THE DARKEST HOUR
(Cry of an angel)
Mrs Williams and Udoka didn’t need anybody to tell them the cause of Monica’s cry. They could see each other’s eyes with the help of the light from the torch-light staring steadily. Udoka didn’t know what to say but had only one thing in mind which her mother was also aware of: going to their father’s land. As they looked at each other, Monica’s voice sounded, “Mother, he called me an angel.” The mother and Udoka looked at her simultaneously.
“Who called u an angel?” Mrs Williams asked.
“I don’t know” Monica replied.
Hearing that, Mrs Williams casted her mind back to the past.
Mr Williams the twins’ father was a tall handsome man. He came back from the farm and sat in front of his house. The house was a large bungalow made with cement. But by mare looking at it, one can deduce that it’s an old building. Just as he rested in front of the house, Mrs Williams the wife came out with a year old Monica.
“Nna anyi, welcome” she greeted and sat down with a smile. Without responding to the greetings, the husband carried Monica with joy. “How are you my angel?” he said.
“What did u call her?” the wife asked.
“Angel, she’s my angel” Mr Williams replied..
After the remembrance, Mrs Williams began to shed tears. She held Monica tightly and said, “Your father called you an angel my daughter”
“My father?” Monica disengaged from her mother. “He use to call me that?”
“Yes” the mother replied.
“I think that explains why he said i was in my land when i asked where i was”
“Did you see him?” Udoka asked.
“No, i heard only a voice” Monica replied and looked at her mother. “There is something unique about the Dark Forest of Ndiogoro land that i need to know” she added.
“I don’t think there is anything unique about it. It’s just a drea..”
“Don’t call it a dream mother!” Udoka interrupted her mother. Her voice echoed in the church. “Why do you like covering this issue up when you know that it’s getting out of hand? If there is nothing unique about the forest then why does Monica keep seeing it in her dreams and hearing voices?”
“Shut your mouth, Udoka!” the mother rebuked her. “What do you want me to do? Take you to the forest?”
“Yes, mother! Take us there!”
“Are you out of your mind?!”
“Stop!” Monica shouted. “Both of you should stop this, I’m losing my mind already!” she concluded and quietly laid down again sniffing in tears. Udoka looked at her mother and said, “I’m sorry, mother” The mother said nothing rather put off the torch light. After the silence lingered, she said, “Go to bed”
Trust and Sunday came out from their room just to see Mrs Williams’ door still locked. Sunny couldn’t bear it anymore, so he knocked at the door continuously with a chewing stick in his mouth and wrapper tied around his waist. Trust stood at a distant looking at him.
“Guy, e be like say these people don die inside this room oh!” Sunny shouted looking at him.
“How do you know? Are you the one that killed them?” Trust asked.
“Who knows if that witch Udoka has not killed her sister and mother”
“No, I’m serious oh coz that girl can do and undo” Sunny added.
“Abeg, is like they traveled” Trust returned to their apartment.
“Okay oh, let’s watch and see” Sunny concluded and left the door.
The month had already ended, so Udoka used the opportunity to go back to the Cyber Cafe. She explained her situation to the manager then was paid her monthly salary and she left the cafe back to the church. With the money, they transported themselves and properties to Eziukwu, her mother’s home town. The village was nothing more like a village; naked children playing on a heep of sand, erosion on the road, bushes beside it and poor houses and electric connections. Already, the twins and their mother had packed in. Udoka came out from the local house, space into the sky with her hands on her waist.
“I love the environment” a voice came from behind. She turned to see Monica smiling.
“What’s so loving about the environment?” Udoka asked.
“The cool weather, less noise pollution and availability of fruits” Monica replied and saw two young guys walking along the road. They sagged their trousers and unkept their hair. “My God, this is what I’m not gonna like” she said.
Udoka followed the direction of her eyes to those boys then smiled.
THE FOLLOWING DAY
David stepped out from his room with two cell phones again with the hope of persuading Udoka to have one. But he was surprise when he got to the cyber cafe without seeing her. The manager told him she wasn’t working there anymore then he became disappointed. With speed, he left the cyber cafe to Udoka’s compound and opened the gate. He met Sunny and Trust playing puzzle. They looked at him from head to toe.
“Who are you?” Sunny asked.
“Who you be?” Trust added.
“I’m sorry, I’m David Robinson”
“What can we do u for?” Sunny asked again.
“I’m looking for Udoka” David replied then the two men looked at each other…
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