Raymond’s cloth clung to his body as he jumped out of his car, rushing to the back seat. Bose saw his anxiety and went to him, trying to see if he needed her help for anything. She squeeled at the sight before her. Never in her life had she seen a human being so dirty. Wait; is she dead? Her eyes popped as she stood frozen behind Raymond.
Raymond checked the pulse of the girl and heaved a relieved sigh. He glanced back and saw Bose standing transfixed behind him.
“Don’t just stand there gawking, go and open the door”, he spat out, louder than he had intended. She obeyed instantly, vanishing from sight. Ray lifted the girl effortlessly, his gaze fixed on the girl, not even bothering to close the door of the car.
“What is this thing you carry, Ray?” he heard. Raymond stared at Tinuke for some seconds, not really knowing what to say instantly. She was standing arms akimbo, looking at him like he had just developed two heads. He tried to boycott her, but she stood. It had completely escaped his mind that she was home. When he told her to leave before he arrived, he had known that she would never do such a thing.
“Tinuke, it would be in your best interest to leave my front before I lose my patience”, he said, already losing his cool.
“I, Tinuke Rogers, am not leaving this place. You can bring down heaven, I don’t care. Now I asked you a question. What is this piece of trash you are holding?” she sniffed her nose in a sigh of disgust.
Ray was beside himself with fury. “Leave my front Tinu” he roared. She stood defiantly. Before she knew what was happening, Raymond used his leg to push her out of the way, making her fall to the ground forcefully. Ray marched inside, his feet pounding on the floor. The girl was unconscious. He could not fathom how she could still be alive after all these drama; he could not even guess how long she had been staying in that sack, out on the cold and muddy road. Bose, who had been watching the drama, ran ahead and opened the door of one of the rooms.
Ray placed the girl on the bed very carefully. Having a mind of her own, Bose ran to get a bucket of warm water and a napkin. Ray stared at the girl, feeling pity for her. She was very small, and from her body size, he imagined her to be either seventeen or eighteen years old at most. He wondered what might have happened to her. From the cut at the side of her belly, he knew it had to be a knife cut. He swallowed hard.
Bose arrived with a bucket of warm water and a cloth. She knelt down to begin wiping out the mud on the girl’s body but Ray stopped her. He collected the cloth from her, dipped it in the water and squeezed it dry. He wiped the face of the girl, removing part of the caked mud on her face.
“Oga, you dey shake” Bose commented. Unlike all the other house helps he had come across, Bose was someone who says and does things without the fear of being sacked. She says whatever she wants to, whether you like it or not; as long as it is the truth. That notwithstanding, she holds Ray in high esteem. Ray had come to see Bose as a friend and a junior sister.
“I am fine Bose, go and wait by the gate, Doctor T is coming”. Bose snorted and made no move to leave her position. “I am still your boss, Bose, do as I say”
“Oga, if you no go remove your cloth, you go first this girl die”. She lamented. “Leave am, I go take care of am, go commot your cloth, abi madam body don tire you, you wan see another person body?”
Ray stared at her for some seconds, feeling exasperated. There were many times he felt tempted to sack Bose but he hadn’t been able to bring himself to doing it. She was always there to talk to when Tinuke started her crazy tantrums.
Knowing that an argument with Bose would be futile, he stood up. “be very careful, I think the wound is not too deep but she has lost a lot of blood. She must be really strong to still be alive now. Try to speak English; that is why I sent you to school”.
Bose laughed. “I was expecting that”
Ray shook his head and left the room. Bose lightened his mood the way even Tinuke couldn’t. Tinuke flashed back to his mind as he rushed back to his room. He still could not imagine that he had tossed her the way he did. It is not in his nature to hurt a lady. He felt bad that he had pushed her, even though she had provoked him. He did not have the courage to talk to her, he was ashamed of his action, even though he did not hit her. He entered the room and shed his clothes within the twinkle of an eye. Downing his night robe, he hurried to the gate to open the gate for the doctor who had been blaring his horn. He passed by Tinuke in the sitting room, who sat foaming in anger but did not even glance at her twice. A life is at stake.
Doctor Tunde was not even out of his car when Bose literarily jumped out of the house, stuttering. She was pointing, jumping and screaming at the same time, fear written all over her tears stricken face. Without even hearing anything from her, Raymond raced inside, dragging the doctor along. He grew pale when he saw the girl jerking. Doctor T pressed her chest, trying to stabilize her. He pressed and pressed for some seconds, which looked like forever. He instantly knew that this sight would haunt his dreams for a long time. The girl became still and he closed his eyes. To say he was frightened would be an understatement. Bose held on to him, putting her face on his chest, shivering. He held her, knowing that this must be really terrifying for her too.
“Tell me. She is not dead, is she?” he whispered, his eyes closed.
He heard nothing apart from the voice of the sobbing girl in his arms. He opened his eyes slowly, his heart racing.
“I never knew you to be this fearful. The girl lives, but she is very weak and may not survive. We need to take her to the hospital. The gadgets and machines in the hospital can help to a certain extent if she would survive this. She is stronger than she looks to be alive now. This cut is deep and she has lost so much blood” he said thoughtfully.
Carefully removing Bose’s arms, Ray strode forward, his eyes fixed on the girl. She had the whitest skin he had ever seen. He had to admit that the mud and pain she was in is involved but that notwithstanding, she was still exceedingly fair. All these thoughts occurred within splita of seconds. He bent to carry her but the doctor stopped him, going over to carry her, applying less force and more care, as espected of a doctor. Bose ran to her room and grabbed one of her gowns. She hadn’t finished cleaning her up, not to mention change her clothes, when the girl started jerking wildly. She hadn’t seen a corpse before and right now, she was feeling llike she had just seen one, even though the girl is not dead.
Rushing through the sitting room, Doctor Tunde stared unbelievably at Tinuke. How can someone be so heartless as to leave them alone to struggle with a girl’s life without showing the lowest level of care? Minding his business, he hurried past her to the car. Raymond ran to the room, picked his wallet and his ATM card, threw a shirt and a trouser over his body, then he ran out of the room. He had forgotten that Tinuke existed and seeing her in the sitting room, still foaming with anger, made his blood boil.
“There are some times I am sad I proposed to you Tinu, but there are other times I am really, really sad that I ever had anything to do with you. How can you be so selfish and senseless as to shut your eyes against the girl in danger?” he asked bewildered.
She jerked up. “To start with, you never asked for my help, instead, you asked for the help of your stupid maid. I could have helped, instead, what did you do? You pushed me away like a piece of thrash. You are not leaving this house until you apologise for what you did” she went to block the doorway again.
Ray advanced towards her. “If you don’t leave my front now, I would forget my policy about not hitting a woman and hit you so hard that you would need the help of a doctor to recouperate.”
The light burned in his eyes and she knew that he would do it without thinking twice. She left the doorway and he rushed out. He asked Bose to come along with them because he could not begin to imagine what Tinuke would do to the poor girl if she stays. Having her open the gate, he regretted not replacing his gateman.
The anger in Fred’s eyes was deadly as he picked up the knife and started pursuing Luciana. They ran for some time, with Lucy ahead and Fred behind but as time went on, the gap between them became closer. Fear crept up Lucy’s face and she started increasing her speed even though she was already exhausted. Fred saw this and ran even faster, a devilish grin on his face.
In her haste to escape with her life, Lucy ran carelessly, hitting her legs several times. She hit her leg on a big stone and toppled to the ground. She let out a cry of pain, looking around desperately in the darkness, trying to see if someone could help her, but found none. Fred towered over her, brandishing the knife in a frightening manner. Lucy looked at him with pleading eyes but he only smiled evilly, almost like he was possessed. With a shout of victory, he brought down the knife.
Mrs Jones let out an ear-deafening scream, jerking from her lying position to a sitting position. Mr Jones jumped up in fright, as he heard his wife’s scream.
“My baby, my baby…” she said continuously, as her husband wrapped his arms around her. She whimpered and shook with velocity.
“What is it dear”
“My baby, my Lucy, my baby” she said over and over again.
“Calm down. It is just a dream.” He said to her.
She left his arms. “it is not just a dream. Someone wants to kill my baby. I can feel it here” she pounded the left side of her chest. “When he was about to stab her with the knife, I woke up. Ken, I told you before we slept that I was feeling somehow, and now this; I know when God is giving me a sign. I am a mother” she almost yelled.
Ken understood his wife perfectly. Her dreams are not to be taken likely at all because almost all of them turn out to be a reality, whether good or bad. He swallowed hard as he took his phone from the bedside table and dialed his daughhter’s number. Bewaji shivered and Ken drew her into his arms. The phone rang out and Ken released the breath he had been holding, but when the phone was not answered, he became worried. He dialed again and again but no answer came. Tears spilled over Bewaji’s face as she looked at her husband. The time was 1:35 am, and they would have assumed that she was too deep in her sleep to answer the call, if they hadn’t known her to be a very light sleeper. A slight movement beside Lucy is enough to rouse her from sleep.
Guarding his own worries, Ken faced his wife. “Don’t jump to conclusions now BJ, kneel down and let us pray”.
Tinuke roamed the sitting room of her fiance’s house thoughtfully. Ray had never raised his hands against her violently ever since she had known him but he had come very close to doing so today. He hadn’t done it but she knew that if she had pushed him, he would have hit her without thinking twice; and now he is out of the house, and who is with him? That blasted maid.
She groaned. She had always wondered what was going on between Ray and Bose, considering their strange closeness. The girl almost has more say in the house than she herself. To assume that Ray would stoop so low as to get involved with a maid, is something she could not fathom. And who is that ragged girl they are all fussing over? She wondered. Whoever she is does not concern her as long as she does not interfere in her relationship with Ray; but she is already doing that now. As for Bose, she would be damned if she sat back and allowed a mere maid take her place in Ray’s heart. She picked her purse and car keys, left the house and headed for the hospital. She already knew where Doctor Tunde’s hospital was.
Ray sat at the hospital reception of Hope Hospital, waiting for the doctor to come out. He was worried about the girl being attended to but what was giving him more stress was Tinuke. He wondered how he had gotten himself into such a mess. How was she able to hide this character? He wondered. She had been so cold-hearted that she did not even recognize their struggles in the house. He wondered if she would have showed some emotions if the girl had died. He sighed inwardly. Maybe his friends were right and they needed a break.
Bose stared at her boss. He looked older than he should with the lines of worry on his head. She had never known a more handsome man than the one sitted in front of her but that fiancée of his is practically making his life miserable. She stood up and went to sit beside him. “It would be alright sir. You would get through this” she whispered. Ray looked at her. She always understood him. Was always there for him.
“Thanks Bose” he said and held her to him. He heard the hospital door open and the next person he saw was Tinuke, standing at the hospital entrance.
…To be continued