Anosike wasn’t comfortable with the tone of Obiajulu’s voice. There was something dark and sinister about her voice; like she had been possessed by a very bad spirit. He wished he could rise to his feet and drag her out of the house, but Oriaku’s beatings had made him incapacitated. Anosike pulled in a deep breath and tried to calm himself. By now, Oriaku’s humming was drawing closer and he knew she was in danger.

“Obiajulu! I warn you…” He gritted his teeth. But Chinedum’s wife wasn’t in the mood to indulge a weak man. Her eyes were set on the throne and no one could stand in the way of her victory. Her plans had already been designed and she wouldn’t leave any stone unturned. She had waited for a long time to exact revenge on Oriaku. Yes, revenge. Oriaku had insulted and humiliated her enough, it was time to teach her a lesson.
Obiajulu scoffed, “I know you do not love your wife. Let me do you a favor and put your misery away. There is no need to pretend with me. I am the only woman who can ever love you the way that you want…” she winked.
Oriaku had reached the doorpost at this moment. The good woman clipped her tongue and leaned closer to the door. It seemed like she had heard her husband’s voice. Who could Anosike be talking to? After a while of listening, she decided her mind was playing tricks on her. Unknown to Oriaku, Obiajulu had sensed her arrival and had hidden in a strategic place.
She gently pushed the door open and stepped in.

“How do you do my husband?” Oriaku smiled, feeling a bit remorseful for what she had done to Anosike.

Anosike found it difficult to speak. Fear rose up in his belly as he searched her happy face. He didn’t love Oriaku but he didn’t want her death either.

“How do you expect me to be?” He pretended to be angry with her, hoping that Obiajulu would have a change of mind.
Oriaku wasn’t surprised by the grumpiness of his tone. She neared the bed and was about pushing open the window, when she felt a sharp pain in her back. Before she could tell what was happening, warm liquid trickled down her lower back to her buttocks. It was then that she realized someone had attacked her from behind.
Oriaku lost her balance. Pain shot through her. She bit her lips trying to numb it, but the knife only went deeper.

“You shall die Oriaku! Now that I have gotten rid of you, I and Anosike would be free to express our love.” Obiajulu’s eyes glowed in the thick darkness.

“No!” Anosike screamed but it was too late for the knife had touched one of the most delicate places in the human body.
Oriaku staggered and faced Obiajulu, still with the knife on her back.

“Obiajulu…” she called in a weak voice, before her knees sank into the ground.

“In your next life, you will fear someone with that name.” Obiajulu answered. She quickly pulled out her knife and wiped the droplets of blood on Oriaku’s arm. She felt a blood rush of excitement as she stared at the dead body. Her plans to become queen had quickly been set in motion.
Anosike groaned in pains; pain for his dead wife but he couldn’t do much about it.

“I know you are scared but I can handle this. I will make her body go away and you will cook up some story about her disappearance. For the next four days, we shall not see each other.” Obiajulu sat on the edge of the bed and dropped a kiss on Anosike’s face. He didn’t respond. He wasn’t in the mood. She sensed his anger towards her and quickly pushed him away. She rose to her feet and marched towards the window. She pushed it open and welcomed the weak stream of reddish sunlight. In no time, night would set upon the earth.
Satisfied that the day was ending, she turned towards him.

“Where do you keep the mats in this compound?”
Time passed before Anosike replied. He was terribly annoyed with Obiajulu. How could she go ahead with a plan without consulting him? Did she think he was a puppet like her husband? He loved her, no doubt. But he couldn’t continue his love relationship with her. Slowly, he was beginning to see the reason why Oriaku had warned him about her, but he was too scared to talk. Obiajulu could decide to plunge that knife into his body and no one would know. He decided to play along with her, but he planned to avenge the death of Oriaku.

“What do you need the mats for?” He asked in a calm voice.

“Don’t be a fool Anosike. I have already done the first part for you. This part is supposed to be yours, but I am willing to conceal the body. Don’t make it harder for me by asking stupid questions.”
He felt insulted by the harsh words she spoke with. How on earth had he ever fallen in love with such a vile woman who didn’t know her place?

“You must check the kitchen area. Oriaku…” he almost choked on his dead wife’s name.

“Oriaku usually kept the mats there.”

Obiajulu wasn’t a fool. She had a feeling that Anosike was aggrieved at her act.

“I don’t know what you’re thinking but you should show me a little gratitude. Everything that I do is for our good. I shall reveal more of my plans to you. Do not pretend that Oriaku’s death doesn’t make you happy.”
She walked briskly out of the hut towards the kitchen area. She trusted Anosike, Obiajulu knew he couldn’t tell anyone what she had done. This will only make their love stronger.
She needed to hurry so she could return home and be with her husband and children. She couldn’t wait to tell Chinedum all about her Aunt’s vision. She was giving him the last chance to decide if he would take the throne from his barren cousin, Ikemba.
The thought of travelling in disguise to Amabara consumed Chinedum’s thoughts. He couldn’t wait to go on a journey that would serve all the dwellers of Ezeudo. It was a difficult task but he was willing to try. He had given Ikemba two days to decide and he hoped the answer would be positive. Adaora had done well for his children, and he was pleased with her. It was on the account of his family that she had gotten kidnapped. Perhaps, if she had not gone to the stream to fetch water, she would’ve still been in safety.
He dismissed the thoughts and decided to ponder on something else. He couldn’t tell Obiajulu about his plans because it was meant to be a secret he shared with the king. He couldn’t share a lot with her. As he neared the house, he remembered the warning of the oracle; there was a traitor in his home and he needed to be careful. Though the traitor wasn’t named, he trusted his wife a lot. He had a feeling that Ifeyinwa was the one, but he had known her for many years. She had never given him a reason to distrust her. He would tread carefully concerning this matter.
He noticed that Ifeyinwa was outside with his children.
“Has Obiajulu not returned?” He asked.
The older woman shook her head.
“She dropped by earlier and left almost immediately. I shared the news of the missing slave with her, maybe she had gone out in search.” Ifeyinwa thought this explanation was valid for Obiajulu’s behavior. She had a feeling that her niece was up to something sneaky, but she couldn’t put a finger around it.

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When Chinedum heard this, he relaxed. But he didn’t believe Obiajulu could go out of her way to do anything for anyone. The wife he knew had a strong weakness, she could be very selfish at times. He smiled at his children and hugged them. Thankfully, they had something to eat because of their aunt.
“I will be inside the room should you need anything of me.” Chinedum announced.
“I prepared roast yam and fish sauce. Would you like to eat?” Ifeyinwa called after him.
“I am not hungry tonight. Many things trouble my mind,” Chinedum sighed and safely closed the door behind him.
Shortly after, Obiajulu returned. She had hidden Oriaku’s body successfully and no one would ever trace the disappearance of Anosike’s wife to her. She hummed a fine tune as she neared the compound. When Adaugo and Ikenna heard her voice, the children quickly rushed into their mother’s arms.
“I know you have missed me terribly. I have missed you too.”
When she was through with bonding with her children, she greeted her aunt and proceeded into the house. She was shocked to see Chinedum.
“My husband!” Her voice almost betrayed her.
“Where have you been Obiajulu? How do you leave your children in an empty house?” Chinedum wasn’t too happy with her and she knew this.
She had a lot to share with her husband. But first, she had to find a way to make him happy. Obiajulu made sure to use her seductive charms this time… she untied the knot that kept her wrapper pieces together. When the fabrics came off, Chinedum found it difficult to concentrate. He rose to his feet and clung tightly to her body. He thought she smelt clean and lovely; but he failed to catch the scent of Oriaku’s blood that was thickly smeared over her body.

To be continued…

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