Nkasi was standing exactly where the bus had dropped her, not knowing where to turn or go, then a big Range rover drove into the Filling station and stopped in front of her. The tinted window wound down and a man brought his head out.
Man: “You look confused, where are you headed?” he asked. Nkasi looked at him warily, and shook her head.
Man: “I can help direct you, because I can tell it is your first time in the city” he said with a slight smile
Nkasi: “Am I that obvious?” she blurted unknowingly, and then she turned away. She wanted to ask the man for help, but she remembered that her father’s tales of Lagos weren’t all sunshine and flowers; it was also a tale of the dubious things that went on in Lagos.
Man: “Yes my dear, you are very obvious” he said with that slight smile again. Nkasi always said if something was dangerous, her heart would keep beating fast when she was about to do it, but if her heart was calm, then there was no danger to her in what she was about to do. So, though she was cautious, she felt calm talking to the man, and she decided there was no harm if he showed her the way to the university.
Nkasi: “I am Nkasiobi, and I just gained admission into UniLag. I came all the way from Umuidim. Can you show the way to UniLag?” she asked.
Man: “That name sounds familiar. Wait, you are the girl, who was the best student in WASSCE” he said as he remembered the news he had seen on television. He also knew that she was on scholarship. As he looked at her, he saw a potential wife for his only son, who was half way through the University. A smart girl would give him intelligent grandchildren, not the ninnies his son surrounded himself with. Besides the girl was beautiful, if he was a young man, he would court her, because in his young days, Nkasi was the kind of girls he courted.
Nkasi: “Yes I am” she replied shyly.
Man: “I know this must sound off to you, but I want you to follow me home. It is late and you need to refresh and rest, so you can resume school tomorrow. My son is also a student in the University of Lagos and I am sure he would be more than willing to drive you to school” he said and Nkasi looked at him with uncertainty in her eyes. She kept peering into his eyes, so much that the man was tempted to ask what she was looking for. But Nkasi remembered her father always said that the eyes were the window to one’s soul, and somebody’s true intentions could be seen in their eyes.
When she looked into this stranger’s eyes, she saw no guile, and because her heart did not beat faster, she agreed to follow him home.
Back in Umuidim, Nkasi’s mother was nagging her husband for allowing their daughter travel to a far place without anyone with her.
Nkasi’s father: “If I had gone with her and left you here in Umuidim, would you have been alright?”
Nkasi’s mother: “Why wouldn’t I be fine?” she retorted.
Nkasi’s father: “Sorry to say this, sometimes I think you have lost touch with reality. Did you not hear about Emeka who left his family and went to Onitsha to do business, but when he came back, his family was nowhere to be found. The people of this village do not want us here, they will take any opportunity to be rid of us”
Nkasi’s mother: “What makes you think that what happened to Emeka’s family is because of his status in Umuidim? It could be that his wife got tired and left his him, with the children. Tomorrow I leave you, you will say the diala, took me away abi?”
Nkasi’s father: “Leave me, are you planning to leave me?” he asked looking at her with playful eyes.
Nkasi’s mother: “Yes oh, you sent my daughter to a strange land in the name of education. Are there no schools in Imo state?”
Nkasi’s father: “The prophecy will not come to pass, if Nkasi doesn’t leave the shores of this land. Because of what we are, Nkasi will always be seen as lesser than she is. Do not worry, Nkasi will not die, the challenges she will face in life will not come from death, but from whom she is, and who, society has labeled her to be” he said sadly. Nkasi’s mother sighed and embraced her husband. Her heart was sad, but she did not regret the decision she made to marry Nkasi’s father. Her marriage to him made her share in the curse, and all the children that could come out of her bowels.
The big Range rover drove into a big white mansion, through a gate that opened of its own accord. When the car drove into the garage, a man who looked like the housekeeper came to greet them. He helped carry Nkasi’s bag and the man’s briefcase. He looked at Nkasi quizzically, wondering what a young girl like her was doing with his boss at this time of the night. He hoped that the man had not decided to bring in another wife since his wife could not bear anymore children after giving birth to Obinna, the only heir of the family.
Nkasi followed the man’s lead into a house whose interior was even more magnificent than the exterior. She had never seen such magnificence and wondered if she was already in heaven. She was still looking around when a tall, beautiful woman descended the staircase which ran through the side of the living room.
Woman: “Honey, who is she?” she asked, looking at Nkasi up and down.
Man: “She is the famous Nkasi, who was the best student in WASSCE. She has just arrived Lagos to begin school at UniLag. She was lost and I offered her accommodation. Tomorrow, Obinna will take her to school”
Woman: “Obinna is not home, he stayed over in school. Something about an early morning lecture”
Man: “Then I will take her, please show her where to sleep and give her something to eat”
Nkasi: “Sorry ma’am for the inconvenience” she said in a small voice. The woman looked at her, and her heart softened towards her. She saw that the girl was innocent and sweet.
Woman:”Never mind dear, you are not a bother” she smiled and stroked Nkasi’s cheek. The man who had brought Nkasi smiled too because, he could see that his wife had been affected by Nkasi’s bug. When he talked to Nkasi, he felt like he was talking to the daughter he never had. He thought sadly of how nice it would have been if he had a daughter. She would have been beautiful and intelligent like Nkasi. He swore that she would be his daughter through marriage to his son.
Nkasi was shown to the most luxurious bedroom she had ever seen. She had her shower in the white, gleaming bathroom, and slept on the softest bed she had ever seen. She slept with a smile on her face.
Her eyes opened to a woman standing before her, it was the same woman that had smiled sweetly to her and welcomed her into her home. But something was different about her. Gone was the cherubic face that had on light makeup, her face was contorted and her eyes were like they had hot coals in them because they burned with fury.
Woman: “Leave my child alone, you cursed girl. You cannot be equal to my son, you filthy slave. Leave my son alone or else…” She looked beyond the woman and saw Obinna tied in the corner, he looked like he was mad and he had been bound.
Nkasi: “Please, I love your son, I cannot hurt him” she cried. Just when the woman came closer to hit her with the stick that Nkasi didn’t realize she had in her hand all along, Nkasi screamed, she screamed till her eyes opened and she realized that she was on her bed, and the woman she had seen, was nowhere near her.
Nkasi: “Chineke me, what kind of a dream is this?” she rubbed her eyes and tried to dispel the horror she had felt in the dream, which still crept on her skin. Then she heard a knock on the door, she hurriedly tied the wrapper she had been given, securely around her chest. Then the door opened and the same young man she saw in her dream, who was deranged and tied up, walked into her room.
WATCH OUT FOR PART 3.