Ijawunmi and her cohorts swirled around the car gleefully as Deidre left the third salon, convinced everyone around her was going crazy. The wraiths had successfully drawn a veil over people’s eyes so they couldn’t see the wefts or the plaits and were waiting for her to return home in frustration before wreaking their ultimate revenge. She made up her mind to go to Ayo’s Palace to get them to remove the weave, seeing as they had been the ones to fix it in the first place. The wraiths entertained themselves by whispering to Deinde in voices only he could hear, and they cackled in delight as he moved his head first this way, and then the other, in order to listen to them. They had initially kept a look-out for the woman of the light, but were convinced she was no longer a threat and their guard was down.
The driver was nearing the end of his tether, as he was becoming increasingly convinced that both his passengers were deranged. His oga’s mistress muttered continuously about her hair, whilst his oga just muttered unintelligibly, punctuated by shrill high pitched giggles. He parked the car at the address he’d been directed to, then watched in amazement as Deidre ran to a door and started banging at it. A woman from the stall in front of an adjoining house called out to her, and Deidre staggered back to the car looking as if the weight of the whole world was suddenly on her head. ‘He’s celebrating his mother’s 60th birthday, and is closed for the day’ she announced to the uncaring occupants, and dispiritedly, she asked the driver to take her home.
‘Pray for Deinde.’ It was softly spoken, yet Shade heard it clearly. Her body stiffened in refusal as she thought of a million reasons why she didn’t need to, why he did not deserve her prayers or her time. ‘Now Shade, pray for him now’ came the insistent command, and sighing, she stopped what she was doing and began to pray.
Deidre’s phone rang in her bag, and she dug for it absent-mindedly as her mind whirled about in confusion. She stared at the caller display without seeing it before it sank in that it was Toyosi calling her. She answered, automatically putting on the bright cheery voice she reserved for such calls. She listened as Toyosi babbled on about some awesome conference or the other that was going on in her church that weekend, and she was about to terminate the conversation when an idea popped into her head. ‘I have an emergency’ she cut in abruptly, ‘my regular hairdresser is away and I need to take my weave out for the role I’m in. I don’t trust just anyone to touch my hair, so can you take it out for me?’ ‘Sure thing, when?’ came the response, just as she had expected. ‘How about now? I’m a few streets away from you’ Toyosi explained that Deidre would have to wait a bit while she wrapped up what she was working on, but she was happy to help once she was through. With a relieved sigh, Deidre gave the driver directions, and turned to Deinde to say they would meet up later.
She shuddered in revulsion as she saw that he was stroking the hair on his palm as lovingly as if he was petting a dog or cat, and was also murmuring to it softly. He jerked as she called his name, and lifted his hairy palm towards her face. Remembering how the hair had tangled with her weave the last time, she swept her hair away with one hand, and moved as far away from him as she could. She tried to keep the fear and disgust out of her voice as she explained that she was going to see her friend, and to her relief he nodded and returned his attention to his palm. The car came to a stop a short while after, and she bade Deinde goodbye without a backwards glance.
The wraiths were confused. The plan had been to attack the couple shortly after they had had sex, but Ijawunmi had not been able to restrain herself, and had struck too early. After conferring, they decided to stick with Deidre, seeing as Deinde’s insanity had already started taking root. They swooped on her weave, and each of them took two handfuls, prepared to rip it form her scalp when their leader gave the word. As Deidre knocked Toyosi’s door, she felt she was about to pass out from the indescribable pain in her head and it was with great relief she heard the key turning in the lock. She barged inside as soon as the door opened, and she felt instantaneous relief as the grip on her scalp loosened. The wraiths reeled around in shock outside, blinking at the bright light that blazed forth from Toyosi’s doorway. ‘You lied to us’ the leader shrieked at Ijawunmi. ‘I didn’t know!’ screamed back Ijawunmi. They milled around in disarray as they continued to argue, and they they huddled together in uneasy peace as they waited for Deidre to come back outside.
Toyosi carefully put away the last of her sketches, then turned to Deidre with a bright smile. ‘Oya, let’s do your hair.’ She parted the hair and then asked ‘how come you have patches? What happened?’ ‘Long story’ came the terse reply, ‘ah beg help me remove the thing.’ Toyosi was about to use the razor blade on the threads attaching the wefts when a wave of dread swept over her. ‘No, don’t’ said the quiet voice she knew so well. ‘Don’t what?’ she asked. ‘Don’t remove the weave, take off all her hair’ was the reply. Quickly, before she could change her mind, Toyosi blurted out, ‘you have to shave your head. I can’t explain how I know, but you have to shave it all off.’ As Deidre gaped at her in disbelief, she continued ‘Where did you get the weave from anyway, and why are there patches of short hair on your scalp? You need to be open with me if you want my help.’ She listened in silence as Deidre, relieved to finally have someone to confide in, poured out the whole sorry tale. When she stopped speaking, Toyosi picked up her bag and said ‘Let’s go, we can’t handle this here.’ Deidre stood up and stumbled after her, but as they reached the door, Toyosi stopped short. ‘First, we must pray.’
To be continued…….. `