The Ring of Death
Tailor and Candy have been seeing each other for about two months before she finally agreed to go visit his place. By the time they got to the big mansion, he had all his maids lined up as he paraded her around the house.
“If there is anyone you should trust among them to always deliver, it’s Catharina!” he pointed at the older looking lady in her late forties, “She started working here about seven months ago and ever since she came here, she succeeded in making me fall in love with the house, very committed and dedicated to her work!”
“Four months, sir,” said Catharina.
“Oh yes, yeah! Four months. Yes true, well, I’m not giving you a raise Catharina but I assure you, I shall reward you handsomely one day!” joked Tailor, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is Miss Candy Cuthway, a rare gem,” he smiled joyfully, “my rare gem!”
The maids smiled and curtsied when Candy shook their hands like the Queen, she couldn’t help but blush at the warmth welcome she had received.
“So I would like you all to treat and show her the same respect as you have shown me,” said Tailor, “I want this woman to be happy within the walls of this house no matter what it’ll cost you, and I mean it!”
Candy became fond of Catharina however, she was kind to almost all the maids in the big mansion.
“You seem to trust her so much!’ said Candy as they walked around the house.
“Who? Catharina?” Tailor giggled, “The rest of them have been working here for years but ever since Catharina came, she sort of got this soft spot in my heart, in a way I cannot explain! Maybe it’s because she reminds me so much of my mother!”
The maids could not help but smile as they admired Candy’s outfit.
“Do you think she’ll be as nice, sweet and kind as this when she finally becomes the Mrs?” whispered one of the maids.
“Well, it is not mine to bother,” answered another, “I’ll do that which is required of me in the house and shall retire when the time comes! Seal your lips and do the same Sarah.”
“Mr Tailor had never introduced any lady to us,” she said again, “and I have never seen him this…happy?”
After the introduction and the tiresome tour round, Candy passed the night at the big mansion, she chatted with Melissa and Laura online and updated them about her new man. They were happy for her.
While in the bedroom Candy noticed a beautiful painting on the wall and walked to it, “Where did you get this?” she asked.
“Oh! It’s a gift from an old friend,” he said as he wrapped his arms around her from behind, “it’s called ‘‘The White Rose on the gates of Scheol,’ I think the painter is an African, from Kenya. Not really sure.”
“Hmm, you of all people couldn’t find out who painted this piece?” she said as she turned and faced him.
“At this moment,” he said, “nothing should matter!” Tailor kissed her. He clapped and the lights went off.
Ever since Candy’s first visit, Tailor Burdigan began to act like a man who was about to rob the bank of bachelorhood one precious coin. After getting to know Tailor one on one, Candy also felt trapped in a way; like she had engaged herself in an unremunerative war, and had appeared on the battle field unarmed and without a cause. She tried as much as she could to see if Tailor was aware of some of his dark deeds. She searched for, and tried so hard to hold on to just one good reason to end his life secretly or in the open when the right time is to establish itself, a part of her hungered for vengeance but her heart had lost its grip on the grounds of common sense.
Candy welcomed the company of Catharina whenever she paid a visit to the house. The two bonded.
“Do you have kids?” asked Candy.
“Well, yes! I had a beautiful daughter and two boys, if she was alive, she would be about your age!” replied Catharina, “I lost them years back!”
“Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t know!” responded Candy.
“No, it’s okay! It’s what one must bear once one chooses to walk the soils of this cruel and begrimed world!” responded Catherina, “I know you’re going to make a fine and beautiful bride to Mr Tailor.” added Catherina, “He is such a lucky man! Everybody loves and respects him!”
Candy smiled, “Who braided your hair! I’d love to have something like that!”
“Oh, thank you. It’s Sarah, one of the maids in the house. I’ll talk to her, she’d gladly do it for you madam!” answered Catharina.
“Please call me, Candy!” she said smiling humbly.
“Hello darling!” said Tailor as he walked into the living room escorted by his two bodyguards.
“Hey baby!” Candy responded.
“We’ve got a fund raising event to attend by 8pm, forgive me my darling I’ve totally forgot to inform you earlier.” said Tailor.
“Okay baby, I haven’t got much to do in the evening anyway!” replied Candy.
“I’m going to have to take a shower, rest for a while maybe take a nap.” he said as he kissed her.
“Welcome back, sir.” said Catharina as she stood up and walked into the kitchen.
“I’ve got something for the lady,” said Tailor, he handed her a box of flowers, “sighted it in this corner shop downtown and thought you would love it!”
“Aww, thanks love! You could’ve just gotten a single stem, baby.” Candy said on opening the box.
“Red roses, you like it?” he asked.
“I love it, smells nice,” she answered.
“But not as nice as the smell of your wonderful breath darling,” he said, “wait till you see the dress I got for you to wear tonight!”
As Tailor and Candy were about going upstairs, Catharina came by holding a glass of water on a tray.
“Let me have that Catharina,” said Candy as she took the tray from her, “You can go attend to other things. I’ve got this!”
“Darling, let me shower first, I’ll drink and eat thereafter,” said Tailor as he walked upstairs.
Candy handed back the tray to Catharina. She followed Tailor to the bedroom. Tailor walked straight into the bathroom, then Candy got her purse and pulled out a small container.
“Guess what darling?” said Tailor as he came out of the bathroom.
“Yes, baby!” she replied, as she hid the container.
Tailor approached her and looked deep her in the eyes smiling, he grabbed her by waist gently, “Your eyes,” he said, “they arrest my senses every time I look at them.”
“Baby, was that what you wanted to tell me?” she said.
“Oh, sorry,” he added, “I heard the president is going to be there. Been looking forward to meeting that man ever since he got on that seat. Maybe tonight will be our lucky night! Plus to make sure you take the night hostage, I got you the perfect dress for that!” he kissed her then walked away to a drawer and brought out a big black box.
“I hope she likes it!” he said as he handed it to her.
Candy opened the box to unveil an elegant evening crown-worthy pearl-covered dress. Candy could not believe her eyes, “Are these…”
“Black diamonds, yes!” said Tailor, “I went through a lot of trouble to have it custom made for you!” as he left the bed and walked back to the wardrobe again. Tailor came back with another small box.
“Now, this…I bought it a long time ago, but I think it’ll suit this outfit, darling.” he pulled out a diamond necklace set on a white gold chain.
“Oh my God!” exclaimed Candy.
“Like a man once said, happy girls are the prettiest girls!” he stood up and wrapped the jewellery around her neck.
Minutes later, the two got into a pillow fight.
Candy had to go downstairs to check on Catherina, and by the time she got to the diner, Catharina had already set things ready.
“Wow! You’re fast,” said Candy.
“Fall in love with what you do,” Catharina responded, “and everything will become much easier!”
“Return this to the cellar and help me get a red wine instead, “said Candy, “that’s the only thing this beautiful table is missing!”
“Okay madam!” replied Catharina as she walked away.
Candy picked the wineglass kept on Tailor’s side of the table, she quickly poured some droplets of the colourless liquid substance into the cup. Moments later, Catharina return with the bottle of red wine. As Tailor walked downstairs Candy popped the bottle and poured some into two wineglasses.
“Hey darling!” said Tailor as he approached the dining table.
“Hey!” Candy kissed him handing the wineglass to him.
“You’re already making me feel like a king!” He whispered to her ear and bit it lightly.
“Because you are, my darling!” said Candy as she took a sip from her wineglass. Candy watched with great satisfaction as he lifted his cup to drink then they heard a thud.
“Oh my God!” said Tailor as he kept the wineglass on the table. Candy turned and saw Catharina lying on the ground, “Oh God!” she said as Tailor rushed to Catharina.
Tailor held Catharina but she was unconscious.
“Quickly, get Gerald!” said Tailor as he checked her pulse.
Minutes later two of the bodyguards had arrived with Candy but they found Catharina breathing and sweating.
“Is she okay?” asked Candy.
“Yes, she looks so, now!” answered Tailor, “you should take some days off Catharina!”
“No need, sir.” said Catharina in a weak voice.
“You’ve been working like a donkey Catharina!” said Tailor as they all laughed, “You really need to rest!”
The bodyguards held Catharina and as they were about to lift her up off the floor, one of the bodyguards accidently hit the table and the glass of wine tailor kept fell off and shattered.
“Whoops!” exclaimed Tailor, “Get Sarah!”
“Alright boss!” Gerald responded.
“You should be the one to clean that up, Gerald!” said Catharina as they all laughed while walking away from the dining
“Is she going to be okay?” asked Candy.
“Oh yeah, she is stronger than she appeared!” Tailor answered.
Tailor and Candy left for the fund raising event after they had dinner. However, the president was not able to make it as Tailor had hoped. They had a wonderful night together. Candy stood out among the crowd and sea of celebrities, and the press ate her image like an exotic fruit.
Candy’s heart continued to grow fond of Tailor, and she began to bask on the thrills and excitements that came with the new lifestyle she had doused into. It was as though everything she had discovered about him before meeting him in person was a lie. Tailor looked crystal clean from where she was standing, and he treated her like lady. She began to doubt whether the reason why her plans failed on the attempts she had made to end his life was probably a sign that his hands were clean.
The trips they had taken to most of the exotic places around the world, and the sweet thoughts of Tailor’s charm, kindness, love and affection had almost wiped out the memories of Jake.
The things Candy wanted were being replaced by the things she needed in her life. It was very hard, especially knowing that one of Tailor’s major goal was to make her happy. Ever since she came into his life, it was obvious he had rid it all of other unnecessary women. As weird as it may seemed, she felt light-hearted and had fallen, tumbling head over heels for Tailor.
Thinking about Jake became like a portal of nightmare she wouldn’t want to find herself falling into. Tailor treated her in a way that made her worries flowed down the drain. Candy was giving room to the future thoughts of her probable life with Tailor, she had no choice but to believe that she had not seen the best things, yet. Then it happened, one night while on a trip to the Bahamas, Candy woke up and found out that Tailor was watching her while she was asleep.
“Baby, is everything okay?” she asked.
“You look seraphic when you sleep,” he said, “I need to make one important request.”
“What is it?” she inquired.
“Candy, Will you marry me?” he said looking straight into her eyes.
“Are you sure about this?” replied Candy in a soft tone.
“No, I’m not sure if I’m awake or still dreaming,” he said, “but I’m sure about one thing; I love you, and in both realms I would still want to stand by you until my heartbeat stops!” he smiled as he pulled out a blue diamond ring.
Candy agreed to Tailor’s proposal. He could not believe it, she literally wiped the tears from his eyes when he tried to express his joy that night.
On their return, Tailor didn’t hesitate to pay the best wedding planner double the amount they normally charged just so Candy would have the best day a girl like her deserved. However, Candy wanted a grand church wedding and he knew he had to grant her wish.
“If you want an altar on the clouds…that can be arranged. But I can’t give no wings to no priest, my love.” Tailor said, “Just say the words!”
The date was set and all necessary arrangements were made to make it the most talked about wedding in the beach city, the media houses cleared their throats as well, even those that weren’t invited.
Candy walked into the church followed by her maid of honour, Mellissa. Laura and some other ladies joined the train, as Candy gently walked down the aisle she sighted Tailor. She bent her head down in a modest way, her dad walked right next to her holding her hand.
The priest made some declaration and asked the couple to exchange their marital vows and rings, after that they kissed and all left for the reception in a beautiful hotel in the heart of the city. The wedding was a grandeur, it was a great event and lots of Tailor’s business associates, local celebrities and some prominent people came to celebrate with them; they danced and had fun, Candy looked very happy and her dad was pleased to see his daughter in such aura of joy once again. Mellissa and Laura gave a beautiful speech and expressed how happy they were to see Candy marry the man of her dreams.
The aids in the house of Tailor convinced him to grant them the privilege to give a speech as well. Catharina was chosen as their representative and she was given some minutes to talk on their behalf, she was so excited, and she couldn’t wait to hold the microphone.
“Please make it short!” said the MC as he handed the microphone to Catherina.
“Life is beautiful, and I’m very happy today to have witnessed this great occasion.” Catherina said, “Candy is a wonderful woman, and she had met a great, kind and wonderful angel. You see, Sometimes when you have laid your hands on the most precious thing in life, especially when it’s priceless, the world would come and just seize it from you for no good reason. Sometimes you would begin to feel like the world hates you for no just cause! But we must stay strong and open our hearts and hope for better days ahead,” she smiled, the invited guests clapped and cheered. Catharina turned and looked at the couple, she smiled as they smiled back at her. Then it happened; Catharina lifted her clothe and pulled out a Kahr CW9, 9mm luger handgun; cocked and aimed it at Candy, then quickly turned the pistol to Tailor and pulled the trigger; she shot him at point blank on the forehead, “This is for my children, and the people of Undango,” she said. As the entire guest panicked, Catherina stared at Candy, smiled and sighed, as though she just did her a great favour. Catharina then turned her back on Candy putting the pistol in her own mouth and fired a short once more.
People began to run out of the reception venue as Tailor’s bodyguards made their way in disbelieve. Candy found herself holding the corpse of Tailor Burdigan, her husband. The blood and brain tissues of Catherina was all over her face and wedding gown. Suddenly the whole world watched as the passionate tears fail from her eyes; if only they knew, it might not be of young woman widowed on her wedding day, not of been humiliated, not of been the pathetic woman who the world will carry the face of the latest scandal of losing her spouse, not of been the person feeding the paparazzi of images of herself but maybe the loss of the pleasure of murdering him herself or sleeping with an enemy until the day she had her fill and decide to close the dark curtains on him.
Candy could not say a word to anyone, loss had confined her world once again. She watched people run, as some stare; was it sympathy or contempt? She just could not tell what was going on in their mind as her mind drifted down into the depths of nowhere.
Later that night, Candy realised that her late husband had bought a soft custom-made pillow stuffed with the finest white goose feathers, no diamonds in it but they all had her name crested on the sheets. She could not lay her head on it. A live footage of Tailor’s murder went viral online, showing Candy screaming next to him in shock. She remained mute, in shock and didn’t talk to anyone until the third day after Tailor’s murder.
Tailor Burdigan was led to rest about two weeks after his death, it rained that day, and a lot of people came for the funeral including her dad and friends. On that day, Candy made another shocking discovery; Tailor had fathered about four children with three different women.
“She would make such a beautiful widow!” whispered one of the women at the funeral. Candy turned and looked around but could not tell who among the people uttered such, she lowered her head down and wept looking at the golden ring on her finger. Candy could not talk to most of the people that came to sympathise with her.
Candy went back to the big mansion and could not look into the eyes of her maids and bodyguards. They had all been interrogated by the authority, and it was established that none of them played any intended role in the ploy. Catherina manipulated them all along. After an in-depth investigation, the authorities found out that Catherina did not suffer any child lost, and it was also proven that she was not from Undango. Something didn’t just add up. What was Catherina’s motive and was she working for someone?
Candy laid on the big bed as she stared at the ceiling, she sobbed as she twisted and turned on the bed. Candy wept and drenched the pillow with her tears, she tried to sleep but couldn’t. As she sat silently on the edge of the bed, something on the wall caught her attention; a replica of Touzhius Alejandre’s ‘Scent of the Son’. It appeared Tailor had replaced ‘The White Rose on the gates of Scheol,’ painting with it. Candy sighed and smiled, for it reminded her so much of his humour, She then summoned courage and walked towards the painting and stood there admiring its dynamism once more.
Candy smiled and as tears rolled down her eyes, she wiped it with her right hand, then closed her eyes and touched the painting with her left hand in order to feel its texture, and the stroke from the painter’s brush that appeased her senses. But then she noticed that the frame was too stiff. Out of curiosity, Candy used her two hands to try moving the painting but it stood firm. She then ignored it and turned to go back to bed but something stirred inside of her, Candy walked back and pulled the left side of the painting; it swung open on a hinge; the painting was used to conceal a hidden safe on the wall. It was a digital safe with a passcode entry, and the safe was locked.
Candy didn’t seem startled by what she had uncovered, but she stared at it for quite some time. She appeared a bit puzzled as she hurriedly searched for a pen and paper from the bedroom, she got it and then walked back to the safe and scribbled a word on the paper, then deciphered it into numbers. Candy took a deep breath, with a shaky hand, she pressed 2-5-3-8-4-3-2 on the digital keypad.
The safe came open.
Candy took a step back, then quickly ran and locked the bedroom door. She returned to check the safe; she found a bundle of cash stacked together, an old thick book that appeared to be Touzhius Alejandre’s diary, a journal, some documents, four VHS tapes and some computer hardware. Candy took some of these documents and as she flipped through them, she came across a copy of what appeared to be her late husband’s will. Tailor Burdigan had divided his fortune; properties and entire wealth to be shared to his illegitimate children.
Candy gently closed the safe, put her back up against the wall and slid her body down still holding on to some of these documents. As she squatted, Jake’s thoughts flashed through her mind, Candy coerced a smiled out as she took a heavy sigh.
While all the maids and bodyguards stayed mute downstairs reminiscing about their beloved late boss, they could hear the groaning of a young widow from upstairs; Candy T. Burdigan, the mistress of the house.