The sun rays were blocked out of the small, but well furnished room by heavy drapes The blades of the ceiling fan staggered in circular motion as its shadows played tricks around the room. Loud music from the speakers of an audio player drowned the moaning sounds made by two figures lying on the bed, one on top the other; jerking vigorously. This went on for a while. Finally their voices got louder as they climax into ecstacy. Spent and sweating, they hugged each other closely while trying to catch their breath. Alex planted a firm kiss on Nkechi 's forehead.
"I love you. Hope you know that?" He asked, still panting.
She was about to reply in the affirmative when she noticed that he was suddenly floating away from her.
"Alex... Alex, why are you leaving me?" Nkechi asked. She was scared.
"Leave? I'm not leaving dear. I'm right beside you." At this point, his body became airy and his voice distant.
"But you are drifting away." She insisted.
"No I'm not." He countered.
Nkechi watched with wide eyes as he floated to the wall and disappeared into thin air. She was suddenly alone in the dark, quiet room. The music stopped and the fan ceased to rotate. Her heart beat doubled and she started to sweat profusely
"Alex! Alex!" She called out. "Alex where are you? Where are you? Don't leave me like this."
In response to her call, she heard the cries of a little baby. The cries came from Alex's side of the bed. Nkechi looked over and saw the little child, wrapped in white flannel and crying for her attention and love.
"Where is...., who is your mother? How did you even get here?" She asked, patting the child. Nkechi carried the baby in her arms and rocked her gently while hushing her. After a while, the child became quiet and relaxed. The little baby smiled as she looked up into Nkechi 's eyes, her stare, unflinching.
"Mummy." She called in her baby voice.
"Mummy? No! no, no... I'm not your mum...."
"Mummy!!!" She screamed.
Nkechi jerked out of her sleep, panting and frowning at the same time. The child's scream still echoed in her head as she gradually tried to sit up. Her night dress was soaked in her sweat and her heart beat trippled "When will this nightmare go away?" She thought.
Nkechi managed to get out of bed and get to the toilet. After easing herself, she went back to her room. There, she lay faced up with eyes wide open. Her sisters were fast asleep but she couldn't sleep, she dared not. For over four months since she last saw Alex, she had been having the same nightmare. Sometimes it came in different forms or different scenery. She didn't exactly know what it meant.
"Did Alex suddenly become a baby and called me mummy?" She thought.
Since the fateful Saturday afternoon Bose took her out to meet with Alex, she had seen him secretly time and again. No one at home knew about her secret meetings. Not even her detective elder sister knew what she was up to. However, most of their meetings were intimate, very intimate. She wasn't scared of what they were doing. Besides, Alex wore a condom every time they met. He was very understanding, kind and gentle with her. Their relationship blossomed and they even started to talk marriage. Nkechi was finally warming up to the idea of being a married woman as long as the person she was marrying was none other than Alex.
Days turned to weeks and weeks to a month. Suddenly Alex disappeared without a word. Nkechi and Bose went to his house several times to check if he was back. Unfortunately, and strangely too, there were other people in the house. People who claimed not to know who Alex was.
"He played us." Bose said one afternoon during school break. They had gone under a big tree to talk quietly. The tree was some distance away from where the other students where playing in the school compound. Nkechi wasn't herself and Bose was only trying to console her.
"He didn't play us Bose. He played me." She said, taking a huge bite from the meat pie Bose bought from the school's snack shop.
"He played us. The difference is he played you more." Bose said. "It will be a good thing if we can forget him you know. We seriously need to drop him like a bad habit."
"I will so love to drop him Bose. I want to forget him."
"But you still love him." Bose concluded for her. "Let it go Nkechi. Alex is not worth your time. I know he was your first and naturally, you will forever feel attached to him. But you have to let him go."
"I loved him. I still love him, true. But that's not the problem."
"Then what is?" She asked, placing a comforting hand on Nkechi 's shoulders.
"Its the dreams I have every night." Nkechi said. She then went on to relate the dreams to Bose."
"Oh my God!" Bose almost yelled but she quickly covered her mouth with one hand. " Nkechi you're so pregnant."
"Shhhh..." Nkechi also covered Bose's mouth with her hand. "You want people to hear you. Its break time. Anyone can run in here and hear you."
"No one will hear us but my point remains. You are pregnant, Nkechi."
"No I'm not. I can't be. I was careful enough."
"But the baby in the nightmares called you mummy."
"I said I was careful!" Nkechi said, a hint of anger in her voice. "What part of careful don't you understand? The care? Or the ful?"
"Oh stop it. Careful or not you may be pregnant."
"How would you even know?"
"I know because for a dream to persist, it simply means its real. Alex played you. Now he has left a baby in his place."
"I'm not pregnant." Nkechi insisted. She couldn't accept it, not when she was careful.
"Ok then." Bose said. "Let us clear our doubts, once and for all. After school today we will go for a pregnancy test at the hospital.
"There is no need for that, Bose. I know I'm not pregnant. We used condoms and I always took my prevention pills before anything happened."
"Its possible you must have forgotten to take it once."
"Bose!" Nkechi sighed. "I only confided in you about my nightmares so please, just let me be. Leave the issue alone."
Bose remained quiet for a while. She understood that her friend only needed her company at the moment, nothing more. She moved closer to console her. "I'm here for you Nkechi. You know that?"
"I know." Nkechi nodded. "I know."
Bringing her mind back to her lonely room, she rubbed her tummy. It was four months already and the nightmares were still there. Over the period, she had gained a little weight despite her efforts to remain in shape. Once in a while, she felt nausea. General weakness became the order of the day and most importantly, she had missed her period for four months. Taking Bose's advice was the only way to know for sure if she was pregnant.
"I'll visit the hospital after school today." She thought. "I have to know once and for all, if there is life in my womb. I just have to know."
To be continued....