THE SECOND SIGHT EPISODE 56
There were people waiting and once in a while she would signal to one and give information or directions to them in a perfectly-modulated voice.
The door opened and a tall slim pregnant woman entered. She was wearing a beautiful cream dress that stopped just short of her knees, the front stretched by her distended stomach, and I guessed she might be well into her pregnancy; maybe in her seventh month.
Her face was narrow, the nose sharp, and her eyes deep-set. Her lips was a tight slim dash of a red line. She paused for a moment, and then came fully in, her cold eyes settling on me.
She didn’t take her eyes off me as she walked past, and the expression on her face was so unfriendly that I raised my eyebrows with surprise.
Closely following her was Nicole, who made a face behind the pregnant woman’s back.
I stood up to meet her, and she instinctively put her arms around my neck and kissed me lightly, much to the mock chagrin of the receptionist, and I smiled at her over Nicole’s shoulder.
Nicole waved to the receptionist and we walked out into the elevator and rode down.
Who was that woman?
I asked absently as I drew her into the circle of my arms and kissed her neck.
She whispered hoarsely and kissed my chin.
The pregnant one.
Oh, her. Nell Anthony, resident Director’s wife. She’s usually a very pleasant person, but today she was damn hostile when she saw me. Gene – that’s my boss – says she’s been touchy these last couple of days, though. She’s expected to deliver next month, and maybe her bees are buzzing.
She gave me a dirty look.
We both giggled.
Maybe she’s got the hots for you.
We had to put a belt to it because the elevator stopped, and people began to file in as we stepped out.
We found a taxi and she took me to a little restaurant called the Choppy Chops, run by a South African, where she ordered some African food made from yam boiled in soup and then mashed with red oil and spices, served with light soup and tender meat.
It looked kind of messy to me when I saw it. I guessed the sight of the mashed yam – turned yellowish because of the palm oil used to mash it – turned me off a bit, and I didn’t have the least appetite for it, but amidst giggles she forced a spoonful down my throat, and I was hooked.
It was heavy, but it was extremely finger-licking good.
The soup came with the tender meat, and also an assortment of dried fish, snails, crabs and prawns.
I ate it to the last spoon, and she laughed girlishly over my surprised enthusiasm.
Great, isn’t it?
I nodded as I spooned soup into my mouth.
This is awesome. Let’s do it again sometime.
Go easy. You take too much your first time and it just might open up your belly and give you the runs.
Quite full, I was happily munching a juicy lamb meat when they came in.
Three pregnant women.
They walked in, moving silently among the tables and selected one facing the entrance.
They sat down, straight and stiff, and made no attempt to speak. They were served with bottles of water, and they sat there, drinking water and not chatting to each other.
Nicole had been speaking to me and, receiving no reply to a query, her gaze followed mine and settled down on the pregnant women. She stared for a moment, and then she giggled.
Today’s the day of distended bellies, don’t you think?
I laughed with her…but I was beginning to feel real cold inside.
We left the restaurant at last, leaving the pregnant women still sitting where they were.
Nicole wanted to go to the beach, but I was beginning to feel really weird so I suggested we head for home.
There were two pregnant women in the backseat of the bus we took; they were well-advanced in their pregnancies. They stared at us as we took a side seat just in front of them.
Nicole looked at me with a knowing look, but I could see the uneasiness beginning to form in the depths of her lovely eyes. She sat beside me and clasped my hand.
We were silent for a long time as the air-conditioned bus rolled along, much aware of the silent women breathing down our necks.
There was a story on GTV this morning. It was about a pregnant woman who shot her way out of prison and escaped.
And then I remembered.
It was the story I had seen on television, but the dead crows had made me give it only a cursory attention.
She was right of course.
A pregnant woman who had killed how many – three, four? – cops as she escaped from prison.
The bus stopped, and the electronic doors folded silently open. All the people in front of me were sitting.
The only people who stood up were the two pregnant women. They walked past us calmly, and when they were getting off the last one paused, and she looked along the length of the bus, and our eyes met.
A little buxom, a little short, her belly was stretching a tight black blouse.
Her face was pleasant enough and totally devoid of expression one moment, but just before she turned her face again she appeared to snarl at me, lips drawing back from sharp teeth, eyes filled with hatred.
But it was just for an instant, and when she was out of sight I told myself that I had imagined it all.
As the bus began to move again our heads turned, and we saw that they had joined two other women sitting patiently at the bus stop.
They were also pregnant.
Nicole’s eyes searched my face.
She was troubled.
When we got off the bus I looked into the skies for no reason at all.
The sun which had shone so beautifully in the morning was gone. The sky was clear enough, but I could feel the darkness on the edge of it.
Already little bunches of clouds were beginning to form.
We held hands as we walked towards the taxi stand, brushing people away from us. We didn’t speak, but we were filled with an urgency to get back to the Mission House.
Nicole suddenly nudged my arm and pointed. I looked along her pointing finger.
Across the street were five women, their bellies stretching away from them.
Five pregnant women!
The road sign changed to walk, and quickly we crossed the street. We walked toward the pregnant women.
Their heads swivelled round by one accord as if they were obeying a single command, and their eyes fixed on me.
There was a moment of complete lack of emotions on their faces, and then just as we reached them their lips pulled back in that gross little snarl that other pregnant woman had favoured me with on the bus.
Just then a huge van stopped beside them. The huge door slid to one side from the inside. I saw a flash of a beautiful designed interior, and occupying it were about five women.
The five on the sidewalk climbed in, the door was pulled shut, and the wagon pulled away.
Yaw! What’s going on?
When I looked down at her I saw the beginnings of terror on her face.
I simply asked, and it was because I knew what she was asking, and I didn’t know any way of explaining it to her.
Don’t ask me what! You know what I mean! Did you see who was driving that van?
I shook my head.
That was Nell Anthony! My boss’ wife!
I hollowed out immediately.
Nicole stepped in front of me, and she held my upper arms as her lovely eyes roved my face frantically, looking for explanations, looking for assurance.
Why are the pregnant women gathering? Does it have anything to do with what’s been happening, Yaw?
It hit me with the force of a bull kick.
Why are the pregnant women gathering?
He dispersed with the crows, and now he was gathering a different breed of hosts and arming himself with a terrible weapon.
Without realizing it I swept Nicole into my arms and held her tightly.
Oh Jesus! Oh sweet, sweet Jesus!
The phone was ringing in my breast pocket.
I pushed Nicole back gently and picked the call.
It was Chief Inspector Jack Frost.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
Yaw, that you?
Yeah. What’s up?
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
One hundred and three pregnant women, all of whom are expected to deliver within the next two months or less, have all been reported missing. This got anything to do with you?
A hundred and three pregnant women.
I could be related to me, Jack. Please let me get home to Pastor Bonner. We’re just about fifteen minutes away from the Manse. I’ll link up with you soon.
As we got into a taxi I began to listen to the news on the car’s radio.
The panic was beginning to spread. All the news networks were carrying the story, and all across the city there was near chaos. Reporters were running amok, and the cops were having a hell of a time keeping order.
Some of the tales that filtered through about the strange disappearances were nothing short of bizarre.
GTV reported of a woman who had been driving on the high-speed interchange with her husband and two daughters. She had stopped the car right in the middle of the interchange, ignoring the frantic horns of the speeding cars, and had crossed the lanes to a waiting blue van, gotten in, and it had sped off.
She had been seven months pregnant.
Pregnant women had left high-profile meetings and had not been heard of again. There were stories of pregnant women who had gotten violent and wounded their spouses for trying to stop them from leaving.
TV3 had a story of one woman who had shot her husband of thirteen years in the belly and left him writhing in pain as she calmly shot their Alsatian dog, climbed into the family Ford and that was the last time anybody had seen of her.
The fear was palpable in the air, and you could cut slices of it and butter it if you wanted to.
Questions without answers were being thrown, and the more they went unanswered the more the fear and tension increased.
Already little mobs were beginning to gather – chanting for explanations.
We all knew that if something was not done there would be full-scale rioting soon, and it would take a lifetime to clean up the mess that would follow.
People tended to get violent when they were scared, and the story of the missing pregnant women really scared thousands.
It was as unnatural as it was unacceptable. Folks just couldn’t wrap their minds around it. What was happening? Why was it happening? What would be the outcome?
Reports filtered in that most shops and businesses were closing up for the day; stakeholders were scared of what was happening, and everybody wanted to find some kind of protection behind closed doors and follow the development on television.
What added such a calamitous effect to the whole situation was the unusual weather condition that was prevailing across the town.
Experts on weather had been unable to fathom out the freak storm that was developing, and neither were they able to tell just how devastating or not it was going to be.
They warned people, especially travellers, to take extra care and if possible wait it out somewhere safe.
Slowly the sunshine had gone away, and pockets of white clouds had begun to appear.
These had quickly turned into dark ominous clouds with tinges of red – and this scared the living hell out of people, that red tinge – that looked as if the clouds were ringed with blood.
The wind had been slight at first, but gradually it was gathering in intensity, and it was beginning to blow cold spells across the town.
Occasionally thunder boomed out, and fingers of lightning licked across the sky.
It was bad.
It was very bad.
If anything the situation at the manse was even more volatile.
When we got home we all retired into Pastor Anderson’s study and tried frantically to unravel the mystery.
There was no dispute whatsoever that the Legion was responsible for what was happening. The question was why?
Why was it doing it?
Why were the pregnant women being gathered?
So far only Bonner had come out with the explanation that the Legion was going to use the unborn babies as a means of getting to me and forcing me to bend to its wills.
But what form would its attack take?
What was going to happen to all those mothers and all those babies?
This time Nicole refused to be left out, and so came to the study too and stood close to me by the window, holding my hands tightly.
Her heart was reflected on her face, and I glowed warmly inside as I looked at her.
To have a woman as unique as her feel so much for me was very flattering, and even in the paralyzing panic of the moment I revelled in the sweetness of her love.
She learnt about the dead crows from her mother, who had been present and helped her husband load the dead birds into seven huge boxes that were even then still smouldering from the fire that had engulfed them.
And in the midst of our confusion, when we were trying to get into the mind of the foul demons, my phone rang again.
It was Jack Frost once again, and for once the cold cop sounded frantic and almost terrified.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
There was a kind of droning noise in the background.
Yeah, Jack. Are you driving? I can barely hear you!
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
Helicopter! I’m in a helicopter. We found the women! They are lined up on Devil’s Drop! Just on the edge, man! They’re warning us to stay away or they’ll fling themselves into the damn sea! s*** man, what the **** did you do to them? They’re asking for you. You should be here in ten minutes or the first of them would go over the edge. Where are you?
I heard him barking an order to someone, and then his voice came back again.
CHIEF INSPECTOR FROST
Don’t move, man! We’re sending the chopper to get you!
As I put my mobile phone back in my pocket I felt my body trembling.
This was it.
This was the climax I had felt the first time I entered Portville.
This was the showdown, and there was every possibility that I would not make it out alive.
The others were looking at me expectantly, but the fear was a permanent visitor in their eyes much as they tried to camouflage it.
I tried to smile, but I knew it looked more like a grimace to them.
To be continued…
© – Agyeman
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