Chapter 2

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         The brothers just sat demurely, as thoughts streamed through their minds. Tears ran down their eyes. They barely noticed when the doctor walked up to them.

"How's our mother?" Isaac asked the doctor.

"I'm sorry, but your mother is in critical condition," The doctor replied.

"You are sorry! Sorry? Our father is dead and you're telling me that my mother is going to die!" James shouted as he grabbed the doctor's collar shaking him vigorously, at this point the doctor knew he was in trouble, the fiery look in James' eyes was clearly not a farce.

"Ca-calm down sir, your mother is not going to die, she's just in a coma. She's been transferred to the ICU," The doctor responded in a very shaky voice.

"Coma? Coma?" Isaac cried out, as he fell to his knees.

"Yes, for some reason your mother
suffered Hypoxia, which caused her to slip into a coma." The doctor responded, James took his hands off him and quietly sat down. "This is not the end, she's not dead, it's rare to see people stay in a coma past a month."

"Where's my mom?" James asked, this time surprisingly calm.

"Follow me," The doctor responded.

The door was opened and there she was, their beloved mother, lying lifelessly on the hospital bed, computers beeping, wires here and there.

"Mum it's me, Isaac, we're here to see you," he said as he held his mother's hand.

"Can she even hear you?" James asked as he wiped the tears from his eyes.

"I read that they can understand people, even in this state," Isaac responded.

"All those lies," James said as he tried to bring the chair closer to his mother's bed."Mum, I'm here too, Isaac says you can hear me," he said to his mother as he turned to look at Isaac, this made Isaac smile for the first time since the incident, but James' face was still as stiff as a baked brick.

            By now Lisa was back, she opened the gate and walked in, it seemed like nobody was in, she proceeded to walk up to the door, she quietly placed her hand on the doorknob, by this time she was wondering if no one was home, the door squeaked but wouldn't ajar, she tried again, then she knocked, again and again, it was quite clear that nobody was in.

A few minutes later she remembered where the key was normally hidden, she lifted the carpet which had a big "welcome" inscribed on it, the key was there, she breathed a sigh of relieve. She opened the door and walked in, with a heavy sigh she dropped her bag on the ground, almost expecting to hear the normal 'That's how you'll be doing in your own house abi?' question her dad would always ask.

She turned to look at his favourite reading chair. "I wonder where they are, so they went out without me."
     
        Much later in the hospital;
"It's him, it's our Dad," Isaac confirmed.

"Okay, I'll leave you two alone," the morgue attendant responded before leaving.

James was quiet the whole time, he just kept crying silently.

"Dad why? why would you just
leave us like this, what do we do now?" Isaac cried as he touched his father's pale, cold body, tears rolled down his face and dropped on his father's.

Suddenly James walked out, for some reason he couldn't bring himself to see his father laying there without life. Isaac followed shortly after.
   
       The boys finally got home. It was already dark, at about 7 o'clock.

They walked up to the door, Isaac turned the knob and the door opened.

"Lisa is back, the door is open," James said, "do we tell her?" He added.

"Nooo, no, we don't, at least not yet," Isaac answered.

"Why?" James asked again. "She's still writing her exams, let's wait till after then," Isaac answered.

"So for your mind, she won't notice that her parents are not around?" James asked with a smile on his face, his first smile since the incident.

"We'll just tell her we went to drop them off at the airport," Isaac responded.

"Well-i guess that'll work."
   
       About a fortnight later, the truth was revealed to Lisa and after days of crying, she would just sit sedated on her late Father's favourite reading chair, this worried her brothers a lot, they would constantly try to comfort her and make her lively, but she would always slip back into her moody self.

James had taken over his mother's business, to pay the hospital bills, for every night she spent there, he would be billed at least 2000 Naira, so their mother had basically rented a room in the hospital.

Lisa's school had closed for the term and Isaac was still writing his final exams. So James had better raise money for Lisa's school fees.

James struggled to keep the business going, but Isaac came to the rescue.

Isaac was going to be a graduate in business management in about a week, so he probably knew everything about managing a business, together they kept it going; Isaac the brain and James the hands.
 
        Lisa's school had finally resumed, this time; the second term holiday was very short, about a week or so.

Everyone had heard what happened to Lisa, everyone felt pity for the poor girl, but did anyone really care? it's just another girl who lost her father, right?

Her grades were still as high as always, she was as strong as she was beautiful, so by this time she was already recovering from the traumatic experience.
   
        Lisa was back from school, she was conversing with James in the sitting-room.

"So when are you guys starting your Junior WAEC?" James asked.

"Next month and I've not even paid
school fees," Lisa answered.

"Before then I'd have already raised the money, I was--what's that smell?"

"Oooh, my rice was on the fire!" Lisa shouted as she ran into the kitchen.

Moments later they were at the dining-room, eating.

"This your own jollof rice sef, na war o," James said in a sarcastic manner.

"Why didn't you cook it then?" Lisa asked with a feign frown on her face.

"I was tired, I would ha--"

"Tum tum!" James was interrupted by the loud knock on the door.

"Come in!" Lisa shouted.

The door squeaked open. It was Isaac's short, black friend, Okon. He was sweating profusely, you would think he was running a marathon.

"What's wrong?" James asked as he cleaned the oil from the food on his mouth.

Trying to catch his breath Okon answered; "There was shooting in school, cultist."

"Ah-ah, where's Isaac then?" Lisa asked as she got up.

"We were running together, but then he disappeared into the crowd," Okon replied still trying to catch his breath.

"Come let's go look for him!" James shouted as he dragged Okon outside.

"Please find him o!" Lisa shouted.

She dropped to her knees to pray, she couldn't help but cry. She got up cleared the plates and went into her room.

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