Filming was going well. All the actors had shown up on time, and everyone was in high spirits as take after take went on without a hitch. Deidre went over her script again even though she knew every word by heart and she was more than ready when she heard her name being called by the director. She pulled her compact out to check that her make-up was in place and then gave a little scream as she snapped it shut and leapt to her feet. She glanced behind her as she walked towards the set, but there was nobody there. She continued to walk hurriedly, hoping no-one had noticed her unusual behaviour, even as she tried to make sense of what had just happened. She could have sworn that she had seen Ijawunmi’s reflection in the mirror, their cheeks had been touching even though she hadn’t felt or sensed anything. It had only been a split second, but it been long enough for her to see the malevolence in Ijawunmi’s eyes, and she wondered whether it was finally time to take the weave out. She’d had it on for almost four weeks now, and her tracks were getting loose. Her mind went to the charm that was nestled under her pillow, and she relaxed slightly as she remembered that Ijawunmi was tied up and couldn’t come near her. The movie set was in the middle of a built up neighbourhood, and there were no streams or rivers anywhere in the vicinity. She made a mental note to call Baba Apata once they had a break during filming, and she walked on to the set with a bright smile, ignoring the panic that had started to gnaw away at her insides.
Deinde lolled in the comfort of his car as his driver wove his way through the mid-morning traffic. He was on his way to see his solicitors as he intended to initiate divorce proceedings against Shade without any further delay. He wasn’t sure he intended to rush into marriage with Deidre, but he wanted the option to be open to him legally, if and when he decided to go down that route. A tap on the window startled him, and he looked up to see a magazine vendor holding up several glossy magazines. He had been too engrossed in his thoughts to realise his car had come to a near halt in the dense traffic, and he glanced idly at the magazines, intending to dismiss the vendor without making any purchases. One of the headlines practically screamed at him….’Lagos socialite contracts lice from Brazilian hair’ and without further thought, he pointed to the magazine and instructed his driver to make the purchase. He leafed through the magazine till he got to the story, and chuckled aloud at how the socialite had discovered the lice a full week after having the hair sewn in. ‘Didn’t she realise something was wrong when her head started itching?’ he wondered to himself, and as if on cue, he felt a tingle run across his palm. He glanced at it casually as the wound had since healed, and all that remained was a dark line that ran across where the cut had been. His stomach clenched as he saw that his palm had started to seep where the cut had been, and on closer inspection, he saw a myriad of black dots along either side of the cut. He tried to rub them away then realised in horror that they were in fact under his skin. He leaned back trying to make sense of what he was seeing, and then his palm started to itch. He tried to ignore it, but the itch intensified with every passing minute, and he finally gave in with a groan and gingerly ran his nails across his palm. The relief he felt was instant, and he closed his eyes as he gave in to the urge to scratch a little harder. He carried on for a few seconds before his mind registered that something was amiss, and then his eyes flew open as he realised his nails had become entwined in hair. He looked at his palm only to see that the black dots had burst through his skin and were now fine strands of luxuriant hair. He screamed like one possessed, and ordered the driver to change direction and go to Deidre’s film set instead.
Deidre said her lines flawlessly until the director yelled ‘Cut. Take five’, and then she sauntered back to where she had left her bag. She had Baba Apata on speed dial, and he agreed to see her later that afternoon as he had had a cancellation. Her final scene for the day needed no words, and she knew she’d be leaving the set in less than an hour if everything went well. On hearing her name, she walked back, and then stopped short and frowned as she saw a large mirror being maneuvered into place. ‘What’s happening?’ she bit out through clenched teeth. ‘Slight change’ replied her co-star ‘Instead of me coming in and meeting you lost in thought, staring into space, you’ll be staring into a mirror instead.’ Deidre’s heart sank into her shoes at first, and then she gave herself a mental shake as she convinced herself that her imagination had simply been working overtime earlier. She stepped forward confidently, sat down in front of the mirror with her head in her hands as directed, and then lifted her head to gaze at herself. She blinked in disbelief as she saw Ijawunmi staring back at her instead of her own reflection, and even as she leapt backwards in fear, Ijawunmi reached through the mirror and grabbed a handful of hair. Deidre screamed and started running, just stopping long enough to grab her bag. She could still feel Ijawunmi’s hand in her hair, but oddly enough, the hair wasn’t being ripped from her scalp this time. As she ran towards the busy road, she was surprised to see Deinde’s car coming towards her and she made for it with an extra burst of speed. She snatched the back door open even before the car had come to a complete halt, and she flung herself into it panting. ‘Deinde,we have to go to Baba Apata right now’ she gasped, before it sank in that his presence there at time was highly unusual. ‘Deinde…why are you here? What has happened? Why are you holding that hair piece so tightly in your hand?’
Deinde gave a strange high pitched giggle, and then opened up his palm and held it before her eyes. She screamed in disbelief as she saw that his palm had split wide open, and the hair was sprouting from it. Even as she looked, she saw dots appearing under his skin, and then slowly poking through the flesh a short while after. She gave the driver Baba Apata’s address, and scooted away from Deinde as far as she could. There was no need for words between them, there was nothing to be said as the car sped on its way.
To be continued…….