The rays of the morning sun gradually filtered through the curtains, and into the room, giving it a golden glow. It was a large room with a big bed in the middle. The walls were cream colored and so was the curtain, with a mixture of pink. There was an old model dressing table by the window. The room looked neat and comfortable but, Naomi knew that comfort shouldn’t be the first thing in her mind.
She lay on the bed with eyes wide open, as she stared at the ceiling. She had fainted the day before, in front of the mansion’s gate. Obviously, the guards were human enough to have compassion and bring her in. Whatever happened after that was unknown to her, until when she woke up in the middle of the night, screaming. An elderly woman by the name, Mercy, came in to comfort her and told her that she was in safe hands. She switched on the light before moving towards the bed.
Mrs. Mercy was an elderly woman in her late sixties. She was about 5ft in height and a little plump. Her skin was not so light-skinned, but she wasn’t dark either. Her eyes were round, her lips were thin and her nose was almost pointed.
Where am I? Naomi asked, pretending. She knew that no matter what happened, she had to keep up with the pretense. She had to make sure they bought her story. Lucky for her, the nightmares were an added advantage. “What happened to me? She asked further.
“Oh my dear child, you are safe.” Mrs. Mercy replied. The guards said they found you outside the compound, staggering. You fainted before they could get to you, so they carried you in. You are badly wounded child, and very tired. You need to rest. By morning the master will see you.”
“What master?” Naomi asked, pretending to be scared.
“The master of this house, my dear. There is nothing to be scared of. He is a very good man and I am sure he will not send you back to whatever hardship you came from.”
Hardship? Naomi thought. The only hardship she suffered was having to grow up without her parents. Apart from that, everything else was okay. She had money, she had estates to her name, she had cars, and she had companies which she opened with the inheritance from her father. She had only come this far for one thing, and she was going to get it. Before embarking on her mission, she talked with some of her fathers trusted men and they promised to be of great help to her.
Still pretending to be scared, it took some more persuasion from Mrs. Mercy before Naomi lay back on the bed to sleep. However, long after Mr. Mercy was gone, Naomi’s nightmares continued. Throughout the rest of the night, she was restless, as she moved from one bad dream to the other. The nightmares were the only real thing in her pretense.
However, she woke up during the early hours of the morning to the sound of footsteps, passing the front of her room door. Although the main lights were out, leaving only the bed lamp, she quickly got out of bed; tiptoed to the door and pressed her ear against it. All she heard were footsteps, nothing more. These footsteps led down the passage and then started to descend, obviously going down a staircase. Wanting to be sure about what was going on, Naomi switched off her bed lamp before moving to the window and looking out, into the grounds below.
There were five men outside, in the early morning cold. All five of them were dressed in black, skin suit and they held guns. They all got into the back of a white van. Three other men, also dressed in black, skin suit, emerged from the house. They too got into the van and the driver drove off.
Those men are definitely going for an operation. She thought. Not wanting to miss anything else that might happen, Naomi remained in her position. She stayed by the open window for over thirty minutes, peeping out, waiting and watching. After a while and nothing happened, she was about to go back to bed but then, her eyes caught something.
Some distance away from the house, in a small garden, three men stood. The surrounding trees did cast their shadows on them; making it impossible for Naomi to see their faces. After a short while, one of them knelt down and placed his palms together in front of him. He was obviously begging for his life. The other men seemed unconcerned about what he was doing.
One of them pulled out a gun and without hesitation, he shot the pleading man in the head. It must have been a silent pistol because there was no sound. All Naomi saw was the man pointing a gun at the other man who was kneeling and a few seconds later, he dropped dead. Naomi’s breath caught in her throat.
What sort of heartless people have I come to stay with? She thought. If they can murder someone in cold blood, that means they would do same to me if I’m caught. The new revelation brought complete uneasiness and her confidence disappeared. She realized that she had to be extra careful if she was going to complete her mission.
Naomi watched them some more, she wanted to see the end of everything. However, her anxiety increased when she noticed that one of the men started to dig a shallow grave under the tree they were standing, while the second one headed back to the mansion. In the process, the man walked through a lighted area and she saw his face. While still trying to study his face, something happened. The man stopped abruptly and looked up in her direction. Naomi was shocked but she quickly drew back from the window and moved further into the darkness, but she still watched the man.
His gaze remained focused at her window a while longer, before moving on. Fear gripped Naomi, but one thing was certain. There was just no way the man could have seen her in the dark. Moreover, her room lights were switched off and she stayed put in the shadows. Minutes after the man got into the house, she heard footsteps again in the passage. Quickly, she went back to the bed and slid under the cover.
Once there, she pretended to be fast asleep. It was not long afterward that the room door opened and the footsteps could be heard coming in. They were a little quiet but confident, a sign, that their owner was afraid of nothing. After all, it was his house. The footsteps moved to the window and stood there for a while, before walking back to the bed. She felt the intruder sitting by her side, on the bed but her eyes remained closed.
“I wonder what happened to you. Where did you come from? How did you get here?” She heard a husky, male voice ask. The voice sounded sad and cold; like its owner was in mourning. She did not have time to contemplate on his voice because at the same moment, she felt his hand patting her hair backward. He did that continuously in a rhythm of strokes. After some time, he stood up and left.
Naomi did not have the heart to sleep anymore. She was fully aware that she was in a very dangerous environment. For that reason alone, she stayed up until it was morning. While still in bed, she was trying to come up with a plan for her next step. Unfortunately, Mrs. Mercy chose that time to come into the room.
Rise and shine sleepy head. She said as she pulled the curtains apart, allowing the once, creeping rays of the sun to flood into the room, therefore illuminating it even more. She was dressed in a blue floral gown, but there was a white apron in front of it; a sign that she was already about the day’s chores.
Good morning ma.” Naomi greeted.
“Good morning to you dear.”
“Please, cant I rest a little longer?” She pleaded.
No dear, Mrs. Mercy replied. You have to take your bath, dress up and go down to the dining for breakfast. After breakfast, I will take you to see the master.
At the mention of a master, Naomi tensed up a bit then relaxed again, gradually. Was this not what she had prepared for? She consoled herself and kept to the belief that all was going to be fine.
After taking her bath, Mrs. Mercy helped her dress up in a simple, knee level, brown colored gown. “This is nice,” Naomi said, admiring the dress in front of the floor to ceiling length mirror. “How did you know my size?”
“Well, there is a striking resemblance between you and the master’s late daughter.”
“Oh! He had a daughter?” Naomi asked with a frown and a sudden sadness. She had lost her parents so she knew what it was like to lose a loved one.
“Yes.” Mrs. Mercy answered. One could see the pain in her eyes and also hear it in her voice. “This used to be her bedroom. The clothes were bought by the master. He still believes his daughter will come back to him someday. I don’t know how he did it but, he did something to her old picture, the one of when she was a little girl. From it came a new picture. Although she is older in the new picture, it shows what she would look like as a young woman.”
“Oh!” Naomi exclaimed. “He used facial recognition software.”
“It seems you know a lot about it, the software thing I mean.”
“No, not really.” She denied.
“Oh, okay.” Mrs. Mercy said, as she waved the topic off and admired the gown. “I knew it would fit you perfectly, that’s why I brought it.”
“But won’t the master be angry?” Naomi asked, turning to face the elderly lady. “This dress belongs to his missing daughter. Surely he must not be reminded of her; at least not in this way.”
“No, he wouldn’t be angry. In fact, he was the one who asked me to give you one of his daughter’s dresses.” Mrs. Mercy stopped briefly and looked into her eyes. “I raised her, you know. She was like my own daughter. I can almost swear that you are her; the older version…”
But I’m not! Naomi almost yelled as she looked at her with wide eyes. How can I be that scumbag’s missing daughter? She thought. Her parents were stone dead but thankfully, they had good hearts. They were not murderers like the so-called master of the…
“What did you say your name was again?” Mrs. Mercy asked, cutting into her thoughts and ignoring her outburst. She took two steps forward and stood in front of Naomi. “Please tell me.”
“Helena,” Naomi said, without flinching. “My name is Helena Abeam.”
“Oh, okay Helena.” Mrs. Mercy said, not wanting to pursue the issue any longer. She turned Naomi back to face the mirror and then helped adjust the gown. It was a simple, beautiful gown. It hugged her body well and revealed her curves. Mrs. Mercy smiled at her and said, You look beautiful my dear,
Thank you. Naomi replied. Now can we go straight to the master?
“But my dear, you have to eat breakfast first. Mrs. Mercy coaxed.
However, Naomi wanted to put the anticipated moment behind her. She knew the food wouldn’t go down her belly if she still had anxieties. Better to see the devil first and get him to buy the story she had carefully cooked up.
“I insist on seeing the master first.” She said, walking away from the mirror and going to stand by the window. “I will not eat anything until I am sure that I am welcome in this house.”
“I understand dear.” Mrs. Mercy said. “Come with me, I will take you to him.”
To Be Continued…