“Hey, your mum just called.”
“What did she say?” I asked
“She asked where you were but I told her you went out”
“Thanks Kyla.” I replied.
I sensed something was wrong, I had a bad feeling but I didn’t know why. Two days later, John showed up, he was my eldest brother. I could see distress in him; he could not even look me in the eye. He told me to pack my things, we have to go home. A sharp pain ran across my spine, John could not talk to me neither look at me, I sensed something terrible was going on, but I was too scared to ask what it was for I feared that the answer might be sad.
We dropped by Naomi’s office, Naomi was John’s wife. We got into the office; I could see terror written on Naomi’s face. John locked the door and said;
“Haman, it is okay if you cry but you have to be strong for your little sister Diana.” I needed no more information; I just knew what he was to say next.
Three nights before John showed up, I had a nightmare; it was my worst nightmare, a nightmare I so hoped would never happen but only to find out three days later, it was not just a nightmare but was a vision.
“It’s mum.” John said.
I tried to cry but tears could not flow, I was in a freeze state.
“She was at the hospital, yesterday morning she left us; we lost her Ham.” John confirmed my worst fears.
I just wished it was all a dream which I was to wake up from but till to date; I have never woken up from that nightmare. About 8 years later, I am now out in the streets selling 2nd hand books and newspapers. I have a degree in linguistics but I could not find a white collar job hence decided to be a newspaper vender; I needed to earn something for my survival. One day, I woke up as usual in my humble iron sheet house, while lying on my thin mattress on the floor I could see the stars on my roof, stars made of the rays of the rising sun.
I could not afford to buy bread for breakfast; I just took a cup of coffee and was off to work as usual. My spot for selling the books and newspapers was in the city, it was at the middle of many huge companies. I sat there, gazing at the passing people, just then I had an unusual customer.
A well-dressed fairly tall lady in a purple dress and some super expensive shoes stopped by my desk and asked;
“Excuse me please; do you have a copy of today’s newspaper?”
“Yes I do ma’am.” I replied calmly
“Give me three copies.” She said giving me a five hundred note.
I gave her the newspaper copies and said;
“Ma’am, let me get you change, hold on for just a minute.”
“Keep change,” she replied smiling.
The highest tip I ever got in my line of duty was a twenty Bob, the lady just left me a 350 tip.
“Thank you so much ma’am.” I said.
“Call me Maureen, I work just across the street, I see you work hard every day from my office and today I decided to come see what you sell.” She said.
“Thank you Maureen, I am humbled.” I replied.
She walked back to her office and I was left behind reading the newspaper of the next day, I used to get a draft copy of the next day’s paper as I collected my supplies for the day.
I had a tendency of filling in the Word Puzzles and even correcting errors made by the publishers of the papers, on the draft copy, then later in the day I would drop my corrected copy of the newspaper draft at their office for an extra coin. It was at five o’clock in the evening, time for office workers to go home.
Maureen passed by before going home and said;
“I saw you had a newspaper you had done word puzzles, kindly help me with it.” She request.
“I am sorry but it is the only copy, I have to return it to their office.” I replied.
“Oh okay. See you around tomorrow.” Maureen said as she walked towards her car.
I was watching Maureen leave when I saw a man withdraw a gun from his bag, it was an Ak47. He then removed his jacket and I saw he had a belt around him full of armor. I at once knew the show was about to get down, before he could cork the gun I had jumped across my desk, and ran towards Maureen.
By the time he fired the 1st round, I had speared Maureen to the ground, the guy in front of Maureen was the 1st to be shot.
“What is happening?” Maureen asked shaking like a fragile leaf.
“What is happening is that I just saved your life beautiful.” I replied smiling to show her all will be well.
There was a car just a few steps away; we used it as our cover. People panicked and started running, caught up in a melee, the unlucky were caught up with by the bullets being sprayed by this guy like some pesticides. Before people knew where the bullets and gunshots were coming from dozens had been shot, some dying on the spot.
“Stay here, don’t move.” I told Maureen.
“Where are you going?!” She asked, frightened.
“I will be back, I promise.” I told her and left, I walked bending. I was just about to open the door of a car in front of me when the guy spotted me, he started firing at me. I was hit by two bullets, one on my thigh and another on my right shoulder, I went crushing down
I was just hearing a buzz in my ears, I guess I landed on the ground and hit my head because I could also see nothing but just a pale white colour. I was in this state for about two minutes.
Later on I could hear, from far, the sirens. Before I knew what had happened to me, the place was filled with all ranks of police officers. The guy who was shooting at people on seeing he had been surrounded by police, he blew himself up, he had a bomb vest.
Maureen came rushing towards me calling for help. The paramedics came and picked me and I was put at the back of one of the ambulances, Maureen barely knew my name.
“What is your name?” She asked. “Haman, but my friends call me Ham.” I replied.
She then asked one of the paramedics which hospital they were taking me. I was taken to a hospital in town and I required immediate surgery to remove the bullets, but now, I could barely afford a piece of bread in the morning, how was I to pay for a surgery?!
“Sir what is your name?” The doctor asked.
“I am Haman.” I replied.
“Haman do you have a hospital card or maybe insurance cover?” He asked.
“No Doc, I am a humble newspaper vender in the streets.” I replied.
The doctor faked a smile and told me “Don’t worry all will be well, I will be back in a short while Haman. Just hold on tight.”
While on that stretcher I had a 8 years ago flashback, tears started rolling down my cheeks. Was I going to die on a hospital bed too? I now got scared. I could barely move my arm or leg, I was in huge pain.
A nurse passing by saw the pain I was in and she was touched, her name was Grace. She went to the side cabin just a few steps from where I was and took a syringe; she then took a plastic container with a yellow substance.
“This should help ease your pain,” nurse Grace said injecting me the substance.
“Thanks Grace,” I said reading her name tag on her chest to confirm the name.
A friend of Grace, a nurse too by the name Gladys passed by and noticed Grace was concerned.
“What happened to him?” Gladys asked Grace.
“I don’t know, I just saw he was in too much pain and decided to help.” Grace answered.
“I was shot by the lunatic who blew himself in the CBD.” I said, now feeling much relieve.
“You are lucky you survived, most of the casualties did not make it to the hospital.” Gladys replied.
Just then the doctor came back, his name was Gully, he looked at me sympathetically and said, “Am sorry Haman but the boss says for you to get the operation done you need to pay a deposit of at least 40, 000.”
AUTHOR: George Haman
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The Story continues in Phase Two.
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