Remember me (IX)- Short story

The story of fate and destiny

Chapter 9

Tara’s kitchen had been begging for attention for many days. Unwashed plates, with leftovers dried and caked up from the heat, were heaped together in her small kitchen basin.

That was not the scene Tara had anticipated when she got into the apartment slamming the door behind her harder than necessary. She liked the sound the door made when it hit the metal frame, it was like telling the world to go to hell on her behalf.

She was having a crazy bad day and the remnants of her anger was dissipated at the door. Thankfully she could hear the low hum of her refrigerator and the white noise from her fluorescent tubes as they flickered on. The Discos had improved power supply to her neighborhood of late and she was grateful for this.

She tossed her wig into the couch and knocked off her sneakers without crouching to remove the lace.

In the kitchen she picked up the chopping knife and started to cut vegetables into perfect matchsticks in the time it took most people just to peel carrots. Every motion was precise from intense repetition, and she prided herself on the machine-like perfection of her shapes. Tara saw a brilliance in food, but it died after Levi broke her heart. Now she cooked to survive and no longer to impress.

She was out of her kitchen in fifteen minutes with freshly cooked stir fried noodles garnished with vegetables. She emerged from the kitchen with half the heap of dishes untouched. She needed to eat before considering any domestic chores. Her house had the unmistakable stench of dampness and dirt mixed with curry.

As she sank into her couch shoving and slurping a spoonful of noodles into her mouth, she fetched the plastic nylon bag from underneath the center table with her other hand. Straining hard as she leaned whilst trying to maintain equilibrium lest her meal spill onto her dusty floor.

She could sniff the dust in her apartment. There was a thin film on her furniture, the tiled floor and on her settee. She could easily smell the stench from her dirty laundry too, which included previously wet towels, duvet and bedding. Some had been uncleaned since Levi left her.

She quickly sniffed her armpit, slightly raising her arm to allow her nose a whiff. The smell of her tasty noodles replaced the horrid smell she perceived. She didn’t wince, she agreed that she would need to have a shower before stepping out of her apartment.

She started to empty the contents of the plastic bag on her center table, with up to two dozen small pieces of paper falling about the table and the floor. When she shoved another spoon of noddle into her mouth, she imagined it was a reward for putting the torn pieces of paper together. She would look at the torn edge and then look for the complementing piece. It took a painstaking effort to put together the jigsaw puzzle. But strangely, she enjoyed doing so.

Her increasing heartbeat warned her she might just be on to something. Excited, she dropped her plate of food to continue putting the pieces together.

When she was done, it looked like a torn half-page from a book, with a close resemblance to the book she had been reading that afternoon she found the bottle at the beach. She had patched together almost all the pieces of paper except the few that were either too small or too torn to join.

She felt better accomplishing this and she thought she deserved a cold drink from her refrigerator. But what she saw as she walked into her kitchen left her rooted on the spot.

There it stood, the beach bottle, right behind her kitchen fire escape door.

She thought she was hallucinating or confused, but when she opened her eyes again, there was no doubt that the bottle she had tossed out of her car the night before was right behind her kitchen door.

Her scream was resounding and when she stopped to catch her breath, she was besieged by a sudden shortness of breath, dizziness, and body spasm.

She was having a panic attack!

Too shaken to move at first, she bent her knees and curled into herself, wrapping her arms around her knees to keep still, whilst stealing a quick glance at the bottle where it sat outside her kitchen mocking her. It was already dark outside, yet she could discern the bottle’s short neck and glistening glass.

How did the bottle find its way back to her house? She remembered tossing it out of her car window as it hit the asphalt road that night. If it didn’t break at the time, it would have rolled into the culvert to be washed away with the rain earlier that afternoon.

When she was calm and had more control of her muscles, she slowly crawled out of the kitchen on all fours.

When she returned to the living area, the electricity had been turned off, leaving her in utter darkness. She fetched her solar lamp whilst still on her knees and then turned it on into fading darkness. When she pointed the lamp towards her center table where her newly assembled paper lay, she noticed a bizarre scrawl that she hadn’t seen before.

Curious, she flashed the light intently to discern the scrawl.

Help Me

Her brow broke into a frown. The words have been cleverly written with an object that could only be read when in the dark.

“Oh my!” she exclaimed.

At the corner of the paper was the same address she had seen off the bottle at the time of discovery, only this time half of the address was lost to the jagged edge of the paper.

“That same address! There must be a connection to the woman in that house. There has to be a clue in that house for certain.”

Then the electricity supply was turned on almost as she discerned the message and the scribble on the paper faded into oblivion as her fluorescent lights chased away the dark.

This was beginning to feel like one of those mysteries from the famous five series by the children’s writer and author Enid Blyton. She read a good many of her books while she was in her pre-teens. Only this time, it was incredibly real.

As her thoughts raced through the emptiness of her apartment, it was punctuated by the sound of her refrigerator as it rattled on oblivious to her situation.

The house in Yaba held the clue and she would have to go full exploratory mode to find it. Tara was increasingly convinced that this was something she had to do. The mystery was meant to be solved and by a stroke of fortune she was selected for the purpose.

She contemplated going to the house that same evening. But when she looked through her window, it was pitch dark and there was no way she would put herself in danger.

It would have to wait till morning.

She thought about it for some time before sleep overtook her hustle-beaten body on the couch. Her body called in for a deserved rest.

********

In her dream that night, she was drifting in a dark space with static silence defying gravity as she seemed to float with outstretched arms as her eyes struggled to make out the silhouette of a young man. As she approached the man, his face transformed into Levi, her love, and he beckoned to her with open hands to come towards him.

Suddenly conscious of her appearance, she felt for her dress by running her hands through the fabric and realized she wore the same one as the day they first met – Levi’s favorite dress.

As she was within hairsbreadth, his apparition faded into the dark and disappeared leaving Tara perplexed. She stopped floating, as though at will, and then starts to look for Levi.

But when she turned to her right in desperate search, she saw him again beckoning to her, this time passionately. She started to drift towards him again, limited by the lack of gravity in space and the speed through nothingness until she heard his derisive laughter. Until that point it had been completely silent.

He faded away into darkness again.

Confused Tara stopped to assess her position and then in the place of Levi, she saw the image of the old man, Ann’s father.

“Where is my Wife?” he asked. She could see his facial features, his beard, and his cheeky smile even in the dark.

“Where is my wife?” He asked again.

*****

Tara woke up with a throbbing headache that seemed to increase the moment she propped herself up on her elbow from the couch.

“On my God! Stupid dream”

She had only three days to resume back at work. But she had to go to the mansion immediately. If anything, the dream was all the confirmation she needed.

Follow the story to chapter 10

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9 thoughts on “Remember me (IX)- Short story”

  1. An intriguing and suspense filled story that reminds me of Agatha Christie novels that I used to read then in secondary school.

    Awesome writing.

  2. Adedamola ilori

    Tara had to be strong-willed. How do you get a sleep after seeing the bottle you threw away, I’d have been blank till daybreak.
    Akin, how are you able to put this together sef? Your writing thoughts must be raging in an incredible manner. The dream scene, I didn’t see that coming and I enjoyed it even though it felt scary. Nice one brother

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