Chiamaka Ajunwa 7 months ago
@theuntamedwrit... 4 min read Write a comment #short-stories

Present From The Past.

In 2019, my family and I had a wonderful sleepover at my Aunt's house during a particular Christmas break. Dee Nnenna had a full-sized bed that contained me and my older siblings. Papa and Mama used Uncle John's room downstairs. Mama was pregnant with Petra, and so Papa slept on the floor mat.

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While sleeping, Ekene, who was a terrible sleeper, would flip and somersault and somehow end up on the cold marble floor. "I just have a bad feeling about this year's trip," Sister Ijeoma had said to me four months earlier as the three of us sat at Grandpa's Obi. Ekene and I didn't say a word as Ekene burst into one of his cackles while chewing perm kernel.

Sometimes, to him, Sister Ijeoma seemed to exaggerate things, especially when she had once cautioned Ifedi, our maternal cousin, that crossing over people's legs while walking was a "bad omen." Ekene retaliated with the word "Obiakwa" afterward. "What did you see, Sister?" I curiously asked her. Instead, she told us that her ears were twitching. Ekene stopped laughing.

The dreams came. Sister Ijeoma told our parents, and Papa only dismissed it with a wave of his hand. He said she was reading too many of her horror novels. The wind that hot afternoon had oddly turned chilly even for a hot August break. And on December 27th, a terrible storm claimed the lives of 3 important people in my life. It's 2022, and a lot has changed. And I, Papa, and Petra, my little sister, are now living in Ezeudo. The only community that owns a prestigious Catholic School St Bridget Group Of Schools, among the other seven communities.

My new village is ruled by a white half-caste King from an Igbo lineage: H.R.H, Eze Nzewi Kenechukwu Douglas. We behave like the whites: Dressing, talking and interacting. No more "Dee good morning" but just plain and dry "good morning" and a soulless handshake. My best friend Olamma says she can never marry a white man. As I head into the dark and murky room downstairs, I put on my phone's torch to access it. Since the last incident that claimed the lives of my older siblings and Mother, Papa hasn't had the mind to dispose of their belongings. He only comes into this room every December 27th to mourn his wife and children.

After removing the clothes that wrap the portrait, I settle down on a small stool to glance over it."What do you see?" A tiny voice suddenly whispers behind my ears. "A family portrait," I replied absentmindedly. The force I feel around me is so strong that I'm unable to resist answering. I glance into the mirror opposite me, and there I am, a reflection of myself. Anywhere I turn, she does the same. "What do you see in the portrait?" The voice asks again, this time with slight force. "Nothing," I say, feeling dizzy. "Look further," it probes. Everyone is smiling, and I'm the only one putting on a sad face. Quite odd.

My eyes catch a glimpse of a huge dark figure as I nervously clutch my family portrait. the chilling voice whispers within the frame, "Release me, and I shall reveal the darkness that lurks behind those smiles."

The Untamed Writer.

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