Allila scanned the messy room and finally settled on the only couch in the room. She crossed her legs and clasped her fingers.

“ So it’s true? You see Muna, on my way here, I prayed to God to meet someone else in this room but you. I was hoping what Yomba told me about your affair last night were all lies. But here you are, shameless!”

Muna glanced at Dari in astonishment, she had least expected him to spill the secret of their affair, especially to Allila.

“ You told her?”, Muna asked him in a whisper. Daris’s lips wavered as he had nothing to say. Awash with guilt, Dari had decided to tell Allila everything about the affair but had least expected she would visit the hotel. He however made sure not to tell her about his real identity. He didn’t have the courage to face her with the truth yet.

“You know, I sometimes wonder why you’re still my best friend. You did so many outrageous things behind my back but I kept forgiving you even when you slept with Yomba the first time!” Allila yelled.

“ You told her this too?” Muna turned to Dari accusingly but he shook his head vehemently. “ I don’t know how she found out, I never said a word to her,” Dari replied in defense.

“ Oh, no, he said nothing to me. I saw you personally at the beach party that faithful night.” Allila revealed, and Muna fell dumb. It was an incident Allila tried to forget. But all her efforts proved futile. The beach party was one, organized by a mutual friend of theirs who was in attendance by many other friends. They had many fun activities and the last one for the night was “story time”. They all sat in a circle as each gave an account of their childhood memories. Thirty minutes into the activity, Allila noticed Yomba and Muna’s absence. Even Dari was nowhere to be found. Allila went in search of them, thinking they might have gone to get some drinks. She didn’t find them at the pub, so she continued wandering till she saw Dari, standing a few metres away from the pub, with his white shirt,  wavering as the wind blew. He stood, overlooking the rocks that led to the sea, watching something Allila couldn’t get a view of. She went closer and just when she was about to mention his name, she looked down and caught a glimpse of what he was looking at. Hadn’t it been for the fact that the twins had worn different clothes that day, Allila would have convinced herself that the person she saw, sleeping with Muna wasn’t Yomba, but Dari. After looking on for a few minutes which turned out to be the worst minutes of her life, she quietly walked away, without Dari noticing her presence, with tears swelling up in her eyes and her throat, becoming sore. She never mentioned it to anyone because she was deeply in love with Yomba at the time and wasn’t willing to break up with him for anything.

Now, the hotel room fell silent and none of them had anything to say. Muna finally broke the silence.

“ Does that mean you knew you were married to Dari instead of Yomba, all this while?” Muna asked and Dari gasped in panic. It was too late to stop Muna from talking as Allila heard what she said rightly.

“ What do you mean?”, Allila asked with perplexity. Muna smirked when she realized she still had something against Dari.

“ Well, your husband-to-be jilted you and so his brother stood in for him. Am I lying?”, Muna asked sarcastically with her arms folded across her chest but Dari ignored her and continued staring pleadingly at Allila whose mouth was gaped open.

“ Is this really true?”

“ I can explain Allila. I swear, I didn’t mean for this to happen and I had no ill intentions, things just got out of hand”. Allila was in shock and could barely hear whatever Dari said. After she recovered, she left the room in haste with Dari behind her, pleading and saying whatever came to mind. She sped off, with the security man cursing her after she nearly ran him over.

Allila locked herself in the bedroom and refused to open it even when Dari begged. He finally sat on the floor, leaned his head against the door, and narrated everything that happened on the wedding day and where Yomba was, currently. He received no response from Allila and presumed she might have fallen asleep and probably hadn’t even heard everything he said. He went to sleep in the guest room, thinking of how to abate Allila’s anger the next morning.

Allila left for work before Dari woke up the next day. His breakfast was served and there was a small note next to it which read, “ I’m off to work.” Dari stared at his food for a while and realized he had no appetite. He wondered how many more people would get hurt if they found out the truth. He didn’t have the courage to tell his parents yet, but he could certainly tell Ayuu and so he did. Ayuu was astonished at first, but later smiled and shook his head.

“ You and your brother have always been interesting characters to watch. You guys have been full of drama ever since I met you. Anyway, I’m glad Yomba is fine and not dead. And as for you, I’m elated to have you as a friend. I don’t really care if you’re Yomba or not. Besides, you have the same face, so what difference does it make?.” Ayuu chuckled after his statement and they shook hands and hugged.

“ Just let me know if you need my help. I’m willing to support you. But make sure to let your parents know soon.”, Ayuu added before leaving for his office and Dari nodded.

Allila still refused to speak to him, while Muna was still persistent with her calls which Dari ignored and finally blocked her number when he got fed up.

Each night, Dari will sit near Allila’s door and talk about how his day went. Her silence barely dissuaded him, for he knew she could hear him and was listening. Dari didn’t set eyes on her for a week but knew she was still living under the same roof with him and that was his only motivation. Allila could have left the house if she wanted, but she didn’t and Dari was optimistic she would forgive him soon.

On his way to work one morning, he saw a lady who resembled Muna, standing two bus stops away from the company. He looked through the rear-view mirror, but the person had already entered a bus which had halted. He pushed the thought aside and convinced himself it wasn’t Muna. She wouldn’t probably want to step foot in his office again after all that happened. And even if truly she was the one, she wouldn’t have left until she had spoken to him.

Dari met Maltiti in his office, with his legs crossed and stretched on his desk. Dari hadn’t set eyes on him for a while and had almost forgotten his existence in the company.

“ What are you doing in my office? And who allowed you entry?”, Dari asked in irritation

“ Good morning Yomba. I hope you had a great night?” Maltiti asked, unperturbed.

“ It’s none of your business, kindly leave, I have so much work to do.”

“ I’m leaving. I just came to inform you that there will be a board meeting this afternoon.”

Dari’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion as he didn’t understand how a board meeting was scheduled without his approval.

“ What’s the essence of the meeting?”

“ You will know when the time comes,” Maltiti said with a smirk and raised his cup of coffee at Dari before leaving. Dari sensed something atrocious but couldn’t get any useful information from Yaw and Diana either.

At the board meeting, Dari was surprised to see his father present. Mr. Asowura had barely stepped foot in the company ever since Dari became CEO. Dari knew immediately that something was wrong and began to feel anxious as he took his seat. From the corner of his eye, he could see his father who was sitting to his left, staring at him. All fourteen members of the board were present, which surprised Dari because he never had a full room. Someone was always missing.

“ This meeting was called for a significant purpose and we apologise for interrupting your busy schedule with such short notice.” Maltiti began and Dari was astonished by his audacity to speak without his permission. Maltiti rattled on and thanked all the members for showing up. He delved into the history and successes chalked by the company as though all those present weren’t aware. They were getting bored by Maltiti’s speech and  Mr. Asowura was beginning to get irritated.

“ Young man, will you get straight to the point? Why are we here? And why are you speaking instead of the CEO?” Mr. Asowura snapped. Maltiti apologized and continued, “ For some time now, we all have been deceived by someone significant in this company.” Dari’s heart skipped a beat and he shifted in his seat. He began wondering who Maltiti was referring to and convinced himself it wasn’t him, since Maltiti didn’t know the truth about him.

“ We all have been working with an impostor for some time now. And if I hadn’t caught him, he would have continued  deceiving us for months.” Maltiti said and all the members exchanged looks of astonishment.

“ Who is this person?” a member asked.

“ His no other person than our Chief Executive Officer.” Maltiti declared and everyone turned their gaze to Dari who was speechless and wished he could disappear into thin air.

“ What nonsense! How dare you call my son an impostor? Don’t you know him anymore? Does he look like someone else to you?” Mr. Asowura flared.

“Calm down Sir. There is no doubt he is your son. But he is not who we all think he is. The person sitting right here is Dari and not Yomba. For all we know, he might have killed his brother just to have his position.” Maltiti said and went ahead to narrate how someone tipped him with information about Dari’s true identity. Dari knew immediately who that “someone” was. The person he saw at the bus stop was certainly Muna and she had visited Maltiti that morning. Fortunately for him, most of the board members didn’t believe Maltiti and asked him to provide concrete evidence to back his claims. Dari could see the suspicion in the eyes of some members. He found his voice and convinced the members that Maltiti was lying and had been plotting against him ever since he became CEO. Some members nodded in agreement and gave Maltiti three days to provide evidence, or else he would be sacked from the company, especially for raising murder allegations against Dari.

With what had happened, Dari knew it was time to tell his parents the truth. He felt guilty after his father defended him vehemently against Maltiti in the conference room, thinking he was truly Yomba. Mrs. Asowura screamed and placed her hands on her head, while Mr. Asowura shook his head in disbelief when Dari visited them at home and told them the truth.

“ You boys will finally kill me ooo. You will kill me and rest.” Dari’s mother yelped

“ Do you know we could lose everything if Maltiti is able to provide evidence? You will be sacked and the company will be taken over by someone else. The hard work of your mother and I  will go in vain. How could you boys do this to us? After all we’ve done for you?” Mr. Asowura lamented. Dari remained standing with his head bowed and hands clasped in front of him. The only word he could say was “Sorry”, as nothing he said would fix the dilemma.

At home, Dari went to Allila’s door as usual and told her everything that transpired at work.

“ I have finally told my parents the truth and will be losing my second job in three days.” He added before heading to his room. The next morning, Dari made up his mind to see Allila, even if it meant breaking the door. He banged on the door severally, but she didn’t open it. He turned the door knob and it flung open effortlessly. Dari was still for a moment, contemplating whether or not, to enter. When he finally did, he found the room empty. Allila was nowhere to be found and Dari noticed some of her clothes were missing from the wardrobe which was left ajar. He looked into the yard and noticed her car was gone. Dari ran outside and asked the security man of  Allila’s whereabouts.

“ She left the house at dawn,” came the security man’s response. Dari called her phone but it was switched off and after many attempts, it dawned on him that she might have finally left him.

The three days ultimatum for Maltiti to provide evidence had elapsed and Ayuu went to Dari’s house that morning in a haste, only to find him still in bed.

“ You’re still sleeping? Shouldn’t you be thinking of what to do? Your absence will only draw more suspicions. You need to get to the office and stop Maltiti now!” Ayuu said distraught.

“ What is there to do? I’m going to get caught anyway, whether I stop him or not.” Dari said in a cranky voice and out of frustration, Ayuu forced him out of bed and made him prepare for work. Before they left the house, Ayuu asked him if he had heard from Allila and Dari shook his head. They drove out of the yard in Ayuu’s car as Dari refused to drive.

He walked slowly towards the conference room, with his heart beating hard. He had been to that room on numerous occasions, but that day, the corridor to the conference room, felt alien and stuffy. He knew everyone was seated and waiting to know the truth. As he opened the door, everyone stopped murmuring and stared at him. He took his seat and exhaled heavily. A fingerprint scanner was brought before him and two thumbprints were displayed on the large screen in the room, with the names of the twins, indicated under each. Maltiti explained to everyone that, the company had the thumbprints of the twins in its system so if the twin placed his thumb on the scanner, the thumbprint that belonged to him would beep automatically and turn green, revealing his true identity. Maltiti had even gone to the extent of hiring a thumbprint expert who would interpret everything if the need arose. It was clear Maltiti was unable to get any other proof and so this was his last shot, otherwise, he would lose his job.

The room fell silent as everyone watched him curiously and eagerly. He noticed his father staring at him helplessly. He looked at everyone and stared back at the fingerprint scanner, haplessly, contemplating whether to succumb to Maltiti’s trap or not.





Written by : Nasreen Zankawah


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