The mayor knew Alan of Sierra Leone well. “Your husband has served this country well. His tactics as a defense minister has brought a lasting peace to the country. I will do him this favor,” said the mayor. “Go, some of you. Knock at the gate of the orphanage and bid the lady to come to me,” the mayor said as he instructed his soldiers.
Now, a frantic servant, glancing over his shoulder and pushing through the crowd reached Caroline. “Oh, Madam, run and save yourself! Master Alan has broken loose! He has bound the priest who is taking care of him! He even singed off the beard of the exorcist with fire. Madam, unless you send some help, he will kill the exorcist!” The servant said.
“Fool! Your master is here! You are reporting a false news to me!” Caroline scowled.
“Madam, upon my life, I tell you the truth. I have not breathed, almost, since I saw it! He calls for you and vows to scorch your face and disfigure you!” The servant insisted.
An angry yell announces a man’s approach, “Madam, here he comes! Please run for your life!” The servant pointed and backed away, trembling.
“Come, stand by me, and fear nothing,” the mayor told Caroline. “Soldiers! Make sure that man doesn’t get through to this woman,” the mayor instructed his soldiers.
“That is my husband coming. Have you witnessed what I told you! He is now invisible! Here he is now as I am pleading for his release from the orphanage. This passes human thought or reason!” Caroline gasped.
Alan of Sierra Leone greeted the mayor when he got close to him. “Most gracious mayor, oh, grant me justice! Even for the long service I did this country, when I brought lasting peace in the country, now grant me justice!” Alan of Sierra Leone demanded.
Behind the mayor, William looked up from his sorrowful musing and was startled. “Unless the fear of death makes me see unreal things, I see my son Alan!” William thought.
Alan of Sierra Leone, facing the mayor, rose. “Mayor, against that woman there, whom which the Chief of staff gave me to be my wife! She who has abused and dishonored me, even to the strength and height of injury! Beyond imagination is the wrong that she this day has shamelessly thrown upon me!” Alan of Sierra Leone exclaimed.
The mayor became perplexed and doubtful. “Explain how she has dishonored and abused you?” the mayor demanded. “This day, mayor, she shut the gate upon me and refused me to dine in my house!” Alan of Sierra Leone explained.
“A grievous fault. What do you say to the accusation, woman?” the mayor asked.
“No, my good lord! I, he and my sister today dined together! This is a false accusation,” Caroline defended herself.
“Never may I look on day nor sleep at night, but that she tells your Excellency the simple truth!” Lucy said to support her sister.
“This woman locked me out this day for lunch! If my business partner was to be present here, he would have proven me right because I went to the house with him!” Said Alan.
“I prepared lunch, but he was not coming home and the food was getting cold. I went to look for him and found him in the street dressed differently. I thought he had bought new clothes since he always liked to change his clothing. He sometimes buys new clothing and wears them before he comes home. I took him with my car and drove with him to the house, where we ate!” Caroline said in her defense.
“What is she saying? That she came to look for me? I went to Anthony here to take a painting I asked him to do for me. A painting I didn’t also see and which he made an officer arrest me. You can ask him. I was with him before I went home. I didn’t go home with my wife! I was sent to the police station by the police officer and I sent Ali, my servant to go for a sum of two hundred thousand dollars from my wife so I could release myself from the bond.
He returned with a bus ticket instead of the money. I nearly pounced on him when my wife came to the scene. I was glad to see her since I knew she was coming to redeem the debt. I was surprised when she told me she had given the money to Ali, who lied in response that he gave the money to me. When I tried to protest, my wife with a villain who calls himself a priest ordered people to bind me. They took me to a dark room in my house and bound me there, together with my servant Ali. I gnawed with my teeth, tore the ropes asunder and gained my freedom. I immediately run to you, mayor, since I heard you were in town. I beseech you to give me ample satisfaction for these deep shames and great indignities!” Said Alan
Anthony stepped forward. “My lord, in truth he came to my shop at the time he stated. I saw him in his car,” said Anthony.
“He said, you accused him of having your painting?” the mayor asked.
“Yes, my lord, I gave the painting to him. He was even having it in his hand when he ran into the orphanage. These people saw the painting in his hand,” Anthony said as he pointed to some people in the crowd.
“Besides, I can swear these ears of mine heard you confess you had the painting from him, after you first swore in front of his shop that you didn’t have possession of it. I became furious and fought with you, and you fled to the orphanage,” Jones added while he turned to face Alan of Sierra Leone.
Alan of Sierra Leone stared at him, astonished. “I never came through these orphanage walls! Nor even did I fight with you! I never saw the painting, God bears me witness! You are accusing me falsely!” Alan exclaimed.
The mayor shook his head and frowned. “What sort of madness is this!? I think all of you are drunk!!” The mayor exclaimed. “If you housed him in the orphanage there, then he will be there! You said he went home with you, the artist also denies that saying! This is strange!” The mayor said with a puzzled look. “Go, call me the administrator of the orphanage,” the mayor told his attendants.
William, facing his own imminent execution, stepped away from his guard and called out. “Most mighty mayor, vouchsafe me speak a word! Perhaps, I see a friend who will save my life, and pay the sum of money that may deliver me!” He petitioned the mayor.
“Speak freely and say what you want to say,” the mayor permitted William as he was eager for some sensible distraction.
William moved some steps with his hands bound before him. “Is not your name, Sir, Alan?” William asked Alan of Sierra Leone. “Yes!” Alan replied.
“I am sure you remember me?” William asked.
“No Sir, I do not remember you. I have never seen you before,” Alan replied.
“Oh, grief has changed me since you last saw me, and the fear of death has strangely formed features on my face! But tell me, don’t you know my voice?” William asked.
“Neither,” Alan replied.
“All these witnesses tell me you are my son, Alan! I cannot err!” William persisted.
“I never saw my father in my life,” Alan said sadly.
“I am sure you are ashamed to acknowledge me in my misery,” William said sadly.
“The mayor and all that know me in the city can witness with me that it is not so. I never saw Gambia in my life.” Alan of Sierra Leone said firmly.
“I tell you, Gambian, twenty years have I known Alan, during which he never saw Gambia. I see your age and fear makes you delusional,” said the mayor to William.
All the people present were startled when the lady at the orphanage emerged with Alan of Gambia. The stunned observers pressed closer to gape at the pair of twins.
“I see two husbands,” Cried Caroline. “Or my eyes deceive me!” She added.
The mayor looked back and forth between the two Alans. “One is the essence of the other. Which of them is the natural man, and which is the spirit? Who deciphers them?” the mayor thought in disbelief.
“William! Is that you? Or it is his ghost?” Alan of Gambia asked while he moved towards his father. Just then, the administrator of the orphanage emerged. She was out when the all those incident took place. She heard the commotion and went to satisfy her curiosity. She had left the orphanage in the hands of her assistant when she was away. It was that assistant who took Alan of Gambia into the orphanage. She was also the one who brought him to see the mayor since her superior- Zaza wasn’t around.
When she got closer, she recognized William and ran to him. “Why have you bound an innocent man!?” She asked the mayor. “That is my husband, William!” She said as she hugged William tightly. William was surprised to see Zaza.
“I thought you were dead my dear. I have never forgiven myself after the incident that took place on the river,” William said while he sobbed.
Zaza turned and saw the twins. She immediately knew her husband and son were able to survive the firefight on the river.
“My son and I, were all taken up by the rebels. We were sent to a rebel camp where I met my savior, President Dan. He kept my son and me safe until now. He even took care of our son!” Zaza explained to William.
Caroline was beginning to understand. “Which of you dined with me today?” She asked.
“I, gentle mistress,” replied Alan of Gambia.
“And are you my husband?” Caroline asked again.
“No! I say no to that!” Cried Alan of Sierra Leone.
“And so do I,” said Alan of Gambia. “Yet she called me that and this beautiful lady, her sister here, did call me brother-in-law,” Alan of Gambia smiled warmly at Lucy. “I think you will now consider what I proposed early on!” He added and smiled sheepishly.
Anthony went to Alan of Gambia. “This is the painting, Sir, which you had of me!” Anthony said. Alan of Gambia nodded and was still ready to pay.
“Yes Sir! I deny it not,” said Alan of Gambia.
Alan of Sierra Leone understood too, “And you, sir, for this painting you thought was with me, arrested me!” He said.
“I think I did, sir. I deny it not,” Anthony said sheepishly.
“I sent money for your bail, by Ali, but I think he didn’t bring it,” Caroline interjected the conversation.
“I think I gave the money to his other brother,” Ali said still astonished at the close semblance of the twins.
Alan of Gambia took the money from his bag. “This is the money I received from your servant,” he said as he handed the money over to Caroline. Caroline also handed the money to her husband.
Alan of Sierra Leone gave the money he took from his wife to the mayor. “This money I pawn for my father, here!” Said Alan. The mayor beamed, delighted.
“It shall not be needed! The family of a citizen of Sierra Leone is exempt from this proscription. Your father has his life!” Said the mayor to Alan of Sierra Leone.
“Renowned mayor, can you go with us to the orphanage to celebrate this day? And all that are assembled in this place who, sympathized in this one day of mistakes, have suffered wrong, go keep us company, and we shall make full satisfaction!” Zaza requested.
“I went into travail for many years for you, my sons, but till this present hour my heavy burden was never delivered!” Zaza said sorrowfully.
“With all my heart, I will gossip at this feast,” said the mayor to Zaza’s request. With that, the twin brothers, Caroline, Lucy, the mayor, William, Zaza, Ali and all that were present entered into the orphanage to feast.
By Lewis Dampson