” Any plans for today?” Lilly asked.
There was no answer. Paul’s entire focus was on the noisy Gigantic Smart TV screen. His thumbs vigorously it tapped the control pad repeated as his body swayed from side to side
More violent sounds emanated from the TV making the luxury living sound like a mini battlefield.
Wild colours danced on the screen as gunshots and explosions rang out. Her husband’s entire being seemed mesmerised by the carnage of the game he was playing.
It was like talking to a zombie. She gently tapped his shoulder.
“One sec, bae,” He responded without taking his eyes of the TV. “I’ve almost crossed this stage.” She had to admit, he looked a little silly in his boxers, tapping vigorously into the control pad like some pre-Jamb teenager.
For better or worse, right? She shrugged.
“Well, I’m off to work” she said, making for the door” The last radio transmission had gone through. Somewhere in his game-induced trance, he heard her .
“…uh…bae,… are you leaving for work….?” The violent sounds suddenly ceased. He dropped the control pad and made to get up.
“…uh…I’ll be needing some….”
“I left you some money in the room,” she cut him off without turning around. ” And there’s fuel in the Escalade”
She smiled at him and turned away. For better or worse, right? She thought to herself as she got into her Range Rover.
Minutes later, she was on the road. It’s not so bad. She thought to herself. He may not be the most hardworking man on the planet, but at least she loved him. Which was more than she could say for…… She shuddered to think of it.
Especially today of all days. The past was the past. She and Paul were happy with more than enough money than they could spend. So why was she so troubled? They told her she’d get over it. They told her all the fear and confusion would go away. But exactly a year after Charles’ death, she was still a little spooked.
“These things happen” Her mother had said.
“Husbands die all the time. You just have to learn to move on with your life”
And move on she did. After Charles’ death, she had started seeing Paul again. Of course, her former in laws weren’t exactly thrilled with her activities, but wasn’t a month or two of mourning enough? How long was she supposed to brood over her late husband?
Charles was a good man. Broke, but a good man all the same. No doubt, things were crappy (financially) when they were married, but he never stopped looking for money. But like her mother would always say, “A hardworking Broke man, is still a Broke man”
She turned into DEKIW street. As expected, there was some traffic. She was likely going to be there for another twenty minutes. She stared at her Rolex, it was 10:15am on a tuesday morning. She was late. But what did that matter when she owned the company?
She and Paul could afford to stay home, shag and eat their days away and still be rich. It’s funny, she thought. Exactly a year ago, she could barely load her phone. Now she couldn’t make up her mind what colour of SUV to buy.
She sometimes felt guilty that Charles wasn’t here to see this. But then again, that’s life.
She realized the traffic was being caused by the Police. They were doing their routine “Where-are-your- papers? thing. She turned down the Air conditioner. The cold air was tickling her sides, and not in a nice way either.
Odd. She thought. She was fairly certain, it was pretty hot outside. But it was like winter inside the car. She turned off the Ac and tried to roll down the windows.
But the windows didn’t go down .
She tried all four buttons on her arm rest. But the vehicle remained sealed.
Frantic, she tried again.
Thick fogs emitted from her mouth when she exhaled. She was shivering now.
In panic, she tried to open the door. But the handle was frozen solid. It wouldn’t move.
She turned off the car. These new age vehicles were like Mobile Phones, she thought. A hard reset usually did the trick. Maybe if she switched it OFF and then ON, the electrical issues would correct itself.
A thick mist formed on the windows, slowly obscuring her vision to the outside.
Has to be an electrical . She thought as she turned ON the ignition.
The key did not move. And it was like ice in her hand.
Now, she was terrified.
She banged her hands frantically against the glass. She could hear car horns blaring outside, but the foggy glassy had cut off her sight from the outside world.
“Help!!!” She pounded against the glass. Her fingers were clammy, and her heart was pounding like crazy.
“Annoying, isn’t it?” Came a voice that chilled her. Her heart literally stopped beating for a mili-second of pure terror. A rational part of her mind told her that she hadn’t heard anything, that it was the panic of the moment.
She wanted to accept rationality. Rationality was safer, rationality was saner. Rationality told her she was the only one in the car, it told her she hadn’t heard her dead husband’s voice just inches away from her ear. But as she slowly turned around, swallowing the large lump in her throat, she considered another possibility.
This wasn’t real, she was dreaming.
Charles was seated in the passenger seat. His skin was deathly pale and his eyes were like sunken holes inside his emaciated face. He was wearing the grey suit he’d been buried in. He was smiling at her. Maybe it was his ghastly toothless grin, or the extreme temperature in the car….or maybe it was just the fact that he’d been dead for a year and now he was sitting right next to her. Whatever it was, if a window had been down at that point, her rationality and sanity would’ve flown out through it.
And kept on screaming.
She lunged at the window, pounding and clawing at it like a frenzied beast trapped with a predator. But the glass was suddenly like solid steel and the air was like winter.
She kept on screaming and clawing at the window.
Horns blared outside. Somewhere in her head, she heard them. Somewhere in that minute part of her brain that clung to rationality she knew there was another world just outside of window, a world devoid of the nightmarish madness she was experiencing. She desperately wanted to be a part of it again.
This wasn’t real. But she knew it was, and she knew she couldn’t escape it.
She screamed some more until her lungs couldn’t take it anymore.
Then she stopped. She hesitantly….turned to look again. He was still there, grinning at her.
Her breath was coming in short gasps, sending foggy air into the car’s frozen interior.
“How….how…are y-you…here..?” The tremors in her made it nearly impossible to recognize her own voice.
“Seriously….?” He said with an arched eyebrow.
” The ghost of your dead husband pops up in your car, and that’s the question you want to lead with?”
“W-what …..do you….w-wa-want?”
He leaned into the seat and suddenly seemed thoughtful.
“What do I want?” He stared at the car’s cieling. ” How about, on the anniversary of my death, I decided to pay a visit to the b**Ch that got me killed”
Horns blaring outside.
She suddenly couldn’t breath. It was as if all the air inside the car had been s—-d out. The pounding in her ears was growing in intensity.
Her shakey hands reached for the door handle again.
“Seriously, are we going to do this again?” He sounded bored. ” Shouldn’t it have dawned on you by now that you’re trapped?”
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