So, Now That We Have Killed Her By Obinna Udenwe
Nnedi came to visit and discovered that Edward was living with a younger woman and all hell was let loose. Edward hadn’t told her about the girl on phone or during one of their numerous WhatsApp chats. It meant he was fucking her.
Edward returned from the gym one Monday evening to see a young woman standing in the rain by his gate. She was dressed in tight jean trousers and cashmere polo. As he alighted from the car to unlock the gate, she greeted him and he wondered what she was doing in the rain. Edward hurriedly unlocked his gate and drove in. Then came out to lock the gate but noticed that she had entered the compound and was walking up to the porch, dragging a bag.
Edward wiped his face with his palm and asked, “Who are you?”
“I am Osemome. I am Mathew’s sister. The one posted to Enugu.”
“Oh. Oh.” He stretched out his hand and she took it. “How long have you been in the rain?”
“Close to ten minutes.”
Edward lived in a five-bedroom bungalow with a spacious sitting room, in a fenced compound. Osemome noted that the apartment was sparsely furnished. She took in the brown leather cushions and the three paintings on the wall in the sitting room. The wall was painted sky blue and the curtains had a mixture of blue and milk coloured patterns. There was an LG plasma television affixed to the wall. Osemome took in all these before Edward led her to the room closest to the sitting room. The room had a ceiling fan, a bed and a wardrobe. There was an attached bathroom.
“Make yourself comfortable. Take your bath and when you are changed, we will talk and get to know each other better.” She thanked him with her eyes. She dropped her wet bag. She opened it and brought out her clothes and laid them on the bed. She turned on the fan. Then she undressed and laid her clothes on the chairs in the room. She had just removed her brassiere and was raising her left leg to remove her underwear when the door opened. Edward entered. “Jesus! Sorry!” He banged the door, retreating.
She fell backward on the bed, out of breath. At the other side of the door, Edward was leaning on the wall, breathless too. His mind played out what he had just seen – the best breasts in the world, he thought. He hurried to the kitchen. He had changed and had wanted to find out if she wanted some hot tea or some soup with eba.
He brought out the soup from the freezer and cut out some into a bowl and put it in the microwave. He poured some water into the electric kettle and leaned on the countertop. She found him – she had changed into a long flowing skirt that swept the floor as she walked.
“I am so so so sorry… I didn’t mean to barge in like that,” he spoke so fast.
“I live here all by myself. I am not used to knocking, you see.”
“Oh. I understand.” She grinned. She was shy. He could see that.
“I wanted to find out if you would want me to make some tea for you or warm some soup for eba. I like tea a lot, drink loads of it while working.”
“Oh, so kind of you —”
“I am doing the two. So take your pick.”
“Thanks. I love eba. Let me help. I am hungry. What soup do you have?” He stepped aside and she checked the soup in the microwave. He watched. He couldn’t keep the image he had just glimpsed off his mind. He was trying hard reconciling that image with the one all dressed in cassock-like gown before him.
As she brought out the soup from the microwave, he asked, “So you are posted to Enugu?”
“Yes, to the newly-upgraded Akanu Ibiam International Airport.” She turned, “See, uncle, sorry if I am going to inconvenience you. I promise to leave as soon as I find an apartment.”
“No. You can stay here. And don’t call me uncle. Call me Edward.”
“I won’t stay for over two weeks, I promise.”
“No. No. you can stay here. I stay alone. Your brother, Mathew has been a friend since university. I can do anything for Mathew. He is a brother, so you are like a sister to me. Mathew and I were flatmates.”
“Thanks.” But she’d resolved that she wouldn’t be living with him; as soon as she reported to headquarters the next day she would contact an agent to start looking for an apartment for her. When they were in the dining room, she told him about her job.
“How is Mathew?”
“He is fine. He is having some problems with his wife. She is seeking divorce.”
“What? Mathew never mentioned that. We lost contact when we left for the National Youth Service. I was surprised when he called to ask that I allow you stay with me for a while and all.”
“How did he get your contact then?”
“I don’t think that is a problem. I am popular, you see.” He smiled. She laughed.
“I have read one of your books. Mathew buys every one of them. How many now?”
“Five novels. Two collections of short stories and one travelogue. Not much.”
“That is much. You are successful in a country where not everyone reads.”
“Well. I like books.” She went to the bookshelf in a corner of the dining room and scanned the books with his name on their spines. She pulled all of them out. When they finished eating, he brought out a bottle of Jack Daniels.
“Oh I don’t drink. But that reminds me… they say that all writers are alcoholics and womanizers and smoke cigarettes or marijuana. True?”
He smiled. “Well. Could be true. But I do not drink much. I like beer though. I don’t like wines. I don’t like women and I don’t smoke.”
Her face contorted in surprise and disappointment “You like men?”
“Haa! No. I am straight.”
“You don’t have a girlfriend?”
“I do. She stays in Port Harcourt. Works with the UPTH as a nurse. I don’t womanize is what I mean.”
“Let me see her photo.” He brought out his phone and showed her Nnedi’s photos. Nnedi was tall and slim and had a great body, she could see that. She wore cornrows in almost all the images.
“What is her name?”
“Nnedi. She visits once or twice a month, for weekends. It is hard.”
“Yea. I understand. She looks older than you?”
“Not at all.”
She laughed and began to tease him. Finally he said, “She is thirty four and I am thirty five. And you are?”
“Twenty–seven. I am old.” She said in a husky cartoon-like voice and he laughed aloud. He was beginning to like her.
“You should drink.” He sipped from his glass.
“I don’t drink except for beer, once in a while.”
“Hot drinks… brandy, whisky, scotch is good. Will help you burn fat.”
“I haven’t tasted hot drinks before. My ex-boyfriend used to drink them a lot. I didn’t like that.”
“I want you to drink. I can’t be drinking alone.”
“No. Please.” He took the bottle and two glasses to the sitting room and sat on the tiled floor. He surfed with the TV remote to Channel O. She came and sat on the floor, facing him. She poured a drink for herself. “If I get intoxicated, promise me you will respect yourself.”
He said nothing. He watched her face contort and grimace as she sipped, then gulped it. “Good girl going bad!” She shouted. He clapped.
“You challenging me?” He drained his glass and poured some more for both of them. He told her about Nnedi. They met at the Port Harcourt Literary Festival. She liked reading novels and was contributing to a fashion blog. She was passionate about medicine. They had been going out for two years.
“Are you going to marry her?”
“Perhaps. I haven’t asked her but we already assume so.” She laughed in a way that showed she was tipsy. “Promise me you won’t touch me if I pass out.” She poured some more. He brought some kirishi from the cupboard. She wondered why he kept calm each time she asked him not to touch her if she passed out. He wondered if she wanted him to touch her and was asking the questions to get him interested. After a while, Neyo began to sing Miss Independent. She stood and danced and twerked her massive hips this way and that for him. He clapped, but didn’t join her because he couldn’t dance so well and he felt she was going to laugh at him. She fell on the floor and laughed, then passed out. He carried her to the bedroom. He stood, staring at her, the curve of the breasts on the gown she wore, the inviting hip, staring at him. He remembered that several months earlier he had given a lecture at the Goethe Institute on ‘Sexual Intercourse without Consent – Demystifying the Phenomenon of Rape’. He covered her, reluctantly, with a blanket.
On Wednesday, the housekeeper came and made some food and stocked the kitchen with foodstuff. When Osemome returned from work and was eating the jollof rice which he warmed for her, she said, “She cooks so well.”
“Oh yes. She does.”
“But I can cook better. If I stay here she would have to stop coming so that you can save some money.”
“But you won’t be living here. You said you are looking for a place. Have you started?”
“Yes. I have asked the agent.”
“I don’t see the need.”
“I need to. Your girlfriend won’t understand that nothing is going on between us.” She smiled.
“Nothing is going on between us yet.” He said and laughed lazily. She laughed and went to the kitchen. Edward went to his room to write. On Saturday, Osemome helped the housekeeper clean the house and prepare some stew. He cleaned the compound and washed his car. While he was driving the housekeeper to her house, she said to him, “That girl, who is she?”
“I told you she is a friend’s sister.”
“Okay oh. I hope aunty Nnedi won’t be sad seeing her in the house. Is aunty Nnedi aware that she is in the house?”
“Oh. That reminds me. I will have to tell her. I haven’t done so.” They rode in silence. Before she alighted, he asked, “Nkechi, tell me, what do you think of her?”
“She is beautiful and jovial—”
“It seems so. But don’t marry her. You should marry Nnedi.”
“Nnedi is a mother. This one is good for girlfriend.”
Edward laughed so loud. “Haa. What do you know about these things eh, Nkechi? But then I won’t marry her. I am not even thinking of that.”
It was a Friday, three weeks after Osemome moved in, when Nnedi visited. There had just been an industrial strike by the Medical and Dental Council. Nnedi wanted to surprise her boyfriend. It hadn’t rained for some days and the weather was hot. Her dress clung to her body. She dragged in a mini luggage and a sack containing all she bought for Edward – his fruits, some stuff for preparing vegetable soup which he liked.
A beautiful young lady sat on one of the cushions, polishing her nails. She stood hurriedly as soon as she saw Nnedi. “Aunty? Ah! You must be Aunty Nnedi?”
“I am Nnedi. Good evening.”
Nnedi wondered if the younger lady was Edward’s relation, perhaps a cousin.
“My name is Osemome…” Then she must be from the South-South part of the country and Edwards was from the South-East. Who was she? The younger lady walked up to her, her hand outstretched. When Nnedi reluctantly brought out hers to take it, she hugged Nnedi instead, her face full of warm affection. “I have been looking forward to meeting you. Welcome.”
“She took her bag and the sack and began to go inside. Nnedi followed reluctantly but was surprised when Osemome took the bag to Edward’s room. She didn’t knock. She just threw the door open and announced, “Surprise! Surprise!”
Edward gawked at the two women. “Oh baby,” he said, “What are you doing here?” Edward hugged his girlfriend jubilantly. Nnedi was startled. She remained quiet. She wondered why Edward would ask her what she was doing in Enugu. Then she thought she should stake her territory, so she responded warmly and hugged Edward tight and cooed seductively. She murmured to Osemome’s hearing, “I missed you, Sweet. Aw. Come here.” She kissed him again and again and pushed him to the bed. “I missed this.” She touched his zipper. Osemome quietly walked out and closed the door. Nnedi’s behaviour wasn’t lost on her. She sat in the sitting room, a mixture of jealousy and happiness for Edward. She had lived in his house for three weeks, and was beginning to like him. He was becoming like a brother, a confidant, a friend and… a lover. There was nothing they hadn’t discussed. She had told him about her boyfriend who was arrested at the Lagos airport for drug trafficking, and about her mother who worked with the Postal Service and was very religious.
Immediately the door was closed, Nnedi stopped kissing her boyfriend. She pushed him away, “Hey, Mister. Who is she?” It was then that it dawned on Edward that he hadn’t told her all the while that Osemome had been living in the house. He wondered why it kept escaping his mind.
“She is Osemome—”
“I know her name. She told me. Who is she, Edward?”
“My friend’s sister. My friend Mathew. We were in the university together.”
“You once told me you lost contact with Mathew. What is his sis doing in your house, Edward?”
“Mathew called. His sister works with the Customs Department and has just been posted to the new international airport here and he asked her to squat with me while she settled.”
“And you didn’t tell me, Edward?”
“When did she come?”
“Three weeks ago or thereabout.”
She flared up. “Three, four weeks and I didn’t know?”
“I am sorry. See I forgot. I have been meaning to tell you, darling. But my agent is on my neck… I need to finish work on this—” he pointed at a notebook.
“Oh. Don’t give me that crap. We talk on the phone every day. No? I call you not less than three times every day for the last two years. You call me more than three times every day for two years now. We chat on WhatsApp and on and on. Edward!”
“Ah! I am sorry. Now it is Edward. Not Sweet?” he wanted to get her to calm down.
“Come here.” he tried hugging her but she pushed him away with great force and he fell on the bed. His eyes bulged out.
“My God. Darling?”
“Don’t darling me. Have you been fucking her?”
“No.” Edward was smiling now. “No. I can’t do such. She is like a sister.”
“What? A sister who has been in your apartment, eating your food, using your water, drinking your wine and all and you never cared to tell me.”
“She hasn’t drunk my wine.”
“She drank liquor—”
“Oh, you are impossible,” she said resignedly. “Thank God I paid you this visit. So this is what you’ve been doing? Behind my back?”
“Oh don’t say that.”
“I am saying it!”
“You are shouting.”
“I can shout as much as I want!”
Osemome heard from the sitting room. She dropped her manicure kit and hurried to the lobby. Her heart began to beat frantically. She could feel sweat on her feet.
“You are an idiot, Edward! After all I have done for you? You go behind my back and fuck that dirty pig!”
Osemome’s mouth flew open. It was then that it dawned on her that Edward hadn’t told his girlfriend about her. How stupid of men. She thought. But how dare the girl call her a dirty pig?
“I don’t know you to be this…. this sarcastic, Nnedi. What has come over you?”
“What came over me is that you brought in another woman… a girl… into this house, when you know you have a lady who is serious with you… and without my consent and she has been with you for four weeks!”
“And you expect me to calm down. I am at UPTH, dying and missing you… and… you are here frolicking and fucking like a dog!”
“Enough!” Edward screamed at her. “What has come over you? I think you need to rest. Calm down. I haven’t even ever pecked Ose.”
“Oh! You even have a short form for her name.” Nnedi turned to her bag and picked it up. Edward held her by the elbow.
“Why are you like this, babe? The poor girl is looking for a place, she will move out anytime. I am so sorry that I failed to inform you. I was overwhelmed with work… I have this deadline to beat… my agent is on my neck.”
“Deadline? That is all you men say. You pathological liar!” She paused then looked him in the eyes. “Thank God you said you were overwhelmed.”
“Ah! Why are you reading unnecessary meaning into every word I say?”
“Because you ought to shut your dirty mouth!” Nnedi picked her bag and turned the doorknob. Osemome was in a trance, so Nnedi caught her in the lobby. They measured each other up. Edward was dumbfounded.
“You? I don’t have any words for you.”
Nnedi tried to move but Edward grabbed the bag and turned her about. He screamed at her, “Listen to me!”
And he slapped her on the face. She was blinded. Osemome gasped and ran back to the sitting room, not wanting to get caught in the fight, her heart doing two hundred kilometres per hour.
“You slapped me? You fuck her… you bring women here and fuck them… and slap me? Alright.” Nnedi picked her bag and turned. Edward held the bag and said, “You are not leaving this house. What has come over you, woman? Listen to me for once!”
“Okay. You wan fight abi? You wan make we fight abi? I go show you ‘cos say I love you no mean say I dey tolerate shit!” Nnedi let go of the bag and slapped Edward hard on the face. Her hand connected with his mouth and his upper lip broke. Edward touched and felt blood. Nnedi pushed him and he fell backwards. She charged at him, slapping him the second time this way, the third time that way, on the other cheek. Edward was in a haze of confusion, he could see stars running out of his eyes but before he could do anything he heard Nnedi’s scream. Osemome had grabbed her neck from behind and hit her head against the wall.
“Who are you? Who do you think you are sef? He has been begging and explaining things to you and you don’t want to listen. Are you his wife? Are you married to him?” Osemome screamed at Nnedi. Nnedi turned and slapped the panting Osemome and pounced on her with all her strength. They were both on the ground, clawing at each other. Edward was confused. He hadn’t imagined Nnedi capable of slapping him or raising her hands on anyone or saying all the things she had said. He knew her to be level-headed – the Nnedi he knew would have listened to explanations and brood for hours then they would make love and she would be alright.
He was woken from his state of near-trance when he noticed that Nnedi was nearly choking the younger woman. He didn’t know when he did or why he did it, but Nnedi’s legs were jerking frantically and blood was oozing from the back of her head. He had just hit her with one of the rings he used for weightlifting.
Edward fell on the floor, knelt beside the body, shook it this way and that. “Nnedi! Sweet! Baby!” Nnedi was lifeless. “Baby. I didn’t mean to. I have never touched Osemome. Please listen….”
Osemome was on the floor, crawling backwards, her breath ceasing. Goose pimples appeared on her skin.
The two of them sat on the floor, the body in between them, not talking to each other, crying. After what seemed like uncountable minutes, he said, “I didn’t mean to kill her. I love her, Osemome.”
“I… know. Oh my God!”
“Please. Please I didn’t mean this.” He spread out his hands.
“What do we do, Eddie?”
They cried some more. Despair began to give way to fear and their hearts began to go through the possible consequences of what they had done. Edward was sure that it would make world news headlines.
“I just have to kill myself—”
“Haba! Ha! No, no, Edward. See, I understand. I heard everything. I saw what happened. God!”
After another hour of consoling one another and blaming themselves, they brought out blankets from the rooms and carefully wrapped the body. They carried the body to the car. They dropped it on the ground and opened the trunk and tossed it in. Edward stood by the car while Osemome hurried to the house, got a rag and a bucket of water and cleaned the mess. She poured the water into the toilet and flushed. She waited. Then she flushed again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Obinna Udenwe is the author of the conspiracy crime thriller, Satans & Shaitans, published in Nigeria by AMAB books and in the UK in 2014 by Jacaranda Books. Satans & Shaitans was a joint winner of the ANA Prose Prize in 2015.