As the taxi drove through the gates and into her brother’s compound, the vague feeling of unrest that had haunted Ada all through the forty five minute flight from Abuja to Lagos heightened. She had a strong feeling that, aside from the problem that had brought her here, something else was terribly wrong. It wasn’t often she had this feeling, this sense of dread; but every time she did there always turned out to be a good reason. The car slowed to a halt at the front door, and Ada closed her eyes and said a quick but heartfelt prayer for Ginika and his family. She had a feeling they would need all the help they could get. She opened her eyes to see Ginika and Carol coming out of the house. She got out of the car and they came forward to embrace her, Carol first, then Ginika.
“Well, it’s good to see you too, Ada,” Ginika said dryly. He continued reluctantly. “She’s in her room, probably sleeping. That’s all she does these days.”
Ada walked purposefully into the house, leaving Ginika and Carol to bring in her bags. As she started to walk up the stairs, she hesitated. It had been a while since her last visit, and she wondered if Kachi still had the same room. Carol walked in a moment later, with Ginika holding Ada’s bags.
“Does Kachi still use the same room?” Ada asked without looking at them.
“Yes, she does,” Carol answered, her voice betraying a touch of worry. “But wouldn’t you prefer to settle down in your room and rest before…”
Ada sensed the look of surprise that Ginika and Carol exchanged as she continued up the stairs. She heard them follow her seconds later. They must have caught the sense of urgency in her eyes, in her voice. Her heart pounding in her chest, Ada stopped outside Kachi’s room and knocked. Hearing no answer, she turned the handle and pushed open the door.
“Kachi, dear, where are you hiding? It’s your auntie Ada,” she said, forcing a light tone.
Ada grew silent as she tried to place the familiar sound she heard coming from the bathroom. It was the sound of running water. She walked to the bathroom door, and just before she opened it, she noticed she had stepped into a pool of water. As she looked down at the sky blue tiles, she thought she saw a tinge of red in the water that was rapidly spreading into her niece’s room. A cold shiver raced up her spine as the sudden realization hit her. A desperate prayer on her lips, she flung open the bathroom door and stepped inside.
It took everything Ada had to stifle the scream that rose in her throat. There in the bath tub, Kachi lay naked, the open faucet letting water into the already overflowing tub. Her eyes stared up blindly at the ceiling. Her right arm hung limp over the edge of the tub, her slit wrist dripping blood into the water on the floor. A knife lay discarded on the floor beside the tub. As Ada stood taking in the scene, her thoughts suddenly went to Carol. She could not let her see Kachi like this. Just as she turned to leave, she heard a sound that brought every mother’s worst nightmare to life; a sound that said everything that words could not say, and then some.
She was too late.