Remember me (VI)- Short story

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The story of fate and destiny

Chapter 6

Ann the daughter.

When Tara paced into the reception at the House of Order wellness center, her face still carried fading streaks of confusion. She couldn’t believe that the bottle she had left behind in her living room had found its way back into her car.

She had no recollection of picking up the bottle, there was no way she could have done so without her knowledge. It just wasn’t possible.

Despite the rapid pounding in her chest, she looked utterly pale with slightly trembling lips.

“Please I want to see Ann…ehr… Mrs. Ann…..yes..Mrs. Ann”

“Do you have an appointment ma’am?”

“Appointment?” Ann repeated, confused at first. “Oh….No…Yes….. Is she in today please?”

If the chummy lady behind the front desk suspected her strange behavior, she didn’t give anything away. The apathy stamped on her face was no different from that on Artificial intelligence robots.

“Your name please?” still in the same monotonic and robotic voice and the world-renowned poker face.

“ I asked if she is in today?” Tara, now composed, moderated the tone of her voice to show her seriousness.

The lady looked up, adjusted her shirt, freeing it from the folding flesh that threatened the fidelity of the buttons that had started to give way, showing a glimpse of her laced bra.

“Madame, she is not in today and is unlikely to be available for the rest of the week.” She pretended to look emotionless, but she ended the sentence with a tight lip. As though to say, what are you going to do about it?

“Damn!” The words seeped through her slightly parted lips before she got a grip of herself.

They locked their eyes for a moment, long enough for Tara to know there was no way she would volunteer any more information.

“Can I use your convenience please?”

Taking the corridor towards the bathroom, Tara turned to look around the office until she spotted the door that she suspected led to Ann’s office.

The center was immaculate in its layout. There was a general lounge where guests could meet with in-patients with soft sofas, a big soft hairy rug and a huge television screen that flickered scenes from a cooking show.

A stairwell led up to the sleeping area where the soft patter of patients walking around the rooms upstairs did nothing to invite Tara to take the first step. She imagined running into one of the patients who would mistake her for a long-lost sister.

A wrong turn led her into the kitchen area, but she retraced her steps before the chef, who was lost in the smoke of the overcooked meals, noticed.

For a moment, she wondered if it was indeed a wrong turn or she was led by her exploratory instinct. She could have sworn that the place looked a tad familiar.

The temperature within the building was well regulated to passively cool the entire space, even to the small corners where doctors met with patients for causal talk.

Despite the number of nurses and patients milling about the hallway, the quiet in the office was deafening, it felt as though the conversations happened in everyone’s head instead.

Art works donned every wall in the office, but the ones leading to Ann’s office were bigger with the images created in brighter colors. Tara took a quick detour into the waiting area leading to Ann’s office and found that the secretary’s desk was unmanned.

She was closing the door behind her when she heard the secretary’s voice.

“Hello ma’am, hello….you can’t go in there.”

“I must have missed my way to the convenience.” Tara’s accent was of the most polished English.

*****

Tara sat inside her car as she dialed Ann’s number. She had picked up a complimentary card from Ann’s office before the secretary had approached her.

Now she had unfettered access to her email address, phone number and social media pages.

The phone rang twice before it was answered.

“Hello, Ann speaking.”

Tara paused for a moment, she found the voice at the other end soothing and calming. Nothing offered her so much calmness since earlier that afternoon when her peaceful time alone was disrupted by her findings at the beach.

Oh, what a day!

“Hello, are you okay?” It was a voice laced with genuine concern and softness that drew Tara in to share her secrets.

“My name is Tara, I am a friend to……I found something…….I am confused.“ she blurted out in exasperation.

“Tara, please calm down. Take a deep breath and just say the first things that come to your mind.”

“I found something that you may find interesting and worthy of your time.”

“Okay, I hope you are not in any form of danger or harm?”

“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. Can I ask you a question please?”

“Please do.”

“Is your mum still alive?”

Tara’s brows creased and the tension on her face increased exponentially. She could hear her breath drowning in the rapids of her heartbeat.  For a fraction of a second, the corners of her mouth started to twitch upwards, until her conscious mind asserted control again.

“Why do you ask please?”

An impatient Tara replied “I just want to know.”

“My mother is well and alive. Is this about what you found?”

Tara’s brain stuttered for a moment as her wide-open eyes took more light in than she had expected. Every cell in her body seemed to go on pause while her thoughts struggled to catch up.

The shock brought a suspicious quiet, the sort you get before you are knifed from the back.

“This cannot be. Something is strange about this whole thing.” she muttered.

She glanced at her backseat again, for the umpteenth time, and there again was the bottle, that started the whole thing.

“Hello Tara, are you there?”

“I need to see you Ann. This is driving me insane.”

After they agreed to meet first thing the next morning at the centre, Tara turned the ignition and headed back to her apartment.

It was 7pm already and that day was perhaps the longest she experienced the whole year.

As she turned into her gated residential estate in Lekki, she reached into the back seat, grabbing the object that appeared to cause more confusion than clarity, she tossed the bottle out of her passenger window with a strong swing at the elbow.

She heard the faint tinkle as it hit the pavement before rolling into the concrete culvert. That was all she needed to hear.

She passed her pleasantries at the opened gate to the security officer before driving into the estate.

She needed to gain a greater perspective to all the series of conflicting incidences, to think clearly and there was no way that forsaken bottle was going to help her in any way.

Please follow the story here.

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10 thoughts on “Remember me (VI)- Short story”

  1. Huh! What a captivating story. Now I’m more curious than I’ve been all the while. Can’t wait to get to the bottom of it all. Well done Akin

  2. A good one but I am wondering why Tara didn’t ask for the address of Ann from the father.
    Who brought up Ann after the disappearance of the mother when she was only three years old.
    Thanks

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