Monday 20 January 2020

A Feeling of Dread

by Ella Etienne-Richards

black coffee

Maybe it was a premonition or just downright woman's intuition but I had a gut feeling that something nasty was about to happen. I've had these feelings before but I just tried to shake it off . I thought maybe if I tried my utmost best to think positively everything would be alright. However deep down, I knew there was nothing I could do to change the hands of fate.

My cousin Ken was getting on my nerves again, I told him to drop dead and leave me alone. He had lived with us since his  Mum went away and he was like a brother.  I could not deal with him this morning, not this morning. I had my own problems to deal with. I loved my cousin but he could be such a pest sometimes, that's why we never got along. I was trying very hard not to lose my temper with him. He was sometimes too mouthy and always got me into trouble with my Dad. I packed my rucksack and stormed out of the house.

As I walked along the corridors towards my class there was a sign on the door.  Mr Johnson is not in today, class cancelled .  "Typical" I thought as I decided to check the office to see if he had left any work.  On second thoughts, I headed straight for the door maybe I will just go home, more time to revise for my Maths test. I bounced down the steps in a good mood, maybe this day would turn out alright after all.

It was a very sunny day, not a spec of cloud in the sky but  still very chilly. I wrapped my scarf tightly around my neck as I stepped into the street. That's when it happened, without warning. I heard a loud bang and turned around quickly.  Someone was lying in the road. There was a screeching of brakes and a black sedan took off at top speed. I dashed across the street and ran towards the body lying on the road.

At first I just stood there, frozen with fear and in utter disbelief. I could not believe my eyes. It was Ken. He lay there motionless and his body looked somewhat distorted. There was a great nasty gash right down the middle of his forehead and  blood was oozing out, like a red chocolate fountain. I turned away and started screaming.  Half blinded by tears I fumbled in my bag for my mobile phone.
I had to call 999;  they would save him. My hands were trembling as I dialed the number. "Please send an ambulance quickly, corner of Shatta Road; there's been an accident."

The woman at the other end was asking me a lot of questions. I tried to control my voice, I could not get the words out. I was hysterical as I threw myself on floor beside Ken. A small crowd had gathered by now and a tall gentleman took the phone from me and said. "Here love let me talk to the emergency people."

An elderly woman was wrapping her jacket around Ken. His face was bloody, beyond recognition, I was in a daze,  by now there seem to be a crowd gathering . I don't know when and where all these people came from.  I was frantic with worry.

"He's going to be alright, please tell me he is going to be alright, I muttered to the woman who was kneeling beside him. I paced up and down with my hands above my head as some people attended to him. "He's going to be alright, he's going to be alright , he has to be, " I cried out aloud.  Some people were trying to calm me down but to no avail.

I didn't want to go too close . I couldn't deal with the reality. What if he were dead. I banished the thought from my head. Cars were tooting drivers were screaming. Some people were shouting . "There's an accident."  There was a terrible traffic jam . It was quite a chaotic scene.  It seemed like the ambulance was taking forever. Even the police had got there before them.

The policemen were clearing people away from the area.  I ran back to Ken's side. "He's my cousin," I said. I tried to explain what had happened but I was incoherent.  After what seemed a very long time an ambulance arrived. They quickly and carefully whisked Ken unto a stretcher and into the ambulance.  On the way to the hospital I held his hands and prayed aloud like someone in a trance. The ambulance crew must have thought I had gone crazy but I didn't really care.  All I wanted was for Ken to be alright. All the prayers I had learnt at Sunday school parrot fashion came flowing back.
As soon as we arrived at the hospital he was spirited away into surgery. I dreaded calling my mother but I had to and right away.  I should have done long before but I wasn't thinking . The emergency people had asked me to call my parents. Mum picked up the phone at the other end and by the sound of my voice she knew something was wrong. I tried explaining to Mum over the phone but all I could manage to say was, "Mum it's Ken. He's in the hospital."

Mum didn't let me finish she said straight away . "Stay put. Dad and I are on our way".

As Mum walked into the hospital I could not contain myself.  I rushed over and held her tight. I could not get the words out. Dad pulled me away and said in gruff frightened voice, "Tell us Allie. What's happened to Ken ?"

"I don't know, I think he got hit by a car" I said.  "He's hurt really bad."  I looked at Mum, her face was red and her lower lip started to quiver slightly. Soon the screams followed, as she collapsed in Dad's arms. I was just glad that Dad was there to take care of her. When Mum came round the nurses propped her up in a chair. It was just too much for her. I think she feared the worse.

"He will be alright Mum."  I said . "The doctors know what they are doing."  I was tryuing to convince myself.

It was over five hours now since Ken had gone into surgery.  Dad kept asking and the nurses were saying . "Don't worry as soon as he is out of surgery the doctors will let you know."  The wait was painful. Dad kept drinking cups after cups of coffee.

Mum was quietly reciting the rosary, I kept hearing her whisper in a distressed voice "Hail Mary Full of Grace....."

It was late afternoon now and almost nightfall when one of the  doctors emerged from the screen doors and slowly but meaningfully walked towards us. I took one look at him and I knew it;  Ken was gone. There was no doubt about it in my mind.  I  walked away quietly. I did not want to hear what he had to say.  As I turned round the corner heading for the exit I could hear my Mother's scream. That confirmed it for me.  It was a scream of a wounded animal.  I just needed some fresh air and time alone.

I felt so guilty for never having really gotten along with him. If only I had tried harder to understand him, maybe we would have had a better relationship. I kept wishing it was a bad dream that I would wake up and get home and Ken would be there. However I knew I would never see Ken again at least not in the flesh.

I remember distinctly the last words I said to Ken "Drop dead and leave me alone" I would never forget these words as long as I live.  Suddenly involuntarily I started sobbing, I crumpled to the floor and wailed in anguish. The feeling of grief  was indescribable.

About the author
Ella lives in London with her husband and two children and a posh cat called MJ.
Ella has worked in education in many different roles and is now working as a tutor. She is passionate about writing and have always written short stories for fun and relaxation but has never been able to devote much time as she would like to writing, because  of work and family constraints.
Last year she started a word press blog and has decided to make more time to writing and follow her dreams. She also joined The ‘Writers Clubhouse’ started by the author Paula Readman on Facebook where she finds encouragement, inspiration and advice to pursue her passion for writing.

She also enjoys cooking, swimming, jogging and spending time with the family.

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