Short stories.

BATTERED & EMBITTERED

BATTERED & EMBITTERED!

I was just seven years old when the unthinkable, unpardonable happened.

Summer holidays were usually spent at Auntie Cynthia’s. Being the only child and daughter of my parents I was highly cherished and loved.

Auntie Cynthia was a close acquaintance, my Mom’s immediate sister. She was the one who insisted I spent my holidays with her family. Normally, my parents wouldn’t let me stay with anyone, but probably because of how close we were to Auntie Cynthia and her husband, Uncle Kenny and also ‘cos they were childless, they let me spend summer vacations with them.

Aunty Cynthia and her husband were always nice to me and I loved staying with them, they over pampered me sort of.

The painful and unfortunate twist to the plot is; Uncle Kenny raped me during one of those vacations.

It was a cold Friday morning and Auntie Cynthia had gone to work.

Uncle Kenny called me to his room, and there he did the inhumane!

It was shocking how the lovely Uncle Kenny I knew became a real ogre overnight!

I wept bitterly as he pushed me out their room. He was closing the door when he cocked his head and bellowed in a regret choked voice;

“No one, I repeat no living being must know of what just transpired! Else…” He ran the back of his thumb over his neck. “…I’d kill you!”

He turned back to me

“And it’s not just a threat, it’s a promise!” The words came out with fear and terror, his eyes were dark and scary.

I was trembling all over as hot and uninterruptible tears descended. When the door slammed and clicked, I shuddered, my hands tightly wrapped around my little bodice. I melted into a puddle of tears.

When Auntie Cynthia returned that evening she observed my withdrawal and morose look, she asked Uncle Kenny what the problem was and he lied to her that I had fever. I was too horrified to speak, I just nodded when I was asked if it was true. With that his tracks stayed covered.

*

I was battered! I was too young to handle such a harrowing experience.

I couldn’t tell anyone neither could I get the memory out of my mind. It stood ever before me, haunting and tearing me apart!

At nineteen I met Christ, God so kind I fell into the right hands.

Though it was really difficult, I narrated the ugly story to my pastor and his wife, wailing wildly as I did.
They stood by me, showing me the way to go and showing me the way to grow.

Gradually, I was healing, I now had a new identity in Christ.

Nursing had always been my passion and so I studied it. I preached to the patients at every slight opportunity, I’m known for that, my colleagues and even doctors know me for that, some even scoff and mock me for always preaching, but I care less! Christ is the best thing that happened to me -or could ever happen to any man- and so I couldn’t just hide him.

*

Yesternight he was rushed here, rocket-fuelled blood spurting out of his wrist, repainting the hospital walls bright red. Before he could make it to the hospital he already lost so much blood and the moment I saw him, my heart went out for him.

I was on duty with the calm and collected Doctor Ediol.

After stopping the flow, we checked his Packed Cell Volume (PCV) and it was way too low! His blood group is O negative, and unfortunately we didn’t have that in the blood bank, factually the last pints were used few hours before he arrived. Really unfortunate!

“Sir what happened to him? I mean how did he get his wrist cut? Was he attempting suicide or was it just an accident?” I asked Dr. Ediol curiously.

If I knew what would come next, I wouldn’t have asked that question and I wouldn’t have been in the mess I am in right now.

“None of those Nurse Ekole, he’s actually a rapist and he was struggling with some lady in the bush when he got that cut. The lady dug her sharp fingers into his wrist and unfortunately for him, his ulnar artery was sliced.” My heart beat increased with every word of his explanation.

There was a stirring in my chest, it wasn’t that of empathy or compassion as usual, but that of hate! Strong revulsion descended as I listened to Dr. Ediol.

“Very good!” I muttered unconsciously, Dr. Ediol must’ve heard what I said as I could see surprise flash across his face when he glanced at me, my conscience squirmed.

The heavyset man lying of the bed stirred slowly and wheezed, hence drawing my attention to him. Beady-eyed, I studied him closely; his ear lobes were pierced, he had a hideous scar on his cheek -probably a scar from another rape struggle- his dreadlocks were dirty and his clothes were ruffled. His disheveled look and burly frame endorsed all Dr. Ediol had said.

‘What a wicked man, what a wicked world!
Hell awaits you!
Only God knows how many innocent girls you’ve raped, how many lives you’ve ruined…’

“Someone please lead me to Jesus.” His grief laden voice sliced into my thoughts.

I almost burst into laughter. So he now wants Jesus huh?

I simply pretended I didn’t hear him and I faced my work squarely. He would soon be where he deserves- Hell!

A host of his kind are already waiting for him, their arms open wide, including Uncle Kenny who died of hypertension two years earlier.

‘Why don’t you do that which I’ve called you to?’

Holy spirit just hold it right there oh.

Who knows if one of his victims committed suicide after being raped?

So after leading souls to hell he would now make heaven right?

“Nurse please help me… Lead me to Jesus… Save me from hell!” He looked at me with teary eyes, he looked really frightened.

Nonsense! If he really loved his life and didn’t want to go to hell, he wouldn’t have chosen the satanic career of yanking legs.

Dr. Ediol kept starring at me in utter shock. I avoided his face, his look spoke volumes…

…Aren’t you the one usually chasing souls for Christ?….

….Where is the love of Christ you preach?…

…Where is the Nurse Ekole I know?….

…Where is that dogged evangelist I know?…

He won’t understand, he just couldn’t.

Images of the past flashed before the eyes of my mind.

“Nurse please…” He started again, his voice quavering before I cut him off.

“Mister, save your breath!” So much ice in one statement.

I could see life gradually slip out of him, but I didn’t care…. Factually I was forcing myself not to care.

I kept shushing my screaming conscience. I was grieving the holy ghost, I knew it.

“Nurse Ekole?” Dr. Ediol couldn’t hold it anymore.

Rubbish!

Whatever would happen, would happen!
This guy wouldn’t just make heaven!

He didn’t take his eyes off me, and I avoided those eyes, somehow they stirred compassion within me, they amplified the voice of the holy spirit.

I hardened my heart. Steely-hearted and steely-eyed, I adjusted the intravenous lines connected to the body of a man I was sure would soon be in hell.

Hell where he belongs, hell where he deserves!

The heavyset man gave a long stretch, then he gave up. Even after he gave up his eyes were fixed on me.

The moment he gave up the ghost, something gave way in me. A heavy load was dumped in my chest, a crushing weight of guilt and despair.

Sudden realization dawned, I had just let a soul go to hell!

I had just gladdened the devil’s heart!

Oh, I made heaven mourn!

Sweat started breaking out of my skin, like volcano. My eyes widened.

Bitterness! I let the root of bitterness deprive me of God’s blessing.

Whenever I lead a soul to Christ, the joy I’d feel is always unspeakable. I’d practically see the heavens rejoice, just like I could now virtually hear the wail!

“Noo!!” I shrieked bloodcurdlingly.

I clung to the corpse and wept bitterly, shaking it vehemently as I did, but it was too late!

“Father.. Father I have sinned. I have let bitterness pollute my mind. Lord forgive me….” I pleaded on, sobbing wildly.

The cold feel of the corpse against my skin increased the heat of my tears.

Dr. Ediol was too stunned to speak, he just watched in silence.

*
Being raped was surely an awful experience, but each time I remember how I let a soul go to hell, the pain is always unexplainable!

*

…. Looking carefully lest there be any man that falleth short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled…. Hebrews 12;15

….Forgive us as we forgive others…. Matthew 6;12

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