Thursday, 7 December 2017

Behind Her Smile Episode 8

Two weeks had passed since Miriam last saw the prince. She’d been avoiding him ever since their previous encounter.
Holding a watering can over the flowers in the backyard, she watched the beautiful flowers sway sideways as water overpowered them.
"You’re really doing a good job in avoiding me,” Michael said advancing to her.
"Good afternoon, your royal highness," Miriam greeted, avoiding his question.
"Miriam can you stop please?” he pleaded.
"Stop what, your Highness?” Miriam asked, avoiding his gaze.
"This whole thing your doing,” he whispered. “Do you even know what it took me to come back and here you are avoiding me?"
"My Prince, I am not avoiding you.”
"Am I really your Prince or has that changed?”
"Of course you’re my Prince.”
"Really? Like really your Prince?”
Miriam’s could feel her nerviness surfacing. "Your highness, I don't know what you’re talking about."
"Can I stay with you?” Michael asked. “I really want to spend some time with you but you seem very busy these days, so I was thinking if I could stay here and help you out."
"No, your highness,” Miriam said, hoping he would just leave. “The Queen will kill me if she sees us.”
"Miriam, please stop," Michael said.
Michael had called her by her name. He only did that when he was dead serious. Her nervousness intensified he stepped in toward her and wrapped his arms around her waist.
He felt it again; the same emotion that surged through him when he touched her. Miriam flinched, feeling it too.
"No, Mikey,” she yelled. “Please go, you’re distracting me.”
"I’m sorry Mimi,” Michael said. “I only wanted to spend some time with you but I can see you don't want me around as much as I do. I will just leave. Sorry again.”
Miriam’s chest rose and fell as she watched him leave. What had she done? How could she have chased away the only man she had ever loved?
Love. She thought about the word and its implication.
She was not to fall in love. History would repeat itself if she did, and she could not let that happen.
"It is bound to repeat itself and there is nothing you can do about it,” a voice said from behind her.
She turned around, but found no one. All she felt was an eerie breeze, chilling her to the bones. Fear took dwelling in the pit of her stomach.
"Leave this palace and stay away from the Prince before it is too late,” the voice warned. “Because he is bound to die."
"Who are you?" Miriam asked the disembodied voice. Feeling a sudden presence behind her, she looked over her shoulder.
***
Chioma was sitting in her room when she felt a strong wind. She could tell something was wrong. She could feel the presence of someone who shouldn’t be there.
"Who could it be?” she asked. “What is this I am feeling? I feel something terrible is going to happen. Where is it coming from?”
A sudden darkness consumed the room. Moments later, the darkness returned light to its place.
Chioma rose from her bed and hurried out of the room. She wasn't scared, only nervous. Whatever was happening was dead serious.
Ezinne was holding a plate in her hands when the wind encircled her, knocking the plate from her hold. It hit the floor, shattering into fragments.
"Who is it?” she asked. “What was that wind that blew just now?”
Ezinne was the only surviving witch in Ikemba. Years ago, all the witches were killed, but Ezinne still lived because most villagers knew nothing of her being a witch. While majority saw her as a seer, only a few people knew her as a witch; a good witch.
Although she was a hundred and fifty years, she looked no different from a woman in her early fifties. Age had a weak hold on her.
"She is here,” she said to herself. “And this kingdom is going to face her anger soon. But why do I feel like that child is already in the palace? I have to contact Chioma.”
Years ago, she had picked Chioma from the forest after her mother Obioma, a good witch, was sentenced to death. The woman had ran with every ounce of her strength even though she was heavily pregnant. She’d arrived at an evil forest and there she had meet Ezinne who’d been plucking herbs.
Ezinne had helped her give birth in that forest, and the woman had asked her to protect and guide her child, and to hide her identity as a witch.
The last moment before her death, she’d asked Ezinne to name the child ‘Chioma’.
****
“And who are you?" Miriam asked, trembling with fear. A woman stood within range, staring at her in a way that made goose bumps erupt on her skin. The woman, just like Miriam, was blessed with beauty.
"I’m Nnenna,” the woman said. “I know who you are, Miriam, a mermaid."
Miriam froze. “How did you know that?"
"That doesn't matter,” Nnenna said. “What matters is that you should not fall for the Prince, because that will only hurt you and not him. History will repeat itself if you do."
"And who are you to tell me what to do?” Miriam asked defiantly.
"I am the downfall of this palace,” Nnenna said. “And anyone who tries to stop my revenge will go down with it. You just sent the man you love away. That was the right thing to do, so please leave this palace before my anger descends on it. I am already here, so the prophecy most come to pass."
Nnenna disappeared, filling Miriam with more fear. Nnenna’s disembodied voice cackled savagely. "The prophecy shall come to pass because I’m already here.”
Miriam thought back to her dream. "The prophecy will come to pass because she is already here. The fulfilment is here and near.”
Her fear intensifying, she dashed toward the servants’ quarters and bumped into Chioma in the passageway.
"Miriam why are you running like that?” Chioma asked.
"Nothing,” Miriam said. “I’m just in a hurry to get something inside, that's all.”
"And you expect me to believe that?” Chioma asked.
"Chioma, I’m fine." Miriam smiled, hoping her smile would work its magic.
Chioma wasn’t swayed. “I know you’re not fine, and I also know that you’re not normal like other human beings, but I don't know what exactly you are.
Anytime you have a dream something bad always happens the next day. Sometimes you stare at the sky like all your answers will come from there and sometimes you talk to your self like you’re talking to someone and even though I pretend not to notice, I do, and very soon the others will start asking questions. Please tell me if anything is wrong and I promise I will help you out.”
"Chioma you’re over analyzing things. This is all a misunderstanding. I’m fine, really. Please, I have to go now.” She made to leave, but Chioma grabbed her arm.
"You might be fooling everyone with this your smile, but not me. And I promise you that I will find out who you are very soon." Chioma walked away.
***
"Miriam,” Esther called, shaking Miriam vigorously. “Miriam, wake up!"
Miriam gasped into consciousness, sweating vigorously.
"If I say that these your village people have come again you will say I’m lying,” Ella said furiously.
"Miriam, what's wrong with you?” Amara asked.
"Nothing,” Miriam said. “I just had a terrible nightmare."
A bone-chilling scream sailed into the palace.
Ella’s eyes widened. “Who was that?"
“I don't know,” Esther said.
"I think this girl is a witch,” Amara yelled. “Or how do you explain that each time she has a bad dream something happens? And this time around, nobody should ask me not to tell any body because I can't afford to lose my life over this witch. If you girls want, you can stay here with her. As for me, I am going outside to see what happened.”
"I’m going with her," Esther said, leaving with Amara.
"Oh heavens,” Miriam prayed. “Please don't let it be what I'm thinking. God, how can I stop her? I need to get help before she kills everyone in this kingdom.”
Ella glanced at Miriam. The thought of being alone with her made her shiver from an imaginary cold. She dashed out of the room.
In the passageway, guards and maids gathered, staring at something on the floor. With her heart in her mouth, Amara drew closer to the scene.
She screamed at the sight before her. Obinna, one of the palace guards, lay dead on the floor, his skin mutilated like he’d been attacked by a wild beast.
Amara clamped her palm to her mouth, suppressing an urge to vomit. Who had done this and why?
To be continued..

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