THE TRAUMA OF EDNA AKABUSI - Part 1
A short story by Seltzer Cole
Edna Ngozi Akabusi woke with a start, terror and torment turning her delicate features into a fright mask. A huge, formless and faceless man was stabbing her repeatedly with an evil-looking knife. He was grunting and squealing at the same time, like a pig caught in a wire fence.
The pain was unbearable; unimaginable.
A blood curdling scream stuck in her throat and hot tears stung her eyes as her slight body jerked and trembled with each violent thrust of his blade.
Edna's arms flailed wildly, trying to defend herself against her assailant. Her polished fingers raked the air, desperately hoping to connect with some part of him; anything to drive him away and escape the torture. She lashed out again and again, but there was no contact; just an empty nothingness. Her mind raced with fear and confusion as she scanned the murky darkness of her room.
Suddenly, the terrified young woman clutched her chest and choked back a scream when she felt the vicious return of the razor-edged agony. The faceless man had disappeared. It now felt as if someone - or something - inside her was squeezing the blood from her heart.
A warm wetness seeped through her nightgown, taking her by surprise. She ripped off her top, bunched it onto a makeshift surgical pad and pressed down gently on her chest and stomach. She needed to stem the flow of blood. But the skin was unbroken. There were no gaping wounds.
Where was the blood?
Her whole body was slick with perspiration and felt slimy to the touch. Sweat beads bubbled from her forehead. She felt the dampness in her back and between her thighs.
The harsh glare of a streetlight filtered through her curtain, creating an eerie, dappled blue glow. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she finally realized that there was nobody there.
Her room was completely empty.
The only movement was the silhouette of the dancing shadows of the tree outside her window. Its branches took on a fantastical array of shapes, morphing and twisting in gentle protest against the nighttime breeze.
It was a nightmare!
The room was deathly silent, save for the sound of her laboured breathing and the pneumatic thump of her erratic heartbeat.
It was just a dream.
She let out an explosive breath of relief, then seconds later, yelped as the tortuous chest pain returned with a vengeance. Her heartbeat raced, a wave of nausea washed over her and she felt cold sweat seep from her pores. A bitter taste came to her mouth and she fought back the temptation to throw up.
She was dying.
Edna knew what she needed to do.
She hoisted herself to her feet, taking a moment to find her balance, then shuffled towards the living room. Waves of pain slowed her pace and added what felt like an hour to a distance she would normally have covered in a few seconds.
She flicked on the light-switch and snatched a glance into the mirror above the mantlepiece. The young woman was confronted by a thin face, aged by pain her cocoa coloured complexion tinged with grey. Her afro hair could have nested several species of exotic birds.
Edna waited for the next spasm of pain to subside before picking up the phone. She pressed the first two digits, then dropped the handset back in its cradle.
What was she thinking?
There was no way she was going to the hospital looking the way she did. She passed her nose under her armpit and crinkled her nose. Her skin felt ashy and her mouth tasted of charcoal.
She needed to do a few things before calling an ambulance.
Edna Akabusi bit her lip as bouts of pain attacked her belly, neck and jaw with varying degrees of intensity.
She hastily scribbled out a list of what she had to do before dialling 999. The first effort was too long, so she cut it down to what she considered were the essentials:
Painting the front door
If she was going to die, then at least she would go out in style.