When Benita finally knocked, it was because she felt pressed and needed to use the bathroom. She knocked several times and even yelled out his name before Tobi showed up. He had expected to see her empty plate. But it was not empty. In fact, it hadn't been touched. He turned questioning eyes on her.
"I need to use the toilet and then I need to use the bathroom", she raised her chin defiantly.
Tobi studied her a while before going out again and locking the door behind him. Benita frowned. Was his earlier hospitality just a front? Was she supposed to poo, pee and bath in her cell room? She was starting to fume when the sound of key turning in the lock greeted her ears. The door soon flew open and Tobi stepped in again - towel and a clean dress in one hand, soap and tissue in the other.
"I won't wear cloths that belong to another", she protested.
"I bought it for you. We didn't have time to pick some clothes from your own collection."
"I don't need it,"
"You do. Just change into the towel and give me your old clothes. I'll wash them while you bathe".
She frowned then. Wash her dirty clothes? Wasn't she supposed to be a prisoner? Wasn't he supposed to be ruthless with her? Or was he pretending?
She took the dress and towel, as well as the bath soap and tissue. "If you don't mind, I'll like to undress with my door closed".
"Sure. Knock on it when you're done". He walked out and closed the door behind him. The key turned in the lock a few seconds later
"Jerk" Benita hissed, "he still locks the door".
It was some few minutes to midnight when sleep finally claimed her. Ever since she had her bath earlier, Benita laid restlessly on her mattress. She couldn't close her eyes to sleep. Her stomach rumbled and made loud angry sounds, crying because of her refusal to eat the food still sitting on the tray by the side of her mattress. But she wouldn't bulge. Tobi might decide to sneak in at night just to see if the effect of whatever poison he gave her had started to work. He would be disappointed. She would make sure of that, no matter the hunger.
But when the hunger had started to disturb her sleep, she put aside her fears and took a few spoons from the indomie. It was yummy. She had to silently confess that Tobi did a great job cooking it. From a few spoons, she eventually ate everything and drank up the water in the plastic bottle, forgetting the cup sitting on the tray. Overfeeding they say, has its own lazy effect on the body. For her body became tired and heavy. Sleep was not far away when she lay her head down again.
A few minutes to midnight, she awoke, startled. A frown creased her brows as she stirred. Then she heard it again, the hissing sound that woke her up. It came from out side the window. Scared at what it might be, she jumped up from her mattress and backed away from the window.
"Who is there?" Benita asked. Was the food actually laden with drugs? Was Tobi set to rape her now? But she felt fine. How could drugs be in her system and still leave her feeling ok? The sound came again, louder. And this time, she braced up. "What do you want, Tobi? You can't scare me. What sort of game is this?"
"It is not a game" The hissing response came. At that reply, Benita's heart beat doubled. That was not Tobi's voice. It sounded soft, feminine but dangerous. Maybe it was Tobi. He was just being mischievous so as to scare her.
"Get away from my window and allow me sleep. My parents will pay you the 4million you asked for. Just go. Don't harass me. And you don't need to scare me",
"It's not a scare", the voice hissed. "If you doubt it, step out of your room and meet me outside" the voice laughed at her, "then you will see. I came to work, not scare you". The voice laughed wickedly.
Tobi had retired to his room after singing little Timothy to sleep. However, he couldn't bring himself to sleep as the events of the day replayed in his mind. He kept asking himself if bringing Benita to the forest was the right thing to do. She had been stubborn and wild with anger, even to the point of slapping him. But he couldn't blame her. Everything looked like a set up to her. He didn't want to frighten her with the truth. But at the same time, he knew he had to tell her the truth soon. He needed her to work with him so as to ward off the pending evil.
Tobi sighed and turned on his left side. The mattress was soft and inviting enough. But sleep chose to keep away. He looked at the two books sharing the bed with him. One was the bible. The other was the book of evil omen. He looked at both books, trying to decide which one to read, since sleep had deserted him. In the past, he had read the bible and even prayed. But still, Stelyka had her way. Now he had tried the book of evil omen. And with its help, Benita was still alive. That was it. His chose what to read.
Tobi reached for the book of evil omen and sat up. He was turning the pages when his room door opened. Little Timothy stepped in.
"Timothy", Tobi was not so surprised to see him. The boy hardly agreed to sleep alone, especially when he was agitated. Who wouldn't be with all that had happened? "You can't sleep?" He asked. Timothy nodded. "Its ok. Come here".
The little boy happily joined his father on the bed. To keep him company, Toni dropped the book in his hands and asked him what he would like to do.
"Let's sing again", Timothy grinned. Tobi chuckled.
"You love singing, I see. You might grow up to be a singer".
Timothy's grin broadened as he nodded vigorously. Tobi feared his head would fall off.
"Ok. So what song do you want us to sing?" Tobi asked.
"The Barney family song", he replied, happily.
"Then the family song it is".
Timothy was enjoying the music session with his dad. He smiled, threw one leg up and used his free hand to drum against the mattress as they repeated the verse together.
I love you,
You love me,
We are one big family,
With a great big hug and a kiss from .......
Timothy was the first to stop singing. His countenance changed and his eyes moved to look at Tobi's. Tobi looked back at him. Noticing the child's countenance, the lyrics trailed off his lips. He recognized the look in Timothy's eyes. His breath caught.
"What is it, Timothy?"
"Mummy", he swallow, "She's here". Just then, they heard Benita's scream.
"Shit!" Tobi jumped up, grabbed the electric lamp and Timothy with him. They rushed out of the room, down the passage to Benita's room door. All the while Tobi fumbled in his pocket for the key, which didn't seem to want to come out, he cursed and then prayed and then cursed again.
"Leave me alone." He heard her say. If he delayed longer, he wasn't sure what will happen. He fumbled a little more and the key finally emerged. Although it took a little more time, as his hands were shaky, he found the key hole, inserted the key and turned it.
Benita was on her feet, backed against the wall. Her expression was that of fear. She looked from the open door and back to window.
"Are you ok?" Tobi surveyed the room with the lamp before going to her side.
"I am sure I heard a voice from outside, she pointed in the direction of the window . "I know what I heard".
"I know. I believe you. Did she touch you?" He started to inspect her body.
"Did she? She?" Her eyes were wide with horror. "It looks like you have a perfect idea of what just happened here. Whatever that was, I want an explanation. What sort of cursed house did you bring me to?" She yelled.
"Please calm down..."
"I won't", she slammed her fist against his chest, "Get me out of this house, now. Get me out!"
Tobi caught her fists before they could hit his chest the third time. He shook her up before yelling at her "Fighting me is not the solution. You have to relax".
"Relax? And have that thing visit me again?"
"My dad is telling the truth" Timothy cut in. His tiny voice filtered into Benita's ears and for the first time, she noticed the little boy. He was a little chubby, fair skinned, wore a neat hair cut and was dressed in his pajamas. Benita couldn't seem to get her eyes off him. Tobi had a son? Or didn't she just hear him say his dad was telling the truth?
"Timothy, go back to your room, ok?." Tobi instructed. And then she remembered. She had heard him earlier, instructing someone called Timothy. She had thought the person was his accomplice. If she hadn't had the weirdest experience ever, how would she have known that Timothy was a little boy? Not just a little boy, Tobi's little boy. His son. How dare he date her when he had a son? He had a wife somewhere who had given him a son?
To be continued....
©Karo Oforofuo. March 2017
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