Emily’s body shook as she carried Zanu. Hunger and a persistent menstrual pain that kicked her stomach like a punching bag. She didn’t understand why her body couldn’t co-operate with her for just a few minutes. As she continued walking, she felt her legs go limp and she and Zanu came crashing down. Tears of regret flowed down her cheeks, why did I agree to go out of school to meet Ryan? Why did I put Zanu through this? Zanu obliged because she didn’t want her to get hurt.
It began raining. Lord please take my life and give Zanu the strength to forgive me. She turned back and saw Zanu on the road, her body covered in dirt. She was still unconscious, her breathing slow but steady.
No, she had to try to get up, if not for anyone then Zanu. She dragged Zanu under a tree for shelter from the rain. Something fell on her head. A fruit! She was sure, she looked up and saw more of its species on the tree. Filled with gratefulness and relief, she sank her teeth into its flesh. She looked at Zanu and did not know if she’d be able to eat. In the hospital, she was sure Zanu would have been on drip but where in the world will they find a hospital. She had no clue where they were but she knew one thing that they were not alone.
Night had come and all parts of their body where soaked. She had resorted to using her beret as a pad. She used the rain to wash the blood off her skirt and had drunk rain water from the tree. She managed to put small water mashed with fruit into Zanu’s mouth. To prevent Zanu’s teeth from clamping shut, she inserted a bark (from the tree they sheltered on) between her teeth. Phew! If anyone had told her that she’d be that resourceful she would have doubted. All those medical outreaches made by PUMSA paid off. Feeling like a well-trained survivor, she tried to build a shelter and make a fire using the branches of the tree. 45 minutes had passed when she couldn’t even get a smoke. Then she heard the sound of a rustled engine. So, they were still able to track them, struggling to her feet she carried Zanu whom felt cold. She would worry about that later. Right now, they had to avoid being caught….
Zanu’s body was getting limp and very cold, Emily with all her power and might carried her. In the process, a sharp stone bruised her foot. She knew she was bleeding; adrenaline made her flow to be less painful. She still felt a sharp pain on her foot. She heard a man shouting and instantly recognized the voice. That wasn’t Ryan’s voice but one of his henchmen.
She was still running despite the pain, more sharp stones and bruises but she didn’t care. No matter what may come Zanu must survive, even if she died in the process, she owed it to Zanu. She stopped; one obstacle faced them. A rueful master, anything that crossed its path was forced to obey and follow. A river. She took in a deep breath and turned around. Zanu’s weight crushing her body. She could see the figures ahead and closing in on them. She turned to the river. Sorry Zanu. She jumped into the water with Zanu. There was no need swimming as the river carried them with full force. One of the henchmen tried to shoot… Emily held her breath and tried to hold Zanu for support. Zanu. No, she would drown herself. Zanu. Where are you? She plunged her body deep into the water. Now or Never. I want to die.
She woke up with a cough. before she knew herself, she was vomiting water. The river had dumped her at the beach. She rose up and nearly fell. She kicked the sand only to be reminded of the bruise on her foot. She sat down, tears running down her cheek. Why didn’t the river drown her? Why hadn’t she died instead of Zanu?
She could still remember running from Ryan. Close to escape, Ryan threw a bottle aiming to smash her head. Instead Zanu came in between and her head received what was meant for Emily. Blood. Tears. She could still picture Zanu’s face and her body collapsed on her. Assuming she didn’t fall for Ryan’s charm and agree to meet him in his house, dragging Zanu along. This wouldn’t have happened. Ryan had already planned how he would use her as ransom to get his brother out of prison. And it was all her fault. All her fault! She screamed, she still had to find Zanu. She stood to her feet. She walked, the sun had started to get up and it was getting hot. Still she did not mind. She thought she saw a village afar. She didn’t believe that there could be an existing civilization in the middle of nowhere. What if they were cannibals? She continued walking until she saw a fisherman. His face showed no expression when he saw her. Emily could feel him staring deeply into her soul. She was uncomfortable and didn’t know what to do. Luckily, he came closer, frowning. She knew he would be wondering what a young girl would be doing there. Pride melted; tears filled her eyes when she told him that she was looking for her friend. She didn’t even wait for him to say anything. His face showed compassion as he signaled her to follow him. They came to the end of the beach and she saw Zanu’s lifeless body. Obviously washed on the shore, she held Zanu’s body. Devoid of emotion, pale and lifeless. Like a robot, she laid her friend’s body on the sand. Her tear ducts were too exhausted to bring anymore tears.
Lord I am sorry. Please have mercy on me lord. Let Zanu live. She loves you. She… CPR, What? CPR.
She then remembered that’s what PUMSA taught them in school but she wasn’t paying attention. How could she possibly do CPR? She was a failure who used her beauty and charms to get what she wanted. But beauty and charms won’t save Zanu. She looked at the fisherman and she could read his face. ‘’ She is dead’’. She closed her eyes trying to recollect what they said but all she could picture was she chewing bubblegum and wearing a short skirt. Think Emily. Think
The CPR tutor, Debby said ‘’ Lay the Person on their back and open their Airways. Airways are the mouth and nose. Her mouth …. Emily opened her mouth. Putting her hand on Zanu’s tummy. Emily tried compressing it to force the water she had swallowed out. Frustrated she resorted to punching but only small water came out. The fisherman realizing what she was trying to do spoke
‘’ Miss, me help’’
That was the first time she heard him say something. His voice sounded different. It wasn’t that he couldn’t speak English well. She couldn’t quite put her finger to it. He took her hands off gently and continued. He looked more experienced being a fisherman. She resulted to doing chest compressions, she put her mouth on Zanu’s first and started to give her mouth -to- mouth resuscitation. The fisherman started rubbing Zanu’s hand. Still nothing. She placed the heel of hand on Zanu’s chest, putting the heel of her other hand on top of the first hand and lacing her fingers together, she pushed hard. She pushed again though she was hungry and her stomach and intestine was about to wage a war. She still pushed. She stopped after a few more times and placed her head on Zanu’s chest. It wasn’t working. They had done exactly what was said in books. Emily just had to face the bitter truth. Sobbing on her friend’s body. The fisherman was still rubbing the hand of Zanu – obviously where a pulse could be felt. Still Nothing
Thud. Emily thought it was her ears deceiving her. She placed her head gently to hear it … There it was a very faint heartbeat.
‘’ She’s alive’’. Tears of gratitude flooded her eyes. Thank you, Lord. thank you for bringing Zanu. Though literally, she was still unconscious but at least she was breathing. ‘’ Miss’’. She had forgotten about the fisherman. ‘’ Village close, me stay close, medicine man there, heal sister, you stay in me home days, get better and your sister. Tell me yourself’’. His voice was soothing. It made her feel weird. She smiled at him. Hope spread through her. She knew Zanu would survive.
Iboyi Okeoghene Rejoice
Iboyi Okeoghene Rejoice