Mon. Aug 26th, 2019

MISS CAMPBELL: EPISODE 2

IDENTIFY THE BODY: EPISODE 2

The house was quiet as always except for the external sound of horn from cars that drove by, it had been like that for two years  even since the incident ; sometimes the day ended with a “welcome Ma” or how was your day? And mostly updates from field research or feedbacks from the human resource department.

Miss Campbell had gone for one of her book signing events and seminar in Portharcourt, each time she watched her on national Tv,she felt a repulse,sick to the very linens of her stomach, how can a person live like that,smile on Mondays and lie in depression through the night

Each Sunday,the pastor would start and end his sermons with how kind and perfect miss Campbell was : ” our dear Miss Campbell has promised to award scholarships to two bright students or Miss Campbell just opened a new fund bank with the church for widows”

Each time ,she felt like taking the microphone to shut him up and tell them :”No, mama is suffering too,she needs prayers”

“Step on it” she said throwing the keys to Abdul who caught it as it landed

“Yes ma’am” he answered driving off immediately

The incident of last night nudged her again along with that uneasy feeling when she had just woken up. She couldn’t shake it off

“The lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in the spirit”

She picked up her diary to write few things down

“Like you” by Tatiana played on, it was kaima’s favourite song

The early morning traffic at the bridge through Asaba was always frustrating to get by, worse was the traffic warden checking each vehicle. Private cars and buses alike tied to maneuver and serve sides in a bid to drive away thereby causing more jam

“Humans and their impatience” she muttered under her breath

Her favourite road safety officer stood there as usual smiling and directing the traffic, she had faith of getting to the lecture hall on time maybe

She failed to understand why drivers were always impatient not to mention the ‘okada’ men who carried passengers and yet squeezed themselves in between moving cars.

She had just looked away from the widow when she had a screech and screams as a pregnant woman came flying down along with an ‘okada’ man

The crowd rushed towards the pregnant woman

Shouts of “Chimoo” rent the air as everyone ran helter skelter

Her belly stood right up like a mountain; she would have had the opportunity of seeing a baby bump and possibly touching one, if not for the miscarriage that almost claimed Miss Campbell’s life

She always imagined how smooth and rounded they would feel even on days she stood over her mirror to play pretend.

 The market women who displayed their wares by the roadside untied their wrappers to help cover the woman as well as soak up the blood that flowed

The whole environment was in great pandemonium, drivers refused to open their cars; nobody would want to be held responsible for the death of a woman while some feared the stream of blood

“And do not forget to do well and to share with others, for with such sacrifices is the lord pleased”

She looked at her clock; she was so going to be late

“Kai, Abudu come down and help them” she panicked opening the back seat and signaled them, to bring her in, the bike man stood by the corner, head bowed as he reflected on his costly action, each standby wore a different look, gloominess by the women, a look of pity on some and anger and blame written on yet others especially the men, each person lashed out at the driver.

Yet others snooped in to get a full scoop of the gist as they took pictures of the accident scene. Sounds and loud hisses and murmurs were heard

“Tufiakwa ,o gaghi adiri gi n’ mma” (it won’t be well with you) one of the road side sellers said snapping her fingers as she arranged her bananas which had fallen on the ground. Her anger was built up to the brim as she pushed onlookers away, she was either angry at the bike man for putting the life of her fellow woman in danger or at him for disrupting her sales and throwing her wares on the ground

“Hei” each person exclaimed as they walked way hands on their head, chests or akimbo

Within that five minutes of the whole happenings, there was still no sight of ambulance neither did anyone know the number to dial; the traffic wardens stood hands akimbo. Her holiday abroad had shown her the laxity of the state

The road cleared in few seconds to grant them passage as Abdul sped off to the hospital, the elderly woman who had first rushed with her wrapper had also joined in.

The incident might help to calm the hurried attitude of drivers and groom their patience at least for a week or few hours.

The woman whimpered in pain while the elderly woman tried to calm her down

“Ozugo” (it is okay) just breathe gently, in and out, “o ga adi mma” (all will be well”) she assured her

The lines on her forehead scurried as her eyes squinted, she hissed almost in tears as the pregnant woman kept crying

“I don’t want to die”

“You won’t die” she said pushing more wrappers under the woman’s skirt to soak up the blood

The blood dropped continuously on the car carpet.

Tobenna felt dizzy

She reached for her handbag, puffing two strokes of the inhaler into her mouth.

They were as real as kaima’s blood that she had wiped for a full week off the floor

The doctors at the emergency ward rushed towards their car with a stretcher the moment Abudu called them out after he parked the car

“Take her into the emergency ward immediately” the fair male doctor ordered

“Set her up, we need to check her pulse and the safety of the baby” he checked her with his stethoscope several times

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.”

 “Inject two doses of the vitamin K into the IV, take her blood sample for a transfuse” 

Tobenna and the rest had waited outside, they were forbidden to enter the ward

“How long has she been bleeding?” the doctor asked

The drive from the accident scene to the hospital was roughly thirty minutes, Tobenna tried to do a rough calculation checking her watch in-between and muttering words to herself

“Thirty minutes” she answered

“That is a whole lot of time”

“Are you related to her?”

“None of us is” she said narrating the incident that happened

“Thank you for your help” he hurried back inside

“Onye nke gi mere gi” (may your kind gesture be returned to you) the elderly woman said holding her hand

She nodded to the prayer

The car seat had soaked up enough blood for a meal

“Abudu, take the car for a wash, come pick me later when she wakes up”

“Ma’am, won’t you run late?” He asked with a worried look, his forehead formed thick creases that looked like they needed ironing

“Am fine Abdul, just wash the car, come back to the hospital and keep me updated okay” she said finally picking up her items as she ran towards the gate, the walk from the emergency ward to the general gate was enough to make one shed some extra pounds

“I must catch a bike or keke”

“Keke; main gate,drop” she flagged down the first tricycle she had seen

“Drop?” He asked holding up his cap

“Eeh”

“Drop bukwa 200” his gaze still fixed on her, she sighed at the extra 150 she would have saved if she waited for bus, she was in a hurry.

“Driver, junction biko”

“Let me carry this person biko” the keke man said signaling the passengers to enter without her approval

These opportunistic drivers and their rude way of trying to make extra money at the expense of another person’s time and comfort

She was certainly in no mood for an argument, besides the passengers were headed her way afterall, she knew any argument with him would result to her being labeled as wicked

“Odimma” she said looking at her phone

“Where are you?” It was Bayo

She grabbed her bag the moment the driver dropped her at the faculty building, she had paid an extra 200 naira to be driven to her faculty, she headed to hall 6

The door made a creaking noise as she attempted to creep towards the back

“Ahh who do we have here?”  Dr Obed said turning away from the white board, his face wore no particular expression

“Miss?”

“Miss Obiefuna Tobenna, sir” she answered fiddling her fingers, she couldn’t believe he didn’t remember her despite her height of achievements and contributions to the department, everyone sang her praise, she could be given the best masters student

“You have such poor memory for a young man” she muttered to herself

“Please make yourself comfortable outside my class” he grinned facing the projector this time

That accent again, he always loved to show off that he had mixed blood and schooled abroad, it was one of the several reasons Tobenna admired him including the fact that he was exceptionally good at teaching and probably helping you to understand the hardest topics

Tobenna quietly left the hall as it was no use pleading with him, she had witnessed enough for the day

The library was her next port of call; she needed to make some research for her project,

Her only source of ever learning the subject being taught was Bayo, they had become friends after she saved her from armed robbery attack. She kept her distance though because of his possessive girlfriend who hung around him to mark her territory, you wouldn’t blame the lady, Bayo was every lady’s dream, and the both of them were almost on same GP and aiming for the best master’s student

“Lunch later?”

She smiled at his unusual way of consoling her each time.

Her Phone rang, it was Miss Campbell

Hello, are you Mr. Tobenna

“Miss Tobenna  “ a million thoughts ran through her mind

That uneasiness she had felt in the morning ran through her again

“Could you come down to summer hill hospital Phortacourt, we need you to identify a body” the phone beeped

“Miss Campbell?” She stood transfixed to the ground, the hatred she had for Miss Campbell flooded away with her tears; she couldn’t have died with the answers to my questions

“But what was she doing in Phortacourt?”

The incident that changed her life did not start with Miss Campbell’s death.

It started when the blood on the floor took her weeks to clean off as Miss Campbell’s sobs rang through the night while the birds chirped at her window.

Read episode 1 here

 

To be continued 

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