Story: The Queens of Tomato Island Season 1

    Episode one

    Tomato Island is a little town surrounded by water; it is a town where everybody knows everybody and one where news travels very fast.  It is a beautiful city, with well-erected buildings, some of which are very ancient in architectural design; the streets are not too crowded except on religious days like Fridays or Sundays. It is an urban city and mainly for the elite.
    The famous Louis Garcia Wike hall had been opened for the annual Tomato Island fund raising dinner. A platform where the elite and non-elite members of the island town gathered to raise funds for the orphanages, schools and motherless babies homes. The hall was large enough to contain more than a thousand people. A two storey with a large gallery and a décor similar to ancient Greek building style.
    ‘I welcome you all to the Tomato Island Fund raising dinner 2017, please have your seats ladies and gentlemen’ a sultry brown eyed female M.C announced.
    ‘God, that dress looks terrible on her, why did she wear that? Too dark for her skin and it doesn’t flatter her at all’ Ekaette Anderson took snapshots of herself while bad mouthing the female M.C.
    ‘You don’t have to be that mean’ Bilkisu smirked at her friend, the very devoted ‘fashionista’.
    ‘Seriously? Are we really arguing about this? Look at that dress, she is ugly’ Ekaette scoffed.
    They were three friends, ‘the three bad girls’ as they were famously nicknamed back in their secondary and University school days. They were banded together and their bond had grown stronger over the years.
    Ekaette  Anderson was a seamstress and a fashion designer, she owned the famous fashion line ‘Kate Anders’ which dealt primarily in formal wears for both men and women.
    She was tall and slender with a body you’d kill to have; a face like Beyonce and a tongue as sharp as that of a serpent. Ekaette was a creamy skinned beauty, her oval face was well carved with piercing brown eyes, a not too straight nose and plump red lips. She was a beautiful woman and she used this to her advantage. Ekaette was the oldest of the girls, she was Thirty-five and single.
    Bilkisu Shandam, an ebony skinned goddess, was the second of the three, she was the youngest and often served as the middle man whenever her other two friends quarrelled. She wasn’t much of a beauty save for her long black hair which she showed off easily and her full legs; she was short and chubby with average facial features. She was the opposite of Ekaette whom they fondly called ‘Kat’, where Ekaette was rude and saucy, she had a calm spirit and where Kat’s tongue was sharp and hurting, hers was very welcoming.
    Bilkisu was a freelance photographer and the last daughter of Nigeria’s fourth billionaire, Alhaji Ibrahim Faizal Shandam. Bilkisu was the youngest of them all, she was twenty-nine years old.
    The girls kept arguing about the hostess’ dress till the first part of the show was over and they wondered where their third friend was.
    ‘She’s always late for everything, for spa, for make-over, for church and now this? This is very important to her and her husband since he has political plans for Tomato island’ Ekaette hissed in disgust.
    ‘Be patient you, maybe they’re held up in a traffic. There’s still much time’ Bilkisu replied.
    Feyi was the third, she was a little on the plump side and brown skinned with killer golden eyes. She was the luckiest of them all, she was happily married to an engineer who aspired to be Tomato Island’s next Counsellor.
    Feyi had nothing going for her, she wasn’t a career woman and never planned to become one, she had fallen in love with Timileyin her husband  and that was enough for her.
    ‘Patient? I don’t know Bilki, but I am tired of her late coming’ Ekaette scoffed and continued fiddling with her phone.
    ‘So, have you heard the latest’? Ekaette asked in a bid to kill time while they waited for Feyi.
    ‘What’s the latest’? Bilkisu’s eyes lit up at the sound of news. That was what kept them going in such a little town, information about things and people.
    ‘A new neighbour is coming to town, so Tomato Island better be prepared’ Ekaette grinned.
    ‘Really? How did you know this? Are you still sleeping with Tom’? Bilkisu raised her brows. Tom was a realtor and Ekaette had been seeing him even though she realised he was a married man with a family.
    ‘Is that a bad thing? He makes me happy’ she smirked.
    ‘Kat? But he is married and have you forgotten how his wife embarrassed you at the shopping mall’? Bilkisu asked. ‘Yea, she kept screaming that  I stay away from her husband for good. Well, that didn’t hurt me. I love him. His banana gives me joy’ she winked and faced her phone.
    ‘Banana?’  Bilkisu scoffed and fetched her buzzing phone. ‘Why are you leaving? Is that your new catch? A new guy’? Ekaette asked, her friend had always answered her calls in her presence.‘Whatever’ Bilkisu mouthed the words and ran off.
    ‘Silly girl’ Ekaette Scoffed, she scanned the hall briefly and met a pair of dark eyes looking at her.
    ‘Bitch’ she smiled, that was Tom’s wife, the woman was all flesh and no muscles, she wasn’t even scared of Maggie.
    ‘So I am back, has she called yet’? Bilkisu returned to her seat. She was excited her lover had called, she couldn’t ever disclose her sexual orientation with her friends, with anybody at all, her father would have her dead.
    ‘Yea, she’s calling, excuse me’ Ekaette placed the phone against her ears. ‘Yea, hello, where the hell are you Feyi? We have a lot to talk about and you delayed’ she fired on.
    ‘Um, excuse me, this isn’t Feyi, it’s Timi her husband, your friend just had an accident’ his voice was low and uncertain. ‘Accident? Why? What happened? Where are you’? Ekaette asked. ‘The Island hospital’ he replied.
    The woman drummed her fingers nervously on the table, she stilled herself and quickly gulped a generous amount of red wine. She had seen the woman that was sleeping with her husband the second time, and the whore was not even scared of her. Ekaette Anderson wasn’t even repentant. ‘Excuse me, can I join your table’? a young woman whose smile was highly contagious asked. ‘Yes, sure’ Maggie had to return her smile, she seemed so perfect.
    You have such a lovely gown Madam, red looks good on you’ Barnie pulled a chair and sat close to the woman. ‘Thanks, you don’t look bad yourself’ Maggie was pleased with her compliments. The girl looked oddly familiar, then her mouth fell open as she realised she had been the M.C.
    ‘You were the girl on stage, what are you doing here? you’re supposed to be up there’ Maggie was excited. ‘Well, this is wine drinking time, I could use some while resting’ Barnie replied.
    She had just moved into the largest Tomato Producing town in Nigeria, Tomato Island and she had come for a purpose, she wouldn’t leave without fulfilling it. From where she stood, she had spotted two of them, one was left, she had come for them all to settle them according to their deeds.
    ‘I like you, such a free spirited being’ Maggie laughed and loosened up a little, she could use a friend for the night. She had no friends in Tomato Island, her husband wouldn’t let her socialise with the other women because he had slept with most of them. Again, other women didn’t like her much and she didn’t really know why especially the three ‘Slayqueens’ as they were nicknamed.
    ‘You don’t seem too happy, that’s why I joined you truthfully. I saw you from up there’ Barnie pointed to the stage.
    ‘Really?’ Maggie quickly poured herself another drink. She didn’t know what to make out of the stranger, could she be trusted? What if she shared too much about herself? Tom wouldn’t like that, he always liked it when they kept their secrets secret.
    ‘Yes. You can tell me all about it, from the look of those women, I think they’d be trouble to everyone in this town’ Barnie cleared the way for some gossip. It had been Ten years since she last saw the trio, ten years was a long time and she had forgotten their names, but she never forgot a face that was why she needed to get back on track. Revenge was beautiful.
    ‘Well, one of them is sleeping with my husband and she isn’t afraid. I don’t know what to do. I hate her so much.’ Maggie blurted out, the alcohol equally helped her in talking.
    ‘Oh, you should have another glass, tell me about these three friends and where they live…’ Barnie quickly brought out a jotter and poured more wine for the woman.
    ‘One is a fashion designer, one is a lesbian and one is totally useless’ Maggie snorted and gulped some more wine.
    ‘Thank you, madam, I have to go now, we’ll be seeing each other more often’ Barnie smiled, she had gotten a little information, that would help her to an extent. She still needed more dirt on them, she would make them pay for what they did to her, for what they took from her.
    They would all pay.

    Episode Two

    ‘Where is she? Can we see her now’? the girls rushed towards Timi who was pacing the hall restlessly. This wasn’t how he’d envisaged his evening. His personal assistant had written a nice speech which he would read to the hearing of all of Tomato island, then he would donate a fat amount of cash to make a name. He had political ambitions and nothing could stand in the way of that, not even Feyi’s miscarriage.
    ‘Yes you can see her’ he faced her two friends.
    ‘Feyi! Oh dear, how are you doing? What happened’? Bilkisu kissed her forehead.
    ‘I am fine Bilki, I am sorry I missed the party’ Feyi managed a weak smile. She had lost another baby, the second baby. When would her pain end? Why couldn’t Timi stop hitting her?
    ‘You’ll be fine dear, I know this’ Ekaette joined in the comforting.
    ‘So what really happened? Timi told us you had an accident’  Ekaette caressed her forehead.
    ‘Yes, I slipped in the bath tub while having my bath and I lost the baby’ a tear slipped from her eyes and her voice cracked.
    ‘You lost the baby? Were you pregnant’? Ekaette’s eyes widened in shock. She knew the truth, though Feyi had tried to hide it from them, she knew an abused woman when she saw one.
    Before Feyi got married to Timi, she had spent time with them, she was truly happy, now she no longer cared for her friendship and whenever she smiled, it was forced.
    Timi was abusing her, she would confront the bastard later.
    ‘I am so sorry’ Bilkisu whispered.
    ‘It’s time to go ladies. The patient needs to rest’ a nurse stormed into the room.
    ‘Please give us two minutes’ Feyi groaned, she had a terrible dream while the doctors knocked her out for the evacuation process. The dream bothered on the secret they all shared. The bond that kept their friendship alive.
    ‘I don’t want to leave you’ Bilkisu tugged at her hand like a little child.
    ‘Bilki? She has something important to tell us’ Ekaette noticed how serious her face had become. Maybe she was ready to tell them the truth about her abusive husband.
    ‘I had a dream girls…’ Feyi licked her lips nervously. She knew It was just a dream and such couldn’t happen in real life but she needed to share it with her friends.
    ‘What dream’? they both asked.
    ‘Miss Koi-Koi’ Feyi’s lips shook as she called the name.
    ‘I think we should leave, we’ll see you tomorrow’ Ekaette pulled Bilkisu and rushed out of the room.
    Was Feyi crazy? Why would she bring up such a dead and buried subject?
    ‘Why did you do that? We should’ve waited for her to finish what she was saying’ Bilkisu pulled her hand away from Ekaette’s grip.
    ‘Are you okay? Have you forgotten our pact? The promise we made to ourselves that night? That we would never speak of her nor mention her name, why is Feyi doing that’? Ekaette hissed angrily, she was already terrified at the mention of the name.
    ‘Well, you’re right, but the way we left isn’t nice’ Bilkisu wished she could be with her friend.
    ‘No, I think the drugs are still working on her. Feyi isn’t in her right mind, now I need to face important business. Her bastard of a husband has to pay for beating her up’ Ekaette braced herself for the confrontation.
    ‘What are you talking about? Did Timi beat her? Timi isn’t a woman beater, he is such a nice man’ Bilkisu scoffed, why was Ekaette so disillusioned?
    ‘Well, I have been abused by a man before, I know the signs and I am confronting him with or without you’  Ekaette said.
    ‘Well, go ahead, Goodluck’ Bilkisu hissed angrily and stormed out of the hospital.
    ‘Good evening Madam, are you Miss Anderson’? a young skinny man asked.
    ‘Yes I am and you skinny guy is who’? she eyed him angrily.
    ‘I am Engineer Timileyin’s Personal assistant and he asked me to drop this note for you.’ He presented the note to her.
    ‘The bastard, so he still has nerves to go for the Fund raising dinner, while his wife lay in pain? Men!’ she scoffed and trotted out angrily.
    The donations had begun, the rich inhabitants of Tomato island showed off their wealth in the fund raising.
    ‘Wow, the highest donation is from Chief Churchill Dike, a round of applause for him’ Barnie the hostess announced and the crowd went wild with shouts.
    ‘He donated a sum of twenty million naira, isn’t this wonderful, who can beat this’? she asked wide eyed.
    ‘Fifty million naira’ Timi sauntered towards the stage, the hall went still as his words echoed. Was he kidding?
    ‘Excuse me, sir? Please come up here and make your donation’ Barnie rushed towards him with a Mic, maybe she had not heard him well.
    ‘Good evening people of Tomato island, I am Engineer Timileyin and I apologise for not standing here with my lovely wife, Feyi, but I am here to donate the sum of Fifty Million Naira, I want the best for Tomato Island orphans and less privileged. This is just the tip of the iceberg, how much more when I become your counsellor’ he dipped his hand into his pocket and the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
    ‘Thank you very much, sir, we are indeed very grateful’ Barnie studied the man closely, he had mentioned ‘Feyi’, could she be one of the girls?  She remembered the name clearly.
    ‘You welcome’ Timi got off stage and moved outside; he felt satisfied with his little speech, he couldn’t wait for the campaigns to kick off, the public would favour him, he was sure of that.
    From a corner of the hall, Ekaette stood watching him, she had followed him there, she needed to confront Timileyin, how could he hurt her friend just like that? Why on earth should any man beat up a woman? Feyi had her weaknesses, she was lazy and lacked foresight but she was sure of this: Feyi wasn’t the type to disrespect her husband and that begged the question ‘Why was he beating her’?
    ‘I see you cannot keep your trashy eyes off your friend’s husband, soon you’ll crawl into the Engineer’s bed’ an all too familiar voice mocked her and she swirled around.
    ‘Maggie, how pathetic, please don’t do this to yourself, this isn’t the right time’ she scoffed and tried to leave but the drunk woman stood in her way.
    ‘You know the truth, just like my sweet husband Tom, Timi is a married man, well to do and good looking and we both know you cannot keep your claws off other women’s possession’ she staggered.
    ‘Maggie, get out of my way before I punch you’ the woman’s words dug deep into her and infuriated her greatly. How dare she suggest she could ever sleep with Timi?
    ‘Punch me bitch! Come on! Punch me’ Maggie yelled and pushed her. People turned towards their direction and Ekaette felt embarrassed.
    ‘Excuse me, Madam, you should let this lady go, she is a nice person’ Barnie had spotted the pair from where she stood, the dinner was over and people were leaving, her eyes had strayed to one of the girls.
    ‘You? With the nice tongue and all, why should I leave her? I told you already, she slept with Thomas, she stole my husband’ Maggie grunted.
    ‘I promise I would stop her from doing that, now be a lady and go wait for me over there, I’ll drive you’ Barnie pushed her away slightly.
    ‘Okay then’ Maggie nodded and staggered away.
    ‘Thank you, you saved my life’ Ekaette scoffed, she blushed slightly as she remembered she had insulted the woman before her, she was the female M.C.
    ‘Not a big deal, how are you’? Barnie smiled. She recognised this one, ‘Kat’ that was her nick back in secondary school. She was rude and sassy and looked down on everyone.
    She had a domineering character and most girls had wanted to be like her.
    ‘I am fine, thank you. I am Ekaette Anderson’ she offered her hand for a shake.
    ‘Barnie Ross’ she smiled and took the hand, she was now sure of her facts.
    ‘Nice name, you live here? not seen you before’? Ekaette rolled her eyes.
    ‘I am new. I just moved into Tomato Island, it’s a beautiful place, I work with the radio and I was transferred here, I worked in SoulLove F.M, Lagos Branch before I got transferred here’ Barnie shared a few details about herself.
    ‘Wow, impressive, I own a cloth line, Kate Anders, you should drop by sometime, here’s my card’ Ekaette decided she liked the young woman, maybe she would teach her how to select colours that suited her skin shade better.
    ‘Thank you Madam’ Barnie accepted the card gladly.
    ‘Call me Kat’ Ekaette patted her and rushed out of the hall, she still needed to confront Timileyin.
    ‘Game on’ a mischievous smile graced Barnie’s lips. Now she had found them, she would turn them against each other before destroying them completely.

    Episode Three

    Ekaette felt happy the young woman had saved her face. When Maggie had attacked her at the local mall, she had not been very much perturbed, as the mall had been scanty, but tonight? Over a hundred people came for the fundraising dinner night, it would’ve been a disaster if the young woman had not come to her rescue.
    ‘Angels’ she breathed and rushed towards her car, she needed to find Timi.
    The girl was an Angel she decided, there was something familiar about her but she couldn’t place it, she just shrugged it off.
    Feyi’s dream bothered her, what had come over her friend? Why would she unearth a secret that could ruin them all now?
    ‘I’ll deal with that later’ she licked her lips anxiously as she spotted Timi’s car, he’d parked it far from hers and the area was void of people. She quickly slid out of the car and moved towards his car.
    ‘Hey! Stop that car, stop that stupid car and hear me out’ she yelled angrily at him.
    ‘Ekaette, what are you doing here? you’re supposed to be at the hospital with your friend’ Timi rushed out of the car, she seemed angry with him.
    ‘You devil, why are you so cruel to my friend? What has Feyi done to deserve your maltreatment’? she seethed in anger.
    Timi exhaled slowly, so they had finally learnt the truth that he beat up his wife? That wasn’t good, it could ruin his political career and he didn’t want that, he needed to find a way to fix this.
    His greatest mistake in life was getting married to a woman such as his wife; she was beautiful no doubt, but she lacked ambition and foresight; all Feyi ever wanted was children and the traditional family life, but after that what next? He needed a strong woman by his side, one that was willing to fight dreams with him, Ekaette Anderson was such a woman. Even Bilkisu was a career woman too, he often wondered why Feyi wasn’t like them.
    ‘Say something brute, say something’ Ekaette felt uneasy as his light brown eyes scanned over her.
    Feyi’s husband was a very attractive man, he was average in height, light skinned with seductive orbs.
    His gaze unsettled her and she felt afraid, what if  Maggie had done something to her? Why would she be admiring her best friend’s husband?
    ‘Well, I have a feeling you are not here for your friend’ Timi decided to turn the game against her. This would be the only way to keep her quiet.
    ‘What are you talking about’? she asked weakly as he neared her.
    ‘I don’t know, maybe this?’ he arched his brows then in a flash of seconds, drew her into his arms and kissed her.
    ‘Stop’ she pushed him away.
    ‘Stop? Your lips betray you, I know you want me as much as I do, let’s make the most of it while Feyi is in the hospital’ he caressed her face and she felt weak.
    ‘Please don’t’ she begged.
    ‘Let’s follow our hearts’ Timi plunged his tongue into her mouth once again and kissed her deeply.
    ‘Barnie Ross’ she chuckled as she dragged the dead drunk Maggie into her car, what kind of stupid name was that? She had hidden her real identity, she never wanted them to trace her.
    ‘I want some banana’ Maggie grunted like a pig in heat.
    ‘Shut up Maggie’ Barnie banged the door loudly. She felt the need to empty her bladder before hitting the road so she left to do just that.
    ‘Stay here and be quiet’ she warned and left. From where she stood, she sighted a parking lot that was scanty save for a car, she decided to urinate there.
    ‘Let’s do this quickly’ she rushed as she neared the parking lot. Then she saw two lovers deeply engaged in a wild and very passionate kiss, couldn’t they get a room? She felt disgusted by their actions, then something hit her, there was something familiar about the lovers.
    She paused and hid and watched them. The man was Engineer Timileyin and the woman was Kat.
    ‘Game number one’ she quickly fetched her phone from her purse that held the tissue paper she had wanted to use.
    She took a shot of them quickly then rose to her feet and left the area. She had to urinate somewhere else, they couldn’t see her.
    Bilkisu had tried calling her friend for the seventh time but Ekaette wasn’t taking her calls. What had gone wrong? She wondered. She wasn’t too comfortable with her friend’s attitude sometimes, what if her interference in Feyi’s marriage did something worse?
    ‘A Kat would always be a Kat’ Bilkisu smiled and stepped out of her car as she remembered how spoilt and rude Ekaette had been while they were in secondary school.
    Something about Feyi’s mood bothered her, it wasn’t the drugs she was being given; there was this sadness in her eyes and this fear when she mentioned her dream but Ekaette had dismissed her.
    Bilkisu understood why Ekaette had acted that way, they had not spoken of that night for ten years now and that had been their coping mechanism. After that night, they’d struggled to pretend, to move on with their lives like nothing happened, why then would Feyi have a dream about it after ten years?
    ‘Miss Koi Koi’ the name gave her chills. It all started as a boarding house myth then turned into something bloody and dirty, Ekaette had done the dirty deed and she had called on to them to save her, they were young and weren’t thinking right, so they’d done what they thought was best. They had hidden her body.
    ‘Sweetheart, what took you so long? I’ve been waiting here for a long time now’ the voice startled Bilkisu and she turned and faced her lover whom she had not expected.
    ‘Ifeoma’ Bilkisu smiled.
    ‘Bilki, I miss you’ Ifeoma planted a kiss on her lips.
    ‘I miss you too darling, you seem happy, did you get the job’? Bilkisu asked.
    ‘Yes, Mr Tom said the new neighbour was looking for an interior designer and he hooked me up, one Miss Barnie Ross. I am so happy honey’ she smiled.
    ‘Well good for you, now let’s go in, I am tired’ Bilkisu leant on her body.
    She tossed and turned on the hospital bed, the pain was excruciating, thought  about her lower abdomen ached, her legs felt weak and her eyes were sore; she wished it could all just end.
    She cried  about the miscarriage; this was the second time she was losing a baby by Timi’s hand, he had changed after the marriage and she was trapped. She loved him so much and had prayed severally for a change in his behavior but it seemed her prayers were unanswered.
    She thought about her friends, Bilki and Kat, they envied her and wished to  be like her, they wished they could get married and settle down with a man like Timi, but they knew nothing about her suffering, they knew nothing about her unhappy marriage and she couldn’t let them in. She couldn’t tell anyone, all she had was her marriage, she had nothing, no career or plans for her life; all she ever wanted was a family and Timi had promised her that before marriage.

    Episode Four

    Her mind went back to the dream she had earlier while in the theatre. Was it a mere dream? Hallucination influenced by drugs? Or was it a message that something evil was looming around?
    She had seen the fear in their eyes when she told them about her dream, her friends were scared and so was she; they all had safely hidden the event of that night in their minds and had not spoken about it for ten years, it was that secret that bound their friendship. A deadly and dark secret.
    Now she thought about it, she got scared as her eyes went to the clock. She felt déjà vu call to her and her eyes melted as the sedatives she was given started working on her.
    ‘Girls of St. Lucy Dormitory, go to sleep else Miss Koi-Koi would come and scare you to bed’ Elizabeth announced and the girls burst out laughing.
    ‘Miss Koi Koi ke, she doesn’t exist, lies!’ Ekaette scoffed.
    ‘Can we talk about something else? I don’t like talking about ghosts’ Bilkisu whispered fearfully. Right from time, she had always been the fearful one.
    ‘Don’t be afraid, if she ever comes, I will protect you’ Feyi hugged little Bilki.
    ‘What makes you think Miss Koi-Koi does not exist? I have seen her before, she  is tall and slender and loves to wear heels. She isn’t as scary as everyone believes or thinks, she is loving and kind and was actually a victim of circumstance’ Ellizabeth, their classmate explained.
    ‘Whatever, let’s all go to bed’ Feyi yawned and the girls left for their beds.
    Miss Koi Koi was a mythical ghost that walked in female dormitories at night, her trademark was a cool breeze and shoe sounds ‘koi-koi’. According to the miss Koi-Koi myth, she was once a teacher in a secondary school and something evil happened to her, this evil thing wasn’t mentioned, then she died and vowed to revenge her offenders. She was restless and angry, that was why she terrified boarding house students by walking around unseen at night.
    ‘Do you hear that? Do you feel that’? Bilkisu whispered to Feyi who had been fast asleep.
    ‘Go to Sleep Bilki, there’s nothing out there except for your fear’ Ekaette replied and placed her head on the pillow.
    The dormitory was occupied by about twenty girls and they were all members of the same class.
    An hour later when the girls were fast asleep, there was a cool wind that shook the trees and parted the dormitory door slightly, as the door creaked on its own.
    ‘Blood of God!’ Ekaette jerked up, she had a bad dream about a faceless woman chasing her.
    ‘Feyi? Bilki? Wake up, the door is open and it seems nobody went out of the dormitory and I feel so cold, I think she is here’ she was greatly terrified.
    ‘Feyi’? she shook her friend as the footsteps got louder and closer, Ekaette felt terrified as she imagined the ghost nearby, was it coming for her?
    ‘Kat? I think we should wake the others, I can hear it as well, she actually exists!, let’s wake the others’ Feyi whispered, she was greatly terrified.
    ‘No, that’s not a good idea, what if she runs away or disappears? I think we deal with her at once, we end this, I am tired of having sleepless nights’ Ekaette had suggested.
    ‘Are you crazy? Miss Koi-Koi is a ghost, even if we want to kill her, we cannot see her because she is already dead’ Feyi widened her mouth in shock
    ‘Why are you girls still awake’? Elizabeth returned to the dormitory and closed the door .
    ‘Where were you’? the girls asked surprised, what was Elizabeth doing outside by that time?
    ‘I went to Pee’ she winked and climbed her bed.
    ‘Pee? Didn’t you hear the sounds? The shoe sounds? Didn’t you feel the breeze’? Feyi asked.
    ‘No’ she replied as a mischievous smile shone across her face.
    ‘Goodnight Slayqueens’ she winked and tugged herself for a good sleep.
    Barnie Ross brought her car to a halt and dragged the drunk woman into her house, it was already late so she needed to sleep over and she was terribly drunk.
    ‘Here we go Madam Maggie’ Barnie dragged her into the house and carefully settled her on the bed.
    Barnie had just moved into Tomato Island, so she was the new neighbour and her house needed a lot of work to be done on it. one of the reasons, she had told the realtor, Mr Tom to find her an interior design.
    Minutes after Maggie was fast asleep, Barnie quickly undressed and took her shower; she had a lot of work to do, she needed to plan.
    She slipped on a nightgown and fetched the diary from a drawer which she’d placed it.
    All her life, she had searched for the ‘three slay Queens’ as they were popularly called. They were so glued together like leaves on the same branch, almost inseparable and the dark deed they had committed bound them further.
    Then she saw Ekaette on television one day, fawning over her cloth line, Kate Anders and she knew her time to revenge her sister had come.
    She unzipped the second bag that contained Elizabeth’s  belongings and fetched a  little carton that was supposed to contain a pair of yellow stilettoes which she had loved to wear since their secondary school days but she only found one, maybe the other fell out while she helped Maggie into the car; she always carried the carton around.. A smile played on Barnie’s lips as she caressed the shoe, why her sister loved this yellow shoe, she’d never understand.
    ‘I miss you sister, this world is meaningless without you.’ She was grief stricken, they had been orphans and had none aside themselves. They were poor and wretched and many students had preyed on that, that was why they had killed her sister. Now she had worked her ass off and made money, she needed to revenge.
    Barnie wiped her face and opened the diary, she read it every night, a way of keeping her sister’s memory alive and connecting with her.
    ‘My first day in the University was swelling, I met this cute guy, Emeka…but the slay queen had her eyes on him. She took him away from me.KAT.
    ‘Kat’ Barnie murmured the name. Her sister had not been as pretty as other girls but she found love in the arms of Emeka and Ekaette couldn’t take her eyes off  him.
    She tore a sheet from the diary and scribbled on it, she wrote the names of the three girls in descending order: Kat, Bilki and Feyi. Then she rubbed her chin thoughtfully and added Emeka, that fool needed to pay for breaking her sister’s heart but finding him all these years had been fruitless. It seemed the young man had disappeared or had travelled out of the country or was dead.
    She folded the paper neatly and placed it between the pages of Elizabeth’s diary.
    ‘I will avenge you’ she kissed the shoes before her.

    Episode Five

    A kiss had not tasted this sweet, his mouth was sweet wine and she was drunk on it. He licked her lush lips and caressed her stomach, she had her arms on his head, she knead and caressed it softly. Not one minute brought her friend Feyi to her mind, she just couldn’t let go of this feeling, being touched by someone who knew the right buttons to press.
    ‘Let’s take this to the next level’ Timi broke the kiss and stared deeply into her eyes.
    ‘I…I am not sure of that’ she seemed to recollect herself.
    ‘Why’? he drew an invisible hand on her face with his finger.
    ‘Feyi is my friend, we shouldn’t have kissed Timi, I have to go now’ she steadied herself and was ready to move when he held her back.
    ‘You’re running from me because you felt something’ he drew her back.
    ‘I didn’t feel anything Timi, that kiss was a mistake and it’s never going to happen again’ she retreated.
    ‘Are you sure about that’? he smiled as he spotted desire in her eyes.
    ‘Yes’ she nodded, her legs felt buttery, she felt glued to that spot as she stared into his beautiful dark eyes. Timileyin was a very attractive man, she had just realized that.
    ‘Okay, just kiss me once, I promise never to bother you again’ he begged. He’d enjoyed the kiss very much and needed to explore more. He didn’t care about her friendship with Feyi, who was Feyi anyway? A liability he had married with his money, his type of woman was standing before him and he would chase her without regrets.
    ‘Just this once’? she scanned the area, they were the only ones left.
    And he seemed determined not to let her go, so she accepted his proposal.
    ‘Come here darling…’ he winked and pulled her gently into his arms. She inhaled the scent of him and it reeled her back to memory’s lane, he smelt just like the first man she had ever loved. Emeka was his name and she had fallen hopelessly in love with him, till that vermin showed up and tried to ruin that. She thought about Elizabeth, the weird girl in their class and in their early University days, she brought calamity upon herself. She didn’t feel sorry for what she had done to her. She had fed Emeka with lies and he had broken up with her, she felt broken and deeply hurt, doing Elizabeth the favor had been the only option.
    ‘I think I am attracted to you’ he stared at her for some moments before kissing her.
    This time the kiss was sweeter and got her yearning for more, once again he pulled back.
    ‘One more thing, Feyi doesn’t like you very much, she prefers Bilki. She talks bad about you every night’ Timi patted her on the shoulder, slid into his car and drove off.
    ‘Wait, I don’t understand’ she tried to stop him but he sped off.
    She wondered if Timi was telling the truth, why would Feyi not like her? But Timi was her husband and she would tell him anything.
    She felt hurt that Feyi would say something like that to Timi and still pretend to be friends with her.
    ‘We’ll see about that’ a frown crossed her face. The frown was immediately followed by a smile as she thought about Timi’s kiss.
    She caressed the spot he’d kissed her till she reached her car. She observed the area was void of people, a sick feeling crept up her spine as she couldn’t open her door.
    She didn’t know how and why, but she felt she was being watched. She turned around but she couldn’t find anyone.
    ‘Is somebody there’? she whispered and tried opening the door.
    The wind answered her and rattled the fallen leaves around. Then her eyes went to a glittery object that lay few meters away from her car.
    What was that? She wondered and moved towards it.
    She found a yellow shoe.
    ‘Hello Kat’ a hand warmed her shoulder and she screamed.
    ‘Sorry I startled you, I forgot something’ Barnie smiled sweetly.
    ‘Oh God, you scared me, well go ahead’ Ekaette felt relaxed.
    ‘I forgot this’ Barnie lifted the shoe and walked away.
    ‘Goodnight’ Ekaette whispered, to her surprise, the same car that refused to open, fell apart easily as she inserted a key this time. She felt relieved as she quickly slid into the car, something about the yellow shoe spoke to her and she refused to entertain the thoughts that accompanied it.
    She had slept comfortably and very well relaxed knowing very well that her sister’s killers would soon be brought to book.
    ‘Rise and shine madam Maggi, it’s 7.a.m’ Barnie shook the drunk woman she’d housed last night.
    ‘Morning… where am I?’ Maggie jerked and sat on the bed. Her eyes scanned the whole room, everything seemed strange to her, she knew she wasn’t home.
    ‘You’re safe, but I advise you mind your drinking next time. Learn to party Safe’ Barnie offered her a cup of coffee, then went ahead to part the curtains. She smacked her lips unsatisfactorily, the realtor had given her a card, she had called the interior designer and couldn’t wait for her house to be made over.
    ‘Thanks, Barnie, thanks for helping me. I was just overburdened by so many things’ Maggie sipped greedily from the cup.
    Her marriage had been on the rocks since she got married to Tom, she had fought many women severally but Ekaette Anderson proved adamant and unrepentant and she needed to be taught a lesson or two.
    ‘What problems exactly? You should talk to someone, a listening ear eases the burden’ Barnie smiled reassuringly. She saw this woman as a pawn in her game, Maggie would be an important part of her plan and she needed to earn her trust.
    ‘I am sorry, I need to go, I don’t like bothering people, Thanks for your help Barnie’ Maggie rushed out of bed.
    First things first, she didn’t know this young lady that well, she was new to Tomato island and it wasn’t very nice to trust strangers no matter how responsible they looked.
    ‘You already told me about your marriage last night, huh? You told me about Ekaette Anderson, maybe I could help deal with her, she has always been slutty right from youthful days’ Barnie kissed her teeth.
    ‘Excuse me? Do you know Ekaette Anderson? Have you met her before’? Maggie slowed her steps.
    ‘Yes, let’s say, we crossed paths in the past but she doesn’t remember me much, I never did like her anyway. I could help you’ Barnie offered.
    ‘She slept with my husband and even after confronting her, she still does, I want her to suffer, I want her to hurt and yearn for healing but none will be hers’ Maggie spoke through clenched teeth.
    ‘Your husband, what does he do? She likes to go after rich men. Well placed men’ Barnie said.
    ‘Tom is a realtor, deals in houses. He is a rich man but she has her money too, which scares me more, what if Tom is in love with her’? Maggi had resumed crying.
    ‘Hey, hold on, your husband is a realtor? I think he gave me this house’ Barnie scoffed, this was getting interesting, Tomato Island was such a small place after all.

    Episode Six

    ‘Yes, and that means you’re the new neighbor, news travels fast’ Maggie managed a smile.
    ‘Yes, I am the new neighbor’ Barnie returned the smile.
    ‘I am sorry you met me this way, I am so vulnerable right now. Welcome to Tomato Island’ Maggie offered her a handshake.
    ‘Thanks, Madam Maggie’ Barnie took her hand.
    ‘I really need to go now, thanks for your help once again’ Maggie nodded. She still needed to think, why was this stranger so interested in helping her fight Ekaette? It seemed weird, she shook the feeling off and trotted towards the main entrance.
    ‘Remember, if you make up your mind about Ekaette, just call me or come over. I am always here for you’ Barnie smiled and followed her to the door.
    ‘I hear you. I’ll think about it’ Maggi smiled and rushed into the scanty street.
    ‘Goodmorning new neighbor’! a chubby woman shouted from across the street.
    ‘Morning. Thank you’ Barnie waved and retreated to the house.
    She didn’t like the look on Maggie’s face, now she was sober, she did not feel very comfortable talking about her personal life. She understood that perfectly and would give her time, meanwhile, she needed to get closer to the girls, but how would she start?
    She had no idea where they lived in Tomato Island, her lips parted for a smile as she remembered Ekaette had given her a complimentary card. That would be her first target.
    She was about leaving the bathroom when her doorbell sounded.‘Coming’! she yelled and rushed to check it out. She wasn’t expecting any visitors, she had no friends or living relatives; Barnie Ross was a lonely creature since her only sister died.
    ‘Goodmorning Madam, I am Ifeoma Uzor, the interior designer’ Ifeoma smiled politely at the woman.
    ‘Wow, such bad timing, come in any way, I’d still leave you alone’ Barnie shrugged. She needed to meet with Ekaette that morning and nothing would stand in her way, the earlier, the better.
    ‘I am sorry for that madam. So what exactly do you want? I could concentrate on your curtains today, then tomorrow or later this week we’ll check out your upholstery and walls’ Ifeoma tore a sheet of her paper and begun to scribble.
    She needed a job badly but couldn’t ask Bilkisu her girlfriend to give her one even though she had the means. She dated a rich woman but she always yearned for independence, she needed Bilki to know it was all for love and not her money.
    ‘Just get me yellow curtains, yellow furniture, yellow everything’ Barnie said.
    ‘Yellow everything? Wouldn’t that be too bright’? Ifeoma chuckled, her client was funny.
    ‘I am not joking. Just make everything yellow.’ Barnie’s friendly tone dropped to a very formal one. Why was she laughing? How could someone laugh at her sister’s favorite color?
    ‘That would be all Madam’ Ifeoma nodded politely. The new neighbor seemed queer; how could one want everything in the house to be yellow? She shrugged and went through the list again. She had no right to judge anyone, she was a woman lover and knew how her kind was being persecuted and bashed for their sexual orientation.
    Bilkisu stepped into her studio; she had one in the house and one at the city center where she worked. She preferred the one at the house as she got more inspiration from being alone. The studio at the city center was surrounded by noise and clients who trooped in daily for a photo session.
    ‘White White Doves’ she focused her left eye as she took shots of the doves that sat in her front yard.
    ‘There, beautiful’ she smiled satisfactorily. She was in a good place, a woman in love had a good job and nice friends.
    Her eyes scanned her little house studio, different pictures were plastered on the wall; pictures of people laughing, children crying and landscape. Out of a thousand pictures, only one stood out, the one where they sat on the green fields laughing like children who had no care in the world.
    ‘Slay queens’ she murmured and plucked the picture from where it hung.
    They were beautiful, they had been young and were ever united. She thought of Feyi and wondered how she fared; she decided to abandon her work and go see her friend which was more important to her.
    Her phone beeped and she replaced the picture from where she took it from.
    ‘Hello, Bilkisu Sandham on the line’ she teased her friend, she knew Ekaette was on the line.
    ‘Drop the act, how are you Shawty’? Ekaette snorted and they both laughed.
    ‘Never better and you? How was your night of marvelous confrontation’? She beamed.
    ‘Well, nothing much, as expected, Timi denied hitting his wife. Maybe you were right, maybe I was just being delusional. They are perfect for each other’ Ekaette lied.
    ‘I told you, Kat, Feyi, and Timi are perfect, so, we should check her out before she is discharged. This morning would be fine’ Bilkisu suggested.
    ‘Uhmmm, I don’t really feel like seeing Feyi, why don’t you go on my behalf’? Ekaette asked.She could not forgive Feyi for talking ill behind her back with Timi, what if Timi had not exposed her crooked ass?
    ‘Why? Are you busy’? Bilkisu raised a brow. That seemed strange, why had Ekaette suddenly lost interest in what concerned Feyi? When she had been all over her the night before.
    ‘Matter of fact I am having this show. You know how fashion shows can be. Fabrics, models, make-ups.’ Ekaette chattered on.
    ‘Well, I’ll do just that. I’ll send your love’ Bilkisu wasn’t excited that Ekaette wouldn’t be coming along with her; they had a better time when they were all complete.
    ‘I could still join you guys if I am done early or I drop flowers at her house once she is discharged’ Ekaette quickly added. She knew Bilki wasn’t pleased with her, but she needed to stay away from Feyi.
    She hated pretense and fake loyalty.
    ‘Alright, love, kiss, kiss’ Bilki blew her a kiss.
    ‘Time to shower’ Bilki carefully placed her phone on the table and dashed out to bath.‘Best friend my ass’ Ekaette hissed loudly as she dropped the phone, God knows how much evil she’d told Timi and other people about her and there was she trusting Feyi like she was an angel.
    ‘Good morning Madam, you have a visitor’ Jane her personal assistant tapped lightly on the door.
    ‘Really Jane? Isn’t it too early for visitors? I’m trying to get a design here’ Ekaette cut in impatiently. She had a job to deliver and she had not slept very well the night before, she kept thinking about Timi and the way he’d kissed her; she felt no shame or guilt after learning of Feyi’s betrayal.
    ‘She says she knows you and you asked to see her’ Jane insisted.
    ‘Alright, send her in’ Ekaette closed her drawing book and placed the pencil between her ear.

    Episode Seven

    ‘Goodmorning Kate Anders, I never knew your place was this huge, you’re doing a great job here’ Barnie sauntered into her office happily. She knew how to buy people like Ekaette; a sassy person had a big ego and this ego could only feed on compliments.
    ‘Wow, my favorite person, you look fabulous, is that Calvin Klein? Givenchy? Or Kate Anders’? Ekaette’s lips broadened in a smile as she remembered the girl that had saved her from public embarrassment.
    ‘Givenchy. I actually wore this for you’ Barnie bowed her head slightly.
    ‘Wow, tell me more’ Ekaette gave her personal assistant orders for refreshment.
    ‘I know fashion queens like you love to be around people who represent very well, so I chose this’ Barnie smiled.
    ‘Good. Very good. Blue looks good on you, would you like my honest opinion? I like you Barnie, you saved my life last night from that crazy woman, I think we should be friends’ Ekaette poked her head side wards and regarded the woman before her steadily, she seemed like a nice person.
    ‘I am flattered. You’re free new friend’ Barnie was surprised, this was unexpected.
    ‘I didn’t like the dress you wore to the fund raising dinner last night, I actually talked to my friend Bilki about it, I was very much displeased. You should wear lighter colors because you’re very dark skinned, it would flatter your ebony. Please don’t wear that dress ever again’ Ekaette warned.
    ‘Yes, sir! I promise to burn it once I get home’ Barnie replied and they both laughed.
    They chatted some more, did proper introductions while Barnie was careful about disclosing much about herself, Ekaette wasted no time in that.
    ‘I really like you, Barnie, I should introduce you to the girls, I never knew you were the new neighbor’ she relaxed against the chair.
    ‘Yes, I am the new neighbor, what girls are you talking about’? Barnie feigned ignorance.
    ‘My friends, of course, Bilkisu and Feyi, very nice people, I’d like you to be the fourth person-Eka Ette suggested.
    ‘I am really flattered, what if they don’t like me?’ Barnie asked.
    ‘Well, we’ll never know if we don’t try, I have an idea, I should probably take you to the hospital, so you meet them’ she quickly fetched her phone from her bag.
    ‘Well then’ Barnie smiled. This was all she ever dreamed of, she couldn’t wait to meet with the others.
    ‘Your second phone is vibrating, you have a call’ Barnie pointed at the buzzing phone.
    ‘Oops, that should be a client’ Ekaette lifted it from the table.
    ‘Hello, Kate Anders Fashion line, how may I help you please’? she asked sweetly.
    ‘Hello darling….’the rich Tenor drummed in her ears.
    ‘Timi…’ she whispered, his voice couldn’t be mistaken.
    ‘I have missed you, honey, we should see again’ he replied coolly.
    ‘Excuse me’ Ekaette mouthed the words and left her office to answer the call elsewhere.
    ‘Permission granted’ Barnie murmured and also fetched her own phone.
    Ekaette was really a slut, she had not changed, after sleeping with Maggie’s husband, she had moved on to Timi. She was curious though, she really needed to know of certain whom Timi was married to.
    ‘Thanks very much Jane’ Barnie received the tray brought in by Ekaette’s personal assistant.
    ‘Welcome Madam’ Jane smiled, she was surprised the lady had picked her name that fast.
    ‘I learn fast’ Barnie nodded in a bid to make conversation.
    ‘Thanks’ Jane nodded.
    ‘I am kind of new in town, I attended last night’s fund raising dinner’Barnie paused as Jane said something.
    ‘I was there too, I saw you on stage. Pleasure meeting you in person’ She smiled pleasure’s all mine. I was really moved by Engineer Timileyin’s generosity, it’s rare to find a man like that’ she started, hoping to get something out of the young girl.
    ‘Sure, he is a very nice man. His wife, Aunty Feyi is Madam Ekaette’s best friend’ Jane explained.
    ‘Really? That’s wonderful, thanks for the drinks’ Barnie dismissed the girl who rushed out excitedly.
    ‘A bitch would always be a bitch’ Jane snorted. So she was now sleeping with her best friend’s husband?
    ‘Alright I am back, drink up, drink up, let’s go meet the girls’ Ekaette returned to her office.
    Timi had called and confessed his love for her. He claimed he’d been attracted to her from the first day he set eyes on her as she was the prettiest of all her friends. He was such a romantic man but that wasn’t enough to go out with him first. She liked him, which woman wouldn’t? she decided to introduce Barnie to the girls first.
    Her mouth tasted bitter, the nurses had resumed feeding her with drugs and she hated the taste of them, but she had no choice, she needed to survive and reflect on her life.
    She wondered if her friends wouldn’t come visit her, loneliness had crept in on her; the man she called husband had not shown his face neither and that hurt more than anything else considering the fact that he placed her in that condition.
    Fear gripped her powerfully, she had so many fears but none to share it with. She had endured an abusive relationship with Timi, hoping and praying he would change when they got married, but things got worse. Timi devalued her, he made her feel unworthy of his love and constantly compared her to the girls especially Ekaette. One of their fights had been about that, what did he see in her friend that couldn’t he see in her?
    Though she suffered and lived in uncertainty, her marriage wasn’t as scary as the dream she had the previous night. Nothing could be compared to the secret she carefully guarded in her sub-conscious, she had done it all for love, all for friendship, but now she thought about it, everything they had done that night was far from right and she had a feeling it would haunt them soon.
    She knew her friends felt the same, Ekaette couldn’t hide her fears. She had not even stood for a second to listen to her dream, she couldn’t blame her, she carried the greatest burden.
    ‘Good morning Feyi sweet’ the door flew open and Bilki stepped into the room with a food flask in one hand and her bag in the other.
    ‘You came, where’s Kat’? Feyi was happy to see her. Truthfully, she was closer to Bilkisu than Ekaette, maybe because Bilki was more tolerant and patient, on the other hand, Ekaette was sassy and impatient.
    ‘She’ll be here later, I bought us Pringles, I know you’d love this flavor’ Bilki dropped the flask and open the can containing the Pringles.
    ‘What flavor is that’?  Feyi slowly sat up, eating would definitely rub her mouth of the bitter taste.

    Episode Eight

    ‘Onion, your favorite’ Bilki kissed her forehead.
    ‘Thanks’ Feyi accepted the can and ate from it. She was an unhappy person living a fake life, showing off her ‘happy’ marriage with Timi real life and on social media.
    ‘Are you okay? You don’t look fine to me’ Bilki saw this sad and distant look in Feyi’s eyes and it bothered her.
    ‘I had another dream, please listen to me Bilki, I am so scared. It felt so real, like she was still alive and had come back for us’ Feyi dropped the can and faced her friend as she had lost her hunger for food.
    ‘What’s your dream about’? Bilki inhaled deeply.
    ‘Miss Koi-Koi’ Feyi stuttered, she hoped her friend would listen to her.
    ‘Elizabeth? What if you’ve been thinking about her, about that night, maybe you’re just afraid, that’s why you’re dreaming about her’ Bilki was slightly uncomfortable with the subject, but she’d listen anyway.
    ‘It’s not my fears Bilki. I saw her last night, remember how she used to wear her yellow shoes and walk round the dormitory till we caught her? I saw something like that’ Feyi told her friend the dream.
    ‘Elizabeth was mentally derailed, I wished we had known that earlier, if we did, we could have easily avoided what happened’ Bilkisu sighed and went down Memory’s lane.
    There was a mythical narrative popular in boarding houses then, of a woman who was once a teacher then became a victim of murder or rape(as some versions would have it) and died in the process. Her ghost walked the dormitories and terrified innocent boarders, especially the tapping of her shoe ‘Koi Koi’ sound.
    ‘She terrified us all those nights, and we fell for it, we actually believed it till someone saw her slip on her yellow shoes at night. She was so crazy’ Feyi relaxed as they reminisced.
    ‘Then we all went to the same University and lived in the same compound, can you imagine? And she never got tired of wearing her yellow shoes and walking about at night. She was damn crazy’ Bilki scoffed.
    ‘But Kat shouldn’t have stabbed her, we all knew Elizabeth wasn’t very normal. Ekaette stabbed her in fear that night and we buried her in secret. I wish we never did’ Feyi sighed.
    ‘No, Ekaette stabbed her because she threatened to kill Ekaette, have you forgotten so easily? She had eyes on Emeka, who was Ekaette’s boyfriend then and she vowed to kill Ekaette for snatching her boyfriend. You know the funny thing’?Bilki  asked.
    ‘No’ Feyi shook her head.
    ‘Emeka didn’t know about this girl, he’d never said a word to Elizabeth before, she was really crazy’ Bilkisu added.
    ‘That still doesn’t justify what we did. I just pray it doesn’t haunt us in future’ Feyi said.
    ‘We are in the future baby, nothing can harm us, besides she had been an orphan, had a little sister, no one really cared about them’ Bilkisu retorted.
    ‘I feel better talking to you’ Feyi reached for her hands.
    ‘I am glad I could help’ Bilkisu replied.
    ‘So  do you have a boyfriend? Friends? Or you’re just here alone in Tomato Island’ Ekaette winked.
    ‘Uhmmm, not really, I don’t have time to socialize much but I have a sister’ Barnie replied. How could Ekaette ask her that? When she took everything away from her? When she hurt Elizabeth.
    ‘Oh, sweet, what’s her name? does she stay here?’ she asked.
    ‘No, she is very far from here, she lives in America, her name is Elna’ Barnie lied.
    ‘Nice names, Barnie and Elna, I guess your parents watched lots of white movies before naming you’ Ekaette winked.
    ‘I guess so too’ Barnie laughed dryly.
    ‘So, tell me about your friends, how long have you guys been together’? Barnie asked.
    ‘Oh, I and the girls, Bilki and Feyi, we’re more than friends, we’re like a family. It all started in secondary school, we were nicknamed  ‘the three slay queens’ can you imagine that?’ Ekaette laughed as she remembered how popular they had been.
    ‘I guess you must have been the ‘It’ girls, popular and hot and other girls wanted to be like you’ Barnie said.
    ‘Yea right, especially me, but there was this girl in particular, she was mentally ill, we got to know that later, Elizabeth, she wanted to be like us so bad and when she couldn’t, she chose to terrify us ‘ Ekaette bit her lip as she realized she’d been talking too much.
    Elizabeth was a buried secret and she could never mention her to anyone, what was she thinking?
    ‘Oh, why do you think she was crazy’? Barnie felt hurt she would say something this mean about her late sister.
    ‘Never mind, we’ll talk about that later, now let me get you introduced’ Ekaette brought the car to a halt.
    ‘Alright then’ Barnie laughed it off. She wasn’t comfortable with the way Ekaette had dodged her question, had she recognized her somehow?
    ‘So you girls ate all the Pringles? Where’s my share’? Ekaette hissed loudly and pulled Barnie along with her.
    ‘Arrhhh, here comes our fashion queen, how are you’? Feyi smiled as Ekaette sat at the edge of the bed.
    ‘Fine and you’? Ekaette asked curtly.
    ‘Never better, thanks for coming guys, I feel blessed having you two here’ Feyi smiled then stared at the younger woman that came in with Ekaette, who was she?
    ‘Oh, my manners, I am Barnie Ross, new in Tomato Island’ Barnie quickly introduced herself.
    ‘Weren’t you our hostess last night’? Bilkisu arched a brow, she remembered how Ekaette had bad mouthed the girl’s dress.
    ‘Yes I am’ Barnie smiled. She needed to win  their hearts first, then gain their trust before striking.
    ‘Welcome dear, I like your dress’Bilkisu offered her a handshake.
    ‘Thanks’ Barnie nodded.
    ‘You look familiar, have you lived here before’? Feyi could swear she’d seen this girl somewhere, there was something about her but she couldn’t place her finger on it.
    ‘No, never. This is my first time’ Barnie suddenly felt nervous, had Feyi recognized her?
    ‘Oh, sorry about that, welcome’ Feyi forced a smile
    ‘You know what? I’d like to use the Ladies’, I’ll be right back’ she rushed out of the room.
    ‘You didn’t have to be so rude’ Ekaette blurted out.
    ‘Rude? I only asked her a question, she reminds me of someone, can’t you guys see it’? Feyi straightened. For some reason, staring into her bottomless black pits had given her the creeps,her eyes held something familiar and it scared her.
    ‘Please don’t do this here guys, no arguments’ Bilkisu bit her lip. Feyi and Ekaette seldom saw eye to eye.
    ‘Of who exactly?’ Ekaette asked.
    ‘I don’t know, I just don’t like her or feel comfortable around her, who is she anyway and what is she doing here’? Feyi asked.
    ‘I can’t believe this, you don’t even know her and you’re already judging her, what makes you think you have the power to judge anyone’ Ekaette rose from the bed.
    ‘I don’t get it, why are you so upset? I wasn’t rude to her, I’m just being honest’ Feyi replied coolly.
    ‘You know what? I’m out of here, you are nasty, have a nice day’ Ekaette stormed out of the room angrily.

    Episode Nine

    ‘Ekaette! You don’t have to do this’ Bilkisu was amazed at her reaction. Yes, Feyi was wrong to make such a hasty assumption but that didn’t make her a weak person.
    ‘You know what? I am tired of her, I sacrificed so much for her, yet she is selfish and uncaring. She doesn’t have emotions, look at my state, look at how she’s treating me’ Feyi spat out.
    ‘I heard that you fool’ Ekaette had not left, she stood by the door waiting for Barnie’s return.
    ‘Fool? How dare you? You little ingrate’ Feyi yelled at her.
    ‘Ingrate? Why would you call me that? What positive contributions have you made in my life so far’? Ekaette sniggered.
    ‘I saved your ass when you were in trouble. I cleaned up your mess. I buried your secret and shielded you. Do you have amnesia’? Feyi scoffed.
    ‘Oh, is this about your ‘Miss Koi-Koi’ dream? You helped me cause you wanted to, I never forced you, I would’ve still handled my shit myself. Now you feel I owe you one, I don’t owe you anything’ Ekaette hissed. Timi had been right, Feyi wasn’t such a good person after all.
    ‘Girls, please don’t do this, remember our pact that night, never to talk about this, please. Our whole lives could be ruined by this secret’ Bilki tried to calm them down.
    ‘Well, she started it by being rude to my friend. Enjoy yourselves, I’m out’ she left the hospital for good.
    ‘God! She’s so ungrateful, how could she say those words to me? I covered her tracks and see how she wants to repay me’ tears rolled on Feyi’s cheeks.
    ‘Just stay calm, I’ll talk to her, I promise’ Bilki hugged her friend.
    Tom Ehigwese was a realtor but he’d thought about starting his own business, erecting his own buildings and leasing them out. He had plans and he needed the help of a good engineer and an architect. He’d found a land to build on and he needed to establish something enormous and perfect.
    He had been married to Margaret for thirteen years and they had no child; she was as barren as the biblical fig, one of the reasons he had extra marital affairs. He had discovered something grave about his wife, she had refused to admit it at first, but he’d threatened to divorce her before she accepted that she had several abortions while she was young and her womb had been destroyed in the process.
    ‘Secrets, women and secrets’ he poured himself a drink. He was still married to her because she was an heiress and he needed her money to build his brand.
    ‘You don’t care about me Thomas, I didn’t return last night and you didn’t even care to find me. What if something bad happened’? Maggie had freshened up.
    ‘Say something you bastard? Don’t just stand there’ she scowled.
    ‘I have nothing to say to you, this marriage was built on secrets, I have no respect for it’ Tom knotted his tie, fetched a file and his car keys. He had an appointment with Engineer Timileyin, the man whose donation at the fund raising had shaken the foundations of the city.
    ‘Is this about Ekaette? Are you still sleeping with her’? Maggie folded her hands across her chest.
    ‘Who I sleep with is none of your damn business’ he hissed and walked away.
    ‘Really? I see…’ Maggie chewed on a nail. She did that whenever she was restless, she needed to consider Barnie’s offer. She had to deal personally with Ekaette Anderson.
    She picked her phone and hurriedly dialed Barnie’s number.
    ‘Hello, it’s me, Maggie, I have accepted your offer’ she dropped the message in her voicemail.
    Timi smiled as he read the blogs that had carried news about his donation. Davina Diaries was top of the list, the woman was a real gossip and she had a huge online following.
    ‘Phase one’ he felt happy. He needed to gather more people to his cause, one of the reasons he had agreed to work with Mr. Tom, the realtor who wanted to start his own business.
    Working with Tom was part of his strategy, Thomas, was well known in the neighborhood and would amass votes for him when the time came.
    ‘I can’t wait for that beautiful day’ he fetched a wine from his cellar as he heard a car horn. They had a lot to discuss.
    He thought of Ekaette and prayed she accepted his proposal, he needed a distraction from his boring wife and she just fit the perfect description of his kind of woman.
    But he’d heard of rumors of her torrid love affair with Tom, which would be another item for discussion. Ekaette was his alone and he wasn’t prepared to share.
    ‘Welcome Tom, you don’t look too good’ he poured him a glass of wine.
    ‘Thanks, Timi, I’ll be fine’ he sank into a chair.
    ‘Really? Woman trouble? Sorry to pry’ Timi asked.
    ‘Sure, my wife kept a secret from me, now I am trapped with her but I need her money’ he replied.
    ‘Funny. I like my wife but she’s too dumb for me, I doubt if Feyi could keep a secret’ Timi shrugged, he didn’t want to pry further, but he knew Maggie and Tom were having trouble in their marriage.
    ‘Don’t be too sure, women and secrets are twins. And you know how dangerous a deadly secret could be, it could ruin everything you’ve ever built’ Tom gulped the drink greedily.
    ‘Well, we aren’t here to talk about secrets, have this paper, read my terms for helping you and sign if you agree’ he handed Tom a piece of paper.
    ‘Wow, so I have to support your plans to be a Counsellor, and stay away from your mistress, who could that be’? Tom asked.
    ‘Ekaette Anderson, keep that to yourself’ Timi replied.
    ‘Well, I never did really love her, she just has a nice ass’ Tom chuckled and went ahead to sign the papers. He needed Timi’s money and influence to succeed.‘So when do we start’? Tom asked.
    ‘Land purchase’ Timi had checked out some adverts.
    ‘I already have land’ Tom replied.
    ‘I know, but you need something bigger, there’s someone willing to sell, he lives in Uyo, an hours drive from Tomato Island, we should check it out’ Timi suggested.
    ‘Alright then, thanks for your help’ Tom shook hands with him.
    ‘Secrets’ Timi murmured, did Feyi have any secret? He wondered what Maggie hid from
    ‘Barnie! Wait’ Ekaette spotted her rushing out of the hospital premises, stopped the car and rushed to meet her.
    She had seen the look on Feyi’s face and that made her uncomfortable, obviously, she wasn’t welcomed and she needed to leave and re-strategize.

    Episode Ten

    She knew quite well that these women connived and killed her sister, she had evidence, from Elizabeth’s diary, she could easily walk into any police station and fight for that but that would make it too easy for them. They were wealthy people and would easily get out of the police net; her personal vengeance mission would serve them well.
    She had her plans. She’d tear them apart and blackmail them till they had nothing left.
    ‘I am here’ she sighed and stopped.
    ‘I am sorry about my friend’s attitude, you need to understand that she just lost a baby, and you know how people in pain could react to others? Please understand’ Ekaette explained.
    ‘Really? I am not a kid, don’t expect me to believe that, it’s not about her miscarriage or her health, it’s something personal, like she knows someone that shares a semblance with me and maybe this person had hurt her badly. I totally understand’ Barnie smiled.
    ‘Sure’? Ekaette felt relaxed that her new friend was okay.
    ‘Yes, why are you even friends with someone like that’ Barnie rubbed her hands together, it was time to play.
    ‘I don’t understand’ Ekaette arched a brow.
    ‘Oh come off it, you can trust me, I’ll share my secrets with you, we’re friends right’? she asked.
    ‘Good. I did a little course on human psychology and I can tell you that your friend is not a very happy person’ Barnie started, then watched Ekaette’s face very closely.
    ‘She is bitter and angry, you two, Bilki and yourself are more successful, she envies you, who wouldn’t? Ekaette Anderson is a beautiful person, intelligent and successful and I am glad I met her’ Barnie quickly added.
    ‘Wow, that’s sweet’ Ekaette enjoyed the compliments then pondered on Barnie’s words.
    Timileyin, Feyi’s husband had already informed her about her friend’s bad behavior. For some reason, Feyi wasn’t happy with her, she even expressed her feelings while they quarreled.
    ‘Do you think she envies me? Why would she’? Ekaette asked.
    ‘Of course she does, don’t be blind, you’re more beautiful and successful. I could read her like a book, the way she stared at you in disgust, I caught her looking at you badly, that’s why she was rude to me’ Barnie said.
    ‘Really? The bitch, I could just go in there and smash her head’ Ekaette hissed loudly.
    ‘No, that’s not how to deal with people like her’ Barnie said.
    ‘What do you suggest’?
    ‘Act normal with her,then get Bilkisu over to your side, let’s start from there’
    Barnie suggested.
    ‘It seems you read my mind, she prefers Bilki to me. I guess that’s the only way to hurt her’ her eyes brightened, she would also go for Timi. She would take everything that belonged to Feyi.
    Bilkisu had dropped Feyi at home, Timi had called and asked for her help; he had some important business to attend to.
    She was glad her friend was strong enough to stay on her own, but her joy wasn’t full because her two friends had a big fight.
    ‘Dinner is served’ Ifeoma dropped a tray of fried Dodo(plantain) and jollof rice before her.
    ‘I am not hungry babe’ Bilkisu replied. She hated it when Ekaette and Feyi quarreled, they had never spoken to each other like this, it scared her.
    ‘You are joking right? I took time to prepare this meal’ Ifeoma scoffed. She had spent a great deal of time in Barnie’s house, and had taken pains to make dinner.
    ‘I had a bad day Ify’ Bilki recounted the incident at the hospital.
    ‘I am sorry about that, they’ll reconcile, when would you introduce me to the girls’? Ify asked.
    Bilkisu had dated her for six months yet she had  not made any effort to introduce her to the girls.
    ‘Soon. Be patient’ Bilkisu played with her food. How could Ifeoma even ask that? No one could know about that part of her life, it was secret and dirty and had to stay that way: in the shadows.
    ‘Alright, I didn’t enjoy my first day at work’ Ifeoma yawned.
    ‘I am sorry, I forgot to ask, how is our new neighbor’s house’? Bilkisu asked. She had met Barnie in person at the hospital, she seemed like a nice person, maybe Feyi had just been in a bad mood.
    ‘One word. Weird’ Ifeoma replied.
    ‘Weird? How weird’? Bilkisu asked.
    ‘I don’t know, there’s something queer about her, for example, who would want their whole house to be decorated with one colour’? Ifeoma asked.
    ‘Well, that isn’t weird, except the color is black’ Bilki smiled, it sounded funny though.
    ‘And only weird people like yellow. There’s a lot of work to be done in that house, in a month’s time it would be ready’ Ifeoma stretched herself and decided to leave for bed.
    ‘Reminds me of a certain weird girl back in school’ Bilkisu thought of Elizabeth and her yellow shoes, goose pimples pricked her skin as she thought about the possibility of her returning to haunt them.
    ‘Tell me about her…’ Ifeoma asked.
    ‘Well, nothing much, Elizabeth was her name’ Bilkisu shrugged and regretted mentioning her name.
    ‘Was? What happened to her’? Ifeoma asked.
    ‘Uhmmm, she had an accident and died’ Bilki lied.
    ‘I have to use the bathroom, excuse me’ Bilki left the table.
    ‘Alright’ Ifeoma’s eyes trailed behind her, she had known Bilkisu for six months plus and never for once had she doubted her trust and loyalty; but she had a feeling Bilkisu was hiding something from her. She had never seen her in such  a mood before.
    She knew just how much I loved him and still went ahead to be with him. They always looked for the slightest opportunity to make me feel less of a human. When I approached her, she threatened to kill me.
     Barnie closed the diary and poured herself a drink. She took out the carton that contained the yellow shoes and caressed the shoes once again.
    ‘It’s been so long Eliza,but I promise to avenge you’ a rueful smile played on her lips.
    ‘One by one, they will pay and you’ll rest in peace’ she caressed the shoes as she spoke.
    After another session with her sister, she fetched her phone and scanned it, she clicked on voicemail and was surprised Maggie had dropped a message.
    She listened to it twice and smiled after. This was going to be fun.
    ‘One member of my avengers team’ she laughed and scrolled through her pictures to ensure her evidence was safe.
    There she was kissing and smooching her friend’s husband, Ekaette Anderson was unrepentant and she would be put to shame.
    Now things had been set in motion, she needed to add a twist to the game. The girls were now divided, if Ekaette played her game well, Bilkisu would become closer to her and Feyi would feel hurt; she would be lonely and in a bad place and this would be the point Maggie would come in.
    She dialed Maggie’s number and drummed her fingers against the bottle of scotch while waiting for an answer.

    Episode Eleven

    Now things had been set in motion, she needed to add a twist to the game. The girls were now divided, if Ekaette played her game well, Bilkisu would become closer to her and Feyi would feel hurt; she would be lonely and in a bad place and this would be the point Maggie would come in.
    She dialed Maggie’s number and drummed her fingers against the bottle of scotch while waiting for an answer.
    ‘Hello Barnie, good evening, did you receive my message’? Maggie sounded excited.
    ‘Madam Maggie, how are you? I received your message and I am pleased you finally took the right step’ Barnie replied.
    ‘I had to Barnie, Tom is still seeing Ekaette and it hurts me so much’ Maggie was bitter.
    ‘Good. Let’s meet up for a meeting. I have a great plan and you need briefing’ Barnie said.
    ‘Okay, what time? And venue’? Maggie asked
    Ajala’s Travails: The Street, My First Love #1
    ‘Morning, come over to my house’ Barnie replied.
    ‘Thanks Barnie, you’re a marriage saver’ Maggie sighed contently.
    ‘Welcome, have a good night’ she broke the call and stared at the picture once again.
    This was going to be hot, she chuckled, now Ekaette trusted her, it made her plans easier.
    She soaked herself in a bubble bath filled with rose petals; the water glided on her beautiful skin and made her feel refreshed. The water was warm and had a beautiful fragrance.
    She closed her eyes and went through the day’s event; she saw the truth now, the truth stared at her in the face and she couldn’t escape from it. Barnie was right about Feyi, her friend envied her and she couldn’t hide it anymore.
    How could she resurrect a secret key they had hidden for ten years? How could she call her an ingrate? She remembered what happened that night, she was scared and confused but she had not forced Feyi to help her.
    Emeka was her first lover, they’d met at the University and she loved him very much. The crazy Elizabeth girl had also attended the same school as them and lived in the same compound. She then threatened to kill her if she didn’t stay away from Emeka; she, in turn, confronted her boyfriend and asked him if he was seeing someone else, someone named Elizabeth but he denied it bluntly, he claimed he had never spoken a word to her.
    She had dismissed Elizabeth’s threat easily, she was a nut head and people were starting to realize this. Then that night, she had gone outside to urinate, then she heard the shoe sounds and felt terrified.
    ‘Is anybody there’? Ekaette scanned the darkness with her touch but saw nothing, yet the sound of somebody walking on a pair of heels got nearer and this totally freaked her out.
    ‘Hello Slay Queen Slut’ Elizabeth showed up behind her, dressed in a milky white night gown and a pair of stilettos, they were yellow in color.
    ‘Elizabeth? What do you think you’redoing? Are you stalking me now? You crazy bitch’? Ekaette scoffed.
     ‘No, I just came to fulfill my promise. Guess what? We are the only ones in this compound, the others have gone for a party, so killing you would be a pleasure’ her eyes were ombre, pure evil flowed in them and she brought out a blade, a short knife.
    Seriously?’ Ekaette laughed. She knew Elizabeth wasn’t very normal and once again didn’t take her seriously.
     ‘Stay there!’ she shouted.
    And if I don’t? watch me leave, psycho’ Ekaette hissed angrily and was about leaving when she felt the knife scratch her. She stilled in fear, so she had not been joking?
     ‘You scratched me with that knife’! Fear gripped Ekaette as she realized Elizabeth wasn’t joking.
     A struggled ensued between the two and Ekaette drove the blade into her belly.
     You killed me…’Elizabeth stammered as her blood flowed.
     No, dear lord save me’ Ekaette stared at her bloody hands, they shook and the knife fell from the floor.
    ‘What do I do? Please wake up Elizabeth’ Ekaette cried but she was dead.
     The shrill cry of her phone brought her back to reality and she realized she had visited Memory’s lane for the past thirty minutes.
    ‘Hello, Kate Anders on the line’ she didn’t check the caller identity.
    ‘Darling, I’m at your front door, I need to see you’
     ‘Timi?’ she asked excitedly.
    ‘Yes it’s me, darling, open the door’ he replied.
    ‘Timi, you never told me you were coming’Ekaette was shocked to see him standing before her with a bouquet of roses.
    ‘I couldn’t stop thinking about our kiss, the first we shared. You taste so sweet, baby.  I want to have that again’ he moved closer to her.
    ‘Wait Timi…’ she stopped him with her hand.
    ‘Yes, love?’ he waited for her question.
    ‘How about Feyi’? Ekaette asked.
    ‘She doesn’t need to know, I want you and that’s all that matters’ he pulled her closer to him.
    ‘Come here’ she pulled him into the house; her hands went wild as she caressed his head while he tore open her bathing robe which fell apart easily.
    ‘You’re so beautiful. More beautiful than I thought’ he adored her slender neck with his kisses.
    ‘Touch me please, don’t keep me waiting’ she couldn’t wait to have him inside of her.
    Without extra words, he kissed her slowly and massaged her body with his firm hands. She moaned and writhed against him as he placed her nude body on the floor then quickly undressed before joining her.
    ‘Are you ready’? he asked, eyes possessed and clouded by passion.
    ‘Yes I am’ she nodded and closed her eyes.
    He parted her legs gently, kissed her forehead one more time before plunging into her.
    The house was awfully quiet, she was done preparing dinner but she lost her appetite and skipped it while staying up for her husband, awaiting his return.
    They had a lot to discuss, she had lost a second pregnancy due to his inability to control himself. She had reached a point where she couldn’t pretend anymore, she wasn’t happy and Timi had to step up his game as a husband. He needed to fulfill the promises he made to her on the day they got married.
    She dialed Bilkisu’s phone number, it rang severally but she wasn’t picking. She sighed and fetched herself a brandy from the cellar, she felt lonely and depressed, it seemed everyone she knew had abandoned her and she was left to face the world alone.
    Calling Ekaette was out of question, she was an ingrate and needed to be thought a lesson. Ekaette’s character grew worse as each day passed, she was becoming more selfish and insensitive to the needs of others, especially her needs.
    She poured the golden brown liquid into a glass and drank all of it; she needed something to numb the pain she was feeling, to quench her feeling of loneliness and sadness.
    Minutes later, Timi sauntered into the living room. He looked disheveled, his buttons were left unfinished, his hair was scattered. She had ignored this new look at first, then as he neared her, a little pack fell from his pocket. It was a condom.

    Episode Twelve

    ‘Timi….’ She rose slowly on her feet, maybe the wine was playing with her vision, maybe she had not seen it well. What was he doing with that?
    ‘Feyi, I see you’re learning a new skill’ his eyes went to the bottle, then riveted back to the condom. He bent and picked it up and left for the bedroom.
    ‘This isn’t happening’ she scoffed. He actually picked the condom and walked away from her like it was nothing, she felt angry and hurt. How could a man be that callous?
    ‘Timi, are you seeing someone? Are you cheating on me’? her voice was broken.
    ‘I need to sleep Feyi, I have a long day ahead tomorrow. I’ve got a lot of work to do with Tom’ Timi peeled the clothes from his body and left for the bathroom.
    ‘This isn’t happening, what do I do now’? Feyi cried. Her lips shook as she imagined another woman’s arms around her husband. Who would she call? She needed to speak to someone, she needed advice.
    Ekaette was very good with things like this, she had  a vast experience with men and would have an idea on how to handle Timi. She decided to forgive her friend for her bad behavior, she also needed Bilkisu’s advice, she needed to speak with her friends. Maybe it was time for her to reveal the truth about her unhappy marriage.
    Without hesitating, she typed a short text and sent it to her friends.
    He had already gone ahead of Timi to survey the land they were to buy, he had no time to waste. Already, he’d hired a building company to start work on the land, Timi was a lazy man, he just needed his influence and money, reason he’d gone to him in the first instance.
    ‘Morning sweetheart, I made you pancakes’ Maggie dropped a tray filled with brown pancakes and a cup of chocolate drink.
    Tom ignored her at first, she had never been this nice to him. What was Maggie up to?
    ‘I didn’t poison it, you can eat’ she cut a little piece of it and threw it into her mouth.
    ‘What do you want Maggie’? he asked.
    ‘Nothing, I am just being a good wife’ she replied.
    ‘I am in a rush, just package it, I could eat while driving. I’m off to work’ he shrugged. She was up to something,  he knew this very well, he’d find out later.
    ‘Where are you off to’? she asked.
    ‘I bought a land, I want to start my own business, we already talked about this. The land is located in Uyo, the abandoned campus precisely. The University had three campuses before they were all moved to the permanent site. I bought one of the abandoned ones’ he explained.
    ‘Okay then, here are your pancakes’ she had wrapped them in foil.
    ‘Bye Good wife’ he scoffed and hurried out.
    ‘Bye darling, soon you’ll be mine’ she chuckled mischievously. Once Ekaette Anderson was out of the way, nothing else would stop her from winning her husband back.
    She gathered her phone and a jotter, she needed to meet up with Barnie for a briefing.
    ‘What took you so long’? Timi hopped into the car.
    ‘Sorry about that’ Tom apologized and increased the car speed.
    ‘I already checked the land out, I bought it, as we speak men are already at work’ Tom grabbed the foil and peeled it slightly.
    ‘Wow, you move fast, you should’ve waited for me, remember I am your sponsor’ Timi reminded him of the facts.
    ‘Sorry boss, I just can’t wait to start employing realtors, tired of doing the job for others’ Tom bit into his pancake.
    ‘Good plan. Where did you get that? Smells nice’ Timi asked.
    ‘My wife made them. She has been acting funny lately, she’s up to something’ Tom decided.
    ‘Eating pancakes from a woman who has a dark secret, how nice buddy’ Timi scowled as he remembered what Tom had shared the other day.
    ‘Well, what if your wife has a secret? All women have secrets, some could be more deadly than others’ Tom replied.
    ‘Nope, Feyi is innocent, too innocent for me’ Timi shrugged as they reached the building site.
    ‘This is huge Tom, what exactly do you plan to build here’?
    ‘A five star hotel then I sell it out to interested persons. A strategic location, good for business’ Tom brought the car to a halt and both men stepped down.
    ‘Enormous’ Timi smiled, then his eyes strayed to a point where some men had gathered.
    ‘Something’s wrong, look over there’ Timi pointed at the men.
    ‘I wonder what it could be’ Tom shut the car door and they both rushed towards the men.
    ‘Goodmorning Mr Tom, we have a problem, this work needs to be put on hold’ the lead Engineer informed them.
    ‘I don’t understand, why? What’s going on’? Tom asked.
    ‘We found a human skull and bones and other items over there while working on the land’ he explained.
    ‘Dear lord, what does that mean? I have already bought this land, we have no choice but to shove it under our feet and continue working’ Tom replied, he looked over at Timi and wondered why he was quiet.
    ‘I don’t think that would be a good idea sir, most of the men know about it, I think an innocent person was murdered here and we have to do what is right’ the man paused seeing the confusion on Tom’s face.
    ‘And what would that be’? Tom asked.
    ‘We report to the police, they have the right to either let us continue or pause till further notice’
    ‘Is this true? Is that even possible? I bought this land, it is my property, I can do as I wish’ Tom said.
    ‘I’m afraid Tom, the engineer is right. If we shove this aside, those men would say something, trust me, you wouldn’t like it and I don’t want to be involved in something shady considering my political plans’ Timi replied.
    ‘So what do we do’? Tom asked.
    ‘Discretion, instead of reporting to the police, maybe we could hire private detectives, Our dear Police have a way of blowing things out of proportion. That’s the least we could do.’
    ‘So do you have anybody in mind?’ Tom asked.
    ‘I do have a friend, he once schooled here, he left the shores of Nigeria ten years ago and has just returned. He majored in Forensic Archaeology and Criminology, he could help; I assure you of his professionalism.’ The engineer chipped in.
    ‘What is his name and how do we find him’? Timi asked.
    ‘Emeka Peters. Here is his Car. She woke up feeling happy and satisfied. Timi had given her multiple orgasms, he reminded her of only one man, the first man she had fallen in love with, Emeka.
    ‘Beautiful morning’ she yawned as she parted the curtains. Golden ruler rays pierced her room and burnt her delicate skin slightly, it was going to be a hot day in Tomato Island.

    Episode Thirteen

    She pulled open her wardrobe and fetched a skirt and a see through blouse, good sex was something every woman should have, it plunged one into high spirits and gave one unimaginable confidence, just like a drug would do.
    Then her phone rang. Her heart raced, Timi must have called. She rushed towards the device on her dressing table.
    ‘Hello, it’s you’ she said smugly. Bilkisu was the caller.
    ‘Yea, who else? Bilki on the line, you don’t sound good, are you okay’? she asked.
    ‘Yes, I am fine. I was just getting ready for work’ Ekaette yawned.
    ‘Work? Haven’t you received Feyi’s text? She has something important to tell us, we should meet with her first. I have work too, but our friendship is important’ Bilkisu replied.
    ‘I am not coming. What else does she have to tell us except the crazy Elizabeth story? She has nothing important, and I am in a very good mood right now. You know how annoying Feyi could be. She envies me, she envies you, what we have and all that’ Ekaette poured out her mind. Barnie had warned her about Feyi and she needed to play smart.
    ‘No, please don’t speak this way. Feyi could never envy us, where is this coming from’? Bilki asked.
    ‘Feyi is not whom we think she is, she is a liar and a hater. I have so many things to tell you about Feyi, we should meet up later, somewhere else’ Ekaette suggested.
    ‘Okay, I’ll still see her anyway’
    She had not slept much at night, she stayed up and went through her plan all over again; now she had created a division between Ekaette and Feyi, she needed to separate Bilkisu from Feyi too, she wanted them to stand against each other.
    There was something that Maggie had said about Bilikisu at their first meeting, she called her a lesbian, if this were true, it would make her job of separating Bilkisu from Feyi much easier.
    She needed confirmation from Maggie first, before moving to the next plan.
    She lifted herself from bed and walked round the house; the interior designer would be coming in later to finish up her job.
    ‘Nice drapes’ she noticed how beautiful the golden yellow curtains were; she had her reasons for choosing yellow. Her sister’s favorite color was yellow and flagging the color was keeping her alive.
    Barnie sighed as she thought about her life, finally, she had met the women that had killed her sister, she couldn’t wait for the right time to spill their blood.
    ‘And it begins’ she exhaled as her door bell was rung. She didn’t want to guess, but she was sure Maggie had called.
    ‘Good morning Barnie, sorry I came this early, I can’t just wait to do this’ Maggie stepped into the house.
    ‘Welcome Madam Maggie, I just got out of bed, what would you like to have’? Barnie asked and opened her fridge.
    ‘Bacon? Fried eggs, sandwich? French fries’? she poked her head side wards as she assessed the fridge’s content.
    ‘Nothing. Let’s just get down to business’ Maggie declined.
    ‘Alright then.’ Barnie closed the fridge and moved to where the chairs were.
    ‘Maggie, I am ready to help you because I know what it feels to lose something, I know what it feels to have your happiness taken from you, but you must promise me that everything we do or say remains a secret’ Barnie said. She was prepared to work with Maggie, but she needed to be sure the woman could keep a secret.
    ‘Yes, I understand the importance of discretion’ Maggie replied.
    ‘Good. Tell me something secret about you, I shall share mine with you, let’s start with that’ Barnie replied.
    ‘Seriously’? Maggie scoffed, was that even necessary?
    ‘Okay then’ Maggie saw that Barnie was serious about this, she had to tell her a secret, that would make them loyal to each other.
    ‘I don’t have a womb’ Maggie said flatly.
    Barnie stared at the woman before her for some minutes, the way she had spoken the words lacked effort, the words were void of emotion and this was a sign that Maggie not only kept this secret for long but she had learnt to live with it.
    ‘Good. My name is not Barnie, my real name is Elizabeth’ Barnie said.
    ‘Elizabeth? So why Barnie’? Maggie wondered.
    ‘I prefer something modern, Barnie suits me’ she said.
    ‘Is that all your secret’? Maggie wondered. She had expected something more, something grave and dark, what was Barnie or Elizabeth hiding?
    ‘That’s all you need to know. Now to our business, I have a photograph that could implicate Ekaette Anderson forever, her career could hit the rocks if that picture is shown to blogs all over Nigeria and beyond. She isn’t only sleeping with Tom but someone very close to her, and this person would be greatly hurt’ Barnie paused and searched her phone for the picture.
    ‘So what do I do’? Maggie was eager for payback.
    ‘Excuse me, I have to take this call’  Barnie checked her phone, Ekaette was calling.
    ‘Goodmorning Barnie, how was your night’
    ‘Fine Kat and yours’? Barnie asked‘Fine, what did you just call me’? Ekaette was surprised, only few people called her ‘Kat’, her two friends and old school mates.
    ‘I just thought it suits you’ Barnie lied.
    ‘Feyi sent me a text, she wants me to meet up with her at Mannatoba Coffee shop, she says it’s important. I don’t want to go, what do you think’? Ekaette asked.
    ‘You’re doing the right thing, don’t go for this meeting and discourage Bilkisu from meeting with her’ Barnie replied.
    ‘O, I can’t, Bilki plans to meet with her but I won’t. I’d rather meet up with you then, we should go shopping’ Ekaette grinned.
    ‘Nice idea, so what time was this meeting scheduled for’? Barnie asked. Maybe this would be the right time for Maggie to meet with Feyi; surely, she’d feel bad that Ekaette didn’t show up, Maggie would then meet her at her low point and show her the picture, that would trigger some inferno.
    ‘Um, Ten’ Ekaette skimmed through the text.
    ‘Good. Just come over my house,I have something important to tell you’ Barnie said.
    ‘Alright friend, bye’ she said before ending the call.
    ‘Are you friends with her’? Maggie had been eavesdropping, what exactly was Barnie up to?
    ‘Yes, it is for our own good, she is my enemy too. She offended me long time ago, slept with my sister’s man, my lovely sister never recovered from that heartbreak, that’s why I want to deal with her so bad’ Barnie said.
    ‘Your sister? Then she must be a real slut, please tell me what to do’.
    ‘You mentioned something about Bilkisu being a lesbian, that night at the Fund raising dinner’ Barnie needed to work on something else.

    Episode Fourteen

    ‘Yes I recall, I was drunk though but I hear things. Why isn’t she married? People especially her workers say she is into women, it could be true or false. What has that got to do with this anyway’? Maggie asked.
    ‘It’s part of my plan. Look at this picture’ Barnie gave her the phone.
    ‘Oh my God, she is equally sleeping with her friend’s husband, how would Feyi take this’? Maggie covered her mouth with her hand.
    ‘Now that’s the part you’ll play. Feyi would be at Manitoba Coffee shop by ten this morning, she will be meeting with Bilkisu, hang around and show her this picture. Encourage her to make public their affair’ Barnie advised.
    ‘This would break her wings, I’d do this over a thousand times. Thank you, Barnie, where did you get the picture from’? Maggie was curious.
    ‘You ask too many questions. Now run along’ Barnie dismissed her like she was a little child.
    ‘Okay then. I promise to deliver’ Maggie bowed her head in gratitude.
    ‘Go ahead’ Barnie nodded.
    ‘Finally, my plans are working’ she jumped on her feet. She had another plan, she would turn Bilkisu against Feyi, she prayed inwardly Ekaette would accept her proposal.
    Ifeoma stepped out of the car reluctantly, she wasn’t very much thrilled about work that day but she needed to finish what she had started.
    She had a fight with Bilkisu, why was she reluctant in introducing her to her three friends? Was it too much to ask? It’s not as if she wanted her to tell them they were lovers, no, she just wanted to be a part of her life completely.
    But Bilkisu had taken offense when she had offered to join her to see Feyi since Ekaette had refused to show up.
    ‘You’re putting so much pressure on me, you want the whole world to know we’re lovers, don’t you know what that means? I could lose my inheritance and my clientele. Stop putting pressure on me’ those were the words Bilkisu had spoken to her.
    ‘What the hell…’ her eyes went to Barnie’s doorstep. She knew the woman very well, that was the realtor’s wife, Mr. Tom was married to Maggie, the woman that had embarrassed Ekaette at the mall for sleeping with her husband. The story had spread like wild fire, what was she doing in the new neighbor’s house?
    She shut her door and hurried there but Maggie had already driven off. Bilkisu had mentioned that Barnie was getting closer to Ekaette, if so, what business did she have with Maggie when the two women were arch enemies?
    ‘Ifeoma, welcome’ Barnie sighted her interior decorator.
    ‘Goodmorning madam’ Ifeoma smiled.
    ‘Call me Barnie please, come on in, I am pleased with the curtains, I like your work’ Barnie praised her.
    ‘Thank you, Madam, this is my first job, I am glad you like it’ Ifeoma was happy her client was satisfied.
    ‘Really? And you did splendid’ Barnie was amazed.
    ‘Thank you, Madam, I should start working now. I’ll work on the dining room today’ Ifeoma scanned the house.
    ‘Good, seems I have a visitor’ Barnie peeped outside, Ekaette had come.
    ‘Morning Kat, you look beautiful’ Barnie rushed and gave her a hug.
    ‘Good morning Madam’ Ifeoma murmured. This was the first time she’d stood this close to the famous fashion designer, she wished Bilkisu had introduced her but she had refused for reasons known to her.
    ‘Morning, who’s this Barnie? Your sister’? Ekaette took off her shades and assessed the girl before her.
    ‘Meet Ifeoma my interior decorator’ Barnie introduced them.
    ‘Nice meeting you Ifeoma’ Ekaette shook hands with her.
    ‘Ifeoma, I think you should work on my bedroom for now’ Barnie suggested, she needed privacy for what she’d be discussing with Ekaette.
    ‘Alright Madam, I’d do just that’ Ifeoma understood Barnie didn’t want her listening to whatever they needed to discuss and this got her curious.
    ‘So, is this what you’re wearing for shopping’? Ekaette teased her, she still wore her pajamas.
    ‘Hell no, I have something important to discuss with you’ Barnie decided there wasn’t time.
    ‘It’s about Feyi’ Barnie pulled a chair, Ekaette did same.
    ‘The bitch, I hate her so much right now’ Ekaette hissed loudly.
    ‘That’s why you need to bring Bilkisu over to yourself, let her feel empty and alone. Let her wallow in her bitterness-Barnie replied.
    ‘What do you suggest’? Ekaette eased herself against the chair.
    ‘You’ll need to play dirty, she’d do same if she had that opportunity’ Barnie advised.
    ‘Sure, I am ready to get my hands brown’ Ekaette replied, sleeping with Timi was just the tip of what she’d do to Feyi.
    ‘Tell Bilkisu that Feyi said something dirty about her, make her believe you, make it seem like Feyi is against her too’ Barnie suggested.
    If Maggie were right and Bilkisu was a lesbian, it would scare her very much that Feyi knew about her sexual orientation and that would sever their friendship.
    ‘Something dirty like’? Ekaette asked that would be easy.
    ‘Bilkisu is a lesbian’ Barnie replied.
    ‘Seriously? That’s simple, when should I tell her? I think she is with Feyi right now, this is the right time to strike’ Ekaette smiled mischievously and fetched her phone.
    ‘Atta girl, way to go’ Barnie felt pleased.
    Ifeoma was confused on how to work the bedroom. The curtains were perfect, what else did Barnie need from her? She decided to reach out to her for more instructions.
    She wasn’t looking down, so she stumbled on a carton, it fell open; an old looking blue diary fell from it and a pair of odd looking stilettos.
    ‘Damn!’ Ifeoma grunted then struggled to her feet.
    She quickly picked the shoes and the diary and placed them into the carton; she was ready to replace the carton from where it fell from when a colored sheet of paper fell from it.
    Out of curiosity, she decided to check it before replacement.
    ‘Wow…’ her mouth fell open, a picture of four girls: Feyi, Bilkisu, Ekaette and some other girl that resembled Barnie slightly, they seemed far younger than they were now. She carefully replaced the picture and left to see her client.
    Why had Bilkisu mentioned she had known Barnie before?
    ‘Feyi told me that you are a lesbian, that’s why I don’t feel comfortable around her, she is a slanderer-Ife oma paused, who was Ekaette talking to?  She felt uncomfortable.
    Tom was greatly disappointed at the turn out of events, this would mean a delay in the erection of his building, but like Timi had said, they needed to do the right thing.
    ‘I think we’re there’ Timi read the address aloud.
    ‘I wish I had not bought this land, I hate complications’ Tom complained.
    ‘I am sorry Tom, but we just have to do this’ Timi patted him on the shoulder.
    Emeka Peters was a private detective, he created his own crime investigation agency, he preferred this to working with the Nigerian police, they were short sighted. All his years abroad, all the training he had acquired had to be put to good use, one of the reasons he preferred to work on his own. He’d handled many cases during his short stay in Nigeria, especially cases that had to do with kidnapping and missing persons, though he still shared much information with the police, he had carved a niche for himself.

    Episode Fifteen

    He was once a student of the University of Uyo before moving to the United States of America; he remembered his first girlfriend, Kat, and her three friends, he had searched everywhere for them, Facebook and all social media platforms but there was nothing. And there was this crazy girl that lived close to them, she had vanished mysteriously into thin air, her disappearance often baffled him, but it made sense when he did a course in psychology. The girl was a victim of Bipolar disorder and must have gotten lost somehow.
    ‘Come on in, door’s open’ he drawled in his American accent.
    ‘Goodmorning sir’ Timi and Tom stepped into his office.
    ‘Morning sirs, please have a seat, get us some coffee Bridget’ he yelled at his secretary,
    ‘Right away sir’she yelled back.
    ‘Somebody referred us to you, he says you’re a private detective and can handle things discreetly’ Timi said.
    ‘Sure. How may I help you’? Emeka closed the file and faced them.
    ‘We have a huge problem, my friend here, Tom is a realtor but decided to erect his own buildings; so he bought a large expanse of land, hired engineers and bricklayers but they found something on the land, something that would be a great hindrance’ Timi paused.
    ‘What did they find’? Emeka asked the men seemed reluctant to speak it.
    ‘Bones. Human bones and some other items’ Tom interjected.
    ‘I see why you need my help. If you take this to the Police they’d broadcast everything to the public, and if God doesn’t stand by your side, no one would ever live in whatever building you planned on setting up, Africans are very superstitious and would accuse you of human sacrifice’ Emeka shook his head in disappointment.
    ‘Exactly our thoughts, please, help us, what do we do’? Tom asked.
    ‘Before I help you, you have to agree that if we pursue this case and find anyone guilty, we’ll turn them over to the police? Are we clear’? Emeka asked. He always explained this part to his clients as he didn’t have the authorization to arrest or prosecute wrongdoers.
    ‘Agreed’ Timi nodded.
    ‘Good. So what are your names and where are you from’? Emeka fetched a paper.
    ‘I am Tom, and my friend is Timileyin, we’re from Tomato Island’.
    ‘Wow, I’ve heard so much about that town. Where exactly is this plot of land you purchased’? Emeka asked.
    ‘One of the abandoned campuses, we found this bones close to a female hostel, ‘Hall forever’ Timi said.
    ‘Hall forever’? Emeka paused. Coincidentally, he’d been thinking of his first girlfriend and her three friends, they’d lived in a house close to Hall Forever.
    ‘Yes, any problem’? Tom asked.
    ‘No, I’ll have to check these bones, try to identify this person, then I get back to you’ Emeka replied.
    ‘Thank you very much for your time, how do we pay you’? Timi asked.
    ‘Once I establish the case, you could pay me half, and once I am done, you complete it’ Emeka rose to his feet and shook hands with them.
    ‘Thank you, Detective Peters’ they chorused.
    ‘Welcome gentlemen’.
    Feyi was happy Bilkisu had shown up, she knew Ekaette was still angry with her, that was why she had refused to honor her invitation.
    ‘So what makes you think Timi is cheating on you’? Bilkisu felt so hurt her friend was going through all these because of a man, one of the reasons she was into women.
    ‘I know it Bilki, a condom fell out of his pocket, I don’t know what to do, I am so hurt, I have been living a lie’ Tears rolled on her cheeks.
    ‘You need to be strong Feyi, maybe I should talk to Timi, I can’t believe he is this mean’ Bilki was surprised. Ekaette was right, after all,  the Feyi that sat before her was far from a happy person and she wished above all things that she could take her friend’s pain away.
    ‘He beats me Bilki, I’ve lost two pregnancies on his account. I lied to you girls that I was happy, I just wanted to be an achiever, I wanted my life to have meant’ she sobbed.
    ‘You lied to us? Why Feyi? You know we’ve been friends for long, you should’ve trusted us with the truth, we would’ve found a way to help you’ Bilkisu was surprised at her friend’s confession.
    ‘I envied you guys, Ekaette is a well-known fashion designer, you’re a successful young woman, but look at me, I have nothing. This marriage and Timi was everything, now I am empty. I am worthless’ she poured out her soul.
    ‘You envied us’? Bilkisu arched a brow as she remembered Ekaette’s words. She had mentioned something about Feyi envying them but that didn’t mean she’d want to harm them.
    ‘Yes,’ Feyi wiped her face.
    ‘Excuse me, I have to take this, Kat is calling, maybe she wants to come’ Bilkisu pressed the phone against her ear.
    ‘Hello, where are you? I am with Feyi now and she’s going through something pretty serious. You alone can handle this, I don’t even know what to say to her bilkisu retorted.
    ‘Feyi? Why are you so interested in her? She doesn’t like either of us, you should stay away from her Bilki, she is toxic. I swear’ Ekaette answered.
    ‘I don’t understand you, what are you talking about’? Bilkisu stared at Feyi’s face. This was her angel, she wasn’t capable of any evil doing.
    ‘She told me you were a lesbian and that’s the reason you don’t have a boyfriend’ Ekaette replied.
    ‘What’? her heart raced, how could Feyi say something like that? How could anyone even know of her strange sexual orientation?
    ‘Meet me up at my place, let’s talk more’ Ekaette ended the call.
    ‘What’s that? Are you okay’? Feyi saw the worried look on Bilki’s face.
    ‘I have to go. See you later’ Bilkisu rushed out of the coffee shop without another word, she needed to confirm what Ekaette had just told her.
    ‘Are you okay Bilki’? Feyi called after her, but she didn’t respond, she just rushed out.
    ‘Here’s your coffee madam’ the waiter dropped two mugs of steaming latte before her.
    ‘Just take the bill, no one is going to drink them anyway’ Feyi sighed and rose to her feet. She had invited her two best friends so she could confide in them, but they’d abandoned her in her time of greatest need.
    Ironically, she had always been there for them whenever they needed her, but they’d abandoned her, they’d turned their backs on her and she was left to face her problem alone.
    ‘I would drink the coffee’ a voice countered.
    ‘Maggie, what do you want’? Feyi recognized her easily, she’d been the one that attacked Ekaette at the mall. Even while they were quarreling, she was still loyal to her friend.
    ‘Slow down tiger, I am not here to fight’ Maggie pulled a chair and settled comfortably in it.
    ‘I don’t talk to strangers’ Feyi replied.
    ‘Funny, do you know our husbands are working together’? Maggie asked.
    ‘What do you want Maggie? Go straight to the point’ Feyi was losing her patience.

    Episode Sixteen

    ‘First, sit down and give me five minutes of your time, I promise you, what I am about to tell you is very important. It concerns your marriage’ Maggie fetched her phone, Barnie had transferred the picture.
    She wondered what Barnie was up to, she seemed like a very smart person and that unnerved her. She had a feeling Barnie was using her as a pawn in a bigger game, she’d find that out later.
    ‘I am listening, and this better be good’ Feyi decided to pay attention.
    ‘Timi is sleeping with another woman, someone very close to you’ Maggie paused to see her reaction.
    ‘Funny, well, because Tom Is sleeping around doesn’t mean my husband is anything like him’ she replied.
    ‘Well, you can never trust a man 100%, can you?’ Maggie raised a brow.
    ‘What are you getting at Maggie, what do you want’? she asked again.
    ‘Timileyin is sleeping with one of your friends. You need to do something about it, else she’d tear down your home and take him away from you. Fight for what is yours Feyi, rise up and fight’.
    ‘Fight? Sorry, my friends would never betray me, even in a hundred years’ she decided she had enough of Maggie’s craziness, she decided to walk out on her.
    ‘Wait, see for yourself, it is not photo shopped’ Maggie handed her the phone.
    ‘This isn’t true, it’s all lies Feyi prayed she was in some kind of dream. Her legs felt weak, her heart ached her in an unusual way, a way that meant betrayal.
    ‘I wish it were honey, I really wished’ Maggie clicked her tongue.
    ‘What did I do to offend her’? Feyi cried as she stared at the picture of Ekaette kissing her husband.
    ‘Nothing. Let’s say Ekaette loves to take what isn’t hers. Look how your friends have abandoned you, it is a time we team up and deal with that slut for good’ Maggie said.
    ‘I shall repay her in kind’ Feyi sobbed.
    ‘Good point’ Maggie sipped the coffee which had become warm.
    She dropped the phone on the table and held her head in her hands, how had Feyi known her deepest and darkest secret? What did she plan to do with it? she had just spoken with Ekaette who had given her details on the things Feyi had been saying behind her; she had wanted to confront her personally, but there was no point, she would deny such news immediately.
    ‘You don’t look too good, what’s wrong baby’? Ifeoma noticed how nervy Bilki was.
    She had stumbled on Ekaette making a phone call to her lover and that was what she was about telling her.
    ‘I… I am fine’ Bilki lied, she didn’t want to bring Ifeoma into the mess.
    ‘There’s something I wish to discuss with you, two things actually’ Ifeoma pulled a seat next to her.
    ‘Two things? Now is not the time honey’ Bilki rose to her feet. So many thoughts ran through her head, what if Feyi planned to blackmail her? what if she already had evidence of her past affairs with women? She was lost and terrified. She had been blinded by Feyi’s angelic look, now she had revealed her true colors. She had confessed with her own mouth that she envied her and Ekaette, what more confirmation did she need?
    ‘It is very important dear, very, it’s about us’ Ifeoma said.
    ‘Us? Have you ever told anyone about our relationship? Ever met any of my friends secretly’? Bilki asked.
    ‘No, but I met Ekaette today, she paid Barnie a visit, that’s what I wish to discuss’ Ifeoma replied.
    ‘What happened’? Bilki asked flatly.
    ‘I heard her discussing you with Barnie, Barnie encouraged her to tell you that Feyi said you were a lesbian. I overheard them’ Ifeoma explained.
    ‘I don’t understand, why would Barnie do something like that? And why would Ekaette comply with her? this is all too confusing’ Bilki paced the room.
    She swirled around and stared at Ifeoma for some minutes, who was she to believe? Ifeoma had never lied to her before, so did Ekaette. What was happening? And what role did Barnie have in this?
    ‘I saw a picture of you and your friends in Barnie’s room, have you known her from somewhere before’? Ifeoma asked.
    ‘Our picture? No, I don’t know Barnie, I know nothing about her.  she new here remember’? Bilkisu rubbed her chin thoughtfully.
    ‘Yes, it fell out of a carton that contained an old looking diary and a pair of old stilletoes’ Ifeoma said.
    ‘Stilletoes’? Bilki raised her brows, that wasn’t making any sense.
    ‘Yes. Yellow stilletoes. Apparently, she is obsessed with the color yellow’ Ifeoma replied.
    ‘Yellow stilettoes’? Bilkisu felt a cold chill run down her spine as she remembered the crazy girl that was fun of those shoes.
    ‘Are you okay? Did I say something to offend you’? Ifeoma noticed how her friend had paled.
    ‘No, please just get me a glass of cold water’ Bilkisu sank into her chair.
    Being confused was an understatement, with Ifeoma’s latest revelation, she didn’t know what to make out of this whole thing. Why would Barnie ask Ekaette to lie on Feyi? Was Feyi actually innocent? And why did Barnie have a picture of them?
    Nothing scared her like the mention of yellow stilettoes, it brought back memories she had buried deep inside of her.
    She needed to speak with Feyi right away, she had a bad feeling something bad was about befalling them.
    ‘Here’s your water’ Ifeoma returned.
    ‘I need your help’ Bilkisu decided to do a little digging, who was Barnie Ross?
    ‘Yes’? Ifeoma listened.
    ‘Can you get that picture for me or the diary? Anything that could help me know this Barnie better, please, I need to confirm something’ Bilkisu requested.
    ‘Are you asking me to steal from a client? Why would I do that’? Ifeoma wondered, what was Bilkisu hiding from her?
    ‘It’s not stealing Ify, you’d return it once I am done’ Bilkisu begged.
    ‘Okay, but you have to tell me everything once I get you the diary’ Ifeoma warned.
    ‘Good. Thanks.’ Bilkisu fetched her phone. First, she needed to apologize to Feyi for leaving her that way, then she needed to get rid of Ifeoma, if Barnie knew she was a lesbian, God knows how many people knew. She needed to protect her public image from dent.
    EKAETTE: Hello sweetheart, when am I seeing you next?
    TIMI: Maybe this night, I went to Uyo today, something came up, I feel very tired.
    EKAETTE: aww, I could give you a massage, I need you right in my arms.
    TIMI: That sounds sweet but wifey is at home, she’s been acting all weird. We still need to be discreet for now. I plan on divorcing her and getting married to you.
    EKAETTE: Seriously? That sounds good but let’s take this slow, let’s know each other better.
    TIMI: Alright then, I’d squeeze out an hour for both of us.
    EKAETTE: Expecting you soon honey. Guess what am doing now?
    TIMI: What darling?
    EKAETTE: In the shower…
    TIMI: You’re getting me, hard darling…
    ‘Hello husband’ Feyi sauntered into the bedroom. Timi had returned from Uyo looking exhausted and worried. She wondered what had gone wrong.

    Episode Seventeen

    She had prepared him her favorite food, she had her plans. Though she had confirmed the picture Maggie had shown her, she still needed to hear from the horse’s mouth.
    ‘I don’t have time for this, get your hands off me’ Timi pushed her away. Something was fishy, why was Feyi acting so nice even after the way he’d beaten her up? why was she not angry or bitter with him?
    ‘I don’t want to have sex, I just want you to eat, you’re tired. I want you to be relaxed’ Feyi felt hurt he’d reject her that way.
    ‘I am not hungry, I need to leave now, I’d be back late, lock the doors’ Timi stormed out of the house.
    ‘Alright then’ she felt defeated, her plans wouldn’t see the light of day, but she wasn’t discouraged.
    ‘Seven days for the thief and one for the owner’ she muttered silently, then an idea came to her. What if she followed her husband?
    She searched her hand bag for her car keys, she felt the vibration of her phone.
    ‘Bilkisu’ her friend was calling.
    ‘Can you call back later, I am in the middle of something’? she said.
    ‘Feyi, something is up. Do you remember meeting Barnie Ross some place else aside Tomato Island’?  Bilkisu asked.
    ‘No, but I told you girls already, she looks creepy and somewhat familiar, what’s happening’? Feyi wondered.
    ‘I don’t know, but I think she isn’t who we think she is’ Bilkisu replied.
    ‘Oh, well she is a creep, that’s enough for me. I really have to go now, see you later’ she hung up and rushed out of the house.
    Emeka had decided to check the site where the human bones were found at night; he preferred working at night, he concentrated better because there would be no disturbance. No honking of cars or the movement of people.
    ‘Are we there yet sir’? Bridget his assistant asked as they kept walking round the large expanse of land.
    ‘No, there’s something I am looking for, I had a friend who used to live around here’ a smile played on his lips as he thought of Ekaette.
    The men had surrendered the bones to him, but he still needed to check the site himself, maybe he could find something that could help in his investigation.
    ‘It seems we have company’ Bridget pointed to a light far from where they stood.
    ‘It seems so’ Emeka was surprised, he had not expected to see anyone in this area.
    ‘Looks like you’ve been here before’ Bridget observed.
    ‘Yes, I schooled here once before I moved to Chicago. I had friends here, they lived around here or what’s left of it’ he scoffed.
    Things had really changed in Uyo, the three campuses were now merged into one, this abandoned campus was the most populated in his time.
    ‘An old man, what good is he’? Bridget snorted as they came close to a house.
    ‘Remember what I’ve always thought you about investigations, don’t neglect any detail, be it human, animal…’
    ‘Or thing’ she added.
    ‘Good. You’re learning’ Emeka nodded.
    ‘I remember this place very well, nothing has changed, even after ten years’ Emeka regarded the building steadily, then took a snapshot of it.
    This was the compound where Ekaette had lived with her friends and the weird girl, it was a few metres from the female hostel ‘Hall Forever’.
    He wished he could meet them again, he’d have to search harder.
    ‘All I see is an abandoned Bungalow, probably inhabited by some mad person. No sane man would live in this abandoned hell hole’ Bridget said.
    The place was overgrown with weeds, the paint had faded and the rusty little gate was almost destroyed. Who would live in such a place?
    ‘Are you sure about this? We could still turn back, we still have work to do’ Bridget wasn’t comfortable going into the compound, that stood in the middle of nowhere.
    ‘Fear is for the weak’ Emeka fingered his revolver and moved past the rusty gate.
    ‘Anybody home? Is somebody here’? he turned on his torchlight.
    ‘Don’t move, turn around slowly and get on your knees’ a voice ordered and they obeyed willingly.
    She had never felt so happy or satisfied than now, Ekaette had fallen out with Feyi, Bilkisu had also fallen out with her. The greatest weapon to use while fighting a battle was that of disunity, once you threw this into the camp of your enemies, you’d sure win the war.
    She had dropped a message for Maggie, they needed to meet up somewhere to discuss how her own Job had gone, was it smooth? Or would they be needing a plan B?
    She had her reasons for not inviting Maggie over her house. Ekaette was sassy and unpredictable, she could drop by when you least expected it, and she was well aware the two women weren’t best of friends.
    She burrowed into a yellow dress, wore a burundy lipstick and stepped outside. It was dark, so she wouldn’t drive, she decided to take a cab instead.
    ‘Crescent Moon Bar’ she waved a cab.
    ‘Four hundred Naira’ the cab driver replied.
    ‘Good to go’ she slid into the car.
    So many thoughts ran through her mind, she couldn’t wait for the day she’d avenge her sister and she had planned a perfect revenge.
    She would bundle them up and reveal her identity first of all, then she would slaughter them one after the other; once she was done, she’d flee Tomato Island and return to her normal life in Uyo.
    She grew up in Uyo with her sister, they had been orphans. Elizabeth was seven years older than her; they were discriminated in school, according to her late aunt, who’d taken care of her till she was old enough to fend for herself, her parents had died of HIV/AIDS.
    ‘We’re here Madam’
    ‘Oh, here’s your money’ she stepped down from the car and continued reminiscing.
    Elizabeth had left her with their aunt once she gained admission into the University of Uyo.
    Then that same year, something tragic happened, she was just fourteen years old when her only relative died in a car crash; it had been tough for her but she scaled through with her sister who’d visited her often. Elizabeth had been squatting with the girls, she didn’t have an apartment of her own, so she couldn’t take her sister along with her.
    After two weeks of not hearing from her sister, she decided to trace her alone.
    How could they forget her so easily? The thin little girl that had come in search of her sister?
    They had all feigned ignorance, but she wasn’t a fool, she had a feeling something bad had happened to Elizabeth. She knew her sister had a diary and loved to wear yellow stilletoes, so she had requested for those before leaving.
    During the course of reading the diary, lots of secrets were unleashed; one being that the girls especially Kat had threatened to kill her if she didn’t stay away from Emeka.
    ‘You’re late, remember I have a husband to attend to’ Maggie had waited too long for her.
    ‘Attend to? Is Tom sick or something’? Barnie asked. She decided to focus on the present, there would be another time for the past.

    Episode Eighteen

    ‘I don’t know. He left this morning for work, he came back looking gloomy and depressed; kept mentioning ‘Hall forever’. He came home drunk’ Maggie hissed.
    ‘Hall Forever’? Barnie’s eyes widened, her late sister had lived close to the famous female hostel.
    ‘You know the place? Where is it’? Maggie asked.
    ‘No, I don’t. So how was it with Feyi’? Barnie changed the topic.
    ‘Very fine. She would deal with Ekaette, I am sure of that’Maggie replied. This was the second or third time that Barnie would ignore her question; she was definitely hiding something and she would find out at all cost.
    ‘Wow, let’s celebrate this, I am in a good mood’ she beckoned to the waiter.
    ‘Good evening Ladies’ a young man dressed in black approached them.
    ‘Give me two shots of Brandy mixed with Red label and lemon. Spice it up’ she rubbed her palms together.
    ‘Isn’t that too much’? Maggie asked Barnie didn’t seem like the drinking type.
    ‘Well, our enemy would soon be defeated, it’s worth the celebration’ Barnie replied.
    ‘I don’t need a drink. I’ll celebrate when her image would be tarnished before the public when she would lose everything including her career’ Maggie replied.
    ‘Okay then. To my victory’ Barnie poured down three shots of burning alcohol down her throat.
    ‘Yoo hoo! I feel good’ she screamed. The drink was beginning to act and she lost her sense of control and discretion easily.
    ‘Barnie? I think you should get going, I am out’ Maggie rose to her feet.
    ‘Yes, I’ll be going too. I’m going to Hall forever, I need to see my sister’ she grunted.
    ‘You’re drunk, let’s get you home’Maggie dragged her up her feet towards her own car.
    The wind was cold and merciless but she didn’t care, all she wanted was confirmation that Ekaette was sleeping with her husband, she intended to catch them red handed. Different emotions ran through her as she drove, fear, hatred and a feeling of worthlessness.
    Timi had broken her spirit, beaten her to submission and now he still hurt her more by going after her friend.
    ‘Holy Mother of God’ she inhaled deeply as the car seized. She quickly stepped down from the car. She was very sure she’d put enough fuel, why would this happen now? Especially when she was stalking someone.
    She scanned the street where the car had seized, it was busy, then she realized there was a bar up front.
    She leaned on the car for some minutes, while thinking on what to do next, was this pursuit necessary? Maggie had already shown her a picture and that was enough.
    ‘I guess I’d have to believe her’ Feyi sighed and decided to return home. She’d call her Mechanic to check the car later.
    Her eyes strayed to the front of the bar, a woman leaned against her car, she struggled to push the second woman into it but she resisted the push.
    Her mouth fell open as she recognized the two women; One was Maggie and the other was Barnie, what connection did they have?
    Then she remembered Bilki’s phone call earlier, she had informed her about Barnie Ross, whose identity was sketchy.
    She briefly wondered if Barnie had any hand in the picture Maggie had shown to her, maybe she was trying to hurt her for embarrassing her at the hospital.
    She fetched her phone and dialed Bilkisu’s number, Ekaette’s matter could wait. From the first day she set her eyes on Barnie, she knew something was off about her. A sinister aura surrounded her, one that couldn’t be hidden.
    ‘Where are you off to Ma’am’? a cab driver asked.
    ‘Just take me home’ she sighed and slid into the cab.
    ‘Get into the car Barnie, you’re drunk, I can’t let you out of my sight’ Maggie tried to shove her in but she was more powerful.
    ‘Leave me alone bitch, I can take care of myself, just go to your broke ass husband’ Barnie hissed loudly and pushed Maggie away.
    ‘Did you just call me bitch? I am done with you, take care of yourself!’ Maggie pushed her aside and started her car.
    ‘Whatever’ Barnie sniggered and waved another cab.
    ‘Where are you off to’? the Cab driver asked.
    ‘Hall forever’ she muttered.
    ‘That’s quite far from Tomato Island’ he shifted uncomfortably.
    ‘A chatter, I’ll pay’ Barnie snorted and slid into the car. Even in her drunkenness, her sister’s spirit called out to her and she had to heed the call.
    She had never felt so loved by a man; Timi had made love to her three times and she wasn’t yet exhausted.
    ‘You’re killing me baby’ she moaned as he trailed his mouth over her neck.
    ‘I like it when you moan like that’ he pressed his lips against hers while his fingers fondled the tip of her breasts.
    ‘You’re such a good lover’ she rubbed his head gently.
    ‘Thanks, baby, anything for you’ he lay beside her on the bed. He loved the passion she had for sex, he needed this kind of woman as a wife and not some cold blooded log of wood like Feyi.
    ‘So, what would you like to eat? Let me fix it for you’ Ekaette rose to her feet and dressed hurriedly. He still needed to return to his wife, she didn’t want Feyi suspecting them just yet.
    She thought about her evil friend and how she must have felt when she didn’t show up for the meeting.
    ‘Serves her right’ she muttered and fetched her phone.
    She’d called Barnie more than four times, she had not answered any and had not cared to return the call.
    She decided to leave her be, she was busy with her new house, decorating a new house could be very tiring.
    ‘Nothing, I don’t have appetite’ Timi sighed. He thought having sex with Ekaette would get his mind off what had happened in Uyo.
    ‘Why? You look worried, talk to me’ Ekaette joined him in the bed.
    ‘Work stuff. I’ll be fine’ the detective had instructed them to keep what they’d seen to themselves till investigation was over.
    ‘Seriously? I can tell you anything about myself and my job, if you don’t trust me, then why are you sleeping with me’? Ekaette scoffed.
    ‘I am sorry, you wouldn’t understand’ Timi didn’t want to make her feel bad.
    ‘Then tell me, make me understand; I hate seeing you like this’ she caressed his head gently.
    ‘What I am about to tell you must stay between us, is that okay’? he asked.
    ‘Yes sir’ she nodded.
    ‘Maggie’s husband, Tom, has big plans for himself. He intends to erect and sell his own buildings; he needed my support and influence to make this work, so I agreed to it. He bought a land, one of the abandoned campuses in Uyo, while the men worked on the land, they discovered something grave’ Timi paused as he felt his phone’s vibration. He decided to ignore it, he was sure his clingy wife was the caller.
    ‘Really? I and the girls schooled in Uyo’ Ekaette replied. She remembered how fun it had been, their first year in school. She had fallen in love with Emeka, everything had turned out well till Elizabeth came in. She ruined everythin

    Episode Nineteen

    ‘I know. Feyi once told me’ Timi replied.
    ‘So what did they find’? Ekaette asked.
    ‘The detective we hired call that area ‘Hall Forever’, they found a skull, bones and some items’ Timi replied.
    ‘Hall forever’? Ekaette stilled. The memories of that night came as bloody visions.
    ‘Yes, do you know it’? Timi wondered why she looked so terrified like she had just seen a ghost.
    ‘No, I feel like puking, excuse me’ she hurried to the bathroom. Fear gripped her chest and she begun to breathe fast. What if Feyi’s dream was coming to life? What if the past had come to haunt her?
    The detective and his secretary turned around at the command of the voice and stood face to face with an old man.
    ‘Who are you and what do you want’? the man asked.
    ‘We came for a genuine purpose, we are not here to harm you. I am Emeka Peters, a private detective, there’s a case of grave importance that I am working on right now’ he fetched his identity card and showed it to the man.
    ‘Yes sir, we are not criminals’ Briget supported her boss.
    ‘I see, sorry for the inconvenience, how may I help you’ he returned the identity card and hid his gun.
    ‘I wish you could help us, some bones were found on this land, we are yet to work on it but it seems somebody was murdered and the crime was being swept underneath the rug, that’s why we’re here, to see if we can find out what really happened’ Emeka replied.
    ‘Let’s drink inside’ the old man invited them to his house.
    The inside was slightly cold, there was a candle on his table, an old looking shelf filled with books calendars.
    ‘You see son, many strange things happened on this campus, it was a good thing for all the campuses to get merged into one’ he returned with three cups of coffee.
    ‘I see’ Emeka fetched a cup from the tray, inhaled it deeply. He needed to be sure of this man before drinking anything from him. Who was he anyway? And what was he doing all alone in the dark?
    ‘I was once a lecturer in this school, Professor Obaino Adams, department of English’ the old man could read the suspicion in their eyes.
    ‘A lecturer? So what happened? Why are you out here, leaving like this’? Emeka was amazed.
    ‘Set up. I confess I was very mean to students and other lecturers as well, so they set me up and I lost my job with the university. I was labelled a rapist and collector of bribe, my image was tarnished; wife left me for another man. My kids wouldn’t speak to me. I had nowhere else to go, save for this old house I was given’ the old man replied.
    ‘What a sad story’ Emeka checked his watch, it was getting late, they had not found anything linking to the case, they needed to leave.
    ‘The man who gave me this house is dead. Funny enough, he believed I wouldn’t survive a week out here on my own’ the man chuckled.
    ‘Why is that? I had friends who lived here, they survived well. It is a good house’ Emeka arched his brow, was this man heading somewhere? He needed to follow.
    ‘I don’t know. You see detective, I am a learned man and I don’t believe in superstition. The man who gave me the keys to this house, to this compound claimed it was haunted by some female ghost’ the professor replied.
    ‘Haunted? Why would he think that’? Emeka wondered.
    ‘I don’t know, but he claimed three young women once lived here, and packed out without informing him. Shortly after that, strange things started happening’ the man said.
    ‘Three young women? They were four, Elizabeth was the fourth’ Emeka mumbled absent mindedly.
    ‘You know them, have you lived here before’? the man asked.
    ‘Yes, I have to go now. Thanks for your time professor’ Emeka gave a signal to Bridget and they both walked towards the door.
    ‘Be careful, I hear she begins her walk at night’ he grinned. He wished Africans would wake up and stop their belief in things that didn’t exist.
    ‘Who’? Bridget asked.
    ‘The female ghost’ the old man laughed.
    ‘What do you think Sir? It doesn’t make sense, everything that old man told us in there’ Bridget asked as they moved out of the compound.
    ‘I think he is a crazy old man but there’s some truth in what he told us’ Emeka paused.
    Ekaette, Feyi and Bilki had lived together with Elizabeth in that compound. Elizabeth was not very normal and could’ve done something stupid to herself, maybe suicide or anything. Then he remembered the story Ekaette had told him about Elizabeth, how she usually woke up at the dead of the night, walking round their dormitory with stilletoes till she was caught one fateful night. The girl was crazy. What if she was related to this case somehow?
    ‘You know what, once we return to the office, we need to read the bones, I have a bad feeling about this’ Emeka said.
    ‘I already did the reading with the radioactive carbon dating machine. I am sorry I should’ve checked in with you first’ Bridget apologized.
    She had been working under Emeka for some time now, and she needed him to believe in her, to place a little faith in her, that’s why she had gone ahead with dating the bones without his permission.
    ‘What did you find’? Emeka asked.
    ‘It’s a female profile. The Skeleton reveals this person was young, early twenties, tall. I found a little dagger amongst its remains’ Bridget replied.
    ‘A dagger? How old is this skeleton’? Emeka asked.
    ‘Eight years or more, but it wouldn’t be more than twelve years’ she replied.
    ‘I am impressed, now let’s go do some work. I need to find my old friends, let’s start from there’ Emeka replied.
    ‘Elizabeth Ross Etim, I miss you sister’ a voice groaned.
    ‘Who is that’? Bridget turned on her torchlight and the beams fell on a drunken young woman.
    ‘What the hell is she doing here’? Emeka wondered.
    ‘I miss you sister’ Barnie fell on the ground and wept. The cab driver had taken all of her money, he preyed on the fact that she was drunk. He knew people like her, lunatics, why would someone want to be in an abandoned place?
    ‘Excuse me Miss, what are you doing out here alone’? Emeka asked as they neared her.
    ‘I am looking for my sister’ Barnie wept silently.
    ‘Your sister? Is your sister here?’ he asked.
    ‘No. She is dead’ the drunken woman whimpered.
    ‘Dead? So why are you here’? he asked.
    ‘I don’t know. I miss her and I would avenge her. Her killers, I have started my plans, soon, I will avenge her’she cried.
    ‘I think she is crazy, we need to move forward’ Bridget exhaled.
    ‘No Bridget, every detail, human, thing or object is important, I have a feeling she is going to lead us to the grand opening of this case’ Emeka replied.
    ‘So what do we do with her’? Bridget asked

    Episode Twenty

    ‘Take her home, when she’s sober, we ask her more questions’ Emeka replied.
    ‘I hope it works’ Bridget scoffed.
    ‘So tell me, who killed your sister’? Emeka asked.
    ‘Elizabeth…I miss Elizabeth’ Barnie cried.
    ‘Elizabeth killed your sister’? he paused, maybe the crazy girl had murdered someone.
    ‘No, Kate Anders did’ Barnie sighed and slept off.
    ‘Kate Anders? Another dead end, so I think we should go boss’ Bridget said impatiently.
    ‘No, people rarely lie when they are drunk. I did a course in Psychology, drugs like alcohol tend to bring out our innermost thoughts. So, we take her home, when she wakes, we find out more. For now, search for Kate Anders’ Emeka instructed her before lifting the drunken young woman towards his car.
    He  had taken too much alcohol the night before, he’d never felt so much frustration; this kind was bad, he’d bought a land, did proper documentation, hired a construction company and bam! Human bones were found on his land.
    Tom forced his eyes open, he’d slept enough, now he needed to come up with a plan. The detective had already told him to stop work on the land till further notice, this meant that he will only have access to it once the mystery of the human bones was solved.
    ‘You’re up early’ Maggie strolled into the room.
    Tom rose to his feet, he ignored her. He needed to return to Uyo, maybe he could do something useful for the detective, something that could help him find the answers.
    ‘You look worried Tom, why are you ignoring me? Is this because of Ekaette’? Maggie felt hurt by his silence.
    ‘Ekaette? I wish I was screwing her, you got your facts wrong Maggie’ Tom scoffed, he remembered signing a document that Timi had offered him which clearly stated that he ceased having any affair with Ekaette.
    ‘I see, so the picture was real. She’s sleeping with her friend’s husband, Timileyin’ Maggie kissed her teeth.
    ‘You know this how?’ Tom’s eyes lit with surprise.
    ‘None of your business’ Maggie returned.
    Something else bothered her, she felt guilty for leaving Barnie in that state last night. Something was off about the way she had acted, about the things she had said. For example, Barnie had mentioned her sister was far away, why then did she board a cab to take her to Uyo? Uyo wasn’t that far from Tomato Island, it was an hour drive.
    ‘Secrets. Still keeping secrets from me, I regret getting married to a woman like you. You’re the worst wife ever’ he hissed angrily.
    ‘How could you say something like that to me? How could you Tom’? tears blurred her vision.
    ‘I am sorry, I didn’t mean that, I just feel frustrated and angry’ he apologized. Maggie had her flaws, but he had no right to use them against her.
    ‘Talk to me Tom, maybe I could help’ she moved closer to him.
    ‘It’s about the land I bought, human bones were found while the men were working on it. Work has been suspended and I put a lot of money into that business, I pray I don’t lose out’ Tom explained.
    ‘Human bones? That’s scary? Have you reported this to the police’? she asked.
    ‘Sure. Not the police though, a private detective’ his phone rang.
    ‘Speaking of the devil, I need to take that call’ he reached for his pocket.
    ‘Goodmorning Detective, anything yet?’ Tom asked eagerly.
    ‘No Mr Tom, that’s why I am calling, this case may take longer than I envisaged’ he replied.
    ‘Longer? Damn if I’ll ever use that land’ Tom cursed.
    ‘You can help me with something, I don’t know if this would help but my guts tell me it may lead to an opening in the case’ Emeka decided to try it out. The drunken woman was still asleep and she had mentioned ‘Kate Anders’ a lot of times in her sleep. What if her sister was the woman that was being murdered?
    ‘How?’ Tom sighed.
    ‘There’s no internet connection here, since last night, our servers are down. Can you google the name ‘Kate Anders’? just tell me what you find and get back to me as soon as possible’ He instructed carefully and broke the call.
    ‘Kate Anders’? Tom was confused. That was the brand name of Ekaette’s fashion line, what did that have to do with human bones found on his site? For a moment, he felt the detective was a confused man.
    ‘What happened to Kate Anders’? Maggie asked, had Feyi leaked the pictures already?
    ‘I don’t know, the detective asked me to look the name up, maybe he hasn’t heard of the famous fashion line before. I need to speak with Timileyin first before giving him an answer Tom dashed out of the house.
    ‘Kate Anders…’ Maggie muttered to herself, what was really happening? She fetched her phone and dialed Barnie’s number, but it was unreachable.
    While Tom had his own investigation to do, she wasn’t left out of it. Barnie had told her something about herself, that her real name was ‘Elizabeth’ and not  ‘Barnie’. Why would someone lie about their names? Why would they hide their identity? She wondered.
    ‘Time for a search’ Maggie fetched her laptop, connected the MODEM and typed in her name.
    Timi had slept over her house and that gave her a little comfort. She was scared and confused as all the memories of that night returned. She had stabbed Elizabeth Etim and with the help of her friends, buried her at the dead of the night and they moved on like nothing had happened.
    No one had cared or asked about her; Elizabeth had no relatives neither did she have friends. She was a lone and crazy wolf.
    ‘Good morning sweetheart, I hope you slept well’ Timi moved to her side of the bed and kissed her lightly on her lips.
    ‘Yes I did baby’ she forced a smile. She couldn’t let him see that she was worried. So many things ran through her mind, she checked her phone, Barnie had not called her yet. She would go to her house later.
    ‘Excuse me, I have to take this. Tom is calling’ Timi rose to his feet.
    She pretended like she had not heard the mention of Maggie’s husband, her former lover.
    ‘Morning Tom, how are you’?
    ‘I am fine Engineer, the detective called this morning’
    ‘That’s good news, any news for us? Any leads’? Timi asked.
    ‘Not really, but he said he found something that may help, he put me up to a task, that I should find ‘Kate Anders’ on the internet as his computers were down’ Tom explained the true situation of things.
    ‘Kate Anders’? Timi glanced at Ekaette, who’d quickly focused on him at the
    mention of her clothing line.
    ‘Yes, and that’s Ekaette Anderson, it doesn’t make sense, how is she connected to this? I just wanted you to know the situation of things, maybe we could go over to his office later, what do you think’? Tom suggested.
    ‘I don’t know, I guess we would talk later. I have to go now Tom. See you later’ he hung up.

    Episode Twenty One

    ‘What business does Tom have with my clothing line’?Ekaette asked she’d heard Timi mention ‘Kate Anders’.
    ‘Nothing love. He wants to buy a beautiful cloth for his wife’ Timi lied.
    ‘You’re such a terrible liar, please don’t hide the truth from me, what is going on’? Ekaette sensed whatever Tom had discussed him was serious, he couldn’t hide the troubled expression.
    ‘I wish I could tell you, I have to go now’ he rushed into his clothes.
    ‘If you don’t tell me, I’ll be forced to tell Feyi about our relationship’ she threatened.
    Her heart raced as she searched his face, what was happening?
    ‘Are you threatening me? Maybe you’re not that innocent after all’ Timi scoffed, he had not seen this side of her before.
    ‘What do you mean by that’? her voice was faint.
    ‘Well, if you must know, there is a lead in this case and the detective has asked us to search for a certain ‘Kate Anders’. I really hope you’re innocent’ he stormed out angrily. How could she threaten him when they’d had consensual sex with each other.
    ‘Timi! Wait! I don’t understand’ she tried to stop him but he was far gone.
    ‘Dear Lord, what do I do’? fear gripped her. What if her past had come to haunt her? what if the bones discovered on the land belonged to Elizabeth?
    ‘No, this isn’t happening. I have to speak with the girls’ she grabbed her car keys and rushed out of the house.
    She had not slept well last night, she had a nightmare and waking up alone didn’t help matters. She knew for sure Timi was cheating, but she wasn’t very much concerned with that. She had seen Maggie and Barnie conversing with each other like old friends, something was up and she needed to find out.
    ‘Where are you off to’? Timi sauntered into the house.
    ‘If anyone is to ask questions, I should be doing that’ Feyi hissed loudly.
    ‘How dare you talk to me that way’? Timi pulled her roughly towards him.
    ‘Don’t you dare lay your hands on me, Timi, I have endured enough of this nonsense. I know what you’re doing behind my back and you’ll pay for it soon. Now I do not have your time’ Feyi struggled out of his firm grip.
    ‘I see you’re growing wings, I’ll be back for you’ he was surprised to see her that way. Had Ekaette told her about their affair?
     ‘Whatever’ Feyi scurried off to her car, she needed to meet with her friend Bilkisu. She had to tell Bilkisu everything, including the part where Ekaette was sleeping with her husband.
    Thankfully, the mechanic had repaired her car successfully and had returned it. The road was scanty, void of many cars, so it gave her the opportunity to speed.
    If Barnie and Maggie were setting her up, what would they gain from it? she reasoned from different angles but it wasn’t making sense. What if she was just being paranoid?
    ‘No, I have a bad feeling about that Barnie girl, from the moment I saw her, I knew she was bad news’ Feyi murmured.
    She had arrived Bilkisu’s, she spotted another car in the drive way, the owner of which she detested. What was the bitch doing here?
    ‘I must say, I am really surprised to see you’ Bilkisu offered her friend a Nigerian breakfast. Ekaette was unusually pale and there was great fear in her eyes.
    ‘I am not hungry, something serious is happening Bilki, you need to call Feyi’ Ekaette pushed the plates aside.
    ‘Why don’t you call her? that reminds me of the lesbian talk, are you really sure Feyi said that about me’? Bilkisu needed to settle that first.
    ‘Can we talk about that later? What I have to say now is more important’? Ekaette avoided her eyes.
    ‘More important? Why are you even friends with that creep, Barnie or whatever cartoon character she’s named after’ Bilkisu hissed angrily? Ifeoma had been right,  Ekaette had not been honest, but why would she lie on Feyi?
    ‘I think Elizabeth has been found and they’re tracing her remains back to us’ Ekaette dropped the bombshell.
     ‘Good morning everyone’ Ifeoma was already dressed for work, she had agreed to take Barnie’s diary and photograph so Bilkisu could look through it, but she had a better idea; instead of stealing what belonged to her client, she’d take photos of their content.
    ‘Aren’t you Barnie’s interior decorator’? Ekaette recognized her instantly.
    ‘Yes, I have to go now’ Ifeoma rushed out of the house.
    ‘I see, who is that girl and what is she doing in your house’? Ekaette now realized Barnie’s interior decorator must have overheard their conversation.
    ‘None of your business’ Bilkisu dipped her teeth into the bean cake and drank some pop.
    ‘You’re really a lesbian, aren’t you? Oh my God, and I have been so blind all these years. I wonder how Barnie knew that’ Ekaette scoffed. Her latest discovery about her friend helped ease the tension she felt as she brought up the topic about Elizabeth.
    ‘I am not a Lesbian’ Bilkisu fisted the table angrily.
    ‘Hello there…’ the door parted slightly and Feyi stepped into the house.
    She had been reluctant at first, but she decided to handle everything with maturity.
    ‘Feyi! I am happy to see you’ Bilki rose to receive her.
    ‘How are you doing Bilki’? she ignored Ekaette totally.
    ‘I have to go now Bilkisu, maybe we could talk later’ Ekaette felt uncomfortable around Feyi.
    ‘Why? You just came? Don’t tell me you girls are still quarreling, to be candid, it’s getting childish. Call a truce, will you’? Bilkisu tried to reconcile them.
    ‘I have to go, see you later’ Ekaette walked towards the door but stilled as Feyi’s words seared her skin.
    ‘Whore, you run because you know you’re guilty’ Feyi hissed loudly, she couldn’t control her anger anymore.
    ‘What did you say to me’? slowly she turned around and faced Feyi. Her legs felt weak, she could see the hatred that burned in Feyi’s eyes for her and it scared her.
     ‘Feyi? What’s happening? Why would you call her a whore’? Bilki was surprised at her word usage.
    ‘Because she is sleeping with my husband’ Feyi blurted out.
    ‘That’s not possible. Kat would never betray you like that’ Bilkisu chuckled. They had been friends for long and made a pact never to betray one another, she was quite sure Feyi was confused.
    ‘Say something bitch, he was with you last night, wasn’t he? Say something, redeem yourself if truly you’re innocent. Prove it’ Feyi challenged her but she had nothing to say.
    Her world was falling apart, she had come to her friends to inform them of the ongoing investigation on Uyo, but they weren’t ready to listen. The hurt un Feyi’s eyes made her feel more guilty and she suddenly realized the evil she had done.
    ‘Kat, say something, is it true? Are you sleeping with Timi’? Bilkisu asked with a broken voice.
    ‘Well, I am promising you this one thing. You’ll pay with your life for sleeping with my husband. Whore’. Feyi spat on her.

    Episode Twenty Two

    She didn’t move. She didn’t protest or argue. A tear slipped from her eyes and rolled down her cheeks, without hesitation, she ran out of the house. Only one person could help her now, she could open herself to one person alone, Barnie. She needed to tell Barnie the truth, Barnie could help.
    ‘How did you know’ Bilkisu asked in a weak voice.
    ‘That’s why I am here. Maggie told me, I have this feeling she’s working with Barnie and I feel weird about it’ Feyi said.
    ‘Barnie again? My friend Ifeoma, she just left, she works as an interior designer for Barnie, she claims she’d seen a photograph of us, you, I and Kat and a fourth person that had Barnie’s eyes. She even claims, her decorations are monochrome, yellow color for everything’ Bilkisu shared her own experiences.
    ‘Bilki, I have a feeling Barnie is not who we think she is. I have a feeling she knows us from somewhere and it is not nice’ Feyi was beyond terrified.
    ‘What do you think? What should we do’? Bilkisu asked.
    ‘She asked Ekaette to lie against you’ Bilki explained everything to her friend and watched as her face faded into uncertainty than fear.
    ‘What if she is Elizabeth? What if she has come back to haunt us’? Feyi dared to speak the words that scared her greatly.
    ‘No, Elizabeth is dead. We buried her ourselves’ Bilki reminded her.
    ‘But all the signs are here. Why would someone love yellow that much? I am so scared and confused Bilki’ Feyi said.
    ‘Me too’ Bilki leaned against her shoulder
    There was a storm coming, the skies had gathered in blackness and threatened a heavy downpour. People ran haphazardly in a bid to find a comfortable place to hide till the storm was over.
    ‘A storm’s coming, hide yourselves’ a loud voice cried.
    She had been running with her sister, they ran as fast as their tiny legs could carry them.
    ‘I have tired Lizzy, let’s rest’ Barnie panted and let go of her sister’s hand.
    ‘Tired? No, you can’t be, we still have a long way to go. Hurry Rose, hurry’ Elizabeth pulled her closer and they kept running.
    They had spotted a house where they could take refuge, but Elizabeth stopped running.
    ‘What is it’? Barnie wondered.
    ‘I am tired, I cannot run anymore’ she whispered.
    ‘But we are almost there, please come with me’ Barnie tried to take her along, but slowly she faded into the atmosphere.
    ‘Elizabeth? Where are you? Come back’! she screamed.
    ‘Sister!’ Barnie jerked from sleep.
    ‘Where am I’? she wondered. The room was strange, very unfamiliar and poorly lit.
    Her mouth tasted bitter, her head throbbed like it had been pricked with needles, her eyes fluttered and adjusted to the poor lighting.
    The memories of her escapades returned slowly at first, then came in a rush and she jumped out of the big bed where she’d been sleeping.
    ‘No, No…’ she felt stupid for getting drunk, celebrating victory when it was premature had led her to all this; then she had taken a cab to Uyo, close to where Elizabeth had lived.
    Faintly, she remembered the conversations she had with a man, had she been kidnapped?
    She wore a jean and a jacket, she searched her wallet and was disappointed, she had no money on her. How would she return to Tomato Island?
    She moved towards the door, she needed to be sure of her surroundings, but one thing was for sure, she’d leave without a trace.
    She only heard voices, nothing more. She searched her phone for a network, but it was blank.
    ‘What kind of place is this’? she scoffed and scanned the room. Then her eyes fell on the dollar notes on a table that stood at the far end of the room, without hesitating, she squeezed them into her pocket and followed the door outside of the house.
    ‘So I am impressed Bridget, I just ran a test on the skeleton myself, all the figures you gave me were correct’ Emeka sighed and turned off the dating machine.
    ‘But it leads us nowhere. We have a skeleton and a dagger, it doesn’t make sense, who is this woman? Who killed her and why? I think we should just focus on other cases with leads’ Bridget suggested.
    ‘Patience is a virtue. I am hoping that girl in there would find our answers, I have a feeling she is connected to this puzzle somehow. She is a tiny piece of the crossword that would give us an end’ Emeka rubbed his hands nervously.
    ‘And our lack of internet connection is slowing us down, why haven’t those men called’? Bridget asked.
    ‘I don’t know, but if it reaches nightfall and they don’t give me feedback, I’ll find another way, after all that’s my job and not theirs’ Emeka replied.
    ‘I think she’ll be awake by now, make her some coffee. Take it to her room and be nice’ Emeka instructed his assistant.
    ‘Yes boss’ she rose up to meet the task ahead.
    ‘Good morning boss, I worked on it, we have the internet now’ Peter his computer scientists swaggered into the office confidently.
    ‘Great move. Set up the computers for me, I have a lot of searching to do’ Emeka rose to his feet and moved towards the fridge. He’d not slept well at night, he’d stayed up working on a theory about the human bones.
    First, they’d met an old man who shared some beliefs people who’d lived there had shared. Then he’d made mention of three young women packing out of the compound abruptly.
    Coincidentally, a drunken woman had shown up, in search of her “sister”. What if the “Sister” she was in search of was this Jane doe? This skeleton?
    ‘Done boss’ Pete smacked his hands.
    ‘Good, now do a run down on this name, Kate Anders. Find out everything you can, it’s important’ Emeka stuffed some bread into his mouth. Eating helped vapourize the brain in hard nut cases like that.
    ‘We have a problem boss’ Bridget returned looking a bit frightened.
    ‘What’s that’? he dropped the coke he was holding.
    ‘She’s gone’ Bridget replied.
    ‘Gone? What do you mean? How could she leave just like that’ Emeka asked in shock.
    ‘I think the door leading to the back was open, the money is gone too’ Bridget had left some money from a client on the table, she wasn’t able to find any dollar note.
    ‘How smart’ Emeka sneered and fetched the bottle, emptied the dirty brown liquid down his throat. This was very disappointing, now the lady had gone, what other key did they have?
    ‘Found her. One Ekaette Anderson leaves in Tomato Island. She is a fashion designer, owns the cloth line  ‘Kate Anders’. Single, Thirty-five, tall, fair and super cute’ Pete said.
    ‘What did you say’? Emeka’s mouth fell open. He’d searched for Ekaette for as long as he remembered, but he had not been able to find her. Now a drunk girl had whispered her name, had accused her of killing her sister, what was happening?

    Episode Twenty Three

    ‘How about Elizabeth’? Bridget remembered the girl had called another name.
    ‘What’? Emeka was confused.
    ‘She mentioned that name too’.
    ‘You sure about that’? he fetched a pen and began to scribble.
    ‘Yes’ she nodded.
    ‘Then I think I have found my answers’ his heart raced, Ekaette wasn’t a murderer, he wondered if the dead woman was Elizabeth.
    ‘You know what? We’re going to Tomato Island, you and I, fetch me that dagger, put on some gloves’  he instructed.
    ‘The dagger? What are you going to do with it’? Bridget asked.
    ‘Watch and learn Bridget. Watch and learn’.
    Ifeoma stepped down from the cab and hurriedly climbed Barnie’s porch. The house seemed empty, she prayed her plans worked. She wanted Bilkisu to be pleased with her, maybe she would learn to trust her more and introduce her to her circle of friends.
    She moved closer to the door and rung the doorbell. It sounded twice but there was no answer, it seemed Barnie was out.
    ‘Hello? Is anybody home’? her eyes went to the doorknob, it seemed the house was open. Like Barnie had forgotten to lock her door.
    ‘Here we go…’ Ifeoma glanced around briefly before stepping into the house. Since Barnie wasn’t around, she needed to hurry, take the photo and snapshots of the diary and move out. It was rude to enter a person’s house without their consent.
    ‘What do we have here’? she took in the well-arranged living room, nothing was out of place, but this wasn’t her main concern. She needed to enter the bedroom where the diary and the yellow shoes were being kept.
    Luckily for her, the door leading to the bedroom was equally open, so she stepped into it without struggling.
    A satisfied smile played on her lips as the cab driver entered the street where she stayed.
    ‘Drop me here’ Barnie fetched the dollar notes from her pocket. She didn’t want him to drop her near the house, what if she were being followed? She had a criminal mind.
    ‘Dollars?’ the man grinned.
    ‘It’s your lucky day, take it’ she presented some of the notes to him and kept the rest for herself.
    ‘Thanks, Madam’ he smiled and drove off.
    ‘Here we, come darling Tomato Island, it’s time for a little play’ she sighed. Memories of her sister had brought her untold pain. There was no point of playing games anymore, the games had gotten boring, she just needed to revenge straight away. Once she was done killing her enemies, she would disappear and return to her normal life in Lagos.
    They had killed her sister, she was sure of it. Elizabeth had mentioned it a thousand times in her diary; she had written of Ekaette’s threat to end her life and how terrified and alone she had felt. They finally succeeded and heaven knows what they did to her.
    She decided she would start with Ekaette first, then others would follow in due course. She didn’t have much time left, she needed to act fast before they discovered who she truly was.
    She checked her phone as she approached her house. She had missed calls from Maggie and Ekaette; she would return the calls once she was refreshed.
    As she climbed her porch, she noticed faint dark stains on her white tiles, tiny pieces of earth and an unfamiliar scent of another person’s presence.
    Her heart did not race, no, she felt bold and unafraid. Someone had broken into her house and had not left.
    Her hands caressed the door knob, this person was still inside. Slowly, she removed her shoes, picked a pin from her hair and tip toed into the house. She would deal thoroughly with the thief; no one hurt her and left scot free. She had vowed not be a victim like her sister, she always stood up for herself.
    She followed the foot markings and it led straight to her room. It baffled her, what would a thief be doing in her bedroom? She didn’t keep money at home.
    Her door was slightly opened and this afforded her the opportunity to peep through the keyhole.
    ‘You’? she was surprised, why was Ifeoma snooping through her things, taking photo shots of her diary and pictures. Did she know her true identity? Her heart raced, of course, she did, why else would she sneak into her house. She calmed herself and decided what was best, if Ifeoma left her house alive, she would tell everybody in Tomato Island her secret, being that she wasn’t who they all thought she was.
    With one thought and a decision, she pushed the door open, fetched her sister’s stilettos and crashed it into the skull of her interior decorator.
    ‘Please don’t kill me’ Ifeoma cried in pain. How had Barnie gotten into the house? She had not heard any footsteps.
    ‘You fool. I trusted you as my interior decorator, and all you could do is betray me. Why are you going through my things?who sent you huh’? Barnie hit her harder this time.
    ‘Nobody, please forgive me, don’t hurt me Barnie’Ifeoma was afraid. She had read a lot of things in the diary, and if it were true, it meant only one thing, Barnie Ross had returned for revenge. She wished she could warn Bilkisu on time.
    ‘I don’t forgive’ Barnie smashed the heel of the shoe into her eye socket, she groaned and gave up.
    ‘Bitch’ Barnie sneered and quickly grabbed the phone out of her stiff hands. Smashed it with the shoe along the memory card.
    Something was up, why would Ifeoma snoop through her things? Were the girls aware of her true identity? That would spell doom for her plans.
    She stared at the mess she had made in her room. Blood splattered on her bed spray and on the floor. Never had she been this confused, what if they were coming for her?
    It was too risky to remain in Tomato Island after what she had just done. She needed to leave. Sooner or later the disappearance of Ifeoma would be traced to her.She would run somewhere else, her happiness was this, she had found the girls and would send assassins for them later.
    Without hesitating, she packed her things hurriedly.
    She needed someone to talk to, now that guilt had found a permanent place in her heart. By now, Feyi must have told Bilki about her affair with Bilki. But how did she know? Had Timi confessed to her? so many thoughts came to mind as she drove rocket speed to Barnie’s house.
    If Barnie wasn’t home, she’d wait for her. She needed somebody to talk to desperately.
    Tears stung her eyes and she let it bleed; tears of regret and remorse; she cried harder as the foolishness of her actions hit her hard.
    Yes, Feyi had said bad things about her, but she had not deserved to be betrayed like that. Her own behavior sickened her and she prayed for forgiveness.
    She packed her car in Barnie’s  front yard and rushed out.

    Episode Twenty Four

    ‘Barnie! Open up, it’s me, it’s Kat’ she rung the doorbell, there was no answer.
    ‘Barnie? Where are you, it’s Kat’ she noticed the door wasn’t locked. So she pulled it gently and stepped into the house.
    ‘Anybody home’? she wondered why Barnie would leave her door open when she wasn’t home.
    ‘First of all, my name is not Barnie, bitch’ she came from behind and hit Ekaette so hard with a stilettos heel, which sent her reeling across the room.
    ‘Now, it’s time for a little game’ she bent over Ekaette’s unconscious body. At least If she was living as a fugitive, she needed to take a souvenir along with her. Ekaette Anderson.
    She had wiped her room clean and deposited Ifeoma’s body in her trash can. She fetched Ekaette’s car keys and placed it in Ifeoma’s hands. At least if the police were sent after her, it would take them a year to resolve that puzzle and that meant enough time for her.
    ‘Here we go Kate Anders, time for a little revenge’ she dragged Ekaette’s body into her car, dropped the box that contained the diary and a few belongings.
    She fired the engine, took one more glance at her beautiful house with the perfect décor and drove off without a second glance.
    Timi had not decided on what they’d do about the detective’s request. He showered briefly, checked his messages before leaving for Tom’s house. He noticed Feyi had changed, he would work on that later.
    Just in time, a call came through. He checked the caller, it was Tom.
    ‘I was just heading to your house’ he said.
    ‘Please hurry, there’s something we just discovered and Maggi has made a lot of confessions’ Tom replied.
    ‘Confessions? I don’t understand’ Timi wondered aloud.
    ‘Just come along’ he hung up.
    ‘Confessions’? Timi arched his brow, weird things were really happening in Tomato Island.
    Maggie had searched the internet tirelessly for a Barnie Ross or an Elizabeth Ross, but she found nothing. It meant only one thing, Barnie had lied about her name, she wasn’t no Elizabeth neither was she a Barnie.
    That did it, it triggered her curiosity and she went for it. She typed words like ‘Radio presenter’, ‘Blogger’ along with the surname ‘Ross’.Only then did she find her answers.  Her name wasn’t Barnie nor Elizabeth  like she had claimed. She was Rose Ross Etim, and she never worked with any radio station; instead she worked with  ‘Sunshine Psychiatry’.
    ‘So you trusted your secret to a complete lunatic? How could you trust her so much’? Tom was angry with his wife after she’d told him everything that had transpired between Barnie and herself.
    ‘What did you expect me to do? I hated Ekaette so much and she used that to manipulate me. She showed me a picture of Timi and her kissing and asked me to show it to Feyi. I don’t know what problem she had with Ekaette, but she seemed obsessed with her’ Maggie explained.
    She was truly shocked by her latest discover, so Barnie wasn’t a radio presenter? How did she get the job as a hostess at the fund raising party?
    ‘That’s how a psychopath operates, when I sold that house to her, she seemed pretty normal to me, now I am just lost. I think we should report her to the police’ Tom suggested.
    ‘Report who’? Timi marched into the house. He’d just met Maggie and Tom arguing about something.
    ‘Barnie Ross or is it Rose Etim Ross’?Tom gave Maggie a questioning look.
    ‘Isn’t that the lady that played hostess at the fund raising dinner’? Timi asked. He couldn’t wait for Maggie’s grand confession.
    ‘Yes she is and guess what? She is crazy’ Tom pointed at the laptop.
    ‘Rose Etim Ross, works at Sunshine Psychiatry’ Timi read her profile.
    ‘How  does this connect to us? I thought you had a lead concerning the human bones situation’ Timi shrugged.
    ‘Misplaced priorities’ he murmured and sank into a chair.
    ‘No my priorities aren’t misplaced, this has everything to do with you’ Tom snapped his fingers and Maggie handed him her phone.
    His heart stopped as he took in the picture. If this picture were to be released, his chances of being Tomato Island Counsellor.
    ‘How did you get this?’ he asked tightly.
    ‘Barnie gave it to me. She asked me to show it to Feyi, so she’d quarrel with Ekaette’ Maggie explained.
    ‘Where the hell is she? Take me to her house’.
    ‘So boss, I don’t get it, you just search for a woman whom a drunk mentioned’ Bridget was amazed by Emeka’s confidence.
    ‘Well, I have a hunch, this Kate Anders is related to this case, and she is an old friend; I was once schooled at the University of Uyo and she was my first girlfriend’ he faced his assistant briefly.
    ‘wow, then it’s going to  be a reunion’ Bridget winked.
    ‘sure Bridget. Sure’ he focused on the road.
    The introduction of Kate Anders to the case gave him the conviction that Elizabeth Etim Ross was equally related to the case. The drunken woman had equally mentioned her, what if she was the murderer? Elizabeth had suffered from bipolar disorder and she would be a key person in this investigation.
    ‘Are you going to tell your clients that you’d be visiting Tomato island’? Bridget asked.
    ‘Not likely. I asked them to find me something and they haven’t gotten back to me. Why do you think that Bridget’? he asked her.
    ‘I don’t know, maybe they’re busy’ she shrugged.
    ‘Well, from our findings Ekaette Anderson is an inhabitant of Tomato Island and my clients reside there too. So think harder’ he pressed on, he needed her to think like a detective to be.
    ‘That’s probably because they know her personally and are afraid she is involved in a murder case. Basically, they are are protecting her’ Bridget blurted out and was equally surprised at herself.
    ‘Good. Now read her address to me, it’s about time’ he smiled as he drove past the sign post that read: TOMATO ISLAND.
    ‘I think we are close, that’s the house’ Bridget pointed at the house like it was shown on the address.
    ‘Are you sure?’ he snatched the paper from her.
    ‘Yes sir’ she nodded.
    ‘Good, get me the dagger’ he instructed as he stepped down from the car.
    Feyi and Bilki engaged in a discussion,  each owning up to the fear of their shady past coming back to haunt them. Bilkisu was  still in shock that Ekaette would sleep with  Feyi’s husband; but that would be a subject of  discussion for another day
    Now, they needed to find answers, who was Barnie Ross?
    ‘Has she called you yet? It’s been three hours since she left’ Feyi inquired. Ifeoma had gone to Barnie’s house and her task was to get the picture and diary from Barnie’s.

    Episode Twenty Five

    ‘I don’t know, she do stay this long, let me try her number’ Bilkisu dialed her lover.
    She didn’t know why, but a sick feeling spread over a body as Ifeoma wasn’t picking her calls.
    ‘It’s not going through, I don’t know what to do. I am scared’ Bilkisu voiced her fears.
    ‘Maybe we should go there’ Feyi suggested.
    ‘And do what? It’s not like you ever liked Barnie anyway’ Bilkisu scoffed.
    ‘I don’t and never liked her. there is something sinister about her; she reminds me of someone, I feel I’ve seen her before’ Feyi rubbed her chin thoughtfully. She hardly forgot a face, why will Barnie’s be different?
    Bilki fiddled her keypad for some moments.
    ‘I don’t know what to make out of this, do you remember Elizabeth’s younger sister? Feyi suddenly asked after some moments of silence.
    ‘Younger sister? Truthfully, when Elizabeth died, I buried all the memories I had of her’ Bilkisu said.
    ‘Maybe Ekaette could help, sorry I mentioned her Feyi; we still need her help’ she quickly added.
    ‘Maybe’ Feyi retorted.
    ‘She did it!’ Bilkisu screamed. Since her line wasn’t going through, she had checked her WHATSAPP messages; though it was just one, Ifeoma had succeeded in sending a picture.
    ‘Let me see’ Feyi hovered over her.
    The picture portrayed four young girls in their teenage years. Feyi was first, Ekaette second, then followed Bilkisu who was the shortest in the picture and then Elizabeth.
    ‘What have we gotten ourselves into’? Feyi’s hands shook as she stared at Elizabeth’s face.
    ‘Feyi…this is scary, whoever Barnie is, I have this feeling that she knows what we did to Elizabeth.’ Bilkisu threw the picture on the ground.
    ‘Then I guess my hunch was right, they share the same eyes’ Feyi pressed a shaky hand on her thigh.
    ‘It all makes sense now. The lies, trying to tear us apart, if Barnie is actually related to Elizabeth as it seems, I fear she has returned for revenge’
    ‘I am willing to move past whatever Ekaette did to me, we’ll handle that later. We have to solve this puzzle, else our lives and career we have suffered to build would end in jeopardy’ Feyi faced the truth.
    ‘What about Ifeoma? I have a feeling she is in trouble’ If anything happened to her, she wouldn’t live with herself, she had put her up to this.
    ‘You know what? Go to Barnie’s house and check for Ifeoma, while I go to Kat’s house. If she isn’t there, I’d call her shop’ Feyi suggested.
    ‘Yea, good idea. Let’s do it’ Bilkisu fetched her keys and trailed behind Feyi.
    Timi was disturbed by the news of the obscene photo of himself and Ekaette kissing. If that Picture was leaked, bloggers would have a filled day.
    ‘Here is her place, she lives here’ Maggie tapped her husband who’d been at a high speed.
    ‘I know, I sold it to her remember’?
    ‘I can’t wait to see that psycho’ Timi cursed. What did she plan to do with the picture anywhere? Was she sent from hell to blackmail him?
    ‘Timi, come along’ Tom pulled open the car door and interrupted his thoughts.
    ‘That’s Ekaette’s car, what would she be doing here’? Maggie was the first to notice the black Honda Civic.
    ‘Me too’ this time Timi paled. What if Ekaette had been a trap for him by his opponents? But he quickly reminded himself that he initiated their affair.
    ‘Her car isn’t here, maybe she isn’t here, Barnie I mean’ Maggie observed.
    ‘Well, what are the doors for, let’s go in and check’ Tom led the procession.
    Maggie was surprised that Barnie had fed her lies and she had opened up herself in the process.
    ‘Nobody is home, this door is open’ Timi pulled it and stepped in easily.
    ‘Barnie? Are you home’? Maggie called sweetly.
    ‘You guys should handle this, the detective is calling’ Tom moved away from them.
    ‘I think we should leave Timi, breaking and entering someone’s house is illegal’ Maggie was uncomfortable with what they were doing.
    Timi shrugged ‘And minding one’s business Is crucial, why did she take photos of I and Ekaette kissing’
    Maggie bit her lip to quench the anger that bubbled inside of her. Why would any man justify his cheating ways?
    Timi felt irritated as he gazed at Maggie; he knew she was not supportive of his infidelity. He quickly moved away from her and deeper into the large apartment.
    ‘Little Bastard’ Maggie sneered.
    Then her thoughts fell back on Barnie and she dwelled on them. Why had she wanted to hurt Ekaette so bad? There must have been a reason.
    Her eyes took in every detail of Barnie’s house, she observed her drapes and wall paint even the light bulbs were all yellow.
    The wind blew quietly and lifted the curtains up, she thought she was hallucinating, and then she heard the footsteps again.
    A wave of coldness enveloped her and she suddenly felt afraid. It was as if Barnie’s house was haunted.
    ‘Who’s there’? she paused and swirled round, but there was nothing.
    Then she heard a loud scream that almost crashed the building, it was Timi’s voice. She quickly rushed to his direction.
    They had arrived Ekaette’s house; a duplex, well guarded with a tax rate, a high fence and barb wires.
    They’d stood there knocking for eternity and there wasn’t any answer.
    Bridget had suggested they return back to Uyo and check her another time, but he had quickly reminded her of the fact that time was a luxury they couldn’t afford.
    So he did what he thought was best:
    ‘Good day Mr. Thomas, I need your help urgently’ he pressed the phone against his ear
    ‘Detective, how nice of you to call, sorry I couldn’t get back to you concerning the Ekaette Anderson case. I promise to check I was very busy’ Tom replied.
    ‘Did you just say Ekaette Anderson’?Emeka exchanged glances with him. This was another proof, that his client knew Ekaette personally why were they hiding her?
    ‘Well, that would not be necessary, we’re standing right in front of her house and she isn’t home. Can you help, do you know where she works’? Emeka asked.
    ‘You’re in Tomato Island? Why didn’t you call me’? Tom was surprised.
    ‘I had my reasons’ Emeka paused as he heard some noise in the background.
    ‘Hello? Mr. Tom are you there’?
    There was dead silence, the kind that exaggerated the fall of a pin.
    Then the piercing scream came again, accompanied with ‘She killed her’.
    ‘Mr. Tom’? Emeka called gently hoping for a response, but there was none.
    ‘What happened’? Bridget could spot a frown on his forehead.
    ‘I lost him, something’s up’ Tom was confused on what to do next.
    ‘Boss’|? Bridget drawled.
    ‘Yes,’ he replied curtly.
    ‘I think she is here’ Bridget pointed at the brown Toyota parked in front of them.
    ‘Feyi’? Is she here too’? Emeka’s eyes lit in surprise as he recognized her at once, he wondered if she’ll recognize him.
    She had not expected to see anyone at Ekaette’s house; she rarely had visitors and this one called her name.
    Feyi took in the rugged features of the man; a tall slender dark skinned man in his early forties. Something in the way his eyes sparkled and the perfect line of his jaw spoke to her.
    ‘Emeka? Emeka Peters’? her lips curled in a smile.
    ‘Feyi!’ he embraced her.
    ‘It’s been ages, you just disappeared, what happened to you’? she beamed in surprise.
    ‘I left for the States, majored in Forensics and Criminology’ he detailed her.
    ‘So you’re a detective eh’? she was happy for him.
    ‘Yes, I came here for your friend, I didn’t know she had made a name for herself in the fashion world’.
    ‘How could you forget?  She was your girlfriend and the most fashionable one amongst us’ Feyi replied.
    She scanned the duplex briefly, obviously, Ekaette wasn’t home.
    ‘She isn’t home and I really need to see her’ he said.
    ‘Same here and her lines aren’t going through’ Feyi sighed, this was a strict situation.
    ‘What do we do’?
    The End

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