Inside the hospital, the doctors and nurses busied themselves trying to resuscitate Akpos. They moved him into a private ward after tests have been conducted on him. The X-ray result showed that he was not having any fracture in the bone and that there was not any internal bleeding in him. It was a good result
His pulse was there but his breathing was with great difficulty.
He was suffering from shock. Something they can confidently handle. All they needed was time. Once they have successfully doused the effect of the shock in his brain he would naturally come out of the shock.
The message alert tone came up in Flora’s phone. It was from Tosan.
She quickly got the number and dialed it on her phone. It failed to connect. She dialed it again. Failure.
She tried again.
It still did not connect.
She continued like that till the middle aged cleaner returned with the recharge card. Flora got the card from her and waved her away with the change; not even paying attention when she thanked her for the tip.
Quickly, she loaded the card in Akpos’ phone. She dialed the number she had been trying on his phone. It failed to connect. She dialed the lady that had sent her number.
A doctor came out to the reception to meet Flora. She was pacing up and down the hall; uneasiness written on her face.
‘Madam, you don’t have to worry,’ he assured; you can leave the rest to us. Once he comes to, we’ll contact you.’
‘I was only trying to see how I can make contact with numbers in his phone but none of them seem to be connecting.’ She complained.
‘Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. I’m sure before the end of the day you will have established contact with them. Just be relaxed.’
‘Can I leave now?’ she asked.
‘Yes you can.’ The doctor replied.
‘Em what’s your name doctor?’
‘I’m Doctor Omoefe Clifford.’
‘Well, Doctor Omoefe, I’m sure you will need this.’
She tucked her hand into her purse and pulled out some cash.
‘No ma‘am you, have already paid the bill.’
‘I know. Just have this in case you need anything to take care of him.’
‘I’m leaving now but would definitely be back by tomorrow.’
‘Well, thank you.’
The doctor collected the crispy naira notes. He counted it. Fifteen thousand naira.
‘And can I have your number?’
He quickly gave it to her.
She saved it in her phone and left the reception hall.
Inside her jeep at the hospital packing space, Flora Bemre decided not to leave immediately. She took some time out to think.
She wondered why she was strongly desiring that the stranger became alright. How did she even stop in the first place to see what was happening.
Quite unlike her. And then offering to carry the accident victim to a hospital, she had quickly paid for everything that would be required to treat the young man. What’s his name again?
Akpos. Yes Akpos. That was all she knew. Not even an identity card. What was it about this shabby accident victim that she was troubled about?
She did not know how it had crept into her but something had entered into her she just knew it.
Her heart pounded initially when she was about to leave the hospital. That was why she took time trying to contact relatives of the young man. When she could not make contact successfully with any one that cared for him, her heart pounded all the more. And now that she was leaving having paid well for his treatment, her heart was thumping. What for? She wondered.
For some reason, she knew it would continue for a while. She could not name it. The feeling was strangely familiar; very vague yet it was gnawing at her heart.
She turned on the ignition and started to move out of the hospital. The car air conditioning system came up automatically, a soft music followed. She drove toward Airport Road again.
The posh comfort one gets inside a Hummer jeep could not be overemphasised. Only, she was used to such luxury that it made no difference to her. She just drove on.
That morning, she didn’t have any special place she was going. She was only on her way to her hotel room where she would have a little privacy as her father’s house was always swarming with guests from dawn to dusk.
She was twenty two, daughter of the renowned Chief Odibo Bemre. Anyone in Warri who knew Chief Odibo Bemre would know that the name was synonymous with Shell and Chevron. The man had a life time contract with both companies. He got contracts from them with relative ease and supplied labour and equipments whenever they needed them. Her father was rich in the real sense of the word.
She, like others of her siblings, was schooling abroad. She was studying Civil Engineering at the University of Hulls in the United Kingdom. She had come from a family where the major problem they had with money was how to spend it very fast.
She was in Nigeria to be with her family for one month vacation they had over there. She had spent half the period of her vacation and would be leaving again to school in Hulls in about a fortnight.
She took a link road toward Ekpan and proceeded through the community to Refinery Road. Then she headed for Mikaval Motel where she had booked a suite for the month.
At twenty two she was still single. In fact at the moment, she was having no boyfriend. This was not because she was a holier than thou bigot. Men had always been at her beck and call even as a teenage girl back then. Even when she was just in the secondary school, she was able to have a few flings because her parents’ eyes were not so much on her. And those relationships ended the way they started because they were done like a game of hide and seek.
The problem she had always had with men was that they always waited for her to come to them, to take them. They hardly ever came for her. Perhaps because she was rich or they were scared of provoking her father or both.
Out there in the United Kingdom where she was schooling, she had looked forward to finding a fulfilling relationship but it had always turned out that the white boys she had met were too superfluous and black boys always turned out being too superficial.
So perhaps, it was her lot to be single at twenty two.
At the gate at Mikaval Motel, the security men raised the barrier for her. They were familiar with the jeep.
She drove in and got a good spot top park. She put out the engine of the automobile. She got some personal effects: a novel by Dean Koontz, an ipod and Akpos’ phone into the hand bag.
She slid down from the jeep, shut the door and walked toward the lobby.
She stole a glance at her gold wrist watch. It was saying nine twenty three.
She proceeded into the hotel lobby.
Her heart thumped.
She will not leave her suite till five pm.
Tosan Alaba was twenty thousand naira richer that morning. She had counted the money Dan, her new boyfriend had given her earlier. Once it was ten o’clock, she decided to go to the market for some shopping. She had decided not to visit Akpos at the hospital. For all she cared, by gone should be by gone.
She felt guilty anyway. To douse the load of guilt in her heart, she decided to show a little concern; to inform Efe who was about the closest person to Akpos.
She got her phone; switched it on and dialed.
She called Dan to thank him and then Efe to inform him.
The doctors at the hospital were sure Akpos will come to but could not say exactly when.
He surprised them when he blinked at exactly eleven o’clock that morning. He was hit by huge flood of bright light.
He shut his eyes once more and tried again to open them slowly.
The doctors were watching every move; taking down records.
When he eventually opened his eyes, he did not see them. He was staring obliviously beyond them. He was muttering something inaudibly. None of the doctors could make it out because it was very faint.
Doctor Omoefe bent over to catch whatever it was he was trying to say.
The muttering went on.
The patient’s eyes looked pale but a closer look would reveal more than that. It looked troubled.
He stopped muttering and closed his eyes again.
While he slept, they carried out a check up to get his vital signs. It showed that his condition was improving. With a little more rest, he would recover fully.
Efe was slim and of an average height with a dark complexion he got over the year from working under the sun. He had met Akpos during their days in the secondary school. They had been compatible with each other and had unavoidably become friends. After secondary school Akpos had decided he must acquire education in the university notwithstanding his humble family background. But Efe had decided to forget education since it appeared there was no one he could rely on for financial assistance in school. For all the years Akpos was in school, Efe had switched from one handcraft to the other. Now he was presently working as a petrol attendant in one of the filling stations in town. That was the source of his daily bread and he was contented with it, as it were.
When Tosan called to inform him of his friend’s condition he was disoriented. But soon, He was able to put his acts together.
She had told him that Akpos had had an accident that morning and was lying in Westend Clinic.
He knew the hospital was one of the best private hospitals, if not the best in Warri. He suspected also that their bills will be way too exorbitant for him to foot. He almost cursed the person that had carried his friend to that hospital. For Heaven’s sake were there no other hospitals in Warri?
He knew Akpos did not have any relatives who would care enough to foot his hospital bill. His aged mother has been in the village at Oloibiri with his younger brothers since they lost their bread winner many years ago.
He would go there to see him but he must not go without any money.
He was having five thousand naira with him. He was sure it definitely won’t do much good at the hospital.
He begged his boss to release him so he could run round a little for his friend that has had an accident. The man obliged.
There was a bank nearby and he was having his debit card with him. He crossed over there and withdrew seven thousand naira. Before he left the automated teller machine, he checked his account balance. He was having two thousand eight hundred and sixteen naira left.
Westend Clinic. Twelve thousand naira. He still needed to get more money. He went to Akpos’ place of work, not only to inform them but to ask their support.
The teachers were able to raise two thousand three hundred naira for him. They also gave him a delegate to follow him and come back with a report to the school.
He was getting somewhere with the fundraising but still needed more money.
He went to Akpos’ place of residence to break the news and to ask for support also from his co tenants.
They responded positively, raising six thousand naira. It was a big compound. They delegated three persons, two women and a young man.
With about twenty thousand naira and four delegates all together, he felt it was okay to visit the hospital.
He put a call through to Akpos’ phone to inform him of their coming