DAWN TO DUSK Episode 3

Helen and Catherine saw a dense shock and an emotional lassitude in James. To Helen, an angel of omen must be standing at the other side of the door; someone James abhorred, and that could only be his wife judging from all she had heard about her. She carried Junior who seemed confused on the drama staged before him, hugged him tightly to her body and waited in anticipation for the person who had knocked.

          Catherine, whose mouth was still wide open, stared at James with silence that spoke a thousand words. Her expression begged for explanation on what was happening, but the shock that has grabbed her could not let her speak. She waited anxiously for James to understand her unspoken words and cue her into the latest development, but James was too dispirited to make a speech. 

        “What is going on James? Who is at the door?” She finally summoned courage.

       “It’s your daughter-in-law.” He said after recovering her lost strength. 

       “What?” Catherine shouted. 

        Helen sighed and sat down with a zero percent concern on what the next action would be. She never met Queen or has a personal interaction with her, but what she heard about her, coupled with the fact that she deserted a five months old baby and ran away, was to her enough crime to crucify any woman. She never imagined it possible that a woman, after undergoing the excruciating experience of child birth, could forsake her child because of mere family problems. So she hated Queen. 

       Catherine somehow could not believe her ears, she had initially thought that it was an armed robber; the knock was severe and violent, and the woman she convinced her son to marry was not capable of such violent action. She needed to be sure to quench the crazy thoughts looming inside her.       “Open the door.” She ordered her son.

      “No!” James threw in. “Queen is not entering my house. I made it clear to her never to return to this house. I am not taking back my words because you said so.”

       Catherine’s head was full; full of thoughts that if not cleared, the confusion it was breeding might eat her up. She silently made for the door with determination.

      “Mother do not…” James’ hand was up front in a bid to stop her, but she pushed him aside and unlocked the door. Queen, the tall, beautiful and elegant estranged wife of James stood backing the door. 

      “It took you ages to open up nanny. Or did your boss instruct you not to open the door for me?” Queen gushed, with her phone on her left hand which she used in gesticulation and a chewing gum in her mouth. “Well, I am here to…” Her words turned into bones with fangs and choked her as she beheld the figure standing in front of her. She gaped and wriggled as her phone fell from her hands, making a cracky sound on the floor. She never imagined seeing Catherine in the house as she was cognizance of the outright warning James gave them about visiting. She rubbed her hands on her eyes to make sure she was seeing clearly. When it dawned on her that the figure standing in front of her was really her mother-in-law, she swooped. 

        Catherine, filled with anger, regret and disgust closed the door so hard that Junior let out a loud shout. James looked at her with so much pity yet disappointed. He saw tears docking in her eyes. She was going to cry any time soon if not consoled, and he was not ready to console her. He wanted her to cry, he wanted her to feel a little of the pains he has been feeling for months. But while watching Catherine display her regret filled drama, he suddenly remembered that Queen was lying unconsciously outside the house. He quickly opened the door; she was there, helplessly lying on the ground, with all elegancy and pride. A strange and evil thought struck him; he wanted her dead, dead so he would be free of her bondage. He hissed, his head was spinning as the various heartaches and troubles she had caused her emerged with a brain load of anger. He pushed the door to close it, but Helen who has been standing behind him held the door back. 

       “She needs to be in the hospital.” She said with unintended pity. She was only trying to act all nice, though her heart was full of anger and disgust for Queen. She needed to talk to her, and she could only do that if she was hale and hearty. James looked at her, and since he had always respected her opinions, he repented of his intended action. With her help, he carried Queen up. As they carry her to his car, James stole some time to admire Helen closely. He has never been that close with her since she came to work for him. His shock and surprise was at its apex when she helped him drink water minutes ago. He started nursing an optimistic idea of how his feeling towards her might be mutual. He glanced again, and saw on her face sadness and some sort of disappointment. He’d expect her to be happy since he was doing what she had asked of him.  He wanted to ask why she was gloomy, or maybe tell her he was only helping Queen because she said so, he wanted to confess of his feeling towards her but something; maybe his professionalism, Helen’s profession and her marital status or maybe he was just scared of how she might react about it, something he could not place his mind on, kept his lips glued to each other. With his head lowered to avoid Helen’s gaze, he opened the car.

     “Did you say something?” Helen asked, looking directly into his eyes. 

      “Yes, how is my car open?” He asked looking around in confusion. As he laid Queen down on the back seat, he scanned the interior of the car for any missing object; everything was intact. “I can’t believe I left my car open.” He said again. 

     “You must have hurriedly parked it last night.” Helen thought as James searched his pocket for the keys. 

      “Please help me get the keys. It should be at the dining table, otherwise check my room.”

        Helen felt a sudden rush of blood through her veins and arteries. She had entered virtually all the rooms in that bungalow excluding James’ room. She walked into the house praying and wishing for the keys not be at the dining table, so she could check out the bedroom, though she was still going to check the bedroom even if it was. She saw that as an opportunity and was willing to make proper use of it. She saw Catherine sobbing profusely on the dinning talking to someone over the phone. She stared at her for some seconds and moved towards the bedroom. Before she stepped in, she remembered Junior who was supposed to be on the floor at the living room; he was not there and neither was he with Catherine. She scanned the room but did not see him. She became worried not hearing any creeping sound around to indicate his presence. She was about to ask Catherine when she heard a floppy thud by the other side of the living room. She rushed there and found Junior in pool of his own blood. He had climbed the glass side stool situated between two couches, which Queen had cracked the day she was fighting James. He had fallen trying to mount it, and the stool fell on him, leaving him with multiple cuts that he could barely let out a cry; he only moaned. Helen let out a loud scream that Catherine shockingly rushed towards her. 

…the story continues… 

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