The room was the same colour as the door, red. It pulsed, as though it was a breathing being. I couldn’t see anything beyond the red walls.
“Anyone here?” My voice bounced off the walls. I remained in the chair. The room was warm, comfortably so.
“Mum,” a voice came from one corner of the room. It was a small voice, filled with pain. I looked in the direction the voice came from. I saw a child, of about six years, huddled in the corner. He looked as though he was just waking up from sleep.
It was strange but I felt a connection with him. It was this time that I noticed that the pulsing of the wall matched the pace of my breathing. I had a child, I thought in awe.
The boy stood straight and I gasped at his features. He looked like me, only a masculine version, but at his young age, those features were nearly existent. He made to come closer but something held him back. My eyes went to his feet where two thick legcuffs connected him to a chain that disappeared into the wall.
He stretched out a hand towards me. I wanted to go closer, needed to take him into my arms. The chair remained still, gummed to the ground. I stretched my hands towards him, he made to move closer but the chains held him back.
“Honey,” I moaned as he continued struggling to come closer.
“Mum,” he called again. He stopped fighting with the chains and sat down on the ground with a weary look. “Why didn’t you want me?” he asked in a small voice, so small that I would have missed it in the quiet room.
“Honey…” I could only say. A feeling of guilt overcame me, and even though I was not sure of why I was guilty, tears ran down my cheeks and I kept on saying, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”
A bright light lit up the room as one of the walls was replaced with a screen. Without anyone telling me, I had a premonition of what was going to be on the screen.
The chair turned me to face the screen and I came face to face with a younger me. Her cheeks were bathed in tears.
“You have to terminate that thing,” another voice was saying. I looked at the other person on the screen and was filled with revulsion. It was an older man, with a reclining hairline and gray hair dotted along his jaw. They were in a room. The younger me was sitting on a bed, a white stick in her hand. The man stood by the window. He was barely dressed in boxers, revealing a potbelly and a mass of hair on his chest.
“Uncle, please, I’m scared.” The younger me said. Her hands went to her stomach. I could feel her pain. It was washing over me in waves.
“And then what?” he said harshly. She recoiled in fear. “You have to abort that thing. I will take you to the hospital tomorrow after your parents go for their vigil. If you like, try nonsense with me.” His eyes flashed with warning.
The girl whimpered. The man left the room. She curled on the bed and sobbed. I hugged myself even though I couldn’t feel my body. The scene changed. The girl and the man were in a hospital, a shabby one from the paint on the walls that were peeling off and the dirt that was scattered across the ground. She was hugging herself, a look of raw fear on her face. The man wore a mask of impatience as he spoke to a nurse. He was asking for a Dr. Kemi. The nurse took them to a private ward. She told the man to remain outside while she went in with the girl. The screen went back to its original color.
I let out a breath that I didn’t know I was holding. I didn’t want it to play to the end. I knew what would happen. I didn’t want to relive it. That part of my memory was back, going into that ward with the nurse, lying on the hard bed with bedsheets that had splotches of faint red. The feel of the cold instruments against my legs was still fresh. The thought of Uncle Andrew waiting for me outside, waiting to go and take me over and over again when my parents were not around was fresh in my mind.
“I’m so sorry,” I said when the chair turned me to face the child. It wasn’t hard to connect the dots. This was the child that I had killed the moment I entered the ward. It was no wonder he was the person I was most cruel to.
“I don’t hate you,” his voice hollow, feeble. “I never did, even though a part of me was always locked inside you, unable to leave. I had nowhere else to go.”
My heart broke. I felt it falling into tiny pieces. “I’m so sorry,” was all I could say.
“I wished you fought against him. I wish you had fought him. Tell someone. I had hoped you would tell someone about me. Maybe…just maybe, I might have had a chance to leave this place. But you kept quiet, even that morning as your parents left the house. I kept pushing you to saying something. You kept quiet, forced me to the back of your mind. And then, when you went to that hospital…” his voice broke. “Why didn’t you leave?”
I wanted to go to him, wanted to wrap my hands round him, take him into my hands and shower him the love that was rightfully his. The chair held me hack, remaining like a steel in the ground.
“I’ve been here. Waiting for you to release me, tell someone about me so that these chains would let go of me, so that there would be a proof that I once existed, but you never said anything. I watched even as you lived your life, I constantly reminded you but you banished me away. I just wish…I wish you had spoken to someone. Just a word would have been enough to set me free.” His sobs filled the room, the room pulsed with more life as though feeding on his pain.
“I can release you,” I said. I wasn’t sure how though. I wanted to do it.
He smiled sadly. “It’s too late. You are dead and the last evidence of my existence has been destroyed. You can do nothing.”
“What should I do then?” I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him in those chains.
“It’s too late,” he continued shaking his head sadly. “I’m going to vanish. All traces of my existence, of your uncle’s sin, of your pain, would be wiped out.”
“Oh, God!” I cried. The pain that had reduced to a small throbbing increased, squeezing my heart. I couldn’t touch my body, but everything seemed real, as though… The pulse of the walls became faster, enlarging, folding into itself.
“I forgive you,” the child said, his voice echoing in the room. I looked to see him going into the wall, the chains disappearing around his feet. “I forgive you and I relieve you of your pain. Goodbye mother.” He folded into the wall and the wall vanished. Soon, I was back in the room with the cloaked figure.
“Where is he?” I croaked out.
The figure came to life again, his silver eyes doing little to shock me. He opened his pocketbook. “You earn two points for obtaining the forgiveness and blessing of one whom you hurt so much.” The screen went black and again and I was moving again. I didn’t feel surprised about it this time around. As the chair moved, thoughts of the child disappeared from my mind until I was back to having no recollection of myself except how I died. The chair slowed to a stop in front of a sky-blue door. Before we entered, an invasive feeling of pure joy filled me.