Ify lit up like a candle on hearing Tony’s voice. She faced the mirror, opened her mouth to speak… and stopped, staring her reflection in shock. It wasn’t her face she was staring at, in the mirror. Another face stated back at her. Ify couldn’t believe it. She touched her face and stared at the mirror, phone forgotten.
“Hello? Who am I speaking with please? Hello? Are you there?” Tony’s voice said on the other end. Ify didn’t reply. She dropped the phone abruptly and screamed.
Sitting in his living room, Tony winced and ended the call.
“Who is it?” The queen asked.
“Just one lady like that screaming my ears off.” Tony replied.
“Then it was a wrong number.” The queen said.
“I think so.” Tony agreed.
The queen leaned on his chest and smiled smugly.
Beatrice ran into the room, concerned. “Ify, what is it?”
Ify stared frantically at her. “My face, I can’t find my face.”
Beatrice scowled in confusion. “I don’t understand.”
“Can’t you see? This is not my real face.”
“What do you mean this is not your real face?”
Ify stopped for a moment, desperately lost on how to explain. She grabbed Beatrice hands and led her to the mirror.
Beatrice stared at their reflection. Nothing. Their reflection were the same.
“I don’t understand.” Beatrice said, beginning to get impatient with the girl.
“I… I… thought…” Ify stammered in confusion.
Beatrice sighed. “My dear, you just woke up from a deep unconsciousness, coupled with the fact that you haven’t eaten for days. What’s happening to you now is normal. You haven’t found your bearing yet. I suggest you go back to bed and rest. I’ll bring so food shortly.”
Ify looked so sad that it broke Beatrice’ heart. Beatrice touched her sympathetically. “It’s going to be okay. Whatever you’re going through now will pass. Have faith.”
Ify grabbed her hand gratefully. “Thank you so much, ma. You have done so much for me.”
“It’s nothing, dear. I’m glad to be of help. Now go back to bed and rest.”
Ify smiled. “No ma. I need to go home. My parents must know what’s going on.”
“Alright.” Beatrice went to a drawer and brought out a small phone which she gave to Ify. “My number is there. Call me if you need me.”
“Thank you, ma.” Ify smiled gratefully.
“You’re welcome. And you must eat before you leave. I don’t want to hear you fainted on the way.”
Ify’s smile widened. “Yes ma.”
Later, Ify went to her house and knocked at the gate. Audu peeked out. On seeing her, he quickly opened the gate.
“Welcome, madam.” He said, surprised. He kept glancing between her and the house.
“Thanks, Audu. Are daddy and mommy around?”
“Okay.” She nodded and left him for the house.
“Sorry o madam.” Audu said. Ify turned back to him. “Yes?”
“Madam, I been think say you dey inside since.”
Ify thought very fast. “Yeah, I been comot before. You no see me?”
“No o. Maybe that time you comot, I go shit.”
“Yeah.” Ify said, smiling, trying to stamp down the image of Audu squatting to shit.
Ify smiled her thanks and headed back to the house. She rang the door bell.
Agnes and the queen looked up from the bridal magazine they were studying in Ify’s room.
“I’ll get it.” The queen said sweetly.
She left the room and headed downstairs to the living room front door, frowning furiously. So the little urchin dared to show up, she fumed inwardly. Well, she’ll see about that.
She opened the door and smiled at Ify’s shocked face. “Well, well, well. So, you decided to show up. You’re stupid but very brave. I’ll give you that. I hope you don’t mind me replacing you in your family?”
Ify’s mouth was ajar as she stared at the very image of herself. She didn’t know what shocked her most. The fact that the wicked marine creature looked exactly like her to a T or that she looked completely relaxed parading herself as Ify. If she didn’t know better, she would have thought that she, Ify, was the impostor. Then the shock gave way to a burning fury.
“You.” Ify fumed.
The queen blinked innocently. “Me? What did I do? Oh, you mean that I took over your life? How do you see me now, looking and acting like you around your family and friends? Oh let’s not forget, your fiancé? It’s interesting, isn’t it?”
“Get out of my life and go back to hell where you came from.”
“That is going to be a problem. I don’t want to go back. Not yet. Anyway, thanks for coming by. That was thoughtful of you. Now if you don’t mind, I was actually admiring some wedding dresses with your mother before you interrupted.” The queen said and stepped back to close the door.
“Why? Why do you torture me like this? Haven’t you done enough? What else do you want from me?” Ify asked, her voice shaking with threatening tears.
The queen wasn’t even moved. “Nothing. Like you implied, I already have everything. I have your family. I have your fiancé and I have your friends. As far as I am concerned, you are useless to me.”
“You will not get away with this. This charade wont last forever.”
The queen’s eyebrows quirked up in amusement. “Is that so? I am curious, how will you stop me?”
“You’re not indestructible.”
That hit a certain nerve. But the queen managed to remain calm. “How do you humans say it again? Bring it on. I look forward to seeing how you will destroy me. But know this- I will enjoy keeping you in misery for the rest of your life. I will strip you layer by layer, piece by piece until you, your family, your friends and your fiancé, will beg for death and it will be very, very, very, very far from you–”
“What’s going on there, Ify?” Agnes’ voice rang out curiously.
Both Ify and the queen froze. Ify opened her mouth to speak but the queen beat her to it. “Nothing, mommy. It’s one strange girl like that. I’ve been trying to tell her this is a wrong address but she refuses to leave.”
To Ify’s relief, the door opened wider to reveal Agnes. Time seemed to stand still as mother and daughter stood face to face with each other.
To be continued…
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