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A Child Who Was Not Meant To Be Born by …Jude Idada

A Child Who Was Not Meant To Be Born by …Jude Idada

There are children, and there are children.

Some of them were not meant to be born.

So it was that a certain Professor at the University of Ibadan who was married to a British lady of the Caucasian persuasion had been troubled by their childlessness in the early years of their marriage.

His aged mother had told him about a famed priestess in Osogbo who held the key to the world of the unborn.

He, in turn, had told his wife of this priestess and assured her that a visit to Osogbo would put a tenant in her womb.

Though partly believing she had gone with her husband and her mother-in-law to the sacred grove of this priestess.

She was rubbed all over with a poultice until she looked like the macabre.

Then she was made to drink a foul-smelling dark coloured concoction until her head swooned and the world spun around her.

Then at the dead hour – 3 a.m. – she was taken to the foaming Osun river, and in its swirling waters, she was completely immersed seven times as incantations rained on her to the rhythm of a Bata drum that was being beaten by a white-clad fearsome looking muscular woman.

Six months after that, while she was visiting with her family in Berkshire in England, she found out that she was pregnant.

The next year, on a starless night in June, she gave birth to a son.

A child who was not meant to be born.

He never cried.

And the doctor and nurses gave up their attempts to make him cry because of a cold stare the Crimson baby gave them every time they tried.

He was tiny and evidently harmless, but there was something foreboding about him that made them fear him.

His mother was troubled from the moment they gave him to her.

She instinctively felt he was not of and from her and in the deep recesses of her heart she rejected him.

Her husband, his family, and her family were explosive with joy and effusive with blessing.

The baby boy was what they had been waiting for.

He grew up under the watchful eyes and fawning love of his father and cold wary detachment of his mother.

He never had siblings.

And every day his mother looked at him, walking around in deathly solitude, she knew that somehow he had blocked the pathway of her womb to any of the unborn that was destined to come after him.

In those moments she cursed the day she accepted to go with them to Osogbo. The doctor had said to them repeatedly before that day that there was nothing medically wrong with her and her husband and all they needed to do was keep trying. But for that her meddling mother – in – law who had upended their lives with her amour for the diabolical.

She had learned to hide her disquiet with a warm smile, a pleasing, quiet demeanour, and a calm temperament so much so that anyone who knew of the raging inferno that burnt in her heart would have been rudely shocked.

And the baby boy grew into a gangly fair-skinned teenager.

He was a beauty to behold.

And left in his wake, tales of unimaginable terror.

From International School Ibadan onto the University of Ibadan he was feared by all.

He was a quiet loner with a temper that was impossible to predict, understand or control. And his ability to inflict pain was proverbial, and strength was inhuman.

In his second year at the University of Ibadan at the Awolowo Hall, during a hall week celebration night, he single-handedly killed three members of a secret cult who had tried to stop the celebration because the hall had not paid for permission and protection.

No one had asked him to intervene or seen the dagger in his hand. He had simply stood up from the table where he had been sitting, walked up to the marauding guys and stabbed them repeatedly with lighting fast speed until they lay dead in pools of their own blood and he melted into the night.

No one told on him out of fear and the University was too eager to file it under unsolved intra-secret cult violence and then promptly forgot about it.

But no one could forget about him.

He was a one-man cult.

And dead bodies kept falling around him.

I met him only once.

I was not a student of the University at the time.

I had come to visit a friend.

Who had taken me for lunch at one of the restaurants at the Student Union building.

I didn’t even know him but instantly felt the negative energy that oozed out of him as he sat alone eating.

We were two tables behind him.

And it was the commotion of him stabbing a guy in the arm who was sitting with a girl that drew our attention.

The guy on his way to his table had mistakenly stepped on the foot of the boy who was not meant to be born and made the added mistake of not apologising.

After stabbing him, he quietly went back to his table, sat down and continued eating as though nothing happened.

As the stabbed guy groaned in pain, while the girl with him tried to staunch the flow of blood from his arm, a chill spread around the restaurant and seeped into me.

I was truly afraid.

His acts of senseless violence continued.

And the reports got to his parents.

His father refused to believe or accept that his only child was capable of such horrors and defended him with all the power and authority he had as a dean of faculty and a respected public figure in Ibadan.

But his mother believed even before she was told.

She knew that the child who was not supposed to be born was a spurn of evil.

And as the reports came in of the works of his hands, she drew closer to God, becoming a mainstay of one of the main Pentecostal churches in Ibadan.

It was upon her continual coaxing that the Professor had gone with her to the church and it was there that the firebrand pastor had confronted him with the urgent need to intervene in the atrocities of his son.

It had taken three additional visits before the Professor decided to act.

The intervention took place on a balmy Sunday after church in their living room at their residence in Bodija.

It had the pastor, the professor, his wife, and their son who was not supposed to be born in attendance.

It started with pleasantries, proceeded into speeches, then entreaties, pleas, progressed to fiery prayers, then arguments and ended with a butcher’s knife wielded by the deft and angry hand of the son being embedded with such force into the shoulder of his mother that it shattered her right clavicle.

There was blood everywhere.

His mother lay motionless in the blood.

And what saved the pastor and the Professor was their quick thinking of locking themselves in the visitor’s washroom downstairs.

As he barged the door continuously with the butcher knife, wooden splinters flying all over the place, the pastor who had his eyes firmly shut, shouted in response to each thud and grunt…

“Blood of Jesus, Satan I rebuke you!”

That seemed to infuriate the child who should not have been born, and he wailed as he hit harder.

But the surprising move of the Professor who opened the door and stood there standing in plain sight stopped his raging son mid swing.

“Kill me, son. All we have done is love you. When no one else could. Kill me as you have killed your mother.”

Those words tore into him like bullets and caused the pastor to stop praying and open his eyes.

He beheld the son staring at his father for a moment.

He saw the son burst into tears. His shoulders were trembling in consonance with the sob.

His sob was deep and had a loud hopelessness to it that was primal and hellish.

Then he dropped the butcher knife.

It clattered on the marble floor.

And he fled.

No one saw him for three months.

And in that time, his mother recovered from her injuries, and his father’s love for him grew cold.

So when he was arrested by the police for stabbing a graduating student to death in front of Trenchard Hall during the convocation in the full glare of the public and the school teaching faculty and administration, his father did not lift a finger to help him as he languished in the overcrowded – awaiting trial – cells at Agodi prisons.

And when the Police Commissioner had visited the Professor to enquire about his unusual silence concerning his son…

The professor had said with his frail wife beside him…

“We have no son.”

That was enough for the Commissioner who loathed deeply the child who should not have been born and had barely tolerated him over the years due to his respect for Professor and his financial benevolence.

In the middle of the night, the child who was not supposed to have been born was taken from the cell by three burly guards and his badly bruised corpse was deposited at the mortuary at Adamasingba.

No one mourned him.

No one claimed the body.

And he was buried in a mass grave months later.

The Professor and his wife became more fervent in church and more charitable to people.

It was their way of paying penance.

And one sunny Saturday in March as the Professor watched a football match, his forty-nine years old wife walked into the living room and with her face beaming with smiles, she told him that she was pregnant.

He was seized with greater joy than Abraham felt when Sarah had said same to him in the days of yore.

The child was born in the hazy harmattan months of December.

And he cried without being coaxed.

And when his mother heard his voice in the delivery room at UCH, she instantly fell in love with him.

Bone of her bone.

Flesh of her flesh.

The child who was supposed to be born.

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Posted by:- on October 12, 2018.

Categories: Literature

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