Saturday, 22 February 2014
I was disturbed by a few things and had to pay Faith a visit today. She takes her offs at Moderncare on Saturdays and so today was opportune for a visit. Since I did not want Georgie to know that I was visiting the nurse, I waited till he had left the house, then I threw myself into a pair of palazzo pants, a chiffon blouse, wedge heels and a pair of glasses, took my handbag and left. I walked down the street and straight to the plot where she lives.
I found her seated in her portico preparing some beans for cooking. She welcomed me into the house and served me tea. We spoke about our families (she is engaged to an Indian) and what happened before I fainted the previous Sunday. But when I finally touched on Edith’s demise, she turned bleak and shaken.
“Well, I’m sorry I brought up this conversation,” I tried to rub it off.
“Mrs Argwins, I… I just can’t withhold how much I miss her. On a Saturday like this, we’d be seated in the porch of her lonely house over there chatting and merry-making for the best part of the day.”
“I understand, Faith, and I am truly sorry for your loss.”
“She was like a sister to me…,” she said with tears conspicuously hanging loose in her eyes. “We loved one another so much that Tiger thought we were distant sisters.” I must have muffled something in shock at the mention of the name Tiger. To be sincere, I was stupefied and did not know where to start from. “What? What’s wrong?” I heard her ask, as if miles away. “Are you with me? Your Excellency, is everything alright?” She tapped on me.
“Yes. Yes, I’m fine,” I said, getting back to my senses and peering at her.
“What’s taken your attention this much? The fact that Tiger thought we were sisters?”
I took a deep sigh and managed to say, “You just mentioned Tiger.”
“Yes. He is my brother? Tiger is my blood brother. Do you know or have any clue about him?”
Her brother! That was even worse than just mentioning his name. Tiger, the mysterious man, was her brother! No, maybe hers was another. I had to confirm. “Maybe the one I know is not your brother. How does he look?” I noticed the looks on her face change from gloom to suspense.
“He is short and mascular. Oh I hope that animal has not done something stupid again, eeh?”
“You just called him an animal!” I tittered a bit. “So you know him that much… I mean, his manners… he is not a good man, is he?”
“Not these days. In the past, he was a criminal, used to rob people, even banks. But after serving a five-year jail-term and going lost for another one year, he is now a changed man.”
“Mmm… really? What does he do for a living?”
“I’m not so sure. He used to dig for people pit latrines, but nowadays he doesn’t open up about what he does. His life after jail has been one shrouded in mystery.”
“How so? I’m sorry if I may sound so inquisitive, Faith, but allow me… does he live here with you?”
“No. He only comes twice a week, like he might today. He refused to let me know where he lives. Tell me please, is anything the matter with him?” I could tell that she was worried from how she asked that question.
“No. I just find his behaviours mysterious too.”
“Have you interacted with him?”
“Yes. Look. Promise me that for our own safety, you won’t disclose anything I’ll tell you to him. We need to help him, we need to help this young man, but before then, I need to ensure we are safe and on the same page. Otherwise we might lose him and ourselves too.”
“I promise. I’d be frank with you, I don’t understand my brother anymore. Can you imagine he told me to stop speaking with you.”
“Yes, I know he did. I guess the brother you knew is not the man you see anymore. He came to my house on Thursday and said he’d been sent by a secret organisation called The Allied Brothers to tell me to avoid visiting Moderncare and talking to anyone about… .” I stopped just in case I was saying too much.
“Wait a minute. Do you know about this secret organisation, Faith?”
“No. I’m hearing that for the first time this morning. He said he belongs to it?”
“He said he was their messenger. Faith please, I’m begging you to be frank with me. Is there anything you know about this secret society?”
“I’d even be lying to say I already knew it.”
I looked at her straight in the eye for a moment and could guess that, despite her assurance, she was hiding something from me.
“You said they don’t want you to talk to me about something,” she broke the silence, looking away. “What is it?” .
“The… didn’t I tell you at the hospital?” I wanted to evade talking about the gold ring.
“Remind me. Was it… the ghost you said you saw standing next to the governor in church last Sunday?”
“Yes. Yes, that’s it. Um… I have a request though, Faith,” I put in quickly to change the topic.
“Okay. Mention it.”
“I need you to know where he lives and how he lives and what he lives on and who his real friends are. I hope I’m not asking too much.”
“No, you’re not. I will. And promise me one thing too, that you won’t hurt him; he is still my brother and the only remaining relative I have, you know.” I could feel her voice trilling from fright.
“I won’t. Just don’t disclose any information about our meeting to him.”
“No, I won’t.”
“Well, I have to go now. You said he could be here any moment,” I said standing. “See you soon.” We shook hands and I left. As I went up the street, I thought I saw someone like Tiger standing by a shop. I quickly turned my face away and expedited my movement.
In the evening, Jennifer my sister, Tiger arrived shortly after my husband had arrived. He appeared cool, elated and soft spoken, but my husband seemed bothered and unhappy all the while. After supper, he left with my husband to his meditation room and has since been there with him till now. I don’t like the man, and seeing him around Georgie gives me the creeps. I just hope he is not up to any malefic act.