Monday, August 15, 2016

A Second Chance - Chapter 36

“Judith,” he called softly, moving a step closer to the bed. She moaned in pain again, in attempt to open her eyes and mouth to answer him.

“Beheeen?” She slurred and with an aching success her eyes opened and her cracked lips parted. “Ben is that you?”

“Yes, Judith, I’m here, your brother is here.” He answered quickly holding her hand in his.

She called his name again, the only word she could make up and this time miserably. Her head was heavy and her eyes hurt so badly she continued to cry even though it hurt a hundred times to. “What happened to me?” She asked her brother who felt a sting in his eyes he had to turn away. He didn’t want her to see him cry, but God, he was more than thankful to hear her call his name again. “Let’s worry about that later, I’m just glad you’re okay.”

“It hurt?” She winced when she tried sitting up, unaware of the wound to her stomach.

“I know, but the doctor said you'll be fine. The pain killers must be wearing off.”

Ignoring his explanation, her attention was now fixed on the area where the piercing pain was coming from. “Was I shot? Stabbed?” She wondered, forcing the blue hospital gown from her body so she could see the wound. “How did it happen?” Ben grabbed her hands, worried her recklessness would rip the perfect sutures and bindings to her wound. “Stop it! You’re naked.” He grunted, irritated by her behavior.

“And so? I just want to see!”

Ben shook his head, his tolerance was hanging by a thin tread and he didn’t like it one bit. “Just be glad you’re okay, I thought you almost died, you almost did! So stop worrying about what happened...And like I’ve been saying, be glad you’re okay. Be glad Margaret found you before it was too late.” He didn’t think it was right to straight out tell her what happened, how she’d masterminded her own death, he didn’t think she could grasp it just yet…that something was seriously wrong with her. He knew she would deny it because she was never the one to take the blame for her actions.

“Did you?”

“Did I what?” Her terrified gaze was fixed on him as if she was accusing him of taking the shot that had landed her in the hospital.

“Did you call them?”


It didn’t take another second before a light bulb went off in his head and he grasped how careless he’d been. Of course he should have called and told them about Judith. He didn’t even want to imagine the cruel words that would have spilled out from his mother if he’d told them directly about Judith. They would have been on the first flight to Nigeria, or maybe not. With them, you just never know what they are capable of.

What they did know was this; “They know you’re with me, but I didn’t tell them about this...not yet.”

“Thank God.” She exhaled.

“After you’ve fully recovered…I’m sorry Judith but you have to go back home. You’re not safe with me. You never were.”

“And neither am I safe with them. Don’t pretend as if you don’t know that.”

They both fell quiet for a minute, and in each of their hearts was fear, harsh memories, and tears left unshed. Ben couldn’t keep her. She didn’t want to be with their parents in their cage as their pet and sometimes prisoner, unable to say yes, unable to say no, unable to move, unable to breathe on her own. That was the life they’d both lived until Ben escaped. But since Judith was young, unemployed, helpless, and broke, she couldn’t do what Ben had been able to do. Run.

“But why can’t you keep me? Why!?” Her tear-filled question breaking the chilling silence that had fallen among them. “I never asked you for too much, you didn’t even let me stay with you, you packed me up to live with that witch who’s only nice to me because of what she wants from you. Why don’t you just leave me out in the streets, maybe someone else will be a better brother, better father and mother than the ones I have...”

“Is everything okay, Ben? I heard, Oh wow,” she saw Judith looking more alive than the last time she saw her and her heart sunk into her stomach. She quickly pushed the door close and smiled at the pair. “I wasn’t expecting...oh I’m so glad you’re okay, Judith, you gave your brother and I the biggest scare of her lives.” She said, hugging her tightly. “I brought you something...” She released her and rushed to sit the bag of food she brought with her on the small table in the room. “You must be overjoyed Ben… see, I told you you had nothing to worry about and that she would be just fine.” She was speaking as fast as she was struggling to open the cooler of food as nervousness ate her conscience away.

“Thanks for coming Margaret.” He said to her, sincerely glad for the first time to see her as they both exchange a smile of gratitude and one of understanding. Turning back to his sister, he said to her, “We’ll finish this later, but I have to go now, I’ll leave you with Margaret, if you need anything, just ask her and she’ll take care of it. Isn’t that right Margaret?”

“That’s right, Ben, I will.” She replied cheerfully from her corner.

Judith, unknowingly grabbed his hand as he was about to leave her side, her long fingernails digging into his flesh. “Don’t leave me with her.” She whispered desperately, eyes clouded with a mixture of terror and uncertainness of why she was scared of being in her presence since she walked in without knocking.

“I’m sorry, Judith but I really have to go. I’ll be back later tonight, alright?” He easily tried to remove her hand from his. And after a few tug and pull, she gave up and faced the wall, letting him slip away and her tears followed.

Ben tilted his head, saying his goodbye, and just like that, he was gone.

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