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The Preacher's Love
The Unknown Prince


I turned and there before me, was Mary, I was
dumfounded, I also felt guilty. Straight out of the
mental home, I had not thought of her,
I was
fixated on mother and finding the real cause of
her death. I did not remember the one woman,
who was not my mother, but loved me no less. I
rushed toward her, and then stopped. She was
not looking at me; her eyes were on someone else,
a slim dude that could be in my age group. She
was looking at the boy because, that is how I
would look, if I had not grown fat due to
sedentary living in the mental home. He had my
height and my shape of head, and he was turned
away from her. She began to walk towards him,
but I intercepted her. She looked up at me, and I
stared at her. Unlike Nora, the years had told on
her, she did not have a ready smile like before,
there were a few crow feet at the edge of her eyes,
and a few gray hairs in her mass of hair. We
stared at each other for a few seconds, on her
face was a frown; she could not understand why
this young lad was standing in her way. Her
moment of comprehension came when I smiled.
Mary: Leke? my smile was unique; I twitched
one side of my mouth upward when I smiled.
Despite every change that had occurred in my life,
that didnt change.
Leke: Yes Mary I bent a little and embraced her.
My eyes welled up with tears; she was like a part
of my past that had eluded me.
Mary: Oh Leke bobo, I knew you were going to
make it because you are strong she said as she
wet my tux with tears and phlegm. I pulled her
away softly, and looked at her legs.
Mary: It is a long story
Leke: I want to hear it, come on, lets eat
somewhere I pulled her by the hand and took her
to Mama Cass. I ordered their special spaghetti
with big cow tails, while Mary ordered amala and
ewedu. We ate in silence, each of us immersed in
our thoughts. After eating, I ordered a bottle of
wine for us to talk over.
Mary: Leke, how do you have the money you are
Leke: I work at my mothers fashion house, and I
am being paid
Mary: Really, Nora allowed you work there?
Leke: She doesnt know it is me, I go by a
different name now
Mary: That sounds like something I watch on
television, what is your job there?
Leke: I work in the creative department as their
graphic designer I replied impatiently.
Mary: I am asking the wrong questions right?
she asked rhetorically. She was always so
perceptive of me, right from the time I was a little
Leke: You can ask me anything you want
though I said to make her feel better. After a few
seconds, I couldnt pretend not to be curious.
Leke: I am curious, the doctor said, you would
never walk again, how are you walking?
Mary: It is a long story she said as a blanket of
sadness came over her eyes.
Leke: We have enough wine for it I replied, and
she looked from me to the bottle of Chardonnay,
like she wanted to oppose me drinking wine. But
she thought better of it. I was surviving in this
cold, cruel world all on my own; I deserved a
glass of wine once in a while. The truth was, I
had bought the wine for Marys sake, and my
intention was to seduce her, not sexually but
mentally. So that, she would tell me everything,
and leave nothing out. It is a trick I learned from
the laws of seduction, a book I read while in the
mental home. The next person I was going to try
this trick on would be Banke.
Mary told me how she had told the police, who
came to get her statement that I was innocent,
that though she had not seen the face of her
assailant, it was a grown up person. Whether it
was a man or a woman, she could not tell
because the person was wearing a free flowing
clothe and masked from head to shoulders. The
police had reopened the case, and the heat
around my father became much. Many theories
were peddled around; some said he had hit on
Mary, when she had refused his advances, he
had attacked her to punish her, some others said
he had slept with her and she was blackmailing
him, so he decided to end her life to save face.
Just before he was arrested again, Nora
approached Mary and gave her a deal she could
not say no to.
So, Mary went ahead and withdrew her formal
statement, she told the police that I was an
unstable child and was on medication. She had
also put the question of my mothers death to
rest, as she lied that my mother was suicidal and
had tried to kill herself before. I was dumbfounded
when she was done. I could not believe that she
was capable of such betrayal. I could not say a
word, even though my mind was riddled with
words. I felt betrayed, but I had also learnt an
important lesson, that humans would always look
out for themselves first. The reason Mary had
betrayed me and my late mother was so she
could walk again. After she kept her end of the
deal, Nora flew her out of the country for
rehabilitation. She underwent numerous surgical
procedures before she could walk again. By the
time she came back to the country, Nora and my
father was already wedded, and they wanted
nothing to do with her. She had been living from
hand to mouth, from one menial underpaying job
to the other. She was still unmarried because, the
guilt of what she did, destroyed any relationship
she tried to build.
Mary: I am very sorry Leke, I was tempted by the
ability to walk. I looked at my life, stuck to a
wheel chair and I could not bear it. Forgive me
she said holding my arm entreatingly.
Lleke: Is your life any better now? I asked
before I could stop myself. I could not deny that I
was angry. Mary had the power to change the
course of my life, but she didnt care. She
condemned me to a life in a mental home.
Mary: Forgive me; I have regretted my actions
ever since. I have wanted to see you, but the
home administrators refused
She begged to make it up to me, but I wondered
how she could ever make it up to me. While she
was talking, telling me of her plan to disguise
herself and work in the house again, so she could
keep watch over Nora.
Mary: I will disguise myself, anything I will do to
make it up to you she said desperately. I almost
told her to go retract her statement, and tell the
police the truth. Instead, I said;
Leke: No, this is something I have to do alone.
But you have given me a better idea I said
thoughtfully, the wheels of my mind turning in my
head and birthing a perfect idea of how to snare
my mothers murderer.
I thought of a better plan, and I knew just who I
was going to use to execute that plan. I smiled
and turned to her, even though she had betrayed
me, I was still happy to see her because she was
the only one from my past who really knew me
and what I had been through. So I embraced her.
She told me, she had heard about the collection
launch and had come to demand that the mental
home administrators allow her see me, before luck
had shined on her and she had seen me. I was
not the least warmed by this bit of information
because, coming to see me was not the essential
thing she could have done, she could have gone
to the police and told them the truth.
The next day, I rushed to the fashion house; I
needed to be there for all the gossip, it was the
only way I would know how my plan had fared.
The receptionist as usual was ever ready with
gossip, she hammered on about how guests had
fallen on each other, how one guest had fallen on
someone to find out it was her fiancé who
brought another girl to the show, whereas she
was also with another man in the show.
Receptionist: But, who could have played such
mean prank? she asked.
Leke: You are asking the wrong question. The
right question would be, why did she react the
way she did? The receptionist shrugged with her
eyes wide open, the question was bigger than her.
Then came Kunmi, with Banke in tow.
Leke: What is she doing here? I asked pointing
at Banke.
Kunmi: Rude much. Well she suddenly has an
interest in fashion designing after last nights
Leke: I would wonder if it is fashion that
interests her or drama I said, which got me a
stink eye from Kunmi.
Banke: Hello Mikhail she said with a small smile.
I just nodded and walked away.
Receptionist: That boy is beginning to put on
airs I heard the receptionist say lightheartedly.
I was working on some prototypes in my cubic
office when I heard the click of heels coming
towards the office. It was Nora; she walked past
on her way to her office without a sideways
glance. I rushed out of the office to take a look at
her receding figure. I was surprised because, just
yesterday, she had been shocked out of her mind,
but today she was back on her feet like nothing
Leke: Does this mean…” I began to ponder the
possibility that I was wrong. No, I was not wrong,
I would need to up my game, and it was time to
bring Banke in.

To be continued

About Author Mohamed Abu 'l-Gharaniq

when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries.

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