It was a beautiful but busy Saturday for Samson, Linda and their entire family as they prepared to go to the altar at St Steven's Catholic Church in the little town of Orak to say their vows. Family, friends and well wishers were already waiting at the church to witness the great event and also to give their support. They had all expected this day to happen and they were even more happy to witness it.
Linda looked at her gorgeous self in the large mirrow which stood from the ceiling to the floor. Her sister and chief bride's maid, Mathilda, had really done a good job with the wedding gown and the make up. Now she was ready to walk down the aile and be wedded to the man of her dreams. She ought to be completely happy but she was not.
As she looked at herself in the mirrow, her mind went to her husband to be, Samson Adu. She thought about how they met and how she had come to be with him. Her memories brought tears to her eyes and caused them to run down her cheeks. She didn't care if her makeup got ruined.
"Seriously Linda, are you crying?" Mathilda asked as she came in through the open door to stand behind her sister. "You look really gorgeous. Hope you are not trying to ruin your makeup?"
"No" Linda replied. "I'm just so scared."
"I bet you are. Come here." Mathilda then used her handkerchief to dab the tears away from her sister's eyes. "Its okay now dear. You should be happy." She said.
"Don't you get it?" Linda asked while trying to control her tears. "This is marriage we are talking about, not just a relationship."
"The more reason why you should be happy. Things could have been worse if that slut of a girl had won over you. You are getting married to a handsome man who is about to make you very rich."
"Yes Mathilda, I know. You don't have to remind me."
"Good! Cheer up sister, we will soon be on our way to church." She pecked Linda on her cheeks before walking out to finish with preparations.
Linda looked at the time, it was already 9:00pm. The priest at St. Steven's had made it clear that lateness was not acceptable. If either the bride or groom came late, the fine was N15,000, non negotiable. Linda wasn't scared of the fine, she was scared of something else. Something she was about to do which she knew would ruin her life and that of her husband to be forever. One more time, she looked at the mirror. The gown she was wearing was not hers, neither was the wedding she was about to grace as the bride. Her pictures were not there in the program or gift items. The only thing was that when people looked at her, they saw someone else, they saw the person they wanted to see, not her real self. She was totaly in someone else's shadow and it made her very uncomfortable. Even the man she was about to marry didn't know her true identity. Her mind went to the young woman who was locked away in a dark room somewhere in the mansion. She was the real owner of the day, the owner of the mansion and of all their businesses but unfortunatly, she was not to be around much longer neither was she to grace the occasion as the bride to be. In a few hours, she would be dead and then linda will take her form permanently. This was the plan between her sister, her mother and herself.
Somewhere in the house, there was a small room that held a young girl of about 26 years old prisoner. Her name was Diane Ojuke, the only daughter of late George Ojuke. The windows were nailed with woods so as to completely blurt out the rays of the sun and to prevent her from escaping. Diane was in her mid twenties. She was about five foot tall, dark complexion and very beautiful. Lately, her beauty became overshadowed by too much pain, hatred and suffering. Her skin was full of dirth, she became too skinny due to starvation and her long hair was a scattered mass as it fell over her shoulders. There in the darkness, her only companions were mosquitoes. Ones that stopped at nothing until they had sucked enough blood from her body.
She sat quietly in the dark room and wept bitterly for her life, for everything she had gone through in the hands of her Aunty Ruth and her cousins. It was Saturday, the 20th of August. It was her day, the day she was to get married to her Love, Samson Adu. Up until that morning, she was very sure she was going to the alter with him. She was sure that her wicked aunty and cousins were finally in support of her marriage to Samson Adu. She worked very hard to put things in place. She went shopping, made arrangement with the vendors and caterers, sent out invitations and so on. Now there she was, locked up in a dark room while her wicked cousin, Linda, was getting set to marry the man of her dreams. She should have known, she should have known that her aunty only spent so much money on the wedding preparations because she wanted her daughter to be the bride.
"Its all my fault!" She said as fresh tears rolled down her cheeks. "If only I never let them into my house, if only I never trusted them. They wouldnt have been able to commit so much atrocities against me." The tears blured her vision but her mind remained focused and clear as it went down memory lane.