Down the stairs and through the hall, the past his guide. He flung the door open, revealing a curtain of water and a world darker than the inkiness within. Namdi watched it fall, a one way trip from the heavens to the brown of the earth. Holding the glass, he tilted the wine bottle till the cup overflowed. It splashed onto the floor, disappearing into the thirst driven dead wood. Half of its content still remained within the bottle. His hand held steady, the turbulent red sea becoming a flat surface. The calm did not match the torrent in front of him. A finger dipped, making contact with the still surface ever so slightly. Ripples spread from whence he touched, breaking the calm into growing red rings escaping his influence. The glass smashed against the wall, wine dribbling, painting the falling rain in crimson. The bottle met his lips as he drank deeply. It flowed down his throat, warming him with a spiciness he was unfamiliar with. Not giving it a second thought, he flung the nearly empty bottle to the rain in offering and ran for his car without ever looking back. He hastened away from the house, his gray world slowly filling with colour, an ache creeping from a chamber in his soul to fill and weigh his heart. Behind, the house remained, headlamps driving away some of the gloom.
Rain fell heavily on a parked Mercedes. Its headlamps twin swords piercing the darkness, illuminating every tear falling from the heavens. Smoke rose from the exhaust, evidence of a silently purring engine. Inside was a single man, face buried in his hands. As the heavens cried, so did he. Freely his tears fell, pooling in his rough palms only to be absorbed by the cuffs of his work shirt already stained red
Seconds ticked on, the tears coming to an end. Lifting up his head, the mans gaze fell on the I.D. card hanging from the rear view mirror. He could barely remember the man in the picture. Still, the name Namdi printed under the photograph was his. Lightning struck, driving away the darkness for a moment, revealing an extravagant two storey home less than a mile away. Putting the car in gear, Namdi drove up to the front door.
Stepping out of the car Namdi couldn’t help but watch the rain falling a few feet away from him. With a heavy heart he turned away, walking slowly to the mahogany door. They had picked it together. It was meant to be a surprise. He never expected it to be the gateway to more than a home. Looking at the door, Namdi’s heart grew heavier as he fished for his house keys. He stood there about to lose himself to the bittersweet memories of the past when the door swung open.
There was no surprise on Namdi’s face when the door revealed a beautiful ebony woman. Even now in an empty house she wore heels, giving her 5ft5 frame an extra 5 inches. Still, he would need to tilt her chin up to kiss her. Her lips – painted blood red – slowly curved into a slight smile as she saw Namdi. They parted slightly, a lovely voice floating to his ears, dripping with honey
"I see her blood on your shirt, very good. Dinner is ready."
Turning around, she disappeared into the house a violet fragrance in her wake. Namdi’s knees buckled and he crashed to the floor, clutching his heart. A single word nearly escaped his mouth.
Gritting his teeth he stopped. With great resolve he pushed himself to his feet, following her into the house that was once a home.
It was not difficult to track her path, the scent of violet leaving a sweet smelling trail with a hint of violence. Namdi's path took him through the living room, his fingers brushing the couch they had fallen onto, her frying pan still in hand; past the kitchen door, a portal for flying cups, his journey ending at the dining room entrance. There was no hesitation.
On the rectangular table were two covered dishes and a brown folder. Namdi could see tendrils of condensing water vapour above each one. Walking to them he sat down before opening the ceramic covers. Suppressing his surprise was a challenge.
"I thought it should be about you now."
On his plate was a ball of eba about the size of his fist. It seemed inconsequential but for Namdi it meant so much. He looked up, holding Zainab's gaze. She sat there, the floor to ceiling frosted glass windows behind her. Much like her father, Zainab occupied the head of the table, a Queen upon her throne unconsciously looking to her subject. To Namdi's right and her left the painting held its place, the drop still threatening to fall. Capitulating first, Namdi reached for the brown folder beside the food.
"Eat first, there will be plenty of time for that after."
Said softly, wrapped in love but undeniably still a command; carrying with it the weight of one whose experiences consisted only of the world bending to her will. To be denied was a fantasy, something to be read in the tomes of fiction. Namdi paused for a moment, hand hovering, her words holding him. He couldn't look away from the folder, knowing it held the answers he sought and questions he should seek. Namdi's pause lasted for a moment. A part of him had died, weakening old chains while creating new ones. One thing was certain, he was no longer the man he once was. Namdi's pause ended after a moment. The reaper had branded him, his very essence altered, forever unable to return to what he once was. Saying nothing, Namdi continued as if she had not uttered a word. Folder in hand, it opened to a picture of Bisi, text spilling out, flooding his world with truth, with understanding. From his pocket he brought out the pendant, throwing it. Across the table it slid, clattering to a stop in front of Zainab; a black and white symbol of a closed fist with a pinky extended.
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