Here I was, merrily making my blog rounds when I stumbled on a competition on one of my favourites, TNC. They turned two and so we were asked to complete a story in implements of two, working backward. Grabbing any opportunity to learn, I resolved to write but eternal procrastinator that I am, I penned a draft and left it to percolate. So I’ve finally decided to grab the bull by the horns and put it out there.
The initial text in black is the fixed portion that I was required to complete, with my ending in blue.
Long story short, here’s the result; hope you like it
Aigbe smiled callously as he watched Esosa tumble backwards onto the floor. He thought to himself that she quite looked like a fish out of water – flailing about, reaching for support that would not be forthcoming. His smile very quickly evolved into a cruel laugh as he watched the back of her head crash onto the cold, tiled floor with a sickening, wet sound. Leaping astride her semi-conscious body, he rained three solid blows onto her torso, working his way from her lower ribcage to her sternum. She yelped, shook and choked with each blow, unable to fight back.
“You are the one that will die, not me, Stupid Harlot!”
He spat into her face as the last blow landed and she choked violently, jerking with the impact of the blow and recoiling from the glob of projectile spittle that had hit her face.
“You! Are! A! Mad! Dirty! Prostitute!”
Each word was punctuated by a slap that sent waves of pain coursing through Esosa’s head. She could barely speak or shout or scream in protest, much less move. She felt herself start to slip into a numb blackness but she tried to hold on. Aigbe wrapped his hands around her neck and muttered.
“Witch! Harlot! Your plan has failed!”
Esosa closed her eyes and let the numbing darkness take her as her husband choked the remaining life from her, his wedding ring pressing into against her carotid artery.
2 hours earlier
Esosa smiled to herself as she poured the brown powder into the bottle of Merlot. She re-corked it and shook it violently until the powder began to dissolve. She knew Aigbe was already on his way home.
Every fibre of her being buzzed with expectancy. The pharmacist had promised that the virility-enhancing drug worked wonders. Her body was currently at its most fertile and the doctor had said that as she no longer had fibroids, the risks expected during pregnancy were minimal. Hopefully this time next year, the house would be filled with the sounds of a little one.
Aigbe stood outside the door and watched, anger filling every pore. In all the years of their marriage, not once had he cheated or raised his hands to her. His friends often teased that his infamous rage had been subdued by love.
“So this is how she chooses to pay me back, not only was she cheating but now she wants me dead” he thought “I was waiting for the right time to ask who Teni’s father really is, and why she betrayed me, but I guess I no longer need to”
He pushed the door open, and landed the first blow before she had time to work her magic and make him forget her sins.
2 days earlier
Work today seemed to stretch on forever, everything upset him. He had finally gotten the call from Dr. Peters that his test results were out. The doctor insisted on him coming around personally. “Cancer, cancer, cancer” continued to ring in his thoughts as he drove down to the clinic, why else would Dr. Peters refuse to give him his prognosis over the phone.
Finally, he parked in front of the clinic and headed up, where the nurse on duty ushered him in.
“How would Esosa take it? Did he have the strength to go through the treatments? Would he even survive?”
All these and more went through his head as he paced the lushly rugged floor of Dr. Peters’ office. A few heartbeats later, the door swung open, and he asked
“How bad is it, how long do I have to live?”
Dr. Peters sat down and beckoned him towards the adjoining chair,
“The tests came back clean, the lump in your prostate was benign and will dissolve with time, however another issue was discovered that I feel you should be aware of”,
“You mean I don’t have cancer” Aigbe interjected “then, why the urgency?”
He shook his head, “During the course of our lab work, based on the sperm sample we took, we found out that you’re sterile, the reason is unknown. Did you have mumps as a kid?”
“That can’t be possible, my wife and I, our baby boy Teni, are you saying what I think you are?” His head swirled till he could take it no more, so he simply thanked the doctor and headed out.
2 weeks earlier
Aigbe stumbled in shock as he felt a lump in his prostate area during his morning shower. Surely, they had been through enough, Esosa was only just starting to re-enter the world from the shell she had withdrawn into after their son Teni’s death. He waited till he got into the office, to avoid Esosa overhearing, before calling Dr. Peters. Despite the ongoing fertility promotion, there was a slot available a little later in the day so an appointment was made.
The day dragged on till he got to the clinic. After the initial examination of the lump, he was subjected to a barrage of tests and left feeling more scared than he entered. The sperm sample was the hardest to give, and the harried nurse standing outside didn’t help matters any. As he handed over the bottle, he noticed she had just collected a sample from next door and was labeling both as she walked out. If only he realized that in the stress of the day, she would end up mixing the names on both, and he would get another man’s results.
2 months earlier
The pall of mourning filled the air as well-wishers queued up to offer condolences. Most people stuttered, stumbled and simply offered a hug or a handshake. How does one go about comforting a family who lost their only son; no warning or premonition given? He was hale and hearty one day, and was met dead the next morning. The doctors had no explanation and attributed it to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). No parent hopes to outlive their child, and this was no exception. Teni had begun to show signs of brilliance; talking before he was nine months old and walking not long after. Aigbe held tight to Esosa after the funeral was over, and everyone had left. Despite all his attempts to get her to let it out, she was yet to shed a single tear, still being in a state of disbelief and shock.
2 years earlier
“Push, push” the nurses screamed “he’s crowning”.
Minutes later, Esosa laid her head back on the pillow as her baby boy was placed in her arms. Gone were the days of shame, as her friends bragged about their kids’ achievements and compared notes on raising them. No more would she hear the snide comments from her in-laws about Aigbe’s lack of an heir. After ten years of trying, the sound of a child’s play and laughter would finally fill their house, and the nursery be put to use. Doctors had warned them about the risk of going through with the pregnancy, what with Esosa’s fibroids, but after trying for so long, to give up then would have been a tragedy so they pressed on, and now would reap the reward.
Update: I made the shortlist for the competition, please go read and give my story a rating on here