Emma’s mother paced up and down the marbled floor of Saving Hope’s Hospital. She was obviously worried about losing her daughter. She had found her unconscious when she came back from getting the groceries. She peeked at her wristwatch “8:25pm.”
Her daughter had been inside for five minutes now yet no news.
“Oh God, please don’t punish my daughter for her sins, punish me instead. Please… please, she must not die.” She kneaded her hands together in supplication to God, looking above.
She grabbed a nurse with a tray, “Please, what’s wrong with my daughter? Please tell me something.” She shook the nurse vehemently as the nurse tried to balance her tray on her hands.
“Madam, you have to calm down, the nurses are with her!”
“The nurses? Where the hell are the doctors? Where are they?”
“None have reported for duty, but I assure you they will soon be here.” And with that she walked away.
She sat down on a chair in the waiting room and just then Doctor Jason entered looking tensed. She sprang to her feet and held him by his shirt, “Doctor, please save my child. Please, she’s the only life I have.”
Jason knew he needed to see Mr. Dele urgently, but the tears and the outlook of this woman begged him to abandon this mission. “Where’s she?”
“Please, follow me.” She lead him to the room.
Thirty minutes later, Jason walks out speaking to Emma’s mother.
“She is in her final stages. It is normal for her to feel weak and sleep a lot. When death is near, some physical changes like breathing, loss of bladder and bowel control and even unconsciousness may be hard to notice. It may be difficult to let go, but you have to. Meanwhile, our team of doctors and nurses will constantly monitor for changes and make sure she’s comfortable”.
She watched him disappear into a blur of white. So it’s finally over for her daughter? She should go spend the last of her daughter’s life with her. Emma needs all the support she can get now. She mustn’t die afraid.
The tubes still offered her breath. The machines beeped as if to remind her the end was near. She sat besides her daughter, clutched her little hands firmly as if to never let go and planted a kiss on it.
Tears flowed from her eyes and she stared into eyes that were probably halfway beyond the world.
She is ready, she says to herself. She is ready when the time comes.
Dr. Chuks parked his Red Sedan 1997 Model in the garage, whistling as he alighted. Another crazy night, he thought to himself. He may as well spend his last night at work well. His phone rang and he cursed under his breath, reached for his breast pocket and retrieved the mobile.
“Yes? I said when I’m done we would meet tonight! Of course what I need to do here is very important, or do you want to spend the rest of your expensive lifestyle bickering me for money? I thought so. See you at 1:00am, yes at the Dome!” he ended the call. “Foolish woman! Always hassling me!”
He fondled his way into the reception.
“How do you do Nurse Titi? I see you’re prepped up for your night shift heh?” Chuks smirked cynically.
Nurse Titi used to parley with him until Jason happened.
“Doctor Chuks! I do hope you know you were supposed to report for duty by 8:00pm? You’re one hour late, yet you wouldn’t stop chasing things in gowns and skirts. If I were you, I would go and sign in, idiot!” she scowled at him.
“It’s not your fault!” he shot back. “Do you have doctors in your family? You’re here pretending you don’t want this. It’s my fault for stooping so low to talk to you. Everyone wants Jason huh? Don’t worry, we shall see!”
Nurse Titi hissed at him and rolled her eyes. “There’s a patient prepped for surgery and you have been assigned to carry it out. Here’s the case file,” she said, handing him a bulky file clipped with white papers with scrawny handwriting.
He grabbed it off her hands. ” Who assigned me?”
Titi smiled wickedly knowing he would hate the reply, “Doctor Jason, of course.”
Everyone knew how he hated the young doctor. It was an open-secret around there.
He assessed her from head to toe before signing in and walked away without another word.
“Doctor David! Where have you been? We have a lot of emergencies today and some patients have not being attended to.”
“Good evening Nurse Titi! Give me a minute or two, I’ll come collect the patient’s case notes.”
“Okay Dockie,” Titi curtsied slightly.
David disappeared into the cluster of offices upstairs, walking briskly like a man on mission.
Ifeoma had been a patient here for quite a long time now. She was kept under observation and would usually make short walks especially at night.
The days were shorter here and the nights longer so she needed some air.
Her son had still refused to come see her even after her major operation. He was still angry with her for divorcing his father. How she had tried to let him how that man mistreats her. It was only a matter of time until he killed her, but she was not ready to die just yet.
As she passed by the corridors, she could see that it was quite empty and eerie. This was the perfect time to reflect. She would go sit outside and see how the stars were positioned tonight.
As she approached the offices, she could hear people arguing. She followed the noise and stumbled upon its source. It was apparently two people; she recognized one because he faced the door in the dimly lit office. It was Doctor Jason.
What could they be arguing about and who was that other person lurking in those crooked shadows?
She leaned in to get a better sound as she eavesdropped.
“Where is the document, Jason? I know you have it! Give it to me and I’ll forget our paths ever crossed. You came to my office, took it and left your stethoscope there. Do you remember?” the other man said, showing him the stethoscope.
“Yes, I took it, but you can’t have it. I will never let you succeed with this evil plan of yours, do you hear me? Never.”
“Listen, I don’t want to hurt you but don’t push me to.”
“Hurt me? What is the worst you could do? Stab me? Or bash my head against this wall? Really? What can you do to me? You’re selfish and too ambitious and I won’t let you drag these hospital and these poor patients into your web.”
Jason crossed the table and headed for the door.
Ifeoma hid in a dark corner as she watched the two shadows disappear.
She strained her neck to discover this mystery man who wished to destroy the hospital, but could not get a proper glimpse of him.
He had been expecting his call, but he had not called. What secret could Jason have to tell him?
He stepped out of his Jeep, shut the doors and made sure the windows and doors were properly shut. He dialed Jason’s number and it was busy. Who could he be calling now? He waited for some minutes and then dialed again this time it rang, but no one answered.
“Where in God’s name could he be now?”
Just then his phone vibrated and a message from Jason read “MEET ME IN THE CHANGING ROOM NOW.”
The machines which gave her oxygen went dead. Emma’s mother sprang to her feet and screamed at the top of her lungs for the doctors.
A nurse and doctor ran inside and asked her to stand aside. The doctor checked her pulse and double checked again. He shook his head and covered her face with her white bedding. “She’s gone,” he said with such finality that jabbed her heart.
She fell to the floor and wept. Finally, she was alone. At last, life has no meaning anymore.
“Jason? Where are you?” No reply.
He slowly opened the door to the changing room and the horror he met made him scream like a woman in labour.
He had been stabbed several times at the back. He didn’t get to see his killer do this, but judging from the proximity from which he was stabbed, he must have been acquainted somehow with his killer. He was sprawled in a pool of his blood.
What would he do?
This is bad business for the hospital. No one should know about this.
He closed his eyes to clear the image of his mind.
He quickly dialed a number. “Please, Doctor meet me in the changing room. One more thing, don’t let anyone see you coming in.”
Jason I’m sorry but I have to do this, he thought.