FIRE & ROCKS III
She finished the cold meal silently and dropped the plate, now that she was finished eating she couldn’t evade the questions in his eyes. She decided to ask “What brought you?”
“My mom is dying”. He said straight up. She saw the desperation now as he wasted no time finding words.
“They say it’s the sickness, the foreign people call AIDS”. She didn’t look or feign surprise much to his satisfaction.
“the others couldn’t do anything for her, but I know you can help her kate….
She froze as realization dawned on her, this was what was he and or the others had expected from the three doctors that had been sent there.
Their failure to return home was not much of a mystery; what had happened to them or why, was what no one dared to find out. It was no wonder they sent doctors whose offenses were grave but had been too good to be prosecuted in public were sent here.
After suffering a 3 year suspense In prison for alleged murder, she was bailed but had known that no licensed hospital would employ her being posted to a hospital(at all) was the least favor she deserved. Now she knows better though, this would serve as a rather subtle way to execute her and that was just what they’ve done.
Not for once has she regretted her crime, the only thing she regretted was not taking her own life when she could which was night after shooting the rapist in the head. Now was no time to think suicide; she’s found purpose. She’s dedicated herself to stand and fight for victims of violence especially rape. As far as she was concerned, it was the only good thing that came out from her ordeal as a rape victim and throughout the 3 years she spent in prison.
“So what about the others? The doctors that were sent here, what happened to them?” she asked folding her hands and raising her chins up.
“You don’t want to know” he replied, matter of factly”.
She cast a stony look at him, not a bit frightened or threatened, just plain pity. She realized it was not ignorance on his path but rather fear, a most deadly one. She recognized it. Like him, she was once traumatized with guilt, in his case, it was topped with a crazy father and a dying mother. She felt her stomach knot and her eyes moisten she didn’t know why but she discarded the thought. Emotion is the last thing that should be on her mind right now. In a flash, an idea popped into her head. Why hadn’t she thought of this sooner? There was no need arguing with him, she thought.
“I have a cure for your mom, but first, you must promise me of my release” she said batting her eyelids afraid the desperation in her voice would betray her plan.
“You are not held captive here, miss…”
“I want to go back home. To my people” she stated firmly.
“I’ll give you the treatment you ask…”
“The cure” he cut in sharply
“It has no cure” she nodded sideways then added when she saw his hand curl into a fist” but my treatment will keep her alive, she won’t die” she lied.
“Done. You have my word, you’ll be allowed to go, but if anything happens to her” he pointed shaky fingers at her and she got the message.
He left but her eyes were opened till dawn.
She put away the medicine and smiled broadly at the skinny woman lying on the mat. “You’ll be well soon ma” she planted a kiss on her forehead and stood to leave. The woman gripped her hand firmly and muttered under shaky breath.
“Don’t leave me to die”
“Shhh..hhh” she placed neatly kept fingers on her lips, signaling her to keep quiet. “You need to rest ma” then she placed the covers carefully above her and left.
She slinged her backpack on her back as she bade them all farewell. Their eyes lingered on her hopeful that she would change her mind and decide to stay. But none of such happened. Though, as hard as she tried she couldn’t wave off the pang of guilt she felt. They were many who were sick and who looked up to her like she was some mini god. She rolled her eyes and brushed it off, reminding herself that she was also needed back, at least rape victims who needed vengeance or healing. She didn’t miss the look of spite oozing off the Prince’s face as opposed to that of contentment on his fathers. Without further delay, she left, holding her head high and not looking back till she was far outside the walls of the city.
The sun outside was at its peak now and it shone and reflected through the blinds, making the small office rather too bright. He walked in and met her peering into her laptop. “Please take a seat” she offered without looking up. When she lifted her gaze towards him, the shock in her eyes was visible.
“Hello Miss Kate” he said his eyes falling in tandem on her fingernails, satisfied , “long time no see” he continued.
“How did you find me?” was her response as she sat upright and somewhat frigid on her seat.
“Never one for small talk right?’ it came out more like a statement than a question. Interesting stuff you have going on here by the way; tracking and reporting rapists, comforting the victims, that suits you. I’m proud of you”. He smiled, a little more than she’s ever seen him do.
“You are yet to explain your visit” she stated trying not to look confused.
“My mom is dead”.
“oh my God!”. She clasped her hands over her mouth.
“Oh c’mon don’t give me that look, of course you knew she would not make it. She died exactly three days after you left”.
“It was my fault”. She conceded. “I should have told you she wasn’t going to make it”.
“It’s your fault, but that’s not why I came”. He leaned closer and stretched his hand for a handshake. “First of all, my name is Henry, so enough with the ‘Prince’ sounds quite obsolete you know” he said with a grimace. He liked the way she looked at him completely lost.
“Nice name, so what brings you here, Henry?” she implored.
“We had an agreement Kate, you didn’t hold your end of the bargain, so you owe me”. He paused allowing her some time to keep looking lost. Then he laughed. “What do you say about becoming my queen?”. He arched a brow and in that moment they exchanged knowing glances.
“……uhmmmm ‘a Queen’, just sounds quite obsolete”.
And they both laughed.