Story. Serials

DARK DAYS -1

A whiff of fresh air rustled the pages of the magazine on his laps, he quickly held it down.

He relaxed on the recliner and looked into the swimming pool before him, it reflected the sun rays. He lifted up his eyes to meet the horizon.

The white-streaked blue colour of the sky faded into the fervent gold glow of the setting sun. On another instance he would’ve savored the beauty of it, but today it didn’t appeal much to him. He wasΒ missing his wife, even though he’d just spoken with her on the phone, he still wanted to hear her voice.

When he was chosen among those who’d be going to Abuja to represent the company in the annual workshop, he had mixed feelings; he was glad for the opportunity but he didn’t want to leave his wife alone, not in her state. He told her he’d be turning it down but she persuaded and encouraged him to go and she succeeded in dissuading him from staying back.

The fact that he was going to miss Lauretta wasn’t the only reason he wanted to stay back in Lagos, fear was the other. He was afraid of the recurring evil. Even now he couldn’t say if it was fear that made him want to hear her voice or nostalgia.

The sharp twinges in his chest cut short his introspection, fear gripping him yet harder. As eerie as the feeling was it was deja vu for him.

***

The first time he had felt that way was about five months into their marriage.

He was in busy the office that fateful Tuesday afternoon when the weird wind of sorrow blew strongly against him, accompanied with the twitches in his chest. Being the first time he experienced such he was really perturbed; he immediately stopped what he was doing and started praying. He prayed hard but the feeling remained unshaken.

When he got home that evening his wife welcomed him warmly. He couldn’t tell her what was going on with him, not because he wanted to hide it but because he himself didn’t understand it.

They were having dinner, the TV droning from the parlour when Lauretta clattered her cutlery into her plate.

“Are you okay?” Felix asked glancing up at her.

She shook her head as she took in her lower lip, pain was written all over her face. She screamed and Felix rushed to her.

“What exactly is going on? talk to me…” his voice was charged with tension.

“Sharp jolts of pain from my lo-” She was saying before a loud scream cut her words off.

“From my lower abdomen…. Hospital… Felix hospital.. Felix rush me to the hospital!” She yelped tearfully.

He was trying to get her into the vehicle when blood started coursing down her thighs.

That was her first miscarriage!

***

The last time he had the premonition was about 2 AM on a cold Saturday morning. The twitching in his chest was what woke him with a start and the aura of sorrow followed as he panted heavily.

He trimmed on the lamp on his bedside table and picked up his bible from the bureau. He left the room for the study where he prayed fervently.

Like always his prayer did nothing to the feeling; when he was done he went back to the room.

“Honey, honey.” He called as he tapped his sleeping wife.

“What is it?” She drawled groggily.

“Lauretta, I’m having the premonition!” He blurted.

She immediately sat up as all her sleepiness were washed off in dread.

After the third miscarriage, Felix had told his wife all about the evil harbinger he felt every time she miscarried. They in turn narrated their ordeals to their pastor and his wife.

All the hospitals and clinics they visited couldn’t place a finger on the cause of the reccuring first trimester miscarriages and it was only getting frustrating.

“Honey, let’s pray.” Lauretta told her husband. They did pray, but the Felix’s feeling didn’t dwindle a bit!

Later that day, Felix laid on the bed and Lauretta sat before the dressing mirror, busy with the usual beauty rituals.

“Dear, are we still going to Tuara’s wedding?” Felix asked.

“Why not if not?” She turned from the mirror to him.

“Er- If the th-” He was saying before Lauretta placed her index finger on his lips.

“Ssh! We’ve prayed, haven’t we?” Lauretta asked looking straight into his eyes.

It was at the tip of his tongue to say ‘didn’t we pray all the other times?’ But he stomached it with a gulp of spittle.

“Let’s have faith in God.” Lauretta said nodding.

As Felix drove to the venue he glanced at his wife intermittently and all he saw was the same- her soothing, reassuring smile. Her smile had an uncanny way of sending a wave of peace through is mind, no matter how troubled it was.

He drove with one hand on the steering wheel and with the other he held Lauretta’s hand, if he had to change the gear he would take his hand of the steering and quickly do so.

Suddenly, her grip tightened as she squeezed his hand with a sense of urgency.

He turned sharply to her; she was still and pale, he couldn’t phantom the look in her widened eyes.

“Lauretta are you okay?” He quizzed distractedly.

He quickly parked the car by the curb. When he looked at her again the blank look in her eyes had been replaced with tears, pain and fear.

“Oh, Holy spirit.” He mumbled, snapping his fingers, sweat beads rolling down his temples.

Lauretta let out a bloodcurdling shriek as she grabbed the dashboard, her shoulders squared.

Felix was confused. When he looked down to her legs, he saw the foetus descend in clumps of red!

That was the fifth miscarriage!

When they got home that evening, Lauretta wailed like a young widow. Never had Felix seen his strong wife so distraught. He was in deep pains too, he didn’t know what to say or do. She sprawled herself on the ground in her blood sullied attire.

It was sad that they’d lost another baby, but worse than that was the uncertainty that plagued them. The uncertainty that is summarised in a question- would this ever end?

Lord you seem so far away,
A million miles from what it seems today.
Even though I haven’t lost my faith,
I must confess right now,
That it’s hard for me to pray,

She sang tearfully. Every line of the song made fresh sense to Felix, each word describing exactly the state of his mind.

And I don’t know what to say,
I don’t know where to start,
But as you give the grace;
With all that’s in my heart-

She stopped and let tears take over, Felix knew how hard it was to say the words ‘I will sing’ in a moment like that.

I will sing,
I will praise,
Even in my darkest night
Through the sorrow and the pain,
I will sing-

Felix sang in a choked baritone voice.

Lauretta glanced up at him, her eyes as red as palm oil and she crawled to where he was sitting on the bed. She held his feet and Felix held her close, her vibrating body causing his to resonate.

They lifted up their voice and wept.

They prayed together that night and for the first time, God spoke concerning the matter.


 

Welcome aboard.

The next episode comes up on Wednesday.

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