The wedding was a few days away. It was a Friday morning in September. Normally, the rain does little or nothing to affect activities by this time of the year. As if by design, rains stop falling in the day and falls more at night within this period. I was few weeks away from travelling for my Masters degree. Almost all arrangements have been made because my parents detested leaving things
late. I had planned to pay my final community service to my Jabi lake folks.
Though I was done with my service year, I still felt compelled to attend to this my ritual once more. This was going to be my last one and I had to use all I had on me to make it memorable. However, rain had other plans and would not let me wake up from the bed this morning. It started raining about four in the morning. The rain was heavy and made the clouds angry and pale.
Not only did I need to go, but I needed the mechanic to return my vehicle he had taken to change the oil and the filter. The rain was very much poised to ruin my day. I was in bed till past nine and when it was almost ten in the morning, it stopped raining heavily and drizzled lightly. I took my bath, dressed and was ready to go take my cup of coffee when I heard a car drive in. It sounded like Ray’s.
I don’t know how it happened but I stood transfixed. In less than two minutes, the door opened and whoever entered was on a call.
My door was slant; slightly opened. I could hear everything she said. It was Jamila and she was on a call with someone. Maybe because my car was not parked in the compound, she had assumed I wasn’t in the house or she was just too dumb.
She accused whoever she spoke with of thinking that he would come from nowhere now she was about to settle down to claim ownership of a pregnancy she had succeeded in roping someone into taking responsibility. I don’t know if it was by design or by an act of fate, I had been recording myself in the sitting room while I did housekeeping before bathing. I had formed the habit of recording songs that popped into my head. Today, I had completely forgotten the phone I recorded with on the cushion while I did house cleaning. It was covered with a pillow and I knew I would have remembered it before I left. The mechanic was not coming anytime soon and I had decided to take a cab, rather than not go.
She didn’t help herself either because she was screaming curses and threats on whosoever she was speaking with. From her call, she was pregnant for whoever she was speaking with and didn’t want the person in her life. However, the person still wanted her in his life. She spoke about the person’s children and family; could it be a married man.
Something wrong came over me. Maybe it was the shock of it all that drove me wild but I took the wrong step. In my attempt to close the door and call Duke, the creaking sound of the door alerted her to my presence. She
quickly dropped the call, turned to my door and walked towards it. Fearing for my life, I quickly slammed the door and bolted it behind me. She banged continuously on the door while threatening to kill me if she gained access. She was certain I overheard her call and told me that since I knew so much, she had to eliminate me as she plans to eliminate anything that would prevent her from settling down with Ray.
This had become a deadly obsession. There were a lot of men out there who would have gladly accepted to be her husband but she preferred to kill, even if it was the only thing that will make her marriage to Ray a feasible feat. I called Duke numerously and he wouldn’t pick. Meanwhile, she had called
on someone else whom I was not aware was in the car with her to come up with the pickaxe in the vehicle. Why would she have a pickaxe in the vehicle?
I wasn’t certain if it was a mere threat but I wasn’t going to take chances. My door was a wooden door, made from foreign woods and though I didn’t know how strong it was, I wasn’t certain she could kick it down. However, I had to reinforce it with my boxes, shoes and anything I could drag towards it.
Calling Ray came into my mind; maybe he could talk sense into her, maybe he could convince her to abort her murderous rampage. I scrolled through my contacts and Ray’s was nowhere to be found. I had blocked his line and deleted every form of communication I had with him. So, calling him while I was in trouble was not a possible option.
A thought came to mind. I would call some colleagues who could come over to the house and help me. Just about then, a hard object started to hit on the door.
My phone slipped out of my hand and I cowed myself in a foetal position by the wall of my bed. I was certain I was going to die and all I could do was cry and hope for a miracle. The sound of the axing was heavy enough for me to figure that it wasn’t possibly coming from an attempt by a lady; talk more of a pregnant one.
In a short time, shrapnel from the door continuously flew about in my room. Shortly after, a manhole had been drilled into the door and an ugly looking masculine figure stepped into the room.
I had known Jamila for almost my entire life, what I never knew about her was that in addition to her body selling business, she mingled with henchmen. As I found out later, she had come to carry her heavy properties from the house and needed someone who would help her. She had called on one of her other friends to assist her.
I had a couple of regrets on that day and few of them included that I decided never to live alone in a compound that had a neighbour who was mostly away; our neighbour was a specialist doctor who came into town once in a month. This wasn’t about his time of visit. My second regret was that I decided never to delete people’s contacts, no matter how sour the relationship became. If I hadn’t deleted Ray’s number, I was certain he would have come in a moment notice.
When he squeezed himself into my room, I started begging amidst my sobs. Jamila was right behind him, her hair looked scuffled like someone who has been in a fight. I begged her for my life. Here she was, my friend for as much as I remember, with the power to take or give me my life. I had sworn to her that I would never reveal what transpired to anyone. I promised to be her bridesmaid, swore to leave town and never return. I swore by all the gods I have heard of, I swore to cut off my tongue, burn down the house and be her slave forever, only if she could spare my life.
She asked her friend to bring me to the sitting room. This man dragged me all the way to the sitting room like a deadwood and she sat me on the floor while she towered over me while pronouncing her judgment on me.
All our lives, I had robbed her of her shine. I would take the first position, and I would make her parents scold her for coming behind me. In UNIILAG, every friend she introduced to me would take to me and even
when she introduced Ray to me, I already knew him. I was a little witch, she wanted severally to drown me in a pool but I never came with her to one.
I was like her nemesis. She hated me passionately and had been my friend since university because it was her only chance of being close to Ray her one true love. She was the judge and the jury. She had waited for this day and it was about time she paid me back in her coin.
For all she knew and cared, I was responsible for all her problems. Her bad CGPA was because of me. Her multiple failed relationships were because of me. The time she had STI, I was the cause. I was nearly certain she was going to blame me for global warming.
To add to my agony, almost every time she talked, she gave me a slap on the cheek. She told me that she wanted me to be her bridesmaid to humiliate me and get the final victory over me. Her ultimate frustration was that Ray wouldn’t touch her at home. He barely talks to her and when he does, it is even better he didn’t. He spent the times he talked, cursing her for seducing him and making him fall for what he never wanted.
Then, she broke the story to me. Her pregnancy wasn’t Ray’s. She was already pregnant for a month before the party. Matthew was the man. Matthew was Ray’s former boss who had been transferred to Uyo. She had known him through Ray and accompanied him on many business trips. He had a family and she couldn’t have anything else to do with him.
She perfected a plan which started by coercing Duke to throw a party for his birthday. Duke was an unknowing accomplice. She planned out the whole party and chose Juno’s because she knew Ray would be willing to go there. She had encouraged Ray to insist I come although she already knew I had planned to travel. She wanted me to see her have sex with Ray. If I wasn’t around, Ray may have failed to turn up, so her plan’s success was also dependent on my presence. She carefully made sure everyone got drunk and when we retired to Duke’s after party; one of her plans too, she had laced Ray’s drink with an aphrodisiac to put him in the mood to have sex with her.
Ray was drunk and indeed had sex with her but she was sure he had no knowledge of it. She was already pregnant and needed a fall guy. Because I knew all these, it was clearer to her that I had to go.
Jamila my friend instructed her henchman to terminate my life. I had been ruffled so much that I was already losing consciousness.
I saw him lift his hand up and saw it fall, then everything else turned into darkness.
- Emmanuella John, the Christmas Princess is the third child of seven children. She is a writer, who writes poems, prose (fiction and non fiction etc) and a little of drama. She also writes articles on different topics.