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Darkness plunked the valley bringing along ominous sound in the air. Khalid was soaked through and through with sweat as he walked; perspiration trickled into the corner of his left eye, stinging him sharply, blurring his vision. He blotted his slick forehead with the sleeve of his shirt and blinked furiously to wash the salt out of his eyes.
The ground of his surroundings was littered with dead corpses. Most of the corpses were eyeless; deep hollows flaunted their eye sockets. While most them had their teeth revealing in a mire–like they were grinning from underword. All these frightened Khalid more. His environment spelt more like abyss and that hauled large chunk of fear at him as he struggled to get out of it. He made to walk pass the pile of cadavers when a hand gripped his leg. Khalid nearly spued his heart as he felt the touch. He hadn’t expected to find any living among the dead but there he was somebody holding him.
“My son you need to find me. I’m not dead!! You must find me-I’m not dead!! You must find me–I’m not dead. I’m not dead!!!” A voice groaned clamorously pelting more insane fear at Khalid’s face.
The poor boy tried to snatch his leg from the ghost then he made an eye contact with it, what he saw was an eyesore. He was not really a ghost, but human being with visible hoary look that confirmed to him he plodded from erstwhile. Khalid shank bank in fear when the creature tightened his grip on his legs. Despite the weirdness on the creature’s face Khalid wouldn’t deny he felt a bond between him and the creature. It was obvious creature had grown pastels, soaked with hurt and pain as he struggled for each morsel of breath just to keep living in the land of death.
“Who are you and what do you want from me ?”
“I’m Ryan–your father. I need you to find me cuz I’m not dead!”
“No-no-no-no-no!” Khalid shook his head in despair and whined.
He later opened his eyes to see ray of light threatening to blind his eyes. He was surprised. He blinked and flickered his eyelids so as to adjust them to the impromptu ray that appeared. His darted around to get reasonable dosage of the happenings around him. He was happy light finally came to pave way for him to see his face. The face of the creature that claimed he was his father.
But then, another creature face crawled right above him; this particular face wasn’t hoary neither was it tawdry like the previous –instead it was scintillating.
“Son you are awake? Oh! Thank God!” A man moaned out to him.
Khalid groaned, while he made to rub his eyes out of vertigo then he noticed a syringe pierced into one of the veins on his hand. The syringe had chord attached to it–the chord carrying white fluid into his system. It was after seeing all these it he realised he was in a hospital. So all the eldritch he saw prior was just a nightmare. The dark valley, the hordes of corpses lying around, the strange man that labelled himself his father–none of them never existed. They were dream!
He heaved a heavy sigh and gazed at the man who he would pay fortune just to retreat him from staring at him like he was some alien.
“Who-who are you?” He stuttered.
“Call me Mr Rominick. I found you unconscious in the street and brought to you here.” The older man replied with a smile that seemed it was pasted on his lips– the kind that reminded Khalid of the grinning ghost in his dreams. Well, truthfully, Mr Rominick grinned like a ghost.
“Okay.” Khalid said and wished he could say anything more but no words formed in his vocal cord. So in absence of words, he feigned dizziness and closed his eyes.
He was enjoying the environment–the hospital. He couldn’t believe the city fostered such primly-equipped medical center, unlike the town he came from where hospitals were built like a pigsty of pig. Hardly would you find a comfortable bed in their pigpen -like hospital talk less of sophisticated medical equipments decorating the hospital he was.
Khalid’s desire to become a medical doctor became grounded but he rued knowing that that was an impossible ambition now that he had turned into a clochard and a petty thief on the street. It crossed his mind if there was any possibility his good Samaritan –Mr Rominick could help him achieve this dream; but he later discarded the thought. No rich person was ready to help a plep especially when a first grade nullity like him. He would stop living on unattainable dreams. People, for the much he knew them since turning to a vigrant, had let him know they are callous and uncompassionate and no one would dare help him make his dream comes true.
“Are you still feeling sleepy or I should call a doc to check you up. You r still burning up?” Mr Rominick tootled while placing his hands on Khalid forehead. A feeling of déjà vu was sprouting inside him–he remembered it was his mother and Meshach that ever felt so deeply concerned for him with such demeanour. He missed her mother more than ever and wished she found Tamara–his friend and lover in afterlife so they could comfort each others when they realised they both loved him and missed him.
“Why did you rescue me ?” Khalid asked, shelving away what Rominick asked from him.
“Because it’s the right thing to do ?”
Right thing? Did he say right thing to do was helping the helpless ? Definitely those who had spurned him instead of helping him intentionally chose the wrong path by doing that.
“So you mind talking about it ?” The man said, still with his rum grinning mouth–whereas it took Khalid twenty one chromosomes to stop himself from telling him to stop grinning like a ghost.
“No. I can’t.”
“So you mind dropping your parents number so as to contact them ?”
“I don’t have any.”
“You don’t have anybody to ..”
“Yes.” Khalid quickly retorted saving him from sploshing more spittle on his face.
Mr Rominick heaved a sigh, failed to say anything more and resumed staring at Khalid for another round of sixty three seconds.
“Where did you get that from ?” Rominick pointed to the talisman on his neck. It was the question that liberate Khalid to realise Rominick had not been staring at him or probably if he had it definitely not up to time he used in staring at his talisman.
“Momma gave it to me told me it was from dad. His last wish or some sort.”
“It’s petty good.”
“So you mind coming home with me ? To start living with me ? Have got a kid as old as you so you guys could hook up and be brothers?”
For the first time in puerperium Khalid lost Tamara, his mother and Meshach, a mousse smile crossed his lips–the type that could make the world a better place.
“Are you serious sir ?”
“Yes son. You know I like you so much. You look like my long dead son. He died a very long time ago. So if you don’t mind I want to treat you like him. ?”
“So does that mean you help me achieve my dream ?”
“What’s your dream son ?”
“I want to be a doctor who saves life?”
Khalid words resuscitated the memory of Rominick’s late son. The son had always neighed to his ears then how he would grow up to be a doctor and treat people’s ailment. And whenever he quizzed him on why he chose such profession out of slews, the late son would then didactically talk about how his mother died after a receiving paltry treatment from a quack doctor. The awful ordeal had pushed the boy into professing his undying love to becoming a professional doctor. Rominick, a very stinkily rich billionaire wouldn’t discourage his son, while instead he promised to sponsor him till any level the child wanted. But unfortunately, the child died when he was ten years old living Rominick alone with his second son who happened to be a younger brother to the dead one.
“I promise to sponsor you son after adopting you legally. You will grow up to be the person you want to become.”
Tears slithered into Khalid’ eyes, he cried and cried. So he was finally going to become what he longed to become. He was sure Tamara would be happy in afterlife. That was his second wish coming to pass but that didn’t stop him from thinking the moon was still fussy to have granted some of their wishes and declined some.
“But I need you to do something for me son ?”
“If you are going to be my son you would have to change your identity –and that’s starting from your name. I will like to give you a new name ?”
“And what’s the name?”
“Jamal. That’s the name of my dead son.”