By Ogunsola Ayobami Samuel
Encountering her father and brother in the police station, Julia was able to regain part of her memory before she died. She remembered her family’s restaurant was a bustling business, with customers lining up outside the door. Everyone had called her “Daughter” and she’d treated the male customer with affectionate bickering, singing for them when they insisted.
Now, Julia in kate’s body goes back to the restaurant with her dad, who carries drunk Little Bro on his back. It’s emotional for her to take in the familiar surroundings, and she holds back tears while eating the dinner her dad prepares for her. Everywhere she sees things she’d nagged him about when she’d been alive; we know poor hapeless Dad has been struggling without her, and it’s evident in every corner of the restaurant.
Her dad thanks her for helping his son and insists on giving her cab fare home. Hurrying out, Julia looks around the neighborhood with tear-filled eyes, recognizing everything as memories of the friendly neighborhood shop-owners flood back to her. Forgetting herself, she speaks familiarly to one woman before realizing that she isn’t recognizable in this body.
As Julia walks pass the police station, she remembers how she used to deliver lunch to the officers—and how she’d taken extra care with Officer John’s(Lisa husband and julius brother-in-law) , sneaking an egg into his rice bowl. She thinks that he’s still as warm as ever: “Everything else is the same, but why am I the only one not here? With all these memories, why did I die?” She still can’t recall the moment she died, and she wonders what happened.
The next day, Julia dad drinks alone in his empty restaurant as julius cooking contest program plays on TV. He recognizes Julia (well, Kate ), as well as the dish she’d made out of julius burned rice—that rice soup that he no longer serves because it was Julia’s specialty.
Over at the Restaurant,Mike the assistant chefs watch the episode and called julius a genius for coming up with such a dish when he doesn’t even eat rice, and praise Julia as a natural. Of course, bratty Mike is still bitter about losing his shot at TV fame and grumbles about it, but everyone else is impressed.
Julia in kate’s body visits her dad restaurant She asks about his daughter, but he merely says she’s gone “far away.” Then he insists on popping out for something to offer his guest, and Julia looks around the living area, nearly in tears again to see that her dad has left her room exactly the same.
That’s when her brother Alex finds her and asks what she’s doing, eyeing her with suspicion. She rolls her eyes and snaps back, and it’s only when her dad tells Alex to thank her for helping him home last night that he very grudgingly does.
Julia arrives at the restaurant to find the staff lined up before Julius , who talks in a calm, reasonable tone that’s frankly scarier than yelling outright. He says he would have lent money if needed, or praised someone for taking a few ingredients to practice on, but can’t abide this theft. Especially with expensive caviar, even if the rest of the pilfered items were laughably cheap.
Julia catches the drift of this lecture belatedly, and when julius asks for a confession, she starts to speak up. But chef Mike speaks up first, to suggest that they’re all trustworthy and that this kind of inquisition will cost them much more in loyalty than the money they lost in a bottle of soy sauce here, a pair of gloves there. He’s just about quaking in his boots as he suggests that they all work a little harder to make up for the loss, and solve the problem that way.
But julius just smiles knowingly: “It’s you, isn’t it?” Mike denies it but can’t look julius in the eye, and that just confirms it for julius . So Mike comes clean (at least about the caviar), admitting that he brought a girl here and cooked something up to impress her, and had intended to replace the ingredients. He swears that he didn’t steal the other things, which of course is unconvincing in these circumstances, and Julia tries to break into the conversation carefully.
But the argument escalates, with julius calling Mike a thug, and Mike getting defensive, and suddenly other grievances start pouring out. Like how the chef favors everyone else, how he’s hard to work for, and how Mike sucked it up for the sake of teamwork and how he feels crazy for sticking it through when he’s not even appreciated. It ends with Mike saying he has other places who’d love him, and julius yelling at him to go then.
After Mike had left the restaurant, julius calls a friend to ask for any assistant chef possibilities, and is surprised to hear that his reputation for being difficult will probably keep them away. Just then, Alex arrives wearing a dark face, asking if Julia works here. He leaves a box for her with the message that she can keep her pity to herself, and if she’s angling for money, they’re broke.
Julius looks through the box and yanks Julia aside, asking for an explanation. Hearing her string of curses (directed at her brother), Mike looks at her in bewilderment, asking what’s wrong with her these days, and what her relationship is to that family. Julia starts explaining about how sad the restaurant is, and how the daughter died and the son is useless and she wanted to help.
Julius is incredulous at the sideways logic and asks what she’s going to do about Mike, and she points out that he was the one who lost his temper and wouldn’t let her go after him. Through gritted teeth, julius says they’ll keep this between them, and he’ll take care of Mike.
Mike is having a rough time of it himself, having picked up work at the family car wash, where he gets screamed at by his brother/father/uncle and called an idiot. The passenger window rolls open, and he gapes to see julius sitting there, asking if he left the restaurant for this kind of abuse. Neither is very good at this whole reconciliation thing but it makes it extra heartwarming when julius gruffly orders Mike in, and to leave the filthy rags out of his knife-wielding hands.
Mike flings the rags away, gets in the car, and curls up to julius ’s chest promising to do better.
Julius brings Mike back to the restaurant, where he announces to the staff that they’ll just forget today ever happened. They’ll put aside today’s events and move on, and he offers to take them all out for dinner afterward, saying he hasn’t been as attentive to them as he should have been.
They’re heading out the door when julius ’s mother barrels in with the Mrs jane, drunkenly slurring about how she had came to see julius in person. Julia sees Mrs Jane first and ducks behind the boys, shuffling out carefully. But julius Mom calls her out, asking for some water, and Julia holds her breath hoping not to be spotted.
Mrs jane looks around the restaurant and finds it full of oddly mixed energies. One look at julius’s face and she’s certain that he’s a strong ghost magnet, which he dismisses out of hand. He heads out, and Mrs Jane tells his Mom to let him go; if he doesn’t believe, then amulet and spells won’t do anything for him. Julia jumps every time Mrs jane speaks to her, but to her relief, she doesn’t cotton on to anything strange.
With nowhere else to go after being sent out of her resident, Julia takes her bags to the restaurant, machete and all, and quietly slips inside. She heads up the stairs and looks through the window julius has just stepped out of the shower and is walking around topless. She enjoys the view for a moment, then slips back downstairs… where she’s startled by a ghost.
She suggests that the ghost find another place to stay, and when the ghost growls at her, she concedes that they can share the place. Julia tries for the peaceful angle first, but when it seems the ghost is spoiling for a fight, she grabs the machete and supposes they’ll have to have it out.
She brandishes the blade and warns the ghost to beware, but then the ghost summons a burst of energy to force the blade away. It slams into some kitchenware, which falls over with a crash. The ghost poofs away, and upstairs, julius is reminded of the medium’s warning that this place is full of ghosts.
To be continued…………
Previous Chapter :The Virgin Ghostess Chapter 2
Next Chapter : The Virgin Ghostess Chapter 4
Ogunsola Ayobami Samuel is a blogger, writer, poet, and teacher. He attended Baptist High school from 2010-2013 and graduated from Kinsey College of Education Ilorin 2018, still hoping to have his first degree in English.
He sees writing and teaching as the best channel to reach out to the world.
The Virgin Ghostess is his first story to be written, though he had written different poems such as
The peaceful war
This too shall come to pass
We are African
Why did he
Tribute to Adeleke Rachel Tioluwani