Dial Episode 14 is now rolling…
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For the first time in many years, I changed my haircut style.
Just like my father, I had always preferred the hairstyle where there was a bit more hair on top, slightly thicker than the sides.
That day, however, after seeing the speckle of grey hairs on my head, I went for a ‘down-cut’ hairstyle. The side hairs were whittled down to almost the skin, and the top was cropped close to my skull but with comparatively more hair than the sides.
I rushed home and sat down in front of the laptop and hit the internet. I researched extensively on premature grey hair, hoping to hit on a reason – any reason at all – to explain why my hair had been pigmented with grey hairs.
If I had gotten a reason on the first key words Googled, I just might have stopped researching any further. As it turned, I took about a couple of hours surfing the internet for a reason.
My hopes were dashed when I learnt that stress wasn’t a real cause of premature grey hair, contrary to popular belief. I was hoping, against all hopes that I would have very concrete evidence that stress caused early grey hair, but this was debunked by the many articles I read.
I tried to pin it down to genetics…but my father hadn’t greyed well into his fifties. And then I tried to pin it down to vitamin B-12 deficiency, or even something associated to my pituitary or thyroid gland…but I knew these didn’t apply to me, and I was just grasping at straws.
I finally stood up and paced my huge luxurious house aimlessly. I was a wealthy young man, and yet I felt so very alone. There was no one to call, no one to converse with, and no one to give me advice!
My life, indeed was a lonely one, and I was just beginning to realize it. I watched some movies, then retired to my huge study and drew up some accounts on projects I needed to complete, and then I headed to the kitchen to find something to eat.
After a while I gave up, returned to the living-room, picked my phone, and ordered pizza. At least that would make me meet another human being. I went to my courtyard and spent some time on the basketball court hooping in a few three-pointers. Somewhere in the neighbourhood a dog barked fiercely, and the sound really made me sad, and I stopped playing the basketball.
I didn’t even have a dog, or a cat, to call a friend!
My security system was the best money could buy, consisting of lasers and electric kickers to tempered steels lockdowns that had deterred many break-in attempts and burglaries.
Somehow, with my money, I had created a sort of prison for myself!
The sadness and loneliness hit me with relentless force, and I felt my heart stretched with emotion as I thought of my father, and at that moment I missed him more than I could bear!
My father, who had built up an empire from scratch…strong, focused, hard. My friend, my only friend, my best friend! A man who had taught me the ropes, given me the best of education, prepared me for the world, and filled me with enough bitter and negative sentiments about my fellow humans beings that had permanently scarred me, and separated me from social living completely.
We had been there for each other, just the two of us…
And now he was gone, and I was alone, and I couldn’t fill that void. Now I needed him as a son would need a father, my fear escalating slowly out of control, and wishing for his firm assuredness, his rock-solid shoulder I could lean on, and find solutions.
I was alone.
Completely alone…with a horrible fetish priest breathing vengeance down my spine.
Tears came into my ears, and slowly spilled down my cheeks. And around that time the pizza delivery guy came, and I took it through the small cubicle, suddenly unwilling to speak to him this time. I tipped him generously and carried the big box up to the dining-room.
I poured a glassful of orange juice, dropped in some iced cubes, and tried to take it with the full-season pizza, one of my favourite dinner options.
That evening, however, it tasted like sawdust in my mouth, but I forced myself to gulp down six pieces, washed them down with juice, and then I went to take a shower.
Still feeling sad and lonely, I got myself a generous amount of whisky on the rocks, put on some slow reggae jams and tried to relax in the living-room. I worked my way through the full bottle of whiskey, got roaring drunk, and passed out on the floor.
Somewhere deep in the night I woke up and stumbled my way to the huge bedroom, and fell down on the bed.
When I woke up again sunlight was filtering in through the blinds, and I was having a hell of a headache and felt so feverish. I took off my pyjamas and walked naked into the bathroom and got some pain killer from the medicine cabinet and swallowed it down with tap water. I washed my face and then picked up my toothbrush and paste.
It was then that I straightened up and looked into the mirror.
The toothbrush, with a generous amount of tooth paste on it, slipped through my fingers and dropped to the floor.
That was how severe my shock was!
I stood there, transfixed with horror, and looked at my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t move, and I made no sound, but tears came into my eyes and bubbled down my cheeks.
In reality, I really didn’t want to cry, no, but the tears fell on their own accord.
I could not tear my eyes off my reflection as I stared at myself.
The hair on my head, which I had given a ‘low-cut’ style, was now back to my usual haircut!
Overnight, the hair had grown back to how I normally wore it…and every little blade of hair was white!
The hair on my chest and stomach, which the night before had been so black and luxurious, was now pure white!
And, worse of all, the hair on my groin was pure white. What broke my heart were the tufts of hair on my poor balls looking white like ash on coal..
Not grey, not silver, not mixed with black…no, no.
Pure white! The whole hair on my chest, groin and stomach was white!
I turned slowly and presented my back and buttocks to the mirror, twisting my head to look. There was hair on my back too, a fine covering of black on my shoulders, lower back and buttocks.
They were white too!
Only the hair on my arms and legs were still black.
Never had I felt so helpless, so abused, so small! It was a most humbling and wretched feeling, and as I leaned forward and grabbed the sink, I wept bitterly.
After a while, I turned away from the mirror and went back inside. Hurriedly, I took my phone and called Apostle Jacob Williams.
He picked up on the first ring and spoke before I could get a word in.
“Listen, Mr. Yao Biko,” he said carefully, pronouncing each word with a pause. “I gave you back your money with extra, remember? That was because I don’t want you to bring that Wowo man to my doorstep, okay? Now, I don’t owe you anything, and you and I have nothing to discuss. Do not – I repeat – do not call me again, Mr. Yao Biko.”
And he cut the line.
I took a deep sigh, and called Light Duke Greyhem of the Bare Light International Church.
Eventually, I had to call about seven times more before he picked the call.
“Mr. Biko, I thought we discussed our issues concisely the last time, without any ambiguities,” he said in a cold voice. “To what then, do I warrant this call?”
“Listen, I spent some days with you, okay? My problem is compounding, in a most frightening way,” I said, trying to keep my voice from trembling. “I understand you can no longer help me, and that is okay. I just want to know, you being in this church business, if there’s anybody out there – anybody at all – who you think can be of help to me.”
“Take down this number and the address,” he said curtly.
“Wait a minute, let me get a pen,” I said and sat down at my desk, drawing a jotter toward me. “I’m ready.”
“His name is Prophet Doctor Ekow Dadzie, a powerful man of God that performs many amazing miracles,” he said. “This is his number and address.”
I wrote them down carefully.
“Thank you very….” I began, but he had already cut the line.
I sat for a long time, and then I called Prophet Doctor Ekow Dadzie.
He listened to me, laughed, and assured me that my problems were over, and so I should go over.
I cut the line and breathed with relief.
Quickly, I took a shower, put on a suit, and out of curiosity I went to the mirror to ascertain if, perchance, my black hair had come back.
The reflection that looked back at me was absolutely macabre, causing my heart to thud so nosily that I heard it in my ears.
“Oh, oh, oh, oh!” I whispered with horror.
My eyebrows were white now…pure white!
My eyelashes were white, very white!
And, to cap it all, my moustache was absolutely white.
I almost died at that moment.
The weight of the helplessness was indeed unbearable. I was trembling greatly as I walked to the wardrobe and took a beautiful Stetson I had bought but never worn, and then took dark shades too.
These covered my grey head, eyebrow and eyelashes nicely.
For a moment, I wanted to shave them all off, but it occurred to me that I should keep them so that the powerful man of God would know the nightmare I really was in.
I went out, and as the automatic high-security doors slid down behind me and the highly-automated state of the art gates of my mansion slid open, I saw Akos Bosomba of Wowo standing outside my gates with a puzzled look on her face.
She was in a fabulous white nursing outfit, a white cap and white flat-soled shoes, and white stockings.
Akos of Wowo…standing right there!
I screamed my head off and twisted the steering-wheel and my car smashed into the side of the pillars!
The engine of the powerful car whined in protest and I looked down and continued screaming.
And then there was a knock on the window, and I looked up, and there she was, standing and knocking on the window and speaking…
And so I screamed some more and raised my arm to shield my face and continued screaming, and suddenly this ghost wrenched the door of my car open…
Now, whoever heard a ghost wrenching a car door open?
And then she was shouting into my face.
“Mr. Biko, Mr. Biko, stop screaming screaming, stop screaming! I’m not Akos! I’m her aunt, just stop screaming!!”
And I couldn’t hear a word she was saying. Well, I did hear her, but her words didn’t make any sense to my terrified mind. She was Akos of Wowo, a ghost in a nurse’s dress!
And then she touched, and I screamed even louder and tried to disappear into the car, batting her hands away furiously, and as my hand touched hers, and I realised she was human, and not a ghost, I stopped screaming and struggling, and I stared at her like a moron.
“Sorry, Mr. Biko,” she said, looking at me with something like laughter in her eyes, a kind of suppressed laughter bubbling in her cheeks. “Sorry I scared you. I couldn’t help it. I look like Akos, yes. We had always been mistaken for twins, but I am not her. Nana Bosomba is my older brother.”
And just then, around then, I burst into tears, weeping very miserably and trembling violently with self-pity…
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