“Hey get up! I said get up!”
She felt the kick against her stomach for the second time; only that it was hard enough to make her couch. Wura jerked her head up to look in the direction of the source of her pain. Her eyes widened in surprise. She was lying on the floor, in the dark.
She was still trying to adjust to her surrounding when a hand yanked her arm forced her to a sitting position.
“Kabiyesi wants to meet with you,” the small reflection of light from outside the cell, revealed it was one of the guards attacking her. She was back in her cell.
Stunned by the guard’s attitude, she got to her feet. She didn’t want to be roughly handled. Her fingers wound up in her hair, and to her utmost surprise, she was on cornrows. Again.
Wura was more frustrated when she figured that she couldn’t tell if it was daybreak or night. But from the small streak of light, she could tell she was wearing the same servant uniform as the guard, only that her’s was a short gown.
Wura was still trying to understand if she was dreaming, or if this was real. The guard moved to switch on the light. The room lit up with the light from the yellow bulb. Then he left.
There was not a single piece of furniture in the room. However, it was neatly tiled and cleaned up. There was no single artefact that would at least tell her a bit about the room she was in. It was just plain.
Wura paced around a bit, she was starting to get worked up by the silence. She needed answers. She didn’t remember how she got there. She was still racking her brain for answers when the door opened and Obajuwon stepped in.
He was clothed in all-white regalia. A white wrapper draped on his shoulders. His face looked shiny like he had applied a generous amount of oil on it. The crown wasn’t on his head but he had a small white cap on.
“I can see you are still proving stubborn,” he said, walking around her in circles.
“Tell me what your problem is, Wura? After your father’s fortunate demise, I offered you a place in my palace as my royal concubine but you declined and slapped me in the face with my offer. I forgave you, made you a servant and yet you had the guts to talk back at me!” he closed the distance between them and yelled to her face. Their faces were so close such that Wura could feel his hot breath fanning her lips.
“Wait, did you just say demise? Is my father dead?” Wura cowered in fear.
What in God’s name was going on?
Obajuwon laughed. “Don’t tell me you lost your memory in just a short time, Wura. Your father died as soon as we got married.”
Married? If there was anything she was sure of, it was the fact that she wasn’t married to Obajuwon. There was just something that wasn’t adding up and she intended to get to the root of it.
“Married? If we were married, then why am I not by your side as the queen?”
“That’s because I had a wife before you, Wura. But still, that didn’t erase my love for you.” He stroked her face tenderly
She slapped his hands off. “Don’t touch me! You Imbecile. You Murderer. You killed my father to sit on his throne. Oh my God, Obajuwon. How could you be so callous?” She snarled.
“Don’t you ever call me by name woman. I don’t care if your miserable father was killed by me or not. I just want you to know that if you ever try what you did by speaking back to me when not asked to, I would make sure I send you to your own early grave,” He held her tightly within the confines of his arms.
Wura tried to shimmer out of his embrace but he was just as hard as a rock. She broke into tears. She felt helpless and alone. It was quite clear Obajuwon had killed her father and he wouldn’t hesitate to send her to her grave.
“Prepare. You are definitely warming my bed tonight. I’ve waited for too long.” He whispered in her ears.
Wura shivered with grief. She could feel bile threatening to spill out of her throat. The thought of lying with him disgusted her so much. She cried harder and slumped to the floor when he released her. She heard him tell the guards to prepare her for the banquet. She couldn’t help but wonder what the banquet was about.
She was still crying when a guard threw some clothes on her and ordered her to get dressed for the banquet.
The red satin gown with a slit at the side showcasing her right thigh, did justice to Wura’s hourglass figure. The gown clung to her skin, and by the time she saw herself in the bathroom mirror, she couldn’t deny the fact that the dress was made for her. She looked pretty in it, only that neatly plaited cornrows still sat on her head, instead of a Brazilian wig.
“Wura hurry. There’s no time.”
Wura drew in a sharp breath upon hearing Bimpe’s voice. The guards had escorted her to the servant’s quarters to get ready. And Bimpe waiting for her in their room.
She stepped out of the bathroom, patted her cheeks and forced a smile on her face.
“I’m sorry I kept you waiting. Shall we?” Wura took a moment to examine Bimpe’s dress.
She was dressed in a purple satin gown. According to Bimpe, it was an outfit the queen had picked for the female servants since they would be serving tonight.
Wura knew she had to worry about why Obajuwon had chosen this dress for her, but she wasn’t. She didn’t want to. She felt she needed to be a rebel tonight. She was a princess and not a servant.
“Yeah. Meanwhile, you haven’t told me how you got this your shapy gown o. The gown really fits you.” Bimpe’s eyes were glued to Wura’s.
Wura smiled as they walked out of the room and towards the royal courtroom where the banquet was to take place. Suddenly, she stopped in her tracks. She looked at her fingers to check if her mother’s ring was on it. It was. And it seated beautifully on her index finger. She remembered that she had taken the ring from her mother’s room. Surely, something wasn’t adding up.
She needed to make investigations. She needed to know if her mother was dead also. And somehow, she knew she wasn’t in the right place.
“Uhm, Bimpe. Please I need to run some errands. I would meet you in the hall.”
Bimpe nodded and walked away. Wura went in the direction she remembered her mother’s room to be. She approached the chamber and stood in front of the open door, surprised.
What threw her in shock wasn’t the fact that the door was ajar, it was the fact that there was someone in it. And by the time the person turned to see who the intruder was, she knew the lady looked nothing like her dead mother and at the same time, she looked familiar.
“What are you doing here? You are a servant. What the hell are you doing in my chamber? Or are you here to challenge me? You are no longer a princess and my husband cannot and will never want you! Who gave you this dress? Ehn? Are you deaf? Who gave you this dress?” the lady asked again.
Before Wura could reply the tall, fair, lanky lady whom she assumed to be the queen, she received a smacked across her face. Her cheeks felt stung from the slap.
Wura wanted to retaliate but it was too late, as the queen had called the guards already and within seconds, she was thrown out of the royal quarters.
Who on earth was that lady? And why had she slapped her? Why did she harbour much hate in her?
Wura was exhausted. She needed to think, re-strategize and get out of this nightmare she was in. Instead of going to the royal court for the banquet, she diverted to the royal garden.
The garden looked different. It now had different foreign flowers she didn’t recognize. Wura remembered that the garden had lots of tall shady trees. However, the garden she was seeing had nothing of such. They were no trees, only shrubs, and flowers. She walked farther into the garden, only to realize that it now had a little stream with fingerlings in it. Wura smiled. It was the first time she had smiled since she woke up in prison.
The fingerlings swam freely, exploring the nooks and crannies of the stream. Suddenly she wished she was free. Free to live an uninterrupted life. Free from this nightmare. Free from Obajuwon and his harsh queen…
“You must dislike parties just like I do.”
Wura couldn’t place the voice. It wasn’t Obajuwon’s or any of the guards. Still, the masculine voice sounded familiar. When she turned around, the sight that greeted her sent shock waves straight to her heart. Right under his brown eyes, she felt like she couldn’t breath.
To be continued…
This is a Pelleura Story. Idea and write-up by Funmi Akintade. See The first four Chapters here
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