The Fourth Finger Ebook – Excerpts
My boss called me this evening and he was like, ‘Sally, have you finished your book?’
I laughed. And said to him, ‘I’m never done until I hit the publish button.’
Good evening, guys. Panic not. The book drops tomorrow by midnight. Just like it had been with Fish Brain Madhouse. But before it does, here are excerpts from the chapters you haven’t read – just to make your mouths water.
The book cover was designed by Ogbonnaya Williams Chukwudi, whom we call Signor Chuksy. I wanted something mysterious that left first time readers wondering what the book was all about, ad Chuks gave me this which I absolutely love.
He didn’t expect her to answer the call. The note she left had pretty much revealed her state of mind. Dejection had set in. She wasn’t one to easily let his mother bully her but in the light of all that had happened, he knew she had been too miserable to fight back or stay around to take in more ridicule. She was in someplace to bear the weight of her shame alone; and if he knew her well, she was in her family home.
He drove there and the housekeeper let him in. Folarin climbed up the stairs to Christie’s childhood bedroom, slowing down when he noticed a trail of blood that got more distinct as he neared her door.
“Chris?” he called, pushing the door in.
There was no answer. He entered the room and found it empty. The trail of blood had led him to a puddle on the floor in the center of the room.
“Chris!” His eyes darted in the direction of the bathroom and from there she emerged, hands dripping with water. Her legs were also wet and there were bloodstains on her skirt.
“Baby, what happened?”
Christie gave no answer. She rushed into his arms and found solace in his hug.
Salma lifted the chandelier necklace that sat in the middle of the other pieces and held it to the light, watching it gleam. When she turned it around, she saw an engraving of her name.
“Raji, you’re a bastard,” she said fondly. This was the part of her no one saw. The part that still loved and missed Raji. If he were with her at the moment, they would be having an argument over her way of breaking the fast. She would usually eat some dates and take a drink of water before the evening mahgrib prayers but Raji preferred to wait until after the prayers to have a full meal. Their differing methods sometimes brought arguments but only playfully.
She stared at a bowl of dates before her which had been sitting on the table for almost five days. The children had helped themselves with some but she hadn’t touched any. This year, she was fasting Raji’s style. His absence made the Ramadan a rather gloomy affair.
Without notice, the children let out screams of excitement. Salma jumped to her feet and began out but slowed when she heard them calling out to Raji and his subsequent laughter.
Annoyance came to her instantly but the thought of her emotions being controlled by him put her in check. She kept a plain face and strode out to the sitting room.
“As-salaam-alaikum,” he greeted, arresting her eyes. She didn’t respond, solely for the fact that he hadn’t greeted her in that manner in a long time. It was always the basic ‘hi’, ‘babe, what’s up’, ‘hey sweetheart’. Now, he was trying to ride on the spirituality wagon and she was not having it.
A cricket was chirping in some corner in her room when she woke up. It was still dark outside but the full moon made it look like it was nearing daylight.
Omolade entered the bathroom for a quick shower and dressed in warm clothes. The weather was wet and cold. She walked out to the sitting room and found Tayo where she had left him the night before. He had his phone in his hand, tucked under his armpit.
She sat on the center table and stared at him, not wanting to disturb his sleep. The man before her was a changed man. Her attempted suicide had changed them all in different ways. To her, transformation came after a walk round the hospital wards while in recovery, to see people whose fates had not been determined by them, fighting for their chance to live. For some of the patients, they just wanted an extended period to put their lives in order. From that moment she decided to live.
Forgiving Manny came naturally. She found it made the recovery process easier, although she was left with permanent scars— a voice that was coarse and discolored lips.
“Tayo,” she squawked, laying a gentle hand on his arm. He stirred up and took some seconds to blink away the sleep off his eyes.
“Why are you all dressed, baby?”
“I’m going out.”
“I have to be on set. Shooting starts today.”
Tayo rubbed his eyes while yawning. He put down his hands and stared at her with concern.
“You’re still going to do the movie, to work with Manny?”
“This is one opportunity I’ve been praying for that I don’t want to miss, Tayo.”
Tayo took both of her hands. “You really want to do this? To be around him after what he did to you?”
“It’s all in the past, Tayo.”
“It was just yesterday or so. I’m worried about you.”
“You’ve worried enough, coming here every day, crashing on the couch… I’m fine, Tayo. I need you to know that.”
He went up on his feet and pulled her up and closer. After a snuggle, he brought his lips to hers but she stepped back. He grabbed her again for another hug. The feel of his body evoked unwanted memories.
He let go and took her hand, grabbing his car key off the table.
“Let me drive you there. It’s too dark for you to be out alone.”
They journeyed to the other side of town, using the Third Mainland Bridge. The sun came up over them, calm and hidden behind rain clouds.
“Did you see my calls?” he asked, moving towards Toni.
“Please, don’t come further,” she said to him as she went behind her desk.
“Okay, I’ll stay here, ma’am.”
Observing no oddity in Toni’s behavior Andre took the visitor’s chair. “So why didn’t you answer my calls?”
Toni crossed her arms. “Andre, we need to talk.”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“Andre, not now.”
“Okay. So, what’s up? What’s this talk about? I was hoping that maybe we could do peppersoup and palm wine. I know this place, off Lagos Business School. Cool joint…”
“Andre… I’m…” Toni took in a straighter posture and breathed out. “I can’t go on with this relationship. It was fun. You were fun but I can’t do it again. I’m breaking up with you. I’m sorry.”
Andre looked at her, showing no form of expression on his face, although his brows came together slightly.
“I don’t understand.”
“I can’t be your girlfriend anymore, Andre. We’re over.”
“Okay.” He gave what looked like a shrug. A plain face accompanied it.
“Did you understand what I just said, Andre? We’re breaking up.”
It took some time for Andre to finally assimilate what he had just heard. And this he did while staring steadily at the floor.
“What did I do wrong?”
Toni turned her face away.
“Is this a joke, Arinola…?”
“Don’t call me that!”
Andre’s mouth slightly parted in disbelief. “Antonia, this is really happening? You’re dumping me?”
“Please, don’t make me talk too much. Let’s just end it as adults.”
“What did I do wrong?”
“Nothing, Andre! I just don’t want to be with you anymore! Is that so hard to understand?”
“No, it is not. But I’d prefer if you looked at me while talking to me. You owe that much respect.”
Toni couldn’t look at him because he could easily read her. She didn’t want him to look at her and find her pain and shame. She didn’t want him to know how weak she was, how used and abused she felt. She just wanted him out of her life. He was going to be her last chapter with men.