(Bell of the past)
Written by Nathaniel Anuma
The time of the night was beyond letting a woman stay outside, not alone a married woman. In such
situation, the husband’s mind goes viral thinking both the positive and the negative.
That’s exactly the situation Fred found himself. He was a man of determination and ambition, most
especially, he was fearless with vibrant body chemistry. He had a dark body complexion with clean
beards. He’s a bit stubborn which has been a problem between him and his family. He married his wife,
Edna, at his very young age without the support of his parents. Now, he’s 37 with only a son. The money
he used for the wedding is still questionable till date. Half of it was used to set up a business for the wife,
but it seems the business wants to bring a problem to him coz the wife uses that to stay late at night.
There was an electric light in the sitting room where Fred waited for his wife, it illuminated every part
of the room giving it a befitting look. He occasionally glanced at the ticking wall clock to see the time
almost midnight. Charles, his son, wasn’t the only one that had gone to sleep, even the entire
neighborhood . Fred had gone to the spot where Edna does her clothing bessiness but couldn’t find her,
he also called her line but the result proved negative. When he stood up to enter into his room, a knock
came from the door.
“Who’s that?” he briskly walked towards the door.
“It’s Edna!” the wife replied.
He opened the door slowly to see her standing like a girl who is just visiting her boyfriend for the first
time. She wore an ash top over a black skirt and shoes. She parked her natural hair backwards, thus,
giving her a natural beauty that any man would appreciate. She’s physically fair, but has a fragile body
and heart. The husband quietly left the door open for her to enter which she did and locked it behind.
“This is the second time you come back very late at night. Look at the time” Fred pointed at the wall
clock trying as much as possible to control his anger in order not to wake the son and the neighbors.
“Where are you from?” he glared at her.
“Honestly, I don’t know my love” Edna took few steps forward to calm him down before explaining
further because she saw the anger getting out of hand.
“Don’t you dare come closer to me!” he shrieked to the extent his voice startled her, so she stood at a
spot. “How can you tell me you don’t know where you’re coming from!”
“I don’t know!”
“Are you out of your mind?”
“Listen my love, something strange happened today..”
“What could be so strange that you forgot to check your time?”
“I lost consciousness! I woke up in the middle of a lonely road then began to trace my way back home.
The only thing I can remember is a woman who came to buy from me as I was about to close for the day.
After she handed her money to me, I lost consciousness”
“You think you can make up a story and expect me to believe it?”
“You have to believe me my love” she opened her palm where a piece of paper rested, the husband
watched as she stretched it to him. “I found this in my hands when I woke up”
Fred remained quiet. He loved Edna to the point he couldn’t bring himself to beat her no matter the
offense. Sometimes, it makes him feel stupid, yet, he endured. The same love and fear of losing her
warranted the early marriage he had with her even without his parents’ full support. He ignored her and
the paper then walked into the room. He expected her to follow him immediately but after waiting for a
while without seeing her coming, he came back to the sitting room to see it deserted: the wife was
nowhere to be found again. “Edna? Edna!” he shouted walking to the door. It was locked. He hurried to
Charles’ room, the force in which he opened it, woke him up. He jumped up from the bed as if he never
had any sleep. He was just 17 but speaks and reasons like an adult.
“Dad, you scared me out of my lovely dream. What’s the noise for?” he asked.
“If you don’t shut up, you’ll tell me if the lovely dream is more important than your mother”
“What about her?”
“Has she come in here?”
Fred left the room while the son followed him immediately wearing just a boxers and a black singlet.
They went to the backyard, searched all the corners of the house but couldn’t find her. That was strange.
They stood in the living room gazing at each other and breathing hastily until Charles saw the paper
under a cushion then picked it up.
“What’s this, Dad?”
“Let me have that” the father flung it from his hand. He looked at it and the image which could be found
on it, but it didn’t make any sense to him. “Your mother came back with this before she disappeared” he
said looking at the door.
“Then what is that?” Charles asked.
“I don’t know. I guess it’s more like a map “
“Map to where?”
“I have no idea”
Charles took the paper from him for more observations. The whole thing looked strange to him too.
Who would explain to them the way about of Edna in the middle of the night with the door properly
locked? Nobody. Therefore, they stayed awake hopping she returns but the hands of the clock turned to
7 in the morning, yet, Edna never came back.
Fred hurriedly went to his parents with Charles. It was several miles away from his residence. One could
see him pulled over in from of the parents’ house, then rushed inside leaving his son in the car. All stood
in the living room like an iroko tree when he explained to them what happened the previous night.
Mr Lambert, the father, kindly ignored him walking into his room.
“Dad, aren’t you ganna say something?” Fred asked harshly.
“What do you want me to say after marrying that girl without my support?” he replied holding the
doorknob of the room.
“What does that have to do with her disappearance?”
“A lot, son!” the mother interfered while Fred turned to her. “That girl is a witch!”
“My wife isn’t a witch, mother!” he defended wholeheartedly.
“Then how do you explain someone disappearing in the middle of the night? She must have grown
wings and flew away in search of blood. Who knows if she has not been caught in the process”
“I forbid you to talk about my wife like that, mother! She isn’t a vampire neither is she a witch. My wife
doesn’t have wings neither is she a notorious animal. She’s Edna Lucas, the woman I love!”
“It’s obvious she has poisoned your mind” the mother walked to the window while the father finally
entered into the room. Fred wanted to take his leave too but the mother’s voice stopped him.
“Son, how did you get the money you used for marrying that girl at the age of 20? I mean what came
over you? Did she charm you?”
Fred smiled then shook his head negatively. “Yes, mother, she charmed me with her love and I must find
my wife with or without your help”
“You haven’t answered my question. How did you get the money… ” Before she could finish, Fred
walked out from the room, thus, putting back the remaining words into her mouth. She exhaled heavily
watching through the window how he drove out with a high speed that woke up sleeping dust on the
sandy ground thereby polluting the environment. Her eyes also caught with her grandson, Charles. She
had never had a close interaction with him ever since he was born not because she never wanted to but
because Fred never allowed that to happen, even her husband was a contributor to that.
Inside the car, Fred remained quiet with his son as he sped on the road. The sound of the car engine
was barely heard. Nothing could be seen on the two sides of the road except dried grasses which
seemed to be running in opposite direction with the car but maintained a uniform velocity. Charles
glanced at his father.
“You’ve never allowed me to see or talk to my grandparents”
“That’s because they don’t wanna see or talk to you too”
“I’ve already told you, son; they don’t like your mother” the father replied without a glace at him. All his
concentration was on the steering wheel, brake-pad and throttle. Another tranquility circulated the car
as Charles thought critically coz he didn’t get the whole thing.
“What did they say about the disappearance of my mum?” he queried again.
“What are we gonna do now?”
Fred refused to give an answer to the question rather added another gear which increased the speed of
the vehicle. Sooner did they get to a residential area where Charles saw a girl almost his age sitting and
crying by the roadside. He had the desire to talk to her but didn’t know how to tell his father to stop the
car because of a crying stranger. As he contemplated on that, one of the back tyre of their car busted
which made the father to stop.
“Thank God!” Charles exclaimed within him because God answered his prayers. They came down at the
same time. As Fred watched the busted tyre to know how to go about it, so as Charles watched the very
girl to know the cause of her tears.
“Thank God we have a spare tyre” the father said opening the boot of the car. When he noticed that the
son’s mind was totally absent from there, he called harshly, “Charles!”
He turned immediately. “Yes, Dad?”
“What are you looking at?”
“Just a second, Dad” he walked out to meet the girl while the father watched him. He later ignored him
then began to change the tyre by himself.
Charles placed two hands in his pockets when he approached to the girl. She had a long natural hair that
rested on her back. She wore a pink gown with long white stockings that ended just on her thighs.
On her feet were also pink shoes. The seat in which she sat was a public metal seat. Charles sat down
giving some centimetres distance from her. He glanced at her.
“Hey, why the tears?” he asked but the girl remained quiet drying the tears. “I’m Charles, our car just
broke down. Can you tell me the reason for your tears?”
“Why do you care?” she finally replied.
“Coz I should be crying with you”
“Why?” she stared at him.
“My mum vanished from the face of the earth last night”
The girl became surprise. She averted her eyes from him gazing at the opposite side of the seat. Charles
could see her quiet and shaking. However, Fred had been taking a glance at both of them from a distant
as he tightened the last nut of the tyre wheel and walked to them.
“It’s time to leave, Charles” he said dusting his hands.
“Wait, Dad” Charles looked at the girl. “What’s the problem?” he asked her again.
“My mum also vanished yesterday night” she replied then broke down in tears again while Charles
glanced at his father. “My Dad has been searching for her all day” she added.
Fred seemed to understand what was happening, therefore he squat down, looked around and lowered
his voice. “What’s your name?”
“Okay, Regina, can you explain to me what happened to your mum?”
Regina looked up to see her father coming, so she stood up before he finally came closer. She stood
beside him while Charles also stood beside his father. The two families stared at each other. Fred’s heart
began to beat faster at the sight of Regina’s father whose face looked familiar to him, but he never
allowed the fear to escalate.
“What a hell do you want from my daughter?” Lucky, the man, asked.
“Nothing, but it seems like we have the same situation” Fred replied and brought out the paper. “Have
you seen anything like this?”
Lucky looked at it after collecting it. He brought out another paper from his pocket which didn’t have the
exact image with the other, but has something similar to it: Fred’s paper was a total map while his was
a symbol which can be found on the map. They explained how they got it and it was from their wives
before they suddenly vanished. Therefore, they tried searching for the meaning of the situation before
Fred returned home with his son. He flung his car key on the center table then collapsed on the nearest
cushion. He rubbed his hands on his eyes occasionally remembering where he saw Lucky- That was
sixteen years ago when he broke into their house, killed his only father and took away a huge amount of
money. He wore a mask which made Lucky not to see his face but he saw his’ clearly, that’s why he was
able to recognize him..
After coming out from the horrible thought, Fred regretted his past actions which he believed have
come to torment him. Therefore, tears rolled down from his eyes. Charles was moved when he saw him
in that mood from the opposite cushion.
“What’s it, Dad?”
Fred sniffed then sat up boldly. “I want you to listen to me, son” he began. “I have made a mistake in the
past which I’m regretting now. I want you to understand that my mistake was as a result of the love I
have for your mother. Not only did I disobey my parents to see that she was always with me, but I also
committed a crime..” he paused.
“What crime?” Charles wanted to know.
“Arm robbery and murder which took place at Lucky Father’s house. Then, he was as young as I was. I
killed his father then took away a huge amount of money which I used to marry your mother and did
other things to make her comfortable because I was afraid to lose her to another man. Now, I think that
particular act is the one trying to ruin me now”
The expression of amazement could be seen on Charles’ face after hearing from his father. He stared at
him shaking his legs like a wise old man. “What a coincidence!” he stood up to his father in a way he sat
beside him with a hand on his shoulder. “I’m proud of you, Dad”
“You are?” the father looked at him.
“Yes, but don’t get me wrong, I never said what you did is good but I’m happy you did it for love. Let the
past be past, we should focus on how to get my mum back”
“How can I let the past be past when it’s hunting me now?”
Charles stood up. “Come to think of it Dad, if the past is the one hunting you through my mum, then
why is it hunting Lucky whom his father you killed and robbed sixteen years ago? I guess is way beyond
Fred became amazed at the son’s wisdom which rendered him speechless. He did nothing but to reason
his words again and again. That did not only give him hope but encouraged him to move on and face his
challenges. Therefore he stood up and hugged him.
“I’m with you Dad” Charles said. His head barely reached is shoulder.
“Thank you, son” he replied.
The next day, the quest for the search of the unknown began. Lucky and his daughter, Regina, drove to
the residence of Fred before they began their journey using one car. Regina and Charles rested on
the back seat while Fred and Lucky in the front seat. They had concluded to meet a dibolic
spiritualist instead of a man of God.
“Men of God are not to be trusted these days. They will definitely channel the cause of the problem to
your grandmother or parents. So I suggest we meet a spiritualist” Fred had said earlier.
The journey took five hours before getting to the destination. It was an old building with grasses around
the vicinity. Some moses plants could be seen on the walls of the building, even on the zink. It looked
horrible and terrible added to darkness that was taking over the atmosphere. The house had no doors or
windows which made Charles wonder if a human being lives there. There was an old car without tyres
resting by the corner of the house whose glasses had broken too. One could see two red candles
burning at the entrance of the building. Seeing all that, Lucky said to Regina and Charles, “Both of you
should stay here while we go inside”
“Is that a good idea?” Charles queried looking frightened.
“Yes, son, it is” the father replied.
The two men entered leaving the two teenagers in the cold lonely breeze of the strange environment.
They never made a move as both faced each other looking around as if something or someone would
come out from nowhere and devour them. Regina was more scared, Charles could see it, so he said to
her, “Hey, I’m right here. Don’t be scared, we gonna find our mothers, okay?”
Regina didn’t say anything rather went closer to him in a way she held him to herself to reduce the fear
and anxiety of what gonna befall on them…
TO BE CONTINUED