Remember me (IV)- Short story

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The story of fate and destiny

 Chapter 4

The Dilemma

It was the lightest traffic she had been in that week. Vehicles were sprinkled on the road as though it were a playset that came with only a few cars. The aftermath of the COVID pandemic meant that a lot more younger people worked from home making commuting bearable. In place of the vehicles, delivery motorcycles and dispatch riders darted across the road in a frenzied haste.

Tara drove her car slowly, lost in thought. The bottle was on her backseat where she tossed it as soon as she got back into her car. She stole a quick glance from the inner mirror as though expecting the object to transform into something else.

The bottle rolled gently on its side mockingly.

“Common Taraoluwa, get a grip.” She chided herself.

For some reason she was relieved that parts of the mystery had been reasonably resolved. At least she knows that the address existed, and she was grateful to have met the husband of the woman in the photo. At least the woman was real.

“She is probably dead already. Poor old man.”

But what a coincidence it was that she met the husband on her visit. At least he was kind to share his side of the story.

“I wonder what happened to her?” She looked at the photo where she kept it around the gear shift. Something surely didn’t add up with the story. How could anyone disappear without a trace.

“Who tossed a bottle into the ocean with her picture and notes in it. What purpose was the message supposed to serve?”

The voices in her head did not yield until she arrived at her apartment in Lekki. She had decided to do some online research on the woman, who must be old by now. She was also going to work on putting together the pieces of paper until she could figured out what was written on them.

When she alighted from the car, she had with her the bottle, the photo, her bag, and the nylon with the scrap pieces of paper.

Now she had work to do.

*****  

Sprawled on her center rug, Tara punched in the name of the lady into the google tab.

Christiana, Atinuke Dosunmu-Coker.

Nothing of note caught her attention in the search result. Apparently, she had gone missing in the early 90s, way before the internet was popular enough to be taken seriously in Nigeria. But there was a mention of her daughter Ann.

She was married to a popular Nollywood celebrity, Ade Expresso! It looked like she had done quite well for herself in academia. Aside from lecturing at the federal university in Yaba, she was also a popular celebrity psychiatrist credited with successfully managing some of the most difficult cases in showbiz.

“Interesting! I will come back to that.”

She spent some time looking at the bottle as it sat on her television console, blending into the deep mahogany furniture as though it was a part of her collection. From the distance, she could still see the coin inside the bottle.

“Shit! Shit, I didn’t ask for the strange man’s name? He claimed he was her husband.”

Promptly, she started to type the surname in hope that it could lead her to pages with information about the old man.

Her head started to spin the moment she read the first search page.

“Freak and fatal Accident

The heir and only son of the Coker Empire died in a bizarre and tragic accident on his yacht after a head-on collision with a local boat killing over 20 passengers. The cause of the accident was attributed to engine malfunction and Adetokunbo’s body was retrieved 3 days later, after it washed up on Lagos beachfront. He was survived by a daughter, Ann.”

His picture had an ominous import with every feature accentuated by every color of the High-definition image. It started to look like the picture was starting to become real. It was every inch the man she had met earlier that afternoon.

“Oh my God, Oh my God….” Her fingers began to tremble as fear crippled her very being. Images of their short meeting flashed past her in droves leaving her rooted to the same spot. She could feel all sorts of emotions at the same time. Maddening Fear, anxiety and confusion took turns to berate her.

Her thoughts were akin to driving around the block over and over, faster and faster in an endless cycle that made her head spin.

She shut down her laptop violently as she scurried quickly to the only couch in her living room.

“Jesus! Jesus!!” she screamed repeatedly.

Her body shook so violently, she couldn’t keep the throw pillow she held close to her chest, as she coiled into the fetal position, still.

When she turned her face away from the laptop, her eyes rolled slowly until her line of sight descended on the bottle where she had placed it on her television console.

“Maybe it was his twin. It had to be. There was no way I had just spoken to a ghost.”

She reached for her mobile handset.

Is it possible to speak to a ghost? She typed in google.

The results this time didn’t help. Some pages offered services to speak to Ghosts. The results left her more confused. 

“What is going on?” The fog of confusion thickened as she struggled to string logical thoughts together. Her brain was fried-up, nothing was being processed.

Regret started to slither in quietly reminding her to always mind her business. She should have left the bottle where it was on the beach.

The steady tick of the wall clock was a tad slower than her shallow breath. Although every where appeared calm, she was convinced there was a nuclear war of words inside her head.

When she opened her eyes, she was clear of one thing she had to do.

She was going to find Ann. Perhaps if she met with her, she would provide some clarity to this ongoing dilemma. Tara had burning questions that craved for answers and her day was already unsettled. She was going to see this through.

This time she left her house with only the small photo of the lady.

******

The map continued to pass audio directions to her until she arrived at the location where the building housed Ann’s medical practice that was tucked in the streets of Opebi.

The House of Order wellness centre.

Tara waited in the car for a moment. She still hadn’t found the answer to one question popping up repeatedly in her mind.

What the hell are you doing?”

She was too far gone to answer questions. Instinctively she looked into the rearview mirror to arrange the straying strands of her braids while casting a cursory glance at her rear seat.

To her horror, the bottle from the beach lay on her back seat as though it had never left the car. Stunned, she took a second look and a third before hurriedly opening the car door like a mad deranged woman.

“What the hell!”

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15 thoughts on “Remember me (IV)- Short story”

  1. Pingback: Remember me (III)- Short story – Akin Akingbogun

  2. Ibilola Famugbode

    See me helping her search for No.17…ha ha ha! I could have sworn I was right in the same room with these two. Your really know how to pull your readers into your stories.Your descriptive abilities are unmatched.Well done!

  3. Na wa o, Akin. You just suddenly changed the outline of this story. No be so we talk am o. Now you leave me in suspense …

  4. I sometimes get goosebumps when watching a horror movie but not when reading. First time ever, you got me brother. Well scripted

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