Queen would have continued screaming if a large hand hadn’t clamped her mouth shut. She moaned and writhed as she tried to break free.

“Shhh…stop screaming or you’ll draw the attention of our neighbours.”

Queen forced the hand away from her mouth and turned around to glare at her husband.

“What did you do to her? Tell me! What did you do to her?” Queen shouted.

Zach hurried to shut the door and turned to stare at Queen. Queen, in turn, was glaring at the body of Jessica who was lying on the ground with her face facing the ceiling.  Everything came back to her in a rush- she remembered the day Jessica had collapsed in her sitting room. This was the second time and this time, she looked dead.

“What did you do? What did you do?” Queen asked with tears in her eyes.

“I didn’t do anything…I swear.” Zach said.

Queen bent over and placed her fingers on Jessica’s neck to feel a pulse but she felt nothing.

“She’s…she’s dead.” She stammered.

Junior stood there, staring. Queen turned to address her son.

“Baby…please go into your bedroom.” She said and made signs with her hands.

Junior stared at Jessica’s lifeless body and looked at his father.

“Go!” His father mouthed.

Junior ran into the house and slammed the door.

“She’s dead…what do we do?” Zach asked.

“What do we do? I had nothing to do with this. I was in the bedroom when this happ…happened.” Queen said shakily.

“I didn’t do this either…” Zach said.

“Don’t lie to me, Zach! You had something to do with this.” Queen fired at him.

“I swear I didn’t. I came out to open the door but before I got here, my phone rang and I had to go take the call.”

Queen stared at him with eyes wide.

“Do you mean to say that Junior killed her? Because if you weren’t here when the doorbell rang, Junior was the only one here.”

Zach looked at his wife in disbelief.

“That’s ridiculous!” Zach said.

“Besides…our son is deaf and he couldn’t have heard the doorbell.”

Zach shrugged.

Queen stared at her husband, she was beginning to get scared of him and at that moment, she realized that she didn’t know the man that she was married to.

“We have to …tell her…family…”

“Tell her what? Do you know what they’ll think? They’ll think we killed her!” Zach spat.

“We? I had nothing to do with any of this.”

“I didn’t either.” Zach denied.

“What do we do then? If we can’t tell her family, what then do we do? I couldn’t feel a pulse when I touched her neck…do we take her to the hospital?”

Zach crouched low and placed his head on Jessica’s chest and after a while, he stood up.

“I can’t hear her heartbeat.” He said.

“Oh God! Oh God no!” Queen cried. “Why did this have to happen? What are we going to do?”

“We have no other choice than to dispose of her body.” Zach said.

“What? Dispose of what?” Queen asked in disbelief.

“Yes…we have to dispose of her body or her family will put the blame on us.”

“You are mad! How dare you suggest such a thing? She is a human being and a good person too. You can’t just toss her body anywhere.”

“She is a mad woman who came into my life to steal my happiness!” Zach shouted.

Queen glared at him in horror.

“You are the most insane human being I have ever met. Do you think that I didn’t do my research? I’m sorry to tell you that your story was the most unrealistic story I have ever heard and that I found out that she was actually your wife and not an obsessed lady as you painted her to be. Who are you, Zach? Why did you have to be so shady and manipulative?”

Zach took a step towards her and said stonily.

“We are going to dispose of her body right this minute.”

“Are you deaf? I said I am not going with you! In fact, I don’t see why I should be here…I am leaving you for good.” She said turning away from him.

Zach let out a very hysterical laughter and Queen turned back to stare at him.

“How foolish you are! Do you think that with what you know you can successfully leave me? I married you, Queen…I paid the dowry, I came to your place and married you so we are in this marriage, for better for worse.”

Queen opened her mouth in disbelief.

“What? You are a liar, a cheat and perhaps, a murderer because I still don’t know how Jessica ended up dead in my apartment. You have no right to tell me that you married me because all the while you pretended that I was the only woman in your life, you went ahead and married another woman.”

“I stayed with you…I loved you and I placed you first in my life. Yes, I married Jessica but I am married to you too and even though you gave me an imbecile for a child, I still stand by you.”

Queen raised her hand and gave Zach a hard slap on his face.

“Don’t you dare call my son an imbecile, God knows you don’t deserve him.”

Zach rubbed his cheek and just when she didn’t expect it, he pushed her to the wall and placing his hand on her neck, he squeezed. Queen struggled, she gasped for air and closed her eyes in pain.

“I own you! Just like I owned Jessica, I own you and there’s nothing you can do to change that! You either willingly stand with me while I dispose her body or I’ll force you to do it.” He let her go.

Queen coughed and sobbed.

“You are a monster! How did I not see who you really are? You are pathetic!” She screamed.

The doorbell rang.

 

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

Tamara and her parents listened to what Lola was saying with a heavy heart, they couldn’t believe all they had heard.

“I can’t believe this.” Tamara’s father said.

“That’s why we need to get her out of that scumbag’s house as quickly as possible.” Tamara said.

“We can’t force her out of there…if we do, she won’t see what we’re doing for her. All we need to do is set the perfect trap so that Jacob will fall into it.” Tamara’s mother said.

“But…she has all her money in her possession and there’s no telling what Jacob is doing to when he gets his hands on it.” Tamara said.

“I know…but she’s a grown woman…if she decides to give her husband all her money, then, it’s her loss.” Her mother said.

“We must do something.” Tamara said in worry.

Lola looked at Ella’s family and felt sorry that they had to hear about their son-in-law this way. She said.

“I fit helep una set better trap.”

They all looked at her.

**********

Ella walked home from the junction of the house, she really missed her car. Jacob had not even reported the car missing even after she’d told him to. She made a mental note to report the stolen car at the police station before she leaves for work tomorrow. A bike sped past her and she shuddered, she was scared of bikes and wondered how people sat so comfortably on them. She had waited for a taxi at the bus-stop to no avail and now, she had to trek the long road home.

She entered the compound and saw FK closing her shop. Since she warned the woman to stay away from her business, they had stopped exchanging pleasantries. She felt so guilty for being rude to FK but it wasn’t her fault, she thought, she was only trying to avoid having third parties in her marriage.

She made her way upstairs and opened the door, she was stunned. The house was decorated with balloons and a bottle of champagne stood on the center table. Jacob stood up and walked up to her with a smile on his face.

“Hell, beautiful…”

“What’s going on here?” Ella asked.

“We’re celebrating, my love…”

“What are we celebrating?” She asked.

He picked up a cardboard paper on the chair and showed it to her, it had a bold inscription, ‘JAKETHOMASIN BOTTLING COMPANY’. Ella stared at the cardboard paper, she was confused.

“What’s this about?” She asked.

“What do you mean by, what’s this about?” Jacob asked. “This is the new business venture I was telling you about.”

“Okay…” She said, not knowing what else to say.

“Look, I have done my research and I found that bottling companies in Nigeria make huge profit.”

When Ella didn’t respond, he continued.

“Darling, this is our dream…the dream where the two of us start a company and take it to greater heights. See, I named the company after myself and my father, Jake stands for my name and Thomasin stands for Thomas, which is my father’s name. I would have added your name but I couldn’t figure out where to fix it in the business name. I believe that this business of ours will be great.”

“I share your dream but owing a bottling company is not beans. It takes a lot of hard work and resilience.”

“Are you trying to say that I’m not hardworking?’

“I didn’t mean that but I mean that we need to dedicate our time to the business to make it grow.”

“Ella, we need money to make this business grow and you have the money.”

“I thought I told you that we should think first before going into the business.”

What is there to think about? This is a gold mine, what do we need to think about? Do I have to write a proposal in order to get money from my wife?”

“Calm down Jake…it’s not gotten to that.”

“Then what else do you want? I have presented you with a name and the least you can do is give me the money to make the dream a reality.”

“I didn’t say that I am against your dream, I just want you to think about it.”

“There’s nothing to think about and forget that I asked you of anything.” Jacob spat and stormed out of the house.

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

Jude stood outside Queen’s door and run the bell severally. He was so worried about his sister and instincts had told him to go to Queen’s house as he felt she would be there, confronting her lying husband.

The door opened and Queen stared at him, she looked very nervous.

“Hello Queen…” He greeted.

“Hey….” She said.

“Did my sister by any chance come here?”

Queen looked at him for a moment and shook her head.

“Are you sure? I haven’t seen her since we told her the truth about Zach…are you sure she didn’t come around?”

“No…she..didn’t.” Queen said.

“Thanks…” Jude said.

Queen shut the door behind her and leaning against the frame, she breathed heavily. Her eyes darted to the dinning. Zach was there standing behind one of the chairs.

“I lied to him because you threatened to take my son from me if I lied. Zach, we don’t need to do this to each other, let me go with Junior and I …”

“No, my darling…we are married, for better and for worse.” He said stiffly. “Now, let’s figure out a way to take her body into the car and dispose it.”

Queen stared at her husband in fear, she began to cry.

 

To be continued….

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