Banke flipped through the fashion magazine nonchalantly, she had read it over a thousand times in the past, but being a boring Sunday afternoon with no power supply, she had picked it up among other editions to while away the time, and perhaps see if any fashion style could interest her.
Suddenly, she felt a presence behind her, and turned back to see Kolade, her husband smiling mischievously at her, one hand in pocket and the other holding something behind his back. “What’s he up to?” She wondered.
Still smiling, Kolade nodded and brought his hand forward to reveal a shiny brand new machete.
“Do you trust me honey?”
Banke wondered what brought about the question and where he got the machete from; but before she could voice out her question, he slashed out the cutlass at her, that it was only her sharp reflex that saved her face from being slashed.
She shrieked in horror, at the same time terrified.
“Kolade! Are you crazy?”
The smirk didn’t for a second leave his face, as if he was sharing a joke with her.
“Do you trust me?” He repeated.
“Trust you? You wanted to kill me and you are talking about trust.” She screamed at him.
“That means you don’t trust me, and you will pay.”
The smile vanished from his face instantly, and was replaced with a mean murderous look.
He advanced menacingly towards his already retreating wife.
A bewildered Banke realizing it wasn’t a joking matter tried to see if she could talk her husband of three months out of the madness, as she kept putting safe distance between them.
“Kolade, what are you doing, what has come over you?”
Her words didn’t register on him.
She missed her footings as she was walking backward, and Kolade seized that moment to pounce on her with machete ready to stab, but she got away again in the nick of time, thanks to the adrenaline shooting in her.
Without being told, she knew she had to escape out of the building fast. She had to get away from her mad husband, or what would make a man to attack his wife in such a manner if not for lunacy?
She turned around to make for the door, and out of the building; but in her flight from the second attack, she had mistakenly moved further into the room than out of it, leaving him closer to her exit.
Kolade realized her predicament at the same time, and the sly and evil grin returned to his face. He walked to the door, locked it, dangled the key for her to see properly, and made a show of dropping it in his pocket, patting it mockingly.
Tears swelled in her eyes, but she quickly blinked it away. She knew she had to stay focused to remain alive.
“Somebody please help me, he wants to kill me!” She screamed at the top of her voice.
“So you don’t trust me honey?” He asked in an emotion laden voice.
“Are you crazy? You want to kill me and kept talking about trusting you.” She shouted at him, and took her voice to the maximum pitch possible.
“Please help me somebody!”
Kolade paused, wiped the smirk off his face as if contemplating something which made Banke for a moment toyed with the idea that maybe his senses was being regained, but knew she was doomed when he released a string of fart, and busted into laughter.
She lost the battle to hold back her tears, and broke down in it; all hopes seemed lost.
Like a predator that had its prey trapped, Kolade walked without haste towards her, holding the machete in his right hand and fingered the sharp part playfully with his left fingers.
She screamed again for help, but no one seemed to exist in the world than both of them.
With only a chair separating them, he lunged mockingly at her as if attacking her from the left side, knowing she would want to escape to her right, and quickly deft that way, swinging the machete at her; she rushed into his trap, and the weapon cut deeply into her arm. Screaming with agony, she went crashing down in great pain.
Had he moved in for the kill at that moment, he would have had her on a platter of gold as she laid writhing in pain on the floor; but he noticed her blood on his weapon, took a closer look and did a sickening thing – he licked the blood with his tongue, and closed his eyes in ecstasy.
“This can’t be happening.” She whispered to herself, and with the last ounce of strength in her scrambled into her last hope of safety, the guest toilet that the door had been left ajar. She bolted it seconds before her husband started banging at the door, shouting at her to open it.
With pain searing through her body, she panicky checked her injury that was bleeding profusely, and was scared at what she saw. She made a mental note that it would require stitches if she made it out of the ordeal alive. Against her wish, she broke down in fresh tears, while Kolade kept body slamming the door to break it open, but the door held.
Suddenly she heard the happy giggling of Benita, her next flat neighbour’s five years old daughter, her cherry voice urging her father to hurry.
Banke quickly dashed to the toilet’s window, and saw father and daughter about to leave the compound.
“Charles! Charles help me, Kolade wants to kill me.” But Charles didn’t hear despite not being far away. She continued screaming, and waving frantically until Benita looked her way.
She called her father’s attention to her, and they both waved at her with smiles before stepping out of the gate. Banke shouted for help till her voice became hoarse, yet she didn’t give up.
Her ears picked up rustling sounds from the dead leaves beneath the toilet’s window, and a quick peek revealed her husband tiptoeing quietly toward the window. She stepped back in the nick of time as Kolade slashed at her face again, but not fast enough from the broken window’s glass that shattered when the machete struck it, and a splinter caught her on the chin. She tripped over a plastic bucket and hit her head against the wall. She became momentarily stunned.
Kolade cleared the debris with his machete, and peered in.
“You can run honey, but you can’t hide; do you trust me?”
The senseless trust question infuriated her so much that she didn’t know when she flew up in rage, and started throwing anything within her grasp at him. Kolade didn’t flinch as the soap, toothpaste, soap case, sponge, disinfectants, under wears, shower caps, not even when the pedicure’s pumice cut his face.
“What has gone over you, are you crazy, don’t you know what you are doing again?”
The free flow of tears didn’t mask the pain and terror she felt as she watched her husband rooted to the spot as if he had turned into the biblical pillar of salt, and they both stood a while looking hard at each other.
Something within her flashed warning signals that he was planning something sinister, but her reflex failed her at that moment when the machete flew in like a rocket, cutting and breaking her left collar bone and at the same time slicing away part of her ear. Like a dead weight, she fell backward with her head smashing the bucket behind her. She passed out in an instant, but not without having heard the absurd sounding question from her husband
“Do you trust me?”
………. ………. ……….
She heard a feminine voice calling her name softly, as if from a distant; the voice was warm and familiar, yet it sounded as if miles separated the owner from where she was.
“Where am i?” was the first question that popped to her mind.
She tried opening her eyes, but the simple act seemed like an herculean task at the moment, and the pain searing through her whole body made her feel she had been passed through a wringer.
The voice called her again, and asked if she was awake, then she recognized the owner as her friend, confidant and neighbour, Mercy – Benita’s mum and Charles wife. Suddenly she remembered what has happened.
Knowing Mercy was beside her made her feel at ease that she was in safe hands. Mercy might have alerted people in the neighbourhood, and even the police about Kolade’s assault on her. Maybe she’s presently at the hospital and her husband with the police.
She wondered what was wrong with her husband. Had he discovered she now knew about his extra marital affairs with Anita – his colleague, Gbemi – the single mother at the church, Zainab – the sexy photographer down the street? Had he discovered that she was aware that the real reason he hadn’t made love to her for eight days now wasn’t because of chronic waist pain as he made her believe, but because Kike, the intern at Charles office had infected him with syphilis? Even if he knew that those weren’t secret again to her doesn’t mean he had to kill her.
She was about to heave a sigh of relief when she heard his unmistaken voice
“Is she conscious now?”
Panic gripped her, and her once heavy eyelids flew open to reveal the present situation to her.
It was late at night, and she was strapped to a raft like platform. Mercy crouched beside her naked as the sun, same as Kolade, Charles, and little Benita. They were all marked on their forehead, chest and navel with what she suspected to be her blood. Charles was at her feet, Mercy and Benita at her left side, and Kolade close to her head.
Mercy rose to a standing position, and answered his question.
“Good, move to your position.”
Obeying Kolade, her friend walked down to her feet, paused by her husband and shared a kiss with him before walking down to her right side. Kolade was now at her head.
Banke tried to ask her what was going on, but it seemed her voice was on vacation. Her effort at speaking was similar to that of a fish taken out of water. She gave up the effort when she realized that though her friend was looking at her face, her eyes seemed to be looking into her soul. She heard her voice, spoken not with her mouth, but via telepathy saying.
‘Why didn’t you trust him?”
Finally she took her eyes away from Banke, and spoke to Kolade.
“We can begin.”
Banke was alarmed, “Begin what?” She wanted to scream, but her husband cold voice sent shivers down her spin.
“For it is written that death is the reward of sin, and we must obey that which had been written. Curiosity made you to distrust me, and not trusting your husband is a sin, so you must be rewarded. You are like the proverbial cat that was curious, therefore you must share the same fate.”
He raised his voice a bit higher.
“What killed the cat?”
The other family answered in unison.
He repeated the question twice, and they answered him back as well on both occasions. Everything looked like a drama to her as she laid there helpless.
“Can I have the lighter?” Kolade asked.
Benita produced a lighter from her little hand, and handed it to him. They started humming rhythmical together as if they’ve been practising it for so long; that was when the fumes of the petrol she had been bathed with, and the reality of what was about to happen hit her, she was about to be roasted alive.
She heard the unmistaken sound of the lighter being lit, and as she was about tilting her head to look at her husband, to demand an explanation for the ongoing madness that had seized them all, when he lowered the flame to her petrol drenched body, it caught fire instantly. She shrieked with pain and leapt up from her nightmare drenched with sweat.
Her heartbeat was racing as she threw glances around to confirm that she had just woken up from a terrible dream, and indeed she was in her living room. She quickly did the sign of the cross three times on herself, and chanted “Blood of Jesus” under her breath.
She was about picking up the fashion magazine that had slipped to the floor while she slept when Kolade walked in from the bedroom, one hand in pocket and the other holding something behind his back with a mischievous smile on his face.
“Do you trust me honey?” Kolade asked.