Susanne took a deep breath as she wound the glass down. It was going to be a long journey. She had finally completed her HND program at Hwolshook and was heading back to Karang to be with Panam, her fiance. She was moving into his flat, that was the agreement after he found out that she was pregnant, with his twins. She smiled as she remembered the look on his face when she told him, he was so filled with emotions that he cried for several minutes. She cried too because their love was rare because a man like Panam was hard to find because there was nothing to fear anymore: the so-called prophetess who told Susanne’s mother that none of her children was going to have children was a liar, after all; she cried because, well, hormones.

It hadn’t been easy, writing her final exams while plagued with the most unforgiving morning sickness. It made it so difficult, almost impossible to hide the pregnancy from the prying eyes of her coursemates and lecturers. It was against school rules to be pregnant while in school, and that was for married women. If they had found out, she would have been expelled, everyone knew she wasn’t married yet. The nausea had stopped, and so the urge to keep spitting every second, yet she shivered whenever she remembered all the times she had to suppress the vomiting, all the forced smiles, and laughter as she tried to hide the nausea, the pain from tucking her belly in and wearing a girdle to hide its slow, steady bulge. She often wondered if her baby was suffocating and worried that she might harm her. That was what led her to the hospital for a scan. That was the day she found out that she was carrying twins. That was the day she had travelled to Karang to tell Panam and they had cried together like little children.

She couldn’t go home. Her mother asked her not to bother. Her father didn’t want to see her. She was a disgrace, he had said so when her mother told him Susanne was pregnant. He was shocked that she told him as though it was good news. He didn’t care about the prophetess and how the pregnancy proved her wrong, he didn’t care that his other daughters, Nancy, Jana, and Nakom didn’t have children although they had been married for several years. The news of the pregnancy was no good news to him. His only concern was the disrepute that it was going to bring to his name, a Deacon in the church.

“But, Mama, you are his wife, you can help me beg Papa, he would listen to you, Mama, please,” she pleaded with her mum over the phone.

“Susanne, you know your father, just don’t come home. Give him a little time, he would come around. You are silly for not waiting until you marry Panam first, but I am happy. God has shamed my enemies. Your father would raise hell if I come to visit you from Jos, just be safe, take care of my babies.” Her mother said, amidst tears, the joy in her heart could be heard in her voice.

“Aunty, please shift,” Someone said, tapping Susanne. She came back to the present, moving in the seat so that the plump woman, who smelled of crayfish and dadawa, could sit beside her. Susanne looked around at the people in the bus, there were school children on their way to school, some traders, two women with babies: one of them was breastfeeding her baby with her sagged lifeless breast hanging from her blouse in a funny way that made Susanne chuckle silently. A woman in her mid-forties was sitting beside Susanne, on her right-hand side. Susanne hadn’t noticed when she came into the bus, she wasn’t there when Susanne first boarded the vehicle. The woman was wearing the most outrageous makeup she had ever seen, the eyebrows were joined together, the lips smeared with lipstick that overflowed to the surrounding skin on her jaw and under the nose. The woman’s face was light, but the rest of her body was the colour of burnt clay. Susanne looked at the woman again, this time with the bold yes-I-am-looking-at-you stare. The woman turned to look at her too, and as soon as their eyes met, the woman put her left hand on Susanne’s bulging abdomen and said, her eyes gleaming, “The prophecy must be fulfilled Susanne, the words must come to pass.”

Nobody knows what happened next.

It’s been six weeks since that fateful day. Panam is still at Ward One, a Psychiatric ward at Bethersden Hospital, the doctors say the prognosis is bad. I cannot explain it, Panam cannot, Susanne’s mother surely cannot, she died of hypertension a week after whatever had happened.

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By Phoebe Jay

Susanne took a deep breath as she wound the glass down. It was going to be a long journey. She had finally completed her HND program at Hwolshook and was


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