At first I thought it was a shrill; the way Harry Potter’s Dementor’s would sound or a Velocirpator that had been stabbed in its necks and was just coming to terms with its pain preparing to get back at its opponent. I could swear that it was real and unlike anything that I’d ever heard before and my heart began to pound so hard in my chest I almost died.
I turned round my face covered in fear only to stare as the guards and butlers just stood infront of the doorway of the majestic Din’s Family Palace hotel while everyone looked at the doorway then at me half confused.
“Are you alright?” Shem, the Business Mogul I was with asked lowering his cup of tea.
I took a deep breath then returned to my chair too embarrassed with myself to even stare at the man.
I had to finish this, there was no way I was backing down. If I didn’t then the Board Members would know that I had been suffering from hallucinations for the past two months and then they’d kick me out of my company without a penny to my name.
I knew that there was nothing left of me the moment I agreed to enter the beautiful jewel. If I didn’t do it then all my hard work would go away just like that. I’d return to being that hungry kid with nowhere to go, the one whose parents died and was left to fend off the streets for a month before his widowed grandma took him in only for her to die when he had just started adapting to the harsh village environs before finally ending up in an orphanage. I didn’t want to be that kid.
“So as I was saying, I’ll give you 24 million US Dollars for your shares in the company and another 10 for stock.” Shem began pushing his teacup away before lighting his cigar.
I pretended to stare at the contract but in reality I was too detached from the real world. What if I went mad, what if my children steal from me. What does the world hold for me now that am out of my company? I could think of a few hobbies involving art but that was just as far as I could get.
“James, are you alright?” I snapped out of reverie.
“It’s not what we agreed on.” I commented then stared at his face picking out the tiny liverspots and the pieces of grey old hair growing out of it but the more I stared, the more my eyes grew blurry and then I heard the shrill.
“I’ll be honest James, there’s word in the stock market that the value of your shares are taking a nose dive. You said it yourself, your profits have been heading to the gutter; it’s more of a gamble for me.”
I tried to keep the act but his face grew more and more blurry and the shrills more irritating. I was beginning to sweat even around my balls as the hair around my spine rose up. I felt uneasy and even Shem couldn’t help but notice that I was shifting in my chair.
“Anything wrong James?”
“No, no, nothing…” I jumped hastily. “Where’s the contract?”
My vision began to return and if it wasn’t for the spiffy waiter heading for the table right at that moment, I couldn’t have realized that I was shouting.
“You know, the James I knew wouldn’t have signed that hastily.” He commented, his face in a half smirk as he extended his hands after I signed.
“Well he isn’t there anymore… Is he?” I burst out.
I shook his hands and then watched him rise and leave with his bodyguards who were in a table nearby.
There was something about those words that made me rethink everything. I turned round just to confirm that there was no cursed Dementor behind my back but even that couldn’t help make me feel at ease.
I stared at my contract and then I remembered that the lawyers had not been present during the meeting. What had I just done? I asked myself. My heart began to pound hard and I heard a low shriek. The lawyers had said that the contract was fine but they were still supposed to be around but as I tried to remember what had happened after that, my jaw almost dropped not because I had sold my shares for half their worth but because I couldn’t remember the events of the day. It was like waking up and discovering that half your life had been a dream and that you’d forgotten half of it the first 5 minutes after waking up.
The waiter walked towards me and I handed him my credit card.
“No, the bill’s already been paid.” He said.
He held something in his hands, a tiny red box.
“The gentleman you were with told me to give you this.”
He said half confused.
“Thanks.” I said then removed a 100 dollar note and handed him his tip.
I opened the box and almost dropped down to my feet.
In it were my fiancée’s engagement ring and the necklace I had bought us.
There was also a tiny note beneath the jewelry.
“Sorry James, they made me do it.” Was written on it and then I remembered and I heard the shrill get louder and louder. The lies, the deceit; it couldn’t be. I held my head and felt the tears drop as the mucus rolled over. I was a mess.
The waiter returned half concerned and placed his hand on my shoulder.
“Are you alright sir?” He asked
Just then I heard a voice, it was that of my late mum whenever I did a mistake and she knew that I’d messed up big time and that she’d warned me of it. It was irritating just as it was in my childhood.
‘She messed you up… You can’t pretend she didn’t. You always knew she was a player.’
“No…no, this is not real.” I talked to myself.
“Sir?” The waiter pressed.
I rose up in anger and punched the man straight in his nose.
“Shut up! I want you to stop talking! I’m talking to my mum!” I said not knowing why I even did what I did. Security officers began heading for me and that’s when I made the worst mistake after the first. I took my tea cup and smashed it on the forehead of one who rolled backwards before his team charged at me and contained me.
I was taken to a special room where the managers intimidated me and promised to push with lawsuits and charges before two Police Officers handcuffed me and took me to their car.
I passed out upon entering the car and when I woke up, I was not in jail but in a white room strapped onto a bed in leather straps. I was dressed in a white hospital gown and there was a machine that monitored my heartbeat besides me and a TV.
“I’m your lawyer Mr. Curtwin.” I heard a lady’s voice besides me.
“What is happening? Where am I?” I asked. I felt drowsy.
“You’re in a psychiatric clinic following your outbursts… And you’re lack of cooperation with the court. I begged the judge to give you an insanity plea. You’ll not be allowed to see any visitors not even your wife.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked half stupefyied.
“Everyday you ask me the same question, yesterday I showed you the video… I still believe that your honest and that you were set up. I mean the video’s quality, the timing, it could only be recorded by a papparazi who knew what he was doing.”
“What? You’re losing me here. How many days have I been asleep?” I asked
“You’ve not been asleep…” She said “You mean you don’t remember me and everyday for the past two weeks I’ve been visiting you?”
“Yes.” I answered truthfully.
She took out her phone and played the video which could only have been recorded by a person whose intentions were to do so.
And then I remembered.
“The outbursts, the contract, it was all a plan…” I murmured to myself quite loudly.
“The what?” She asked more confused than I was.
“She committed fraud. They lied that she was dead. They played a game on me… The coffee she used to bring me, that’s when the outbursts began…”
“Sir just calm down, you’ll be in good care here” She said.
“No, you don’t get it!” I raised my voice then lowered it partly because I felt guilty and partly because my head was killing me.
“This people they’ve been playing games with me. Can you call Stephanie, she’s my secretary…”
“Your company shut down yesterday, Shem the majority shareholder is said to have cashed out his shares after the CID released reports that you had been money laundering and your shares started collapsing on the stock market. By 3 PM yesterday, Curtwin Tech had its shares dropping from 6 shillings a share to 2 shillings a share. So the board decided to shut it down. It’s hard to imagine that just 3 months ago, this was one of the third most profitable companies in the country.”
“And you fail to see the picture?” I asked
Her eyes opened wide.
“They drugged you, all this while the insanity… No…”
“This was my Fiancée’s and Shem’s plan… I guess they’re somewhere in Asia enjoying a view of China or something. Don’t you see it? While would I launder money from my own company?”
“I guess we have a case but even if I wanted to, your accounts are frozen and your properties have been seized.”