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Second sight, p.1
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       Second Sight, p.1

           Nseyen Stanley Bassey
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Second Sight

  By Stanley N. Bassey

  I knew something’s been wrong with me ever since my beloved aunt died six days ago. I was hoping with all my heart that it wasn’t what I thought it was, but now I’m certain it is. It was confirmed a few minutes ago when we drove past the boundary between Alabama and Louisiana. Oh my goodness! There were so many of them trying to cross borders. I’m so scared.

  When Kate finished writing into her diary she slid the pen into the hollow of the diary and slowly closed it. She was stiff with fear; her eyes were wide and looking straight ahead, her hands clutched her seat as if for dear life and sweat formed on her fore-head.

  Mrs Winslet who was now feigning reading a magazine had been watching her daughter from the side of her eye throughout the journey to her late sister-in-law’s burial and was clearly worried by what she was seeing. Yes, the loss of her sweet and caring sister-in-law – Mariam, had deeply saddened the whole family and Yes, Kate was closest to Mariam than all other nieces and nephews; perhaps even closer to Mariam than her husband was but she was taking the loss far too severely.

  Mrs Winslet was sure that Kate had lost no less than five pounds in just six days due to her worry and refusal to eat. Kate, who had always been a lively and friendly girl, had been locked up in her room these six days; she had even refused to accompany her mother in the running-around for the burial ceremony. Everybody else –Mr Winslet, who was behind the wheel of the van, their first-born son - James at the passenger side and Lisa, their nine year old last born at one of the rear seats – was at peace. Mrs Winslet was now certain that her daughter required professional psychological help to overcome the trauma of losing her aunt.

  As she prepared to give Kate another lecture on letting Aunt Mariah go from her heart, Kate let out a high pitched gasp and buried her head in her lap. The sound alerted everyone in the vehicle; Mr Winslet shouted “What was that?” while the others turned to look at Kate.

  Kate’s mother looked out the window where Kate was sitting and noticed they were driving by a cemetery.

  She can’t bear the thought of burying her late aunt, that’s why the sight of a cemetery frightens her so. Mrs Winslet concluded and she placed her palm on her quivering daughter’s back and calmly spoke.

  “Kate! Kate! My dear daughter. You have to be strong and calm yourself down. Your Aunt Maria would never have wanted you to be this miserable”

  At that very moment Mr Winslet pulled the car to a halt at the roadside, perhaps he wanted to say something to Kate.

  “No! no! Dad, keep going. Please keep going” Kate Shrieked, tears trickled down her bewildered looking face, she was shaking very visibly now.

  “If you can’t stand the sight of a cemetery how will you be able to attend your late aunt’s burial? You just have to -”

  “DAD DRIVE NOW! PLEASE, PLEASE DRIVE!” she screamed him to a halt mid-sentence. By now Kate was gasping for breath, it looked as though she would pass out at any moment.

  “Honey please just keep going” her mother pleaded to her father on her behalf, Mrs Winslet was now so worried for her daughter it seemed she would soon start crying too.

  “Alright, Alright” Mr Winslet said passively as he pulled out from the kerb.

  “Get a hold on yourself for Pete’s sake” James scolded her from the passenger seat.

  “Ssshhhhhh!” Mrs Winslet hushed him immediately “We’ll soon be out of this street” she said to comfort Kate.

  But now Kate was barely hearing anything around her. The last thing she remembered seeing before she faded out completely was the figure of a young man with an evil smile approaching her side of the van and almost touching her.

  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  Kate could hear someone sobbing and another person was saying something. The sounds seemed distant at first but as the seconds ticked by they became more pronounced. She slowly opened her eyes and stared upwards at a ceiling and then she turned towards the sounds. To her utter shock it was her father who was sobbing and with her arm around his shoulder mother was consoling him.

  She must have made a sound because both of them suddenly turned towards her. Mr Winslet frantically shrugged off his wife’s arm and looked away, one hand to his face.

  “Uummh! Glad to have you back Kate but unfortunately you missed the funeral. It ended half an hour ago” Mrs Winslet said, ending a four-second long awkward silence.

  “What was it? How come?” Kate asked slowly and feebly, holding her head with both hands to supress growing nausea.

  Mrs Winslet, attributing her daughter’s incoherent questions to just waking from a faint said “it was beautiful Kate, and so many people came. Your aunt was truly loved”

  Mr Winslet suddenly cleared his throat and said to Kate “you should drink something. What would you like?” he was intentionally avoiding her eyes.

  “A cold bottle of water will do, dad. Thank you.”

  With that he rushed out of the room, his face a light shade of pink.

  “Your father’s nervous because you saw him crying” Mrs Winslet said suddenly, her bluntness and abruptness surprised Kate.

  “You surely heard and saw him so why not admit it” Mrs Winslet said, reading the expression on her daughter’s face.

  “It’s because of his late sister”

  “I know that, mum”

  “He didn’t shed a tear at the funeral, even as he made his heart-renting eulogy. But as soon as we had driven back to the hospital and your brother and sister were away having a snack he just broke down”

  “It’s the first time I’ve seen him cry…” Kate was saying

  “And my third” her mother interjected. Kate could sense that her mother regretted saying that.

  “Well, don’t tell your brother and sister”

  “Of course I won’t, mum”

  A short silence ensued, Kate was certain of the next line of conversation.

  “I’m beginning to think that Mariah’s passing isn’t all that’s bothering you. What is it Catherine? What’s bothering you so?”

  Kate said nothing; she just stared down at the bed sheets on her thighs. Her mind was racing.

  Could she tell her mother what was really wrong? She would no doubt think that the grief of losing Aunt Mariah had driven her down the deep end. What should she tell her?

  “You can confide in me” Mrs Winslet said very calmly, placing her palm on her daughter’s left hand.

  “I want to see a pastor” Kate said so quickly and unexpectedly that she surprised even herself.

  “A pastor?” her mother asked

  “An evangelist, preacher, deacon…you know, a messenger of God” Kate said.

  “Why would you want to see a pastor? Tell me Kate.”

  “Just let me talk to a man of God first”

  The next few minutes ensued with Mrs Winslet wrangling her daughter to confide in her but Kate firmly insisted on seeing a pastor first.

  “Remember that we don’t live here. We don’t know any pastors here”

  “Then I’ll talk to one when we get back”

  Mr Winslet returned with the bottle of water.

  “Your daughter insists on seeing a pastor” Mrs Winslet proclaimed angrily

  “What? About what?” Mr Winslet asked, perplexed.

  “She’s apparently having some spiritual issues” she told her husband. She looked at Kate and could clearly see Kate’s disappointment at the undignified manner in which she told her father about the predicament.

  She quickly stole her eyes away from Kate’s penetrating stare and said “You want a pastor? I’ll get one to see you right here in this room” and she stormed out of the ward.

  - - - - - - - - -

  The time was now 5:00pm and it would soon be
dark and Kate still lay on her bed in the hospital ward. By this time Kate would have expected to have been back in her home in Louisiana but the doctor had detained her in the hospital for the night to observe her as –according to him– she’d shown signs of severe shock. This suited her mother just fine as it afforded her extra time to get spiritual help for Kate. Knowing her mother’s high state of integrity, she was sure her mother was still attempting to get her a pastor this very minute. Mr Winslet and siblings on the other hand were not thrilled at the concept of spending the night in a cramped hotel suite but it was either that or try to talk it out with their mother and that was a ‘no-go’ area.

  Kate was abruptly cut-off from her thoughts by three taps on her ward door.

  Could this be the pastor? She thought

  The visitor let herself in before invited and stood seven feet from Kate’s bed.

  This is no pastor, Kate concluded at the first sight of her.

  The woman before her stood at about five feet, eleven inches tall; she was middle-aged, she had three sets of large black beads hanging on her neck, insignia rings on all fingers save both thumbs. She wore a red blouse, a long loose-fitting skirt and she had long unkempt black hair hanging on her shoulders. She carried a really large and shabby looking black bag; the very sight of her greatly alarmed Kate.

  Was she one of them? Kate thought

  No! She opened the door like everyone else

  “Who -who are you?” she managed to let out.

  The tall spooky lady who was intensely studying Kate spoke.

  “Relax Child! I was informed you required spiritual help”

  My goodness! How on earth
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