Ella was fast asleep and the only sound coming from the
bedroom was the low rum from the ceiling fan. Her eyes were closed and her lips
were parted; a low snore escaped her lips. Suddenly, she bolted upright and let
out a loud scream.

Jacob shot up as well and jumped off the bed as though the
room was on fire.
“Help!” He shouted, and then turned to look at his wife who
looked disoriented and who was staring at her hands as though she was seeing
them for the first time.

“What is it? Ella! You startled me!” He said.
There was a loud rap at the door and without waiting to be
ushered, Tamara rushed into the room. A sleepy Lola followed; she had a frown
on her face.
“Ella…I heard you scream…are you okay?” Tamara asked in
fear.
“I…it was a dream…it was a nightmare…” Ella said and
began to sob.
Jacob rubbed the back of his head with his palms and sighed.
“So, you woke everyone up because of a dream. It was a mere
dream….” He said, annoyed that he’d been disturbed from his slumber.
“I’ve never had such dream in my entire life….I’m so
scared.” Ella cried.
“What happened? Talk to me…” Tamara said in concern.
“I can’t explain it but it seemed as though danger is
lurking…it…it….gave me goose bumps.” She said in tears.
Lola hissed and turned around to leave the room.
“Why did you hiss?” Tamara fired at her.
“Na dream na….nor be like say anything do am.” Lola said
and walked away.
“Ignore her…just go back to bed….just
relax….everything will be fine.” Tamara said cajoling her to go back to
sleep.
“Do you want to drink some water?” Her husband asked.
Ella shook her head and lay down as her sister had bid.
“I’ll just go back to bed but I doubt that I’d be able to
get much rest…the dream scared me like crazy…I’m so scared.” Ella said.
“Should I stay here with you tonight?” Tamara asked.
“Can you?” Ella asked hopefully.
“She doesn’t need to stay here besides we can’t all fit in the
bed.” He said but when he saw they weren’t listening to him, he grumbled. “Maybe
I’ll go sleep on the sofa and leave the bed for you guys.”
“Thank you…” Tamara said and joined her sister on the bed.
“Tammy, the dream was so horrible…it was horrible…” Ella
cried.
Her sister quietly pat her at the back and soon, she fell
asleep again.
************
“Are you sure of what you’re saying?” Jessica’s sister asked
her.
“Very sure…I’m so sure…” Jessica said to her.
“This is very serious ooo…how can he tell you such
rubbish. If someone is dead, then the person is dead, you can’t tell anyone
otherwise.” Her sister said to her.
“Yes…that’s exactly the reason I called you….” Jessica
said to her sister. “I just want to put my mind at ease….I just want to be
sure that I’m not assuming too much…”
“Do you know what? Why don’t we talk about this after work
today?” Her sister said.
“Okay, I’ll drop by at your house after work.” Jessica said
and quickly hung up the call.
As soon as she dropped the call, Queen made her way towards
her desk and handed her some papers.
“Here is a summary of the whole presentation. I could see
that you didn’t follow the presentation at all this morning…” Queen said to
her.
Jessica gave her a weak smile.
“I…I was so tired….a lot has been happening. How is Junior?”
“Junior is well.” Queen said. “Do you want to tell me what
it is? A problem shared is always half solved.”
Jessica looked at her for a while and said.
“I think my husband is acting a bit weird….he’s so strange
nowadays and not only has he been travelling so much, I feel he’s shutting me
out.”
“How? You guys got married barely two months ago.”
“You see…that’s my point! He’s never acted this way towards
me before but all of a sudden, it’s as if something snapped and he’s beginning
to act strangely.”
“Don’t you think you’re worrying too much?”
“No I’m not! The same thing happened to my mom and before
she knew it, my dad had moved in with his lover. My husband never hides things
from me before. Do you know he picked up his bag this morning and left the
state? He travelled to his town after telling me about it in passing.”
“Do you mean he never told you about it before?”
“Well…you know the gist of his father and blablahblah, so he
had to go to the village to settle some stuff.”
Queen nodded in understanding, her husband had travelled too
but he’d informed her about it before he did.
“A woman’s instincts are never wrong.”
“You’re right about that.”
“I think you should find out what it is that’s making him
act this way. Carefully observe him and see what’s making him act so strange.”
Queen said.
“Yes, I will…thank you.” Jessica said.
“I doubt it’s a woman because you’re really beautiful and
has all it takes to make a man happy.”
“Not all men are satisfied with that.”
“He’d better be.” Queen said with a smile. “I have to go
back to my desk now, I have loads of work to be done.”
Jessica nodded and smiled at Queen but as she left, she
pondered on Queen’s last statement.
“Zacchary, you’d better be satisfied with me…or else. Don’t
you dare try stepping on the tiger’s tail or you’ll live to regret it.” She
spat in a whisper.
***************
Lola had boarded three buses before she arrived at her
destination, unfortunately, her friend couldn’t accompany her because she was preoccupied
with some things.
“Mama…I journeyed far to get here.” Lola said to the old
woman who was seated before her and tossing some coins into a pot of water.
“Hmmm….” The woman said.
“Ella has vowed to snatch what is mine and I refuse to let
her have him!” Lola said with determination.
The woman didn’t speak but kept tossing the flat coins into
the water. When she was done, she made some long incantations and finally, she
looked up at Lola and said.
“You have found your way into someone else’s home.”
“No ma! The house belongs to me, the man belongs to me also.
I was his lover before she married him. He got me pregnant.” She said pointing
at her protruded belly.
“Women! What joy do you derive from another’s sorrow?”
“I am not asking for anything but that you make her forget
him! I want her to forget him and leave the house for me and my husband. He is
my husband.”
“She loves him.” The woman said.
“No mama! She doesn’t love him as much as I do. I will do
anything for him; I cook for him, I wash his clothes, I take care of his needs,
even in my pregnant state but what does his wife do? Nothing! She just drives a
fancy car and comes home everyday pretending to be tired.”
“It’s a pity that the man in question doesn’t love the two
of you as much as you both love him. He is a selfish lover and he loves no one
but himself!” Mama said looking at Lola.
Lola’s mouth parted for a bit in protest, but she shut it
close.
“I…” She started.
“Shh….the spirits are trying to say something….” Mama
said to her.
Lola nodded and kept silent; if mama wasn’t going to help
her, then she will look for another way around it. There must be someone who
can help her.
“You need to bring me her hair….” Mama said.
“Her hair?”
“Yes…and bring his hair too, so that I can separate them
from each other for good.” She said.
Lola beamed.
“Thank you ma…God bless you ma…”
“Every action has its consequences….I hope you know that?”
“Don’t worry ma, nothing will happen to me.” Lola said
quickly.
“You can go but be back soon with the items I asked for.”
Lola nodded and rose from the small stool she sat on and
left the place.
*************
Jessica sat inside her car with her elder sister, they both
had analysed the reasons behind Zach’s change of attitude and had come up with
no concrete solution.
“Why don’t you ask him what the matter is? You know that you
can be bossy sometimes and maybe you’re pushing him away with your bossy
attitude.”
“It’s not that, sis…it’s not that at all. The only major
argument we’ve ever had was when he suggested starting a business for me.”
“Is that all?”
“Yes….but all of a sudden, he’s changed….you won’t
understand but there’s something missing. He doesn’t give me all his
attention…and it’s as though he has someone else…”
“Ha! Don’t say that ooo…”
“You can’t trust men, can you?”
“Have you tried checking his trouser pockets? Maybe you
might find something implicating. Check his wardrobe…his personal
stuff…just to keep your mind at rest.”
Jessica looked at her sister and sighed.
“Do you think it’s healthy to start snooping on my husband
at the early stage of my marriage?”
“You are the one with the doubts! You called me and told me
that he took a long trip for four days for a site inspection, only for you to
have called his office yesterday and his PA told you that his boss didn’t
travel anywhere.”
Jessica nodded.
“I called his office yesterday afternoon because I felt that
I had to look for a way to apologize to him for not keeping my mouth shut about
his father’s state of health and I asked his PA to make sure that the
chocolates I sent to him with the wine got to him and he told me that he did.
But before that, he told me that Zach had received the same kind of wine from a
client two days before. I was surprised because I knew that my husband was out
of town at that time, so I asked him innocently if my husband had been at work
on the days I thought he’d travelled and he said yes.”
“Ha! That’s not good o.”
“I wonder why he’s not being truthful to me. If he was in
Lagos, where was he? I want to know.”
“Are you really sure about all this?”
“If I wasn’t sure, I wouldn’t have told you about it.”
Jessica said with another heavy sigh.
“Do you know what? Go home, clear your head. Have a bath,
then begin to search his clothes one after the other till you find something.”
“And if I find something, what next?” Jessica asked.
“Confront him….” Her sister said.
Jessica stared at her sister, not knowing what to say.
***********
“What sort of dream did you have?” Lawrence asked Ella.
Ella breathed deeply and turned to look at him. They were in
her car and even though she’d promised herself never to reach out to him again,
she found herself doing so.
“It was foggy….I saw strange faces….I saw a masked
people, I saw people laughing and mocking, then I heard my wail…it was long
and loud. I heard footsteps running then suddenly, it was heading in my
direction, I began to run and….and…I woke up.”
“That’s strange…” Lawrence said sounding disturbed. “Have
you ever had such dream before?”
“Never! Not in my life!” Ella said. “I was so scared and I
am grateful that my sister, Tamara, was there with me. She had to sleep in my
bed last night.”
“She’s gone back home now, right?” Lawrence asked in
concern.
Ella nodded. Tamara had wanted to speak to her about a very
important matter in the morning but since her dream still disturbed her deeply,
she’d told her that she’d tell her later.
“I think you should watch your back. That dream sounds like
something terrible, it almost sounds like some sort of witchcraft.” Lawrence
said.
Ella looked at him.
“Do you believe in that nonsense?” She asked.
“Of course!” He said.
Ella shook her head.
“No way! I don’t believe in such crap.”
“I’m not telling you to believe in it, you just have to
accept that it’s real. The fact that you grew up sheltered around mommy and
daddy made you ignorant to things that happen in the society and being African,
you should understand that these things do exist.
“They are nothing but myths…folklore….imaginations.”
“If it’s nothing but myths, why were you scared? Admit it
that you are conscious of the fact that bad things lurk, that’s why you should
be careful.”
“Let’s say you’re right with your assumptions. Who would
want to hurt me? I have never hurt anyone and besides, I can’t remember having
an argument with anyone.”
“Think deeply…have you looked closely at your home,
environment, office….someone maybe plotting….well…not literally, it might
just be an evil thought or something…”
“Lawrence, thank you for your help but I have to go. I’m
scared enough for one night.”
Lawrence took her hands in his and said.
“I know you’re married and that I have no business being
friends with you but there’s something about you that touches a chord inside me
and even though we can’t be anything more than just friends, I don’t want
anything to happen to you.”
“Thanks a lot Lawrence…” She said in gratitude.
“Good night.” He said and opening the car door, he stepped
out into the cold night’s air.
As Ella drove home, all she could think of were Lawrence’s
words.

 

To be continued tomorrow…

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