Skip to main content

CHIEF MAGNUS' MANSION




NOT FOR SALE!

that was the sign on the gate of the house in front of me. it seemed the house owner, angry at over eager prospective buyers of his property, had put it up, telling them loudly to "piss off."
the gate seemed locked and i couldn't spot a bell so retrieving my cellphone from my ready-to-give-up-the-ghost handbag, i dialled Funke for the seventh time today.

"Funks, babe, the gate is locked o and there's no sign of a bell anywhere..."
 "don't worry" she said, "i've told chief to get someone to open up for you"
"ookay" i replied, my throat drying up "thanks. "
"don't mention dear", she answered, giggling at someone at the background and before i could ask how i was supposed to introduce myself to chief agian for the umpteenth time,  she hung up.

i felt my insides die, then resurrect again only to die back when i heard footsteps approaching the gate. my bladder almost spilled it's content as the black gate slid open but i held it together enough to reply to the greeting of the man in front of me.




i almost said "fuck it i'm no longer interested", turn and make a run for home but the man's icy stare seemed to freeze my leg to the spot.

"aunty enter inside sharp sharp", he said motioning towards the beige duplex inside the compound.

i obliged.

and like the sacrificial goat being led to the altar, i knew of the danger ahead but obeyed my master. my master being the icy looking man with a square head, spidery legs on a Captain America physique and dracula dentition.

i cautioned myself, "Chiamaka, this is not time to be making jokes in your head" 
but would my crazy mind stop?   mba.
 it went ahead to imagine how this man's head could be used to illustrate to kids in nursery school the perfect "square" shape and his legs, the insect "spider". i was still pondering on how his Captain American physique could be explained to nursery school children, when Captain America himself with the spidery legs and Dracula dentition interrupted my thougths and told me to wait at what seemed to be the lobby of the gigantic house.

 i waited.

"nna eh", my mind continued, "so people can live in this kind of place? chai. Chiamaka, ego di mma."

a door opened and closed somewhere upstairs. another door opened and footsteps started approching. heavy footsteps. probably Chief Magnus'. my heart started another hundred metres race again. i almost shat myself. "what would he say when he saw me here?"
a shadow passed. and the intimidating figure of Chief Magnus walked in majestically, like a king ape and sitting on the couch directly facing me,  he grinned and called,
"Chi Chi, kedu?"
"a dim mma sir" i responded. "goodevening sir"
"goodevening my dear" he replied, flashing me what i think he thought was a million dollar smile but what in reality looked like a chimp grinning ear to ear, trying to impress a crowd.

"Gi-deon! Gi-deon! ", he thundered facing the door to our right.

"how have your studies been? "he asked facing me again, in a lighter tone.
"pretty fine sir, "i replied lying. school was awful but i wasn't about to pour out my unappealing  school histoire with this man.

a man who must have been Gideon walked in briskly from the door on the right.
" Chief, you been call me sir" he said curtsying. "good aftun antie", he added looking at me. i nodded my reply.

"get her some cold juice and snack", he said to Gideon.
who in return, half ran, half walked out through the door on the right.


 "sir without wasting much of your time, i would like to present my case", i began, to which he motioned with his hands for me to go on.
 "right. sir, with much respect i would like to decline your offer of marriage like i said yesterday on phone"

 i was expecting an outburst at this but he remained calm, almost as if i was singing him a lullaby.
 "i respect you alot sir, as a man of many great achievements but i am not ready to be tied down yet" i continued,
 "i hope you understand where i'm coming from sir", i said concluding.

Chief Magnus did not seem at all moved by what i had just said. in fact he was so relaxed, it unnerved me. i  had planned out how to address him should he behave unreasonably but his silence was shouting, "Chi Chi just kill yourself. "

as my mind began conjuring the scenery of my funeral;  my mother screaming on the top of her lungs how she had warned me not to show up at Chief's house alone and how my stubbornness had led to my death as she'd predicted fifteen years ago when she had been flogging the spirit of obedience inside me after i refused to join the Girl's Guide of St. Micheal's Cathedral  because our evil headteacher, Mrs Okpala was the brigadier in charge,  Gideon walked in bearing a tray with what looked like orange juice and dog biscuits.
he placed it on a low stool beside me and left. 

Chief's voice bellowed merrily, "eat my darling Chi and relax". 
"relax kwa", my mind objected "and drink or ear poison abi" my mind thought alarmingly. 

could it be Chief Magnus would actually poison me?

"thank you sir,"" i said and on second thought added,          " you shouldn't have."
"it's fine" he said simply. 
"you were saying?" he added.

i took a deep breath. "sir, i was simply saying i am not ready for marriage now."

ehehehm. he cleared his throat. "my darling girl you simply cannot refuse my offer" he started, "you have to do this..."

"this is it" my mind wandered.your own has finished today.

"Mi-cheal, Mi-cheal" he interrupted my thoughts, calling out towards the door on the right.

who was Micheal again my mind continued to wander.

'he doesn't seem to hear. i'll call him" he said mostly to himself reaching for his cell phone lying beside him.
speaking directly to the cell receiver he said, "Micheal? come downstairs. she is here" and then looking back at me he said, "Micheal will soon join us"

"Chineke God. my Father in Heaven," i prayed inwardly,
 "Jehovah Nisii, God please forgive me all of my sins. i know i have not been to Sunday mass for three weeks now and i don't even take communion. but God, i don't want to die please. Father i am too young to die now, save me and i will never enter this house again or even gossip about Chef again"

the last part of my prayer struck me. fifteen years ago, i was ten and Chief's legend shook the whole of Ikotun. we made up so many stories about him. so many horrible stories. and i, was the chief story teller.
 my favourite was of how Chief Magnus had transformed in broad daylight,  into a bird when the Police had come to arrest him in connection to a bank fraud. "of course i had not witnessed the transformation," i'd retort to the sharpest child in my audience who dared question the authenticity of my story, "but my sister Nene was there and she saw it life", i'd conclude shutting the child up forever. and so we grew, most of us, believing these tale. when Chief's new wife then, Sandra, mysteriously disappeared after only two weeks of their marriage, the rumours and tales hung around his mansion and the whole of Ikotun like the stench of the dead rats we found under our bed at home.

footsteps tottered quickly from somewhere upstairs after a door opened and closed. and as they got closer, my heart sank and refused to swim to the surface. i was drowning in my own mind.

how did Chief plan to kill me? would he slice me into small parts ( that was another rumour that went round back then about him) or would he like ndi ogwu ego, use parts of my body or destiny to get more wealth?
"who send me come here?" my mind kept questioning. "Jesus Christ! Jesus save me, save me" i kept on repeating.

by now, my murderer Mr Micheal was in the sitting room with Chief and i. i knew this because they had been talking in low tones, obviously not wanting me prying into their conversation.
this was it. the end. my mind continued it's torture. "prepare thyself for the end of the road is finally here and the Son of Man hast need of thy soul", my mind contiued. "give thy life to thy master,  repent now you have the chance. "
 i almost peed myself the second time as a cold shiver ran down my spine, running to the sole of my feet.

"yes, Chichi dear, this is Micheal...",  Chief began... 

the pee was at the verge of unleashing a fountain of hot liquid into my laps and on the floor. i needed to change my mind on this matter and fast!

"s-s-ssir", i stammared, "can.i.jussst say...... sir. ple..." i was going to say, i would willing accept his offer but he motioned for me to stop.

"this is Micheal, like i was saying...."
Micheal looked at me and smiled.
wow.
God.
i took a good look at him, from where i was sitting, i could see his smooth features, his beard fitted his face perfectly and his lips, MY GOD!, there from heaven. he was soo handsome.
no. beautiful. he was a beautiful man.

oh God, my mind lamented, my enemies had finally gotten to me, they and the witches from my mother's village had somehow snuck my picture into their shrine and were planning this whole thing.
it had to be. why else would a handsome. no, sorry, beautiful man as Micheal be the one to kill me for Chief? of all the men in the world!

"Chi dear, are you fine? you look pale", Chief asked, smoothly.
"pale kwa!", my mind screamed. "pale kwa, when you want to kill me?"
"i'm fine", my mouth replied. "it's just the weather", i added.

"okay, as i was saying, this is Micheal. MY SON," he flashed me a big smile.
"he's the one i want to marry", he concluded still smiling sheepishly.

SON? "did he just say SON???!" my head screamed.

"oooh" i finally said, looking from Chief Magnus to his beautiful son, Micheal beacause that is all i could say.

my mind was telling me to pick up my dying handbag and make a run for home but would my mind take it's own advice?
mba

. the idea of getting married to the beautiful Micheal was dreamy

i needed to know how this story would end.

"what do you propose?", i asked the men sitting across me, crossing my legs and folding my hands with full attention. 


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

SATURDAY SAD TALES

It was impossible to completely assimilate what Richard was going on about; what the group of umunna’s scattered around our sitting room were going on about. The only two words that had registered in my mind were, “new” and “wife”, and I wasn’t even upset. Hadn’t I seen this coming? Hadn’t my instincts warned me? My vicious mother-in-law from the start, threatened?No, I wasn’t upset; I was completely slapped across the face with surprise. I thought finally Richard and I were fine, that we were gone past the rocky months in our marriage. He’d been smiling more often the past few weeks. He told me just last week how much he loved me: with his eyes, like he did the first day he saw me, that day at the Customer Service room in the First Bank Headquarters of Nsukka, on the chilly day of December 4th .

Richard’s eyes were what Professor Agu¸our Classical English literature final year professor described as “sorrowful but intense; the kind of eyes that draws you in to want to know more...” he…

MARY DOES NOT KNOW

September1       September ushered in the last of the rains;  the kind that fell noiselessly and without the fierce winds like in May and June. 

May 17        May was when I saw it, the fierce eyes of Soluja the mad man. it had been a cloudy day, one where, the blackness of the cloud thickened, breaking up now and then with thunder and lightening, darkening my mood like charcoal.
       i was sitting by the window of the moving bus, lost in thought, what people refer to as being "absent minded," when my eyes met the mad man's. i'd expected to meet a blank expression but what my eyes saw were alert pupils; pointy unblinking eyes  with an air of artistic craziness. almost as if he could see through my fears, past my boldness to dare stare at him. he could see all of my secrets and those eyes,  still haunt me till this day...  

June 5           if i turned, she would definitely know i was staring at her and i wasn't about to give her the satisfaction of being admired. low…

20 REASONS TO JOIN AIESEC

If you have been curious about improving your leadership skills or joining the best student extra curriculum organisation eveer! then you're in luck because AIESEC is interested in YOU. Quickly go through these reasons to join AIESEC today.1. Go on a work abroad experience, develop your leadership skills.2.Network and meet new people in your university, around Nigeria and in 110 countries we are present in.3. Be a part of a network of ambitious and talented AIESEC leaders around the world and utilize this network for the rest of your life.4. Get the opportunity to travel to different places through the various conferences within and outside Nigeria.5. Find a suitable Mentor who can guide you through your career decisions and many life experiences.6. Cultivate a global mindset and develop entrepreneurial outlook in a flexible and customizable work environment.7. Increase awareness on things outside your text book through practical international experience and on the job learning.8.…