May 27, 2013.1:00am
It was an odd sight. The creature scampered across the silent road like a rat transporting its bounty. Without further investigation one would have regarded it as a scepter, the legend of bedtime stories and tales by moonlight but it was human and female. She was small and frail and held in her hands two objects wrapped up in bundles. She hurried down the almost lonely road, and after every few steps the figure looked back to see if anyone was following. There was no indication that anyone was chasing her yet she appeared to be running from an imaginary opponent.
True to the fear etched on her furrowed brows, the lady who couldn’t have been more than twenty years old kept to the darker, less illuminated parts of the streets, because, despite the time she had heard stories about this environment. There were still a few people lurking around and she really didn’t want anyone to see her. She winced as she walked past a filling station. It wasn’t only fear and horror that she had on as makeup, one could see her pain. Walking fast was hard for her, she could still feel the pain, the pain in the lower half of her body, but this was something she had to do and get over with, so she could get back to her normal life. She missed her normal life and she knew for certain that her normal life missed her. All she needed to do was discard this two telltale signs of her mistake.
She was heading for the largest Refuse dump in the area, where she would deposit the bundles she was carrying and be on her way like one would deposit cash in a bank,then she would be free. She missed the parties and nights out with her girlfriends. She missed particularly Sylvester and his charming ways. She even missed Tunji but wasn’t it him that had put her in this position. The smell of rotten eggs arrested her attention and she was brought back to reality. Nights of continuous rain had accentuated the horrid smell of the pile of filth, she attempted to cover her nose but it was too late. She was overwhelmed but sadly she had no choice.
She was about to place the two mysterious items in an empty carton of Indomie but then something else caught her eye. ATruck. She had seen them trooping into the city in the weeks after the governor had announced his plans to construct three more hospitals. She felt a surge of guilt, she had to be merciful even in her wickedness. The driver had probably parked it by the side of the road so he could rest overnight. She hoped he hadn’t decided to rest inside the truck. Well, even if he had decided to, she wouldn’t let that disturb the quick plan that had just formed in her head. She took a quick glance around and when she was satisfied that nobody was watching her, placed the first bundle directly behind the last tire on the left side of the truck, and the second bundle behind the last tire on the right side of the truck. Just then lightening fingered across the sky followed by the clash of thunder almost as though the heavens were uttering their disgust at her. She stared at the sky sheepishly, tears rolling down her eyes and whispered “ God, Please forgive me” then she disappeared into the darkness.
The clouds had emptied their content over the city. Everyone was hard at work, the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps even on public holidays. Osita cursed his luck, despite fleeing the farmlands of Benin as a child he had only managed to obtain a job as a truck driver in the so called “Center of Excellence.” This morning he certainly wasn’t feeling excellent. Olamide’s ‘Durosoke’ blazed from the barbing salon opposite the filling station. Osita wasn’t looking forward to another long, hard day of driving. He always wished he had been given the opportunity to get a proper education, maybe he would have been able to make something of his life. Being a truck driver wasn’t what he planned for himself, but a truck driver he was and duty called. Last night, he had decided to give himself a treat and so instead of sleeping in his truck as he usually did, he had spent the night in a local motel. On getting to where he parked the truck, he decided to check the tires to see if any one needed to be changed or pumped with air. He was satisfied with the tires on the left side and was about to move to the right side when he noticed a black polythene nylon neatly placed behind the last tire, like the person who placed it there had wanted the truck to drive over whatever was inside the bag. He had been involved in many bar discussions to understand the delicate security issues facing the nation. Placing his hands gingerly on each side of the bag, he peeked in. What he saw shocked him to the bones. Somebody, a fellow human being had left a new born baby in there to die, to be crushed to death by the huge, merciless tires of his truck. Osita quickly pulled out the baby, and to his surprise the baby was still breathing. He heaved a sigh of relief. The baby was wrapped in a shawl, which was probably the reason why it hadn’t died of cold. He was suddenly confused. What exactly was he going to do with a new born baby? Maybe he should take it to a Police station? Or an Orphanage?Or perhaps a hospital?Remembering that he was in the process of checking his tires before he found the baby, he moved to the right side of the truck, and then he saw the second bag. Osita hoped it was the baby’s placenta or a change of clothes, which wouldn’t have made sense, seeing as the person who left the baby here, had obviously wanted the baby to die. He peeped inside as he had the first time, and then screamed “ Okpotoromhe! They are twins. ”
Sharon was late. She should have been at the orphanage by 6:30am, but because today was the monthly cleaning day for the whole town, popularly referred to as environmental, she hadn’t been able to get any public form of transportation and so she had had to trek. Sharon really didn’t mind trekking, as long as she didn’t get to disappoint the lovely children at the Lighthouse Orphanage and she even needed some exercise. Today was Children’s Day and the Orphanage volunteers had planned a huge children’s day celebration party for the children. She had been a volunteer for about two years, and had never seen the children so excited about anything before. Even though it had been for a short while, preparations for the party had succeeded in taking their minds off what it meant to be orphans, and so she really wanted them to have as much fun as they could have. Sharon was about two major streets away from the orphanage, when she heard a loud, masculine scream. She ran in the general direction that the scream had come from and was greeted with an odd sight. It was a scruffy-looking man carrying a bundle, which on closer inspection turned out to be a baby and he was looking into a black polythene bag on the floor.
“Oga, what is it? I heard you screaming.”
“Hmmn… My sister, wonders shall never end oh. Na me get this trailer wey you see for here. Na so I say make I check all my tires o, I come see this black nylon behind my back tire. I come say make I check the thing wey dey inside, my sister, na new born Pikin! Pikin wey people dey find. This world wicked .Oya please check the second nylon”
Sharon, not sure she was eager to find out the contents of the second bag, inched her way slowly towards it and looked inside. It was another baby. Tears welled up in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. How could a mother who had carried these children for nine months leave them to die so cruelly? She shuddered at the thought of what would have happened if this truck driver hadn’t decided to check his tires.
Sharon gently brought out the second baby from the polythene hoping and praying that it was alive too. The baby’s eyes were closed, but it had a pulse, a weak pulse. These children needed to be rushed to the nearest hospital for a thorough check-up.
“Oga, what’s your name?”
“We have to take these babies to the hospital as soon as possible. I also know of an orphanage that’ll welcome them.”
Osita, glad that someone else had decided to take up the burden of taking care of the children gladly agreed to her plan.
“Mr Osita, I need you to do me a favour, you’ll drive us to the hospital. It’s not far from here and is the same hospital that the orphanage makes use of.”
“Okay, madam. Just direct me to the hospital”
Sharon quickly rummaged through her bag for her phone. She had to make a call to the founder of the Lighthouse Orphanage and mother to all of the children in the house, Mummy Light, as she was fondly called. There had never been a set of twin orphans in the house before, and Sharon was sure everyone was going to be excited about it. Today’s party was going to be a double celebration
Thanks for reading,