The silence engulfed her, while dread clutched her heart. Titi could smell death in the room, and even though darkness still covered the sitting room somewhere in it she knew was the lifeless body of the one who was shot. Her husband used his phone’s screen light to look around the room. The other wife gasped when she saw the form on the ground, she saw him at the same time the young woman saw him. for a minute her eyes shut as she breathed in relief but then felt guilty for her relief. Silently she sent a prayer to God, asking for forgiveness, it wasn’t right to be grateful that the man was dead. Her eyes opened and she saw the young woman clutching on to her husband making frantic efforts to conceal her horror.
Mr. Akinwande, Titi’s husband left her side to the body lying behind the dinning area just opposite a window, he felt for a pulse then turned the body, this time it was Titi’s turn to gasp, the man could never survive. He was shot in the head, in a blinded moment she saw her husband rush off to the kitchen sink to vomit. The young couple stood still where they were not attempting to come around to see things for themselves. Titi took five steps back, slumped into one of the dinning chairs and buried her face in her palms, she wept. Guilt, pain, regret weighted on her, she and her husband had lived with this couple for more than 2 years and in those years they hadn’t found time to bring them close enough to help them.
She braced up, wiped the tears up with the back of her back and in turn wiped them on the wrapper she had draped around herself on top of her pyjamas as she left the house. Then used the wrapper to further wipe her face. Her legs felt stiff but she moved them not withstanding. First knock was on the door to the master’s bedroom, which from her last visit was Ezinne’s room, which she shared with her husband, no answer. She knocked again, no answer. She bent the door knob and it responded, she called out to Ezinne but there was no answer. Panic set in. Her heart was pounding, was Ezinne gone again? It wasn’t up to one hour since they heard the gun shot. She felt through the bed and couldn’t find anyone on it. she heard footsteps just before the heard the voice of the husband of the other couple.
“Lets check the other rooms,” he said in almost a whisper, his right arm still imprisoned by his wife’s strong grip.
Titi, nodded without a word, her mind battling with the possibilities, the two allowed her lead the way. Next she was knocking on Chizaram’s door. The door was locked, so she placed her right ear against the door. She could hear shufflings in the room.
“Ezinne, open the door. It is Titi”
“Is he still there?” came the response from behind the door.
Titi moved away from the door confused, she turned to the young couple standing behind her looking just as confused as she was.
“He is dead” The young husband replied her flatly.
They heard the sound of keys, frantically opening the door. Ezinne opened the door with bulging eyes “Dead? Who is dead?” she searched their faces for answers.
“Your husband” the man answered again, this time his voice was softer and he was rubbing his palm against his wife’s knuckles resting at his elbow.
Ezinne looked from one face to the other before she pushed her way through and entered the sitting room, her eyes went to her right first, Chukwuma was not anywhere near his usual siting positing, then she turned left, her eyes met with Mr. Akinwande before they fell on her husband’s lifeless body. Suddenly she started shivering, the short pyjamas she wore did nothing to protect her from the cold racking through her body, she felt so weak and sick that she had to lean on the wall for support while she took a deep breathe to keep herself from throwing out the content of her already empty stomach.
“I don’t think she did it” whispered the young wife to her husband.
Ezinne heard it, but what else could she say? In the four years of her marriage she had borne the blame for her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-Law’s death, today her husband’s death would be added to the list. She wanted to kick Chukwuma, how could he die? And why today of all days when she had just returned to the house? How was she going to explain this out to the world? She didn’t even know herself what had happened, infact when she heard the gunshot she had thought he had been the one who shot. She had retired into her daughter’s room yester night in her adamant resolve that she wouldn’t let him have his way with her again. After all he only said he wanted their daughter and since she only wanted the same thing she had maintained that she would only remain in the house for their daughter. Truly she had seen the futility in her thinking but at least it had given her the satisfaction of having a say in their affairs. Hadn’t Akunna warned her about the doom she was putting herself into by returning to this house? She hit her fist against the wall in anger while her heart gave way to the emotions that had built up within her.