From the work in progress, Love Birds
by Omoruyi Uwuigiaren
Jimmy was in the hospital for many days while I mourned the death of Dalmos quietly. His body had been recovered in the wreckage and buried. Losing him was painful. It was like I had lost a vital part of me.
Jimmy and I did not talk for days while I waited at his bed side for his recovery but he knew I had spent some days at the hospital with him. His refusal to talk to me, only suggested that he was still angry with me and I understood his pains. I have counted my losses and was ready to move on. I just wanted him to recover before I exit his life altogether. I thought it would be too bad for me to abandon him midway into the crisis. It wasn’t a good way to show appreciation. He had been so nice to me. The only way I could pay back is to wait and help him get back on his feet. Or at most, wait until he is discharged from the hospital.
His attitude did not come as a surprise to me. I would do the same if I was in his shoes. It hurts if someone you love breaks your heart. Once he is back on his feet, I will apologize. It is left for him to accept my apology or not. If he chooses not to, I will not hold any grudge against him because he has done more than enough for me.
One of the doctors came in to check him. After the long random exercise, he was impressed with Jimmy’s recovery. “You are good sir,” the doctor noted.
“Thank you,” Jimmy smiled.
“You are good to go.”
“When will I be discharged?” Jimmy asked, making a face.
“Hopefully, tomorrow. If your body continues to progress at the rate at which it is going now, the hospital will have no need of you here. You should be on your way home by this time tomorrow,” assured the doctor.
“That will be fine,” Jimmy muttered. “Thank you.”
The doctor turned to me, his face broke into a gap toothed smile, he said, “Madam, I commend you for hanging around for this long. It takes love to do so. You are truly loyal to your man. Keep it. Up!”
“Thank you, doctor,” I responded.
“I wish you all the best.” He gathered his files and walked out of the room.
As soon as he was gone, I stared at Jimmy. He adjusted his huge frame on the bed. He cleared his throat and said quietly, “Have you started seeing him too? You know you shouldn’t be here.”
My heart raced. My eyes were flooded with tears. I went near the bed and fell on my knees. “Jimmy, please forgive me,” I held his hand and pleaded remorsefully. I pulled his hand close to my chest and wept silently. “Please, forgive me! I failed you! I know what I did was wrong!”
Jimmy slowly removed his hand and turned the other way. He faced the wall and said, “I know why you cheated on me. I am a terrible creature but I will overcome! I will beat this shit! I promise you!”
“Yes,” I nodded a million times. “I believe you will overcome…”
“If you believe, why did you have sex with Dalmos in my house?”
Frozen. When I finally tried to talk, my voice quivered, “Er…em…”
“I caught you red-handed. You have no respect for me.”
“No, Jimmy! I respect you!”
“No, you don’t. The night that he saved me was the worst day of my life. I almost told him the next day that he would have allowed the truck to knock me over than saving me. I should better be allowed to die than be alive to see him sleeping with you under my roof. It was hard to take. Just like the previous night, you people outnumbered me and I was too fragile to take on the both of you. I was at a disadvantage and it will be painful if I had to die for something that doesn’t worth it.
“I had to mask my frustration with a smile and pretend as if all was well. No man in his right senses would do that to his fellow man. After you have saved a man from the jaws of death, you then turn around to have sex with his would be wife right under his nose. Dalmos is crazy! Where is his humanity? He was lucky I had no gun. Who knows what would have happened to him? Perhaps, I would have taken his life. Many things crossed my mind. But for some reasons, I decided to be discreet.
“I woke up that night. I heard you moaning in the showers even though you tried to conceal it and control yourself. I could still hear you faintly. First, I dashed into my control room and checked the CCTV camera to be sure of what was going on around my house. When I checked the surrounding and there was no strange movements, I viewed the monitors inside the house. I saw you and Dalmos having sex in the shower. To be sure that I wasn’t under the spell of liquor, I decided to confirm this myself. Initially, I thought he was a thief who was taking advantage of you. So I grabbed a club from under my bed and stole on silent feet to the shower.
“I thought some thief had broken into the house and you were being raped in the shower. So I carried myself there. What I saw did not look like a rape scene. I could see the chemistry between the both of you. It was purely consensual. Something that can only happen between lovers. Dalmos didn’t look like a rapist or thief under the shower. The two of you were tearing each other and I could hardly tell who was enjoying it the most.
“I wanted to react but I feared that the two of you could kill me. Of what use will that be? I thought about the good things that I inherited from my late father—the houses, the companies and beautiful lands across the country. Why should I risk everything for a woman that has no respect for me? I was hurt that night. You shattered me. I quietly returned to the room, slipped the club back under the bed and went back to sleep. Your shortcomings did not stop me from going to see your parents. I really did not want to marry you again after that incident but due to one reason or the other, I had to hang on. You could see the anguish on his face. Dalmos could not hide his frustration when he learnt we are getting married. It is true that I am weak but I have a good heart.
“Lizzy, we do not deserve one another. I cannot sexually satisfy you because most of the time you need me, if I am not drunk, I will not be available. I was a terrible curse to you and myself. I know your pains. I understand how terrible it is to need sex and you do not get it from your lover. I have thought about this. And I am worried that our relationship will not last. I blamed myself for everything. If I had not come home drunk, Dalmos would never had sex with you under my roof that night. I cannot rule the possibility of you having sex with him or another man in someplace else since we were not legally married. But he cannot be so bold to have you under my roof if I had played my cards well. It was my entire fault!”
“No, it is not entirely your fault. I am equally guilty. Please, find a place in your heart to forgive me,” I cried. “I was the one that let you down…”
He paused and turned to me. He stared at me for a moment. Then he gazed at the ceiling and said, “To forgive is one thing, and to forget is another. I am not bitter about what had transpired. I will suggest that you leave me. I cannot be useful to you. Even though we come back together, I cannot guarantee that I will be okay. I have my reasons. I am a troubled man. I have a past that haunts me.”
“Why do you think we cannot be together?” I asked.
“I am careful not to blame you. Deep down in my heart, I know I am the reason why things are like this. If you want to hear, then you must raise me up. I need to sit down so that I can explain some things to you. If all that you need from me is money, you may not have landed yourself in trouble. But if you are expecting to marry me, you will need to look elsewhere. I will never advise anyone to stay with a man who has a troubled life. It will surely rub off on you.”
“No matter what you say,” I rose to my feet and helped him to seat down on the bed. “Your imperfections shouldn’t give me the right to flirt around.”
“That is true,” he told me.
I walked back to my seat. I sat down, crossed my legs and faced him.
He swallowed hard and began, “Before I met you, I had several women in my life. One problem is that, they all left me the way they came. When I thought it was going to be smooth sailing, something strange would transpire and they will be gone. My problem started when I met Olga some years ago. She is one of the daughters of the paramount chief of Iba land. Olga was beautiful and charming. She was the best in terms of beauty. But Olga was a spoilt child. She was too extravagant for my liking. She was a curse to my finances. Olga had no control over anything. She wasteful and nearly wrecked the estates that I inherited from my late father with her extravagant lifestyle.
“One day, I decided it was time to stop her before she completely ruined me. I decided to end the relationship with Olga. I invited her over to my house so that we could talk things over a few bottles of beer. Not knowing what was to come, she honored the invitation. I felt telling her my mind in the house was safer than discussing such a sensitive matter in the public. Olga, in the past had shown some degrees of indecency and could be very violent at times. Sometimes I wonder if she does not need a psychiatrist evaluation. I have seen her assault people over minor issues and I didn’t want to take chances. She could rip my head off with an empty bottle. I know what she was capable of. She has short fuss and could lead to feats of rage. She could harm anyone when she is in that state of mind.
“I doubt if she could be overly violent in my house. It was a tricky situation. Considering how things are, it was the lesser of the two evils. I would rather have her in the house where I can easily be in control of things than expose myself to a full blown assault from a woman who is easily out of control. I had invited some friends to the house on that day. They are aware of what was going on between Olga and I. They were also in support that I let her go. As expected, I must be civil enough and show her some respect.
“As we drank quietly on the table with my friends, I broke the news to Olga. Just as I had anticipated, Olga erupted violently. She took a bottle from the table and aimed at me. The bottle missed me by a fraction and smashed the wall. Parts of the broken pieces flew into the left arm of one of the guys at the table. He still bear the scar till this day.
“Before she could wreck more havoc, my friends pounced on her and bundled her out of the house. When Olga left, I breathed a sigh of relief for I thought it was over between us. But that was just the beginning of my predicament. Olga kept my phone busy with calls and text messages for days and weeks, asking for forgiveness. Even though I would reply to say I had forgiven her, she wouldn’t stop. I was disillusioned because of the incessant messages and calls.
“Later, I realized that what forgiveness meant to Olga was that, we should come back together and carry on from where we had left it. She texted severally that if I had truly forgiven her, I should invite her for reconciliation. How do I return into the arms of a woman who knows nothing other than being wasteful and tepid? That to me is suicide. I cannot walk that old path again, It was a phase that I felt was gone for good.
“One day, I ran into Olga at a bar where I went for some bottles of beer. Seeing her ex, she rushed to my table and joined me. After we had exchanged pleasantries, Olga told me all that she wanted was a proper reconciliation. She is no longer bothered or worried about marrying me. She would move on once we had settled our differences amicably over some bottles of beer in a restaurant of her choosing. I fancied the idea because I just wanted her to stop calling or sending text messages every now and then. I agreed that we should meet. Then she left my table and returned to her corner.
“It was a big test and I had no inclination that the worse was to come. Few days later, Olga called and invited me to a bar somewhere in the trenches of Iba Town. On that day, I arrived with high hopes that I will be completely free from her whim and caprice. She ordered for drinks. As we drank to our hearts content, my phone rang. Since the bar was noisy and I could hardly hear what the caller was saying, I decided to step aside to answer the call. It was a wrong move that ruined my life. I would have moved with my bottle of beer or at least cover it properly. As I answered the call, Olga took advantage of innocence and drove a dagger into my chest.”
“She stabbed you?”
“No, she reached out for her purse, brought some concoction and poured it in my drink.”
“How do you know she poured concoction in your drink? It is hard to believe. I am trying to apply logic here. You said you moved away to answer your call. That action completely takes you out of the scene of the crime.”
“Yes, that is true. After she left, the bar tender approached me and asked if I drank from the bottle of beer on my table? His countenance fell after I told him I did. He looked at me as if my life was in grave danger. When I tried to find out what made him asked, he disclosed that when I stepped out to answer the call, he saw the woman that sat with me on the table poured something in my drink. He can’t really say what it was. He thought that wasn’t a proper thing to do. But when he tried to come immediately to tell me not to touch the drink, he was distracted by a customer. By the time he attended to the customer, he had completely forgotten. Only to remember when he saw the woman leaving the bar. By the time he ran to me, it was already too late. I was already back to the table and had emptied the bottle of drink into my stomach.”
“So what happened to you after the incident?”
“By the time I came back to the table, Olga had emptied her drink and urged me to finish up quickly so that we could leave. She told me she had an appointment with a client and she was running late. So I did. I emptied the drink into my stomach. While she gathered her things from the table, I felt a strange movement inside of me. She excused me and left. I thought she went to see someone outside and would be back shortly. I never knew it was all part of the plan. That might be the last time that I will set my eyes on her. It was when Olga left that the bar tender rushed to my table. After interrogating me, he saw him walked out of the bar. May be he went after Olga. Not long after, he came back into the bar.
“Initially, I felt like throwing out. So I got up from the table and rushed to the rest room. Nothing came out. Suddenly, I felt badly intoxicated and disoriented as if I had drunk myself to stupor. I could barely coordinate my pair of legs. To cut the long story short, I was poisoned by Olga. I collapsed on the floor in the rest room and slipped into unconsciousness. By the time I woke up around six in the morning of the next day, I was on the bare floor right across the road in front of the bar.”
“Terrible world,” I shook my head. “She must have used a powerful spell on you. What was her motive?”
“Just listen. I will get there. “
“Okay,” I adjusted and pay attention with captivated attention.
“Then I got up from the floor. I crossed the road to the other side, the stench from my body reached the high heavens. I was dirty and sickly. I walked slowly into the garage of the bar where I parked my car. On reaching the car, I searched my pocket for my car keys and couldn’t find them. My phone and wallet were gone too. Then I looked about and saw a man. He walked up to me. He introduced himself as the guard. He narrated how I had made a complete mess of myself all night. They tried to calm me down and put in a room but I was very violent and repeatedly violated anyone that tried to help me. I ended up on the road at the other side. But the management kept my phone, wallet and car keys safe. He said the bar owners were concerned about my safety, so they asked him to keep an eye on me all night. He disclosed that he had been standing here all night, watching over me. When I asked him what happened to me, he said that I was drunk and out of control.”
“I felt completely embarrassed. I took my keys and wallet from him. I gave him some money for not allowing the worse to happen to me. He was so happy for the cash gift but I was distressed. I quietly entered the car and drove off. When I got home, I put a call through to Olga. I explained to her what the bar tender and the guard had said. I expected her to deny everything and reassure me that I was safe but that was never going to happen. She confirmed the poisoning and cherished how I gulped every drop of it like a miserable dog. She disclosed that if she doesn’t have me as husband, no woman on earth would stay with me. She boasted that it was only a matter of time before I crack and do the right thing or else I will be destroyed by her powerful magic. I thought she was bragging. After some years down the line, it was true. Olga has reduced me to barebones. You are the seventh woman that I have had since Olga poisoned me. And all of them left in acrimony,” he sighed.
“I have been worried too. I thought of leaving you. That was why I started dating my ex again,” I revealed to Jimmy.
“I know it was not entirely your fault. It was mine but it was hard to take. Many of the women that I dated before your arrival, died mysteriously in the space of one month after I stated relationship with them. I started monitoring things the very first day we met. You were different and you have survived for months with me. I thought the spell had broken when you did not die after a month with me. At some point, I felt the spell had broken or some powerful magic from you or something was neutralizing Olga’s spell. That was why I was ready to do anything to keep you happy. I never knew it would come to this. As of now, I have accepted my fate.”
I shook my head and revealed, “Now I understand why I have been having the nightmares, dogs chasing me all over the place. I just could not figure it out. It was hard. Ever since I moved into your house, it has been one battle to another.”
“That is how it begins. My previous dates started having nightmares too. Suddenly they start seeing me in the dream, attacking them. Then they would either sleep or not wake up or die mysteriously. Olga’s intentions are clear but she will never break me.”
“It is very painful. She is a sore loser!”
“Yes, that is it.”
“I don’t think you will have the issues again.”
“Why do you say so?”
“A while ago, I had a dream. The dogs attacked me again. This time, I killed them.”
“Not quite long!”
“Hmm…I’m not a religious person.”
“I think that is victory for you. The spell has been broken.”
“May be. You could be right. I felt a movement in my stomach just before the doctor came into the room. It was as if something jumped out of my body. I had been good ever since.”
“And the doctor also confirmed that you are good to go home.”
“Yes.” He looked at me and chewed his lower lip.
“Thank you for everything,” I said. I picked my bag and rose to my feet. “You are right. We do not deserve one another. We have come a long way but it is time I give you a break. Sorry for the inconveniences that I have caused you. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors!” I went beside the bed, dropped the key to the house that he gave to me. I turned and walked away. It is all over, I said to myself.
As I got to the door, he called, “Lizzy, WAIT.”
I stopped and barely looked over my shoulders. “Yes?”
“Where are you going?” he asked, a little shaken.
I paused for a moment as hot tears streamed down my eyes. “I’m going to my family,” I managed to croaked.
“Did I ask you to leave? When you get to your people, what are you going to tell them?”
“I will tell them I left you.”
“No problem. Before you leave, please do me a favor. Help me to my feet. I need to use the rest room.”
“Are you not tired of ordering me about?”
“Just this once! I beg you!”
I wiped my tears with the back of my hands. I turned and walked back to him. I placed my bag on the bed. As I went close to help him to his feet, Jimmy fell on me. “I thought you said my nightmares were over.”
“Yes, I said so.”
“Why are you leaving?”
“I am tired and exhausted. I need to clear my head.”
“Lizzy,” he sighed. “Will you marry me?”
Slowly, I pulled him to my body and hugged him tightly. “Yes, I will.” After all the battles, tears rolled down my eyes. I got something out of life. We kissed and rolled on the bed.
Nihu is falsely accused of a crime and is banished to the Lonely Forest. He is challenged with a mission by a magical character. As brave Nihu quests to fulfill the mission and gain his freedom, he is sucked into a world inside of a stone, visits a powerful ruler in an underwater city, and makes friends with a group of refugees only a hero could love.
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