The Haunted House

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Chapter Nine


The cab halted outside a white coloured bistro. Miel Dulce was written boldly at the top of the building. Take a deep breath, take a deep breath. She glanced at her face again, wondering whether the bronzer was too much. Don’t think too much, Meenam she chided herself. Let us get this over with.

“How are you holding up?” Ibrahim broke the silence. They had both ordered cocktails – hers a

She raised her head slightly. He was looking at her. Sighing exasperatedly, she finally replied. “It’s been hectic. I still can’t believe that happened. It’s just too real.”

“I honestly can’t either. When Ade told me yesterday, I was shocked. The first thing I thought of was you. Are you okay?”

Something melted in her heart. He’s worried about me. well, that’s only normal, right? “thank God we weren’t at home. It was when we later came back that we found out. You know, I still can’t imagine who could do that.”

He twisted his face into a grimace, “must be some sick bastard. Don’t let it bother you. I’m here for whatever you need.”

“thanks. I guess that wouldn’t happen again. The house ahs new security now. So, yeah.” She dipped her slushy cocktail, glancing briefly at him. Does he ever blink, she thought. Since he captured her face, he hadn’t turned away an inch.

“InshaAllah none of this will ever happen again. aight, let’s talk about non-depressing things Meena,” he smiled. She felt her name had a new sense of calmness. He spoke it with ease, stressing the e.

She smiled, feeling less anxious already. “less depressing, like what?”

“umm, how about your hobbies? What do you do in your free time.”

“I’m pretty boring o. just watch movies, take photographs.”

“wait, like professional pictures...”

“not really, okay, say what, ill show you.” She unlocked her phone, swiping to the photos section. All the photos she had taken were in a folder titled My Gems. “here.”

He looked at them, as she watched his facial expressions. She really looked at him now. His long heart-shaped face, slightly curved at the chin gave him a dark look. If she didn’t know him, she’d have assumed he never smiled. Thick hair filled his eyebrows. In a way, he reminded her of Ibrahim Cellikol. She smiled inwardly.

“these are super. Have you ever taken a photography course?”

“Nope. Last year, before I gained admission, I thought of taking one. But well, it would require me to go to another state, do this, that. I just decided to let it go. So I focused on watching youtube videos, photoshop skills. you’ll be surprised what you can learn there.”

“Wow. I never thought of that. Photography giant my thing, I guess.”

“Enough about me now. So what hobbies do you have?”

He laughed his left dimple showing. taking a sip of his drink, he explained his love for computers. He could ... she watched as eyes lit up explaining how to ...

“oh my. You’re a computer genius, you know that?” he shook his head almost instantly. Ameena raised a finger playfully gesturing for him to not say a word. “Ye, yes, you are. Don’t deny it. who knows, maybe even a hacker.”

He burst out laughing. “no way. I wouldn’t let you know.” She was also laughing now, struggling to stay still.

“Oh my God. We sure had a good laugh.”

“definitely. you know, your company means a lot to me. I love our talks.”

Uh oh. Where is this going? Her chest hammered frantically as she thought of a way to get out of this. “umm, yeah me too.” She pressed her phone nonchalantly, then let out a shrill cry. “no way. It passed 4. I need to get back home.”

“Oh. Okay. ill drive you nack.”

“No, no. I wouldn’t wanna be a bother, Ibrahim.” Seriously? Is that the best you can do, she mocked herself.

He looked at her with a are you kidding me look. “look, Meena. There’s nothing about bothering me here. I want to. Besides, it is already 4. Most cabs wouldn’t take you to anguwar turawa now. You know that. Also, there’s traffick to consider. At that rate, you’ll reach home by 10.”

Ameena chewed on her cheek, considering. He was right. If she continued being stubborn, she would be late. Unwuwat turawa was far from the cafe and no one would be willing to take her at this time. Not to mention the traffic. She had seen it firsthand, yesterday. A ride with Ibrahim it is then.

“Have you grown up around these parts? You know the road so well.” She broke the silence. The car ride was smooth save for the traffic that stopped them at a junction.

“Of course. I grew up in layin tsamiya. Though I’ve been to these parts as a child. Even to your house before it was renovated. Well actually a long time ago.”

“really? My house?”

“yep. I remember when I was a kid, my brother, his friends and I, silly as I was, tagged along for a mysterious trip to your house. It is quite known around these parts o.” he giggled.

“So what happened?” She asked, curious yo know what he saw then.

“it began normally. We skipped the fence, went in through the window. Sneaked around, you know. But then we saw something weird...” he paused, pushing back the rearview mirror, squinting “wait. Is that car following us?”

Ameena jerked in her seat, turning back. True, a sleek black car was behind them. “are you sure. Maybe it’s just on its own.”

“I think I saw it when we drove out of the café.”

“What? Okay, slow down, lets see if they will pass.”

Their car slowed, only giving the one behind them amble time to get closer. A sharp tug at their car from behind jostled them. “Shit.” Ibrahim swerved right, increasing speed. The car also increased speed. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un. Is this the end of me? will they find me dead in this car with him? How will her family react? Think, Ameena, think.

Quickly, she unlocked her phone and turns towards the rear-window. leaning against her seat, she clicked on the camera app and zoomed in. The car had tinted windows. It was not on focus mode coupled with the zigzag way Ibrahim was dring, it looked blurry. Maybe this will help, she thought. opening her WhatsApp, she sent the photos to her siblings with the text, - this car is following us.

“what are you doing/”

“sending evidence. They have refused to believe me all this time.
"

“what? You know this person?”

“No. I never aid that.”

He glanced briefly at her, increasing speed.

“Itas complicated. I’ll tell you later.”

“Assuming we survive that is.”

“InshaAllah. Besides, if something happens to us, the pictures I just sent might be useful.” She sank back into her seat, gripping the sides.

Ibrahim scowled. “seriously?” what a girl. They felt a jolt, then a loud thud. Turning, her heart skipped. The car was right behind them. Before they realise it, its directly beside them, hitting them. What the hell. Her hands shaking, she dials 911.

“Hello.”

“hello. Please someone is trying to kill us. send help.”

“may I ask your location please?” the bored voice responded.

She turned towards him, “where the hell are we?”

“how am I supposed to know?”

She rolled her eyes, returning to the call. “Um, Sir. Were in a place. On the road. There are trees...”

“Look madam, if you’re not serious. Just leave us alone. We have work here to do.”

“No, please, I’m serious... Hello? Hello.”

What the hell! They hung up. “Don’t worry. We’re getting out of this.” Suddenly, he swerved the car towards the right, into another road. Ameena turned back. No car was following them “Yes. We ost them! Yes.”

“Alhamdulillah. But we mustn’t count our chickens before they’re hatched o.” he increased speed, driving into a small town before taking another short route towards Unguwan Turawa. Ameena sighed audibly, recognizing the mansions in the neighbourhood as they passed through. He drove deeper into the forest of pines, maples, orgasm not slowing until a wrought-iron gate blocking the road appeared up ahead. The gate rose before them, tall and imposing. Flanking it was an eight-foot stone that stretched into the woods in both directions. Ameena eyed it critically now, with barely concealed concern.

By now, it was late – the sun had long set, the sky turning black. The car fishtailed to a stop. she turned around, just to be sure they weren’t being followed again.

“do you think we really lost them?” she asked, suddenly concerned. Whoever it was seemed to know what they were doing. However, leaving them just like that gave her a sick feeling.

“I don’t know. But I think they were trying to give us a warning. Don’t you think? They suddenly disappear, when they could have easily followed us.”

“I think so too.”

They were waiting at the porch, sick with concern. Each bombarded her with many questions, which only made her pounding headache increase.

“look, I’m tired. I had a horrible day.”

“so the date didn’t go well then.”

“Madina what’s wrong with you? Someone almost died. You’re talking about date kuma.”

“what about the car?”

“it disappeared. We lost it. thank God Ibrahim knows how to really drive. If not,...”

“oh my God. Thank God you’re safe. We almost told Mom.”

“What?”

“don’t what me. we were scared. I thought something had happened to you.”

“look, guys. I told you that something was going on here. This just proves it right?”

They all nodded, solemnly. Something was truly going on, and after what happened tonight. It was obvious someone wanted them gone.

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