“Your spine is strained.” they had explained, “It is bent. It’s a miracle you survived this process. It won’t hold the weight of carrying another child to full term. By all means, do not get pregnant again. You would be putting both your life and that of the child at risk.”
Her mother had listened and had her fallopian tubes tied – eggs would no longer travel successfully to the womb.
Her father, a corpulent drunken taxi driver, having desired to sire a son for so long, was full of ire with the turn of events.
His wife, in the stead of a son, had given him a daughter and then could no longer conceive.
Enraged still by his inability to get his mistress pregnant, he beat her, his wife, every day.
This he did for years.
Some, Samantha witnessed.
Others, Samantha saw evidence of.
Sometimes a black eye.
Sometimes a missing tooth.
One night when Samantha was fourteen, while the neighborhood slept, there was an intense verbal dispute.
“You are a witch, after all those abortions you had, why won’t you have a falling waist!”
“Prostitute. You are the cause of all the problems in my life. I regret marrying you.”
“Is she not your child?!”
“You will die before you kill me in this house.”
Then a terrific fight ensued.
Her father punched her mother. Maybe a little harder than he used to, because she hit the ground, and never got up.
Samantha had watched it all happen from behind the kitchen door, and when her father staggered to his bedroom, she lay next to her mother’s lifeless body and wept.
As the tears streamed down her face, she got drenched in guilt.
Their fight had begun after her birth. Her mother had suffered every day for having her.
In all the years she had witnessed the brutality her father meted out on her mother, she had done nothing to stop him.
The more she thought, the deeper she drowned in guilt till she stood up, and like a robot with a weak battery, walked back into the kitchen.
She grasped a large knife from a basket and moved to the bedroom where her father lay in a pool of his own vomit.
The stench of cheap liquor filled the room.
She stabbed him.
Once. Twice. Three times.
The pain made him sober up immediately, and he cried out.
Samantha stabbed him again. And again. In his neck, back, and stomach, and soon, he made no sound.
She walked slowly out of the room, out of the house, out of the city, out of the region, to a place unknown.
Fifteen years later, Samantha is an auxiliary nurse at a private hospital.
She has moved on. Or so she thought.
That night, her shift would end by 10 O’clock.
At a few minutes past nine, she was sitting at the reception in her pristine white uniform, when a woman was wheeled in on a stretcher.
She was unconscious. She had blood pooled beneath the skin around her eyes and a bloody nose.
Behind the stretcher, a man with a baby in his arms was pacing back and forth.
“Please help my wife!!” he was shouting, as the stretcher was being wheeled into the emergency ward.
“Madam happened to you?” the doctor had asked the woman after they had worked hard to stabilize her condition.
“Uhm, doctor, I.. I… I hit my face on the wardrobe door.” she lied.
The doctor stood staring at her before walking out of the room.
All the while, Nurse Samantha was standing with a tray of prescriptions by the corner. When she saw the doctor leave, she sat next to the woman on the bed.
“Madam, what did you say happened?” she asked.
“ehh, my sister, I had climbed to pick something from the top wardrobe, the table I stood on suddenly shook and I came down crumbling. I hit my face on the tiled floor and this is the result.”
“Come-on, shut up right there!” Samantha barked at her.
“One day, he is going to kill you. You are here lying to cover up this man yet it’s clear he beat you like this evening when you’re still breastfeeding. How old is your baby now?”
“Three months.” the woman replied, staring at some invisible particle in her hands.
“JESUS! Your baby is just 3 months old and this man is beating you like this? Why did he beat you? What did you do?”
In between sobs, the woman told Samantha how her husband wanted a son. How she had given birth to two daughters before her last baby. How he had left home for two weeks after she had given birth. How that night, all she had done to receive the pummelling, was say, “What comes out of me is the product of what you put in there. If you had put a boy in there, I would give you a son?”
It was past 10 O’clock.
Samantha watched the man rock the baby beside the woman’s bed. Something about him reminded her of someone she had done everything to keep away from her mind.
Why was she feeling guilty?
Why did she feel responsible for this woman?
“You are still waiting here?” She heard the woman ask her husband. “Mosquitoes are too many. It would be better if you just went home and come back tomorrow, I’ll be fine.”
The man just nodded. He had this misleading sober look. One Samantha recognized very well.
She watched him.
And as one whose body was being controlled by some sort of unclean spirits, she walked to a table and picked a surgical blade firmly clasped to a handle about six inches long.
And watched him.
He handed the baby girl to her mother, and walked out of the room, towards the counter.
Hypnotically, Samantha moved up behind him.
Her hand only needed to rise and fall twice for him to writhe to the floor and start choking on his own blood.
Her uniform now beautifully patterned with red dots like the American flag, Samantha walked slowly out of the hospital, out of the city, out of the region, to a distant place unknown.
A ticking time bomb!
Yet a raging monster!
A ravaging beast created by the monstrosity of a man she knew as a father, a man who didn’t want her!