(Prompt; by Umezurike Nwaoma Thelma)

My name is mark; it all started when dad lost his job. Up until that very day, he always wore a cheerful look. Working in one of the biggest bank organizations in New-Zealand had always been his dream. The story changed, as soon as he lost his job. Well after he had a frame-up which terminated his appointment as thé chief accountant; my dad never remained the same. Sitting at a place at home all day, he would drink and drink himself to stupor. Mum wasn’t even helping matters or I believed it to be so.

Her job engagement as a medical doctor usually made her come home very late at night. Feeling so tired and worn out, she would shout and shout; “Frank do you want me to be a widow?!! She would begin, and then continue; “alcohol isn’t good for your health, how long will I keep saying this my love?!!”

After some minutes of silent sobs, she would help my drunk dad to bed, have her bath, and then lie beside him till morning. It became a bitter but normal routine for the next two weeks and counting.

The day he finally slapped my mum, I knew that the marriage wouldn’t continue for long, or that it had already ended like I feared. Maybe the depression and frustration of losing his job, were really eating him up.

“What have I done to deserve this Frank?” Mum asked him in tears, holding her left cheek which seemed swollen.

“You’re the cause of my problems!” he said in a loud tone, pointing his fingers straight to her forehead. Then he pushed her. Mum fell backwards and almost hit the wall behind her. 

Even after thinking about this scenario several years later, I always felt disappointed in such statements and actions from my dad. I concluded that his frustration was pushing him to do or say abnormal things. 

Some minutes later, he broke the silence by dropping the bombshell;

“I don’t want to see you in this house again by tomorrow morning”. Mum stared at him for a while, and then spoke: “for the past few weeks I’ve been providing for the family and I’ve tried to support you in every way I can” she said, breaking down in tears. “Is this the reward I’m getting, Frank?” She asked and then continued “is it my fault that you lost your job?!” 

He stood, looking at her for a while, and then went into his bedroom. That was the last I ever saw or heard from him; then it all happened. 


In the early hours of the morning, around 1am mum ran into my room turning on the switch which rested firmly on the wall. She seemed to be panting and breathing noisily. She was sweating at the same time, and held a portion of her head with her left hand. I cleared my eyes to be sure I hadn’t seen the blood which gushed out from the back of her head. 

“Mark we have to leave!” She said in a low tone. 

“Mum, please what’s happening? What happened to your head? 

There was no need asking; it was obviously my dad who had inflicted such injuries on her.

I was about asking how it all happened, and then I saw her fall to the floor. I jumped out of the bed and went straight to where she lay. I helped her to sit up, resting her head against the wall. I ran into the bathroom and quickly soaked my face towel in cold water, then I used it to press on her forehead. I cleaned the swollen area where the blood gushed out from, then I fanned her for some seconds. She seemed a bit revived and came to life. 

“That man is a monster” she said; tears running down her cheeks. As she rested her head on my laps, I watched my mum as she struggled in pains. She wept bitterly. The next thought which I harbored m, was to revenge her pains and deal with dad. But I was just 12 and I would end up losing my life in the process if I attempted to.

“Please lock the door” she said to me. I stood up and went to bolt the door to my room. 

Well, locking the door at that moment was so timely and was the best thing I did for both of us; saving our precious lives that night. As I left to go sit beside her, we heard the door handle being moved in a rough manner and then some loud thuds on the door. My dad pounded furiously and shouted on top of his voice. “Are you still here?!! If I meet you inside there, I’ll end your life!?” He said and shot a bullet through the door. We both froze; my eyes moved to the shattered mirror where the bullet had made an effect on. It was the worst I could ever imagine, but it was becoming reality; my dad trying to kill my mum.

We managed to jump out through the window and moved towards the gate, just in time before he broke into the empty room. We hastily left the compound and fled for our lives.


We didn’t know whether to stop or continue running; who knows he must have been behind us. Anyways we didn’t want to risk it. 

“We must get to my work place if we must stop”, mum said, while we moved at a fast pace.

I changed the topic soon afterwards;

“You didn’t tell me dad had a gun in the house” I said to her. She was quiet for sometime and then spoke, he has always kept it in the house since we got married”

Running behind her, I watched as she struggled to move on amidst the pains from the inflicted injuries. “Mum, you need to rest a bit, we’re almost at the hospital” I said to her. 

“No dear, I want us to get inside the hospital premises for our safety before anything else”.

After she said this, her pace declined, she seemed to hold the back of her head in discomfort, and then she slumped.


My eyes met hers, the moment she opened them. I had sat beside her on the hospital bed for 6 hrs and counting. She seemed so weak, but at the same time grateful for life; from the faint smile which she wore on her face.

“Dr.Mary how are you feeling now?” A nurse asked her.

She replied the nurse by nodding. I bent to hug her. “You’re safe momma, you’ll be fine ok?”

I raised my head to look at her face; her countenance had changed. 

“What’s the problem again mum?” I asked worriedly.

 She stared at me for a while and then spoke.

“your dad believes I made him lose his job” 

“Really? But that’s not true”

“That’s his nature, even before now, he keeps blaming me for all his mishaps”

Shortly, a medical attendant ushered in some police officers.

“Dear ma, we searched the house but, he was no where to be found. He seemed to have take cover somewhere else, but for the meantime the building has been shut down and sealed off from human activities and the search will go on till we find him. They said. 

After she thanked them, they left.

“Mum, I’m already getting scared, are you sure we’re really safe?”

“We’re not safe Mark, I know Frank” she said; “As gentle as he appears to be, your father is dangerous; he will come find me.” She paused and then continued; “I believe he will not rest till he kills me”.

I was silent for a while, I just had to believe that all will be well; the next thought was the-way-forward “Please what do we do?” I asked.

“We’ll leave new-Zealand by weekend” she said and continued; “We’ll be relocating to New York” she replied.


(To be continued…)


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