13 days earlier
“Have you seen my toothbrush?”
Khadija stomped her foot against the marble floor.
“Nope. Ask Mami, maybe she knows.” Ameena replied, walking towards her bathroom with her VEGA VHSCC-01 3-in-1 Hair Straightener in hand. She was trying out curly styles which she spent the entire night watching in order to perfect it on YouTube.
Khadija ran downstairs, pouting as she knocked on Mami’s door. “Mami...” before she said more, she saw her pink bag on the bed. Quickly, she opened the items and shouted, “I’ve seen it.”
Ameena meanwhile, was almost done. She had soft hair, so it was much easier to navigate the equipment around her hair. She had opted for surfer-babe waves, which looked thick and flawless once she was done. Humming a Wafia song, she did a little twirl in front of the mirror quite impressed with herself. She patted her hair, careful not to touch the curls. If not, she’d run a risk of having a Halo full of frizz. Afterwards, she sprayed her seasalt hairspray, Herbivore Botanicals Sea Mist Coconut + Sea Salt Beach Wave Hair Mist and then sprayed her Aloe and Honey Spray on top.
She took in her pastel over top and white loose crop pant, light makeup with just a concealer and gloss, and took some mirror selfies. This doesn’t look good. Nope, nope, nope. Ugh. No that’s not me. Okay I could post this.
After taking 86 pictures in less than 10 minutes, she finally decided to upload 5.
“Sis, breakfast’s ready.” one of her brothers, Abubakar, called from the corridor.
“Okayy! I’m coming.”
She ran downstairs and had to pause for awhile because the spiraled curvy stairs was a bit too much to take in. She wished their was an elevator but that would be too much. Her room was on the fourth gloor so she had to endure this for a long time. Well, maybe I’ll get used to it soon, she thought. The dining room was adjacent to the kitchen and overlooked the pool. The whole family was taking seats.
“Assalamualaikum,” she called out then greeted them.
“Amin alaikissalam.” They replied in unison. She took her seat next to her grandmother, Hajiya Shafa. Breakfast was Toast and eggs, sandwiches, caramel waffles, tea and coffee.
Ameena’s favourite was waffles and coffee which she devoured silently.
Alhaji Sule Maikasuwa, the patriarch of the household, who was also Ameena’s grandfather cleared his throat. A slim and tall man of 71, still looking agile and much younger, smiled. “You kids are going to school today. Have you collected your timetables yesterday?”
Aminu, Ameena’s younger brother replied. “Yes, granddad.”
“Okay, um, I want to emphasise to you all, because we are no longer in Katsina as you know. This is a different state so you all have to be careful and behave yourselves.”
“We’re going together, right?” Ameena’s cousin, Madeena whispered.
Ameena looked at her and smiled, “Shopping mall..” she whispered back and they burst out laughing.
“Your aunt, Aisha is coming today with her husband and son, so Ishaq, you’ll go and bring them, ” Ameena’s father, Mr Aliyu said.
Their mother, Mrs Fatima looked at her husband, “Have you spoken to the bank manager?”
“Yes dear, that is all sorted out.” Mrs Aisha and her family had recently relocated to Jos, for work but had been living in an estate which was, quite expensive. Upon hearing that, Mr Aliyu decided to invite them over to live in the mansion.
After breakfast, Ameena and her cousins dashed to school. Ameena had enrolled in UNiJOS recently, before the family decided to relocate. Mr Aliyu had opened a new branch in his Maikasuwa Sweets and co, and Maikasuwa Housing Estate and Maikasuwa Pharmaceuticals. The other branches were doing fine - 1 in Katsina. 2 in Abuja, 1 in Delta and 1 in Lagos. The Jos branch was a tough one, and finally getting it to work, the family decided to celebrate. The idea of living there was Mrs Fatima’s and the rest agreed. Being a large family, finding a house was a nit difficult but their realtor had provided a magnificent mansion. Perfect for a wierd dynamical family like theirs.
“Hello, mind if I join you?” Ameena was snapped out oc het reverie, and saw a rather petite girl with short bangs and crazy jeans smilinh at het.
“thanks. Um, I’m dayana by the way.” Dayana smiled revealing a perfect set of teeth.
Ameena thought the girl was friendly, “I’m Ameena. You can call me Meena.”
“Oohh you can call me Diii too.” Then she pouted and said in a low tone probably meant for herself. “Why didn’t i think of that?”
Her folder written in bold black Entrepreneurship Development caught Ameena’s attention. “You’re studying business?”
“Yep. And look at what these lecturers gave us. 1st year o. Entrepreneurship, which i thought was something that 3rd year or even 4th were taught.
Ameena cracked a laugh,” Seriously? Ah, ai that’s how business courses are. My cousin is also in that department. 1st year too.”
“wait oh,” Dayana raised a finger, nails coloured deep blue, and then smacked two fingers together as if remembering something. “Ahah! I kbew it. You look like someone in my class. Fat, medium height, fair with very light brown eyes.”
“That’s her. Madina. Though she wouldn’t like being called fat o.”
“You look so much alike. We sat on the same row - I and her. By thevway, which course are you studying?”
“Design and Decor.”
They chatted skme more anout the xold harsh weaber- it was October but the coldness was too mich. Then they separated and Ameena went for her next class.
The day was hectic, she had manged to jot down key information, had trekked countless times to the mini shop outside the University building and photocopied lots of handouts.
As soon as their driver pulled up in a Black SUV, she ran out. All she wanted was to lie down on her comfy bed and sleep. But she hadn’t even prayed Asr, she remembered. Looking at her phone, she saw that it was 4:13. Damn it.
“Madina still isn’t here yet?” She asked the driver.
“She’s not o.”
The best thing to do was to call her. Because only God knows where on earth she was in this large school. As the beep sound rang, she saw Madina laughing, as she walked towards the car.
“Ke! Hurry naa.” Aneena shoved her head outside the window.
On the way, Madina explained how she had stopped to collect some new friend’s number. “oh, and including one of my classmates, Dayana. I gave her your number. She wants you to be friends, i think.” She added.
“ypu dif whay? Why? You should have asked me first.”
“Oh don’t be silly, dearest cousin,” She repkird. Waving it off. “Yu need to relax and make frkrnds. Chill.”
Ameena couldn’t believe her ears. Madina was just something else. As soon as tbey artived, Ameena performed ablution and prayed. She was feeling sleepy but she knew she couldn’t. She never did sleep after Asr. So, she took a pieve o xocolwye cake from the fridge and a Fanta uo to her room. Lunch was fried rice an chicken, but she wS feelin a bit sweet to mothed that evening. As she passed the living room, she hadto dodge and crept towards the walls on her way to thecstairs. The living room was noisy, het siblings and cousins engahing in some sort of pullow fight which she was praying didn’t leave the place untidy.
At the end, she would have to tidy the wjole place because Esther, the cleaner would have gone home ny then.
Upstairs, she ate whilst watching an episode of Las Chicas del Cable. She was on the second season and couldn’t wait for the mystery to be uncovered.
She startled awake. Something woke her up. She looked around the darkness, het eyes slowly becoming accustomed to it. Nothing. Her wardrobe was opem. She must have left it tbere when she took out her headscarf before going to bed. It must have been a dream. Preparing to sleep once again, she heard it. Loud and clear, like the waves of an ocean. It sounded as if a plate broke. A harsh sound.
The lights were out again. She must tell Uncle... To check it tomorrow. Downstairs, everything was the same. It was cold, a window had been left open.
There was no sign of anything that could have made that sound, so she went back to bed.