Kentura stared at Melvin’s mother, she was shocked beyond words. She couldn’t believe that friendship that had been nurtured from childhood had grown into love.

“Yes, he is and he is the only one that really knows my story…even Melvin has no idea of the kind of family I came from.”

“My mother served God…too…she knew Him before she died.” Kentura said with tears in her eyes. “I remember that she was a believer…”

“Are you serious? Did my sister…really get to know God?” Melvin’s mother asked hopefully.

“Yes she did…she wrote a lot about discovering God, in her letters.”

Melvin’s mother looked at her and said.

“Can I…read some of her letters? I’d like to know more of what my sister went through before she died.”

“I left my bag in the taxi cab outside the gate and my mother’s letters are there.”

“Why did you leave your bag in the taxi cab? Kentura, I want you…to know that you are welcome to stay here…”

“You’re such a hypocrite! So, now that you realise that we are actually blood-related, you want me to stay?”

“No, of course not…that’s not it…ask my nurse and she’ll tell you that I have sent someone to search for you.”

“That’s a lie! Don’t add insult to injury…I will send you the letters but this is the last time you’d ever hear from me again. I pity Melvin for having a hard-hearted mother like you and I fail to believe that you and my mother are sisters because she was nothing like you!” Kentura said. She stood up from the sofa and headed towards the door.

“Kentura, please…I can help you…there’s something about you that you must know…” Melvin’s mother cried.

“Isn’t it too late?” Kentura spat at her.

“I have something to tell you Kentura…please…listen to me…”

Kentura walked out and slammed the door.

“Kentura, you have a double personality…I have seen it…I have seen the other woman inside of you…” Melvin’s mother cried out but it was too late, Kentura didn’t hear what she’d said.

*************

Eunice read all the letters that Kentura had sent up to her and she understood all that had taken place after she’d left her family home. She opened the last letter from her sister and read.

‘I am running away from mama, she wants to initiate me fully into the order of priestesses but I don’t want to be a part of it.  My husband is scared of our mother but he supports me. He says that we can’t serve God and the devil at the same time so, he wants me to officially tell mama that I am not going to serve the gods of our ancestors. I can imagine how she’d feel, and I feel sad for her. If only she knows how loving God is and how merciful He is. He is ready to forgive her for all the blood sacrifices she’s done and all the atrocities she’s committed in the name of religion. I wish I were in your shoes, I wish I had run away sooner but I was too cowardly.

My husband and I are going to pay her a visit on this day, the 25th of September, just to tell her how much we love her but that we love God more and that we believe that Jesus died to set us free from bondage and slavery of sin and death. Wish me luck sis, even though I know you might never read this letter, I know deep in my heart that you always think of me and pray for me. We will drop the kids with my sister-in-law and go to pay mama a visit. I hope she accepts my decision and also decides to renounce the gods she’s served for many years. I love you sister and I wish that someday, we meet again and share our stories.’

As she dropped the letter, tears fell from her eyes, she saw a picture in an envelope and took it out. It was the picture of her sister’s tombstone, and it was obviously taken by Kentura or any of her siblings. She looked at the picture of the tombstone and saw the date of her sister’s birth and death, her heart skipped a beat. She quickly picked up the letter that she’d just read and scanned through it, then saw that the date her sister had written in the letter, clashed with the date of her death.  Her sister had died on the 25th of September on the same year she’d gone to speak to her mother of her resolve to follow Christ. It also meant that her mother had been behind the accident and death of her sister and husband.

****************

Kentura couldn’t stop shedding tears, she sat by the side of the road with her bag beside her and wept. She couldn’t process all that she’d found out about her mother’s family, she couldn’t also process the discovery that her mother and Melvin’s mother were blood sisters. She picked up her cell phone from her purse and turned it on. It had been switched off for days and she knew that her colleagues at work would be worried about her. No sooner had she turned on the phone than Ijeoma’s call came in.

“Kentura!” Ijeoma called out as soon as the phone was picked. “I just came back from my trip and I have been calling you to no avail.”

“Hello…”

“Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick. I called your phone a million times but you didn’t answer. I have looked for you everywhere and everyone at work is worried about you.”

“Ijeoma…I want to die.” Kentura said.

“God forbid! Don’t say that rubbish. Where are you?”

“I don’t know….I’m by the roadside.”

“Where’s your location?”

“I can’t say…I just told the taxi guy to drive me around and asked him to stop me here…I really don’t know where I am and I don’t care.”

“C’mon Kentura, tell me where you are so that I can come and pick you.”

“I am alone in this world and my mother’s sister…hates me…”

“You’re blabbing darling…please just tell me where you are and I’ll come and pick you up.”

“You don’t want me in your house…I am trouble…and if I come to stay with you, I’ll bring trouble to your doorstep.” Kentura cried.

“No, you are not trouble, Kentura. Tell me where you are please…”

Kentura looked at the signboard close to where she was seated and called out the location to her friend.

“I will be with you right away, just stay there…please…” Ijeoma said and hung up.

As soon as Ijeoma hung up the call, Kentura burst into tears.

************

Agnes opened the door of the house and was shocked to see Bianca walk in with her mother and pulling heavy luggage.

“Madam, can I help you?” Agnes asked.

“I am the new lady of the house.” Bianca said turning to regard her.

“Excuse me madam?” Agnes said.

“Take my bags up to Melvin’s bedroom.” Bianca said.

“I am sorry ma but I wasn’t given such instructions.” Agnes said.

“Are you deaf? My daughter is the new lady of the house besides your old lady of the house is passing away soon so, you have no other person to take others from but my daughter.” Bianca’s mother screamed at her.

Eunice chose that moment to take slow steps down the stairs with the aid of her nurse and her walking stick.

“Ohh…hello.” Bianca’s mother threw a causal greeting at Melvin’s mother.

“I see that you can’t wait for me to die before trying to take over my household.” Melvin’s mother said.

“I’m sure you’ve heard that my daughter is expecting your grandchild.” Bianca’s mother said.

“Really…”

“Yes, I am expecting Melvin’s child.” Bianca said, rubbing her belly affectionately.

“The last time I checked, my husband and son went to your house to speak on the way forward as regards the pregnancy. Why are you bringing in your luggage to live in a house that is not yours?”

“This house is already mine because Melvin and I are getting married.” Bianca spat.

“You both aren’t married yet and aren’t you supposed to be in your father’s house till Melvin does the right thing by taking you to the church as his bride? You really have no shame.” Melvin’s mother said.

“Look at you! You are going to be dead soon…so, go and join the spirit world and stop fighting for a place with the living.” Bianca said, full of spite.

“It’s so good for things like this to happen so that we can see people’s true colours. To think that I ever pushed Melvin to consider marrying you repulses me. I didn’t see the viper in you but now, I do.”

“Ha! Say whatever you like, Melvin is mine now and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Bianca said walking up to the sofa to take a seat.

Eunice held on tightly to her nurse’s arm and made her way down the stairs, she reached the bottom of the stairs and headed out towards the door.

Bianca and her mother’s mocking laughter followed her outside the house.

To be continued….

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