Suddenly a black goat darted into the road. Whether it was too bamboozled by what seemed to it an approaching behemoth or that it was playing out a black script given it by some malevolent spirit, no one would ever know. It just stood petrified, like Silas Marner, at the middle of the road. And in that split second of the appearance of the evil goat, the driver jammed on the brakes instinctively. Then, in a very desperate move to save the flying and overloaded bus from toppling over because of its momentum and the impact of the brakes, he swerved to the right in a battle of skids, missed the goat by a few inches and smashed apocalyptically through the bush. I stopped Linda just in time from bashing her head against the back of the seat before her. But I ended up bashing my arm. Like a missile let loose from its moorings, the bus leaped uncontrollably over low sturdy obstacles. The driver was unable to dictate its destiny anymore. His dexterity was not titanic enough to cancel out its steady and stormy roar to a grim fate.
Desperate shouts of “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” came from all the passengers on board. In those fateful seconds of my life, Linda sprang into my arms. Her ample breasts melted into the muscular folds of my chest. I held her tightly, even as we screamed in alarm. Our bodies were hot and our hearts were pounding away like battering rams. In the noise and confusion, I clutched the golden necklace on her neck with my bashed arm. It was a strange and impulsive move but one that had stuck to my memory ever since. In a miasma of unpredictable gravitations, like thousands of Roman soldiers charging variably toward some scatterbrained barbarians, the now-foliage-festooned bus roared and brushed into the road again. The driver slammed away confusedly at the pads below him. The tyres screeched very loudly. But turbo-charged with velocity, the vehicle hurtled away in wide swirls. Then, it did an ear-splitting somersault, relieving itself of some of the human and luggage burden it bore. I was thrown off through the window and into the bush. Even then, I came to note blindly that Linda’s golden necklace was in my hand. Miraculously, I had not lost consciousness yet. The next thing that happened was perceived by my ears only; for my enormous build was fiercely entangled in an abyss of foliage and a pool of my own blood. How my body managed to fly through that window is a mystery to me till date.
At the behest of a slipping consciousness, I heard the thundering approach of a tractor-trailer, probably rounding a sharp bend. I heard the screeching of its tyres toward the catastrophe on the road, the horrifying bash of its colossal chassis on the mangled luxury bus, merciless crushing crashes of weight on sparking tar, very loud and infernal wails and the sound of breaking glasses and the boom of exploding tyres. Splinters of glass flew off from the detonating zone and tore into the bush. One of them landed on my already blood-soaked head and broke into tiny smithereens. The pain was very excruciating. I heard and saw no more….
Two months later, I was discharged from a hospital in Benin city. I had been treated for head injuries and a broken arm. I was, again, physically fit. But, for quite a while, I was not fully myself.
One day, I went back to the scene of the accident and searched frantically for Linda’s golden necklace. And when I almost gave up the quest, I found it near the roots of some croton cluster. It was slightly stained from exposure to the elements. I picked it up and later had it polished to almost its pristine beauty. I kept Linda’s golden necklace as a memento. I had it preserved in a beautiful glass plate that I hung on the walls of my sitting room. She had, at last, proved to me that she was an angel who had only come to protect me and, after that, loosen her wings and fly away for good.
For somehow, I had managed to learn that except for my self and the man of prayers, everyone else died in that terrible accident.