“I love you, Kate,” Patrick mouthed facing me at the altar of the church as he took his vows. Only I could hear it, those words that brought a tingly sensation down my spine each time he said it. Of course, he’d said it over a billion times, but each time he uttered them I was always awash with emotions. He’d always said it like his life depended on saying just those three words and I believed him. He was ready to lay down his life for me, and I was sure I would do same, given any kind of circumstances.
Here was Patrick standing before me, the man I would spend the rest of my life with, the man I would cross the seas and oceans to be with, the man who made my life seem whole and complete. In him I felt a different kind of love, not mainstream, but a unique kind of love I’d never felt. Even when my parents and friends pointed out a few reservations and hiccups before our wedding, I would not give them the benefit of doubt. They would later come to appreciate him. They needed to conquer their fears and trust him, and me too. Patrick was my all and only and that was that. I would not let anyone nor anything come inbetween. Life was too short to live in someone else’s shadow, I thought to myself vaguely.
“I love you too, sweetie,” I mouthed back at him. He smiled and nodded, his eyes twinkled in sheer delight. I knew he was happy and in truth, I loved him and he knew all too well. We had finished exchanging vows but he did not wait for the Reverend before he swiftly removed my veil and kissed me amidst the loud cheer of the congregation. This was certainly not our first kiss, but it left me breathless and wanting more like the first time. He was definitely The One for me.
I was shaken from my reverie by Patrick’s voice at the door of the hotel bathroom where I was seated in front of the mirror smiling foolishly, completely lost in thoughts, starring at myself, myself starring back at me, replaying the exchange of vows at the altar.
“Babes, you’re taking so much time in there. Do you need help removing the make up? ” He asked anxiously.
“Err… No, I’m almost done,” I replied, shaking my head. “Be there in a giffy.”
I could hear him breathe in deeply and breathe out. It was funny how albeit there was merely a door separating us, I could still feel him and know his expressions and thoughts. I cleaned off the final traces of bridal make over products left on my face, threw the dirty wipes in the small trash can by the bathroom door and stood up. I looked at myself in the mirror, turning this way and that, adjusting my nightwear. Was it that it was too revealing or my breasts suddenly just got bigger and were about to pop out from the dress? Maybe too revealing, I decided. I would later take a mental note of killing my sister for making me buy this if Patrick didn’t like it. I put my hands on my breasts and pushed them up, turning sideways again. Dang! Wasn’t this too transparent? I scoffed at myself and bit my tongue lightly, in a bid to shut up. I turned away from the mirror and walked out with my heart thudding.
My husband gazed at me in awe, his mouth open. I would, later on, give my sister a piece of me for picking out this ridiculous piece of lace for me. I felt so insanely shy and ridiculous standing before him. He stared at me for a long time, the way Serena Williams would stare at a Wimbledon grand slam trophy. I suddenly became too embarrassed and decided that he didn’t like what I put on and he couldn’t find the right words to say.
“I should just change,” I said, exasperated. I was turning away and headed for the wardrobe when he caught my arm and dragged me back to him. He made me sit on his lap.
“No. You look beautiful, Kate. It’s a very attractive attire I never thought you’d wear such. You are beautiful.”
“It’s supposed to be a surprise, I guess. But it’s too revealing.”
“Am I not your husband? Of course it’s revealing but it’s meant for me. Don’t be ridiculous, dear,” He laughed out, shaking his head. I raised my eyebrows at him and he laughed some more. At this point I sighed and rolled my eyes. A knock came on the door and we both jerked up and looked toward the door.
“Hian! Are we supposed to expect someone on our wedding night?” I asked him in a low voice. He shook his head for a reply.
“Who’s it?” He asked.
“Room service,” a deep, masculine voice replied.
Patrick released me and placed me on the bed where I laid back while he grumbled about not ordering for anything in particular. Somewhere at the back of my head was thinking of how I would give Patrick my pride later on. I was nervous maybe, but anxious was a more definite term to describe how I felt toward the thought.
As he opened the door, he gasped out loudly in shock. I turned my head and saw a black pistol poked in with a gloved hand holding it. This must have been a mistake. Was I dreaming or did I drink too much wine at the reception? I rose abruptly from the bed to a sitting position, shock registering in my medulla.
The man, actually two men, had forced their way in, disguised in the hotel room service staff uniform. They both had short pistols, but I couldn’t tell if the pistols were real or fake. The pistols were pointed at Patrick who was already on his knees and with his arms outstretched over his head, he shuddered. Both guns had silencers fixed on them. I became terrified.
They shouted at him, asking him for his money, to which he replied with a shaky voice that there was none. By the time they approached the wardrobe, I was already on my knees, my legs wobbling, my hands on my head. They shouted at me and asked me to get money for them. Money? What money? I could not even get my thoughts together. I looked at one of the thugs direct his gun on Patrick’s head, then I looked at him. He was nonplussed. For the first time I saw a hint of fear register in his eyes, the kind of fear that made me cringe.
The other thug, the first one to enter, shouted at me again. Oh my God, my heart skipped, why can’t anyone from outside hear what was going on?! It was too late to call security. Adrenaline coursed all over my body in a violent fashion as I was visibly shaken. This had to be some sort of nightmare, the kind that is played out in Hollywood and Nollywood movies. For crying out loud, my head reeled in shock, this was supposed to be a peaceful night with my husband. We even had a flight to Maldives very early the next morning. I still could not, for the life of me, know why we were ambushed in a hotel room at 10pm in the dead of night. This was just crazy to me. I began to feel sick.
Patrick motioned for me to search the pocket of his suit trouser to bring out his wallet and get the money in it. I tried to stand up but my legs failed and fell back down, my knee grazed on the bed post. The thug with the gun pointed at me cocked the gun, kicked and shoved me toward the wardrobe. When Patrick tried to protest and warn them not to man-handle me, the second thug behind him hit him on the head with his gun with so much force that his face fell to the floor. I winced at Patrick. I felt his pain.
Oh my Gosh! Oh my God, please help me. This is not happening!!! I breathed loudly as I walked slowly to the wardrobe. I was able to find his wallet. I brought out all the money in it and the one in my purse and threw it on the floor. I checked everywhere else in the suitcases and bags and there was nothing. The first thug picked up the money from the floor and squeezed the fat bundle into his pocket. He looked around the room, asking if I was sure there was no more money. I nodded while I let tears streak down my face. I’d never been scared for Patrick like this nor for my own life. I was silently pleading to God that he wouldn’t come to any harm. It would be the end of me.
The thug focused his eyes at me and scoffed. His scoff turned to a chuckle as he looked at me with lust from head to toe and licked his lips at the same time. With his gun he motioned to the bed. For a moment I stopped weeping and looked at him in disbelief, then at Patrick, my mouth was agape. Patrick tried to wrestle his way out of the other thug’s grip but got struck again from behind. He groaned out.
I shook my head vigorously. No! How could I possibly let these hoodlums take what rightfully belongs to Patrick and Patrick alone. It was bad enough they had all the money on us. I’d sure be damned if I was going to let it happen. He moved a step forward and I moved back on instinct. Without wasting a second, he fired the gun at me. I screamed and ducked while Patrick shouted an empathic no. The bullet missed me by the whiskers and went straight into the wall behind me.
He dragged me, amidst all protests and scuffles and shoved me on the bed. I guessed at some point I must have screamed No and Jesus because he fiercely told me to shut up, that Jesus wasn’t his name. Of course, I knew that. He must have been sent from the recesses of hell, and hell was where he was going back to, that I was sure of. He was already on top of me, and with much frenzy he removed his gloves and tore my nightwear. His fingers grazed my skin and left a series of bruises streaked with blood.
Patrick released himself and punched the second thug on the jaw. He lunged at the thug on top of me and pulled him back, but then stopped short when the sound of another shot hit the room. The second thug had shot at Patrick, somewhere in his torso, but I couldn’t tell from the tears that clouded my eyes if it was his shoulder or his chest. I could see the blood dripping down from a hole in his singlet. He staggered back and fell to the floor with a heavy thud, motionless.
“Oh God, Noooooooo!!! You animal! You killed my husband, you bastard!!” I shrieked out. It was like a sword had sliced right through my heart and cut it in two.
With every strength in me, I pushed myself up and started to run to Patrick, screaming out his name in horror. The first thug stood in my path. I was hitting him and pushing him away, calling him names, but he was too strong for me. It felt like I was hitting a concrete wall with bare hands. He slapped me hard I fell back on the bed. I protested some more with flailing arms and he slapped me again. My face hurt so much in a daze I didn’t move again. My heart was out of my mouth as I cried helplessly.
He stripped himself from his trousers down and hastily forced himself inside of me. I felt like dying, like the world had come to an end. I wished for death and at that point Patrick couldn’t save me. I couldn’t stop myself from wailing loudly as I felt my warm blood trickle down my legs from my pride. He had forcefully taken the one thing I waited so long to give to Patrick. One hand directed the gun to my forehead and the other covered my mouth with his palm. Then he made his rough movements inside me and there was nothing I could do to save myself. All I could think of was Patrick. This horrific display would forever ring in my head. I hoped to God they got punished in hell for this.
When he was done, he pulled himself out, adjusted his trousers back up and called his friend for a shot. The other thug moved over to me and stripped down, in the exact same way the first had done. Tears kept on flowing as I laid helpless. When the second one made his way inside me, I wished I hadn’t ducked at the first gun shot. My inner senses beckoned to Patrick and I wasn’t sure if he was still alive. If he was dead, I might as well be dead too. Life was not worth living when the one I loved was gone.
I turned my head to the side to see Patrick looking at me, all the fear, pain, shock and horror visibly drawn on his face. He was alive and helpless as I was, too terrified. He wished for death to come quickly as I did.
“Kate….,” he groaned out.
I could not look at him. He didn’t deserve this. We didn’t deserve this just 24 hours after saying I do. I was tired and weak at that point, my breathing was heavy and laboured and my vagina hurt. It felt like they’d set fire to it and the fire spread like a wild forest fire through all my entire organs and nerves. I became dizzy and light headed. I found it difficult to breathe, difficult to see, to move, to feel or hear. With each passing second, I struggled with all my senses that failed me until I gave up struggling. The sight of his blood on the rug carpet was the last thing I saw before I slowly closed my eyes.
I gradually slipped into a deep oblivion and welcomed the darkness that engulfed me in all it’s gory pitch black nature and nothingness, the sound of Patrick’s voice groaning out my name became a faint echo to my ears. The darkness was silent and calm and I embraced the calmness of it all.
I was living dead.