The Haunted House

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Chapter Six

On Saturday, the whole family were planning an outing. Ameena was particularly excited. She had spent the last three days at home, nursing herself back to health. Most importantly, there had been no weird sightings or noises. At last things were going back to normal. Even the weather was on cue - cooler, the sky light ash in colour filled with heavy clouds. But there was no rain. In the morning, Ameena had written her to-do lists, in the hope of starting afresh with new objectives. On the top of her list was
- buy new dumbbells and trainer clothes. Even though her former ones appeared, she wasn’t as hell, going to even touch them. The cook Esther helped her dispose them far away.

As she sat on her bed cross legged, chewing the bottom of a pen, she wondered what next she should input. An inspiration suddenly stuck her. Why not order from her favourite fitness account on Instagram? Hastily, she scrolled through Instagram, finding SoFit page, and clicking on the order link on the bio. More workouts this time, she murmured excitedly.

Their first stop was a cafe at Unguwar Rukuba Street. Nos gustaría cafe stood in the middle of two other clothing shops on the busy street. A tall pillar of two stories, scented with lemon flowers. Painted pristine white, it shone in the bright weather. It served drinks and snacks as well. It was full even in the morning, so they had to order takeaway food.
Ameena took some pictures pleased with herself at how aesthetic the surrounding was. Photography was a hobby for her, she spent her free time taking pictures and even more time editing them.

“This guy likes living the good life, o.” Madina commented, swiping her phone across the table towards Ameena. A picture of a young guy on Instagram pops up. Leaning against his white Porsche, whith dark eyeglasses covering his eyes, he looked like a model.

Ameena made a tsk soung, “he’s fine. Who is he?”

“A random guy.”

She looked at her cousin at length. Knowing her, he was definitely not jjust a random guy. Cousin sis, I know hes one of your boyfriend, she raised an eyebrow at her. Madeena, just about to say soething kep t hut as Ishaq walked towards them. Dtawing a chair between them, he sat muttering something inaudible. “Whats wrong, yaya?” Madeena asked in her innocent sweet tone reserved for those that don’t know her true colors.

“Something has been bugging me.” He scatched his arm agin, this time terking up like hes been pinched.

“Matbe it was an insect,” Ameena spoke, almost sure. Since they arrived she had seen tiny insects, gathering at wall edges. She didn’t know if they were poisonous or not, so she left them alone.

“Maybe, but I feel like the insect or whatever it is, crawling inside me. idont know how...” he stopped, noticing their widened eyes, anticipating his next statement. It wa a high probability that Madeena would tell her best friend Suleiman, who also happened to be his brother. And when Suleiman knows, everyone would know as well. He couldn’t risk grandpa sending him to the asylum or forciing him to go to the hospital. He hated hopitals. In fact, he despised them. Quickly, he changed tactic. “you know what, never mind. So, whatre we having now. Im famished.” Ameena looked at him, quizzically. To her, he seemed nervous, like he was forcing hiimelf to smile.

“We’re waiting for Hauwa and the rest,” Madina told him. Before long, they arrived and filled the seats. Ameena was already eager to dig in the wonderful array of food before them. Thankfully, the waiter had brought their orders not long ago. Her mouth watered as she carefully dishd out her food – grilled fish, coleslaw, crunchy chips and fruity salsa. As she ate she felt refreshed, leaving everything behind her. It was a new dawn and so was she. Her phone beeped, signalling a notification. Taking a sip of her carrot drink, she checked it. It was from Ibrahim. She smiled as she replied.

Sure. Um, tomorrow then.

“whos it?” Khadija asked, trying to peer at the creen.

“Nothnig that concerns you.” Ameena giggled, mentally choosing a cloth to wear. Maybe the green gown. No, too sparkly. Black? No, she wasn’t mourning. Another thought flitted in her mind. Is it a date? No, she chided herself. He just wants to hang out. Yeah. That’s all it is.

After having mid breakfast at the café, they went over to a wild life park nearby. It was exciting seeing wild life animals up close, but also scary. Ameena could tell by the way Sadiq’s eyes darted, he was nervous. She couldn’t blame him though. Those sharp lion eyes didn’t look funny at all. Apparently, she wasn’t the only on ethat noticed. Before they left, Madina had began teasing him. “Sadiq. Matsoraci kenan,” she had teased, stickinh her tonque out.

Someone that didn’t quite join in the fun was Ishaq. Ameena studied him again, wondering ehat was up with him. He stayed far fro the group, looking straight ahead. His eyes lookrf dilated. If AMeena didn’t know her brother, shed have assumed he was smoking something strong. He looked withdrawn, but that wasn’t what particularly disturbed her. It was his body language. He would twist all of a sudden as if startled. The black in his eyes looked particularly small, a menancing form beginning to appear on his face. His left hand kept scratching his chest, and she wondered if all that had to do with what he was about to tell them earlier. Whatever the hell he meant by something inside him. She decided not to dwell much on it. shed ask him later about it.

That day, she took many photos. She noted herself that her photography skills were upgrading. When she found her passion in photography years ago, it was difficult. Finding the right angle, clarity, editing was the worst. But now, her camera roll were full of pictures of natures, family, sunset – which could be mistaken for ap professionals. After taking more than 60 pictures, she felt tired. Editing would come later, she thought as she sat on a sculptured stone, looking through her roll. The sun was finally out, shining beightly on the wide green park. After their museum visit, they had decided to go to a park, for a quick snack. Something weighed heavily on her mind. Her date with her boy...No, scaratch that. It wasn’t a date and it wasn’t with a boyfriend. Well, technically he was her boyfriend. He was a friend, who was a boy. Hence, a boyfriend. Just not in that sense... Whatever the hell am I thinking, shw chided herself.

“We’re going, guys,” Madina shouted, so everyone could hear. Sluggishly, she packed their snacks and her bag. She was feeling exhausted, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t appreacite another excursion. As they rode back home, Ameena couldn’t help but feel blissful. The day had been fantastic. Full of fun, they laughed, saw new places, took photos and met new people. For the past few days, she had been on edge. Looking over her shoulder, wainting tensely for something or someone to spring in on her. She could feel her mental health lessen due to all the fantic worry and stress shed been under. Today tgouh, she was lively. Sure that everything was okay. Even though she couldn’t ecplain what she saw that day, she felt she didn’t need to.things were going smoothly, so why indulge in something she herself could not ecplain?

She turned over her shoulder, catching a glimpse of her cousins Suleiman and Aliyu, arguing over who won the chess game they played. “Guys, we should do this again,” she interrupted the noisy car.

“It was fun!” Khadija replied.

“Maybe next week,” Aliyu chipped in. They all agreed to try another outing on Saturday. An argument suddenly ensured ocvweer where to visit nect time. Some orefereed to go to a mall, some another wildlife park and some preferred a mueum. Ameena rolled her eyes, at the playfulness of it all. Bala who was driving, decided to be in mediator. “Okay, okay. Guys, how about this. We wake up ealy on that day and then, we could visit all these places. Or no?”

“Sounds good. Except Hauwa, you need to wake up warly o.” Suleiman bourst out laughing.

Ameena chuckled. If they really were going out again next week, Hauwa must wake up early. Today, she delayed them wasting time bathing as well as eating. Unlocking her phone, she inserted Saturday – outing, on her memo app. She wondered why she didn’t find the need to remind herself of tmorrrows outing with Ibrahim. Its not like im gonna forget something as serious as this, jut one day away. Why do I think its serious? Its just a normal visit with a friend, she almost screamed at herself. A smile on her lips, she turned towards the window watching as the bysy roads, houses and commercial buildings slowly became sparse. Wild freen trees surrounded them, their leaves swaying back and forth with the breeze. The mansion soon came into view. Pristine white in the brightness of the sun. As she climbed down the car, her thought drifted to her mom. Were they back from their visit to Dads friend’s house? The grandparents had also tagged along.

She hummed silently to herself, alredy feeling warm. The sun was scorching hot. It might rain today. She suddenly stopped right on her tracks. Somethings wrong. Sadiq who was behind her almost crashed into her. Steadying his steps, he came beside her, asking, “whats wrong? You okay?”

By now, the rest were walking towards them. “Yes, I just thought something looks different.” She shook her head and walked up the porch. That was when she saw it. for the second time, she topped abruptly, a shaking hnrd pointing towards the large wooden door. “Why is the door open?”

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