“Is she dead yet?” Benita’s
voice spat venom through the phone.
“Dead ma? Who’s dead?”
The voice asked.
“Don’t be stupid! I
placed you in that house to be my eye and not to play dumb. Is Lillian dead yet
or not?” Benita asked.
“No ma…she’s still
alive.” The voice replied.
“How? She….is supposed
to be long gone! What’s happening?”

“She fainted this
evening ma…but the doctor said she’s okay.” The voice responded.
Benita shut her eyes in
anger, she couldn’t believe that Lillian had come out unscathed from yet
another one of her traps. What could have gone wrong? She thought.
“What of the new girl?
The little girl!” Benita asked.
“She’s fine ma.”
“You’re stupid! You’re
supposed to tell me that the little brat is dead.” Benita fired.
“Dead? How?” The voice
asked in confusion.
“Don’t make me regret
planting you inside that house. Your family owes my family big time and they
still do. Don’t make us stop our support.” Benita threatened.
“Please ma, it’s not
what you think…”
“What do you want me to
think? I gave that girl a doll and expected her to cuddle it and take it
wherever she goes like every normal girl would.”
“Ha! Auntie, Sophia is
not a normal girl ooo…she’s different from other girls.”
“That’s rubbish.”
“I can prove it ma. When
oga brought the doll back she told me that the person who gave her the doll
didn’t want her in the house. Infact, she’s been trying to draw my madam to
church and …”
“Will you shut up? If I
want an update of the girl’s life, I’ll ask you for it. I just needed you to
tell me that they are dead but you apparently have no good news for me so,
goodnight.” Benita said and hung up.
Benita was angry, she
looked at the candles she had arranged on her dresser and she pushed the wax
figures to the ground screaming in anger as she did so. Why weren’t her gods answering
her? Have they suddenly gone deaf? She wondered.
At Lillian’s house, the
housekeeper quietly placed her phone into her pocket and looked around to be
sure that no one eavesdropped on her conversation. She smoothened her dress and
made her way out of the backyard and into the house.
**********
Lillian looked at the
flat tyre of her car and sighed, Sophia was at the back seat of her car all
dressed and ready for her first day of school.
“Why?” Lillian asked in
agony, staring at her tyre as though it could answer her.
Gregory emerged from
inside the house and walked towards his car with his briefcase, he didn’t even
ask her what was wrong. After her mother had told her all the things he’d said
about their marriage, they had stayed farther apart from each other than ever.
“What’s the matter
auntie Lillian?” Sophia asked, stepping out of the car with her uniform.
“It’s my tire…it’s
flat.”
“We’re late….” Sophia
noted. “Why don’t we join uncle Gregory?”
Lillian scoffed and
looked at her tyre.
“He’s not taking our
route.”
“Why don’t we ask him?”
Sophia asked and skipped off towards Gregory’s car.
Lillian wanted to stop
her but it was late, Sophia was already at Gregory’s car.
“We have a flat tyre.”
Sophia informed her aunt’s husband.
“So?” Gregory asked, starting
his car.
“Can you give us a
ride?”
“No! I’m in a hurry.” He
said.
“We all are. It’s my
first day of school and auntie has to get to work on time too. Why don’t you
drop us off then auntie can call a vulcanizer to come to the house with his
tools.” Sophia suggested.
“You’re always ahead of
yourself.” Gregory said to her.
“Why do you say that?
Have I said something wrong?” Sophia asked so innocently.
Gregory sighed, he
always picked up Benita from her house every morning and dropped her off at
work, he had no idea of the excuse to give the little girl.
“No you didn’t.” He
said.
“Then…please, will you
take my aunt and I to our destinations?” She asked.
“Sure…” Gregory said
despite himself.
“Cool.” Sophia said and
rushed back to meet her aunt.
“Auntie…let’s go.” She
said when she got to her aunt.
Lillian looked at Sophia
in confusion.
“Let’s go? Don’t you see
that my car has a flat? I have called the vulcanizer and he said he’ll be here
in an hour.” Lillian said tiredly.
“Uncle will drop us
off….” Sophia said. “Then, uncle Callistus will bring the car to your
office.” She said speaking of Lillian’s driver who had taken yesterday off to
see his family.
“I don’t think that’s a
good idea.” Lillian started.
“What’s not a good idea?
I am late for school and you need to get to work. C’mon! Let’s go!” Sophia said
bringing out her bag from the car and walking over to Gregory’s car. Lillian
had no choice but to do as her niece had bid.
It had been so long
since she rode with her husband in the same vehicle, and it all seemed strange
riding with him again after such a long time.
“Hello.” She greeted.
“Hi…” He responded.
Lillian
got into the front seat beside her husband as he was the one driving the car
while Sophia sat at the back.
Soon,
they were out of the gate.
“When I
get home today, I’d like us to have a talk.” Gregory said to Lillian.
“About
what?” She asked.
“Let’s
not discuss it here.” Gregory said.
“If
it’s what you told my mom some days ago…” Lillian started.
“Can we
turn on the music?” Sophia asked loudly, perching in-between the front seats.
Gregory
turned on the music and Sophia bobbed her head to it.
“If you
are going to talk about our marriage and how…” Lillian started again.
“Do you
have kiddies music? Barbie or Sesame Street maybe?” Sophia asked loudly.
“Sophia!”
Lillian cautioned.
“No, I
don’t have any of that…” Gregory said to her.
“Okay…but
this music is too slow, and it sounds sad…I want something faster.” She said.
“Here’s
the remote…you can switch stations.” He said handing her a small stereo
remote.
“Cool.”
Sophia said.
“Yes, I
wanted us to talk about our marriage and how we…” Gregory started.
Sophia
changed the music and turned up the volume so her aunt and her husband could
hardly hear each other.
“Turn
that volume down! Sophia!” Lillian shouted.
“Why
are you yelling?” Sophia asked, turning down the music a little.
Her
aunt sighed deeply and turned to her.
“Do you
want to damage our ear drums?” Lillian asked.
“Auntie,
can we drop you off at your office first? I’d like to see your office.” Sophia
said changing the topic.
“We are
dropping you off at school first.” Her aunt insisted.
“Please…I
want to know where you work..” Sophia said so sweetly. “If I don’t get to see
it today, I might not see it again.”
Lillian
was frustrated, Sophia had ended up mangling her discussion with her husband.
“Gregory,
could you kindly take me to my office?” Lillian asked.
“Sure…”
Gregory said and continued driving.
The
couple was silent the rest of the way and Sophia was relieved, she had asked
her aunt to show her where she worked because she wanted her to be dropped off
first so that she wouldn’t continue her conversation with her husband. Sophia
knew that whatever uncle Gregory wanted to discuss wasn’t good. Thirty minutes
later, they were at Lillian’s office and Sophia didn’t even spare the complex a
second glance as she bade her aunt goodbye and rode on with her aunt’s husband.
“Don’t
forget the school address, I left the brochure on the car seat.” Aunt Lillian
had called out to her husband as she dropped off.
Gregory
glanced at his wrist watch and sighed again, Benita would be waiting for him,
he thought.
“What’s
wrong uncle?” Sophia asked.
“Nothing…does
it seem like something’s wrong?”
“You’ve
sighed three times this morning.”
“It’s
nothing…” He said as he drove her towards her school.
“Is
someone waiting for you?” She pressed.
He
looked at her through the review mirror.
“Why do
you ask that?”
“That’s
because I can feel that someone’s waiting for you.” She said.
Gregory’s
phone chose that moment to ring and when he answered, he forgot that his phone
was connected to the car speaker.
“Hey
baby! What’s going on? I’ve been waiting for you?” Benita’s shrill voice came
through.
Gregory
panicked and he quickly parked the car and disconnected his device so it wasn’t
on speaker.
“Can
you get to work on your own?” He asked.
“Are
you serious? No freaking way! You are either coming to pick me up or…” Benita’s
voice nagged his ears.
“Okay…I’m
coming…” He said and hung up.
Sophia
slowly moved to peer between the two front seats and asked.
“Was
that your girlfriend?”
Gregory
looked at her, the way her facial expression changed from that of a sweet
looking girl to an enraged child gnawed at him.
“Errr…no…I
mean…you shouldn’t be eavesdropping on conversations.” He started.
“I can’t
ride with you!” Sophia said and quickly unlatched the door and jumped out of
the car. 
Gregory swore as he turned off the car ignition and stepped out of the
car. He could see her running away from the car, he almost screamed in
frustration as he began running after her.

To be continued on Sunday….

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