After the heated argument with his lover, he had stepped out of the house to purchase some cigarettes, only to return to an empty room. Ada had packed her belongings and fled! She had meant it when she had told him that she was no longer interested in their alliance against Aniekan.
He couldn’t believe Ada was this cowardly. How could she just pack her things and flee the house because of some ghost? No, he couldn’t believe it. Maybe she had a different plan. Maybe she had already laid her hands on something that would lead her to the prototype. This was the reason for her reluctance to work with him.
Ada had found a way to procure the prototype and she planned to take all the proceeds for herself. She had betrayed him. And the sad thing was that, he hadn’t seen this coming. Ese was hurt and angry. For her betrayal, he would never forgive her. He swore to find the prototype before Ada laid her hands upon it.
“Your stupid lawyer has packed out of the house!” He bellowed.
Aniekan could sense the fury, even from his voice. And it made him wonder why Ese was so upset with Ada’s exit. It seemed that it was more of a personal matter to his brother. Aniekan had never suspected those two. Although Ada and Ese were cordial in their relationship, he had no reason to be suspicious.
“I can’t believe it. She didn’t even leave a clue behind.” Aniekan threw his hands into the air.
Without thinking, Ese blurted out.
“She claims that the White House is haunted and she had seen a figure in black. She also claimed that she heard a piano playing her favorite song at the forbidden wing.”
It was after the words came out, that he understood the implication of his announcement. The fiery anger turned to a thoughtful calm. He had to leave the scene before his brother asked what Ada was doing at the Forbidden wing in the first place.
“Erm, I have to go out urgently. I’ll see you when I am back.”
But he wasn’t fast enough, “A black figure?” Aniekan’s mouth fell open. The memory of the black figure he had seen at midnight played back. What if there was a ghost floating around the house?
“No,” he quickly dismissed the possibility. He believed ghosts existed, but it was just hard to think one would stay in his house. If someone else had seen the black figure, then something was going on.
Elena’s heart pounded fast against her chest. She and Idara exchanged glances. Elena remembered what she had seen earlier. How could she and Ada have the same experience?
Certainly, the house was haunted. She couldn’t wait to speak privately to Idara after now.
“You believe her? You think she really saw a ghost?” Ese chuckled.
“What do you want me to believe? This explains her sudden and unreasonable departure. What was she even doing at the forbidden wing?” Aniekan held his breath. He respected Imaobong, even to her death, and he had asked everyone to keep off that wing. As it held painful memories for him.
Ese didn’t know what to answer, so he simply stared at the ground.
“You will have to find Ada and ask her that. I don’t know what she was doing there either. But one thing is for sure, there are no ghosts. And the White House is not a haunted place.”
With these words, he strolled towards his car.
Aniekan rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he watched is brother’s car rolling out of the gate.
What if Ada had truly seen this black figure? Was there a ghost? Or was someone trying to play tricks on the people living in the house?
He sighed and decided to dwell on more pressing matters. He will not be distracted by Ada’s impulsive behavior. He had to protect his prototype. He needed to find out what was going on with Mr. George Bankole. He had to listen in…
Aniekan had to know if his brother was the only person after the prototype.
“I’ll see you later Elena, just don’t stress that finger. I’ll apply some balm and ointment in a few hours.”
Elena pressed her lips together and nodded, “No problem. Thank you.” She was no longer mad at him. She had found something else that filled the void within her. From her mini research, Elena had learned a few things about roaming spirits.
Ghosts that appeared to more than one person had a strong message to share. She had to find the answers. She needed the truth. Elena had a feeling that something grave had taken place at the White House; something that she wasn’t aware of. She decided to keep all of her questions for later.
But she was curious about this one.
“Why did Ese call that part of the White House, the Forbidden Wing?”
Idara froze; she had known that the time for the truth to surface was coming. Her former mistress had returned to avenge her enemies. It was time for the man that she loved to know the truth. But the only person she could confide in was Elena. Thankfully, Ada was out of the house. So she had just one enemy to think about.
“Meet me at the kitchen at midnight, when everyone is asleep. I will tell you all that you need to know.” Idara replied.
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Aniekan had fallen asleep the moment that he had stepped into his bedroom. He had fallen into a very deep sleep, and he had been plagued with series of dreams of the woman that he had first loved. The dreams were about the time that he had spent with her; their travels and outings together. The one that stood out was the last picnic they’d.
He had a business meeting with some foreign investors in Italy. He had carried her along. On one of the evenings, they had a picnic on a famous Italian beach. It had been a very romantic outing. It was at that outing, that he was certain they were meant to be together, and forever.
However, his joy and certainty was short-lived. After their return, Imaobong had been involved in a ghastly motor accident that had claimed her life. Weeks before that, she had complained about stomach upset and lethargy. She had even mentioned something about being poisoned. But he had been too busy with his work to listen to her. He had lost her forever.
Aniekan was roused from sleep by cry of his alarm. His eyes fluttered, in trying to adjust with the dim light of the room. The sun had faded. Evening had come. He had slept for six hours! Tears blurred his vision, but he managed to wipe them off his cheeks.
The time for sorrow was ended. Since the day that Elena had written something false about him, his life had not remained the same. On that night that Ese had bundled her to the White House, along her father, Aniekan Umoh had seen his late lover in Elena’s innocent eyes.
“I love her,” he whispered, as if he was afraid of owning his emotions. What was not to love about Elena? She manifested angelic attributes. She was hard working and kind hearted. He had caught her interacting on very casual terms with the maid. This was something that his lawyer and brother, found very difficult to do.
Aniekan pulled his phone from the mini cupboard next to his bed, and where his bedside lamp was. He checked his call-log and emails. He had no calls or messages. Everything was in place. He rose to his feet and locked his door. It was time to listen to the recording device that he had disguised as the prototype.
He had to be sure of whom he was dealing with. If Ese had ulterior motives, he would push his brother out of his life for good. He moved towards his wardrobe and pulled out a plastic bag. If someone was desperate for the prototype, they wouldn’t even think of looking into the bag, because it contained his underwear.
He pulled out a singlet, and stared hardly at it. He needed to be sure that the prototype was intact. He had sewn the microchip into his underwear. No one could ever find it, except he told the person of the location.
Satisfied, he returned the singlet into the plastic bag and returned to the bed. From the pocket of his jean, he pulled out a microchip; which was also the twin chip that he had given to Seun’s uncle. He rushed towards his reading table and turned on his computer.
To be continued…