My Madam And I – Episode 68

The riverbank is where many half dead settled waiting to either return to earth or turn invisible. Any who turned invisible gave their coin to the giant who allowed them enter a canoe to the other side. Life as a half dead was temporal. So, many real ghost try to take advantage of them and steal their coin. Many unlucky half dead end up locked for for the sin of a real ghost. But at the riverbank, security is assured because half dead were separated from real ghosts. I sat, feeling grateful for following Jacky to rescue the little kid. That was my ticket to life again. I couldn’t wait to return back to earth and amend my ways. An old man half dead came and sat close to me, looking worried. “I wish above everything that I wake from here,” he said. I turned to the man who now looked blankly at the ocean and kept quiet, because I had nothing to say. “who is going to find the money I buried in my room? I planned to give it to my kids but right now nobody will know where it is,” he said and shook his head regretfully. I looked at him again and felt pity for him but said nothing. “I don’t think I can survive it. As you can see, I’m fading away.” the man said. Then he took my hands and put all the coins he had in my palms. “please, help me do something, will you?” he pleaded passionately. “what’s it?” I asked. “Please,look for someone who will take you to Fiole. That’s where they tattoo memories. I want you to tattoo a message for me. Would you?” he said, folding my palms with the coins. It will cost me nothing to help this man I thought. So I agreed. “May you reach paradise. Call my house with this number, 33554422 and tell my second child to go to the wardrobe in my room. Underneath it lies the money that will change their story. Tell him to dig out the money in the wardrobe floor. It is cemented, but it’s there.” the old man half dead said. I nodded. The man smiled for the first time since he sat beside me. He then settled by lying facing up. I counted the coins and they were 200. Then I asked the man out of curiosity, “so you are trying to say that all the good you did in your entire lifetime is 200?” The man sat up, shook his head and said looking at me, “I was never a good man. All I cared for was money because I suffered while growing up. No one cared, so when I started making money I cared less for no one except my family. In here, family kindness doesn’t add any coin to you” While the man was still talking, he suddenly began to become transparent. He looked at himself and said, “I knew it. Please help me.” “I wil,l” I said, assuring him. He quickly took me to Fiole, a little distance from the riverbank. He introduced me to the artist who craft messages on people’s chests. He was a different kind of ghost. Other ghosts look like themselves but transparent. But this one floated as though in the river, same as its dreadlocks. It’s eyes were glowing blue and it had no mouth. It’s nails were long and curvy on his very bony fingers that held on to a broomstick. I was asked to lie on the floor by its assistant, a fat, tall and intimidating looking black female ghost also with dreadlocks. I obeyed and the artist began crafting what the old man was saying on my chest. Few minutes later, they were done. I payed the fat ghost lady from the coin the old man gave me and stood up to escort the old man who was already transparent to the river. He wanted to walk around the ocean since he had no coin left but I stopped him. I handed him all the coins left from the one he gave me and said to him. “you need it.” He thanked me and gave some to the giant who allowed him to enter the canoe. The peddler wore a black cloak with hood that covered his face which was a black shadow and it’s hands were skeletal. I stood watching as they oared away. I turned to go back to my previous sit when suddenly mum called my name. I turned to look but woke up in the hospital. Mum was beside me praying. My hands and legs were bandaged. Drip hung beside me with its hose attached to the syringe needle in my hand. I looked at mum who was busy with her prayers. I was so weak that I could barely talk but I managed to mutter, “mum!” She didn’t hear me. I tried again with much effort to speak louder, “mum!” but my voice came out husky. She turned slowly as if she wasn’t expecting me to wake. On seeing me smiling, her eyes widened and she shouted and hugged me before running to call the doctor. I was visited by everyone including mum’s church members. Ruth made it a point of duty to visit twice a day; before work and after work. Amaka came twice with gifts. Phila came everyday to check how fast I was recovering, but Sandra was out of town. So, she made sure she called me on video calls at least five times a day. I was discharged a week later with a limping leg and a bandaged hand. I never forgot the man’s message, the long walk and the moment mum called me back, but I forgot everything else that happened at the other side. I kept having this strange feeling to call a number and deliver a message to someone I don’t know. So, I took my phone and dialed the number. It turned out to be an international number after dialing it. It rang a few times before the person answered. It was a man’s voice. “hello, who’s this?” the man said. “go to your father’s room, in his wardrobe, dig the floor, there’s something buried for you and your siblings by your father.” I said. “who are you?” the man asked. “just do what I said.” I replied and hung up. The number called back several times but I ignored it because I couldn’t explain how I came about the message, only that calling the number had been a burden in my heart since I woke up. I had no peace until I delivered the message. Few days later, Phila came over to visit. She had with her a nylon filled with fruits. “hello Mike!” she said as she dropped the stuff at the dining. “how are you feeling?” she asked. “Good. Just a little pain here and there,” I said. “you are really a fighter,” she said, looking into my eyes. I turned away and started changing the TV channel with the remote. “my dad has agreed to have you work with us,” she said. I looked surprised. Then I said, “I can’t in this condition.” “not now Mike! When you recover,” she said, laughing. While I was on bed rest, some police men came concerning the commissioner’s son. I was surprised to see them again. “what is it again?” I asked. “we have a witness against you. You are to follow us to the station to be identified.” one of the three policemen said. To be continued…

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