I felt it once again; I could even smell her. She was there again; feeding on my fear as she always did. I did not want to turn; I did not want to see that familiar face again; a face so scary but similar to mine- a perfect mirror image. And then I heard sounds; was she trying to make me look at her and into those dark eyes of hers? The source of the sound was soon obvious to me; a knife. That was when I looked around: where was I? It did not matter to me at the moment, my feet began to move at a pace so unfamiliar to me; a pace too fast for someone my age but I knew it was pointless; no matter how fast I ran, she would always outrun me. It was now a kind of game. My thoughts raced as my legs did when I stumbled and fell; I was quick to rise but not quicker than her. She pounced on me and for the first time, I took up the courage to look at her and dread filled me. I closed my eyes and screamed at the top of my voice the moment she raised the knife up with her two hands. I could fill the tears in my eyes at that moment. Just a few inches towards my chest, I opened my eyes to see Jake shaking me violently.
I sighed in relief at the fact that it was another bad dream. I looked into Jake’s worried eyes as I always did when the nightmares came which was almost, if not, everyday.
‘Are you going to tell me what happened?’ he asked me but I looked down immediately thinking of a suitable lie which was what I always gave him.
‘Someone tried to kill a baby so I was trying to save him and when they turned to me after hurting the baby, I began to scream’ I lied looking at him and his sigh told me he believed me just as he always did.
‘Cassie, these nightmares are getting out of hand’ he told me in his usual caring voice which was one of the many attributes that drew me to him. I said nothing and so he held me close and we both lay back on the king-size mattress. ‘Just close your eyes Cassie-boo’ he said trying to sound relaxed and all I could do was nod.
Who was the man that said nothing was hidden under the earth? God was he wrong! And the one who claimed you cannot look someone in the eye and lie…they need to meet me then. I am a proof that their hypothesis is completely wrong. The amazing thing about a lie is that no matter how small it is at first, it is going to need bigger lies to cover it up. With that in mind, I had gotten to this level; to the extent that my life was a lie…I was and still am a living lie.
That name…Cassie…a name I had gotten so used to that I had most times forgotten mine. The story dates back to 1986, in an impoverished home of a midwife in the outskirts of Port Harcourt. Twin baby girls were born to a middle class couple who barely afforded three square meals then. Their names were Jennifer a.k.a Jenny and Jessica a.k.a Cassie. Now, the truth here is; I am Jenny.
Now, it is natural for twins to be on each other’s neck and give their parents the headache of their lives but Cassie and I were exceptional. We never stopped fighting and we eventually ended up hating each other…no I think I should speak for myself even though she is not here to do the same for herself. The thing is we were both wild in our own diverse ways and dated boys and eventually guys as if there was no tomorrow.
I was always a movie freak and I had always been amazed at the way smart people in the movies finish off their enemies with a lethal compound and that ignited my passion for chemistry. Cassie on the other hand ended up becoming a political scientist even though she never really got to experience life as one.
I forgot to mention, I gained admission a year before her and I schooled in ESUT while she schooled in UNIPORT. I met Jacob Idahosa in a General Studies class in my second year; he was a graduate assistant then and I had met him two more times before we both realized the mutualism of interests brewing. I didn’t have a phone then. We had lost mum and dad in a car accident a year before that and the little money was spent on tuition. We were independent.
Jacob went to Calabar for a three-day program and that was where everything got mixed up. Yes, you guessed right. The search for money took us places and such a quest fatefully took her to Calabar to make up her friend for a contest. As fate would have it, they both met and I really don’t care how it happened but before he found out he was with Cassie and not me, he was already deeply in love with her.
I had tried to make him love me again but all my efforts proved futile. Cassie had him. I tried to talk sense into her but she claimed she was deeply in love with him and could not let him go. Now here’s what really set me off: due to our constant fights and rivalry, we made strict rules pertaining to guys. No one had the right to date the other’s boyfriend even after a breakup. And Cassie’s argument was that we were never official (Jacob and I).
After graduation, I struck back. I could get over guys but Jacob was just different and the anger within me grew when he came to apologize and begged me to attend his wedding to her. I also despised the fact that Cassie had stolen him from me.
A week to their wedding, I called each of them and told them I was leaving for an indefinite period because I had to get counseling and find something new to focus on. I called my sister later that night -the last call she would ever receive –and requested to see her in a restaurant in Port Harcourt quite close to her school.
Of course it was dark and there was only one path from her lodge that led to the restaurant; there I ambushed her and right before letting the large knife go into her chest that heaved up and down miserably, I promised her “he’s mine and I’ll take care of him”. With that I murdered my own sister in cold blood and I did not feel an atom of remorse after that, I felt instead that justice had been served.
I buried her myself and from the twentieth day of July, 2006 at the age of 20, I bore the name Jessica and eventually got married to the man of my dreams and even had a son for him.
It’s been twenty years since then and for all Jacob cared, Jenny was in some place in the world, staying completely away from him and his beloved Cassie.
‘You’re still awake?’ Jake smoothened the side of my face as he spoke and I smiled at him; smiled at what I would have missed if I had let someone else take him away. Most of all, I smiled at the fact that I would have him to myself forever and no one could do anything to change that. All I had to live with was the fact that I would be haunted for the rest of my life.
I finally closed my eyes and held him close.
Written by Miracle Emeka-Nkwor