She’d finally let go of the tears she’d been holding back; they ran down the sides of her face and met beneath her jaw before dropping to her blue collar. Different thoughts were flying through her head with the same speed of light -pushing her to the brink of madness-and they all bordered around the same question.
What was she going to do?
She had to admit, she hadn’t been thinking clearly when she’d asked the man to take her back to Cult Road. It had been a stupid and impulsive thing to do. Though she’d only wanted to see if he’d remember her at the mention of the street, but when he didn’t, why hadn’t she just driven home?
“Heeellllleeeeen” she cried, shaking her head. What is wrong with you? Sometimes it felt as if she didn’t have any sense.
I should have just driven home. I should just drive home!!!!But one look at the man’s back as he drove into a street and she knew she couldn’t let him go. But what am I supposed to do now? Should I confront him? But what if he repeats it?
There was silence as she contemplated on her best plan, only her sobs kept her company then…
‘Kill him,’ a voice whispered.
Helen shuddered at the evil thought. She shook her head and rejected the voice. She knew who it belonged to, had heard it several times before but never had it sounded this confident.
‘Cult Road is always lonely,’ it suggested. ‘Knock him down when you get there.’ Its voice was as soft as breeze and intoxicating as fresh palm wine.
‘No one will ever know,’ it seduced and Helen allowed herself to imagine what it would feel like.
‘God will know,’ the voice of Mercy countered. Mercy was Helen’s refuge and had sustained her through her years of sorrow. Mercy was what she had been taught and what she had taught others. Mercy was what Helen believed in…or thought she believed in.
‘Don’t give into your anger Helen. I know it’s hard but there has to be another way. Vengeance is for God.’
‘And you are an instrument of God,’ it screamed ‘That man destroyed you, he deserves to pay!’
‘Yes, he does,’ Mercy agreed ‘but you can always take him to the police.’ Helen shook her head, disagreeing.
‘And expose you shame?’ it asked. Its voice dipped in disgust. ‘Imagine the headlines; Reverend Sister Identifies Her Rapist. Can you really live with that? It’s not like they helped you the last time.’
The bike man cornered into another road; Cult road and Helen followed. Somehow in the past years as the world developed, Cult road had managed to remain the same; dark, eerie and strangely deserted. The dilapidated buildings were still standing though age had made them black and some of them were nearly covered by bushes. It had taken Helen years; eight years to summon the courage and inquire about the unknown street that the man had taken her to. It was said that some of the buildings had been owned by a prophet who had been involved in human rituals and had forced some of his followers to indulge in cannibalism. And when he was found out, he had set himself on fire with most his followers. The incident had earned the place its famous name. And, the long road had been left untouched since then, no one dared to build their house or business there; fearing the ghosts of the past will haunt them.
For Helen, the road represented something more sinister.
* * * * *
Chike was struggling with his demons; old and vile demons. He didn’t like where he was, not one bit. He hadn’t been on this road for a very long time and wouldn’t have taken it, if not for the N1000 the Sister had offered him. The place held too many memories, memories he wanted to forget, memories that proved that there was a beast in every man. So Chike drove faster, with his back rigid and making sure he didn’t look at any of the buildings; he didn’t want to remember.
‘Look at him drive,’ it spat, ‘without even a glance around. He has completely forgotten about the evil he did to you. This man has no conscience.’
‘Please, stop the car,’ Mercy begged when the speedometer moved from twenty to forty and kept ascending. ‘Where is your faith? Leave this for God; he’ll take care of it.’
‘He won’t come down from heaven. Our Lord works in mysterious ways and he will be working through you.’
‘Just stop the car!’
‘You don’t have to do it. I can do it for you!’
‘Stop the car!!!!’ Mercy screamed…
And Helen braked. Her chest came in hard contact with the steering wheel but she barely noticed the pain. She dropped her head on the wheel and cried her heart out.
“God help me” she begged, her shoulders shaking as she cried “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, save me. This is madness”
Chike thought he had stopped hearing the sounds of the car, his head reflexively jerked to look back but he stopped himself. If something was wrong with her car, he’ll have to turn back and that will mean spending more time here. It will better if he pretended not to notice and then wait for her at the end of the street.
“Good, you doing well” Mercy was saying to Helen and her grip on the steering wheel started loosening “Take deep breaths and calm down. We’ll go home and talk to the Mother Superior. You have to trust me Helen. You know I’ve never failed you”
It grinned devilishly and allowed Mercy to feel triumphant. But It knew that this situation was too perfect to go wrong. Everything was there; the pain, the grief, the anger and Helen wasn’t even that strong. All It had to do was poke the wound where it hurt the most.
‘Did you see his ring?’ It asked in a conversational tone.
“No” Helen sobbed. She shook her head from side to side, trying to shake the voice off. Nothing, not even her years in the convent had prepared her for a time like this.
‘Don’t tell me you didn’t notice the gold band in his left hand. He probably has kids, and you could never have one because of him.’
‘Don’t listen to It.’
‘How can you forget what he did to you?’ It asked sorrowfully ‘Is it that you can’t remember?’
Helen was already suffocating from his heavy weight when he pushed himself in.
She screamed at the painful invasion and at the consequences of his actions.
“Please stop,” she cried, shaking her head from side to side. “Please stop.”
But he didn’t. He just kept pushing himself in and out, in and out, out…….and in.
Helen left her body and went to the passenger’s seat; allowing It to take full control of her. The cold started from deep within her heart and spread through her veins and arteries. It transformed her heart into a block of ice and pumped ice through her body instead of blood. It spread like Ebola; taking control of all her organs, cells and finally her mind. The temperature in the car dropped to zero centigrade, the windows turned frosty and their breaths fogged. Helen looked at herself; It was her, but It wasn’t really her. She looked thinner; her eyes seemed to have sunken inside their sockets, a vein was throbbing at her temple and her brown irises were now clear.
It changed the gear from two to three, then from three to four and touched the accelerator to the floor. Chike heard the car approaching and for a minute, wondered what was going on with the Sister but still, he didn’t look back…he should have. The car hit him with a force that sent him into the air. The shock made him scream; the sound echoing in the lonely street. He landed on the road and his bike by the side; its wheels spinning eerily.
“Arrghhh!!!” he screamed, staring down at the bone that was shooting out from his elbow “Help me” his good arm flailed wildly. He gestured towards Helen’s car; thinking it was an accident.
It reversed and angled the car’s front tires properly; aiming for his legs. The man gaped at the oncoming vehicle and comprehension visibly dawned on him; his face crumpled and his eyes widened. He screamed and tried to push himself up with his good arm but he wasn’t fast enough. The left front tire scored his flesh and connected with his femurs; crushing them in two, the back tire popped his ankles. The man’s anguished screams was like a soothing balm to Helen’s own wound. It felt good and she needed more of it. It reversed, snapping his knees in the process and adjusted the front tires to climb his hips. The screaming stopped.
As Chike fought the losing battle against death, he thought of how ironic it was; that he was going to die on this road. His wife’s face flashed before his eyes. He tried to hold onto it; her beautiful face and her ever present smile. He thought of his children…
God, please be with them.
It drove back and stared at him; the man’s eyes were open but blank and blood oozed from his mouth.
“Scream for me bastard. Scream all you want, no one can hear you” It cried viciously. Veins popped out all over Its face and they were all throbbing angrily, spit lined Its lips and snot ran from Its nose. It inclined the car tires again; aiming for the man’s head and nearly broke the accelerator. When the tire connected with Chike’s head, it crumpled his nose and simultaneously crushed his teeth, jaw, and cheekbone and popped his eyes. His skull cracked after very little resistance, his brain spilled out and was instantly mashed like corned beef…
* * * * *
Helen opened her eyes. Everything was warm again. She looked at the rear view mirror and saw the mess she had left behind.
What have you done? Mercy cried. Helen didn’t answer. She was waiting, waiting to feel something. She waited for guilt and regrets to consume her but they never came, she only felt invincible and fearless. So she started her car and drove away. Maybe her heart was still cold; she wasn’t sure and didn’t really care.