In the weeks and months that followed, Angela and I did our engagement and marriage ceremonies. We travelled outside the city for our honeymoon and during those memorable moments, I learned to love and pamper my wife in ways hitherto unexplored. Though both socially and educationally of the same strata, I admired my wife’s feminine maturity and gave her the respect she deserved. I found to my surprise that my better half was not only a movie lover but a well-read woman, and could discuss most subjects with fluency. She was my best friend, lover and confidante. She was a great lover such as I had always imagined and fantasized about…a woman who could carry you with her to the loftiest heights of ecstasy; a woman who could make a man forget everything and everyone in the world, knowing only that she was in his arms. She was confident that whatever the future had in store for us two, she would have a perfect honeymoon, and that the memory of which would become a classical story. My fears of an unhappy marriage dispersed; my distrust swept away. I loved her with such an intensity of passion that nothing could come in between us.
The night before the end of our honeymoon, I took our suitcases out of the wardrobe where we had stacked them and begun to arrange them in preparation for our journey the next day. My wife entreated for quiet and rest and I left her alone, arranging our clothes, books and flowers into the suitcases. She lay on the bed with wide, fixed gaze at me as I neatly arranged our things for our travel the following day. She was the woman who could kindle my spirit and inspire the best in me. Heretofore, I had girlfriends here and there as a matter of habit but in my vivid, glowing and renewed self-consciousness, I decided to discontinue my flirtations and let my wife be my one and all. I made the choice to shrink away from my flirtatious way because it could only shatter my mind and batter my family. One of the chief dreams of my ambition was to be my spouse’s faithful hubby.
When I finished arranging our things and joined her on bed, I was drawing her to myself when her face changed into that of Annabelle. I bellowed and she became suddenly afraid. She asked me what was it and as I narrated my story to her and how I brutally cut short Annabelle’s life, she looked at me and if not the sincerity she saw emitting from my eyes, she would have simply carried her suitcase and depart from my life. But she loved me so dearly and passionately and instead of condemning me, she asked me for the details and proffered solution to the problem. As she spoke with love and tenderness, listening to me as I listened to her, I felt what unquantifiable love she had for me. In this world where love seemed but on sale, finding someone who truly loved me was a treasure beyond measure.
“So why did you hide the truth of her death from even her family?” Her lower lip lovingly quivered as she spoke. Perhaps that was why her carefully chosen words admirably flowed into each other, culminating in a beautiful accent.
“I hid the truth simply because I was afraid of the consequences. Annabelle was highly loved by her family and killing her could end in the death of the murderer.”
Angela nodded her head and held my hand tightly.
“I love you and this hunting and haunting will soon be a story of the past.” She encouraged me, gave me hope and kissed me for the night.
The following day when we reached home, Angela told me I had to go to Annabelle’s parents and tell them the truth about their daughter; they had believed that their daughter was killed but never saw her corpse. She accompanied me to Annabelle’s family house in the suburb of the city and when we reached, we were warmly welcomed.
“Papa, somebody is parking his car in front of our house.” Oyifioda, Annabelle’s younger brother told his father who was pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose as he got up to look us.
“Who is it?” Annabelle’s father asked.
“O-oh, it’s Mr. Andrew, Annabelle’s fiancée.”
“That handsome young man… has he remembered the way to our house?”
“Yes Papa but I think he has married another woman.”
“That’s not a problem, go in and call your mother.” The old man said, staring at my wife and I as we greeted him, widening his narrow eyes as he answered us, leading us to the sitting-room. When Annabelle’s mother joined us, she recognized me and greeted I and my partner so convivially.
“So what brought you to our house my son?” Annabelle’s father asked.
“Have you seen her?” Annabelle’s mother stood joyfully. Oyifioda was standing and listening to us silently. The film of sweat drizzling from my face gave way to a dripping wetness on my forehead, my neck and chest and I almost stammered as I made my confession.
“I didn’t know you were so wicked.” Annabelle’s mother said when I finished narrating my story. Annabelle’s father made no comment; he seemed to be focused on every word that tumbled from the tip of my tongue. He turned and looked at me and then came a gentle smile on his face. Oyifioda glanced at me, then turned back and went in.
“My son, now that you’ve told me the truth about my daughter, may her spirit torment you no more.” As he was blessing me and my wife, Annabelle’s mother and brother joined us and expressed their forgiveness.
My wife and I were happy and talked vivaciously on our way back home. The ghost of Annabelle hunted and haunted me no more and my wife wrote her first novel based on my story.