Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Second Chance - Chapter Thirteen

“There’s plenty of blame to go around.”
 ―Suzanne Collins

After Sandra left, Bisola began rearranging the table, removing the bowls and cereal boxes.

          “You can come out now…” she said with a sigh to an empty staircase, hoping Aisha could hear her. After a few seconds passed, Bisola was startled, why wasn’t she racing down the stairs to hear the gist of what had happened? Considering Aisha’s personality, Bisola had even suspected that she might have even been listening to her conversation with Sandra. She was about to climb up the stairs to see what was wrong when she heard Aisha’s hoarse voice whisper something as she appeared on the staircase.

          “Who is he?” she asked in a soft voice as she slowly took a sit at the top of the stairs.

          “Who is who?” Bisola replied, climbing up the stairs to join Aisha.

          “No, no…” she immediately hopped up. “Don’t come close to me. Just answer me. Who is Tunde?”

          “Where you listening to my conversation with…”

          “Shut up and answer me!” she shouted, pacing around the hallway with her fingers in her hair. She began to pound her head in a crazy manner as she chanted, “I know that name…I’ve heard it before. I just, I just… God!” she screamed, almost pulling her hair out of her scalp.

Bisola was in absolute shock. She had no idea what she was witnessing. She wanted to help the girl but the look in her eyes when she’d first attempted to assist her before had scared her to death.

          “Stop it! You’re hurting yourself.” She attempted to come near her again.

          “What does it matter to you? I’m dead, have you forgotten? Now if you don’t tell me who Tunde is, I’ll make sure you join me.”
          “Fine! He’s a friend of mine, an ex-boyfriend, what does it matter to you?”

          “What does your Tunde look like?” Bisola was about to tell her that he was no longer hers when Aisha began her trail of questions. They were coming as fast as she was pacing about.

          “He’s tall, not too tall. Dark skinned, a bit buff…you know, from gyming a lot.”

          “When he’s angry, when he’s angry, has he ever laid his hands on you?”

          “Wait, how did you know that?”
Aisha suddenly lurched at Bisola with full force but Bisola was quick to move away, dodging the unexpected attack.

          “Do you work for him? Do you work for Tunde!?”

          “I don’t work for anybody! What has come over you?!” Bisola asked angrily. The whole situation was getting out of control, and her own anger was begging to break loose. Aisha had no right to question her and subject her to such horror.

          “There are more than a thousand people called Tunde in the world. What you need to do is calm down and talk to me. I think you’re starting to remember things. Let it happen, don’t fight It––don’t fight me.” she added.

          Aisha still didn’t have everything figured out. Fragments of memories, both good and bad, they were all jumbled up in her head like a cloud of smokes. She just needed that last bit of the missing puzzle in order to clear the smoke and clear her mind.  Bisola thought it wasn’t wise to go near her just yet. She wanted to be sure she wouldn’t be risking her own life in order to comfort another. Once Aisha squatted into a sitting position, Bisola sighed in relief. She rushed to her side and sat in front of her.

          “Do you remember now?” she asked the girl who was rocking herself back and forth in a slow motion.

          “Oh yes, I remember everything.” Even the things I’m too ashamed to admit, she thought bitterly and swallowed the lump of shame that was preventing her from speaking. When she’d remembered how she died, she’d also remembered who she was before––the girl she should have never become.
          “I use to work for a guy called Tunde.” She began. “I did all sort of things for him. I stole for him. I even shot a man for him––quite a few men.” Then she burst into tears. “God! All the things I’ve done for him…horrible things. After everything I’ve done for him, how could he do this to me? It had to be him. No one else knew I was coming to that hotel but him––he was the one who sent me there in the first place.”

          It’d all happened; the process of remembering what had transpired that night after she’d heard one of the girls mention his name. It’d been as if a light bulb had blown up in her head. She’d been left with the smoke from the explosion as the memories she’d thought she’d hoped to recover came flooding back in with the force of world behind it. She didn’t believe that Bisola’s Tunde was the same as the man she’d sold her soul to, but she did have him to thank for helping her remember her real threat.

          “You need to tell me what you saw that night when you found me. Did you see his face? Did he see yours?”

          “No... I’m not sure if he saw mine.” she shook her head correspondingly. “His face was covered. I only saw you on the floor. He had a knife with him, the one he used on you…that was all I could take before running out of the room.”
          “The guy who did this to me, he is a nightmare. You can’t go to the police anymore. It’s too dangerous. You can’t help me either, that would mean putting your life at risk. We have to let this go, I have to find a way to let everything go…so I can rest in hell after everything I’ve done.”

          “Nooo, don’t say that. I’m sure that whatever you’ve done, however horrible it is, God can still forgive you.”

          Aisha laughed. “I have no business what him…I’ll gladly take a spot in hell than to ask for his forgiveness.”
          Bisola shivered. There was no way of convincing Aisha otherwise. She wished she could do more to help but since Aisha mentioned how dangerous the man who  murdered her was despite how close they’d been, Bisola knew there was no way she could get justice for her friend even if she wanted to.

          “But why,”
“Why what?”

          “Why would he hurt you?

          Aisha took a minute to think, recollecting more of her memories. “I remember us having a small fight when I went to see him a week before going to that hotel. I told him I wanted out of the business. I didn’t want to sleep with men for money any longer because I had Philip and it wasn’t fair that I was being unfaithful to him by still working for Tunde. He was getting angry and I knew how animalistic he could get when he’s angry. You can’t say no to him. I knew I couldn’t win like this so I fearfully agreed not to leave him because––”

She paused all of a sudden as she welcomed a shocking new wave of memory.

“Because?” Bisola urged even though she was mentally weary from the whole ordeal. She still wanted to know more.

          “I was trying to protect something. I was trying to avoid his beating that afternoon when I went to see him because I was–– Oh my God! I remember now. I remember everything!

          “I’d taken the test before going to see him. I really wanted to tell Philip but I felt I needed to deal with Tunde, get him completely out of our lives first before telling Philip that he was going to become a father. I should have just told him that day.” She cried, remembering how happy she’d been on the day she found out she was pregnant. She’d taken it as a sign that it was time to quit her partnership with Tunde. She’d courageously gone over to his place to plead with him to let her go. Her excitement had made her forget how dangerous it was to bring such a request to him. She’d tried her luck, threatening to tell it all, all his secrets to whoever cared to listen. That had been what angered him, and if she hadn’t agreed to shut down her little rebellion, Tunde would have beaten that child out of her before she even had the chance to inform the father.

 Her heart was breaking. She felt sorry for herself, for Philip and for the child they never got to see. There's no one else to blame but me–– just me alone.

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