(Continued from here)

I lay in my bed thinking back to what seemed like yesterday to me and reassessed the events before the accident. I was sitting shotgun and was looking back chatting incoherently with Liz and Mo (Maureen) about how much more we were going to drink when we got to the party. Ivy was in the process of explaining to Win (Winnie) how we were going to have to take taxis back home ‘cause she was not going to miss out on the drinking. D, Anita and Kat (Katherine) were in the back seat of the seven seater Toyota Spacio laughing about something the rest of us didn’t hear. Liz, Mo and Win were in the seats behind Ivy and me. Then for just a second, we all looked forward and quietened down. That’s when it happened. The head lights were higher than ours. That’s how I saw that it was a truck. I don’t know who was on the wrong side of the road, all I remember are the head lights coming at us with a vengeance. Ivy tried to steer us away from the truck but she only managed to turn a small angle before we crashed. Then something else hit us from the back and everything went black and quiet. I wondered if my friends had been in commas like me. I seriously wanted to see and talk to them. I missed them so much. Yet I could not ask the doctor as she and the nurses did test after test on me. I doubted the doctor would know what happened to my friends. My brother would though, he knew them. I waited patiently for the doctor and her friends to finish doing their tests.

When I was taken in a wheel chair back to my room I found R.I, Dad’s closest friend and our family lawyer, seated on the edge of the bed leafing through a magazine. When the door opened he turned around to look at me for a minute before he placed the magazine on the bed and came towards me, his arms outstretched. I found the strength to stand and hug him. I held on to him tight and cried into his shoulder. He held me tight too. We stood there, in the door way for a while, hugging and crying. The nurse had disappeared so there was no one to stop me from walking to the bed. I hoisted myself onto the bed and R.I joined me. He sat facing me, smiling. He asked how I was feeling and what I had been dreaming about all that time I was asleep. That’s when I remembered a rather vivid dream, “You know, funny you should ask that. I remember dreaming that at one point I woke up in this same room in this same hospital and I went through all these tests and then you came in and told me Mum, Dad, and Junior had been involved in an accident rushing to get here and none of them had survived. Gives me the chills. By the way, where are they?” R.I listened to my dream and his face slowly lost the happiness in it as I went on. He stared at me for a long minute and I suddenly didn’t like what I was expecting to hear. He took a deep breath and said, “Ah…that was not a dream. You woke up a week after your accident and they were rushing to come here when……” He trailed off when he saw the tears welling up in my eyes. I could feel a cold black hole building in me, tearing every part of me apart. I could feel myself breaking into pieces so minute they evaporated into nothing. But I had to know one more thing before I totally disappeared. I let the tears fall and felt the black hole grow as I asked in a small shaky voice, “The other accident…my accident…my friends?” I could see in R.I’s eyes that he didn’t want to answer this question but he had to. He took another deep breath, looked me in the eye and said, “Mel, that night, there was a pile up of up to thirteen cars. You are the only remaining survivor. The other lady, she was in the last car, she got a heart attack shortly after……….”

I could hear my companion talking but I could not hear what he was saying because I kept hearing “…only remaining survivor…only remaining survivor…only remaining survivor…” I couldn’t comprehend his words at first. What did he mean ‘only remaining survivor’? How was that possible? Didn’t that mean they were all……dead? No. He couldn’t possibly be saying that every single one of my friends was dead. Could he? …only remaining survivor…only remaining survivor…only remaining survivor… He did. He meant it. All of them. All my friends. Ivy. Mo. Liz. Kat. Win. Anita. D. All of them. Dead. As in, not alive anymore. No! No! How could this be? How was I the only remaining survivor out of all the people I loved? How could the fates see it fit to kill them and leave me breathing? How was that fair? Was I not the worst of all? Was I not the most evil? Was I not the worst kind of person? Did I not deserve death more than they did? Did they deserve death? Was I not the reason my family was speeding? Was I not the reason my friends misbehaved? Was I not the one who came up with the ‘party plan’? Was I not the one who encouraged Ivy to drink knowing full well that she was driving? Was I not the reason we were on that road at that time? Was I not the cause of all this? Was I not then the murderer of all those that died in that accident? Was I not then the vilest of all creatures? Then why? Why was my family dead? Why were my friends dead? Why not I? Why was I not buried deep in the ground? Why was I not burning in hell for my sins? Why were the fates presenting me another chance yet I did not deserve it? Why was this chance being wasted on me? Why was this chance not presented to anyone else but me? Why was this chance not presented to Mo, one of the rising stars of the legal world? Why was this chance not presented to my little brother? Why did he have to die before his life had even begun? Why was Mum, so full of life, not given this chance? Why? Why me? I felt the cold black hole envelope me. I didn’t fight. I let it swallow me. Maybe I would disappear as I deserved. Maybe the cold black hole would refuse to let me go. I wouldn’t resist……

It’s been a month since I woke up from dark and quiet into a nightmare. Dr. Murugi gave me a clean bill of health and discharged me three days later. I let her prescribe anti-depressants for me and when R.I and his wife left me in the care of our house keeper, I promised I would take them. Every morning I flush one down the toilet. Most people keep out of my way, luckily Mum and Dad were both orphans so no family to keep bugging me. I’ve become very quiet. It suites me just fine – I might open my mouth to say something that will lead to another death. I cry myself to sleep every night. I dwell within the cold black hole that swallowed me whole and make no effort to emerge. I like it in here. It reminds me of what I am. A killer. A murderer of my own family and friends. In the past month I have sold three of my family’s five hotels. I told R.I that I would only be able to manage two for now and might buy the three back or build others. He understood. I sold the other four houses. The one I live in is the biggest of the five. I’ve got in contact with another lawyer and drawn up a will. I’ve left R.I the two hotels and a very large sum of money. The rest I have left to charities that carter to orphans. The house and a substantial sum of money I’ve given the orphanage where my parents met and grew up. Each day of the month I visit a grave sight. I’ve visited all my friends and every person that I killed that night. A total of 25 people. I’ve visited the graves of the five that died along with my family. I visit my family on a daily basis. I’ve asked each of those 33 people to blame me for ending their lives. I take the blame. I never ask their forgiveness. I don’t deserve it. Not me. Me, the only remaining survivor. Me, a murderer. Me, a most vile soul. Me, more deserving of death than of life. Me, who will soon follow my friends and family to the afterlife……,

© afra njoki