It was around nine o’clock.
Esi usually closed at ten o’clock, and so I checked her out at the store first, and yes, she was there, that mamba!
Her store girls and boys had begun packing the stock they had stacked outside into the storeroom. I glided gently past them into the store, and saw Esi inside the glass enclosure of her office. She was wearing a very beautiful woven dress, one I had bought for her on one of my trips to the northern region of Ghana.
There were some late shoppers in the store when I glided in.
She was with a young lady called Vida, who was her store supervisor.
Vida was sitting in one of the chairs facing Esi’s desk, looking on patiently as Esi checked off the records of the day’s transactions in the huge book in front of her.
I slid into the office and hovered on the ceiling.
Esi smiled finally and leaned back.
“Good job done, Vida,” she said. “I like how you keep the records. I’ll reward you very well soon.”
“Yes, madam, thank you,” Vida said with a happy smile. She closed the book, picked it up, and quickly left the office. She closed the door gently behind her, and then Esi, that mamba, picked up her phone and redialled a number.
I watched the screen of the phone, and was not quite surprised to see that it was Korku’s number. She had saved it as Honey-Kork, and I guessed that was what really made me mad! I was already bitter and angry toward her, but seeing she had saved the man I loved, the man she had tried to seduce, failed, and accused of rape, subsequently resulting in the end of my marriage, as Honey-Kork really flipped the lid for me.
“Aah, Kork, darling, why is your phone still off?” she asked in a very worried voice. “Don’t do this to me!”
I glided down from the ceiling as she was still busy dialling Korku’s number again, and then I picked up the store key lying on the desk gently, and moved it slowly toward the door.
She was still engrossed with her phone, and so I held the bunch of keys ready, with the right key pointing toward the keyhole, and then I jangled the keys sharply.
She looked up slowly and saw the bunch of keys hanging in mid-air all by themselves, obviously held by something invisible, and then she froze. It gladdened my heart so fully to see that sudden frozen look on her face. I jangled the keys again for effect, and then slid it slowly into the keyhole and turned it, locking the door.
Esi still sat and stared at the keys, and it was as if she was carved of stone. I glided toward the desk and stared at her. Anytime I visited her in the office, I always took the chair and put it against the wall so that I could sit and lean back against the wall.
And that was exactly what I did!
I picked up the chair and dragged it to the wall and put it down gently.
The phone slipped from her fingers and clattered on the desk, but her right hand was still in the air as if she was still holding the phone. Now her eyes moved to the chair, and then she glanced through the glass of the office at the people still mingling inside the store.
And I saw her hands beginning to tremble now.
I picked up her pen which was lying on a jotter in front of her. I pulled the jotter and flipped the cover off, and began to write boldly on the first sheet of paper.
She sat very still, watching the pen and jotter moving by themselves, and saw the pen hovering in the air and writing by itself.
Finally, I tore off the top sheet and shoved it toward her.
Her eyes followed what I had scribbled on the sheet:
WHERE IS THE MONEY FOR MY PARENTS, YOU DAMN THIEVING BITCH????
And that was when she screamed!
She was still sitting still, unable to move any part of her body, but she opened her mouth and screamed out a belter! It was not a series of screams, no, just one prolonged wail that seemed to go on and on!
Her staff and the shoppers were appalled by that animal-like sound, and they rushed to the glass to peer at her. Some tried the door and found it locked.
I glided over to her and backhanded her across the face, and her eyes simply popped out to their elastic limits as she scrambled off the chair and fled under her desk.
Now her scream had changed to a word, a name, a plea!
“Afiiiiiiiaaaaaa, Afiiiiiiaaaaaaa, Afiiiiiiiaaaaaaa, me pa wo kyεw ooooo, Afiiiiiiiiaaaaaa, Afiiiiiiiiiiaaaaaa, Afiiiiiiiiaaaaa, me pa wo kyεw ooooo!”
Vida had gone for a spare key, but because the key was still inside the keyhole where I had left it, they could not open the door. By now my fury had taken over, and virtually blew around the office in a fury, tossing papers, chairs, the fan, boxes, objects, everything into the air!
The onlookers saw the mayhem in the office, and knew this was not natural, and suddenly they stepped away from the glass with frantic looks of fear on their faces.
I tossed the desk clear across the room, and Esi screeched with horror and clamped her arms over her head defensively, trembling so fiercely that every inch of her body seemed to jiggle to a different rhythm!
I grabbed another paper and scribbled furiously on it:
MY MONEY, DAMN YOU, I NEED IT NOW!!
I shoved it into her face, then I grabbed her and threw her across the room. She sailed through the air and hammered into the wall, and then she crumbled on the ground. Crying and bleating and making sounds not befitting a human being, she crawled to the steel cabinet and worked the combinations frantically.
She threw open the door and reached into a lower compartment, and then she brought out a bulky brown enveloped stacked with bills.
“Afiiiiiaaaaaa eeeeee, your money is here ooooo, Afiiiiaaaa eeeee, spare me oooo!” she bellowed as she held out the money.
Sickened by her, I grabbed the envelope and tossed it on the chair, and then I grabbed her by the throat.
I swear I would have killed her, yes, I would have!
She screeched with fear as I grabbed her around the throat and began to squeeze the air out of her!
My fury knew no bounds!
As she fought for air her tongue lolled out, and her eyes glazed!
Her terrified face was inflamed and I knew death was not far from her!
And then it happened!
I saw two horrible hooded creatures with fangs emerging from the walls and coming toward me with mouths bared and serrated teeth gleaming! They had long, wicked-looking fingers and sharp needle-tipped fingers, and they came straight at me!
With a blast of fear I let Esi go and glided away from them, and the moment I let Esi go the hideous figures seemed to come up short, and they looked balefully at me through their hoodies with eyes that glinted like flames of fire!
They bulged malevolently as they looked at the still form of Esi, and then when she began to choke and breathe, the two evil figures moaned with great disappointment and vanished immediately!
The door suddenly flew open, and I wheeled round with great anxiety and saw Chief Inspector Gifty Quartey, Pastor Nana Kofi and the scared faced Nana Kojo coming in!
They had tracked me down!
I hovered against the wall, still scared witless by the sight of those two scary spirits from the crypts! Other people were peering into the office, but none of them was brave enough to come inside.
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I saw Pastor Nana Kofi laying his hands on Esi, who was now just staring, unable to make any sound because my attack on her throat had hurt her larynx and made speech impossible for her!
Pastor Kofi began to pray silently for her, and I saw Esi weeping helplessly now as she held on to the hand of the pastor with fear.
“That’s Afia’s money, that’s her money! Take it, please take it! Don’t kill me, Afia! I beg you, Afia, Afia, Afiaaaaaaaa!! I’m sorry ooooo! Afiaaaaaaa!!”
She was going into hysterics now, now mentioning gibberish. Even when the pastor helped her to her feet, she cringed and would not leave the corner! I saw her brushing herself fast, as if she could see things no one else could see crawling over her!
“Her cold hands! Her cold, icy hands on my neck ooo!” she screamed. “Afiiiiiiaaaaa, don’t kill me, Afiaaaaa!!”
Old pastor Nana Kofi turned toward his grandson, and his face was filled with fury.
“Is she here?” he asked coldly.
“She is, Grandpa,” Nana Kojo said sadly and pointed to me.
The pastor came and stood in front of me.
“I warned you, Afia!” he said grimly, his eyes boring into me although he could not see me. “You can kill! And if you kill you’ll be a murderer, and you’ll lose being with the Father! You would go to a nasty place! Do you understand me?”
I looked at him miserably now and nodded.
“She understands,” Nana Kojo said, his voice still sad.
I remember the two horrible creatures that had appeared at the point where Esi had almost died!
So, that was what the pastor meant!
They would have taken me away if Esi had died, and I would have missed the chance of leaving with the wonderful Angel Stephen.
“Afia, it is true Esi has been a monster,” Pastor Kofi said a bit more kindly as he looked at me. “You have touched her in a bad way, Afia. She will definitely become a vegetable, or she might go mad.
You see, the Lord granted you Hovering Time so that you could see where you went wrong, and what secrets your life was shrouded in! The Lord wanted us to help you, and that was why He made sure Nana Kojo was where he was that morning. Do you understand?”
Again I nodded sadly.
“She understands,” Nana Kojo said, using the sign language now.
Many of the onlookers were looking at the old man evidently talking to a blank wall, and I could see the great fear and confusion on their faces.
Poor people…if only they knew!
“Vengeance is for the Lord, Afia,” Pastor Kofi said gently. “You can’t have your vengeance now and expect to make it to Paradise, no. As a Christian, God expects you to forgive your enemies. So, Esi is here, and you’re here! You have to forgive her, Afia, or she will die or go raving mad because you put your hands on her with evil intentions!”
I looked at Esi!
She was on her hands and knees now, swapping the air around her like a monkey, and cackling like one. She was laughing and weeping at the same time, and there was nothing sane about her at that moment.
A part of me wanted her to go stark raving mad, but a bigger part of me was struck with pity at the way she was grovelling on the floor and behaving like a wild beast.
My fury slowly dissipated and I felt great compassion for her.
If I could, I would have cried at that moment.
“Yes, I forgive her,” I said softly. “I forgive you, Esi.”
“She forgives her,” Nana Kojo said.
Immediately she stopped behaving like a wild beast. She looked around her with terror and began to weep pathetically.
“I’m so sorry, Afia!” she wept pathetically. “Your husband didn’t rape me, Afia. I tried to seduce him! Oh, Afia, have mercy on me and forgive me! I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry! The money for your parents is here. I haven’t touched a pesewa yet! Please, I will send it to them! Just forgive me, Afia, I beg of you!”
The pastor prayed for her as she continued to wail pathetically.
Overcome with pity for her, I glided out of the office morosely and out of the store.
Nana Kojo followed me as I hovered in the night air.
“You cool?” he asked softly. “You scared me, madam. If you kill any of them you will lose Heaven. Please, don’t do it!”
I descended to his side and took his hand.
“Her apology settled my fury and anger,” I said hoarsely, my voice tight with pity. “I’m alright now. Yes, she did mean it.
“Grandpa says you shouldn’t go anywhere,” he said softly. “Please, if you move away we won’t help you anymore.”
I hesitated for a moment, and then I nodded.
“I’ll stay right here,” I said.
To be continued