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Poster source : Westminster, London England When she came around, it seemed as though she had been in a horrendous tra...

Poster source:

Westminster, London England
When she came around, it seemed as though she had been in a horrendous trance for eternity, although she had been knocked cold only for a few minutes. There was a dead weight on top of her. She managed to wriggle out from under the dead, bloodied bodies of two policemen who had shielded her from shards of glass, flying metals and concrete. Dazed, she stared in shock as people ran in all directions. Staggering, she hurled herself to her feet and managed to scamper back towards the court house. An armed policeman ran towards her. He caught hold of her and helped into the building. “I have to run out there. I will be right back. Don’t leave. 

We have sent for more back up. Some of my colleagues died in that explosion,” the policeman explained briskly. He ran outside to help other people who had been hurt. That was when the gun shots rang out. Chinyere peered through the window. The surviving wounded policemen had come under serious attack. She knew she was a target too. I am not staying here, she thought. Limping, she stood up and headed for the main exit door on the other end of the building. Then, she caught sight of an armed figure quietly looking through the building. The shooting outside was a decoy to keep the policemen occupied while another shooter was sent in from the opposite direction to finish off Chinyere. She saw him first. She swirled around and instinctively took the stairs to the basement. “Shoot her!” An angry hoarse voice shouted. Her heart was pounding vigorously. 
She found an exit door and pushed it open. The alarm went off, and she quickly closed it after exiting. Dragging her bruised and battered body, she ran as fast as she could into the deserted street.   She could see a crowd running away from the scene of the bombing. They were a considerable distance from her. She ran as fast as she could. Then a gun shot went off behind her. She took a quick look behind and there were two men after her. Almost miraculously, her speed went into a different gear. A high dose of adrenaline had been pumped into her blood stream. She quickly veered left onto a small street, and then right. She ran into an open door in a building on the end of the street and went out through another door at the back. She could hear her assailants wondering which way she had gone. She took off her shoes, turned right and entered another building. Without knowing where she was, she headed to the basement. She banged on a door and an elderly woman opened the door. “They are after me ma. Please can I stay here?” Without any question, she let her in and shut the door. They could hear police sirens arriving in the area.

Surrey, England
Gabriel was seated in front of the TV screen when the news came on air that a group of terrorist had blown up a police vehicle, killing many on the scene at a court in Westminster. The news caster also mentioned that gun shots were heard in the area after the bomb blast. He knew immediately that Chinyere had been attacked. He limped into the bedroom, picked up his phone and dialed Chinyere’s number. He placed the phone tightly against his ear and listened prayerfully. After a long ring, there was no answer. He tried again and again, and there was no answer. He feared the worst. He managed to walk outside to talk to the security operatives on the premises. “I understand there have been another bomb blast and some shootings at the court where Chinyere was testifying today,” he said to them. There were three of them by the entrance door. 

“We have heard that but we have enough men on ground to defend this place effectively,” one of them answered. “I am not worried about myself, I am worried about my girlfriend,” he replied petulantly. “Have you heard anything about her?” “I am afraid we have not. We are talking to people on ground and she has not been located yet. I don’t think she is dead. Her body would be there if she had been killed. These people were not there to take her hostage, but to kill her, so the fact that they have yet to find her body suggests that she is still alive.” “But where?” “Gabriel asked. “I am sorry Mr. Gabriel; our colleagues on ground are doing all they can to find her.” Then, some information came over their radio. The two men listened intently and then turned their attention to Gabriel. “Two men were found chasing after a lady after the blast and those men have now been gunned down by the police.” “And? Is Chinyere there now?” “Not yet. If they chased after her, I guess she is in hiding. She will be too afraid to show herself yet.” Gabriel reluctantly walked back into the living room and remained glued to the TV. Nothing suggested that Chinyere had been found, leaving him scared and deeply worried.

Westminster, London England
 “Do you think I can go back out there now?” Chinyere asked the elderly lady. “If those men were after you, I don’t think you should yet.” “But the news indicates they have been shot by the police.” Yes, they shot the ones they found. What if there are other ones loitering around waiting for you to show up.” “But I am not sure they’d not know what I look like. Besides, the entire area is under heavy armed police guard.” “Wait inside my child. I am sure nobody would want to harm an old woman. Let me step out there for a moment and survey the situation.” “Thank you so much madam.” “It is alright my child.” The elderly lady walked outside, looked left and then right. The street was completely deserted except for armed policemen. She walked towards them cautiously. “How can we help you madam?” One of them asked her. She examined his badge carefully. 

“You are Sergeant O’Connor right” “Yes mam, you are right.” “You truly are the right police?” “Yes we are madam. We are here to protect you and our land.” “Good. I just needed to be sure. You know, these days anything can happen. I am wondering if you are looking for a young lady who was chased by those daredevils.” “Yes, why?” “You should come with me. I might know where she is.” Chinyere was delighted to be in the hands of the police. “We have to take you to the hospital first,” they explained. “No, I am fine. I need to get home.” “A bomb went off a few yards away from where you were standing. You may have sustained injuries you don’t know of yet. We have to get you assessed at the hospital first before we take you home. We will provide adequate security for you at the hospital, so you don’t have to afraid.” “I want to talk to my boyfriend first. He may have tried to reach me, but I lost my phone while I was running. I need to talk to him before anything else. And, if I am going to the hospital, please can you arrange to bring him to the hospital?” “I can’t make any promises, but I will see what I can do.”

She slept like a baby. She had been sedated. When she woke up the next morning, she was gripped with fear; a fallout from yesterday’s incident. She mumbled and yelled as she tossed and turned on the bed. Gabriel walked over and placed a hand on her forehead. He was still all patched up, but he managed to stay up most of the night watching over her. There was ample security in the hospital. “It is okay now sweetheart,” he said. She opened her eyes and hugged him. “I am glad you are here,” she replied. “Everything is going to be alright.” “I am so glad to see you. I was worried they might not bring you over.” “They did right away. There was no way I was staying in that house without seeing you.” “Thank you!” “It is okay Chiichiii.” She dashed off to the bathroom and took a quick shower. When she returned, she wrapped her arms around Gabriel with her head resting on his chest. He stroked her hair gently. Then, she raised her head, looked him in the eye and then planted her lips on his. His face was still carrying band aids, but she did not care. “I love you so much Chinyere.” “And I love you too Gabriel.” “We’ll get through this princess. We’ll get through this!” “I believe that too.”


Eighteen months later
Central London, England
“I am afraid; the rest of your surgery is very expensive. As a matter of fact, you will need to see a plastic surgeon in the USA, and the government can no longer shoulder the cost of your surgeries,” the doctor explained. Gabriel’s eyes became misty. “How can you say that?” Chinyere asked the doctor loudly. “He risked his life on the day of that bomb blast and the government promised to see this through. All of a sudden, they can no longer afford to pay for the most critical surgeries to fix his face? How do you think he feels? How do you think I feel? He risked his life to save me and now he is being left in the cold with no one to cater for him. This is unacceptable! Our lives were turned upside down and I had to live in hiding with him for long to testify in court at my own risk, and now we are being left to cater for his surgery by ourselves.” Chinyere could not contain her anger. “I am sorry madam. I don’t make those decisions. I am only relaying what I was told to you.” “Then tell those idiots that it is not right. They are saving money, but we put our lives on the line to do the right thing. Can’t you see that?” “There is a looming recession on the horizon, so even though the government would like to continue paying for Gabriel’s surgery, they cannot afford it.” “That is nonsense!” Chinyere hollered in a fit of anger. “Calm down princess,” Gabriel said to her in his characteristic calm manner. “God will see us through this,” he urged her. “But honey we cannot afford the surgery.” 

His legs were almost all fixed and so were his hands and back. The main problem remained his face. The burns left unpleasant gullies on his face and head, most of which had been fixed, but some of them were still gaping for surgical attention. He still avoided mirrors because they left him depressed. He had been promised that the last phase of the surgeries would bring his face close enough to what it used to look like. Now, he was left with the ugly possibility of living with the scars for the rest of his life. His parents and Chinyere’s would be able to help, but from the figures the doctor had mentioned, there was no way their families alone could cover the entire bill. They left the hospital and walked down Euston road and then turned onto Tottenham Court Road. They walked in silence among tourists and shoppers. Gabriel was in deep thought, searching for answers. “I can’t believe they have left us to ourselves after everything,” Chinyere complained. “There has to be another way Chiichii. Let’s look on the bright side.” “But where is the bright side honey! It is not fair.” 

“Yes it isn’t but dwelling on that will make me angrier, which will stop me from thinking positively. We have to focus on what we can control.” Chinyere started crying in the middle of the street. “It is okay princess. Everything will be alright.” “I wish I had your faith and strength Gabriel. Knowing that you walked through that fire to save me and now you have to live with these scars hurts me terribly. I see how some people look at your face, if only they knew the heart that lies underneath that face, and how you got those scars, then they’d never stare at you like a ghost. It hurts me honey.” “I don’t care what people think, you know. I care about what you think.” “But you did that for me…it hurts me that you have to live with it.” “Maybe not princess. There has to be a way.” She calmed down for the moment, placed her hand in his and they walked towards Oxford Street.


This story was written by:
Ujor Victor Chinoo

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