The Angel amongst us

5: A burn and a new flame

Niola woke up to a beautiful day, She checked the time on Chiamakas phone, it was 6:30, the couch wasn bad one bit. Chiamaka was still asleep and was snoring pretty loud. She smiled and stretched, she felt really good this morning, remembering all the drama that happened yesterday she shook her head and sighed.

There were two new toothbrush and paste on the dresser, Danielle must have left it there. She went to brush in the bathroom and took a quick shower.

Danielle was down stairs, she had woken up earlier working on her computer, she poured herself a cup of tea as she went through her laptop by the kitchen counter, she heard footsteps coming down the stairs, She looked up it was Niola, ”You
e awake.. you care for some tea? ”

Niola nodded and said hoarsely, ”Good morning. ”

With a warm smile Danielle replied, ”Good morning, hows the headache? ” while she poured Niola a cup of tea.

”I feel a lot more better, ” Niola gave a relief groan and mouthed a hank you, as Danielle handed her the cup.

”Do you have a charger I could use? ” she added bringing out her iphone from her pocket, ”my phone is dead, and I need to call someone to give me a lift to ikoyi, or maybe half way…. I just hope he hasn left for work yet. ”

”sure, there is a charger plugged in the socket right next to the water dispenser, you can use it, ” Danielle said without looking up, her concentration fixed to the computer. ”Or I could drop you off… ”

”Oh, sure Id appreciate. ”

”Alright, ” Danielle closed her laptop then head for the stairs, ”Ill be down in a few. Let me get dressed. ” She said, then went up the stairs.

Niola took a last gulp of her tea then she heard a deep whisper calling her name… Eniola!.. Eniola!!

She looked around quickly then saw a dark smoky image of a man pass to the living room, she shook at the sight and her elbow knocked down the cup.

Danielle heard the shatter then came out of the room to the balcony, she saw Niola picking up the shattered mug from the floor. ”Are you alright? ”

”um, yes…. Yes Im fine, sorry the cup just slipped, ” she assured, then disposed the broken pieces.

”its okay, Im way clumsier sometimes, ” she sneered. ”finally she wakes. ” She added as Chiamaka walks out of the hallway groggily.

Chiamaka staggered towards the stairs with sleepy eyes ”You guys were too loud. ”

”loud? ” Niola raised a brow sarcastically. ”And you slept quietly right? ”

Chiamaka grinned, ”I mean, yeah, I always sleep quietly. ”

Danielle laughed, ”so quiet I almost thought there was a truck with bad engine coming from your room. ”

Chiamaka chuckled and sprawled on the couch in the living room, ”what ever, haters! ”

Soon Danielle drove Niola to her bus stop, she pulled over by the shoulder of the road, while Niola thanked her for the Ride.

”You know, Ive been meaning to discuss something with you, ” Danielle said before she got off the car.

Niola turned back to look at her surprisingly, ”really?… Alright, ” she sat back in the chair and closed the door. ”Im listening, shoot. ”

”I was thinking I could sign you to model for my fashion brand.. you know, if you are interested, ”

”Oh.. wow.. um, I, I don know. ” Niola suddenly got short of words. ”Ill think about it I guess, Ive never modeled before. ”

”Sure, you have all the time to think about it, you don have to give me an answer now. ” Danielle gave a warm smile and added, ”could you write me the address of your studio?maybe I could drop by sometime. ” taking a pen and note pad from the glove compartment.

”Sure, ” Niola replied.

She finally got home, Niola shut the door behind her as she walked in her living room, she dropped her dress on the couch then went to the kitchen to take a glass of water. Her phone chimes, then she glanced at it on the counter. She was running late for her appointment with a customer at the studio, she dropped the glass and went to change.

Her scooter was at her moms so she had to call an Uber, between an hour she got to the studio. Mr uzor was waiting in his car, when she arrived.

”sorry I kept you waiting, ” she apologized as she approached him.

”Oh, miss Michaels.. no need to apologize, good to see you, I just got here anyway, ” he smiled warmly. ” good morning. ”

”Niola please. ” she corrected. ”Good morning to you too, lets go up stairs. ”

They got upstairs and Niola offered him a drink from the fridge while she set up the camera, she had to take a clear shot of him so she could get enough detailing for the portrait she would paint since the picture he brought wasn clear enough.

Mr uzor stood up to take a call while Niola used the opportunity to look around for the mysterious statue, but it was all clear no sign of it, none of this made any sense. One minute it was here, then the garden at her moms and now no where, she sighed and continue the shots as Mr uzor sat back down.

”I have a son that will like to be your apprentice, hes seventeen, he just finished his secondary school and he really has passion for all this, infact he has been experimenting with our backyard. ”

Niola smiled as she took the last shot, ”we
e done, Ill call you once its ready, make your first deposit to the account I sent. ” She walked over to the desk and drop the camera. ”Tell your son to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel, then if hes still interested after all that, here! ” she handed him a note she wrote her website. ”then we can do the old fashioned way. ”

”Alright, thanks a lot, hell definitely do that. ”

After he left, Niola looked around again to reassure herself, everything seemed normal which was quite a relief. She sat before the computer to print the picture then her phone rang, it was her mother. She set the photo to print and answered the call.

”okomi, omoola… ” her mother continued in eulogy in Yoruba .

Niola smiled, ”mom, Im not mad at you, at all, I was just speechless and overwhelmed, I needed to clear my head. ”

”Im on my way to your Studio… you need to know some certain things. ”

”Ok mom, ” Niola sighed, ”Ill be expecting you. ”

She arranged the pictures she printed together, then went back to cut and stretch out a canvas roll on an accurate board. On the other hand, Mrs Michaels was on her way to Niolas place in a bus, she stared outside the window as the bus moved and she kept thinking how she was going to make all this things her daughter has been seeing go away, she could go back to oke-osa to her uncle but its been twenty years since they last spoke, infact they had a quarrel. Ifadahunsi didn want them to leave, but tolu wanted a change for all the things that happened to her in that town and a fresh start, not just for her, but her daughter too. Oke-osa was a local area, she didn want Eniola to grow up in a village, she wanted one of the best upbringing for her, but Ifadahunsi didn look at it that way, he was so angry and all he kept saying was you are leaving? after all Ive done for you. She heard the palm oil factory fell two years after she Left and he said its beacuse she took Eniola away. But she saw it as some kind of excuse for the poor management and lavish spending. But what did he expect, they deserved a better life, not to be stuck in one Kind of village and be in some kind of debt to her uncle. After all shes Eniolas mother and she was going to do whatever it takes to keep her happy and healthy.

After going through a little hectic traffic Niolas mom got to Eniolas studio, she told her the whole story about everything that happened before and after she was born.

”Could he still help us? ” Niola asked afterwards, ”hes your uncle after all. ”

”Hmm.. I don know, we haven spoken in twenty years, I can just call him all of a sudden, ” Her mother said and rubbed her forehead worriedly.

”You still have his number right? ”

”Yes I still have it, but still its not proper to just call him out of the blue, its not appropriate, I should travel to oke-osa to see him. ”

”Oh.. ok, old peoples rules, ” she chuckled and her mother raised a brow. ”Jeez! Im just kidding, ” she smiled and pick up the photo to start a sketch then she saw something in the dark corner of the picture background that wasn there before. It was the statue, she got up quickly and when to check out the corner.

”Whats that? ” Her mother saw the worries in her movement towards the corner. ”Did you see a cockroach? You definitely look like you just did. ” She laughed sarcastically

”No mom, ” Niola replied coldly as she walked back to the desk to check the rest of the photos; it all had the Statue in each one of them. ”Mom! Look at this, ” she pointed it out for her Mom, ”please tell me Im not the only one seeing this. ”

Mrs Michaels looked at all the photos and looked back up at Niola, ”of course I see it, thats some weird ugly sculpture there, why will you sculpt something like this, it looks like some orisa— ”

”No! Mom, ” she cut her before she went further. ”Thats exactly what Ive been telling you, I didn do it, thats the statue I was telling you about! ”

Her mom paused, looked at it closely, then stood up to check around with Niola.

”Its not here! ” She said

Niola sighed out of frustration and tucked back a lock of her hair behind her ear, ”Yes its not, its never anywhere! It just appears! ”

Her mother placed both her hand on Niolas shoulders, ” calm down sweetie, ” she said. ”look at me, Im going to fix this. I.. am going to go to oke-osa, okay? ”

Niola nodded and her mother cupped her cheek, ”you are going to be fine, nothing is going to happen to you, not on my watch. ” She smiled and Niola hugged her tightly.

”what about you? Promise me you will be fine. ”

”Of course I will! ”

”We could go together, you know, precise Im the one seeing crap. ”

Her mother smiled, pulled back to look at her, ”it will be better if I go alone first, I have no idea what Im going to meet… and now you worry like an old lady. ”

Niola laughed and her mother said, ” Ill be fine, Ill call you all the time. ”

”please do. ”

At night when Niola got home, she took a warm bath and her head was banging from all the paranormal things she had been seeing through out the day. Afterwards she sat before her computer trying to search on everything about oke-osa on the internet, and all she came across was their festivals and springs. Everything she saw on the internet seemed normal until she came across an article from seven years ago that says how Reverend Olusegun became one of the active men of God in oke-osa.

She tried to find more but nothing else was elaborated, it was just motivational speeches from the Reverend and an address in osun state which she wrote down. Her mother was leaving for oke-osa in two days and she had this feeling that its all going to be grave news.

It was almost 10pm so she went to bed, she was stuck in her muse for a while before she slept.

In her dream.

she was in the forest, it was at dew point she carried a lantern and was bare foot as the floor was sticky, then she heard a twig snap

”Hello! ” she shivered with cloudy smoke fanning out of her mouth.

one of us!

Voices began to echo from the dark, like a hundred people ranting. All of a sudden she began running, she had no idea why she was running but she had the urge to. She paused at a point the her feet was stuck, she panicked, then a dark strong hand grabbed her left arm as if to help, but it burnt her.

”haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…. ” she screamed out of her sleep and open her eyes. The dream felt real as if the hand really grabbed her, she glanced at the time on the digital clock and it was almost 4am. ”ow! My head, ” she muttered, about to rub her head then she felt a sting on her arm.

She rolled up her sleeve quickly and suddenly jumped out of the bed to switch on the light.

It was a burn print from the hand in her dream.

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