THE SECOND SIGHT EPISODE 54
A RESPITE AND A TALK
Elaine got to her feet slowly.
She was dirty, and her dress had been torn at several places. Her face was a mass of welts and bruises. She swayed unsteadily, her eyes still defiant as she looked at me.
My face was dismayed, because the thought of her carrying my baby was so nightmarish and loathsome that I felt like wailing.
How had it happened?
She hissed and screamed at me, her orbs of hatred that glowed in the silvery sheen of the moonlight.
You are mine! Forever you shall be mine!
And then she turned and with an ear-splitting scream she wove a drunken unsteady course into the forest.
The humming trees closed in around her protectively, the branches seeming to comfort her as she began to weep uncontrollably, her mourning voice reaching me several minutes after she disappeared into the trees.
I watched her go.
I was that helpless.
For a long time I stood staring after that flitter of white dress as she moved deep into the trees, long after she was gone.
I felt cool hands on my arm, and when I turned Nicole was standing there.
She was that beautiful, and as the strange yellow light died I saw her face only by the help of the moon above.
She looked crushed and trampled on, and it pained my heart to see her so devastated, so abused…so not there .
I swept her into my arms, crushing her, desperately trying to reassure myself that she was indeed within the circle of arms again, trying to forget the horror of seeing her whisked through the air and smashed against walls and ceilings.
The darkness pressed in from all sides, but this time there was no evil in it. She trembled in the night chill, and I crushed her closer.
She lifted up a tear-drenched face to mine.
Even in the darkness, by the faint moonlight that filtered through, I saw that it was a broken face, a face that reflected her broken spirit.
Her hands were little forlorn fists that lay against my chest, and her head seemed to be moving from side to side constantly, unable to stop. Twice she tried to speak, and each time her voice broke on a sob.
Nicole, my darling, it’s alright.
As I looked at her, pleasuring in the fact that she was safe, once more, my heart slowly began to turn to ice as I faced the unhealthy realization that this would always happen.
I had chosen a life where evil in its most vicious form ruled, where tit-for-tat and an-eye-for-an-eye was the name of the game.
From now till eternity they would be after me and mine, just as I would be after them. It was a battle where no weapons were spared and every rough tactic was employed.
Marrying her would mean eventually raising a family, and unless my family could perform at top mental consciousness, never allowing even an iota of spiritual doubt to cloud their daily confidence and faith in an unseen God above, then I might as well forget it. They would surely be used against me, and my heartaches could stretch till eternity.
This was the stark reality, and as I gently swung the woman of my heart into my arms and carried her quivering body through the darkness of the forest, I knew I could not subject her and her children to such a future.
If I wanted a safe secure future for her, devoid of any incidents like this, then I had to set her free.
That was the only option.
They were all outside the house when we reached it.
They were all confused and concerned, but I did not stop to speak to anyone.
I took her to her room, and she took a long bath.
She was sleeping now.
Her sleep was troubled, yes, but sleeping she was.
I was scared to leave her and so I stayed in her room, sitting in a comfortable armchair beside the bed.
Ever since she took a bath and was helped into bed by her concerned mother she had not wanted me to leave her side. It was as if somehow she had become cognizant of the train of my thoughts as I brought her out of the forest.
They all crowded around her bed at first.
Explanations had been minimal, reduced to the basic truth that somehow evil had attacked her, I had intervened, and she was safe. The unanswered question I had seen in the depths of their eyes was the same I had asked myself somewhere earlier in the night: how had the evil ones been able to get to her?
It was Mrs. Rosemary Anderson who had asked the question fearfully, when there were only the four of us left around Nicole’s bed: Bonner, the parents, and me.
(fearfully, voice unsteady)
Did this have anything to do with what Fred did to her?
So they all knew. I looked at her with hard bitter eyes.
If by Fred you mean her uncle, then yes, this was the result of it. Whatever it was that happened, I think Nicole has not been able to forgive herself, and that guilt has eaten away at her until the evil one came and fed on it.
The three of them exchanged little furtive guilty looks, but they said nothing to me. Eventually they left the room, leaving us alone with the girl I loved.
Nicole suddenly gripped my hand fiercely in her sleep.
Her smooth beautiful brow was furrowed with unease, and she would uttered a soft cry, or an inaudible word. This had been going on for some time, and each time I soothed her gently and wiped sweat off her brow.
Finally the intensity of her grip lessened, and then she had finally let go my hand.
I might have dozed off too, because I didn’t hear the door opening. I only became aware of the hand shaking my shoulder gently, and I came up slowly from a tired doze.
Bonner was standing beside me, his face grave, and he indicated the balcony off the bedroom. He headed for it, and I reluctantly stood up.
Nicole was snuggled under the sheets, and she muttered something in a tired little voice, a tiny frown puckering her brow.
She might have received a good reply to her query, though, because a sweet, beautiful smile creased her lovely face, and she turned onto her left side, and began to breathe gently.
I stretched and yawned, and then worked my jaw a few times. I followed Bonner.
Sunlight was just beginning to turn the horizon a hazy amber over the slowly awakening town.
We stood behind the railing and watched; it was a beautiful sight.
You mind telling me what happened in the forest, son?
Somehow the prospects of living that nightmare again filled me with strange anger, and I felt a little hostile toward him.
I knew it was probably because of my strong feelings for Nicole because I didn’t want her to be ‘analyzed and filed’ in this old man’s usually cold and unfeeling way.
Why not tell me about the Uncle Fred issue first? That was how they got to her.
He turned and fixed me with a hard eye.
Who got to her? Was it Andrew or the girl?
I looked sharply at him, and my unreasonable anger went up a notch or so.
Fred? The uncle?
Oh, come on, Yaw! She would tell you herself if she wants to. Come to think of it, I think it will be better if you hear it from Nicole herself. Might do her a lot of good and maybe cure her of that festering guilt of hers. So tell me, who got to her?
I stretched and yawned again, and then I rolled my neck a few times to get the little kinks out, and then I rubbed my eyes hard, all in an attempt to rid myself of the strange animosity I felt toward him.
And thus I narrated everything to him, and when I finished I found him looking at me with such terror mixed with disbelief that I was a bit taken aback.
The expression on his face changed to incredulity, as if he believed I was quite mad.
You let her live? A woman who has sold her soul to the Devil and would stop at nothing to kill you? You let her leave to live?
My look was as cold as his.
In the first place she didn’t want to kill me. She still wanted me to be her chosen man, to toe the original script. Secondly I didn’t let her go, if you were listening right, old man. I let the Death Cloud have her! But then, I couldn’t see her as a devil when I heard that cry from the baby. I saw her as a pregnant woman. She’s only alive because of the baby!
The old man wasn’t impressed though. His tone was getting angry now, his contempt running unchecked.
Because she’s carrying your baby, a child formed out of total fornication?
It wouldn’t have changed anything if the baby has been for somebody else! Can’t you just get it? There was a human being in there, a poor innocent thing that has hurt no one! That baby deserved to live!
Bonner whirled angrily away, rubbing his forehead rapidly.
Oh, wise up, boy! You’re talking about a spawn here, son! A very deadly spawn, a foetus that was formed purposely, not by her, but by the command of her evil masters!
That shook me up a bit, and it was my turn to do the forehead rubbing.
What the **** are you talking about now?
He muttered, looking earnestly into my eyes, and then I saw the fear lurking in there, even in the inadequate light; Bonner was more scared than he had ever been since I saw him.
I am talking about human vessels, you fool! The kind of vessel you were supposed to be, and which you thankfully escaped from because of God’s intervention. Now you go ahead and give it to them, free on a platter! If the demons couldn’t have you then they would have your spawn, a child carrying your good genes and their bad one, a cross-breed that could turn out so evil and yet able to outwit the very powers you’ve been endowed with. I could’ve understood this mess if you had told me you spared her because you felt sorry for her, but when you found out she was carrying a child – your
child inside her sinful body – you should’ve destroyed her immediately!”
Jeez, old man, aren’t you stretching this thing just a little bit too tight?
He shook his head sadly at me.
What do you think a woman like that is going to do with her son – or daughter, for that matter? You think she’s gonna dump the little brat in an orphanage? No, sir! She’s going to raise up that child just right so that he could be a vessel, filled with the most vicious pack of demons you’ve ever seen, no doubt! And what would that pure blood running in him do? Would it make him invisible to Unblinds like you?
Fine, but on the flip side could be the possibility that a baby of such mixed blood, as you so aptly put it, could grow up to be on the good side!
So you wish. You think that’s even remotely possible, if he’s brought up by a mother like that?
You always say God does the impossible, and I’m a living testimony of that. It doesn’t matter where you’re born, who you’re born to or how you’re raised. I believe even if you’re born of the Devil, you can be saved if God wishes it! Look at me, old man! Who was raised up worse than me? But I was called, and I’m being used!
He laughed, and it wasn’t pleasant.
“You had the luxury of waiting until you were all grown up, son, but with a child like that there’ll be no waiting, son. Soon as he’s born, he’ll have the mark, just like his mother. Just warning you, boy. You need to find that woman again and destroy her and the spawn, otherwise you’ll live to regret it someday.
When he left the room I felt cold.
I stayed on the balcony and watched the sunrise, but deep within me I was chilled to the bone. Once again it seemed I had slipped up.
Bonner could be right, of course. His reasoning had been cold and terrible, for a man of God, and what he proposed was downright unacceptable, but he could be right.
He could be infuriating, and sometimes a downright pain in the derriere, but he was mostly always right. I had heard the desperate plea of that blood clot lodged in the innermost depths of Elaine, and so I had let her live.
It had not occurred to me, even remotely, that my single action of compassion could be the cause of so many untold hardships in the future. But I had called it, as I saw fit.
To me, every child, every creation, is of God. If that child had a future, it was the prerogative of God. I might have made the wrong call, but I was no child killer.
That innocent baby could also grow up to be a latter day Paul.
Charles Bonner could be right…but I could also be right.
No matter what it was, time would tell.
I sighed, and that was when the hands went around my waist, and she laid the side of her head against my broad back, and pressed herself into me.
We stood like that for a long time, and then I turned within the circle of her arms to face her because she wouldn’t let go of me.
There were little shallow points around her eyes, and that were the only indication of the harrowing experience she had gone through the dawn before.
The rest would be on her body – little scratches and bruises that would redden and blacken and then fade away eventually.
Her eyes searched my face desperately.
I had a bad dream. It was terrible. You left me.
She put cool fingers across my lips and shook her head immediately.
Promise me, Yaw! Promise you’ll never leave me. Not ever.
I sighed deeply, and to calm her I nodded once, but my heart was heavy.
I promise, my love.
Her anxious eyes roamed my face desperately, and then she smiled wanly.
Yes, Yaw, let there be only love between us, a love that would last a lifetime, because I can’t live without you.
And Andrew Okai?
She smiled, a shade sad, a shade joyous.
I have never really loved him, you know. Before I met you it seemed the ideal match – me and him. I would probably have ended up marrying him, but after I met you I realized how wrong I was. I never could’ve grown to love him, as I had promised myself. I told him that, and I told him there was nothing in the world I would want more than to be your wife. I wanted to be honest with you, you know, and let him know that even if you didn’t love me back, it would be very selfish on my part to go ahead and marry him knowing fully that I loved you. He was very hurt, and that pained me a little.
I kissed her then.
Her lips were soft and pliant, opening shyly to receive me, and then closing around me. It was clean, and it was sweet, and I wanted to do that for eternity – just standing there kissing her till night came, and another day begun.
When we parted finally she breathed deeply, and I saw that her face had somehow blossomed, as if someone had lit a nice light within her.
She traced my faced gently, and then she reached up and brushed her lips across mine.
She released me then and leaned against the railing.
I loved that, Yaw. And my body craves that your touch, but you know we can’t continue like this, right?
What? Kissing you?
She turned and put a hand across my arm, and then she smiled radiantly.
Yes, my love. I know Christianity is something new to you, and so I need to help you grow, and be stronger, and I can’t do that by kissing you, as much as it is pleasurable to me. So, to stop ourselves from the sin of the flesh, we need to tell them, and get married as soon as possible because I really can’t wait.
I smiled softly.
I was happy.
Yesterday you heard about what my uncle Fred did to me, didn’t you?
Her voice was calm enough, but I knew she was suffering underneath.
I reached out and held her hand fondly.
My darling, it’s alright. You don’t have to tell me about that now.
She shook her head, and her fingers tightened around mine.
No, it’s not alright! I’ve kept this hidden for so long. You need to hear it, because you’re going to be an inseparable part of my life. I can’t keep anything from you.
I took her hands and kissed her knuckles tenderly.
It’s okay, my love, really. I don’t hold anything against you, and it is not important anyway. You prayed to God about it, and that saved your life this dawn. It is settled, you don’t have to go digging into the past again!
She wrenched her hands free and beat my chest with her little fists, her tears falling faster now, her heart broken.
She cried, her face shining like an angel in the early sun.
Stop being so nice, my love! I need to do this!
I held her close, and although she struggled hard I didn’t let her go until she finally stopped fighting me.
She collapsed against me, and the floodgates opened.
She cried her heart out, and I just held and stroked her hair gently.
To be continued…
© – Agyeman
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