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Ebere is three years old, the only daughter of Mr and Mrs Williams, a beautiful girl with a cute smile, dark long hair and big eyeballs, sadly, she has just one friend, one true love, and that’s Victoria, the dependable house help she’s known as second mummy since she was born.

Ebere has Down syndrome and stunted growth, occasionally, she experiences some sort of crisis which hardly lasts for up to five minutes but usually leaves shattered glasses on littered floors; this explains why she’s never considered for any outing by her parents except Sunday services in church whenever daddy isn’t too busy with work schedules to drive the family to the Pentecostal church somewhere about thirty minutes from the bungalow apartment they occupy in a low cost but lavishly developed housing estate in the outskirt of Lagos.

Mr Chike Williams is a banker while his wife works with a leading insurance company in Lagos, they’re hardly at home and only get to relate with Ebere on weekends, Victoria, the house help has been the one saddled with the unenviable task of taking care of the young girl, mummy calls hours apart to keep tabs on Ebere while daddy breezes in every night to peck the sleeping young girl as he always returns when she’s already snoring.

At least once a day, there’s always a moment of crisis for Ebere, when she seems like a different being entirely, for three to five minutes she gets violent, stronger than usual and it usually takes every strength in Victoria to contain her, but she’s always prepared for that short moment of madness, rarely takes her eyes off her as the timing of the crisis is never predictable, only once or twice does this happen before either parent every week, but whenever Mrs Williams witnesses this, she cries uncontrollably.

Last time Ebere struggled with the storm within in the presence of her mother was the last Independence Day holiday, she was in the bathroom when she heard the groaning of her little angel mixed with the seizing loud breaths and Victoria’s shouting of the name of Jesus, she flew out of the bathroom with foams all over her body like whirlwind with a very small towel barely covering her privates…

Droplets of blood dripping from Ebere’s nose as she lay still in her mother’s bosom, some half hour after her disconnect from the norm, tears competing down the cheeks of Victoria and Ada, Ebere’s mother as they watch the hapless girl sleep like nothing ever happened. Mrs Williams spent hours calling random people, ranging from her husband, her mother at Onitsha, the family doctor at Obanikoro, her friends, in fact everyone that could offer some help.

That night, a very cold one, Mrs Williams had a torrid time getting on the same page with her husband, negotiations went awry between the couple,  Chike has declared his intentions to run for a seat in the Enugu State House of Assembly elections coming up next year and he certainly isn’t ready to allow Ebere stand in his way, Ada was confounded for minutes, jolted by the harsh words of her blunt husband, his suggestions knocked her off and could barely stand on her feet…

The once happy family is now a war zone, Victoria the house help is now the only available communication tool between the husband and wife, it deepens further every time Ebere falls to the floor while fighting the storm within her, from her room where she’s been confined and forbidden to cross the door line. Ada is a socialite, but she’s also a mother, she doesn’t take Ebere out but she spends the entirety of her short day time at home in Ebere’s room- surprisingly, she never experiences crisis whenever her mother is watching.

Chike returned home on a Thursday night, went straight to Ebere’s room and emerged with the little girl, quite unusual as he hardly ever want her an inch outside her room. He stared into Ada’s eyes and announced into the troubled air of the living room that he’ll be taking the girl to the village to live with his mother the next morning; Ada raged monstrously at Chike, hijacked the poor girl and made for her room but Chike stopped her and wrestled Ebere from her; Whatever I choose to do with my daughter is entirely my business! Chike fiercely said, she is my daughter as well and I won’t watch you sacrifice her at the altar of your selfish ambitions…

Ada had barely finished her replies in her faint and scattered voice when Ebere shivered within the grasps of Chike, tore his face with nails and rearing for his eyeballs when he quickly threw her on the couch, she shivered helplessly for minutes until Victoria held her…

Chike couldn’t go to work the next day due to the stitches on his face following the events of the night before, Ada decided to stay back too, she called her office to feign illness because she doesn’t want to risk Ebere alone at home with Chike for the fears of him shipping her out to an uncertain village. Ada backed Ebere all morning long and refused to step out of the little girl’s room. At about past noon on the day, Chike was fast asleep, he took drugs to contain the pains from his face, Ada was lost in the movie she was watching with Ebere sleeping in sights, Victoria was ironing across the living room, suddenly there was a rude knock on the door, so rude it woke Ebere and Chike at the same time; it was the power holding officials, they want to see bill receipts.

Chike was mad at them because he’s on the prepaid meter plan, but before he could say much, there was power outage, Victoria forgot to turn off the iron switch with Ebere lurking, everyone went out to slug it out with the two power officials, unknown to them, power was restored and there was a spark at the iron switch, the shock noise triggered Ebere’s crisis and she fell on the adapter on the ground and some switched off the adapter…

Thirty minutes later, everyone returned in to see Ebere sleeping on the adapter with the iron plugged in but the adapter is off, it was clear the little Ebere turned it off albeit unknowingly. While they were figuring that in awe, a call came in for Ada, her colleague that picks her up every morning with the company driver had been involved in an accident, and has passed on. Ada was left in shock, huge shock because she would have been in the car. Chike lowered his guard a little to calm his wife, but his eyes was fixed on Ebere, for her heroic feet, the house would have been on fire…

Moments later, Chike saw a news on Twitter that armed robbers are operating at his office at the time, he tried calling everyone he could reach to confirm but no one was picking. He then called the shoemaker that shines his shoes every morning at the roundabout before his office, the mallam confirmed the incidence… When news filtered in later, four members of staff were downed by the bullets of the robbers.

Ebere the crisis girl had saved her mother from an accident and her father from the armed robbery incident in the office and ultimately, saving everyone from a likely inferno following the iron incident. An unlikely hero… Ebere the child hero!

Ramsey B

Ramsey Bimbola Gold is a physically challenged Brand Strategist and Creative Writer, currently head of Strategy at Eslia Communications. Lagos

Good luck Ramsey Bimbola ! :D

JUDGE’S REVIEW

Moving piece!

★★★★☆
4 5 1
A moving piece, told simplistically. Took a new approach to the theme.

Heroic child story!

★★★☆☆
3 5 1
Very interesting testimony-story; a heroic child-story indeed but leaves little to savor about the pains of the humanly marginalized children. Was in good and simple English.

Steady progression!

★★★★☆
4 5 1
There was a steady progression of actions and characters...
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