STARLESS NIGHTS by Nissi Adeola. Episode 11

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Hi everyone, happy Tuesday 😊. Please read, comment and share with friends, enemies and frienemies. Love y’all. Kisses

EPISODE 11

Loveth watched her siblings talk excitedly on the phone and smiled secretly to herself as she waved the hand fan in her hand, blowing breeze on Mr Peters. Mr Peters was a heavy sweater and the heat had him sweating so much, water beats rolled down his exposed chest, down his stomach and disappearing into his trouser. Sweat beads formed on Loveth’s brow and her hands ached as she fanned Mr Peters but that was the least on her mind.

Loveth watched her siblings with keen interest as they passed the mobile phone around talking to none other than Timothy. Oh how she longed to hear his voice again. It had been so long. It was nothing but three weeks but it sure did seem like three years to her. Tessy and Jerry laughed from time to time and Loveth felt jealous. She should be at the receiving end of her brother’s words and jokes, oh, what she’d give to see her brother again…

Tessy walked up to Loveth suddenly and propped the phone before her. Loveth blinked.
“Timothy wants to talk to you”

Loveth froze, staring at the phone in Tessy’s hand with confusion and fright.

Mr Peters looked up at her. “Loveth? Are you not going to speak with your brother?” Loveth stared for some seconds then shook her head. “You don’t want to talk to him?” Mr Peters looked as shocked as Tessy. Jerry didn’t understand much of what was going on but Loveth was sure. She wasn’t going to speak with her brother. It was the price she was willing to pay to see her brother again. Loveth shook her head stiffly.

“I don’t want to speak with him” she muttered with a sober look.

Mr Peters collected the phone, looking confused and put it against his ear. Loveth couldn’t listen, she dropped the hand fan and walked out of the sitting room. She really wanted to speak with her brother but she knew that beyond hearing his voice, she also wanted to see his face so badly. And weirdly, she had the feeling that starving him of her voice would make him stay alive long enough to not only hear her voice but see her as well. She only hoped that she wouldn’t regret it… she prayed that the time wouldn’t come when she wished she had savoured the sound of his voice while she had the chance.

*****

Teju Pascal sat in her seat, her fingers shook violently where they lay on her laps as she smiled tightly at the men seated across from her. The silence was so deafening and Teju couldn’t begin to imagine just how silent the graveyard would be. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your names” she muttered, breaking the silence with a smile frozen on her face.

“Our names are unimportant” one of the guys dropped stonily. He was the taller of the two guys, the one with the most frightening look and also the one Teju spotted a gun on. “We prefer the anonymousity.” he finished with a small frightening smile.

Teju swallowed, keeping her frozen smile on her face. “Oh… Well, be my guest, sirs, I am Peju, by the way. Would you like me to… call my sister for you?” she said, stretching her hand across the table to pick her big phone.

The eyes of the second guy snapped. “No, don’t. We’d just wait for her. We want to… surprise her” he smiled, revealing smoke coloured teeth.

Teju dropped her phone, making sure that they saw her do that. She relaxed somewhat nonchalantly against the backrest of her chair, then snapped up, with an audible sigh. “Please excuse me guys”,
Teju’s heart raced wildly as she noticed the fastening of their eyes on her, watching her like a hawk. “I have to visit the convenience” she quickly explained, looking as casual as possible, “but do make yourself comfortable, I’ll be back in a bit”

She turned her back on them, walking towards the bathroom with her heart in her mouth. Her hands were shaking beyond control and she carefully kept them in front of her in order not to give herself away.

Finally, she opened the door of the bathroom and entered, closing the door firmly behind her. She leaned against the door, breathing heavily with her eyes closed. Snapping her eyes open, Teju searched the inner part of her skirt and grabbed the small phone she hid before those men walked in. She knew who those men were. She needed no one to tell her before she knew that she was face to face with assassins. What had she ever done to anyone to warrant this?

Teju swallowed as her shivering hands punched in her husband’s number. She dialed and placed the phone agaibst her ear, turning to stare at the door as though she could see the assassins through it. She hopped nervously as she waited.

“Oh Cal” she whispered immediately she heard her husband’s voice on the other end.

“What’s wrong, baby?”

“Cal, you have to come back here with your bodyguards, police, army, anything” she ranted as she started pacing the bathroom nervously.

“Calm down and tell me what’s wrong” her husband snapped.

“There are two men in my office now, Cal. They look like assassins and I saw one of them with a gun, I am so scared Cal”

“Turn the car around” Mr Pascal bellowed, obviously to his driver. “We’ll be there soon, baby, we are not so far from the plaza. Where are you now?”

“In the toilet” she muttered. “I lied to them, they don’t really know I’m me”

“I don’t understand that but stay in the toilet there, lock yourself up there. Don’t get out, do you hear me?”

“I’ve been here for a while. If I stay longer, they’ll suspect a thing, I’ll go back in. Hurry up” she whispered.

“No, Teju don’t-”

Before her husband could argue, she hung up. She made sure the phone was silenced before hiding it perfectly in the folds of her skirt. She knew her husband wouldn’t agree to her going back in there but she had to go back. On one hand, staying back could alert the assassins that she knew something; the could break the bathroom door and kill her anyways or flee out of danger of being caught. She couldn’t allow any. If anything, she needed to know who hated her so much that he wanted her dead.

She pushed down the flush button of the toilet, took a calming breath and exited the toilet.

“Sorry for keeping you waiting” she murmured, smiling awkwardly.

The faces of the men, if anything, looked more ferocious than before. Teju turned white. They couldn’t have found her out, could they? Her stiff legs carried her to her seat just as shorter of the two guys asked her bluntly.

“Are you sure you are the sister? I never knew Mrs Pascal had a sister” he was looking so impatient, angry even.

“I told you already, I am Peju, my sister is Teju. Why do you need her anyways? Whatever you want to discuss with her, you can also discuss with me” Teju tried to convey bold seriousness but she knew she was failing and they were disbelieving her words more by the minute.

Suddenly, the door of the office opened and the men jumped out of their seats. Teju looked up, surprised that her husband arrived do fast but discovered with horror that it was her secretary. Why was she earlier?

“Madam”, the secretary – Nike – stared into the office, Teju tried her best to communicate with her eyes but her secretary was just too unobservant. She looked surprised to see people in the office. “I’m sorry ma, I didn’t know you had guests, someone is here to see you” she muttered, looking uncomfortable. Teju jumped out of her seat as the men looked from Teju’s secretary to Teju, looking furious.

“She is Teju Pascal” one of them barked.

“Yes”

“No”

Teju and Nike chorused. Oh no! I’m dead. Pascal, where are you? Teju yelled internally.

“I told you Mac, I told you she’s lying.” The shorter guy snapped as the other guy brought out his gun. The secretary shrieked and tried to escape. Immediately, Mac fired a shot in her direction, connecting with her upper arm.

Teju’s scream merged with Nike’s as she fell on her face, kneeling before the guys. “Please… please don’t… don’t shoot… don’t kill me, pleeease” she cried guarding her head with her hands.

“Lift your head” Mac snapped and Teju obeyed without a second thought. “Ehen, so you had the guts to lie to us abi?”

“Nooo… Please…”

“You thought you are smart, but you cannot be smarter than death” he hissed through clenched teeth. “I would have given you the chance to say your last prayers before but you don’t have that grace now. Say hi to the devil when you get there” he said smiling devilishly.

“No… Nooooooo…”

He pulled the trigger.

*****

Timothy stared at his parents with a sober look on his face. “Loveth refused to talk to me” he muttered with a frown.

Bola and George were equally as stunned as Tim was. Now that they thought of it, Loveth hadn’t spoken to Tim ever since they left for the hospital. Could something be wrong? Loveth was always weird, she always thought and acted older than her age demanded. “I’m sure she was upset over something. Maybe Tessy or Jerry got her angry.” Bola tried to pacify Tim. She didn’t want anything to upset Tim again, not now.

“We’ll call again in the evening, I’m sure she would talk to you then” George added.

Tim shook his head. “She won’t”

Bola and George frowned. “Why? Do you have a quarrel with her?”

Tim shook his head. He knew what she was doing. He knew Loveth so well and he could tell the reason why she didn’t want to speak with him. Many times, Loveth had stunned him with her actions and this was definitely one of those times. But why on earth was she freaking wise?

*****

It took Teju almost a full minute to realise that she was still breathing. She wasn’t dead! In fact, she couldn’t remember hearing a gun shot. She raised her pale face, staring at the shocked faces of the assassins. Mac pulled the trigger again and yet, nothing happened. His companion brought out his gun, trained it on Teju and pulled the trigger, all to no avail. Their faces registered fright as they stared at Teju. Teju still couldn’t process what was going on.

As the assassins started backtracking, the door busted open and policemen filled the office, guns in hand. “Freeze” they yelled at they stumbled over Nike who had obviously passed out. Teju was too frozen to even move a finger.

Mr Pascal rushed into the room, grabbing Teju off the floor and holding her against him. “Oh, thank God…” he murmured breathing heavily like he had been running a marathon race. “Thank God you are alive”

He pulled away from her slightly. “Are you okay, baby?”

Teju stared blankly at him. Her brain was too frozen to even process an answer. ‘What just happened?’

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STARLESS NIGHTS by Nissi Adeola. Episode 10

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EPISODE 10

No sooner had they arrived at the hospital than the nurses raced out of the hospital, pushing a stretcher hurriedly towards them. The private hospital was the biggest Bola had ever had the misfortune of entering, the good thing though was that the hospital was also the most equipped she had ever entered.

As Bola and George raced after the stretcher carrying Tim into the hospital with Mrs Pascal and Nurse Abigail though, the structure of the hospital was the last thing on their minds. All they could think of was Tim; Tim and only Tim. Bola and George couldn’t erase the memory of the pained lifeless look of their first son as the jeep sped down to Wickins Hospital. It was a picture stamped in place in their memories.

In no time at all, they stretcher was wheeled into the hospital and unlike the general hospital they just left, everyone was up and doing, their concerns and compassion was clearly written on their faces. Bola and George raced at either sides of the stretcher, eyes completely fixed on Tim.

“Don’t leave me my son…” Bola cried with tears on her cheeks. “Don’t leave your mummy… Please Tim” her throat was squeezed tight as she swallowed heavily.

A nurse pulled Bola back gently, sending George a subtle warning with her eyes. “Please stay back, you can’t go in with us. Your son would be fine” she smiled affectionately as the other nurses pushed the bed further into the ICU.

“No! I want to be with my son” Bola snapped. “I am his mother”

George moved around and pulled Bola into his arms forcefully. “Come on, honey”

The nurse smiled gratefully at George and rushed after her fellow nurses. A rushed movement made them turn to see a female doctor as she hung her stethoscope hurriedly around her neck. As she neared, Bola knew without a doubt that she was going to attend to Timothy. Bola left George’s arms and intercepted the doctor immediately. “Please save my son. Do all you can, please doctor” she pleaded.

The doctor hurried past her without as much as a word. Bola buried her head in George’s chest as she wept. She needed the burden on her shoulders to be lightened. It was weighing her down. She couldn’t be crushed now, she had to be strong; she had to be strong for everyone.

George felt Bola’s heartbeat beating in fast succession agaibst his chest and his heart tightened painfully. He closed his eyes briefly. “Tim would be fine, Bola” he whispered.

Bola couldn’t count the number of times she had heard this but weirdly, she believed him. Bola looked up at him, her eyes teary and fearful. George ran his thumb down the line of tear on her cheek. His face was a conflict of emotions; it was then that Bola realised that she was being selfish. George was probably going through more than she was, currently. What she couldn’t understand was where God was in their lives. Why was God allowing them to experience something much misfortunes? She hadn’t heard from Loveth and her siblings for several days and she had no idea what was happening to them. They were stuck with Tim’s health but now they had to face something different; they had to pay up three hundred thousand Naira within a week. Where on earth were they supposed to get that?

Something occurred to her and she pulled slightly away from George, wiping her eyes. “George” she frowned up at her husband. “What was Doctor Felix talking about earlier?” George seemed to freeze. Bola glared at him. “You can’t be keeping things from me, George”

George swallowed. “It is not important, Bola”

Bola squared her shoulders. “It was important enough if it stopped the doctor from attending to Tim” George hesitated. “George”

George took a deep breath. “He said we should… forget about Tim”

Bola froze. “What… what does that mean?” her eyes widened fearfully. “He can’t mean……” she shook her head. “Surely not” her voice came out clipped.

George grabbed Bola by the shoulder. “Forget it, Bola. We only accept God’s report” he said forcefully. “All would be well, Bola”

Bola looked unconvinced. Her eyes had a vacant effect as she blinked away the tears blurring her vision. “George” she mouthed, long fearful. “Is God still with us?”

“Stop it, Bola. We are here, remember? In an hospital that we definitely cannot afford because God brought a help just in time. God hasn’t left us”

“But why are we facing all these? Problems seem to increase instead of decrease. I am tired George… I am so… I’m so tired” she wiped the lone tear that trekked down her cheek.

George pulled her into his arms, holding her so tightly. He kissed the top of her head continuously and held her closely to himself. The scent of her made things seem a little better. He blinked, looking down at Bola’s chest on his head. He took a deep breath. “Maybe we should let him go”

Bola bolted out of George’s hands like he had suddenly caught fire. “Let what go, George?” she looked at her husband incredulously.

George swallowed. “Tim’s suffering is too much, Bola. I know he is holding on for us, he is still alive because we refused to let him go; maybe it is better to release him… maybe-”

“What are you talking about?” Bola’s voice rose with each word. “I am not releasing him! My son is not going anywhere, you hear me?” she yelled at George. She looked around, not seeing anything as George’s words echoed in her head. “Timothy is my son and I would not bury my own son, do you hear me? We’ve come a long way, don’t lose hope on me now, George” her voice shook. “Please don’t”

George took a deep breath. “I’m sorry” the most painful thing ever was watching someone you love suffer and being unable to do anything about it. Watching Tim suffer, watching his family go through the turmoil of saving Timothy was killing him faster than the disease was killing Timothy. He couldn’t bear to see Tim go through anymore pain.

Bola walked back to George and put her hands agaibst his cheek. She could see his struggle, his pain and his fears clearly displayed on his face. He was good at hiding it sometimes but other times – times like this one – it was as clear as day.

“We’ll get through this, darling. We’ll get through this, but we have to stay strong. We are not giving up just yet, okay?”

George nodded and pulled Bola into his arms.

*****

They waited. Seconds turned to minutes, minutes turned into hours. They sat, they paced, they talked with Mrs Pascal, thanking her profusely for her help and explaining Timothy’s situation to her in details, all in the bid to stay sane as they waited for the doctor.

Immediately George sighted the female doctor, he rushed towards her, followed closely by Bola, Mrs Pascal and Nurse Abigail.

George caught sight of the tag on the doctor’s chest almost absently. “Doctor Kemi, how is he? How is Tim?”

“Please tell me my son is okay, doctor” Bola pleaded.

Doctor Kemi smiled gently. “You don’t have to worry, your boy is out of the woods now.” she paused as everyone heaved sighs of relief. “But he would remain in the intensive care unit for some time, I guess you already have his diagnosis”

George and Bola nodded grimly. “With Chemotherapy, I’m positive that he would scale through this, all I want is that you don’t create any negative energy around him. Make sure he is constantly happy, remind him of happy times; this would help him slot and of course, pray. This would help him more than you can imagine.”

Bola sagged against George. “Can we see him?”

“Yes, I want to see Tim, please” she wouldn’t rest until she saw that her son breathing right before her eyes.

“You would see Tim, but in a few minutes” Bola noticed that the doctor had caught Tim’s name. She liked the woman already. There’s light after all. “He needs a few minutes to rest” Doctor Kemi said with a soft smile. She turned her eyes to Mrs Pascal and smiled. “Good to see you again, Teju”

“And you too, Kemi. Let’s talk in your office.” The doctor nodded then glanced at the couple before her. She squeezed Bola’s hand and smiled at George.

“Your son would be fine” she whispered with a smile then walked away with Mrs Pascal.
George left Bola for a while to fill some paperwork. Nurse Abigail stepped forward. “I should be leaving now”

Bola blinked back tears. She had almost forgotten that Nurse Abigail was with them. How could she forget such a sweet person. Completely stunning Abigail, Bola hugged her. It was the only thing Bola could think of. She had no money, nothing to reward Abigail with, Bola only hoped her thanks and prayers were enough. “I can’t thank you enough, Abigail. God knows I can’t thank you enough for all you did for my son”

Abigail blinked. For a second, she almost seemed tongue-tied. “I know what you’re going through” she blinked, looking down briefly. “my daughter, she…” Abigail shook her head. “It was the least I could do”

Bola blinked. She had been so blinded by her own pain, she had forgotten that some people must have experienced exactly what she was experiencing. “I’m so sorry”

Abigail smiled softly. “It’s been two years”

“May God reward you, wipe your tears and make you smile again, Abigail. I don’t have money to give you, but God who sees my heart would repay all your good deeds.”

“Amen” Abigail muttered. “Take care of him”

Bola watched Abigail leave with a heavy heart, full of gratitude. The general hospital wasn’t all bad after all.

*****

Bola and George sat on either sides of the bed, watching Timothy as his eyes slowly opened up. Bola’s mouth shook as she summoned her brightest smile. Damn, she shouldn’t be crying at a time like this.

“Tim, sweetie” she managed as she bent and kissed Tim’s forehead.

“How are you, son?” George asked with a soothing smile on his face.

Tim looked around briefly. “The room is different”

Bola smiled. “Yes, honey, we are in another hospital, a very big hospital”

Instead of Tim looking happy, he looked really sad as he stared from George to Bola with tears in his eyes. “Thank you daddy, thank you mummy… thank you for taking care of me” his voice was weak as he smiled shakily. “I never wanted you to go through this”

Bola smiled tightly. “C’mon, don’t say that, Tim. You didn’t do anything, I’ve told you to stop saying that” she warned subtly.

George cut in and he stood. “I want you to meet someone, Tim”

George rushed out of the room and came back in with Mrs Pascal. “Tim, this is Mrs Pascal” George introduced with a smile. “She bought these for you” George raised a big bag of provisions for Tim to see. “She also brought us to this hospital and paid the bills”

“Say thank you to her, Tim” Bola urged.

“Oh c’mon” Mrs Pascal muttered as she rolled her eyes before smiling down at Tim. “You are such a strong lad, Tim, your mummy has told me so much about you. How do you feel now?”

Tim smiled. “Much better, ma’am” he said. “Thank you so much, ma” his eyes grew slightly intense. “May God reward you in multiple folds”

Mrs Pascal looked taken aback. She hadn’t expected such words from a thirteen years old boy. Simple as the prayer sounded, something about those words seemed surreal. Tim didn’t say much after that before he fell asleep but even as Mrs Pascal left the hospital, Tim’s words echoed after her.

*****

Teju Pascal sat in her office two days after her encounter with Tim. She owned one of the largest malls in the state, thanks to her entrepreneural skills and the influence of her husband who was a politician. Thoughts of Tim remained constant in her mind just as his words replayed in her mind. Teju sighed and stood. Maybe it would be better to visit the family again. Something about Tim drew her in ways she couldn’t explain.

As she stood to leave, she felt a strange unease. ‘Beware… Beware’ a gentle voice repeated. Something wasn’t right. The warning came again and her unease increased. She stood and moved towards the window. Just then, a knock startled her and she stared at the door with fright. The warning came the third time and she swallowed. Why didn’t her secretary tell her she had guests. Something was wrong. Taking a deep breath, she moved back to her seat and sat pensively. She put her small phone inside her dress and put her hands on the table.

“Come in” she muttered.

The door opened and two men walked in, dressed in black. Their appearance wasn’t half as unnerving as their unsmiling faces. They closed the door firmly behind them. Teju took a deep breath and tried to smile. “Yes? Please have your seat, gentlemen” she said.

The two men sat, unsmiling.

“How may I help you?”

The two men exchanged looks, then one of them spoke up. “We’re looking for Mrs Teju Pascal”

Teju smiled shakily. “She’s not in”

The taller of the two men frowned. “But you look like her”

Teju chuckled freely. “I get that a lot. Actually, we are sisters, so, we look alike”

“I see, so where is she?”

Teju blinked, thinking fast. “She had to attend a business meeting with a client so she asked me to fill in for her” she lied. “She should be here in an hour. If you want, I can attend to you or you can wait for her”

The two men shared a look then the first guy put a small scary smile on his face. “We’ll wait”

Teju smiled shakily. “Good. Refreshments?” Before they could answer, Teju stood up, walked to the small office fridge and pulled out a pack of juice with two glasses. Her heart raced as she moved closer to the guys, serving them. As she filled the second cup, her eyes caught sight of the hilt of a gun poking out of the taller guy’s trouser. Her heart nearly stopped right there. Her legs shook as she walked back to the fridge. I don’t want to die, God, not today!

STARLESS NIGHTS by Nissi Adeola. Episode 9

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Happy Tuesday to you. Please read, comment and share. Someone you know should read this! Love you.

Episode 9

George collected his belongings from the police and saw that his phone was flat. He thought of Bola and Tim back at the hospital, they’d been on his mind all night long. How could Fred do this to him – his own cousin. How could he? George couldn’t understand it, couldn’t understand anything. He stepped out of the station just as the landlord approached. “You’ve been released, oh Thank God” he muttered, looking relieved.

George smiled faintly. “Thanks so much for the help, sir, I’m grateful”

“This trouble is too much for you, Pastor. How can your brother do this to you?” he said, shaking his head. He drew closer, bringing down his voice. “Listen Pastor, I want to tell you something, I don’t know how you’ll take it.”

George gave him his undivided attention though he knew he wouldn’t like what he was about to hear.

“Erm… I know one baba” he started, dropping his voice. “He is very good. I’m sure if you take your son there, he’ll be cured. He can even tell you where to find Fred. I think you should try him” he murmured gently. “I know you are a pastor and wouldn’t like this but this is life and death o”

George blinked and smiled bitterly. He had been preaching to Mr Lawal for months, never did he think he would get this sort of counsel from him. Never did he think he would get to this point. “Thank you sir” George said with a smile. “I know you mean well, but I can’t do what you want, sir” he explained. “Beyond being a pastor, I am a child of God and would never do this. God gave us Tim, if He decides to take Him, I won’t question Him, neither would I go to the devil – the giver of death – to seek life. Anything my God wouldn’t do for me is better left undone.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry sir, but even if the world collapses on my shoulders, I won’t forsake my God. I’d rather die in Him than live in the hands of the devil”

Mr Lawal shook his head but in his eyes, George could clearly see the admiration brimming. It was like he had just passed a test. “I respect you.” He said. “Where are you going now?”

George shook his head. Mr Haruna had given him the ultimatum of one week to produce his money if he didn’t want to be rearrested and locked up indefinitely. He hadn’t the slightest idea of what he was going to do. “I don’t know.”

Mr Lawal sighed. “I’m available if you need me for anything”

“Thank you, sir”

*****

Bola was going mad with worry and worse, she couldn’t hide it from Timothy anymore. She paced the length of Tim’s hospital room, feeling like the weight of the world was on her shoulders. What on earth was happening?

“Daddy would be back soon, mummy” Tim said, looking at his mother with worry clearly visible on his face.

Bola swallowed and walked back to the bed. “He’d better, because if not…” I just might go completely insane, she finished to herself. She sighed and sat on the bed. “I’m sorry, Tim. How do you feel now?”

Tim smiled. “I am fine, mum, I am only worried about you and daddy”

Bola looked straight into his eyes “I don’t want you to worry about anything, okay? Your father is fine” she said fiercely. “… he… he probably had to spend the night somewhere.” That didn’t explain why his number wasn’t going through though, but she didn’t have to say that.

Tim smiled. “I’m sure he is fine.” he mouthed. He definitely knew his mum’s fears and didn’t want to add to her worry. Definitely didn’t want to mention that his joints when hurting so badly and that he had this terrible pain in his head that won’t go away.

Bola sighed. “Are you sure you are okay, Tim?” Tim nodded. “I’ll be back in a second, okay? Don’t go anywhere” Bola kissed Tim’s head and headed out of the room. She had to dial George’s number again, though it was probably the fiftieth time already but she would call even a thousand times till she could hear his voice.

Bola bumped into Nurse Abigail is the hallway and straightened herself awkwardly. She was standing with a Nurse Titi. “I’m so sorry”

Nurse Abigail frowned, looking worried. “Is everything okay, Bola? Is Tim alright?” Nurse Abigail had been Bola’s saving grace though she wasn’t always available. It had been easy to get on first name basis with her.

“No. Tim is fine… it’s… my husband. I haven’t seen him since yesterday and it is so unlike him. His phone has been off.

“Oh my God”

Nurse Titi shook her head. “I just pray he hasn’t ran away”

“Titi” Nurse Abigail warned subtly”

“What? It happens all the time. What have we not seen in this hospital? A man once abandoned his wife because she gave birth to triplets and he didn’t have money. Parents abandoned their only child in the hospital when she fell sick and they had no money. It is not a new thing. Especially with the nature of your child’s sickness…”

Bola shook her pale face. “No! George would never do that”

“Of course he wont” Nurse Abigail eyed Nurse Titi before looking back at Bola. “I’m sure something is holding him back”

“Holding him back since yesterday. It’s almost dark, Abigail, I think it is better Bola is prepared for anything” Nurse Titi said.

Bola swallowed. “Please excuse me.” She didn’t think she could stomach any more of what the nurse was saying. George would never leave her alone at a time like this. He wouldn’t!

“No wait” Nurse Abigail muttered as she made to leave. “Why don’t you try him on my phone?” she brought out her phone and stretched it forward.

Bola nodded gratefully and collected the phone.

“Bola”

Bola’s head snapped up and she nearly fainted with relief. “George” she shrieked as she rushed towards George, collapsing into his open arms. George held her so close but Bola couldn’t get close enough. “Oh George… I’ve been worried sick” she muttered as tears of relief flooded her eyes.

“I can imagine” George whispered into her hair.

“No, you can’t.” She pulled her head back. “Where were you, George? What happened? I’ve called your number almost a million times” she lamented as she stared into his eyes. She saw pain in his eyes masked with the small smile he put on his face.

“I’m sorry I caused you so much worry” he muttered. He seemed to be struggling with himself as his stroked her cheek slightly with his thumb.

“But something’s wrong, isn’t it?” Bola pulled back slightly with a frown on her face. “You look like you so exhausted, George, what’s going on? Are my children okay? ”

“Yes! It’s not them” George hesitated. “Bola, I don’t want you worrying about this”

Now, Bola looked angry. “What are you saying? I don’t want you giving me that because that’ll only get me worked up. You are telling me what’s going on whether you like it or not.” from the tone of her voice, George knew he had no other option, and frankly, he couldn’t hide something so big from her. George pulled Bola to a corner, affording them a bit of privacy and she trained her eyes on him, waiting for him to drop the bombshell.

George took a deep breath, holding Bola’s hand. “Remember I told you of Mr Haruna, the client I expected to pay for an apartment?”

Bola nodded. “Of course, I remember”

“Well… he paid for the apartment”

Bola stared at him for a prolonged moment, then blinked. “But…?”

George swallowed. “Fred disappeared with the money”

“What?” Bola busted out.

“Mr Haruna is all bent on getting back his three hundred thousand Naira, I was held down at the police station till this morning. Since I got out, I have practically trekked the whole of Lagos but Fred is nowhere to be found. His wife said he hasn’t been home for four days now.”

Bola felt her legs go weak beneath her. “Oh God”

*****

“How can be do this to us? Where are we supposed to get that sort of money?” Bola yelled at she paced in front of George.

“Calm down, Bola”

“I can’t calm down, George. If we had even a tenth of that money, Tim wouldn’t even be in this hospital to start with”

George took a deep breath. “I’ll ask my family for help.”

“Your family? George, we have been in this hospital for three weeks, none of them even has the decency to check up on us, do you think they’ll be of any help?”

George sighed, taking Bola by the shoulder. “We’ve got to try. I have searched all over for Fred and I’ll keep searching. I don’t want you getting all worked up over this. I’ll find a way”

“But how?” Bola looked up at George with panic. “You don’t have any money I don’t know about, do you?” she asked rhetorically. “We don’t even have money for Tim’s treatment here in a government hospital. We have borrowed so much already. We can’t deal with this now.” Water ran down her eyes. “I don’t have the strength for this anymore”

George pulled Bola into his arms. “Shhhhh… It’ll be fine. We’ll get through this. I promise” he whispered as he held her close.

“I’m losing faith, George. I don’t think I can keep up with this” Bola’s perched voice rasped.

George’s heart beat fast in his chest. Her immense faith had been keeping him up all this while, she couldn’t afford to lose faith now. “Don’t say that. Everything would be fine, dear, we’ll get through this”

Bola nodded with her head on his chest. “You should see Tim”

Running feet separated them before George could answer. They looked up just as Nurse Titi drew closer. “It’s your son” she muttered breathlessly.

“Tim” Bola gasped, running towards the hospital room with George. Oh God, not another crisis, this was just too much for her to handle. George held on to Bola’s hand as they ran. Just as they got to the door, Nurse Abigail came out and stopped them from entering.

“What? I want to see my son now” Bola yelled at her, pushing around to get past her.

“No, you can’t go in, I took two nurses to stabilize him.”

“Oh God”

“Where is the doctor?” George asked anxiously.

“That’s the thing” Nurse Abigail muttered. “He has refused to attend to him”

“What?” Bola yelled just as George stormed down the hall.

“He is in his office” Nurse Abigail yelled.

“Please, my son” Bola pleaded just as she turned to follow George. The doctor would have to do what she says or be ready to kill her.

“I’ll do all I can” Nurse Abigail promised, going back inside as Bola ran towards the doctor’s office.

George arrived at the doctor’s office and pushed the door open without the thought of even knocking. The door bounced against the wall and the doctor’s head snapped to him. There was a really elegant woman seated just opposite him but George didn’t even spare her a glance.

“Doctor Felix. Please, I beg you in God’s name, please attend to my son. He is between like and death. Please” George laid down his pride.

Doctor Felix glared at him just as Bola stormed in. “I told you before, didn’t I? I said I won’t attend to him if there’s another crisis.”

“What’s he talking about?” Bola asked George, then shook her head. “I don’t even care. Doctor, it is either you treat my son or be prepared to kill me here because I wouldn’t watch my son die, you hear me? I won’t watch him die” Bola yelled at tears ran down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry madam, but I can’t do anything for you people again. Your son’s case is a hopeless one”

“Good God, doctor, how can you say something so cruel” the elegant woman snapped, looking furious.

“It is the truth, Mrs Pascal, their son is a cancer patient”

George scratched his head furiously as he paced. He looked like he could fly into a million pieces. Bola knelt down as she wept. “Please doctor… Please… I can’t lose my son… I just can’t”

Doctor Felix ignored her.

Mrs Pascal stared at the doctor for some seconds, looking bewildered. It was like she couldn’t believe he was so inhuman. She stood abruptly. “Where’s your son”

“He is in his room, some nurses are with him” George muttered, glaring at the doctor with fisted hands. His helplessness was the most frustrating part. Bola blinked, noticing the elegant woman for the first time.

“Come with me, we are taking him to Wickins Hospital.” She said, moving towards the door instantly.

Bola blinked. She had heard so much about that hospital. “That… That’s a very expensive hospital” she gasped out.

“Don’t worry about it. Come on, we don’t have time to waste”

“Thank you, ma” George muttered wholeheartedly as they rushed back to Tim’s room. He knew from the looks that the woman was older in age, but at the moment, he would even call a child anything if it would help his son.

They got to the room and they busted the door open. Nurse Abigail looked up with a pained look as Bola and George crowded the bed, finding Timothy unconscious. “He is in coma. He needs urgent attention now, if not, I fear for the worst” she explained then looked up. Her face registered surprise as she saw Mrs Pascal. “Mrs Pascal, it’s been so long since we saw you” Mrs Pascal often came to the hospital to help some of the patients, but she hadn’t visited in a while.

Mrs Pascal didn’t have time to explain anything as she stared at the form on the bed with worry and compassion engulfing her face. “I am taking him to Wickins. Can you help move him to my car?”

Nurse Abigail nodded instantly, calling the other nurses instantly. Within minutes, they were wheeling Timothy out of the General hospital towards the waiting Jeep. A dark guy which George knew must be a driver opened the door instantly as they approached. Together, they put Tim inside the car and got in as the driver got behind the wheels. Nurse Abigail insisted on going with them to keep Tim stable if need be.

The doors slammed shut and the the jeep sped out away. Bola looked back at the fading building of the hospital. So much had happened there. Never again did she want to step her feet in that hospital. Never again!

Starless Nights