In the Shadows Part 2: Paradise

By Cristabell

The bang on the door wakes her up. She had been deeply lost in the paradise of her afternoon dreams. Walking up the stairs into a plane that was headed for the Maldives. Finally her wishes are coming true until the noise downloads her from her cloud-nine peaceful sleep. Her heart is racing. Had she left the door unlocked? She has heard many stories of how thieves break into the houses in Glen Lorne and kill everyone in the house. She wants to scream.

“Mai Noku!”

She pauses a bit before replying to the call. The moment she recognizes the voice, her pulse starts going down and her perspiration reduces. The voice seems to belong to her youngest sister in law. Brenda.

Why is she here? She asks herself, walking towards the door to meet her in the passage hall. Meanwhile she’s wearing a frown on her face. This is the evil woman who always asked for money from my husband for useless things to the point that Brian had to die. Mai Noku blames Brian’s death on Brenda. The two women had exchanged nasty words at Baba Noku’s funeral. During the body viewing ceremony, Mai Noku threw herself down mourning her husband’s death as she saw him lying in the coffin. They had their differences but he was her husband. After the funeral, every close relative had gathered at Baba Noku`s parents` house for the sharing of his clothes. As they were walking out of the house, Brenda had come to her and scolded her for putting up a fake show during the funeral.

“I think you would get an acting job at Studio 263,” said Brenda, referring to a popular national television series.

“Please stay away from me and my house,” Noku replied. Brenda disputed that request and challenged that she would visit the house by force. She kept raising her voice at Mai Noku and it was attracting an audience. If not for the people around who had stopped the argument that was brewing, the two would have fought physically. Mai Noku had thought of getting a peace order against Brenda from the court. Her Christian mind advised her otherwise.

“Busy sleeping and enjoying my brother’s blood and sweat,” says Brenda, looking annoyed by the sight of Mai Noku in front of her. “I was right to think that you had something to do with that accident. You wanted him dead so you could squander his money with your lovers.”

“Excuse me!” Mai Noku responds. What Brenda had said triggered her memories of Baba Noku`s extramarital affairs and she was ready to show her dark side. “ You can’t walk into my house uninvited and start throwing away words of things that you do not even know. Do you know that I took care of you as a child when you still soiled yourself?” Brenda had been brought into the family as a child shortly after Mai Noku and her husband`s honeymoon. As his youngest sister, Baba Noku had opted to raise her, as his parents were growing old. Mai Noku had raised Brenda as their first child regardless of her reluctance to have her in their household. She tried her best to be a mother to her for the sake of peace between her and her husband. They were not able to conceive a child of their own, a reality that pained her. The baby dolls, nice clothes and princess treatment she would have given to a child of her own, she gave it to Brenda.

“I don’t care what you did!” Shouts Brenda. “I never asked you to do so by the way. Thanks to you I suffer from eczema from who knows what you put on my skin when you bathed me. Aunty Bridgette was right when she said you are a witch. You killed my brother for your rituals and I will get to the bottom of it. I—” Before she could finish her statement, Mai Noku gives her a hard slap which sends her flying towards the passage wall. She hits her head on the wall which produces an echo followed by a loud scream.

“You want to kill me like you killed him!” Brenda stands up, blindly bolts towards Mai Noku and knocks her to the ground. Mai Noku is surprised by the strength and determination that the young lady possesses. She tries to hold her hands to stop the fight but this leads her to receiving the most painful bite of her life. Brenda sinks her teeth deep into Mai Noku’s skin and blood gushes out. Mai Noku lets out a loud cry, fights herself off the young lady’s grip and runs back to the bedroom and locks herself in. She hears a metal object dropping to the ground which could mean Brenda followed her to the bedroom. Was she carrying a knife? Could it be that she wanted to use it on me? What if she gave me a fatal stab? Mai Noku is frightened by the thought.

Brenda starts banging her body against the bedroom door in an attempt to break it open. Inside, Mai Noku is still trying to recover from the shock. What has come over this child, she questions herself. Her husband was violent but not to such an extent. She really has to get that peace order this time.

“You think you can get away with this!” Shouts Brenda through the door. “We are coming for our brother’s property and rest assured that you will remain with nothing. Evil woman. You are the reason why my brother had to look for another woman. Who can tolerate such a creature as a wife?”

Footsteps are heard heading towards the kitchen door. Shortly Mai Noku hears a bang as the kitchen door closes followed by a car engine revving away from her house. She knows that war is coming from her husband’s family. She needs to think deeply and strategize, otherwise they will use culture to take everything away from her.

As she steps out of her bedroom, she feels a deep cut on the sole of her food. It’s the knife! Her thoughts were correct. She falls down but in no time, she sees the air hostess welcome her to the plane and she begins to cry tears of joy.

“Welcome to the plane ma’am,” says the beautiful lady dressed in black. Mai Noku looks back and sees a trail of blood on the steps she had climbed. Just as she was about to scream, everything around her disappeared into a mysterious dark cloud.

5 May, 2023