Ashanti stepped into the big house and stared, she couldn’t believe it. This was Lois’s home and her parents were richer than she’d even imagined. Lois’s house was quite bigger than Amelia’s and Jeff’s and it was more tastefully furnished. She walked into the large sitting room beside the entrance and stared at the framed pictures of Lois and her parents which were placed on a high picture stand, she felt envy seep through her veins. Why was Lois the one to enjoy all of these? She thought but then again she realized that they might not be twins but that they just look so alike.

“Lois, you told your mother that you’d be in the neighbour’s house, why were you outside?” Lois’s father asked walking up to her.

Ashanti turned to stare at the man whom people could mistake for her father because of his facial features; she said nothing.

“Lois!” He started. “This is not like you, you know. When did you start lying to us?”

A woman walked into the sitting room and Ashanti figured it was Lois’s mother. She turned to stare. Lois’s mother was nothing like her mother, she was of small stature and she looked like a porcelain doll. She was so pretty and she looked very classy too. No wonder Lois walked and talked like she was fragile, she’d obviously learnt a lot from her mother.

“Honey what’s wrong?” Lois’s mother asked her father.

“I saw your daughter, wandering outside the house.” He replied.

“Lois!” She said as she walked to stand before Ashanti.

Ashanti looked at the ground, her heart beat so fast that she didn’t want them to suspect anything.

“Is that lipstick on your lips?” Lois’s mother asked. “And, why are you dressed like this? I don’t recall buying you this dress.”

“I errr…played dress up in …Amelia’s house.” Ashanti lied quickly. “She let me try on her makeup.”

“Lois, how come? You hate makeup and you don’t wear skimpy dresses. Is Amelia becoming a bad influence? Because if she is, I don’t want her coming to see you in our house or the friendship that…”

“No, she’s a nice person.” Ashanti said quickly.

Lois’s parents were taken aback, they stared at her in silence, what Ashanti didn’t know was that Lois always waited for her parents to finish speaking before she spoke.

“I’ll go to my errr…my room.” Ashanti said.

“Okay…” Her father said to her.

Ashanti turned to leave and realized she didn’t know the direction she was supposed to head.

“Err…mom, you see…I seem a bit confused sometimes with this house since we just moved in. What stairs is the fastest to get to my room?”

Lois’s mother gawked at her.

“The front stairs…Lois…are you okay?” She asked.

“See you later…” Ashanti said and raced towards the stairs.

She climbed the stairs and stopped at another huge sitting room and she almost squealed in delight. This has always been her dream. A large house, a swimming pool, more than one expertly furnished sitting room and the list is endless. She was staring around the sitting room when a maid dressed in a maid’s uniform walked into the sitting room.

“Where’s the door to my room?” Ashanti asked.

The maid looked at her and turned to point at a room door.

“Get me something to eat, I’m famished.” Ashanti said and hurried to the door of the room.

******

Jeff was trying to play his game in peace when his phone rang, it was Ashanti. He sighed, his girlfriend was beginning to strain their relationship, with her attitude. First she’d wanted his brand new tablet and next, she’d come to his house in the middle of the night asking for her charger and making him pay her driver with his money and now, what?

“Hey babe…” He said cringing as he thought of what next she’d want from him.

“Can I have Lois’s phone number?”

“It’s with Amelia…” He answered.

“Okay, go and get it!”

“Amelia is already asleep besides, where were you? I came out to look for you and I didn’t see you.” He said. “I told you to wait for me…”

“Get me Lois’s phone number now!” Ashanti yelled. “Besides, where is Lois? Do you know where she could be?”

“She should be at her house.” Jeff answered.

“You mean…she’s here?”

“Where? What are you talking about? Ashanti…”

“Go quickly and get me Lois’s number.”

Jeff got off his bed tiredly and made his way out of his bedroom.

“I’ll text it to you…” He said and hung up.

He reached his sister’s bedroom and knocked at it door, the door had a ‘Do not Disturb Amelia’ sign on it and he cringed to think of what she’d do to him when she opened the door. He knocked harder. The door opened and Amelia gave him the most murderous stare ever.

“Hey beautiful sister…” He said with an unsure smile.

*******

Lois sat at the back of the car and stared through the window at the house, her heart thumped hard. Was this it? Was this Ashanti’s place? What had gotten into her? Why had she left her house and come to a place she knew nothing about?

Jubril turned to her.

“Oya, dey go inside…I nor want to see your leg for outside ooo…you know say na waka waka you be.”

Lois looked at him.

“Excuse me?” She said.

“Which one be excuse? Enter ya house now!” He said to her.

Her phone rang, she looked at the caller ID, it was a phone number. She excused herself and answered.

“Hello…”

“Lois, where are you?”

“Huh?”

“Are you daft? This is Ashanti, where are you?”

Lois seemed to finally breathe.

“I did something unthinkable…I…I am…”

“I hope you’re not in your house now cos your parents think I’m you.” Ashanti said.

“What? Where are you? In my house?” Lois asked in shock.

“Yes, that’s where I am. I was standing outside the gate when your dad saw me and demanded that I entered the house. I didn’t know how to explain things to him. Did you by any chance tell your parents of my existence?”

“No…no…not at all.”

“Okay, good. So, I just want you to know that I’m here so when you’re coming upstairs to your bedroom, you should take the back stairs or your parents would suspect something.”

“Well…errm…that’s the problem.”

“What is the problem?” Ashanti fired.

“I…am kinda in front of your…err…place…” She whispered.

“What? Don’t tell me! We switched places without knowing it!” Ashanti screamed excitedly.

“Yes…”

“Who knew you were such a genius! And here I was, thinking you were so dumb and stupid!”

“What?” Lois said, offended at the insult.

“That’s by the way, so…where are you right now?”

“In…the car…”

“Oh, you’re with Jubril…” Ashanti said. “Don’t make him suspect anything…do I make myself clear? We’ve already cleared the first phase and now, we are at the second phase. We are going to help each other so that no one finds out that we’ve switched places until we find the answers to the reason we look so much alike.”

“Okay…” Lois said in a shaky voice.

*******

When Lois stepped into Ashanti’s house, she already knew the house from top to bottom, all thanks to Ashanti’s explanations and her super memory which stored information so easy and fast. However, she wasn’t prepared for the chaos which met her eyes as the house was practically upside down. A couple was yelling at each other at the top of their lungs while a wrinkled lady sat in a wheelchair and stared at them in dismay. Two young boys threw a ball at each other and the ball missed and fell at her feet. The boys turned to her in dismay. Lois bent to pick the ball and held it out to them. She knew their names already, because Ashanti had told her and she’d also noted that they were little terrorists.

“Hello there…” Lois said, smiling at the boys.

The boys approached her, taking one step at a time. The couple still raved and cursed but this time, they left the shabby sitting room and entered another room still yelling.

“It’s a trap…I’m sure she has a bomb.” The first boy said to the other.

“Yes, she’s going to kill us this time.” The second whispered.

“Please come and take your ball.” Lois said with a wider smile.

“We’re dead…we’re so dead!” The first boy said, trembling as he spoke.

The second boy quickly fell on his knees and begged.

“Ashanti, please…we beg of you…have mercy.”

Lois was stunned, she stared at the boys in confusion. The first boy hit the second on his shoulder.

“Don’t beg her.” He said. “It will only give her more power!”

“Hey…guys, don’t be scared, I’m just giving you back your ball.” Lois said.

“Ha! We are finished!” The second boy declared. “Ashanti please…don’t kill us…please…please.”

Lois was confused, it was obvious that the boys were terrified of Ashanti but didn’t she mention that they are her cousins? Why was she cruel to them? She wondered. Lois quietly placed the ball on the ground and smiling at them, she made her towards the elderly woman in the wheelchair whom Ashanti had informed her was ‘Mama’.

“Good evening mama…” She greeted, respectfully.

The woman seemed taken aback.

“Ashanti, how are you?” She asked. “This is the first time I’m seeing you since you returned from school.”

Lois’s eyes widened.

“Yes…I err…had to err…”

“It’s no worries, I’m glad you’re back.” Mama said and turned to stare at a huge clock directly on the wall behind her. “You are home late. It’s almost ten thirty pm.”

“I went to get something from…” She started.

“Ashanti, please do not be like your mother. I am scared that she is influencing you badly and it shouldn’t be. You are not even twenty and you’re coming home at this time. What will happen when you turn twenty?”

“I am sorry mama, it won’t happen again…” Lois apologized.

Mama seemed to draw in a deep breath, she was clearly surprised and so were the boys who had walked up to them with the ball.

“You never apologize to anyone…” Mama said to her with fondness. “It seems like you are a totally different person.”

Lois didn’t know what to say, she was indeed, a totally different person from Ashanti.

“I’ll go upstairs now…” Lois said with a smile. “Good night ma.”

As Lois made her way up the crooked stairs, she held her breath so hard for fear that she’d fall and as soon as she left, mama looked at her grandsons and said.

“Even her accent is different. Do you know what could have happened to your cousin, Ashanti?”

The boys stared at their grandmother, they too, were as confused as ever.

******

Lois made her way towards Ashanti’s compartment and pushing the door open, she stepped in. She almost screamed in fright. The place was like nothing she’d seen in her entire life. Clothes were strewn everywhere, two tables in the small and dirty living room were turned upside down, the chairs were torn and worn out. The television was on the ground and it looked like it was about to fall apart. She stepped in and tried to shut the door behind her but the door had some tricks up its sleeves as it refused to shut. She looked at the doors leading to the two bedrooms and Ashanti’s describtion of the house came to her mind. She also remembered Ashanti’s warnings never to tell Jeff or his sister about her house when they both decided to switch back. She made her way to Ashanti’s bedroom door and pushed it open, the door fell in and she screamed in fright. Suddenly, the power went out and everywhere was pitch black.

 

To be continued …

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