A man stepped out of the darkness. She knew it was a man, although she had not set eyes on one since the day of her rebirth. The dying sun rays fell on his body, highlighting his naked torso and his heavy forehead. He was not beautiful, he was not like her. He stood, firm, calm, eyes glittering with a strange light. She scoffed silently, noticing that the red sky behind him seemed to be foretelling his sure demise. The smell of blood was pungent, and the vultures pulled in, unable to resist their siren’s cry. The air was quiet when he opened his mouth to speak.
“My Inamorata, I am here for you.”
Inamorata. He called her Inamorata.
“ For years, my love, I have waited. I have watched Mother earth turn her back on your radiant face. I have watched Aphrodite, Venus, and Hera shield their faces from your light. I have watched your beauty become a curse to you. I have watched man and animal lust after you, never getting enough, never leaving. I have watched them drain you. My Ella, I have watched you house them, feed them, grow them. I have watched you love them from the abundance of your heart, although none ever showed reciprocated to you its full meaning. I have watched, my Ella, and I have plotted. I have loved, and now I will have.”
As he said this, he stepped forward. That was as far as he ever got. The lions surged forward, as if on cue, determined to protect their bride.
As they attacked, she stared on, playing absentmindedly with the fine grains of sand. Beautiful, timeless grains of sand. Who, who imprisons the sand in the hourglass? Sand, born free, born beautiful, sand, born to be trod on, to be kicked around, to be caged to serve for eternity. Whoever decides how much sand gets into the hourglass? Is it counted, or is it measured? Will the sand ever be free from the glass? It was hard to believe they came from the same family, the weaker birthing the stronger; still so different from each other they seemed. How much heat can a grain of sand withstand? Was there ever a sand that escaped from the heat, full, whole and free? How was she any different? Why should she believe? She was oblivious to the frenzy around her, submerged in the warring of her weak heart. She did not see the man emerge from his body; she did not see him split. She was spared that sight for eternity, for she would have never understood it.
He stood atop the hill that had been home throughout his wait, breeze ruffling his raffia loincloth. A tear alighted on his bottom lip, and he didn’t bother to lick it away. He had escaped from the massacre. He could still see it, far atop the hill, he could still see the lions tearing the body away like a rag doll. He could see clearly now, for the scales of love had fallen from his eyes. He could not have her. She refused to choose. She was not to be his wife. The sadness of this realization weighed his feet, as he turned and walked away, into the red, red sky.
* * *
Her eyes fluttered open, and was assaulted immediately from the bright sunlight pouring in through the opened curtains. Oh God, it was morning. Her gaze fell on the sofa by the window, and slowly, she realized it wasn't familiar. Where was she?? Feeling around frantically, her hands stumbled on a lump under the duvet. What is this? She lifted the covers surreptitiously to peek, and discovered it was a man. His handsome face reawakened her mind, and just like that, memories of their last night flooded in, causing her to blush. Those kisses...the gentle touches that slowly became less gentle and more demanding. So all that lion stuff was a dream. She heaved a sigh of relief and kissed the back of his neck lightly. Thank heavens. It had been so vivid, so scary. Anyways, a dream was a dream. Jibola would soon wake up hungry, so she had better start preparing breakfast.
As she got up, her phone rang. She dashed to silence it immediately, lest it woke Jibz. She looked at the caller id and sighed. Of all times for David to call! Couldn't he wait till everyone was up and about, at least? It was barely seven. Scrolling through her call history, she frowned. He had called her thirty-seven times. What? She began to panic. Thirty seven missed calls?? Perhaps, he had begun to suspect something. She stole a glance at her boss lying on her bed to make sure he was still sleeping. No, it wasn't possible. It can't be. There was no way he could know; they had been very careful. They were far, far away in St. Lucia on a "business trip". No one knew them here; no one could have possibly seen them.
She tiptoe-ed to the bathroom and called him back. He picked up on the first ring.
"Ada, where are you?"
She chuckled. "David, good morning."
"Err...good morning to you too. Where are you?" He sounded really impatient. Kedu nke bu nka kita? What was all this?
"Where am I? I told you now, I'm in St. Lucia. Is everything alright?"
"I should be asking you, Ada. I kept calling you last night. Why didn't you pick up?"
"Last night?" She cleared her throat to clear the lump. "I...I was probably asleep, D"
"No, you were not asleep. You weren't. Your music status on your BBM showed that you had One Night by The Corrs on replay."
She and Jibola had set the song on replay while they made love. She had used it because, after David had given it to her, she had listened to it and told him ecstatically, that it was such a baby making song. She remembered saying she couldn't wait for them to 'boogie down to it.'
"Ada, are you there?"
"Ada....can you please tell me whats going on?"
She needed to lie. Quick, Ada, think up a lie!
"Ada...is there something you're not telling me?"
A muffled sound rose in her throat. She cleared it and tried to mutter "Like what?" but it came out as a whimper.
He sighed. It was the sigh of someone very, very tired.
"Ada, I know you're cheating on me."
Shit. Shit Shit SHIT.
"Ada..." He sighed again.
"Ada, I had a dream."