Lantana’s Odyssey – 1

The last time I did a proper fiction series has to be in 2016, since then I’ve done a couple of random series that went nowhere. I’m starting a new series as promised in my last post and it’s set in Bida. It’s about a woman who has to make very tough choices at a difficult time in her life.

Enjoy the first episode and I hope you’ll enjoy the series and the characters I’ve created.

Episode One.

She hated the white walls of hospitals, why couldn’t they paint them something cheery and less sterile? Something like cotton candy-pink or purple like ripe wine grapes. Perhaps the colour of the wall wouldn’t bother her so much if this wasn’t the place where people came to die.

Dr. Salihu hurried in and mumbled an apology, it was unnecessary really – this apology, she didn’t mind the slight delay in the inevitable. The passing of time would not change the revelation in the white paper he’d slid back in her file as he hurried off to attend to the emergency Nurse Aisha called him out for. She made a mental note to tease Aisha about the extra layers of roundness at her buttocks since she last saw her, Aisha would be pleased to hear her buttocks were bigger, she fretted about their smallness in a way that was endearing.

How could she have survived those dark days without the cheer and chatter of the nurses, especially Aisha? They held her physically and mentally, she would have lost her mind if they weren’t so conscientious but she often wondered if going insane wasn’t a blessing? What was the point in going without Yohanna? Of what joy was sanity if there was no Yohanna to share it with?

It struck her that in the old days she would have looked through her file to see what the test results were hiding; she didn’t handle suspense well. It was the reason she couldn’t watch football or thrillers no matter how much Yohanna begged. Now she would watch a zillion thrillers, a hundred zillion Arsenal matches – even horror films, if she could lay her head on his lap while he watched. Suspense was far better than bad news, at least with suspense, there was hope. Hope that things would turn out alright eventually, a fragile and perhaps misplaced hope.

“Mrs Lantana,” the doctor’s voice cut into her silent musing.

She looked at him and attempted a smile, she hoped it came out looking like a smile and not the grimace of a woman sucking ten sour lemons at once. He exhaled softly.

“Dockay, it can’t be that bad haba, at the very worst I am dying and would soon join Yohanna.” She stopped to swallow the avalanche of tears rushing up her throat, this was the first time she was mentioning his name since she left the hospital.

“Madam I would need to book you for a scan to confirm this, but the result of this test shows that you’re pregnant. When was the last time you saw your period?”

“Period? What is period?’ her voice felt like sandpaper against his skin.

He stood up, walked around the table and squeezed her shoulder. She looked up at him with unfocused eyes.

“Ibrahim what did you just say?”

“Tantina,” he said, reverting to her childhood nickname. “Tana we think you are pregnant, a scan would confirm this test and give us an idea of how far along you are.”

“How can I be pregnant when Yohanna is not here? Does that even make any sense to you?” She laughed, her body began to shake and Ibrahim kept his hand steady on both shoulders as they quivered with bitter mirth.

“You still have to do a scan first to confirm.” He said softly, she felt a pair of soft palms propping her up and she wasn’t surprised to find it was Aisha. They walked to the radiology section in silence, with Aisha’s left palm delivering soothing taps to her back every ten seconds or so.

The technician was smiling when they walked into the dark room, Aisha handed him the piece of paper with Ultrasound Request Form in bold type.

“Good afternoon Ma, my name is Emmanuel and I’m going to run a pelvic ultrasound on you Ma, the process is painless but a little uncomfortable. I hope you are ready.”

“Stop yakking and start work,” Aisha shouted and she gave her a grateful smile, she wasn’t up to talking to the chirpy young man.

Aisha stayed with her as she lay on the cushioned bench and the clear, cold, blue gel was applied to her lower abdomen and he placed something on her stomach with a coiled wire trailing behind it. She fixed her gaze to the tiny screen while Aisha rubbed her left hand.

She saw it even before Emmanuel did, the lizard like fragment floating in a clear sea of black. And she screamed.


To Catch up on the progress of the series, click on Lantana’s Odyssey


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