Sade leaned back and surveyed the scrabble board. She calmly placed the ‘P’ tile on a triple letter score square. She looked out the window, heavy rain had been pouring down for hours. The howling winds threw leaves in the air and bent the tall palm trees, threatening to snap their slender branches. She felt removed from the chaos as she sat on the bed in the third floor bedroom of her Maitama residence in Abuja. She hadn’t been allowed to leave the house in weeks and now felt stifled. Her father, Justice Dele Williams, was a powerful man and his rules were final in his home and as far as he was concerned, she was to stay indoors till further notice.
She identified with the word so strongly. Increasingly in the past year, it had felt like her father was determined to keep she and her sister confined forever within the high walls of their home. She looked across the board at her twin sister, Kumbi. They were so identical that people were always speechless in surprise whenever she introduced her. Kumbi was the silent and shy one of the pair, while Sade was the outspoken twin. Now Kumbi twirled her braids between her fingers in concentration as she added two tiles to the board – E.R.
Sade smiled brightly; Kumbi was the only one that understood her perfectly. They were both prisoners against their will. They had tried to run away before, getting as far as the Anglican Church at the end of the street. Unfortunately one of the maids, Lola, had tipped off their father and before long they were back home. Every other normal 12 year old was out at the movies on a Saturday evening but here they were, resigned to playing scrabble like a pair of pensioners. Scratch that, make that Prisoned pensioners.
“Ssshh” Kumbi whispered, she cocked her head to the side reminding Sade that there was someone else in the room with them.
Did I say Prisoned pensioners out loud? Sade thought and Kumbi nodded slowly. It was like twin telepathy. Sade turned to look behind her and saw Aunty Bisi staring at her with a worried look.
“Is everything alright Sade?” She asked.
Aunty Bisi was dad’s youngest sister and had moved in with them recently as she had been posted to Abuja to complete her National Youth Service Corps. Sade suspected it was just another ploy to have an additional person monitoring the twins all hours of the day. She gave Aunty Bisi a weak smile and turned back to the scrabble board. She had to be more careful if she planned to escape again with Kumbi next week. They had to plan this out perfectly and not give any reason for suspicion.
Bisi Williams stared at the back of Sade’s head. Her young niece had been struggling to come to terms with her mother’s death for the past year. Dele had asked her to move in after Sade had attempted to run away the second time. He was scared she might begin self-harming next. She offered a silent prayer to God for emotional healing and went back to working on her laptop. What really worried her was the imaginary friend Lola had told her Sade often speaks to. The doctor said this could be a symptom of multiple personality disorder and they were to keep a close eye on her, hence her new role of chaperoning Sade everywhere. She looked once more at the small, solitary figure sitting by the window and made a silent promise to do whatever it takes to get her darling niece, Folasade Kumbi Williams, through this trying time.