Dr Hope had suspected she might be lying, but she remembered her.
She was Cynthia’s friend. She had actually introduced her as her “sister from another mother”, that afternoon they came for the pregnancy test.
Dr Hope remembered the short dark girl that was all smiles that day. Her smile was even larger than that of her friend who the good news was for.
She had remembered her perfect white dentition, the way it lit up her entire face in the smile.
She had wanted to ask her what brand of tooth cleaner she used. But eventually she asked her what she did for a living. Hoping to hear her mention dentist or actress, she heard pharmacist instead. Dr Hope had been impressed all the same.
But now that she had asked Nurse Bisi to show her the ward where the girl was, “the poor girl”—as she’d referred to her, she had developed a bit of scruple.
Vanessa took a fat breath and pushed the door of the room open.
Mma was fast asleep on the bed.
With a small smile of evil, Vanessa removed the syringe from her bag. It was loaded with the same wickedness that was to be found if one cut open her heart.
She fixed the needle and walked straight to the bed, to the silicon-like sac hanging from its holder above Mma’11s bed.
The plastic sac was half-filled with a bloody liquid. Its long and thin tube travelled all the way to Mma’s wrist.
Vanessa was near the bed when one last step went awry and instead of holding the IV bag to inject her deadly substance, she found herself crashing down the tiled hospital floor.
She had stepped on Mma’s heap of banana peelings. She had eaten then before she succumbed to the unconsciousness of sleep.
But now she was awake. The muffled scream of “Jesus” and the thud of heavy body against tiled floor had awakened her.
Vanessa rose quickly from the ground. She met Mma”s wide open eyes and made a small jolt.
But she didn’t relent. If anything, the malice in her boiled the more.
“You silly girl! So you think you are a cat eh?”She picked the loaded syringe from the floor. “You got nine lives, right?”
Mma stared, speechless. Everything seemed surreal to her.
But when she saw Vanessa push the needle into the sac above her and she saw the red liquid in the plastic bag turn deadly brown, her senses told her it was time to react. Be it dream or not.
She held the needle connected to her wrist and jerked it off. She felt a slight prickle.
Vanessa turned red. She thrust out her hand, this time to force the dangerous liquid direct into Mma’s belly. The faster the delivery, the quicker the action, all the whole better.
Mma grabbed her hand in the air and held tight. She tried to scream for help, but Vanessa threw her free palm over her mouth before she could let out a sizable sound.
She was weak, but she held on. Vanessa tried with what seemed all her might to push her way down and deliver the deadly bite, but Mma held her.
Vanessa never would have imagined that someone so sick would show so much strength. But she didn’t allow her surprise get in the way.
Mma held on firm, till she appeared to have used up all the energy she could gather and tears streamed down her face from the corners of her eyes.
Mma felt faint.
She’d completely run out of energy. She felt her body shutting down, her hands clasping Vanessa in the air getting numb.
With one last stroke of energy she knocked the syringe off Vanessa.
The piece fell and skidded down the floor.
Mma opened her mouth to scream, but the energy to produce words was no longer there.
Vanessa groaned in the frustration. She picked the pillow and pressed it down on Mma.
Mma struggled underneath.
Vanessa didn’t relent. She held on ever so tightly.
But then, at that one glorious second, the door of the ward flew open and Cynthia rushed through.
Dr Hope had called her. She hadn’t waited to hear all the doctor had to say. As soon as she mentioned that her friend dropped by the clinic, she threw the phone aside and ran downstairs.
She didn’t drive. She picked a taxi in front of their gate. The hospital was not that far from their residence in Ikeja.
Cynthia flew to the bed and pushed Vanessa off Mma.
Vanessa fell to the floor.
She bent over to make sure Mma was fine. Vanessa grabbed her from the back and threw her off.
Cynthia fell away, but she regained her stance quick enough and grabbed Vanessa before she could near Mma again.
They entwined, twisting this way and that in ladies’ fight.
Vanessa seemed more experienced.
She pulled at Cynthia’s hair, earrings and scratched all around her skin with her long nails.
Cynthia cried out.
A nurse attending to a patient in a nearby ward ran in.
“Oh my God!” The slim nurse ran out again, into the silent hallway, screaming “Doctor!” “Doctor!”
As if further enraged by the lady’s presence, Vanessa pushed Cynthia forward, away from her, and sent her long heel crashing into her belly.
Cynthia let out a loud cry of pain and fell to the floor. She writhed this way and that on the floor, clutching her belly.
Vanessa picked the syringe again, but this time, she didn’t go to Mma.
She walked straight to where Cynthia was squirming in pains on the floor. “Lemme see if your wedding will be in hell!”
She had leaned over to deliver the injection when the star-producing blow landed on her head.
She slumped to the floor.
“You don’t mess with my patients!” Dr Hope dropped the metallic height rod and helped Cynthia up.
She was bleeding.
A nurse guided her away while Dr Hope attended to Mma.
A Month Later…
A large beautiful car parked in front of Onyiudo Ekemma’s compound.
She lowered her tray of vegetables to the ground and stood up.She stared at the shiny black vehicle with a tinge of suspicion, as though she was sure they’d lost their way.
A tall handsome man in a fine-tailored suit got down from the driver’s side.
A tall slim lady joined him.
The back door opened and another tall but curvier lady joined them.
Onyiudo stared. Everything about the three strangers screamed foreign.
They walked toward her.
Mma took off her dark glasses and called Onyiudo Ekemma Mama.
The knife in Onyiudo Ekemma’s hand fell to the floor.
The boy screamed, “Okwa Nwamma o!” He jumped onto her, paying no care if he soiled her beautiful brown dress.
Mma hugged her small brother again. “Okey, you have really big o.”
The boy moved in for another hug and she waved a finger at him. “Mba. Enough is enough.”
“Mama, good evening,” Richard greeted.
“Good evening, Mama,” Cynthia joined.
Onyiudo Ekemma nodded. “Good evening,” she murmured, still looking lost.
Mma gestured to her brother. “Oya, rushing and calling me that fat boy you following and playing every time.”
Soon Okechukwu returned with a bigger, taller boy.
One by one, they carried out all the items loaded in the boot of the car.
The rice bags counted six. Four containers of expensive cooking oil. Cartons of Gino, Milo, Peak and St Louis. Uncountable packs of Knorr and other sachet spices.
Onyiudo Ekemma asked Okechukwu and Izunna to bring seats for her visitors.
Even when they’d driven off, she still didn’t look quite fully there yet.
She tapped Mma”s shoulder. “Bia, who are they really?”
“Mama that was the man that impregnated me.”
Onyiudo Ekemma’s right palm fell over open mouth.
“So when is he coming to pay your bride price?”
Mma frowned at her mother. “He would have but that night you chased me away, I tripped over a root and hit my stomach on the ground.”
“Yes, Mama. The baby is gone so no need of him marrying me again.”
Onyiudo Ekemma put her two hands on her head.
Mma opened her handbag and brought out a clean white-coloured hand set.
Okechukwu screamed again. “Foonu! Mama foonu!”
Mma smiled. “Is not “f-o-o-n-u”, is called blanberry.”
She pressed down a few keys. Something she couldn’t read came up on the screen and she quickly pressed the red key.
She knew that one “ends” everything.
Later that night, Onyiudo Ekemma touched her hair and asked her what she had done to it that made it so long and gentle to touch.
She smiled and told her that it wasn”t her hair and that the hair had come from her shop in Lagos.
“Shop?” Onyiudo Ekemma and Okechukwu threw this out at the same time.
“Yes. I having shop in Lagos now. I selling human hair and international human hair.”
“So you are going back to Lagos?”
BUY SEQUEL TO THE VILLAGE GIRL ON DNB STORE OR OKADABOOKS.
Copyright © Daniel Nkado 2014. All rights reserved.
Consented personally by the author to be used on Alifediary only.
Daniel Nkado is a Nigerian writer and journalist, author of bestselling Ola – The Tale of a Young Moon Maiden and founder of DNBStories.com.
Interact with him on www.dnbstories.com or @danielnkd on Twitter.