Soon after, I began to see her physically. I told no one. I knew they killed her. They had plotted it for months. I tried to warn her, but she was too far away and I was scared.
They don’t like it when Aniekan is able to make his own decisions. All Ese and Ada ever wanted was to control him and his business. But when you came into the White House, they could easily tell that the boss was in love with you. And you became their biggest threat.
Please, don’t hate me. I am telling you everything now, because it is time for the truth to surface. Now that Ada is out of the house, we have to find a way and tell the boss everything.”
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Idara’s pleas and tears touched her, and she tried to place herself in the girl’s shoes. Well, if she were a maid in the White House, she wouldn’t have been able to voice out such a dark secret. If Ese and Ada ever found out that she knew this much, they would’ve killed her.
“Why didn’t you run? Why did you risk your life by staying here?” Elena ran her eyes over the room.
Idara sighed, “If I did, that would give them a clue that I knew what they had done. Ada is guilty. The black figure appeared to her, and her guilt has driven her out of the house. But she isn’t free yet. They would both pay!” Idara said this with determination.
Elena ran her tongue over her lips, “I am now certain that Ada had poisoned the wine. I must reach for the antidote. I would be dead without it. And this poison kills very slowly…”
Idara’s eyes sparkled in shock when she had heard this. Thankfully, Elena had a cure, but something else bothered her.
“We need to tell the boss everything.”
Elena heard her, but she continued to walk towards the exit. She was more concerned on how to stay alive. Regina had been right. Ada had slipped the Cherry Powder into her drink. As Elena’s hands touched the door knob, she recalled that her mother had warned her to stay away from the lawyer.
“If only I’d listened. I had been carried away.” Elena groaned.
Unknown to the women, their absence from the other part of the White House had awakened suspicion. They weren’t alone. They hadn’t been alone in the forbidden wing for a very long time.
It was time to discover their strange visitor.
“Will you tell the boss about it?” Idara asked. She was afraid for Elena, what if she didn’t survive the poison? Idara would never forgive herself if anything happened to Elena.
Elena ignored her, and turned the door knob. When the door gave way, she almost collapsed.
“No…you…” Tears stung Elena’s eyes. Her knees vibrated.
“When were you going to tell me the truth?!”
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The ground which he walked on, seemed to vibrate. His dark eyes flashed like lightning and his voice sounded like thunder. Never in her life, had she seen a man so angry.
Unknowingly, Elena sank her knees to the ground and grabbed his ankle.
With each step that he took, he felt great pain, marching into the room of the woman that he once loved. His anger gave way to deep sorrow and pain. And he found his lips, tasting of the saltiness of his tears. Aniekan had cried like a child who’d lost his mother, when Imaobong had died. Listening to the travails she had encountered in the hands of his brother, and Ada made him cry again.
After Aniekan had finished with his dinner, he’d left for the kitchen to drop his plates. But on his way to the kitchen, he’d decided to check up on Elena, hoping that she was no longer angry with him. He had promised to work on her finger, and he had intended to keep to his words. To his surprise, her door had been slightly opened, but she wasn’t in there.
When he reached the kitchen, he could perceive the flowery scent of her body perfume. Aniekan was about leaving, when he felt the urge to visit the forbidden wing. He couldn’t remember the last time that he had set foot in the place, but Ese’s report about Ada; who had claimed to see the black figure, rejuvenated his interest. And he found himself, strolling towards the wing that he once shared with his lover.
When he stopped right at her door, he heard some voices. And one of those voices poured out a dark and horrifying secret; one that had been locked up for many years.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He pointed a finger at Idara. His voice was broken and coarse. The shock and betrayal sliced him through like a knife. What evidence did he need to believe her?
Already, he suspected that his brother was after the prototype. But he hadn’t imagined that Ese , in alliance with his lawyer, could stab him in the back; it was unbelievable.
Idara joined Elena on her knees and sobbed, “You wouldn’t have believed me. I was stuck. I lived with this bitter secret with no one to share. But when Elena came in, the black figure began to appear to everyone. I knew it was the right time to spill the secret because she had warned me to be careful.”
Aniekan wiped the tears that splashed on his cheeks.
“And they also plotted to kill me. When were you going to tell me that?”
Idara blinked the moisture that had gathered on her lashes.
“I am sorry…I knew he was planning to steal the prototype of Demon Hall1 and sell it to a foreign company, but I was too afraid to speak. You cannot blame me for protecting myself.”
Elena understood that it wasn’t easy for him. Discovering a string of secret events, and the betrayal accompanied with them, was too much for one person to take in. Elena’s fingers brushed his hairy ankle. And the warmth of her touch calmed him a bit.
“Please, you cannot blame her for keeping it away from you. I know it hurts to know that your brother killed the woman that you loved, but you have to forgive Idara for keeping that information away from you. This isn’t the time for blames. It is the time for us to find a way to keep ourselves safe…”
Her words soothed him; it took away the rage that once possessed him. He pulled in a deep breath, and tried to clear his head. Elena was right. Blaming Idara wasn’t the solution. There was no way in hell that he would’ve believed that Ada and Ese would combine forces and fight against him.
“You spoke of a wine that Ada offered you, how many glasses did you drink?” He turned his attention away from the sobbing girl, and focused on Elena.
Elena released his ankle and closed her eyes, trying to remember how everything had happened. The images unfolded magically; an unseen hand, flipping through the pages of her mind.
“I had three glasses, but I don’t remember Ada, swallowing any of it.” She was sure of this.
Aniekan’s fingers curled into a fist. He felt like punching his brother in the face, and plunging a knife through him. He had believed in Ese, when no one else had. He had loved him as a brother should. He had trusted Ada with his whole life.
“It all makes sense now…” Aniekan moved towards the door. He understood why Ese was after the prototype. He and Ada had already made plans to sell it to a foreign company.
“What are we going to do?” Elena asked in a gentle voice.
Aniekan’s features contorted into a frown. Confronting Ese and Ada would be very foolish. It would put them all in danger.
“We are going to catch a rat, the way a rat is supposed to be caught. Do not confront anyone; do not speak of this to anyone. I will handle my brother and Ada.”
Elena and Idara stared at each other. They didn’t like the idea of Aniekan handling things on his own.
“Are you sure we shouldn’t bring in the police?” Elena asked.
Aniekan scoffed, “The law works with evidence. As it stands, we don’t have any.”
“But you believed me without evidence, maybe if we try to convince them…” Idara shrugged.
Even in his pain, he could still find something that amused him. So he laughed at her naivety.
“The Nigerian Police ignore cases with very strong evidence, how do you think they will handle a strong case without evidence?”
None of the women spoke. They understood the angle that Aniekan was coming from.
“I will help you with whatever information that you need. I want to be part of this. I want them to pay for what they did to Imaobong and what they tried to do to me.” Elena swiftly volunteered.
At the mention of Imaobong’s name, his tummy fluttered. Even in death, he would still love her. In that moment, his eyes met with Elena’s, and for the first time, he realized the strong resemblance that she shared with Imaobong. It took him great willpower to pull his eyes away from her face. It confused him even more.
To be continued…