THE DEVIL ON THE ALTAR 5
Written by: Grace Olayemi
The end of the semester came and students were so eager to go back home to see friends and relatives. Patricia was also very excited since she would be going back home to see her mother. Her mother’s health had improved and she was eager to go back home and see her.
Parting with each other was not so easy for Patricia and her bosom friend, Celestina, they held onto each other in a tight hug until the honk of the car forced them to let go of each other, they promised to stay in touch with each other all through the period of the one month break. Patricia entered the bus heading to her village while Celestina entered the one heading to Lagos.
Patricia got home towards the evening and was welcomed by a very quiet and deserted house. She was surprised to find the house empty and wondered where everyone had gone to by that time of the day. She looked everywhere and called names but got no reply. It was at that point that her wonders began to turn to fear and anxiety. She ran out of the house and went to her neighbor’s place.
“Good evening, ma’am,” she greeted as she stepped into the house.
“Good evening, my daughter,” the old woman replied staring at her, “You look so much like Patricia, the headmaster’s daughter,” the woman said, still looking at her.
“I’m the one ma, I just returned from school this evening and I’m here to ask if you know anything about my parents’ whereabouts.”
“I’m okay like this, ma’am. I just want to know where my parents are so I can go to them,” Patricia replied impatiently.
“Your mother’s condition got so bad last night that she passed out and was rushed to the community hospital. Your father and Mr. Wale went with them and we have not seen them till now.”
Immediately Patricia heard this, she ran out of the house and didn’t even wait to hear all the woman had to say.
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Patricia was so anxious and agitated that she didn’t even bother to take a taxi or at least a motorcycle to the hospital, she ran all the way there. The community hospital was the only hospital in that town and it was situated close to the entrance of the town. Patricia got to the hospital sweating all over and panting heavily.
“Please, calm down and give me her details.”
“She is Mrs. Adams and she was brought here last night.”
“Hold on let me check,” the nurse said and began to look through the register, “oh! She is in rm14 but…” Patricia did not wait to hear the rest she dashed away in search of the room.
“Please ma’am you can’t go in there,” a voice said behind Patricia, she turned back to see a young man, who might be the doctor looking at her.
“And why is that?” She asked.
“The patient is in a very delicate condition and any contamination can worsen her case so all unsterilized equipment can’t be taken into the room,” the doctor explained.
“I’m her daughter and I would really like to know how she is doing.”
“If you are so concerned about her then you can bring the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand naira for her surgery,” the doctor said and walked away.
Patricia was left perplexed; she just stood there and was looking at nothing in particular. She knew the financial status of her parents and knew that two hundred and fifty thousand naira was impossible for them to raise even if they should sell all they had including themselves.
THE DEVIL ON THE ALTAR 6
Written by: Grace Olayemi
Patricia decided to take a walk after staying in the hospital through the night and was not allowed to see her mum and neither did she see the traces of her father anywhere. She had not walked up to two blocks away from the hospital when she heard her name, she turned to look at who was calling her and lo and behold it was her dad. She ran all the way to greet him, she gave him a big hug and burst into tears, he patted her back, comforted her and assured her that all will be well.
“Yeah, I left the hospital when the doctor told me what was at hand. I went to some friends and even the cooperative society but they all said they had no money at the moment. I have emptied all my accounts and it is not even up to quarter of the amount required.”
Patricia could not hold back her tears; she could not believe that it was their poverty that would lead to the death of her mother. Her father tried to console her but she refused to be consoled, she cried her eyes out.
“Patricia you are a Christian, you believe in God, you believe in miracles, your mom will not die but live to declare the works of God in the land of the living, you will overcome this, it is just a phase and it will pass and you will come out shining.” Those were the words that kept on dropping into Patricia’s mind and suddenly she felt strengthened and went to the church to pray.
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Patricia stayed in the church all through the night praying and pouring her heart out to God. She felt so relieved and optimistic after praying that she could bet that her mother would be hundred percent alright by the time she would get back to the hospital.
She got to the hospital right after her mom was rushed into the intensive care unit after she developed serious complications over the night. Patricia was so shocked to discover the recent development and was more shocked to learn that the doctors were threatening to send her mom out because of the unpaid bills which kept on increasing.
Patricia saw her dad sitting in the corner with his head lowered and tears ran down her cheeks. She could not figure out what they had done to deserve all those kinds of suffering.
She decided to also run around and see how she can be of help to raise the money for her mother’s treatment. She went around to her pastor’s place then to some elders in the church and also her former colleagues in the church but they all had one story or the other to tell her.
Having moved around from place to place without getting the help she needed, she decided to start looking for what to do to fetch her money. She looked around for little jobs she could do and get paid after the day. She saw quite a number of them and even though she would be receiving a meager pay she didn’t mind as long as she could be depositing the money for her mom’s surgery. Jumping from one construction site to another was not an easy task for Patricia. She was always worn out with pains all over her body after each day’s work.
To be continued…