About ten minutes later, Naomi was alone in a very big library. The library was way too big for just one mansion. Inside it, there were four long shelves each, in five rows. Lined on the walls, were also shelves packed full with books. Naomi looked around the library, while waiting for the master of the house. Mrs. Mercy had asked her to wait there. She felt very familiar with the library, it was almost like she had seen it before, but she didn't know where.
Naomi walked around, moving from one book shelf to the other and looking through the books, but none of them held her interest. What held her interest was the fact that she was also familiar with some of the books she came across. However, there was one book that was even more familiar. The book looked so much like the one she used to see with her father. It was a small book with a green, hard back. Her father used to carry something similar, he took it with him anywhere he went. One day when she asked why he never dropped it, his answer was that the book was his life insurance and he did not want to misplace it. It was an old book which obviously hadn't been opened in years. Unfortunately, as she remembered this, she couldn't really picture her father's face. However, she knew that such conversation once happened between them.
Naomi picked up the book and blew dust off it. She opened it and to her surprise, it was another name written boldly on the first page. She frowned at this new discovery. Did the master of the house also share the same book with her father? Or were they really just business partners? She was about to open the second page of the book when she heard footsteps, just outside the library door. Naomi quickly placed the book under a big encyclopedia on the shelf. It was well hidden away from prying eyes. Five seconds after hiding it, a man in his mid-fifties walked into the room. It was a close call. If she wasn't fast enough, she would have caught her in the act and suspicion would have begin to brew. Naomi looked up at the man who walked in. She recognized him as the man from last night. The one who looked up at her window and probably also the one who came into her room. Apart from last night, she didn't think she had seen him anywhere before. He was an elderly man. He had full eye brows, a not so wide nose and full lips. His skin was a chocolate brown and he had patches of grey hairs and beards. Naomi was surprised that for his age, he had very little wrinkles.The elderly man stood still for a while, looking at her. He observed her countenance and her features thoroughly and gradually, a smile showed up, starting with the curve of his lips.
“Good morning to you sir.” Naomi greeted from where she stood.
“You truly look so much like her." The man said, ignoring her greetings.
Confused for a moment, Naomi asked, “Like who sir?"
“My daughter." He said. "The guards told me you looked so much like her. They say you are a spiting image of her. I thought they just wanted to see what wasn't there.”
“Oh,” Naomi said, pretending. “So where is she? I would love to meet my look alike.”
The man sighed and looked away. He then walked behind the large, mahogany table by the door entrance and took a seat. "She got missing twenty years ago." He said. " She was kidnapped and maybe killed, by wicked men. Can you imagine? Men killing a five years old girl?"
“Oh” Naomi said, feeling sorry. “I’m so sorry sir. I did not mean to remind you of your loss.”
“It’s okay. Normally I won’t take kindly to it but, pew… well, you are her look alike and you did not know so, I will let it pass. Although, I still believe I will see her some day. I'm hoping she is still alive."
"But if she was only five years old when this happened, how do you know I look like her?" Naomi asked with raised brows. "This is twenty years after."
"I know. I have my ways of knowing what I need to know. Lets put that discussion aside. So how are you feeling now?” The man asked, observing her.
“I’m fine sir. Thank you so much for having me. I really don’t know what I would have done.”
“That’s okay.” He said, and then gestured towards the opposite seat, “Take a seat and tell me all about you. I want to know why someone would chase after my daughter’s look alike. By the way, you can call me Moyede. That is my second name.”
Naomi took the opposite seat and sat with all the dignity of a well groomed lady. Moyede's heart skipped a bit. It was the same way Mrs. Mercy had taught his daughter to sit when she was rehearsing for a beauty contest at school. However, he let it pass.
“I’m glad to meet you sir, I mean Mr. Moyede." She said. "My name is Helena, Helena Abeam.”
“Nice to meet you too Helena." He said without any form of expression. "That name doesn't sound Nigerian. Where are you from?"
"Oh sir," Helena said, "Believe it or not, I am a Nigerian. It just so happens that my name sounds foreign."
Okay. So what part of the country are you from?"
"The East sir. Ebonyi State, to be precise.
"That explains it. Most easterners have a somewhat, English name. So tell me, what happened to you?”
“Well, it is a long story sir. I don't want to bore you."
"But you are not boring me." He insisted, "Besides, I love long stories."
"Okay sir, since you insist, I will tell, but I will summarize.”
“Okay, go on.”
“My step father, Mr. Okorie," she began, " Was a construction worker who decided to go into politics. At first all went well until, I saw him kill a man. Of course he knew that I saw him so, he got scared. He was scared that I would expose his actions to the whole world. To make sure that didn't happen, he sent his men after me. They caught me and locked me up in a cabin some distance away from here. Lucky for me, there was a lousy argument among the men yesterday morning, this led into a brief fight and the guards involved forgot to lock my cell after bringing me food. I saw the opportunity to run away and I took it. Unfortunately, one of them spotted me and raised an alarm. The others stopped fighting and they all came after me. I spent the whole day in the woods, running and hiding for my life.” Naomi stopped talking, as emotions took over. She drew her nose and wiped a small tear off her cheeks before continuing. “I was already out of strength when I saw this place. At first I was afraid but, I had to risk it. That was why I came here." With that, Naomi stopped talking and suddenly went on her knees, “Please sir Moyede, please don’t send me back out there. I won't survive another day if you send me away."
Touch by such show of emotion, Moyede got up and walked over to her side of the table, he held her hands and tried to pull her up but, she refused to get up. “Your wounds are still healing my dear," Moyede said. "Both physically and emotionally. I will not send you out unless you choose to go out. You are very much welcome to stay in my home for as long as you want."
“Oh, oh! Thank you very much sir, I really I'm grateful.” She got to her feet, moved forward and hugged him. It was a father to daughter hug. Moyede was equally emotional at that time, he felt like he was hugging his own daughter. He had lost his daughter, only to have her look alike in front of him. He didn't care if she was a stranger at all, he was going to accept her and treat her the way he would treat his own daughter. Back then, his little girl was the whole world to him. She made him mad with anger, sad with sorrow if anything happened to her, crazy with laughter when she was trying to play pranks on him and she failed woefully. He could never stop thinking about her. Even his room walls were covered with her photographs. With her look alike around, he most certainly was going to be a happy man again.
"You are welcome to stay in this house my dear." He said, while still holding her in his embrace. "And if there is anything you want, please don't hesitate to let me know."
"Thank you sir." Naomi said, feeling happy. Her plan was going very well. She had been accepted into the house. Now it was time to plan her next step and cause major damage to the idiots who killed her parents.
Just as they disengaged from hugging, the library door slowly opened and a man in his early thirties walked in. He was a full six feet tall, fair complexioned and wore a low cut over well trimmed side beards. He wore a black t-shirt over blue jean pants and a black snickers. The t-shirt was tight, therefore revealing his muscular features. He had round eyes, round nose, and full lips.
“Hello papa." He said, as he looked from his father to Naomi, without expression of any kind.
To be continued...
All Rights Reserved©Karo Oforofuo. April 2015