The men continued moving forward, still shooting. I opened my eyes and discovered they were in front so I stood up and motioned Ruth to come out from under the car. We followed the same pedestrian route we came through and headed in the opposite direction, jumping and stepping over corpses that laid on the way. We got quite far away from the heat and began to run. Ruth suddenly stopped and looked curiously at a deserted car on the road with open doors. She suggested we use it and immediately entered the car, I followed. The key was in the ignition so she engaged the engine and zoomed off.
“how is your hand?” she asked, looking at me from the corner of her eyes.
I opened my shirt, absorbing the pain with a clutched teeth. I tried but couldn’t see the bullet wound because it was behind my shoulder. Blood continued pouring uncontrollably. I managed to remove my shirt and tied it around my shoulder to prevent further blood loss. Ruth drove very fast and diverted to another lane. After driving for close to 25 minutes on a straight lane, we spotted a clinic and quickly drove in.
We came out of the car and went into the main hall. Some nurses quickly approached us and ushered me into the Theatre after I did the preliminaries.
Few minutes later, the doctor came, laid me face down and injected several places before removing the bullet. After that, he stitched up the wound and blood infusion was done.
“you are lucky the bullet didn’t hit any vital organ. It’s just a flesh wound. You will remain here until you’re fit to leave.” The doctor said and walked away.
I came out much later and found Ruth sitting at the reception looking like someone who has lost all hope in life.
“hey!” I said.
She looked abruptly in my direction and immediately ran to help me sit.
“how are you feeling?” she asked as she assisted me.
“it hurts more now,” I said, sitting down.
My phone rang. I brought it out with my left hand. It was an international number. “who could it be?” I wondered.
“what’s that?” Ruth asked.
“an international number,” I said.
“answer it,” Ruth said.
So, I answered the call cautiously
“hello…” I said.
“hello sweetie, thank God you’re okay!” a female voice said.
It was Sandra’s voice. I felt butterflies in my tummy and a sign of anger as well. But I tried to sound normal because of Ruth who was curiously looking at me.
“hey! Where have you been?” I asked, keeping a calm tone.
“where I was posted to, no reception. I’m sorry. Just heard of the killings this morning and had to drive few hours to get reception and call you. How’s your mum and siblings? Hope they are out of danger?” Sandra asked.
“I sent them to the barracks in your name,” I replied.
“wow! That’s very wise of you. I’m going to call lieutenant Musa to give them my place to stay. Oh Mike, I have missed you,” she said.
“me too,” I responded.
I looked at Ruth from the corner of my eyes, she frowned and gave me a disapproving look. But I ignored her and turned away.
“Mike, you don’t sound excited to hear from me,” Sandra’s voice sounded hurt.
“I was shot today,” I answered.
“what?” Sandra yelled.
“I’m okay. Just had it taken care of.” I said
“Mike, I’m coming back as soon as possible. Please go to the barracks and wait for me. Please…I’m calling them over there right away.” she informed me.
“I’m going there today,” I replied.
“thanks dear. I’ll call you later. I love you and miss you a lot,” she said.
“same here. Take care of yourself,” I said and she hung up.
Ruth looked at me steadily. I tried to look away then she asked, “who was that?”
“Sandra,” I said, taking my attention to a patient in front of me.
Ruth hissed and looked out of the window. Then she murmured, “where could candy be?”
“she is fine, think positive dear. We are going to the barracks,” I said.
She turned to me with scorn in her eyes and said, “without Candy? I guess you’re doing what your military girlfriend asked you to do. But I’m not going anywhere without Candy.”
“you know it’s not safe here. How do we know they won’t come in this direction?” I asked.
Ruth looked at me but said nothing.
“come on, don’t be such a girl. We have to stay alive in times like this no matter who’s helping.” I advised.
“I’m not going anywhere until I find Candy, my sister might be scared right now or fighting for her life,” she said and started crying.
“why don’t you think that she’s safe like we are?” I asked.
She looked desperately at me.
“Mike! Let’s go back there and check one last time. If we don’t find her body then I will know she’s safe and follow you anywhere. Mike please let’s go back,” she pleaded, holding my arm.
“Ruth, it’s risky. We barely escaped alive. What’s the guarantee that we are going to survive the next?” I said.
“I know they are gone. If there’s any place that’s not safe it’s where they’ve not visited” she said.
I kept quiet looking at the nurses that were attending to wounded patients.
“Mike!” Ruth called.
“what would you have done if it was your mother that was out there?” she said.
I looked angrily at her and said, “God forbid! Not my mum,” in rage.
She smiled and nodded her head. I reasoned it through. I’d die to save my mum. Immediately, the thought of my mum’s safety clouded me. I took out my phone and called her while Ruth looked surprisingly at me.
“hello…How are you doing?…Thank God…I’m fine…I’m okay where I am…Okay, that’s good…Yeah, she told me…Two guards?…That’s good…I’m coming…Okay, later mum.” then I hung up.
I turned to Ruth and said, “let’s go!”
She smiled and stood up excitedly.
“There is a little problem,” I said.
“what’s it?” Ruth asked.
“I can’t leave now. The hospital won’t let me go,” I said, looking observantly around.
“So, what do we do?” she asked.
“don’t worry,” I said.
Then, I slowly stood up, fighting the pain on my shoulder and looked around carefully. The nurses were busy with patients. I pretended to be looking at a picture of a human anatomy then snuck out through the front door. Ruth came behind.
We had entered the car when a nurse came out calling me back but Ruth drove off speedily. She was driving crazily, overtaking almost every car in front of us.
“slow down please…You will get us killed!” I said to her protecting my shoulder.
But she continued. The pain on my shoulder continued. I took another pain relief tablet to numb the pain.
We found military men around the premises, then stopped at a safe distance and walked slowly towards them. The soldiers had mounted a road block with their armoured cars and were standing facing the road, ready for action.
Ruth went to one of them and was about to say something. The soldier man barked at her angrily.
“Get back! Get back!”
She immediately took two steps backwards.
“please Sir, my sister is there!” she yelled.
He ignored her and focused on the street but she continued yelling “please, let me through my sister is there.”
I went closer and noticed that they were wrapping bodies and hauling them into a van. I went cautiously close to a soldier who looked at my bandaged arm and blood stained cloth.
“excuse me. Please where are they taking them to?” I asked as politely as I could.
He looked behind him, back to me and said, “why are you asking?”
“I was shot here. My friend’s sister was here too.” I explained.
He shook his head and said, “Saint Frances hospital.”
I thanked him and went to Ruth who was still shouting and crying. I told her my findings, we went back to the car and drove off.
Everyone kept looking at my blood stained shirt and bandaged shoulder as we entered the hospital. We went straight to the receptionist and laid our complaint. The attendant was a very lanky albino lady. She looked inquisitively at me and then to Ruth before she said, “at the morgue, ask for Doctor Whiskey.”
Ruth and I looked simultaneously at each other when we heard the name. Then we thanked her and went straight to the morgue.
We found a black fat man in white lab suit with two pens black and blue hanging on his breast pocket. His hair was afro, his mustache and beards were full like that of a Rastafarian and a transparent glasses that hung on his big nose.
“good evening sir, are you doctor whiskey? Please we are looking for someone,” Ruth said.
The man looked at me suspiciously, then to Ruth and said, “if you are looking for someone, go to the police station.”
“we were told she was brought here,” I said.
“who told you?” he asked.
“we are from Windy road where some persons where killed today. My friend…” she pointed to me, “…was even shot there too,” Ruth said.
The man looked at me again, then said, “a total of 158 bodies were brought here today. The morgue is full. I believe the rest were taken to Notre Dame hospital.
“Can we see the ones here?” Ruth asked anxiously.
“Okay!” he said.
He led us into a hallway and down to a door. An old man putting on a blue overall sat behind a table by the side of the door sleeping.
“Obika, please let’s see if someone is there,” doctor Whiskey said.
The old man stood up slowly, stretched his waist and made for the door. He first put his ear to the door, then knocked.
“Obika, will you please cut out these superstitious nonsense and open the door already?” doctor Whiskey said impatiently.
Obika turned to the doctor slowly and said, “the dead do not like to be barged into.”
We then waited impatiently for him to continue knocking with his ear on the door until he opened it.
Ruth turned her face away immediately the door was opened. Bodies laid everywhere. On the three sides of the wall, bodies were stacked up on each other 7 feet tall. Then, the fresh ones covered the floor of a very large hall. The old man turned to us and said, “I have never seen these much bodies in one day. More work for us.”
Ruth refused to go in but I encouraged her to do so because of Candy. She summoned courage and slowly turned her face towards the hall filled with bodies then went in behind me.
To be continued…