Shadows danced at the mercy of flickering lights. In a circle they moved, an offering to the light of life, white walls integral to their continued existence. Within, Namdi and Zainab sat, the length of the table between them unable to contain the growing rift.
"Why did you show me this? Where is the rest? Who is she?"
"She was dying, Namdi."
"You knew she had cancer! Then why? Why make me go through this? She already didn't have long to live."
"I can't share you for five months."
"But I chose you... I chose you..."
Zainab rose from her perch as she spoke, crimson dress flowing around her, reflecting fire. Her sole interest was the man who sat before her, the pendant on the table not spared a single glance.
"Not another step."
Namdi did not look up, his attention stolen by the lifeless rendering he held, his mind filling in what was missing. His focus was not lost on her. Zainab's heart yearned for what was.
"Things can go back to what they were."
"We can't just pretend like none of this ever happened. Even now my hand still..."
"Why not? Namdi, tell me why not? Were we not living fairy tale lives before she..."
Zainab couldn't finish, her teeth gnashing together, heart bleeding as her mind recalled all she had lost to her. Namdi struggled to purge her image from his mind, attempts that only served to make her more life-like, more alive in his conscience.
"I can't forget her, I just can't."
Zainab had moved each time she spoke, covering half the distance that had been between them. Outside the tempest raged on, refusing to be outdone.
"You can. Namdi you will. Just look at me, all you need to do is look at me."
In her eyes was a pain born of her love for the one who sat there unable to tear his gaze away from another. 'Even in death you still hound me' she thought, her lips parted on a slow road to despair.
"Don't come any closer."
Only a few feet remained between them. A tear splashed, wetting the paper, his vision a mix of colours. Pain threatened to crush him. It was too soon, too fresh in his mind. To see her again, even in the form of a static capture rung his heart in a way he almost could not bear. What he hoped he had left behind, what he willed to not be true, he now knew had not been put to rest.
"Please don't come any closer, Zainab. I just need time."
"You chose me, Namdi. You killing her was choosing me; can't you understand that?"
There was no response, red eyes still glued to the now wet image.
"Look at me!"
Zainab's tone came out icy cold, unable to bear anymore of her hold on him. Shaken, Namdi looked up, her brown eyes locking his, refusing to let go. In it he saw a tenderness that couldn't be faked, evoking memories of happier times, simpler times. As she walked, her lips continued to move.
"She came to ruin us, but you saved us, Namdi. You saved us. I love you. I can never stop loving you, in this life or the next."
Closing the distance, her arms circled his neck, pulling herself to him, the folder and papers falling to the floor. Her heart rested against his, both beating to their own song.
"I'm so sorry."
Over and over he said it, his voice hoarse, mind heady with the scent of violet.
"Hush my love. It's alright Namdi, I forgive you."
Her body warmed from his words. Possessing him once again filled her with a bubbling giddiness she had not felt in a while. All had fallen into place.
'Bisi, I'm so sorry!"
Zainab's heart went cold. Much like a sledge hammer driving through a frozen sculpture it shattered, bits and pieces raining down into an endless abyss, never to be recovered. What remained was a blackness, a viciousness, a wrath possessing one goal; one aim. To destroy this man she loved.
Continued on next page...
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