Sophia hopped off the school bus, she wasn’t really feeling well
and she didn’t want to let her aunt and uncle know about it so she was trying
to hide it from them as much as she could. The gate opened and she walked into
the house with her school bag and lunch pack which contained food that she
sticking out above her head. She was taken aback.
the house. Sophia wasn’t feeling too well so she hurried up to her room and lay
down on the bed. She was finding it so difficult to breathe as it seemed as
though there was no air in the room. The housekeeper walked into the room and
stared at her lying on the bed.
not ooo…I can’t possibly explain to madam when she comes back the reason her
niece refused to eat lunch.”
downstairs for lunch.
housekeeper hissed and went out of the room. Some minutes later, Sophia could
perceive the aroma of food.
spoonful of food close to Sophia’s mouth.
because of you.”
Sophia spat despite her weak state.
behaved. To think that I cooked this meal for you all for you to reject it.”
at the delicious-looking plate of food on her bed.
As soon as she left the room, Sophia looked at the food and
sighed. She wasn’t hungry and she couldn’t tell if she was hallucinating or if
she was really seeing two horns above the housekeeper’s head. She rubbed her
eyes with the back of her palms and picked up the spoon. She took a morsel of
food and was about putting it inside her mouth when she heard a tap at her
window. She turned towards the sound and smiled. It was her bird friend, whom she’d named Sunflower. It had a nest at her window and she seldom spoke to it
whenever she was alone and back home from school.
to push open the window and the net.
and made some confusing sounds. She stood at the window and stared at it with a
spoonful of food and took it to the window. She poured the food on the window
sill and watched the bed eat.
the bed eat.
the bed and noticed that a spoonful had been taken from it.
spoon…and I’m already full.”
over the bottle of water to Sophia.
said as she left the room.
bed and lay on her bed, closing her eyes to sleep.
recounted the lunch she had with her husband and was pleased. It was just like
old times and even better. They had spoken at length about life and the future
and she was so surprised that Gregory spoke about their future as though he was
certain that they’ll be together for a long time. She alighted from her car and
handed her bag over to the driver who took it inside the house. She had her
phone in her hand and she felt it vibrate.
which had apparently called her about five times. “The orphanage?” She echoed
as she recalled registering this phone number as that of the orphanage admin. “How come I didn’t see the missed calls?”
female voice started.
afternoon. She was asking for your contact and also for your house address. I
was wondering if you’d like me to give it to her or …”
it could only mean one thing. That she wanted Sophia back.
pending till her mother returns and now she’s back so, you might have to bring
her back here so that her mother can take her.”
for the information.” Lillian said and
getting so used to having Sophia around and the little girl lightened the dark
side of her life as well as Gregory’s. She saw how much her husband loved
Sophia and how he rushed home early everyday to join in their small prayer
group. Sophia was a blessing to them and now, her mother wanted her back. She
sighed. Her phone beeped and she saw the phone number sent to her by the
administrator. She heaved a deep breath and placed a call to the number.
daughter at an orphanage, named me as her guardian and had me bring her into my
home. Do you know the battles I’ve fought to keep her here? At first, everyone thought
that bringing Sophia here was a bad idea and now that we’re all getting used to
it, you want to take her away. What are you? A psychopath?”
you feel like it!” Lillian shouted.
my daughter back, I was just contacting you because…” Her voice broke. “I
have no one else and you’re all the family I’ve got. My life is messed up.”
you the way I did.”
been a bad mother and a bad sibling.” She cried.
How do you survive?”
because I had to hustle and I couldn’t take her along with me. I know I’m not a good mother and Sophia doesn’t deserve a mother like me. I’m glad you
came to take her…”
resounded over and over again in her ears. She felt sorry for her but she couldn’t take her
You accepted my daughter, can you accept me too?”
Lillian said despite herself.
Lillian laughed despite herself.
daughter won’t acknowledge her greeting? She wondered.
stepped into Sophia’s room and saw her lying on the bed as though lifeless.
Lillian called out.
didn’t respond. Lillian panicked, she screamed out Sophia’s name and rushed to
shake her awake. The housekeeper entered the room at that moment.
is it madam?” The housekeeper asked.
Lillian called out, shaking Sophia’s little form.
opened her eyes and smiled at her aunt.
you okay darling?” Lillian asked.
think I must have fallen into a deep sleep.” Sophia said.
housekeeper was stunned, she looked at Sophia in shock. Wasn’t she supposed to
be dead? The poison in one spoon of food was supposed to kill her.
sat up weakly.
you eaten something?” Lillian asked.
You shouldn’t starve yourself.” Lilian said getting upset.
gave her food ma but I didn’t know she didn’t eat it.” The housekeeper said.
can you say that? You are supposed to be sure that she’s eaten.” Lilian said
upset at the housekeeper.
blame her auntie…it’s my fault.” Sophia said.
know she ate at least a spoonful.” The housekeeper said.
you eat at least a spoonful?” Lillian asked.
shook her head.
fed Sunflower…” She said.
sunflower?” Lillian asked.
bird friend. She sleeps outside my window.” Sophia said getting off her bed and
walking towards her window.
pushed open the window and the net and heard a loud plop as a stiff figure fell into her room.
shot off the bed and hurried to stand by her.
is it Sophia?”
dead.” Sophia said in shock.
housekeeper stood there transfixed, she stared at the still form of the bird on
poor birdie…I’m sure it must have been sick.” Lillian said.
was healthy…it was fine till it ate the food I fed it.” Sophia said.
are you saying?” Lillian asked.
Suddenly, Sophia realised why the housekeeper had insisted on giving her the food.
tried to poison me!” Sophia said pointing at the housekeeper.
Lillian asked abashed.
it! You wanted me to eat by all means possible…you want me dead! Who sent
you?” Sophia asked walking over to the housekeeper in menace.
housekeeper’s legs trembled, she stared at Sophia in fear.
ridiculous Sophia, c’mon…the bird died of natural causes.” Lillian said to
the truth and shame the devil!” Sophia said advancing towards the housekeeper with
a look of anger in her eyes.
not true…I…I…” The housekeeper started.
the name of Jesus, I want you to confess to me what you wanted to do to me.”
stopped short and stared at her niece. Did she need to drag Jesus into this?
She wondered. The door opened and Gregory stepped into the room, regarding everyone
will talk wait…” The housekeeper said falling on her knees.
in the world is going on here?” Gregory asked staring at Sophia and his wife.
madam that sent me…” The housekeeper cried.
sent you?” Lillian asked.
you…I mean my madam.” The housekeeper said.
you mean there’s another madam other than me in this house?” Lillian asked
is going on?” Gregory asked.
called me this morning and asked that I poison Sophia with rat poison. I put
the poison in her food and wanted her to eat it. I am sorry…”
and Gregory stared at the housekeeper, they were very confused. What was
happening? They wondered.
planned to poison Sophia? With who?” Gregory asked.
madam? Stop roping me into your nonsense schemes. I only instructed you to make
lunch for Sophia and …”
don’t mean you ma…I mean Oga’s madam.” The housekeeper said.
madam?” Lillian asked.
Benita…oga’s second wife.” The housekeeper said in tears.
air froze for a moment as Lillian stared at her husband in pure shock.
have another wife? And she’s plotting to kill my niece?” Lillian asked in fury.