Fading

“Hold me…closer.” Melanie gazed into Sospeter’s eyes as she said those words. She was shivering violently; her face was drenched in sweat. Her clothes drenched in her own blood. Sospeter held her as firmly as he could to his bosom. Sospeter was seated upright against the concrete wall, Melanie’s head against his chest rocking back and forth. Back and forth, snorting and fighting back tears.

Sospeter had rushed to the market about a kilometer away on his bicycle to get some groceries. Melanie had, had one of her usual cravings; she was now getting bigger by the day. “The baby must be really hungry.” She always said when she sent Sospeter out to get something to gratify her maternal craving. She was now 7 months pregnant and looked like a tent, but still surprisingly very graceful as she moved around.

Melanie’s back had only recently began to hurt, she would sit on the cold concrete floor on the days she felt the most discomfort, point her feet out infront of her, and sing a sweet lullaby as she caressed her belly. She would feel the baby move vigorously to the point that her dress would move in the sections its little feet would kick. Melanie would laugh, “I can’t wait to meet you too sweetheart.” She would say caressing and gazing down at her womb.

Sospeter had just returned from an errand, dropping some files at a client’s office. And on his way back, Melanie called to have him bring some bananas and plums. “Sure!” he said so cheerfully. Sospeter adored his wife, and would do anything to ensure that she had the most comfortable pregnancy. It was their first baby. They had 6 names lined up, 3 for each sex, they didn’t want to find out before their baby was born.

Sospeter was just pulling in to his compound when he saw muzzle flashes from the living room window. He heard a commotion, he called out for help. No one responded. Sospeter heard scampering and things falling and clanging to the ground. He didn’t see what direction or how many assailants escaped. He ran as fast as he could around the house with the bat at hand, where had these people escaped from? There was no sign of forced entry, the spent cartridge was on the ground, and his wife was bleeding.

It was her thigh. It was gushing out blood, he grabbed kitchen towels and exerted pressure on the wound, Melanie screamed in agony. Sospeter grabbed pillows from the couch to support her back as she leaned against the wall. He dashed and got the land line, and dialed for help. He was lucky 999 did go through. The sluggish individual on the other end didn’t seem moved by the panic in his voice. 5 minutes later… “We will come! Just wait! We will come.” Click.

And now 15 minutes later, Sospeter was cradling his wife as she bled no sign of help, no neighbours around. Every phone number he called went unanswered. Melanie was slowly slipping out of his hands.

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