Beyond the shadows

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

3:AM

12 year old Fome lay face kissed to the floor. The commanding tone of the masked robber’s made her body shudder in fear.

“Oga no move for there o!” she heard one of the robber’s say. “If you like your life no just move!!”

“Just tell us where the money is!!” a second voice spoke.

“I’ve told you, I don’t keep money at home” she heard her father saying in a terrified tone.

“Guy, this man no serious” the first voice was saying “make we waste him wife then him__”

“Please! don’t hurt my wife” her father pleaded. “Take my ATM, withdraw whatever amount you want but please spare my family”

Fome felt her mother’s arm reach out and wrap around her protectively.

“Guy! take the ATM go withdraw, I go dey here” The second voice said to the first voice.

“You sure?”

“Guy go! Oga wetin be the code?”

“9543” her father hastily responded.

Fome heard footsteps moving away, the door opened then she heard it bang close and silence fell within the room. She peeped upwards, the robber was standing over them with his eyes focused on her father. He had a black vest on with a scorpion-shaped tattoo on his upper arm. The robber’s gaze shifted and caught her stare, Fome ducked down quickly.

“What are you looking at?!” The robber spat, turning around and walking towards where she lay besides her mother. “What are you looking at little girl?!” he spoke angrily.

Fome could hear her heart beating against her chest, she lay still, sweating profusely in fear.

“Get up!” the robber commanded her.

“Please, leave her alone” her mother pleaded from the floor. Fome rose to her feet and stood before the robber, her head dropped in fear.

“Turn around and walk over there” he pointed to the dining section where the fridge was. Fome obediently turned around and began to trudge towards the corner, then she heard a bang, she swiftly turned about. Her father had hit a stool over the robber’s back, both men were on the floor struggling.

“Run Fome! run!!!” her mother ordered, Fome hesitated. “Run!” her father yelled, holding the robber’s neck tightly between the crook of his elbows. Fome stumbled then darted upstairs.

A gunshot fired in the air causing her feet to screech to a halt. She looked over her shoulders, her father was lying lifeless on the ground with the robber pointing the gun at her mother who was pleading with both hands.

The robber had his back to Fome, she could see that his mask had come off.

“You’ve seen my face, I can’t let you live, I’m sorry” Fome heard him say to her mother. He shot at her, Fome quickly cupped her hand over her mouth to stop her from yelling. The robber looked around as if he was searching for her, she ducked to the floor, crawled further on the ground and lay flat in one position.. She shuddered knowing that it was only a matter of seconds before the robber would make his way upstairs and shoot her too….

Fome’s body twitched and turned on the bed. “No, don’t…..no!” she cried. Her head tossed frantically from side to side. “No…” she pleaded in her sleep.

Dayo awakened and turned to her. “Baby!” he shook her. “Baby!” he shook harder, waking her from her sleep. He took her shaken body into his embrace and she cried against his shoulders.

“It’s okay baby, it’s okay” he comforted her. “Same dream?”

She sniffed, nodding against his shoulder. “I still didn’t see his face, I wish I could just see his face..”

“It’s okay” he rubbed her back. “It’s okay now”.

_____

Fome walked into their spacious master bedroom. She had just finished making breakfast and was ready to take a shower. She could hear the sound of water coming from the bathroom, Dayo had gone in before her. She undressed anyway and pushed open the bathroom door

“Baby!!” Dayo screamed, pushing the door shut against her arm.

“Ah ahn babe!” Fome protested “It’s almost 7.am and I don’t want to be late for work, let’s share na”

“I know babe, I’m sorry” He spoke from behind the door “I will be out soon.”

She grunted and moved away from the door.

Dayo came out of the bathroom to his wife sitting at the edge of the bed with a frown on her face. Dayo was a man with few dislikes, one of which was seeing his wife upset. He pulled the dressing stool to her front and sat on it, dropping the towel around his neck.

“What is it?” he asked her.

She eyed him through the corners of her eyes.

“Fome, c’mon! Talk to me”

“That!” she pointed at the bandage on his arm. ” How long will you hide it?”

Dayo gave a half smile. “Babe, we’ve talked about this”

“I know but I’m your wife. No matter how bad it is, I love you and I won’t mind…I promise.”

He took her hands in his. “I know. Just give me time okay? You know how I feel about it. The accident really severed it, once I have the final surgery to correct it, I would show it to you and the upper part of my teeth too. I’m not just ready to take out the bandage and my fake gum, I’m just ashamed that’s all” he shrugged. “Please understand”

She sighed. He had been a good man to her, no one was perfect and this was just an imperfection she would try to accept. She didn’t want to push the matter any further.

“Okay” she shrugged, feeling sorry that he had to live with such insecurities.

Dayo rose to his feet and pulled her into his arms, pinning his forehead against hers. “I’m sorry babe hmn? Besides, you know you’re sexy, there’s no way you’re going to get in there with me and I won’t want to bend you over or something”

A smile shot across her lips.

“And if I try now” he continued with a smirk on his face “You will say I’m always asking, so let me just avoid the temptation”

She laughed. “Still, we should bath together sometimes.” She shrugged, “It’s romantic”

“Mmn hmn?” He placed a light kiss on her mouth then softly parted her lips with his tongue, she kissed him back. He moved his hands down to her sides and scooped her bum. He began to push her against the bed. “No!” she resisted, pulling away. “I’ll be late for work” she said, ducking out from under him.

“See?!” He threw his hands in the air. “My point exactly”

She laughed, blew him a kiss and walked into the bathroom.

He picked up his phone and texted Fome’s cousin, Monica, he needed to make sure his plan pulled off without a hitch.

_____

Dayo waited for 4 pm. As soon as it was thirty minutes to the hour, he left his office and drove to Fome’s place of work. Her car had been held up at the mechanic for the past days and he had taken it upon himself to drive her back and forth from work. He had insisted she takes his car while he uses Uber but she refused, insisting that it was a waste of money, and because he could not bear to see her using public transportation either, he drove her wherever she wanted to go to.

He pulled up outside her office and called her number, informing her that he was outside. It wasn’t long before Fome walked out, she opened the door to the passengers’ seat and got in.

“Baby, even after the long hours you’ve been at work, you still look ravishing” Dayo said, placing a kiss on her lips.

Fome laughed delightfully. “Thanks babe, good evening” she tugged at the seat belt and wore it over her body

“Good evening darling. So, I need to take you somewhere, but,” he raised a finger in the air. “I need to put these on you” he reached his hand into the back seat and retrieved a face mask.

Fome smiled, pulling her eyebrows together questionably. “Babe?”

“Shhhh” Dayo hushed her. He reached his hands towards her and she turned her back to him, allowing him to wear the mask over her face.

He settled back into his seat with a smirk on his face. He started the engine and drove out of the premises. “Let me play some music for you so that you will not be bored” he said.

Fome laughed, feeling excited over what he was up to. Knowing Dayo, he was a helpless romantic, always coming up with interesting and heart melting surprises. The last time he put a mask over her face, she opened her eyes at the airport and there, he informed her that he had tickets ready for their Dubai trip. She did not pack a bag, she only had her phone with her but he assured her that she had nothing to worry about. True to his words, as soon as they landed in Dubai, he took her shopping and she bought all that she needed and more.

She was a lucky girl and she knew it. She shifted happily in her chair, she knew this was going to be another good surprise.

The car pulled up and Dayo got out and walked around to her side, he opened her door and carefully led her out of the vehicle.

“Ba…by, are we there yet?” Fome asked impatiently.

Dayo laughed, he kept his grip over her wrist and continued to lead her on. “Almost there baby”

They walked further on and Dayo stopped and moved behind her. “Okay now, ready?”

“Yes”

He undid the eye mask off her face. Fome’s eyelids flickered in confusion. “What are we doing in someone’s hair salon?”

Dayo moved to her front. “You’ve always talked about how much you want to compliment your office work with a side hustle and I am aware of the love you have for hairs…”

Fome’s jaw dropped. She raised her hands and cupped them over her mouth. Warm tears began to form at the corner of her eyes.

“Fome, you’ve been a great wife, this would not say thank you enough for the three wonderful years of this marriage, but I hope it does give you an idea of how much I appreciate you. So, here is your hair shop. Monica helped pick out these hairs, I hope they are of good enough quality…”

Fome flung her arms happily over his shoulders. She sobbed, for lack of a better way to express herself.

Dayo held her tightly, they stood in each other’s arms and let time pass by. Fome felt joy in her heart, she wondered what she ever did right to be blessed with a husband like Dayo.

She pulled herself together and raised her head to his face. “Thank you” she said sincerely. “You’ve been so good to me, I don’t know how to thank you enough..”

“Well….” He dragged mischievously “You can put on something really sexy when we get home and give me hot hot all night long”

Fome laughed. “ode” she said, hitting his chest playfully. He laughed too, drawing her back into his embrace. “I love you” he spoke against her hair.

“I love you too” she said.

______

3:AM

Fome lay still on the ground, her hands pressing the back of her head. She could hear her heart beating through her chest and she was sure the robber downstairs could hear it too. She heard footsteps in the distance, they sounded like he was in a rush, then she heard a bang, the robber must have hit his knee against something because he groaned in pain, cursing out angrily. The door creaked open and immediately banged shut. It seemed to her that the robber had left but she was too afraid to get up. She let time pass by then she slowly raised her head, looked around her, the robber was not in sight. She got up and tiptoed down the stairs, frequently glancing to her sides, searching for the robber, but he was nowhere in sight. Then she saw her mother, lying in a pool of her blood, next to her father, She ran towards her, fell upon her body and wailed…

“Mummy! mummy!!!! Oh daddy!” Fome’s body twisted from side to side on the bed. “Mummy wake up!”…….

Dayo shook his wife. “Fome! Fome!!”

She woke up from her dream and held unto Dayo firmly, sobbing softly. It had been fifteen years since that incidence but she still had nightmares about it and they always made her cry. She had stopped dreaming before her marriage, but the nightmares came back and they always made her sad.

“I think it’s time we see a therapist” Dayo suggested, holding her tightly in his arms. “I can’t bear to see you like his any longer”

Fome nodded, she was ready for it to stop too.

She drifted off to sleep in his arms.

______

Fome lay in bed waiting for Dayo to finish from the bathroom so she could go in. She had been trying to get a shower with him to no avail, many times he would even bolt the door. She wondered why he won’t let her go into the shower with him. Feeling up to no good, she got up and walked to the wardrobe, she pulled out a red lingerie and wore it over her curvy figure. She let her auburn hair fall down to her shoulders and wore some black heeled sandals. Praying that he didn’t lock the door tonight, she walked to the bathroom, with a smirk on her oval shaped face, she quietly turned the doorknob, Dayo was humming a song in the shower. The door clicked open and Fome stepped into the tiled bathroom. He was humming away without noticing her presence. Smiling to herself, she tiptoed to his back and wrapped her arms around his middle.

“Jesus!” Dayo jerked in fear, quickly turning off the shower. He stepped away from her and quickly tried to retrieve the bandage he had placed on top of the toilet but it was too late.

Fome froze as she stared at the scorpion-shaped tattoo that sat on her darling husband’s arm. It looked familiar. She squeezed her brows in thought, then it hit her!

Her knees grew weak and her legs began to wobble, she started to hyperventilate. She raised a shaky finger, pointing it at Dayo. “Y…o…u?” she stuttered.

He turned around, fear in his eyes. He knew it was all over. He dropped the bandage to the floor and went on his knees. “Babe, I can explain…”

“Y…o…yo…u?” She couldn’t believe it. “How..can, how can…it..be? It was you… Jesus, Jesus, it was…it was..” She kept her eyes fixed on the tattoo.

“Baby, I swear I didn’t mean to…”

“Jesus Christ!” she screamed and ran out of the bathroom. She grabbed her car keys and stormed out of their bedroom, undoing her shoes loose so she could run faster.

Dayo hurriedly wore a trouser over his naked body with a T-shirt and ran out after her. He caught up with her, tried to stop her from getting into the car but she sunk her teeth deep into his hand and plunged a knee in between his thighs, as Dayo tried to recover from the pain, she ran to her car. Dayo stumbled into his car, started the vehicle and accelerated after her.

She sped through the fairly busy street, she didn’t know where she was going, she just knew she needed to be far away from him. Her almost perfect world had crumbled right before her eyes, the man she called her best friend, her life, had ruined her, long before she even she knew it. She swerved into the high way, making sharp turns through the cars that kept honking her out of their way. Dayo kept close behind her. He dialed her number, she glanced over at her phone and returned her focus to the road, barely seeing where she was going because her sight was clouded with tears. He dialed her number again, “Baby pick up, pick up” he muttered to himself. Fome angrily snatched the phone from the seat and flung it out through the window. She peeped through the rearview mirror, Dayo was closing in on her. She shifted her gaze back to the road, she noticed she was going to bump into a vehicle when she took a quick swerve off the road and ran into an electrical pole, she jammed her forehead unto the steering wheel and passed out.

____

Fome squinted her eyes open, she made to get up but was held back to the bed.

“Doctor!!” Dayo yelled

“Ouch!, my head” Fome exclaimed, pressing a hand to her forehead.

“Doctor!!!” Dayo repeated nervously. “She’s awake!”

The doctor stormed into the room and went to her side, Dayo stepped back, he felt torn – happy that she was alive but scared about what was about to follow.

“Open your eyes” the doctor ordered, shining a little flashlight into her open eye.

“Where am I?” Fome asked.

“You’re in the hospital” he answered, moving the light to the other eye, examining it closely.

“What happened? Why I’m I here”

The Doctor switched off the light. “You don’t remember?”

Dayo sprung forward. “You don’t remember what happened??” His heart was beating in fear.

“No..” Fome answered, straying her eyes between the two men. “I don’t”

“What do you remember?” Both men chorused. The doctor shot Dayo a disapproving frown.

“I’m sorry” he apologized and stepped backward.

“My husband surprised me with a saloon of my own, that’s… that’s all I remember” She tried to get up.

“No, no, no” the doctor held her back to the bed.

“What am I doing in a hospital? Where is my husband? She looked round until her eyes settled on him. Baby, why am I here”

Dayo came forward feeling relieved but skeptical. He perched at the side of her bed and took her hand in his. “Babe, you were involved in an accident, you were driving too fast”

“Accident?”

“You don’t remember?” The doctor inquired

“No. Ouch! my head hurts”

“Okay, that’s enough for today. Try to relax, the nurse will get you something for that headache. Mr Adedayo, can I please speak to you in my office?”

“Sure” he said to the doctor then shifted his gaze back to his wife.”I’ll be back baby, okay?”

Fome nodded. He placed a kiss on her forehead and followed the doctor out of the ward.

The doctor opened the door to his office and Dayo walked in after him.

“Sit down.” The doctor offered as he sat in his own chair. He called the nurse’s section. “Please administer some painkillers to Mrs Adedayo in ward 3” he ordered.

“So, Mr Adedayo, your wife is experiencing what we call retrograde amnesia. It’s a type of memory loss where the person forgets the event’s that occurred before an injury, which in this case would be the accident. ”

Dayo squinted his eyes in confusion. “But she remembered other things”

“Yes, this kind of amnesia targets the most recent memories first. Patients with retrograde amnesia tend to lose memories closer to the traumatic incidence, the type of information that is forgotten can be very specific, like a single event…”

His heart felt relieved, but he did not let it show.

“So, she can’t remember what happened….ever?”

“From her diagnoses, no, I don’t think so. But let’s keep an eye on her. Why was she driving so frantically if I may ask?”

“We got into a really nasty argument at home, some personal issues. Is she going to be okay doctor?”

“Other than the injury to her brain? Yes, she will be fine.”

“Thank you, Doctor”

Dayo rose from the chair and made his way out of the office into the hospital hallway. He walked to his wife’s ward and paused at the door. He heaved a sigh, running his hand worriedly through his hair. He thought about what to say to her when he got back in there. He contemplated on whether to tell her the truth or let it stay forgotten. Life had given him another chance, and he wondered if he should take it or come clean… Sighing in confusion, he pushed the ward door slowly open, Fome smiled up at him “Baby” she said.

He smiled back at her and shut the door behind him.

WRITTEN BY JOY TERUNDU OGBUGOH ESQ.

6 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Sweet and sour…
    Had me sitting up,lying down, standing up. Unpredictable safe landing in the end. On behalf of Dayo… Thank you.

  2. It’s only a matter of time, she will remember again and that’s when it will all boomerang! A ticking time bomb…

  3. OMG such an amazing storyline The suspense is outta the world It’s a good relief for fomes husband hopefully she doesn’t remember but it’s so sad though.