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MAHLORI 

I opened my eyes and inspected my surroundings. I was in a hospital room the other patients were sleeping my hand quickly went to my stomach… It was flat not as flat as before but I was no longer pregnant. I sat ignoring the shooting pain in my lower abdomen. 


"Nurse!" I needed my baby with me. Where is the bloody nurse? 


"Nurse!" 


"Ey stops with the noise you are not in your grandmother's house. What do you want?" 

Said an old nurse chewing gum like a hooker. Is she not too old to be at work? 

She was one of those grannies who should be giving young graduates a space to work. She should just retire and make space for poor kids. Judging by her attitude I bet I was in a public hospital. 


"Where is my baby?" I asked hoping he would say she was at the nursery for observations. 

She took her good ten seconds inflating a bubble before answering. 

"You came with no baby. talking about that why on earth would you perform a back door cesarean section?" 


What? 


"I didn't!" 


"You did where is the baby? Did you give it to witch doctors for Muthi? Don't you dare tell me you dumped the baby in the bin" She was shouting for everyone to hear now people are looking at me with judgmental eyes. "why did you get pregnant if you didn't want a baby? Don't you know of something called a condom?" 


"I don't know what you are talking about" 


"Liar. Do you want to tell me that you mistakenly fell on top of the dick and the sperm mysteriously went to your uterus? 

Thandekile! Woza uzongilalelisa" (come and listen to this) 


I didn't understand her statement but judging by the additions in the audience she was inviting them over to tell them how much of a bad person I was. 


"Is she the one who damaged her womb? Wow. I'm waiting for the day you get married and you will badly want kids and you won't be able to make them. You are officially barren because of your stupidity. Why didn't you come to the hospital and deliver safely then give your baby for adoption? Do you know how many women out there would kill to have babies yet you go to the streets to cut yourself open? Sies!" I was now crying. I didn't know if I was crying because of their insults or Mbali's betrayal or the fact that my womb was damaged. Where the hell was my baby?

Bloody Arazyal! 


" talking about beauty with no brains!'' Every nurse was having their way with me talking about things they have no idea of. 


"Are you saying my baby never made it to the hospital?" 


"Don't ask me nonsense you child. Only you know where you dumped your infant" 


"No!" 


"Hey! Stop with the noise people who care about their babies are resting and we have a lot of work to do we have no time to babysit you" Said the other nurse whose eyes were red it was obvious that she was sleeping before granny sister decided to cause the hullabaloo. 


I was tempted to borrow the phone but I didn't know Mpumie's number by the head and I was so ashamed to crawl back to her. The baby she had been protecting all along was gone. 


The cooks brought the food it didn't look appetizing but I was hungry. I was given a melted jelly with a horrible tasting sweetened yogurt. My body was in anguish whatever medication I was given had worn off and I was starting to feel real pain. The urinary catheter wasn't making my life easier it was full but these nurses were too busy to empty it and it felt like the urine was going back to my bladder. I tried to stand up and find the way to the bathroom but I couldn't stand and the dips were clinging to me. 


The doctor came for rounds when he found me tossing and panting. "Are you okay miss?" he browsed through the file and looked at me "I'm sorry I don't have your name" 


"Mahlori Mathebula this thing is painful" I said referring to the urinary catheter. He nodded and went to get a silver container and emptied it. What a relief. I thought my bladder was going to burst. He asked the nurse to dispose of my urine it was the same granny. The attitude had improved I guess she was scared or ashamed that a doctor had to do her job while she was busy chewing gum and talking. 


"Miss Mathebula you were found unconscious by the reception. It seemed like an authorized cesarean section was performed on you? Do you have an idea of that?" He was polite you were found unconscious by the reception. It seemed like an authorized cesarean section was performed on you? Do you have an idea of that?" He was polite at least someone was willing to hear the side of my story. 


"No the lady thing I remember I was with my friend in her apartment I asked her to call my driver because I was in labor" 


"Is that all?" 

I nodded. 


"Well I have a right to report this case to the police. Your friend might be involved in a child kidnapping or backdoor surgery. Is that okay with you?" 


I only nod although I doubt the police could help me find my child.


"I'm sorry but I'm bearing bad news. You have suffered surgical injuries during your delivery. Your uterus was bleeding non-stop and a hysterectomy had to be done immediately before we lost you" 


Oh 


"Thank you I guess " I said shrugging. 


"That means you won't be able to conceive in the future" the nosy nurses already announced the news. 


"Do you have friends or family who would support you? A counseling session is so recommended" that was nice of him. I shook my head no. 

~~~


It was time for visitors I didn't expect anyone because no one knew I was hospitalized maybe Mpumie's ancestors had already informed her but I doubt she would risk her safety for the second time to save my stubborn ass. 


Mbali made her way in with plastic from spar. 

"Mahlori…" I had no energy to fight her. 

"Mbali all I'm asking for is my baby"

"I can explain —" 

"No please don't. Tell me where my child is" 


"Mahlori I kept on doing things I didn't want to. A voice would order me to do something and I would involuntarily do it even if I wanted to." She should tell me where the voice took my baby. 


"The first time it happened it told me to jump off the bridge I was so close it told me to stop and said it was just a motivation." 


"I don't care Mbali" 


"That apartment wasn't mine. I don't know where it belonged to but I was told to take you there. When you passed out I was told to leave you on the couch. When I went back to check up on you I found new tenants. Since then the voice never came again. I don't know what was happening to me but I did everything under compulsion and I don't know where your baby is" 


I wanted to believe her I really did but I was angry I don't care if she was compelled or possessed. She was the reason my baby was lost. I tried to stop my mind from imagining things Arazyal could be doing to my baby girl. Maybe she was already slaughtered and fed to the devil. 


"Where are my belongings?" I needed to swallow my shame and grovel to Mpumie and Lucas. 


"Here" She said handing me my bag her face was full of tears and mucus. Her salty water didn't move me she could be crying blood I wouldn't care less. 


"The voice told you to keep my belongings?" I asked sarcastically. I don't even know why I was being sarcastic and stoic. My normal self would be crying to death right now. 


"Mbalenhle I want my child or else hell will break loose. I will break your bones until your voice tells you to bring back my baby" 


I meant it! If I didn't get my baby by the end of today. I was going to commit my first murder. And maybe offer her to Muzi in exchange for her. Muzi! 

The motherfucker stole my child!

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