I muttered under my breath as I gave him CPR. The man laid unconscious on the road, his wrecked car a few feet away.
He had apparently been in a car accident, but what was funny to me was that I was the victim
Okay, let’s go back 30 minutes.
It was a lovely evening, the orange hue of sunset still shone on the horizon, its light growing ever distant as the night prepared to take its place. Women returning home from work stopped to chat with friends and children played by the road. I was walking back from the market debating whether to buy the roasted maize and “ube” from the woman who sold at the junction. I stopped to check if I had enough change from apiriko to patronize the old lady when I heard I sudden screech of tires from behind me,I turned just in time to see a car barreling towards me at top speed and all I could do was dive in the opposite direction to avoid getting run over by the driver,however my extensive library of action movies including James bond and the like had failed to teach me that physics was much harder in real life.
I was hit by the side of the car as I dove for safety, I wasnt injured fatally but the force of the impact was enough to knock the air out of my lungs, I was a bit dazed but I recovered quickly. Regaining my senses I heard women screaming and children wailing. One of the kids pointed at me and screamed “Obara!”
“Obara no n’ishi gi” he burrowed into the folds of his mother’s agbada
It was then I realised my vision was stained red, and when I touched my temples to my dismay, I felt a gash and it was bleeding. I tried to remain calm and focused on the situation at hand
I darted towards the drivers door and pulled it open to find the driver unconscious in his seat. He looked…almost peaceful, his head resting against the airbag. Only the blood trail from his nostrils and left temple and the fact that he was no longer breathing snapped me back to the present, cursing silently, I half pulled- half dragged him out of the wreckage,by now a small crowd had formed and some kind souls ventured to help me place him safely on the ground
I checked the man’s pulse and got a faint reading, I quickly began to apply CPR, the funny thing is, Hollywood makes it look so easy-just a few pumps and the lad is up and ready to go!. But in real life it actually takes a bit of time before the heart begins to beat again.
So I kept on pumping his chest again and again, stopping every now and then to check his pulse, the crowd of onlookers grew in size and with it their collective voices generated a lot of noise
“Chest compressions” “Chest compressions” I muttered under my breath, more to drown out the voices around me and lessen the monotony than to remind myself what to do.
I was a few minutes in,when the man suddenly coughed and jerked his legs. I gently forced him back down when he tried to sit up.
“They’re coming for me! Oh”
“Sir you have just been in an accident, I need you to calm down” I said in as cool a tone as I could . A well dressed man stepped forward and offered to take him to the hospital to which I agreed to with a nod, a couple of teenagers offered to help carry him into the man’s SUV and I was about to move aside when he suddenly grabbed me.
“No no no no no I cant let them get to me!” Already hysterical at this point, his pupils seemed to dilate and push back the cornea which didnt make sense to me.
“Pleaase you have to save me!” I didnt know what to say as the situation had escalated that even Bollywood drama couldn’t keep up at this rate.
By now his hands were getting colder and the chills seemed to seep into my skin, I tried to pry his hands away and let him be carried to the waiting car when he suddenly screamed and threw his head back, the convulsions came just as soon as the ear splitting cries from the poor man’s lips.
People who had come to see what happened decided the scene was too unsettling and gradually left the crowd, I saw a woman shield her toddler’s eyes from the scene and shuffle away.
Now I’m not superstitious by nature but I could’ve sworn something unnatural was happening here ,there was more to this than your usual car accident
The stranger continued his pleas and cries, while I knelt there beside him unable to do anything, by now the teenagers who volunteered to help were no where to be found having slipped away when the screams got unbearable,I wouldn’t blame them I would have done the same.
Gradually the screams died down and he looked at me. “it’s going to be alright ” I said reassuringly, “they will carry you to the hospital and a doctor will take care of you”.
He gently shook his head and said the most chilling words I’ve ever heard a dying man say
“Dont worry my friend, the Red Lady has come to take me home, the demons are all gone” his gaze seemed to shift as if he was staring at something faraway, a smile tugged at his lips just before he died.
This is a detailed account of the accident my therapist asked me to write, so there you have it. I have never been the same ever since
The nightmares just wont stop.
Writer: Emeka Sixtus Oguanyia
University of Nigeria, Nssuka, Enugu State, Nigeria