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Denise hadn't stopped crying. Samantha hadn't stopped yelping for help. The doctor and the two nurses had called for security. Heeding them to lock the exit. Other patients stared in amusement; asking questions that even myself I had no answers to. "What was I going to do?" There I was, walking straight out of the hospital with Denise in my arms. Heart racing. What was I going to do? It was a different thing when she told me that she was pregnant. It was another thing when I did not believe her even when the baby bump grew, till she was taken to the hospital. It was even worse when I got to hold the baby in my arms. Was I to take her? Was I to embrace her? Was I to make her mine and bring out the best from her? Or was I to end it all and get rid of the scenario that cost me my life and freedom? My love for the other? I chose the latter. As I pushed open the glass door, a voice echoed inside my mind, "Run!!!"
I was heading out to the chaotic street. It was a voice that I recall. It was cajoling. Its call was as sweet as the call of death. It was feminine. "Run!" I didn't want to. Something took over my body, my legs kept on propelling me. "Run!" The more it echoed the faster I moved. Behind me, unheard of, from the streets, the patients waving through the glass prism as though they were imprisoned, called out inaudibly, "stop him!" The voice in my head kept on echoing, "Run!" so I ran.
Samantha had fallen off her wheelchair, she was crawling clutching on seats to get to the door, she held her womb with her other hand like something huge was ripped out, she felt labor pains as the idea that her own flesh could be torn away from her by the man who barely knew her catapulted her bones. She screamed. Her face got pale, her youthful gaze was unseen, and she became old, veins turned grey. As I made my way through the crowded streets, Samantha watched in despair as my back faded into the crowd the same way the dark engulfs the light. Like the echoes of a Boogeyman's laughter in a child's dream, the cries of her baby became indistinct from the mother's cry, the bond slowly became detached, on sensing that, Denise made a deafening uproar, which gave me a spotlight in the midst of the pedestrians. Who turned back round with prying opinionated eyes, "whose baby is that?" Even though they didn't speak out loud, I heard their thoughts through their stares eloquently, "he has stolen the baby!"
An elderly woman stood in my way, she had a leso tied around her bosom, on her head she had a headband, her face was sweating, she gave me a sharp stare, and then valiantly she asked, "Where is the mother?" I chose to ignore her, turned to the other side to find my way blocked by the same crowd who demanded to know, "Where's the baby's mother?" I clutched on Denise, tightening my grip, not wanting to lose her, she was crying, I did whatever I could to hush her down. From the aerial view, I was in the middle as the crowd grew to circle me.
Behind, the nurses and the hospital security were racing to the scene.
"She is my baby!!" I shouted, looking around, tugging in steps, watching my back to make sure no one grabbed her from me. "This is my baby, can't you see how alike we look?" But no one cared to listen. No one cared to take a look.
If there's one thing about the crowd that you should learn is that, you can never reason with one. The murmuring mob who were getting late to the scene, who possibly had no clue on what was going on, joined in shouting, "kill him! Burn him to the ground!”
From far I could hear the tingling of broken empty bottles hit the tarmac as the angry mob armed with stones and sticks got towards me. The streets are not kind, they thirst for blood, death of an innocent thief. The sun's heat was blazing, mirage blinded me. Sweat trickled down my nape. Fists tightened. Heartbeat. The security wasn't getting close. The murderers' eyes were blood shot red ridden with anger and muse. Denise toned down. She put her thumb between her lips, she was beautiful as her mother.
"I said let him pass. Let the young man walk!"
Just as my hopes of fleeing had dashed, a voice of a grown man in his drunken stupor roared from above like he was imitating God. Looking up to my left where the voice came from, I saw specks of smoke dazzling, as it faded a face of a grown man, with protruding belly and a bald head, holding a cigarette and a bottle of whiskey, seemed to be having the time of his life. Laughing hysterically, he ripped up a piece of cloth from the vest he wore, rolled it and put it inside the bottle of whiskey. He looked down upon us, and once again spoke in his Godlike voice.
"I said let him through!"
The mob stared at him, daring him to go on with his show. They called it a bluff. The man in swift motion, using his lighter, he put on fire on the piece of cloth and sent it dangling to the side of the crowd who stood right in front of me. As they saw it coming down, they dispersed creating a way, still confused, I stood there as the bottle of whiskey hit the ground and busted into flames. The man kept on laughing.
"Run young man, one day you'll thank me for it!"
So I ran. I kept on running. Bumping into other pedestrians. I kept on running not knowing where I was headed. The crowd must have been coming after me. My heart was beating, Denise was so light in my arms, I stared at her and she was sleeping peacefully. I don't know for how long, but I kept on running as if that was the only thing that mattered. As if that was the only thing I was ever taught, to run from responsibilities.
When I made a stop, it was at Jill’s apartment. The girl that I loved. The only woman I ever wished to spend the rest of my life with. Before I knocked at her door, I hesitated, I composed myself. I took deep breaths. I dried away the sweat on my face. I knocked for the first time, there was no response. I knocked for the second time, still no response. The mob were getting closer, I could hear sirens. I knocked for the third time, this time I was impatient and it grew more loudly when I heard the door knob unbolt from the inside.
A man, with a towel wrapped on his waist opened the door.
"How may I help you?" He said.
I pushed him aside, walked right in like I didn't see him at all, leaving him struggling to tighten his falling towel.
"Dude, what the hell man..?" He retorted.
I heard Jill’s voice, "Babe, who is at the door?"
"Babe... It's me... I'm here now...” I said
Her brown slender legs were folded on the bed, on seeing me, in shock, she covered her breasts, she reached over for bed sheet which she used to cover herself with. Her hair was messy. Her eyes were red, a sign of good sex and plenty of orgasms. There I stood, with my baby in my arms, staring at the girl whom I thought someday I would start a life with. The girl that I loved.
"Phill, what are you doing here?" She demanded.
"I came for you baby... I came with the baby... Let's have us...”
"Phill you crazy? What are you doing with an hours old baby?"
"Her name is Denise, isn't she beautiful?"
I got close to her. Showing her Denise.
She came close to take a look. All the while she stared at me with an "I'm crazy" kind of a look.
"Phill, the baby is not even breathing. She's not sleeping!!"
I carefully placed the baby on the bed.
"She must be sleeping..." I said wearily.
The other man who was still standing at the door, watching everything unfold, shut the door hurriedly and got in.
"What did you do..?" He asked... "Jill who is this psycho..?"
Jill was struggling to answer, when the uproar grew louder and louder, the mob had traced my steps.
"Phill you need to leave..." Spoke Jill.
"I can't leave without you.”
"Man you should just leave, we don't want any trouble...” the other man said while he was reaching out for the door to show me out. The uproar heightened. As he opened the door, his face was slammed with a heavy metallic slap that sent him freezing on the floor.
"Where is he!?" The voices outside asked.
Jill begun screaming. Tears on her face. I don't know if she was scared or she felt pain for her boyfriend who was writhing in pain, blood was oozing from head. I couldn't tell. Denise was sleeping, I knew she was sleeping, I was sure she was sleeping. The sirens grew louder, the crowd who were trying to break in moved back. The nurses got in first, the security officers followed, Samantha was behind, restless and vexed. She walked towards me and showed me that she loved me. She slapped me. Then she bent down to pick up Denise, after 5 seconds, she started yelled out.
"No...She’s not breathing. My baby is not breathing. What did you do to her?”
She turned and put her fist on my face for uncountable times. She turned to Jill whom she started pulling her hair out, saying, "you witch! You just couldn't leave him alone!" The securities pulled her from her, the nurses took the baby, performing things that I couldn't understand. Some sort of resuscitation procedures. The security handcuffed me, they were taking me home I guess.
The nurses were the first to walk out. Jill was nursing her boyfriend. Calling for help half naked. The two security officers escorted me outside, but no sooner had I stepped outside than the crowd started hurling stones, making the security officers to take cover inside, leaving me handcuffed, defenseless, face to face with the maddeningly raged mob.
"Baby thief!!" They shouted.
The officers had locked the door. I was outside, begging to be let in.
"Jill.... Jill... Baby let me in..."
I called out for Jill, but through the wooden door I could hear her sob. I called her name, begged. "Baby please..." She wouldn't listen.
Behind me, the mob hurled stones. My head was raging. My spine was breaking. My fingers needed an aesthesia. The mob came close. I knelt on the door, whispering, "Jill... Jill... I couldn't have loved you more...”
Hands clutched on my legs, pulled me, dragged me to the street, in the middle of the mob. It wasn't kicks nor blows, nor do heavy boots that made me drown in my own blood but the last sobs I heard from Jill.
As I laid there on the ground, blood oozing out, I set eyes on the ambulance where the nurses had brought back Denise. Samantha was now holding her, tears streaming on her face. And in that moment, our eyes met, she was beautiful, Samantha was so beautiful, she just stared at me lying down defenselessly. I wanted to tell her that I'm sorry, but the mob grew closer, the pain was unbearable. Samantha's face faded away as they got in the ambulance. Her vision was replaced by blood oozing from my own eyes.
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