Some human beings were really wicked brutes and ravenous wolves wearing human skins to conceal the real rot underneath.
Some were real actors, able to cover up their decay with lying tongues and smiles of honey, and could make you believe in them for ages without getting a glimpse of the stink. I finally understood the Biblical verse which stated that the human eye could only perceive what was presented, and it was only the eyes of God which could see into the hearts of men, and discern what was righteous and what was horrible.
Tony had indeed lived a life of rot with me, and been able to conceal it so perfectly that I had had no inkling of the real savage beast he was!
I was still hovering in the hall, keeping a close watch on my son, when Tony emerged from the bedroom around seven o’clock in the morning wearing white boxers and singlet with his feet encased in a pair of slippers.
He was speaking on the phone.
“I hope you made it very clear to them that Afia left everything to me in her Will,” he said coldly. “I want you to make that categorically clear, Asante.”
And if I had a voice I would have screamed with horror and collapsed into a coma, but in my dead spiritual state, I could only make a noise of pain I could barely hear myself.
Asante, I knew, was Samson Asante, my lawyer and friend!
Samson had been my mate through secondary school before he had branched into law. I had personally funded part of his bills, and given him money for his pocket on more than a few occasions through his school. It was only normal, as a consequence, that he became my legal advisor and representative.
I had drawn up my Will with him, and I had been categorical, with no ambiguities whatsoever! Ten percent each of my Estate was given to Korku, thirty to my parents, and the remaining sixty per cent and my house as a dual inheritance to Tony and Abram. He had been the perfect, loving father to my son, and so I had had no qualms leaving him as the sole oversight of the sixty percent.
I had a newly-completed three-bedroom house on a plot of land I had bought, and this I had given to my parents in my Will. They did not know about that building yet because I had been keeping it a secret; I had wanted to furnish it and then given it to them as a gift on their fortieth wedding anniversary.
“Good, good, good, Asante,” Tony was saying as he approached the sleeping form of my son. “And I hope you didn’t make any mention of the new building to them.”
He stopped and listened, and then a crafty and happy smile crossed his face.
“You’ve done well, Asante,” Tony said happily. “You will enjoy, I promise you. So, make sure the old Will is destroyed as we planned, okay?”
I did not have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce what had just happened. It was clear to me! Somehow, Tony and my lawyer had conspired to rob my parents and my son of any inheritance, and they had done so by using a fake Will and planning to destroy my original Will…just two days after my death!
No, that could not be even remotely possible!
Even if I had been a horrible wife, Tony could not have brought another woman to my bed two days after my death, and made an arrangement with Asante to replace my will within the same time span!
That was not possible!
And then the truth hit me so fiercely that I found myself gliding toward the floor with horror!
It was all possible only if Tony had been aware that I was going to die!
That was the only thing that made sense!
And my shock was compounded by Tony suddenly kicking Abram in the spine, making the poor boy bolt up with a loud cry of pain, getting to his feet and then clutching his back as he collapsed on the seat with a look of sheer agony on his young face, and tears flooding his dear face!
And at that moment, if I had been able, I would have struck Tony dead instantly!
“Get ready, get your bag!” Tony said furiously at Abram. “I’m sending you to your grandparents until I sort a few things out. You’ll stay with them and go to school. Hurry up!”
Heartbroken and absolutely shattered, I hovered protectively over Abram as he rushed to his room in tears. Oh, how I wished I could console that poor little boy, but alas, I could not.
I waited outside the bathroom as he took his bath, and then he packed his uniforms and school books into one of his large suitcases. The other suitcase was already filled with his clothes. He dragged his jeans and T-shirts and caps from the wardrobe into another suitcase and packed his shoes and sneakers into another.
My poor darling boy!
I wept blood as he dragged these bags all alone to the garage.
Tony, fully-dressed, took hefty breakfast of oats, fried eggs and buttered toast prepared by that buffoon of a Yaa Yaa girl…and, of course, Abram was not given anything to eat.
Tony threw my son’s bags into the car and forced him to sit in the small space that was left, and then he drove out of the house. I hovered inside the car with my arms around my son.
There was a very brief moment when he stopped snivelling long enough to look around him with curious eyes as if he had felt my presence in a way, and that warmed my heart so very much.
When we got to my parents’ rented house, this beast of a man turned in the seat and glared at Abram with a look that almost bordered on hatred.
“And dry your tears!” he said savagely. “You better not go telling any of them that I beat you, or sister Yaa Yaa is in our house! If I hear you saying that, you will regret it, do you hear me? I’ll strip the skin off your back! Do you hear me?”
Abram nodded with terror, cringing from Tony, and I snarled and flailed my fingers across Tony’s face, seeking to claw out his eyes, but I had no effect on him whatsoever.
Tony was all smiles as he lifted my son up and carried him inside the house. My dear mother was in the kitchen and came out when she heard Tony’s voice. She broke into tears when she saw my son, and she hugged him tightly, obviously saddened all over again by the sight of Abram.
Tony carried the rest of Abram’s things inside, and as I watched his fake expression of grief on his face and the way he dabbed at his eyes with his handkerchief, I screamed so fiercely that the orange tree in front of the porch shook wildly!
The dog lying in the porch suddenly began to bray mournfully, and the cat in my father’s arms screeched wildly at me and bounced through the doorway into the room.
My old father, looking handsome with his white hair and beard, adjusted his black mourning clothes across his shoulders and looked around sombrely.
“Afia is here,” he said softly. “Yes, I can feel her presence.”
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I saw the way Tony’s face froze, and how he looked apprehensively around him.
He explained that he wanted Abram to stay with them for a while to attend school so that he would have some time to make arrangements and see to some pressing issues.
My parents listened to him, although my mother still held my son and wept bitterly.
“I can’t fault that decision,” my father said thoughtfully. “He’s our grandson, and so we will take him and love him. However, Afia’s lawyer visited us early this morning to make a few things clear to us. According to him, our daughter left everything for you, Tony. Is this true?”
Tony looked dumbfounded immediately, and again my heart was cut to pieces as I looked at him from the ceiling, stunned beyond my wildest imagination that he could be such a great fake!
“Asew, I am not privy to Afia’s last testament, and this is surprising news to me,” he said dejectedly. “I have not heard from Samson Asante in a long time, and I find it offensive that he should come here to you when my darling wife, your dear daughter, is still lying cold in the mortuary. Please, let us push everything aside and address the issue we are facing. After the burial, we will return to monetary issues.”
“Thank you, my son,” my father in law said softly. “We shall do it as you say. Secondly, our rent is due. Afia told me she will send us money to pay. Perchance, you won’t happen to know if she left some money for that, would you?”
And that was when I stared down at my father with sudden horror!
Of course, he had called and told me how urgently they needed the money since the landlord was becoming quite uncontrollable! I had personally begged my best friend, Esi, to go to the bank, cash the money and bring it to my father!
Twelve thousand cedis!
My own cheque, from my own account!
Ten thousand for rent, two thousand for their monthly upkeep.
That had been on Friday, and Esi had assured me that she had delivered it to my mother.
What the hell was going on here?
“Oh, Afia told me she will send the money through her sister Esi,” my mother told my father.
“Oh, alright then,” my father said sadly.
Tony then begged to leave, and they wished him well.
“Come, Ato my grandson,” my mother said gently. “Have you eaten?”
Abram shook his head sadly.
“Don’t worry, my darling boy,” my mother said with a tearful smile. “Let me get you sweet food to eat and then I will send you to school, okay?”
“Ei, Afia!” my father said in a very pained voice as he shook his head sadly. “If indeed, after all our troubles, you can leave everything you owned to your husband without a pesewa for us, I won’t really say anything, Afia. I won’t talk. You have done well!”
And, hovering on the ceiling, I wept bitterly with a shattered voice.
His words really stung me, and I wished I could yell at him to tell him what I left them, and the house I had built for them, and the new car I had bought for them, waiting at the right time to tell them!
But, he could not hear me!
I had died without warning, leaving everything too late!
I had not told them how much I loved and appreciated them.
And now, if Tony had his way, my parents would live the rest of their lives in perpetual pain about my betrayal!
Oh, dearest Lord…if You have granted me five days Hovering Time, kindly help me out here because my soul is laden with pain!