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DEATH ROW: 10

DEATH ROW: 10

*”DEATH ROW”*

EPISODE TEN
The Stranger appears…things are going to heat up!
Read on…
They are a little scared, but Reverend Obuobi only laughs.

REV. OBUOBI
You have the impudence of an unbeliever, and of course I don’t want to taint the memory of my dead father with a show of vengeance, otherwise you would not have been able to walk out of here on your own two legs! The man you so obviously want to fornicate with is sick, very sick! I was trying to help him, to break the curse on him, but I lost my uncle, and in my grief I have not been able to pray for Akoto. You should leave him here so that we pray for him, or you can take him away. The choice is yours. But remember, if you take him away, he will remain the way he is now. He will never get well!! The ushers will show you where he is! Come, brothers, let’s go and plan!

The men file past Amina and head for the entrance.
An usher comes towards Amina, his face scared, and speaks to her.
USHER
Please, follow me! The cursed one is in the Miracle Room!
Amina follows the Usher to the Miracle Room.

The young man opens the door, and when Amina enters she stops suddenly and great sobs rack her body at what she sees!
Akoto is sitting on the floor with a leash around his neck like a dog, and the end of the leash is chained to a concrete pillar.
His lips are twisted savagely to the left, and his fingers are gnarled and curled and stumpy with leprosy.
His legs have shrunk like a cripple’s!
He stinks because evidently the room is not hygienic, and he has urinated on himself several times.

It seems he has been starved, and so he has not soiled himself with faeces, thankfully.
Amina is horrified!
She can barely see because her tears are falling hard.
Akoto sees her, and he tries to speak, but he is too weak, and tears flood his face as he makes weak gestures towards her with his leprous hands.

Kesewaa has followed Amina!
She has not seen Akoto again since the night he had been taken to the Miracle Room.
What Kesewaa sees shocks her so much that tears come into her eyes immediately!

KESEWAA
(stunned, aghast)
A. N.! Oh, dear Lord!
Amina can barely walk.
She stumbles forward and sits on the floor.
She gathers Akoto into her arms and holds him tightly.
AMINA
Oh, Akoto! My love! My only love! What have they done to you? Get the damn chains off him this instant!!
USHER
(rattled)
Yes, Miss!
He goes out and comes back a few minutes later with a bunch of keys and unlocks the leash around Akoto’s neck.

KESEWAA
(tremulously)
I didn’t know! Oh, Akoto! I didn’t know! I’m so sorry!
Amina looks at Kesewaa with acid in her eyes.
••••••••••••••••••••••

AMINA
Well done, Kesewaa. Go and marry that pastor, and I wish you all the luck. You know something? I’m going to care for this man, and I don’t care if he doesn’t get well. I’m going to stay with him, and love him, and make him happy so that he won’t even remember the nightmare you are!!

Akoto hears everything, even in the darkness of his afflicted soul, and he turns his face into Amina’s neck and begins to weep pitifully.
Kesewaa, shattered, cannot take it anymore.
With a sob she turns and flees from the room!

With the Usher’s help Amina takes Akoto to the washroom and cleans him up.
She also cleans the room, and they carry him to a bed in the Miracle Room.
Amina goes out and buys water and milo and prepares his favourite drink for him: cold cocoa drink.

She feeds him, and he eats hungrily, and this makes Amina cry even more!
To see a rich boy who has everything at his beck and call reduced to such a shell really tears her heart apart.
She looks at him out of her loving eyes and kisses his cheeks.
AMINA
My love, I’m going for an ambulance to take you to hospital, okay? Don’t worry at all! I fasted and prayed for three days, and I had a recurring dream in which a tall stranger in a black suit kept telling me that everything is alright. I’m sure God has heard my prayers, and things will be alright. Don’t worry, love! I’ll be back soon.

Akoto smiles out of his twisted lips, and Amina leaves quickly.
She decides to go to the Eden Hospital, where Maame Akua is on admission, and arrange for an ambulance for Akoto.
She gets out of the taxi at the entrance of the huge hospital just as a huge, black, sleek Escalade with tint windows comes to a stop.

Amina pays the taxi driver and as she begins to walk towards the hospital she casts an admiring look at the Escalade again.
The driver’s door opens, and then he steps out!
Amina comes to a complete halt!
She is shivering as her mouth opens with a combination of shock and horror!
The man who has emerged from the luxurious car is tall and handsome.
He is wearing a black suit with a white shirt and a black tie!

A circle of hair around his lips formed a moustache and a beard, and he is wearing a hat.
He is also wearing dark shades!
He is the stranger!
The man in her dreams!
The one she sees in the maze in her dreams!
•••••••••••••••••••••

People are staring at the man as he crosses to the entrance of the hospital and approaches Amina.
She closes her eyes and shakes her head hard, thinking she is hallucinating.
She opens her eyes again and he is right there!
He is not smiling, and his face is grim and extremely wrathful, as if he is very angry.

AMINA
(gasping)
Y-you! I-I s-s-saw y-you in… I saw yo-yo-you in m-my dr-dr-drea-dreams!
The stranger doesn’t even stop to look at her, but he speaks in a calm, deep, bass voice.
THE STRANGER
I know, lass.
He walks past her.
Amina turns with a strangled gasp and follows him.
He is not in a hurry, but his legs are long, and his strides sure, so she had to run to keep up.

She reaches his side and reaches out to touch him, and when her hand touches him it further confirms to her that she is not crazy, and that the stranger she has seen in her dream is indeed here.
He enters the reception and does not stop to ask direction.
He enters the elevator, and Amina follows him in.

She is not surprised when he punches the number for the fifth floor, where the FEMALE WARDS are.
AMINA
Please, sir, who’re you? What’s your name? How come I saw you in my dreams after my fasting and prayers?
He looks at her, and the harsh lines of his face does not relax, and indeed he does look a trifle irritated by her questions.
THE STRANGER
You prayed to our mighty Lord Jehovah.

AMINA
(softly)
Yes, I did! And for three days I saw you in my dreams! And now you’re here! I’m a bit petrified, really, and freaking out a little, if you see what I mean.
THE STRANGER
No, I don’t see what you mean. And I certainly owe you no explanations, lady.
The lift doors slide open, and the stranger walks out.

He strides along the corridor, and presently arrives at WARD 5, where Maame Akua is still lying on a bed, attached to the life support machine.
He slides the glass door open and enters the ward with Amina close behind him.
There are two male doctors and a female nurse in the ward, and they both look up at the new entrants.
DOCTOR GYAMBIBI, the elderly man who has been attending to Maame Akua, looks at Amina and smiles.

DOCTOR GYAMBIBI
Oh, hello again, Amina.
AMINA
(unsteadily)
Hello, Doctor.
DOCTOR GYAMBIBI
Is this Madam Akua’s son? Mr. Akoto Nyameboame?
AMINA
(licking her lips)
N-no, please. He’s a f-friend.
DOCTOR GYAMBIBI
In that case you two have to wait outside for a while. Visiting hours is still about an hour away.

AMINA
Yes, Doctor. Please, sir, we have to wait outside for a while.
The stranger does not bother to listen to anyone.
He walks forward briskly and stands at the foot of the bed looking at the frail woman attached to the life support.
The younger doctor has a name tag on his coat lapel which says he is DOCTOR AKWASI KISSIEDU.
DOC KISSIEDU
Look, sir, with all due respect you should go out. There is a procedure going on. You can come in when we’re done.
The stranger looks at the doctor without expression.

THE STRANGER
(calmly)
You say there’s no God, and you’re bitterly fighting with your wife because she chooses to worship God. She believes that only God can heal your daughter, who was born a week ago with a weak heart, and not expected to live past two weeks.

The doctors exchange startled glances, and the nurse gasps with shock.
Doctor Kissiedu puts the clipboard he is holding down with a curse and approaches the stranger angrily.
DOC KISSIEDU
(enraged)
Now, look here, you bastard! How the hell did you know that?
He is reaching out to push the stranger in the chest, and the tall man’s stare drills into him.

THE STRANGER
Believe me, Akwasi Kuntukununku, you don’t want to touch me!
Doctor Kissiedu pauses with even more shock!
The man has just mentioned his childhood name, the name he has shirked many years ago, the name no one knows.
He gasps, and he drops his hand, and he takes a step back.

DOCTOR GYAMBIBI
Listen, sir! What game do you think you’re playing with ME?
The stranger reaches out suddenly and touches Maame Akua’s right foot.
THE STRANGER
If I be a man of the Almighty Jehovah, then with the power vested in me by the Holy Spirit, arise from this bed, woman, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
And Maame Akua suddenly sits up in bed, coughing!

She looks around, her eyes once more normal, her limbs once more cured.
She stares at the stranger standing at the foot of her bed with stunned incredulity.
MAAME AKUA
You!
THE STRANGER
Yes, me.
MAAME AKUA
(unsteadily)
I saw you in my dreams! I was lost, and you took my hand and led me to my house!

THE STRANGER
Then get up and go to your house, woman, and stop your muttering! I have other things to do before the day ends!
He turns and walks towards the door.
********************

To be Continue

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