The time was now 7:15 PM. The generator set roared at the far end of the compound, giving light to the surrounding. Soft harmattan breeze blew, carrying dust with it.
Christian fumed as she marched angrily to the main house. Taking in all that revelation in one day was not a joke, at least not for her.
Who would have thought, Stanley was the reason for her parent’s death? Who would have thought, he was initially out to kill her? About the kidnap, she wasn’t surprised. She actually heard his voice from inside the boot.
As for Ovi saving her, she really didn’t know what to make of it. The girl was certainly overheads in love with Stanley, and even though Stanley claimed he had told her he was still in love with another woman, she had saved that woman from drowning. Yes, she had earlier said she did it for Stanley. But from everything she had discovered for the day, Ovi acted without Stanley’s orders. What a big heart she had.
Christiana made up her mind then, instead of fighting and quarreling with Ovi, she was going to really make friends with the tomboy. After all, the one friend she finally discovered she had was dead.
Now, talking about an angel, Christiana walked into the sitting room to see Ovi and Stanley’s mom at the dining. “Good evening ma”, she greeted.
“Good evening my dear”, the elderly woman raised her head to look at her, “you look sad. What’s the problem?”
“I will be fine ma. I’m just going through slight stress”.
“Then what you need is my native pepper soup. And that’s what we are having for dinner. Come, come and sit. So you can eat”.
“I really don’t have an appetite now. I just need a little rest. I’ll eat later”.
“Oh, you can take it to your room then, and drink a little before you rest”.
“Thank you, ma. But I think I’ll prefer to rest first”.
Christiana was certain she saw a hint of disappointment in the elderly woman’s expression, something she thought was mixed with concern, “Ok then. I’ll bring you a plate of soup, specially”.
“Thanks so much ma. I’ll appreciate that”, her gaze shifted to Ovi, “Can we talk later, please?”
“You are gearing up for another fight?” Ovi frowned at her.
“No. Not that. I just want us to talk: to clear things up”.
Ovi studied her for a while, before responding, “Ok then. Just let me know when you want to talk”.
“Thank you”, she headed straight to her room.
The women returned to their meal, but Ovi could tell, Mama was playing with her soup. It was like she had lost her appetite.
“What’s wrong?” Ovi asked, observing.
‘Nothing my dear”, Mama replied, after a brief silence, “I guess I’m just getting too old”, she chuckled lightly.
“Then you should get some rest”, Ovi suggested. The elderly woman has been nothing but a mother to her since she first arrived with Stanley. And she had grown fond of her.
Mama stood up to clear her plates, but Ovi stopped her, “Don’t worry mama. I’ll clear them. You just go and rest”.
Mama smiled at her, “Thanks dear. You’ve really been more than a daughter”, she patted Ovi’s cheeks fondly before heading to her room.
Dropping heavily on her bed, mama sighed, leaning against the pillow in a sitting position. Things didn’t seem to be going as planned.
Ever since Stanley came home explaining things about the cult, she had not had any peace of mind. All she wanted to do was help her son and the woman who was to bear him a son, escape from the cult. She wanted nothing more than see the cult destroyed. She was never in support of Stanley and Jude’s involvement with them. Unfortunately, she had not been able to convince Jude about that. It was the other way instead.
Jude had become suspicious of Stanley’s movement. He had guessed his brother was running away from the cult but he didn’t know why. Knowing Stanley would definitely be in touch with his mother, he had trailed her, caught up with her and pretended to be working with Stanley.
But she did counter him, saying Stanley had not told her anything of such.
However, he maintained his stand and that was when she opened up to him about Stanley’s plan to save the girl, have the baby and help him do whatever was necessary to end the cult. But before then, there were other plans in place to fight off the cult.
Satisfied with the information gotten, Jude went ahead to report to the cult and instead of attacking Stanley, as they knew his whereabouts, they kidnapped her, being his mother, so they could use her to abolish Stanley’s plans.
It was one hot afternoon when she had gone shopping for the house, that some of the cult men, led by Jude, abducted her. They took her to the Fulani who in turn, played back the dream Stanley had recorded form Christiana’s late parents. Somehow, the dream didn’t reflect what Stanley had told her he saw earlier. The child wasn’t just coming to end the cult. He was coming to end everyone with supernatural gifts of any kind, and that included her and her son.
“Are you twisting this to convince me my son is the one making the mistake?” she queried.
“No. I’m showing you that your son has been so blinded by emotions. He has forgotten the exact dream he saw about that child. I’m sure he didn’t tell you about these parts you just watched. I would have long attacked your home, as Jude already gave us the address. But then, what is the use of attacking when you as a mother, you can help pull your son to order? If you don’t, I won’t be the only one that dies. You and your son will too. He is helping her to destroy all of us”.
“I don’t believe you”, she stood her ground, even though within, she was confused, “I’ll have to talk to my son first. But being the people you are, you wouldn’t let me walk out of this room alive unless I agree to whatever plans you have”.
The Fulani studied her for a while and then shook his head, “I will not do that because I don’t gain anything from it. Talk to your son. Find out the details for yourself. But be rest assured. That girl has twisted his thinking. If he even guesses, that you’ve been speaking with me, he will tag you, his own mother, a traitor. So you decide how you want to go about it”
He left the sitting room, while throwing orders to Jude to take her wherever she was going, and back home safely.
But she had lost the will to go shopping. Not after everything she had heard. Jude had to get a lady to help the elderly woman with that, as he did not want her going home without foodstuff and risking too many questions being asked.
When she finally got home, she pretended like nothing happened. And whenever Stanley was around, she tried to question him, stylishly about what was really going on. But Stanley was closed mouthed. He said nothing much as he insisted he had told her everything there is to tell.
A week past, and when she couldn’t still get a satisfying answer from Stanley, she had called Jude to take her back to the Fulani. There, she made it very clear to him, she was only working with him to save her son. Not the cult.
It was the Fulani who gave her the book, In the Land of The Living”. The book was made of magic, carrying the nightmares Stanley had recorded earlier for the Fulani’s business. Anyone who read the book will be disturbed by nightmares. And these nightmares are almost real. A cut in the dream is a cut in real life. And death in the dream is death in real life.
They were not taking chances, and they were ensuring no one could pin Christiana’s death on Mama. They didn’t want Stanley even suspecting her.
The night before Christiana finally arrived at her home, Mama had told Stanley she bought a book for his girlfriend. And according to her, the book was to help keep away any evil the cult sends. Including nightmares.
She had expected that whatever evil was in the book would kill Christiana right away and they would be done with her.
But the reverse was the case and Stanley, worried that the book wasn’t doing what his mother said it would, approached her and asked questions.
But mama acted surprised, saying she must have bought the wrong book, and that was why it wasn’t working.
In her privacy that day, she had instantly called the Fulani to explain the issue. And he asked her to give him a little time to come up with another idea.
The idea did come, and he called back right away and told her about a sorcerer he had known a long time ago, trapped in an underground prison by another cult group who were punishing him for selling out their secret to the Fulani and betraying their trust for money.
For it was with the information the man provided that the Fulani was able to build a strong cult group that. Their only rival.
She was to lie to Stanley that the prisoned man, an old acquaintance of hers, was the help they needed, while the Fulani moved to hire mercenaries to assist in the rescue. Stanley knew a lot of the cult men. Sending any of them to help meant blowing Mama’s cover. Stanley would know his mother was working with the same people he was fighting against.
The man they had gone to rescue was Keno. And as soon as they arrived from the mission that morning, Mama, pretending like she was going to treat Keno’s wounds, met him in the room Ovi had prepared and handed him her phone. The Fulani was on call. It was a brief reunion as he explained to Keno, why he was rescued and what his real mission was.
He was to convince Stanley that he could put a permanent stop to Christiana’s nightmares by performing certain rituals on her. But before that, he had to win her trust.
And so he had flirted with her that morning and tried to draw close. The quarrel between her and Stanley helped his case, as she ignored all Stanley’s warnings to stay away from Keno.
Mama had called both men to her room, that morning before breakfast, to tell her son about the ritual that will be done at night. Keno explained how it will be done and convinced Stanley, it was for Christiana’s own good.
Now it was time for the ritual. Keno had instructed Mama to make pepper soup for dinner and there were certain herbs to be put only in Christiana’s soup. The herbs would help perfect the ritual.
Her major concern now was how to get Christiana to drink the soup before 10:00 PM. Keno had made it clear that if she didn’t drink the soup before that time, a lot of things could go wrong.
It was the real reason she had retired to her room. Sitting at the dining, in front of Ovi, brainstorming and getting worried about the issue, could make the girl suspect something was wrong. The girl was smart after all.
Mama sighed, turning on her spot. She only was trying to save her life and that of her son’s. Christiana had to go. One way or the other.
It was already 9:30 and Christiana had dozed off several times on her spot on the not so large bed. Thinking too much about all Stanley revealed to her made her feel very weak. But even then, she couldn’t sleep for too long. Not when her mind was troubled. And the axe-man that hunted her in the dream kept attempting to harm her, just before she woke up, each time.
And at every interval she had woken up, as if planned, Mama was at her door, asking if she would at least drink some pepper soup, instead of taking nothing at all for the night.
She sounded really concerned and Christiana appreciated that. But for reasons she couldn’t understand, she didn’t feel like eating anything. On a normal day, she’d have been the one begging for food.
She had just woken up from another attempted attack in the dream and assumes a sitting position, when the knock at the door came, again.
“Christy, it’s me”.
There was only one person alive that called her Christy, so she knew exactly who was outside her door. Maybe this was going to be her opportunity to talk things over with Ovi. She really wanted to thank her for saving her life out of instincts, and not because Stanley asked her to.
“Please come in”, she called out.
The door did open, and then close. Christiana frowned. Her heartbeat doubled as she scrambled off the bed. She didn’t see the person who pushed the door open. Neither did she see the one who shut it. But she was sure she heard footsteps.
“Who are you? What do you want?” Christiana’s eyes scanned every part of the room.
“Relax Christy,” the visitor, female, said, with a soothing voice, “I’m only here to help”.
“Then show yourself!” She backed away, as she heard the footstep approach.
“I can’t do that. I am not permitted to. But I need you to do exactly as I say, in the next 30 minutes. What is going to happen in 30 minutes? Stanley will be at your door to take you to the gym house for a ritual. He will tell you, this ritual is supposed to help you regain your memory and ward off the evil that hunts you. But do not go with him. Not because he is a bad person, but because he is in the dark about what those around him are really doing”.
“What are you talking about? What are they doing?”
“When you do not go with Stanley, Keno will come to take you. Agree to go with him. But bet before that happens, seduce him. And I’ll do the rest”.
“I’m not going to do anything of such. Show yourself and explain things properly to me. Then maybe, just maybe, I’ll listen to you”.
A brief silence followed. But when the unseen visitor talked again. It was with a very calm tone that held lots of threats.
“I understand you lost your memory. Otherwise, you should know who is talking with you. But be sure of this, memory or not, if you do not do as I have asked, not only will you die tonight, the baby will never be born. Stanley will lose his will to fight any further. And because of that, the cult will abduct and torture him to death.
Those in this house, working to aid the cult right now will be spared. But one of them will run mad with guilt after she sees, she had been played”.
“She? You mean Ovi?” Christiana’s heart raced.
“I will not mention names. I can only tell you, that if you do as I have asked of you, tonight, we wouldn’t have to wait for the child to be born before the cult is destroyed. The cult themselves, have given us a strong weapon to destroy them, once and for all. That weapon was never in the picture until Keno arrived. He is their weapon. And we will use that weapon against them”.
“I don’t understand. Why then would you want me to seduce a guy who’s working for the same people that want me dead?”
“I said seduce him. Not sleep with him. Now, will you do as I’ve asked, and let me handle the rest?”
A silence followed.
“Do you promise to reveal yourself me at the end of all of this?”
“Oh Christiana”, the voice was really close now, like her unseen visitor was standing right in front of her, “I wouldn’t need to reveal myself to you. Before this night is over, you will know exactly who I am”.
To be continued…
©️Karo Oforofuo. February 2018. All rights reserved.
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