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When my brother told us his fiancée was coming to visit, we were so happy. At least he was going to get married and Mama in particular could not contain her joy. She cooked a lot of food and kept on repeating the question;

“what kind of food does she like?”

Papa kept giving his first son principles for managing a home and also reminding him of the troubles women give and how important it was to show some maturity.

“That will make them respect you more” he maintained.

Tony was twenty eight, two years older than me and we both had graduated from the university. While I majored in Accounting, Tony was a scholar in Geology.  And now he was getting married. When Mama had finished cooking, she had a bath, and we all sat down while Mama in her enthusiastic manner laid out dreamy plans for the marriage.
Tony’s phone rang immediately. We heard him ask her; obviously his fiancée to wait at our junction, that he was coming to pick her up. Mama stood up and danced. Tony took his car keys and left. I should have followed him, but something restricted me of which I had no idea about.

“I’m so happy Tony finally agreed to marry” Mama said after he left.

“I am too, he’s a successful young man, I don’t know what would keep him from marrying” Papa put in.

Thirty minutes later, Tony’s car pulled up in front of the house. Mama peered through the window and turned happily to us.

“She’s here!” she chanted and danced. Papa sat upright and folded his newspaper while I straightened my collar and relaxed well on my chair. Tony walked in, the young girl trotting behind him.

“Papa, Mama, this is Iyore my love. The one I cherish so much”

Tony made the introductions while Iyore knelt before Papa and Mama. Papa smiled and patted her on the shoulder.

“Rise my daughter, it is well with you”

“Now I know Tony my son didn’t do his description very well. You are so pretty. Welcome my daughter, I’m so happy to see you finally” Mama said wrapping her hands around her shoulders.

Iyore turned to me and her eyelids narrowed just as mine did.

“This is my younger brother Kamsy” Tony said. I shook hands with her.
Her palms were soft. On her face was a glow of familiarity. I knew her and still remember lucidly where I met her, but never failed to wonder what brought her in contact with my family, all was not well; I thought to myself. She sat down beside Tony while Papa asked her certain questions. I glanced at her while my heart skipped beats. Was this the girl my brother was going to marry? This pretty girl with lashes so long it made her eyes the best illustration of what Mama called anya-eke; eye of the snake.  I would say her body was lithe, elastic and very flawless. Her cheeks had a perfect tomato blush. In fact, she was the cutest girl I have ever seen.
Mama came in at once from the kitchen with a tray containing plates of fried rice, salad and roasted chicken.

“Ah Mama, you should have called me” Iyore said standing up to collect the tray from Mama.

“Don’t worry my daughter. Next time you will cook the meal for all of us, for now you are our honoured guest” Mama said smiling.

We ate the food while Papa continued his interview with Iyore.

“Why did you leave our indigenous universities for Yale” Papa asked.

“It was my father’s decision. I wanted to study at University of Ibadan but my dad wouldn’t hear of that, so he sent me to Yale” Iyore explained.

“What do you do for a living?”

Iyore laughed and ran her hand through her long black hair.

“I do a lot of things sir, I sew clothes, I bake, plan events and one of the dreams I intend achieving with Tony is to set up a big catering company”

“Wow, this is a girl full of big dreams” Mama was so happy.

Tony you heard her, she intends achieving that dream with you” Papa said chewing his chicken meticulously.

“Yea Papa, I heard her” Tony laughed out his words.

“Kamsy, you’ve not said anything to your pretty sister-in-law to be” Mama remarked.

“I don’t really have words in my mouth. Her beauty has taken them away” I said and they all laughed.

“You said you are from where?” I asked further.

“I’m a citizen of England. My dad is English but lives in Abuja while my mom is from Edo state” Iyore answered.

“Hmm, Edo State. Is it true the state is highly occultic?”

Iyore laughed loudly, throwing her head backwards as she did so “Occultism is everywhere my dear, I can bet there’s a stink of occultism in this room” she said.

“That’s true anyway” I nodded and smiled.

“What’s true?” Mama asked but it was obvious she didn’t believe what I had just said.

“Come you two, what’s all this about occultism and who in this room could be reeking of it?” Tony asked and we all laughed including myself because there was an expression on Tony’s face that seemed to say he believed what Iyore had said.

Mama laughed too and reaching for Iyore’s hand said “I’m so happy my son is getting married to you. I’ve never been this happy”

But I didn’t feel the way they felt really. Well, I was quite happy that Tony was finally seeing that one true girl he could tolerate because I had thought initially he wasn’t going to get married. But at the same time, I wasn’t satisfied because he was getting married to Iyore because I knew her, since I was with her in the same league. Why was she here anyway? We had a misunderstanding that had not yet been settled and she had sworn to teach me an unforgettable lesson and here she was posing as my brother’s fiancée. I shifted uneasily in my chair and the air was gradually getting hot. Then I looked at her and she caught my stare.

“Is your brother falling in love with me?” she asked and except me, everyone laughed.

I never understood what her mission was until Papa screamed and fell off his chair. We rushed to him, Mama, Tony , I and… Iyore was not with us anymore. She was nowhere to be found.

“Where’s Iyore?” Tony asked.

We didn’t answer him. Papa was already foaming from his mouth and we carried him into Tony’s car. Tony drove speedily while trying his lover’s line.

She’s not picking her call” he said tearfully.

“Tony, are you out of your senses?” Mama asked angrily “Your father is at the brink of death and you are only worried about a girl who suddenly has disappeared. Have you wondered what made your father suddenly slump like this. Was he sick, never!! And you are only worried about a girl who just vanished from the house immediately your father slumped… You are not sensible my son!!”

“Mama this is my life I’m talking about. Iyore is my love. Why shouldn’t I be worried that she suddenly disappeared!!” Tony shouted back at Mama and pressed down the accelerator. The car was almost bouncing. I spotted a hospital close by.

“That’s a hospital, Tony. Pull the car over”.

Tony kept speeding past the hospital.
“Tony we just passed a hospital, where are you taking us to?” Mama pulled at his shirt.

“We are going to look for Iyore first. I must find her first!!” Tony shouted and pushed Mama back with his left arm.
“Are you out of your senses Tony, Papa is dying” I shouted at him. Tony turned and slapped me hard, the car still flying. I turned and tried to seize the wheels but he resisted. We fought frantically while Mama rained curses on Tony, Papa still foaming.

“Tony, you want to kill your father because of that girl. Is it not clear to you she’s not ordinary!!!” Mama bellowed “You are such a filthy beast my son!!”

“Pull the car over Tony!!” I screamed hard “your father is dying!!”

“Iyore is dying also, I must find her!!” Tony shouted back and crashed me into my side.

“Forget Iyore, you dull brain!!” I held unto him. The car was unsteady now while Mama kept screaming; high pitched screams.
“Iyore has blinded you, you fool, pull the car over this moment and save your father!!”

Tony gave me another slap and I replied him with a blow. Blood gushed from his nose immediately. We fought hard while I tried to keep the car steady.  Mama reached for us and tried pulling us apart, our heads bumping into the car roof.  We struggled; Mama, Tony and I until the car somersaulted and landed into a thick bush.
I don’t know how long I had been unconscious after that accident had happened. I crawled out from the shattered car, its wheels facing the sky. It was getting dark and the bush was noisy. I fell to the ground again, my head ached and blood gushed from my mouth and my eyes were swollen.  I turned to see their bodies; Mama, Papa, Tony, they were all dead but I didn’t cry. I struggled up to my feet and trudged out from the scene. I turned back to take a last look at the mess and then the tears rolled. I shouted loudly and fire from nowhere began to lick up the car, and their bodies. I sat there and watched until the fire had died down. Then I turned and there she was, in her imperious visage, smiling wickedly.

“I told you not to mess with me” she said.

She had warned me so the last time we clashed in the underworld and vowed evilly to deal with me. Her name was never Iyore. She had no name.

*
– By Chukwuemeka Famous

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