?“the judge asks her.
“Yeah”,Salma turns to Zaynab.
“Thank you”she tells her.
“What?“,the judge whispers.
“I don’t want him to die but for you to live, he’d need to die. He would’ve killed you and the rest. He’s a very bad man. So thank you for rescuing other future women that would’ve been deceived by his fake act”,she says with a sincere tone.
Everyone just stared at her as she spoke. Zaynab smiles a little as Salma walks over to me. She sits beside me and breaths out slowly.
“And Abisola?“,the judge clears her throat.
A little girl seated beside Mark stands up. Mark picks her up and takes her to the judge who smiles and shakes her hand.
“Aren’t you a cutie. How you feeling?“she brushes the bruises from her cheeks and smiles sadly.
“I want my mommy”,Abisola’s bottom lip shakes then she starts crying.
“Hey baby your mother will be okay soon. Don’t cry please”,The judge tries to calm her down but she just cries harder.
“Abby stop crying. Yo ma won’t like it now will she”,Zaynab calls out to Abisola who looks at her and shakes her head quickly.
“She’ll be fine. Just answer what the lady has to ask you okay? Then you can get out of here and see your ma”,she tells her.
Abisola smiles and nods quickly then turns to the judge who smiles.
“You like your aunty?“,the judge asks her.
“Aunty is nice. She save me and mommy”Abisola kicks her feet around and nods.
“Saved you how?“.
“When daddy got angry with mommy or me. Aunty would always calm him down and let him beat her instead of us”.
The judge sighs a little then she nods at Mark who walks back to his seat and puts Abisola down.
The judge looks at Zaynab and walks to her. Zaynab furrows her eyebrows and gulps.
“Zaynab”she touches her hand and smiles a little then she hugs Zaynab who let’s out a shaky breath then shuts her eyes tightly.
“Well Zaynab”The judge sits down on her chair and smiles.
“Your free. Your case is self defense which should usually earn you about 3 to 5 years in jail but the exception is you saved two lives forgetting your own. Which means your not doing time”,she says as she slams her gavel down and stands up.
The rest of us stand up after her ready to rush to Zaynab.
“And arrest officer Jenson. Investigate more on any other cops involved any gang members”,she tells the cops surrounding her. They all nod then she leaves.
“Zaynab”Eniola rushes over to her and hugs her tightly.
“You idiot. Nobody cares if we warned you. How can you be so st-“.
“Eniola shush. Just shush”Zaynab groans loudly then she hugs her sister tighter and smiles.
“You don’t know how good it is to see you. I thought I’d die with him”,she whispers then tears just make their way down her cheeks until she eventually burst onto tears.
“Hey don’t cry. Your okay now. Its okay”,her mom hugs her and wipes her tears away.
“Am sorry for not listening to you in the first place. From now on whatever you say. I don’t care what it is. I’ll listen to you”,Zaynab cries harder.
“I’d have loved to hear this ages ago but now is good too”aunt says which the two chuckle.
“Daddy”she turns to uncle and throws herself at him. He sighs and rubs her back.
“Now can we see mommy?“Abisola runs to Zaynab who picks her up and nods.
“Thanks Mark”Fawaz hugs Mark who smiles.
“Not a problem bruh. Don’t mention it”,he smiles then looks at Zaynab who smiles.
“Ah thanks Waz”,Zaynab hugs Fawaz who chuckles.
“First of all don’t ever call me that EVER AGAIN”,he warns her then hugs her tightly as she chuckles.
“Hey b”Aaleyah smiles.
The two girls stand in front of each other, smile, sigh sadly then leap on each other like kangaroos. Like really girls? Really?
“I missed you”Aaleyah whispers.
“Am sorry I missed your birth a-”
“Hus name is Abdul Azeez. You’ll meet him, he’s at home with daddy”,Aaleyah chuckles.
“Nize name nize one”.
She turns around and her eyes land on me.
“Ugh don’t tell me your gonna get all emotional again. Maybe Abiodun should’ve kept you like”I comment.
“Nigga”she gasps and smacks my arm then we both chuckle.
“Am messing. Never again. I hated the asshole anyways”,I smile.
“Yeah yeah. You were right”.
“What was that?“I gasp and hold my chest.
She rolls her eyes and folds her arms.
“I didn’t catch that. Did Zaynab just admit that am right? For once?“I yell in her face.
“Shut up nigga”she chuckles and starts hitting me which lead to the both of us laughing.
“Yeah I missed you ugh”she sighs then hugs me.
“Yeah me too. Everyday”I whisper to her and tighten my hold on her.
“Okay um I know am not invisible”Khalid says out loud.
“Ah could never forget my favorite guy”,Zaynab moves away from me and jumps on Khalid who chuckles.
“I swear another idiot comes and you choose him over us, am smacking yo dumb ass again”he warns her.
“Damn b okay”she gasps.
“You really scared me”he whispers.
“Am sorry”she smiles sadly and starts kissing all over his face resulting in the two laughing.
“Okay so girls hey”she briefly hugs Ayoub and Aamanee after hugging my parents, Aaleyah’s mom, Aremu and Fawaz parents and her brother.
“So your my little sister”,Salma smiles down at Abisola who frowns and hides beside Zaynab.
“You adopted her?“Zaynab looks at me.
She takes a deep breath and makes a face.
“You okay?“,I ask her.
“Yeah am f-“.
Before she could speak, her hands drop to her sides then she starts falling face forward towards me so I quickly catch her.
“Hey”I tap her cheeks but there was no respond.
“Hospital. Aayan get her in the car and take her to the hospital. We’ll meet you there. The rest of you go home and rest”,her mom orders.
I bend down and pick Zaynab up bridal style and walk out of the courtroom.