I saw him sneak out of the room into the smoke in the parlour. He’d locked his wife inside to burn black. I heard his wicked laughing interrupted by his coughs. He looked uglier in the fumes, dark, thin and long. . . Why did I even marry him? He didn’t check the pillows covered in blanket beside him, didn’t bother to even switch on the light. If he had, he would have realized I wasn’t in the room. He ran across the parlour, opened the door and jumped out. I bit my fingers. The fire would reach the kitchen soon from the dining room. I rushed to the back door and slipped out. I was welcomed by the neighbours, with torches and worried gestures. I flung myself on the group and started wailing.
“Just be thankful you escaped madam. Your husband said he couldn’t find you,” one short man consoled.
My husband moved through the crowd and held me. He hugged me tightly. Then my mistakes came crashing down on me.
If only I had ensured he drank the wine with the sleeping pills. If only I had started the fire in our room. If only I had remembered to lock the front door!
“It’s ok, dear, it’s ok,” my husband said. He didn’t suspect anything. This was good. So he would still see that Shewa. But it isn’t over yet, another plan began to take shape again. A smile danced at the edges of my mouth.
Ishola Abdulwasiu Ayodele.