Buried in Guilt – XIII

Gerald picked up his phone. Laudina had to be given this information. He began to access her number but he stopped midway. He wondered what he could possibly say to her.

How do I tell her that I am the cause of Petrina’s disappearance?

Gerald felt so terrible. He simply didn’t know what to do. He thought of going to look for her but the question was where in the Northern Region was he going to look? He had no idea what specific town she had decided to settle in. He went back to his memory bank but it contained nothing about a particular town. He began to worry then. He worried because he suddenly didn’t trust that she was okay. She did not know anywhere in the Northern Region for she had never been there before. He tried to imagine a distressed Petrina battling with mosquitoes as she slept on some pavement in a town she didn’t know. It hurt his heart too deeply as he thought of it.

All this thinking must stop.

He realised that was absolutely true. Thinking would not bring Petrina back. It was only action that would do so. He decided that he needed to act and that had to be done immediately. Pondering over all his possible options, he decided he would go to the Northern Region to look for her. He knew that was like looking for a pin in a haystack but it was the best he could do for Petrina. It was better than sitting at home and wondering what was happening to her. He looked at his desk clock. It was almost 9pm. He wondered if he should leave at that moment or should wait till the following day.

How can I sleep comfortably in my bed one more night when Petrina is sleeping outside with mosquitoes because of me?

He got up with a strong sense of determination. He picked his bag and dumped a few clothes into it. He checked his wallet and realised he had enough money in it. He believed it would be sufficient to take him to the Northern Region and also enable him to buy some food. Nonetheless, he picked his ATM card. After all, he didn’t know how long he was going to stay there. He was just filled with certainty that he would not return until he found her. He was just about to step out of his room when he reconsidered contacting Laudina. He had to find a way to let the Bannermans know where he thought Petrina was without letting the cat out of the bag. He picked his phone and decided to send a text message. After several minutes of typing and deleting, he managed to send a message that he hoped was neutral enough. He prayed in his heart that she would not call him to ask any questions but that was almost inevitable. He began to poise himself to answer all the questions she was very likely to ask.

He checked the time then. 9:42pm. A voice within him tried to pull him to stay back because it was late. His mind’s eye saw a distressed Petrina and he ignored the voice. He deserved to put himself in danger because he had put Petrina in a lot of danger for the last month. He walked out of his room to his front door, suddenly feeling very glad that he was home alone. His parents had travelled to the village to visit his grandparents and his elder brother had also not returned from work yet. Having to explain to either of them where he was going would have been a very daunting task.

As he stepped out into the dark streets, he began to shiver. His house was situated in an area that was still developing hence there were very few people living there. He had however never felt particularly as afraid as he felt that evening. He walked as fast as he could, hoping to reach the roadside in the shortest possible time. He knew he would feel much safer once he got into a car. Just then, he heard footsteps. He tried to ignore them; they probably belonged to another passer-by. He was just about to take the final path towards the roadside when the footsteps suddenly drew close to him. He turned to his side only to look straight into the eye of a wicked-looking heavily built man dressed in black. He immediately turned so that he could break into a run but another man stood at his other side.

“Give us everything you own!” he growled. Before Gerald could consider what to do next, the man he saw first grabbed his bag. Suddenly becoming conscious of what was happening, Gerald used his elbow to hit the shoulder of the man. He regretted that action for it was immediately followed by a stab in his thigh with a knife he had not noticed. He fell to the ground in pain, his head hitting the ground in the process. He felt blood dripping from the wound. He placed one hand on his thigh and another on his head which was throbbing severely. The men were just about to draw closer to him, probably to search his pockets when the headlights of a car suddenly shone on them. He heard the men take to their heels. He was in so much pain that he could barely see anything and his consciousness of his surrounding reduced by the second. The car seemed to park right beside him and the driver got out of it. He saw legs moving toward him. At the same time, he heard his phone ring.

“Gerald!” That was his brother’s voice. He wished he could smile at the thought that help had come his way but he simply could not. He tried to move but it caused him more pain. He wondered if he was dying because he felt really weak.

Is this how death feels like?

************************************************************

After calling his brother a second time, Hubert Van-Lare realised his brother was probably unconscious. He bent down over his brother wondering what he had been doing at that time of the night out of the house when he knew the dangers of their neighbourhood. Ever since his girlfriend had gone missing, he had become very withdrawn and Hubert who was also consumed with his work had not bothered to reach out to him. He struggled to carry Gerald into his car as he suddenly felt guilty about not helping him out in the last month.

When Hubert was finally successful, he sat back in the driver’s seat, put on his hazard lights and drove as fast as he could to St. Luke’s Hospital, which was the closest hospital to them.

 

What’s going to happen to Gerald?

1 Comment

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One response to “Buried in Guilt – XIII

  1. Redeemeredeems

    I thinking that his brother will offer a helping hand now or … hmmmmm!!!

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