NOT GUILTY: 4-5
‘Are you okay?’
‘I am fine,’ I said getting up, ‘what happened?’
‘This lady almost hit you with her car.’
‘Did you take the number plates?’
‘I have got a feeling that she wanted to kill me.’
‘Are you some kind of a prophet?’
‘I knew this was going to happen.’
‘You are hurt. I should take you to the hospital. My name is Craig…’
‘Are you giving me your hand right now?’
‘I am sorry. I forgot you….’
‘I didn’t want to say it.’
‘It’s okay, I am blind and everyone knows it.’
I tried to walk but my leg hurt.
‘I should take you to the hospital,’ he said and lifted me up.
My name is Karen Siwela. I wasn’t born blind but lost my eyesight when I was 10 years old. I am turning 20 and I have been blind for 10 years. My parents died in a car accident, I survived but then I was blind.
The doctors told me that my condition wasn’t permanent. They tried to operate me but it never worked. I finally accepted that I will never be able to see again and moved on with my life. I had been living with my grandmother and sister for the past few years. You can imagine the pain I went through when I woke up at a hospital bed 10 years ago and couldn’t see. This meant my life had changed.
I didn’t even see my parents getting buried because I was in a comma. When I woke up from the comma, I felt different and could often feel if something was about to go wrong. I was blind but that didn’t mean I had no brains or sense of touch. I got familiar with things when I touched and smelt them.
‘We are here,’ he said holding my hand.
‘I have got my stick.’
‘I am sorry.’
I walked inside the hospital. I knew we were at mpilo hospital.
‘You familiar with the place,’ he said as I led the way.
‘Are you new?’
‘I landed last night. I had been abroad studying.’
‘This should be Doctor Mwale’s office,’ I said knocking at the door ignoring his response.
‘Come in,’ he responded from inside.
He opened the door for me.
‘Karen, what happened to you?’.
‘I fell and he saved my life,’ I lied.
I didn’t want him to worry.
‘Come sit here,’ he took my hand, ‘I will help you.’
‘Can you excuse us Craig?’
‘Okay, I will be outside waiting for you.’
‘I will be safe with him. You can take your leave now. Thank you!’
‘Ohhhh okay. I shall be leaving now.’
‘Thank you young man. She is my niece and she is safe with me,’ I heard uncle walking him to the door.
When I heard the final click of the door being closed, I sighed.
‘He didn’t want to leave. Why did you chase him?’
‘I hate his perfume. Same cologne that my father used to wear.’
‘He is not my boyfriend after all. Just a stranger who saved my life.’
‘Let me help you with the wound.’
I sat in silence just listening to the pain. I had dreamt about some woman trying to kill me.
I don’t know why God let me go through all these things. In my dream I can see perfectly well but in real life I am blind. Granny told me that it’s a gift. She is the only person who knows about my dreams and what I can see in them.
‘All done. How are you feeling? You need me to check up on you with a scan?’
‘I didn’t break my bones,’ I laughed, ‘you worry too much uncle. I should take my leave. I am on my way to the library,’ I said getting up.
‘You still trying to get your sister out of that place?’
‘She is my sister and I will prove to the judge that she is innocent. I have decided to study law. I am dropping at teacher’s college.’
‘What? Your sister was studying law, your mother was an attorney. Shouldn’t you do something different?’
‘I can’t because my sister is now in prison and I need to help her.’
‘But you are….’
‘You probably thinking that how am I going to get her out if I am blind? I can’t see but I can touch things, feel them and smell. I am doing this for Kate and no one is going to stop me. I am applying for a degree in law. If they found her guilty, I will prove to the judge that she was framed. I know my sister very well, she didn’t kill that man.’
He sighed in defeat, I could feel it.
‘You are very stubborn but intelligent. There is no way I can make you change your mind. I know you very well, very stubborn like your mother. My sister is very proud of you wherever she is and so am I. You have proved to me that even when you blind, you can do anything. We only think about what we see but not use our brains or hands to feel those things. It’s not always about seeing but feeling. I am with you all the way.
You have got my support,’ he hugged me, ‘take care of yourself my princess. Your leg should be fine. It was just a scratch.’
‘Thank you uncle. I should go now. I will call the taxi driver.’
‘Alright, I love you.’
‘I love you too uncle.’
He opened the door and I walked out of the hospital.
‘I was waiting for you.’
I dropped my stick on the ground.
‘I am so so sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.’
I was so deep in my thoughts when he talked to me. Nowadays I can’t stop thinking about my sister Kate and what she is going through. I had met Jason once when he took me out for an ice cream. Honestly I felt like he was hiding something from my sister after he got a phone call from someone while hanging out with me. I heard him yell at the other person calling her Rita. The name never got out of my mind. When I finally heard that she was Jason’s wife after my sister’s arrest, the name came back to mind.
‘It’s okay. Where is my stick? Why hadn’t you left?’
‘I was worried about you and the fact that you lied to your uncle.’
‘You don’t have to worry about me okay,’ I snapped ‘thanks for saving my life but I hate people who stalk me. Don’t you have something to do because I do.’
I left him and walked to my spot, where I usually wait for the taxi driver. He didn’t take that long to come and drove me to the library.
‘What time should I pick you up?’ he asked walking me to the door, ‘mind the steps.’
‘I will be here. Take good care of yourself.’
He left when I had found a place to sit. So many people got worried when I was left alone. No matter how much I told them that I will be fine on my own, they never listened. I started reading my book, obviously feeling the words with my hand. I needed to help my sister and get her out of that place.
If only they had allowed me at the crime scene. By the time the taxi driver came back to pick me up, I was dead tired. The next following day I was suppose to go to the police station. I had a friend who worked there and had something for me.
‘Goodnight Karen’ said grandmother after praying for me.
‘Can you sleep with me?’
‘Are you afraid?’
‘I just want you close. I miss Kate. She used to sleep with me when I had nightmares.’
‘I will sleep with you. Are you still seeing her?’
‘Can’t you draw her picture?’
‘I hadn’t thought about that but I will. I love you granny.’
‘I love you too.’
I had just dozed off when I heard a sudden noise coming from outside. I quickly woke up my grandmother.
‘Granny, did you hear that.’
‘I did,’ she said, ‘oh my God!’ she exclaimed.
‘The house is on fire and I can’t open the door. It’s locked.’
‘What?’ I said getting up and fell on the floor.
I couldn’t find my stick.
‘Granny!’ I can’t find my stick.
I could hear her coughing.
‘I need to get you out of here before this smokes kills you.’
I started coughing.
‘What about you?’
‘I will be fine. Let me break this window glass. I will knot the sheets and get you out of here.’
‘I can’t leave you granny,’ I cried.
‘Listen to me. These people are after your life. I need you to get out of here and be there for your sister.’
I was talking to her, and she wasn’t listening to me. I didn’t want to leave her. I heard her breaking the glass.
‘Come..’ she grabbed my hand.
‘I can’t leave you,’ I yanked it away.
‘The smoke is getting worse. I am begging you..let me save you.’
‘Granny,’ I hugged her.
‘I love you,’ with that said she tied me and pushed me out of the window.
I landed on the ground and felt a hand grabbing me.
It was Nick, the taxi driver.
‘How did you get here?’
‘Your grandmother just called me and I was in the area.’
‘We need to save her.’
‘There is no way in Karen. The fire is at the door. I need to get you out of here before they sees you,’ he said walking with me.
‘The people your grandmother is protecting you from.’
Then suddenly I heard a burst.
‘Granny!’ I shouted. ‘let me go Nick.’
‘She is dead Karen. Let’s go,’ he got me into his car and locked the door.
My grandmother, my mother and my best friend. Whoever killed her was going to pay for it. I don’t know where Nick was taking me but I couldn’t stop crying.
‘I am sorry.’
‘You should have saved her life but not mine.’
‘She wanted you to live Karen. It’s hurting me too because of granny I got that job as a taxi driver. When I saw her message, the house was already on fire.
‘How did she manage to text you?’
‘I think when she realized that the house was on fire. I even drove in high speed. I can only take you to my boss son’s house for tonight. My house isn’t safe anymore. I am sure he won’t mind. I will always be here for you Karen like I promised Granny. We will find the people who did this.’
I drifted off to sleep just to be awakened by Nick telling me that we had arrived at the place. He held my hand as I got out of the car. If only I was able to see, I could have helped my grandmother. He knocked at the door .
‘I need your help.’
His voice was familiar to me.
‘It’s Craig…you remember me.’
I kept quiet.
‘Nick, get me out of here. Take me to my uncle’s house.’
‘We need to sleep here Karen. You two have met?’
‘I drove her to the hospital when she fell. Is she always like this? Rude to everyone.’
‘She lost her grandmother right now,’ he whispered.
‘I hear t….,’ I wanted to say, ‘my head hurts,’ hands on my hand.
A break doesn’t have to last a long time, but day or two was necessary. I needed to allow myself to understand what’d just happened, how I’d plan to deal with it in the near future and how I’d respond to the people who’d ask me how I was doing. Death is a difficult concept digest for everyone.
Incomprehensible even. One minute they are there, the next they are not. Shock and numbness are just as expected as sadness. It was going to be incredibly challenging to get my head around the idea that I will never see my grandmother again but she wouldn’t want me to cry the whole day and do nothing about her death. I had to be strong for my sake and for my sister.
‘You have to eat Karen. It’s been days now,’ said Craig.
He had been helpful lately and was able to help me with the funeral arrangements, the burial and so was Nick.
‘Are you that worried about me?’
‘More than you can imagine. I didn’t even go to work.’
‘But I didn’t force you to stay. Why are you helping me? What do you want in return?’
‘I want nothing from you Karen. Why do you think so badly of me? I am trying so hard to make you feel comfortable in my house but you just assume the worst out of me.’
I didn’t respond, he was right, I was being too harsh on him and I didn’t know why. He didn’t deserve the bad treatment after all he was trying to help.
‘I will leave. See you later at night. Amina will take care of you.’
I tried to open my mouth to say something but he had already closed the door. I felt guilty for disrespecting him.
I spent the whole day in my room and Amina didn’t even come to my room. I wasn’t even familiar with the house and didn’t have my stick with me. I was really pressed and wanted to use the toilet. Times like these ones, I really wish my grandmother was here with me. I got up from the bed and listened to the sound of the radio but couldn’t quiet figure out where the door was.
I kept bumping my head on the wall. The sound didn’t build an image in my mind. When I finally got hold of the door handle, I tried opening it but it was locked from outside. I banged the door crying out for help but there was no response. I was scared and nervous. I thought of many things.
What if Craig was the one of the people who had tried to hurt me? I couldn’t control my emotions and peered on the floor. I sat down and began to call out my grandma for help. I missed her. She should have been here helping me clean up the mess that I had made. The most embarrassing part, I had started my periods and felt it that I spoiled my dress. Minutes and hours passed as I slept on the floor with a period pain. I finally heard the door being opened and I don’t know what time it was.
‘Karen, what are you doing on the floor? I am so sorry.’
He lifted me up as tears streamed down on my face. He must have walked with me to the toilet.
‘Bath me,’ I said to him, ‘the period pain is killing me.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘It’s just you and me in this house,’ I sniffed, ‘my grandma and Kate used to help me out.’
He didn’t respond but helped me removed my clothes. No man had never seen me naked before but what was I suppose to do? My grandma or Kate were not here with me. They could have helped me.
‘Do you have pads?’
‘Surprisingly, I bought some for you,’ he said wiping me.
‘I guess so. I used to live with my sister in UK.’
He wrapped the towel around my body and lifted me up. He made me sit on the bed and applied lotion on my body. I felt embarrassed but he was doing all of this with no comment.
‘I will prepare you something to eat.”
‘I am sorry for spoiling your sheets.’
‘It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have trusted Amina. She looked the door and left. She stole my money as well.’
‘If only I could see,’ I wiped away the tears.
‘Don’t say that love. I am here for you. I will never leave you Karen. You must be hungry. Come with me to the kitchen,’ he got hold of my hand.
We walked downstairs. He pulled the chair for me and helped me sit on it. I could smell the delicious meal he was preparing.
‘I didn’t know you were a chef.’
‘I am not,’ he laughed ‘do you want to taste my soup?’
‘Only if it’s not hot.’
‘I wouldn’t be that cruel to you. How is the pain now?’
‘I think the Indocin in pill helped. I am feeling better now and thank you. You should give me the bed sheets I wash them. I will also clean the room.’
‘You don’t need to worry. I will take care of it. I want you to take some rest.’
He wasn’t that bad after all. He made me laugh a lot with his crazy jokes while he was cooking. I offered to help but he insisted I sit on the chair and be treated like a princess. He finished cooking and took me to the dining room. He played soft music as we ate.
‘You know I have got hands,’ I said as he was feeding me.
‘I want to feed you.’
‘Is Nick not coming in today?’
‘He is staying at his house. It’s just you and me in the house. Trust me I won’t hurt you.’
‘I know you won’t and I am sorry for always being rude to you.’
‘You know I even thought that was your character.’
‘I am sorry. Can I have some water?’
He helped me drink the water.
‘Are you full? You finished the whole plate.’
‘The food was delicious. You such a good cook and I am jealous. I am a bad cook.’
‘I will help you if you tell me more about yourself. We living together now and so I need to know you.’
‘There is nothing exciting to know about me. I am the most boring person who ever lived on earth. I love reading..well of cause using my hands. Sometimes my sister used to read for me. I love going to church and playing with the sunday school kids. I was currently enrolled at a teachers college but I have decided to study law.’
‘Interesting but why study law? Did I tell you that I was a lawyer by profession?’
‘First day, you did. I want to get my sister out of prison. She was arrested for murder and she is not guilty. Maybe she is kinda guilty for sleeping with a married man but she didn’t know that he was married. I suspect that the wife might have found out about it and killed her own husband framing my sister in the process.’
‘You think she followed her husband?’
‘I don’t think so but the fact that she had hired someone to follow him. He was a womanizer but the fact that he had loved my sister and even bought her an apartment. This should have made the wife angry and jealous. He got serious with my sister than the other girls. The husband might have left home that day and she wanted to confront him.
A woman in her right state of mind, should have walked away but I think he said something that pissed her off. She lost control and after grabbing the knife at the kitchen, she stabbed him several times. If my sister had stabbed him, she should have had scars on her body. Maybe they had had a fight but she had none, meaning they never had a fight with Jason,’ I paused, ‘So after stabbing her husband wearing gloves, she knocks my sister down on the floor and make her hold the knife. Already the knife have got her fingerprints because she uses it in the kitchen. The wife walks out of the house and calls the police pretending to be the neighbor that heard noise. My sister wakes up next to the dead body holding the knife and the police badge in the house and found her holding it.’
‘Tell me more.’
‘I did some investigations. The neighbors were not around that night.’
‘Meaning someone who was present at the scene might have tipped off the police. Jason’s gateman at his house is the eye witness who saw the wife driving out of the compound.’
‘I mean you so intelligent that I envy you. I am a lawyer but you easily solved the puzzle. You think the wife wants you dead?’
‘This is not about my sister anymore. I think Jason left something for my sister in his will. Think about it, Rita invested a lot in their marriage. If he was stupid enough to add my sister in his will then he placed my life in danger. You know about wills.’
‘Yes when reading the will, all members should be present. If your sister’s name appeared in that will then you should have been there. Your absence means they can’t read the will.’
‘Then I should die in order for her to inherit everything. Kate what have you done?’
‘I have been listening to you right now and I think you will be a good lawyer. I will help you but this will be my first case.’
‘Your first case?’
‘I will help you. Do you trust me?’
‘We need more evidence and witnesses.’
‘She is set to appear in court after 2 months.’
‘I don’t know, new law I guess.’
We talked for a while until I decided that I needed to get some rest. I was actually scared to sleep alone after grandma died. I wasn’t even at the funeral. I wondered how my sister was holding up. I needed to pay her a visit, Nick might have told her about granny. I asked Craig to sleep with me in the room. The guy might have thought that I was throwing myself at him. He didn’t say no but let me sleep on his chest. I slept well that night and didn’t have any nightmares.
I woke up the following day and Craig wasn’t on the bed. I screamed out his name in tears. What if they had killed him?
‘Karen, what’s wrong?’
‘Why didn’t you wake me up?’ I cried.
‘You were sleeping.’
‘I thought I had lost you.’
‘Don’t cry,’ he wiped my tears and hugged me. ‘I am sorry, I was preparing you some breakfast.’
‘I don’t want to lose you. What if they hurt you? I have placed your life in danger now.’
‘You my blind girl worry a lot. No one will hurt you or me. I am your bodyguard now.’
He kissed me on the forehead. I have grown fond of him lately. I went to take a bath and he walked with me downstairs to have breakfast. We were having breakfast when a knock came at the door.
‘Let me get that.’
I continued eating when I heard him say,
‘Mum, what are you doing here?’
‘Are you going to let me in or what?’
My heart beat at an increasingly rapid race.
‘What was his mother doing at his house?’
‘And who is this lovely lady?’ I heard her ask.
‘Her name is Karen and she is my fiancée.’
‘Is she blind?’
‘You in love with a blind girl.’
‘Mum I love her and…,’ he sounded so defensive.
‘No, I am happy for you,’ she cut him.
‘What?’ he exclaimed in surprise.
‘You thought I was going to disapprove.’
‘But I am not his f…’
‘She is so beautiful,’ she held my hand and I could smell her scent. ‘when are you getting married?’
‘Getting married?!’ we exclaimed in unison.