Ben stared at the naked body of Maya on his bed for several seconds and blinked. This wasn’t Maya at all, but Peace, the girl he just finished with. Maya continued to elude him, and he had no clue why.
He slapped Peace on the side of her thick butt. “Stand up! Get out of my house.”
Peace moaned. “Please, it’s not yet morning. How will I get home?”
“Why should I care?”
He slapped her harder, so hard the pressure pushed her off the edge of his king-size bed. She screamed and started to sob. The sound irritated him to no end. Maybe she was the reason Maya wasn’t coming through. He was done with her, but she wasn’t going away. He had to get rid of her. She had nothing left inside her. Just an unwanted pregnancy. Whether she kept it or not, her life was ruined. Her star was the dimmest he had ever seen in his life since the first day he got the diabolic powers to use women.
“If you don’t stand up and leave, I’ll throw you out as naked as you are. The choice is yours.” He folded his arm across his chest. “Leave!”
She went on all fours, and then stood. “Ah! Blood!”
He arched an eyebrow and followed her gaze to where she just rolled off on his bed. It was stained red. Ben hit his head once as waves of fury filled his body.
“See how you have stained my new bedsheet?”
He moved closer and gave her a punch on her face. It dropped her to one knee. Two more punches had her flat on her back. She did not even try to protect herself. A sure sign she was finished. He contemplated killing her. No one would ever know. Her family hated her now more than anything. They probably wished her dead. But how would he dispose of her body? And also, a taboo of the curse he placed on the women was death. He couldn’t kill them after destroying their destiny.
Ben kicked Peace on the face, but she made no sound. Quickly, he glanced at her chest and saw she still breathed. He found her clothes and shoved her limp body into them. He had to be rid of her. Do something that would shock her into accepting it was finally over. He carried her over his shoulder and took her into his beat-up 2001 Audi A4. Then drove for an hour to the outskirts of town. Dawn would soon break, and she would be lucky if a kind motorist found her where he dropped her by the side of the road. However, if a car hit her and she died, he would not have broken his covenant. Abebi had died unexpectedly during an abortion-gone-wrong and his oracle had not blamed him.
Peace should never be a part of his problem again. He needed fresh blood. He had to focus his energy on getting Maya. Her star was too bright. He needed this girl more than any other he had ever gone after.
“If you get this girl,” his oracle had said. “You may not need another one for ten years.”
Ten years of living in wealth and affluence seemed ridiculous, without having to do any rituals or meeting anyone. It was too good to be true. But seeing the number of sacrifices he had made to get her, it was worth all the while if true.
Daylight was nigh when Ben pulled up in front of his mid-income neighbourhood house in Agege area of Lagos. He hurried into his bedroom and pulled the bedsheet off the bed. His mattress was stained too. He cursed aloud. For the next fifteen minutes, he washed the bedsheet and tried to get the stain off the mattress. He had little success as the scrubbed patches now had a different colour from the remaining mattress cover.
“Useless girl!” He swore. “Meanwhile her star just got me one supply contract.”
He walked into the other room, his shrine, where his oracle, a wooden image of himself, sat on a full-length mirror, set flat on the floor like a mat. He marked each success story with an X in red ink on the face of the oracle. Now, he had nine. Peace had been marked.
After several incantations, he called Maya’s name three times and as usual expected her face to show up on the mirror beneath his wooden image, but the oracle fell face down. Ben jumped back. This had never happened. He tripped over his own footing and fell on his behind.
“What is this? What is the meaning of this?”
It seemed as though the building vibrated or maybe he was too dizzy to think straight. His heart thudded so hard he lay his palm on the left side of his chest and closed his eyes.
“If she is not possible, I will find another girl.” He rambled. “You don’t have to be angry like that. Please don’t strike me if I touch you. Is it not for our benefit? Please, calm down. Calm down.”
He crawled to the image and slowly lifted it up back to its position. He mumbled his incantations but did not call Maya’s name. Maybe she was an oracle herself. He would find another unfortunate girl. With his hands still shaking, he stood to his feet, looked around his shrine to be sure everything was as he left it, and back-walked out of the room.
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