Once the screen came alive, he inserted the chip into one of the portholes at the base of the laptop. Light faded from the screen, and in its place was an annoying twinkling of black and yellow lights.
Aniekan closed his eyes and listened. He could hear two men speaking to each other, but their words weren’t clear. He snapped his eyes open and increased the volume level. He was able to hear them clearer this time. Seun’s tenor voice was unmistakable, so was Mr. George’s shaky voice.
Aniekan couldn’t make out much from the conversation; they were discussing in Yoruba, which he didn’t understand. But from the tone of their voices, everything was alright. Nothing was out of place. He pulled the chip out and turned off the laptop.
He would monitor Mr. George closely until the official release of Demon Hall1.
Aniekan was about heading for the bathroom, when a knock sounded on his door.
“Who’s there?” He held his breath, hoping that it would be her.
“Sir, your dinner is ready. Should I bring it here or should I leave it at the dining room?” Idara asked.
“Um, bring it over. I’ve some work to do.” He responded.
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After her evening bath, Elena lay on the bed and ran her fingers over the tiny vial that Regina had given to her. She still wasn’t convinced that something was wrong with her. Maybe Regina was right about the poison, but she didn’t believe it. She didn’t offend anyone. She was certain of this. Who would poison her then?
The clock was ticking; the sound of it, reaching to the depth of her soul. Elena waited patiently for midnight. She needed to ask Idara many questions. She just couldn’t wait for midnight. Elena dropped the vial on her bed and rose to her feet. It was 10.p.m. She was certain that Aniekan was asleep.
She rose to her feet and moved towards the door, in her lacy black nightwear. The darkness of the material highlighted her smooth and creamy skin. Though she had the heart of a saint, her dress was capable of luring any man towards the sea of ungodly thoughts.
The minute she stepped out of the room, she inhaled the sweet fragrance of fried plantain and coconut flavor. She was yet to have dinner. Instinctively, her hands moved to her empty belly. Well, no one could blame her for not having appetite. Elena had a stressful day; everything had gone wrong when she had seen the figure clothed in black.
She was yet to tell Aniekan about her experience. She didn’t know if it was the right thing to do. But she had made up her mind to let Idara into all of her experiences. The girl knew much about these occurrences.
Elena strolled towards the kitchen area; to her surprise, Idara was sitting on a chair and enjoying a glass of juice alongside some friend plantain chips. Elena moved towards the sink and placed the vial there. She didn’t know what to do with that just yet, but she wasn’t going to ingest in something that she knew nothing about.
“I thought you were sleeping!” The fork almost dropped from Idara’s hands. She was surprised to see Elena in the kitchen.
Elena shrugged, “How can one sleep in a haunted house?” Her statement was welcomed by Idara’s warm smile. It was now certain that everything that Elena had been seeing weren’t creations of her imagination. The black figure existed. It was real.
“You should get enough rest and food as well,” Idara abandoned her food and rushed to serve Elena. She was about washing her hands at the sink, when she noticed the vial.
She ignored it at first, but Elena sensed that she was curious about it.
“It contains some kind of antidote, that’s what I was told.” Elena blinked and looked towards Idara’s unfinished food.
“Antidote for what?” Idara surrendered her hands under the warm water that flowed freely.
Elena wasn’t in the mood to talk about Regina’s speculations. She was more interested in learning about the black figure that haunted the White House. She wanted to get to the bottom of it. Something had taken place here, she could feel it deeply in her bones. And the fact that the figure presented itself to her, meant that her presence was welcome and that she had an important role to play in this mystery.
“Idara, I know it isn’t midnight yet, but you have to tell me everything. I cannot wait any longer. I need to know the truth!”
The girl grabbed a clean hand towel and dried her hands. Idara felt a burden sitting on her chest. Her throat was clogged with pain, as she remembered it all again. She closed her eyes and let the images of her former mistress replay in her mind.
Imaobong had been the most kindhearted personality that she had ever come across. She was loving and considerate. And Elena’s attitude towards her, brought back more memories. How could two people be so alike?
“You’re not saying anything? You promised to tell me all that I needed to know.” Elena grew impatient. She had structured questions from her mini research about the existence of ghosts.
Slowly, Idara opened her eyes. She blinked away the tears that had gathered. Elena deserved the truth. The boss also deserved to know what had happened to the woman that he loved. It was time for the revelation. No more, would the black figure roam around the White House in sadness. Justice had come.
“Follow me,” Idara whispered.
“Okay,” Elena nodded.
She fell behind Idara whose leading took them towards the area that was marked forbidden. Elena was tempted to ask more questions, but she controlled her curiosity. Idara seemed lost in her thoughts. There will be time for questions later.
Her heart began to dance to the rhythm of unseen drums. It was the drumming of fear and anxiety. She had carried the secret of Imaobong’s death for a very long time, but she would carry it no longer. The veil of secrets was torn, and light had fallen through the dark path.
“I…I am sorry that I didn’t tell you this earlier. You must forgive me for keeping it to myself. I had to ensure your safety, mine and Mr. Aniekan.” Idara paused by the door that once was Imaobong’s room.
Elena didn’t understand her apology. She didn’t need it. All she wanted was the truth.
“Why are you apologizing?” Elena ran her eyes over the dimly lit area. She could no longer feel the presence of the black figure. The hallway was empty. The White House seemed safe. Everything was in place…
Idara cast one glance at her face before pushing the door open, “you’ll soon know.”
Though the room was covered in utter darkness, Idara managed to locate the switch. The sharp bluish light of the fluorescent illuminated the dusty room. Particles of dust floated in the air, cobwebs were erected at strategic points in the room. Elena remembered it all. She remembered her first night down here and how cruel Ada had treated her.
Thinking of Ada, Elena wondered why her behavior had drastically changed towards her. The lawyer had been so unkind and determined to see her suffer. What had changed?
Idara moved towards a huge wardrobe and pulled it open. A tiny mouse hopped out, and both ladies screamed. When they’d quieted down, they laughed. Still, Elena retained her position and silence. She wanted Idara to do the talking. She folded her arms across her chest and stared at the girl, while wondering what she was up to.
Idara’s hands began to shiver, as she ran her fingers over the expensive designer dresses that had once belonged to her former mistress. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she sobbed quietly. Imaobong’s death had been too sudden and untimely. How could Aniekan not have sensed that something was wrong?
“Are you alright?” Elena tilted her head towards the wardrobe.
“Yes, yes, I am.” Idara lied, and quickly wiped her face. But she wasn’t fast enough, Elena sensed the pain in her voice.
Elena dropped her hands to her side and walked towards the wardrobe.
“You are lying, and this is a very expensive wardrobe,” her lips fell open as she beheld the myriad of designer dresses. Whoever occupied this room, was one expensive lady.
And it made her wonder if Aniekan had any sister. Did his sister occupy this room? Was he married or something? Her mind cooked up many possibilities, but she chose to remain patient.
To be continued…