Her parents started getting notice from the landlord to pay up their rent or suffer being evicted from the house. They ran from one friend to another but of course, their friends were just traders and drivers too and had difficulties of their own. The money they were able to get from them, they used to buy food just to survive on. Ojo sold his nokia phone at some point and so they lost all contacts with Celine. As they sat eating the last food they had in the hose which was boiled yam and groundnut oil, the landlord barged in with some hoodlums.
Landlord: “So you people even have money to buy food and you refused to pay me my money leaving my family to starve? You are wicked, you are a wicked man Ojo” he said poking him on the forehead.
Ojo: “Baba landlord it’s not like that. In fact this is the last food we have in this house. Please give us some more time, I am planning to travel to Lagos next week to see my brother so I can collect the money. Please have mercy on us” he pleaded glancing sideways at the two hefty men waiting for the landlord’s order.
Landlord: “has it not been five months now you’ve been planning to go to Lagos next week? Your next week don’t ever finish does it?”
Ronke: “Baba oko mi please no throway our things. We go pay you the money when hin don come back from Lagos. Na money wey he go take go we no see. Abeg no vex for us” she went on her knees while the twins followed suit.’
Landlord: “How did I come about people as wretched as this to rent out my house to? please stand up, go inside pack your things, only your wretched cloths o and get out of my house before I let the dogs loose on you” he bellowed with hatred.
Ojo: “Where will we go to sir? You know we have no family here and they are all far away. Please have mercy on us I beg of you. Give us just one more month and if by then we didn’t pay up, we will pack out on our own without you even breaking a sweat” he pleaded even harder which only succeeded in infuriating the landlord more.
Landlord: “Guys! Please throw them out with their cloths. Nothing but their cloths, I will at least manage to sell the little properties they have to raise some money”
The guys went inside and started throwing out all of Celine’s things. The desk she used in studying, the little cloth she had left and then proceeded to the sitting room to pack their own cloths too. Ronke wanted to go and stop them but her husband held her back knowing that was only going to make matters worse. He chewed at his lower lips as tears gathered in his eyes. He could not stand being so disgraced in front of his two boys. They were too young to be going through the kind of life they were going through. The tears flowed freely as the guys started throwing their bags out. They allowed them to dress up properly, pushed them out and locked the door.
Landlord: “You can now go to Lagos, when you come back with the money, I will return the key to the apartment to you but make sure you don’t delay because I might be renting it out soon” he said and walked past them. The neighbours who had gathered around looked at them with pity shaking their heads.
They left the house not knowing where they were going or who they were to go to for help.
Celine: “So you mean it wasn’t you? Wow!” she replied with realisation hitting her hard in the face. “It must be the mysterious man. The length he will reach to get me. People need to be strong in this life though, if I had allowed him, he would have had my soul probably rotting in hell now or doing all of his bidding like he is doing with Zahra” she thought.
Sola: “Well I am not the one but what is happening though? Hope the person did not hurt you? How did he come about looking like me?”
Celine: “I don’t seem to understand either. Well that is by the way. Hope you are okay though? Where did you say you were coming from again?”
Sola: “A friend’s. He was having a birthday party” he lied. “I think I can’t hold it in anymore though”
Celine: “Hold what in?”
Sola: “I like you. No! I am in love with you” he said coyly.
Celine: “Is that so?” she asked absentmindedly. “Is last night’s incidence replaying itself again or what? I don’t seem to understand what is going on right now” she thought casting him a glance behind her full dark lashes.
Sola: “I am just trying to tell you how I feel. I am not going to try touching you or something. I am not like that. Just thought of barring my heart to you so I can have peace of mind whenever I see you”
She looked at him and from his eyes, she saw that he was sincere and relaxed. She thought of telling him what she was going through with Zahra and the mysterious man, how her spirit could leave her body, how she found Zahra that morning but thought against it. It wasn’t going to help, might just put him in danger.
Celine: “Okay dear. Give me some time to process that okay? Thanks for telling me though” she replied and smiled at him. He wanted to just draw her closer and kiss the hell out of her but he controlled himself well and then stood up to leave.
Sola: “See you at day break angel”
Celine: “Be careful okay? Please do be careful and stop being a night walker, you know how dangerous it can be. We still have a lot to discuss so show up whenever you want but with that good intention of your still in place” she said and laughed.
Sola: “Trust me. I am nothing but a dove” he winked at her and stepped out into the cold. His finger hurting even more painfully than it was when the lady just bit him.
As she drove to the GRA where Kendrick had gotten her the apartment at, the mysterious man suddenly appeared at the car’s front seat…
Mysterious Man: “How do you like your new ride?” he asked looking grim. The look that indicated he wasn’t having anything good to tell her.
Zahra: “Just spit it out. What do you want now?” she said still reeling from anger at his earlier stunt.
Mysterious Man: “Oh you are smart. You already know when I did not come for a mere chit chat. Very good. I want you to go back to his house and kill him. I cannot have competition. I will give you someone else, maybe some old politician to be doing all of your bidding. I know you don’t like older men and that’s why I am giving you him. I cannot have competition” he said with his eyes beaming dangerously.
Zahra: “I thought you said we weren’t going to kill him?” she looked like a person who had just be bitten by a zombie in the walking dead-terrified was an understatement.
Mysterious Man: “I lied. I am the father of lies remember?” he said with pride and disappeared but his voice still echoed on. “Kill him! Kill him or I kill him myself” he kept saying then all went silent.
She reversed like a professional driver in a car race and sped back to Kendrick’s place…
Like thirty minutes after Sola left, she started feeling her usual headache again and wondered who Zahra’s next prey was. She closed her eyes and her spirit floated out in that familiar way she had started getting used of. But it wasn’t Zahra her mind went to, it was her parents but she was surprised when it wasn’t the house she found herself in but on a street, under the bridge. She looked around at the people sleeping on the cold hard floor praying her family was not going to be among them but of course they were. She sighted the twins first then her parents. Her dad was the only one up and he was crying with his hand on his cheek, tears flowed freely.
Celine: “Dad what’s wrong? What is happening to you? Why are you here in the cold and not at home?” she said as she went closer to him, her own eyes beaming with unshed tears. “Daddy! Were you sent out of the house?” at that moment, she wished she could read his thoughts or hear his thoughts. She decided to go to the house and on reaching there, she saw that the place had been ransacked and most of their things gone. She placed her hand on her head and began to cry loudly. She went back to where her parents were but they were no longer there. She thought of following them but decided against it.
She went back to the room where her body was supposed to be but there was no trace of it. She panicked, shut her eyes tight and fixated her mind on her body and instead she found herself at an open field with pine trees lining it like a place lovers meet at to play love. She went back to the room and tried again but she was taken back to the same place and the same spot. She started searching around but her body was nowhere to be found…
Question: Has her body been stolen? By who? Will Zahra carry out the assignment on the man she loves?
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