Now, life was returning to his body in painful trickles, punctuated by the repetition of the blow that his assailant most likely thought had sent him to the spirit world
By Nhamo Muchagumisa
The deadly encounter continued replaying itself in Zvataona’s mind. First, his hand on the door handle of his car and then the door opening instantly and a heavy object landing on his head, splitting his skull and blasting his brain matter.
The pain coursed through his body as what happens when one’s naked hand touches a naked live wire, till it reached the soles of his feet, turning his shoes to bags of very hot air in which his feet were being roasted.
The pain raced up his legs again, turning his knees to pulp in the process, but before his head blew up in a geyser of liquefied brain matter, he dropped unconscious.
Sometimes Zvataona wondered if it was a single blow that had incapacitated him or it was a series of blows. The reply he got was the worsening of the pain within his body, that made him think he was already roasting in hell.
Then slowly darkness began to settle all around him, even though he had not opened his eyes since the day of the attack. He felt like he was being lowered into a deep, airless hole, the biblical hades becoming alive in his tortured life.
His body never touched the bottom of the pit because his senses deserted him in the process of his descend.
After an eternity of a lifeless black out, Zvata regained his consciousness.He desperately needed someone to narrate his own story to him because apart from the car door experience, he seemed to have forgotten everything about his life.
Any attempt to search his memory about his life made his condition grow worse, yet the most painful blow he could ever imagine landing on a man’s skull repeatedly came down on his head as if to drive away any flicker of memory that Zvataona needed to feel alive again.
He had been driving to Vhumba mountains from the city of Mutare when a piece of natural treachery brought him head on with the most dangerous elements on the road. It was around 8pm, and on the passenger seat of his car sat Melissa Munaki, his latest female friend.
The two were going to spend a night for two at Leopard Rock Hotel, away from the noise and chaos of the city.
“I wish we had travelled during the day in order to savour the beautiful scenery of the mountains and the green vegetation,” Melissa said.
“Don’t worry, you will enjoy it tomorrow morning,” Zvataona responded.
A wild hare materialised before them, walking confusedly across the road as if trapped in the glare of headlights. Zvataona slowed down, but not slow enough to avoid hitting the furry creature. He alighted from the vehicle and picked up his booty. He would not go to the butchery for the whole of next week.
When he came to the door of his car he found it closed. When he touched the handle, the door opened abruptly and something heavy fell on his skull, and he hit the tarmac road with a thud, gasping for the breath that the blow had knocked out of his lungs. Then everything around him was dead.
Now, life was returning to his body in painful trickles, punctuated by the repetition of the blow that his assailant most likely thought had sent him to the spirit world.
Slowly as his memory returned, morsel by tiny morsel, he remembered that whoever had attempted to kill him had driven away with Melissa. The thought of Melissa being ravished by another man was more painful than the blow that had nearly sent him off to the unknown world of the departed.
Zvataona tried to rise from where he lay, but found all his limbs frozen. He shouted Melissa’s name, but he could not hear his own voice or maybe his vocal cords were dead.
When he thought of Melissa, the car counted for nothing. “When I find my way out of this place, I will commit suicide,” he said in his heart, or so he thought.
“What was that? Can I help you?” a voice said. Zvataona was mystified.
Who was it whose ear could hear another person’s thoughts? Zvataona tried to open his eyes which he had not yet opened since his senses had started crawling back into his body. The lids were too fleshy to part and let him see where he was.
“Maybe she is still alive. Maybe that’s the only thing that matters for now,” he said to himself.
“You will be fine, she is on her way,” the mysterious voice teased him.
Zvataona realised that he was going to live, and that realisation increased the intensity of his pain. He had never imagined how much pain the human body could stand before succumbing to death. His agony reached its peak on the day he opened his eyes.
His head turned into an inferno of short circuits. As he began to be sensitive to the presence of medical personnel, his hope was reignited, but with the tenderness of hope, the severity of his pain escalated. Hope and despair, like two sides of a coin alternated in his mind. Melissa was lost forever, most likely stabbed to death, after being gang raped.
Finally, Zvataona was transferred from the intensive care unit to an ordinary ward. The one thing he dreaded most was the next visiting hour, when he would be told about Melissa’s gruesome death.
The morning after his transfer from the ICU, he was awakened from his fitful slumber by the tap of a finger on his forehead, and he opened his eyes to view a face that had miraculously returned from a celestial abode.
“We are going to live again,” Melissa said, smiling into Zvataona’s swollen face.
“I do not believe it’s you, yet the more I doubt, the more delightful your presence,” he said.
Zvataona did not allow the pain in his ears to preclude him from hearing the story of Melissa’s escape.
After the wild hare drama, her kidnappers had made a u-turn and driven back towards the city.They had told Melissa not to scream or they would shoot her at once, but Melissa was too scared to scream. Melissa was sure of only one thing coming and that was her cruel death.
It was only half a mile from the Border Timbers/ Green Market crossroads when the car came to an abrupt stop and her two captors alighted faster than they had boarded the vehicle and ran towards the hill on the left bank of the road.
Alone in the car she wondered if she should also disembark and run, but before her tense muscles could relax, two police officers came on board. She explained what had happened to her lover and herself to the best of her tortured memory.
“We drove back to the crime scene with the two police officers in the same car and took you to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital, then two days after, I had you transferred to Murambi Garden Hospital and that is where we are,” Melissa explained.
An infernal jealousy seized Zvataona as he imagined what the kidnappers had intended to do with Melissa.
His parents and Melissa’s duly informed, Zvataona requested the hospital administration to allow a marriage officer into the hospital ward to solemnise the youthful couple’s nuptials . He could not wait to have Melissa declared his wife.
Nhamo Muchagumisa is an English Language and Literature teacher, and he writes from Odzi. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on +263777460162. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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