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Princess Amarachi - Chapter Three


Princess Amarachi - Chapter Three

Theme: And Her Journey to Destiny-Discovery

By Erasmus Ugochukwu Okafor

Copyright ©:
No unauthorized reproduction, reprinting, 
plagiarising, commercialization, or rewording of 
this fictional work is allowed.

Sleeping that night was so difficult for Amarachi while Chisimdi was busy having a peaceful night rest.
Even though twins have separate bedrooms, Simdi was always sleeping in Amy’s room instead of her room.
Being that she’s easily frightened, she’d always come around to ensure that Amarachi cuddles her at night before she could sleep. Most times, Amarachi ensures that Simdi sleeps, and then she tiptoes into Simdi’s room to sleep.
Amarachi’s life has always been the life of independence, no wonder Ego Oyibo found it hard to see Amy’s nakedness due to her privacy-laden life. Even Dave couldn’t boast of seeing Amy’s nudity because he’d never been obliged with such privilege. Due to her entire growing up done in aloofness and independence, it wasn’t easy for Amy getting used to sleeping with Simdi on the same bed.
Twirling in bed that night, Amy discovered that it wasn’t easy for her to take a nap of even sleep a wink as if Simdi’s bed was becoming hot and itchy. She was drowned in deep thoughts reminiscing on the meaning of her mom’s strange behaviour when she heard Chisimdi asking about Odimegwu shrine and the personified artefacts.
The ticking sound of the cloth couldn’t tick Amy away into dreamless slumber but resounded like the church bell creaking and clanking in her head; loud and clear. Thoughtfulness stole away her sleep while realness of the situation that took her dad away into oblivion dawned on her. That battle of the mind seemed stronger than she could handle as her mind remained tortured.
Amarachi couldn’t imagine any other man giving her out in marriage with Dave while her dad who was supposed to be there for her was somewhere; either he was suffering or dead.
The negativism of her thoughts overthrew the positivism, making it almost impossible for her to sleep a wink. Her mind busy while her eyes remained shut.
It was just clear to Amarachi that the eyes can close but the mind remains awake. Sleep comes from the mind and not from the eyes wide shut.
The palace was so calm; the owl hooting, the barks from the palace dogs droning while the sound of silence was heard from both far and near. Amarachi tried as much as she could to nudge herself to sleep but that quest was farfetched because the more she tried to catch some sleep, the more her eyes defiled that; even her pyjamas became uncomfortable on her as she tossed on the bed.
Amarachi suddenly got up as if she was moved by an unknown force, so she found her slippers with her legs and stood wearily. As she tried to move, she staggered but held the wall that gave her support. Amy groped for her torchlight in the dark until she took hold of it, checking the time, it was 2 pm.
Yawning to kick away the weariness of her body and the sleeplessness of her mind, she began to move to the door, following the torchlight that led the way. As she moved, she heard some footsteps, so she stopped and waited. As she kept waiting, the approaching footsteps stopped and droned away, announcing its exit. She was so frightened at this point because it was already dark and there was no electric light but just a table lamp.
Amarachi slowly opened the door leading into the hallway, and then peeped searchingly to the two extremes but saw no one. She then moved incognito towards the Obi (throne). Getting there, she saw no one, so she went to the library entrance door adjacent to the Obi. She discovered that the door was open.
Suspecting that someone could be there, Amy took a baton she found lying casually on the floor and slowly pushed the door to avoid a creaking sound that could announce her arrival. Immediately she pushed the door open, she was surprised seeing the scrolls and books opened but no one there. It was obvious that someone was reading through the pages before she entered but she couldn’t see the person.
She went closer and had a closer look at the opened books. Amarachi discovered that the entire books had their centre spread open but had nothing written on them. It didn’t make sense to her because the pages were meant to be filled with written works about the history, cultures, and values of the kingdom. It was just so confusing.
She shudderingly took a step backward, and then summoned the courage to continue treading on the paths of curiosity.
Amarachi felt there was something uncanny about the area and the situation she met in the palace but couldn’t explain it. She was filled with uncertainty as fear and anxiety possesses her mind. The ominous sound in her head was an indication that there was something about the books that were yet to be explained to her. With the baton she had with her, she flipped over to the next page of the three books that lay in circular form as if there had a connection with each other. Turning to the other page, she discovered that things were written in them each but why the centre spread was all blank was something she couldn’t fathom.
At this point, Amy remembered the words of Olaedo when she said that she should read with her mind and not her eyes. Amid that courage to touch the book, she was still too afraid to go on with it because she didn’t know if it was humans or the gods that were reading the book before she entered. It was just strange, and the entire thing was being scary.
After a while of thinking through the entire thing, she thrust her hand to touch the book but a sudden buzz from her phone got her extremely startled to death as if the spirits were calling her and luring her into a quagmire.
Amy suddenly shushed the phone by pressing the hang-up button. Her heart pulsated as she panted hard with fear. It was just time for her to leave the library but as she was about to make the move, the door suddenly shut by itself while the torchlight she had with her went off too, making everywhere abysmally dark.
Amarachi became fidgety and reflexive. She tried to put the torchlight on but it stopped working. She kept shaking it with great fear and anxiety but it was obvious that the torchlight wouldn’t respond to the wishes of her heart. She didn’t know what to do at this time because everything was indicating a bad omen and there was nothing she could do to better the situation.
Strange sounds of different animals started echoing in the dark, lurking in the room and giving her serious jitters. Amy couldn’t understand what was happening to her because it was a serious issue that she couldn’t escape from. The neighing of a horse first greeted her while the cooing of pigeons and cawing of ominous crows broke in. The grunts of the pigs and the croaks of the frogs set in simultaneously.
It was obvious that Amarachi was in trouble. It was then that she remembered the warning that her mom gave her about reading with the mind. She couldn’t shout because she suddenly lost her voice, making words and actions luxuries she couldn’t afford momentarily.
As Amy struggled for an escape, she began to hear the whisper of her name as if there was a strange force trying to hold her in the dark. She groped for the exit door even though it was locked. Getting to the door, she scrambled for the doorknob in the dark but discovered it wasn’t there anymore. There wasn’t even any door at all but sealed up like a wall. As all these happened concurrently, the same strange voice whispering her name became fainter until it died into the hollowness of the perpetuating darkness.
At this point, Amarachi suddenly found her lost voice and guts and then began to scream aloud for help. As she screamed, it seemed as if no one heard her, so she began to bang hard on the door for an exit because she was so frightened.
As Amy kept shouting, she heard Chisimdi wailing: “Amy I’m here for you,”
“Simdi! Come and rescue me, please,” Amy shouted so hard as she kept hitting the door.
Immediately Simdi pushed the barricaded wall open Amarachi woke up from the bed and saw Chisimdi cuddling her for comfort.
“I’m here, Amarachi!” Simdi yelled but in a controlled voice so that her voice wouldn’t filter into another chamber in the palace, “It was just a nightmare, Amy,” she assured her and held her much closer while Amy snuggled in her arms because of grave fear that overtook her.
“It was so scary, sister,” Amy said shiveringly with tears in her eye, “So scary...so...so...scary,” she sobbingly reiterated as she panted.
Simdi didn’t talk but kept cuddling Amarachi to make her calm down. Even though she was so eager to hear about the dream, she didn’t have to ask questions until Amy was ready to talk to her freely.
After a while of trying to calm her down, Simdi asked: “Did you go to Odimegwu shrine in your dream or enter the library?”
Amarachi was still too scared to reply because she was so frightened to death just like the way she was frightened when she was shot dead by Uremma in a nightmare.
She wanted to talk but was still not disposed except clinging to her sister’s body for solace and comfort.
Chisimdi felt that Amy wasn’t going to talk except she makes her feel better, so she continued: “I had a dream too,” Saying that got Amy curious and interested to hear from her because that was the only way for her to feel better, “In the dream, I saw you entering the library...”
Suddenly, Amarachi got up from Chisimdi’s body because it was as if her sister saw the same thing that she saw.
“Please, what happened in yours?” Amy said looking directly into her twin sister’s eyes expecting some information that would help her connect to hers and have a meaning for her dreams. “Go on, biko,”
“In the dream, as you tried to enter, I reminded you that mom warned us against going into that library even though Olaedo advised us to,” Simdi said and adjusted herself in her position, then crossed her legs on the bed like a Buddhist, “but you didn’t listen. So I tried to force you out from there but a force unknown to both of us pushed you in and made the door to lock at your entrance,”
“Jesus!” Amy exclaimed, “Just like in my dream. I was locked in the library too and couldn’t explain what happened to me that I couldn’t escape until I started hearing your voice calling me when I clamoured for help,”
Amarachi’s side of the story got Simdi so scared too because it wasn’t a coincidence anymore that both of them had the same dream. Simdi became so scared that Amarachi began to comfort her too.
The two sisters were fully accommodated into the world of uncertainty and fears that gulped them down completely into untold fear and anxiety.
“There is one thing I’m sure of,” Amarachi said with conviction, “there are forces in this palace that we know nothing about, and until we confront it, we can’t win the battle or find our dad,”
“No...No...I can’t stay here anymore or confront anything,” Simdi said fearfully, “I need to go back to...”
“To where?” Amy asked with a snort, “Ozo Odenjiji isn’t your dad anymore and his house isn’t your home,” She reminded her, “Except you want to go and stay with Uremma, then you can go,” she concluded and stood, then starting going out of the room.
“Where are you going?” Chisimdi asked and rushed after her out of fear because she was scared of being left alone in her room, “Isn’t it better we talk to mom, please,”
Amy on hearing her mention mom stopped and swerved, and then looked at her. “There is something about that mind-reading that mom doesn’t want us to know; either to keep us in the dark or protect us from something harmful. The only reason I’d have to meet mom is to persuade her to tell us what she knows that we don’t,”
Reaching the door, Simdi dragged Amarachi back into the room. “Sit, please, let’s stay together because I am just not comfortable with this reading stuff anymore. Let’s not be obsessed with it because it seems that there is a force drawing you to it to harm you...”
“To harm me or to reveal something to me?” Amy contested vocally, “I’ve grown to become a fearless one, the girl who dares her fears and confronts her worries. The best way to solve a problem isn’t by running away from it but acknowledging that it exists and tackling it straight away. The fact that you didn’t see what you’re looking for doesn’t mean it’s not there,”
The prudent words of Amy crawled into Simdi’s thoughts making her nod in agreement. “I think you’re right, sister,”
“So what’s the way forward?” Amy asked and dropped her weight wearily on the bed as she became bereft of ideas and suggestions.
“I hate to think that I’m beginning to believe that these fetish things are real,” Simdi said as she tried to convince herself of the reality of the situation she was trying not to believe, “Yes, it’s real, but the greatest puzzle is how these are all connected to dad’s disappearance?”
Amy was happy hearing that part because it was exactly her thoughts, so she nodded approvingly and smiled. “But wait. Before you woke me up,” she said looking bewildered, “my phone rang in the dream when I was locked inside the library but I ended up not checking to know the caller. I wish I did,”
“I guess that was just reflection of a real-life event into the dream world,” Chisimdi clued, “it was the buzz of your phone that woke me up to see that your eyeballs were moving rapidly. It was then I knew that the REM moment you were having was simply a dream but never knew it was a nightmare,”
Amy on hearing that her phone buzzed that night made Simdi wake up, she slipped her hand under the pillow and checked through her call log.
“How could Dave call me by that time of the night?” Amy asked sounded so tensed and afraid because she doesn’t need Dave to be mixed up in her family mess that had nothing to do with him, “I need to call him forthwith because this is strange and odd,” she said and began to flex her thumb on the android phone to make a call contact with Dave.
It was surprising that Dave’s number was off at this point after many dials, making the two girls have a battle of looks at each other depicting confusion and numbness.
“I think we should wake mom up,” Simdi suggested, “something is fishy and threatening.
“I’m here already,”
Mkpulumma said and came into the room.
The twins were surprised that their mom wasn’t asleep but earwigging on their conversation.
“Mom, for how long have you been standing here?” Amy asked looking surprised with that caught-in-the-act looks that got her all flushed with guilt.
“Long enough to know that my children had some nightmares concerning the same mind-reading method that I warned them against,” Mkpulumma replied and came into the room as the night deepened with chilliness and serenity. “It’s already 4 am and you girls are still awake,”
“But mom, why do you always arrive unannounced?” Simdi asked pouting in her usual way to seek attention.
Mkpulumma came to the bed, dragged the two girls up and started walking to the exit door.
“Follow me,” she said in an ordering tone.
The girls looked at each other and shrugged with surprise, and then followed their mom, even without having the courage to ask questions about where she was taking them.
Getting to the library, Mkpulumma unlocked it.
The twins were surprised that the library was locked because they never checked. They didn’t notice that their mom locked the library so that none of them would have access to the study.
“Mom, why did you lock this place that is always open?” Simdi asked and nudged Amarachi to know if she observed the anomaly too.
Amarachi on seeing the entrance door to the library became frightened because the entire details of the dream became fresh in her mind’s eye. She felt like pleading on their mom to leave the door locked for the meantime but being that they were three in number and her mom who knew more about the library was there with them, she needn’t entertain any fear.
“I locked the door to make is impervious to you two but you girls stubbornly entered it through the dream,” Mkpulumma said and chuckled.
“But no one chooses what to dream about, so we didn’t unlock it in the dream but nature did,” Amy argued but their mom didn’t contest that or reply to her.
Mkpulumma simply unlocked the door and pushed it open, and then lit the candles. “Do you know why electric bulb isn’t installed in this library?” she asked the girls as she lit the entire room with a candle, making it bright enough and dispersing the darkness that could have made the girls scared.
“No, we don’t,” they chorused.
“Take a seat,” Mkpulumma said and made the girls sit around and closer to her because they were still frightened.
“Mom, I’m scared as I was in the dream,” Amarachi divulged, “why did I come here, even Simdi did too?” she asked seeking immediate answers.
“Two of you came here in your dreams not because something was to be revealed to you but because your minds were obsessed with curiosity that got the entire unanswered question plunged into your subconscious being. That registered premonition filtered into your dreams and reflected therein,”
Simdi nodded agreeably believing that her mom could be right but Amy wasn’t convinced at all She didn’t just get it.
“Mom,” Amy called and stroked her mom’s beautiful long hair, “If it was mere imagination, why then did Simdi and I have the same dream?”
Mkpulumma knew that she couldn’t outwit Amarachi at this, so she said: “My twin sister and I once sneaked into this library as young wives. I showed her what I knew about the secret of reading with the mind. We ended up reading the books through the Braille method. At the end of all these, Mkpuluchi ended up dying mysteriously because we made the wrong move by coming into this sacred library. This reading is meant for His Royal Highness and not for any other person to read, especially women. It is diabolical and can destroy your dreams,”
The girls were so engrossed by the revelation, making them stay closer to each other and periodically looking around the library with fear.
Amy couldn’t believe that it was the same library she’d been studying in it without fear that suddenly became threatening just because the reading with the mind was introduced.
“Is this true?” Amy asked feeling doubtful, “I mean; do you think that reading with the mind had anything to do with your twin sister’s death or a mere coincidence?”
“You can see how my sister and I ended up,” Mkpulumma continued without replying to Amy’s question, “I was caged like a dog for twenty years while Mkpuluchi died giving birth to her baby. We were eager to know about the journey into the life of Ugosimba (the eagle that arrived from another nation) who happens to be the grandmaster, the ancestral spirit, and the protector of the dynasty of the royalty. It wasn’t meant for us to see his face but we went ahead and discovered it, so we ended up having a twisted life. Thank God that I’m alive today, but wouldn’t want what happened to me to happen to you girls,”
“But mom...”
“Do not venture into that journey or you end up either dying or with a rueful life, but chukwu aju (God forbid)” Mkpulumma interjected while Chisimdi was about completing her speech, “God will forbid it because my children will never suffer as my sister and I did,” She maintained and snapped her fingers as she rebuked the thoughts, “I repeat, do not allow your stubbornness lead you into the journey of no return,”
Mkpulumma’s expository narration got the girls afraid as they tried to juxtapose the story with the dreams they had.
Amid that revelation and awe, Amarachi got more curious because she couldn’t understand how Olaedo could do the same thing her mom warned against and was still alive. If her mom and her sister read the books and had some life-threatening experiences, why didn’t Olaedo have the same?
To Amarachi, there was still some need to know more about Ugosimba, the staff and the Oji, and even the Odimegwu shrine. It was pertinent to her that reading the sacred books using the Braille method held more answers to a lot of things than the mind could imagine.
Even though she was afraid, Amarachi was still inquisitive and in need to venture into the deadly mission no matter the eventuality as long as it would help bring her dad back. Secondly, she had to keep a close study on Olaedo to know why the strange maidservant was exceptional. Either the girl was evil or there was something about her that she couldn’t understand.

To be continued...

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