THE CHRONICLES OF THE STRANGER
Julie was the only daughter of her mother, but she had two step-siblings on her father’s side.
Her father, Mr. Bless Dorman, had had a former wife with whom he had two children, Abednego and Sandra. Abednego was forty-six years old, whilst Sandra was forty-four. Both of them were unmarried, although Abednego had three children with two women.
Mr. Bless Dorman’s former wife, Esinam, was still alive.
Mr. Bless Dorman had given a house each to his older children and their mother.
Julie had learnt the story behind the breakup from her mother.
Apparently, soon after he quit his job and established Dorman Capitals, Mr. Dorman ran into serious debts when one of his deals went bad and customers started coming for his blood.
Around that time his wife, Esinam, had left him and eventually gone to live with another man, taking their two children with her. All efforts by him to bring her back had failed, and she had eventually secured her divorce, and formally married the other man.
Heartbroken, Bless Dorman had concentrated on rebuilding his life and his career, and had eventually met Selina, who had stayed with him and loved him through the worst of the periods. They had found it hard to have children, but eventually Julie had been born, and soon afterwards things had started to pick up for his business until it became one of the best estate developers in the country.
Esinam, whose second husband turned out to be violent and a drunk, eventually left him and sought to come back to Bless Dorman, but of course, the door had long been shut then. The best Bless could do was give her a free house. He had also given his older children houses, and visited them often.
He had wanted Abednego and Sandra to move back in with him and his new family, but they had been unwilling to. They got together on occasions, though. Abednego and Sandra both worked in the company, holding mid-level positions, whereas Julie was a top-level executive.
And now, there was calamity!
She had lost her parents in a single day…oh, dear!
Julie spent a day more in the hospital…a day filled with sorrow and excruciating emotional pain as she wept herself sore, mourning her parents. And, in the midst of it all, she wondered why Jacob Acquah, her Jake, the man she loved enough to want to marry, had not yet put in an appearance.
Some of her friends visited her in the hospital, the friends she had been ‘blowing’ time with, so to speak. Most of the people from the office came to commiserate with her too. But, surprisingly, none of her family members – uncles, aunties, cousins – from her parents’ side came to her.
She wanted to leave the morbid hospital with all its frustrating moments and go home, but the doctor kept insisting that she had inflammation around her spinal cord, and she risked becoming a cripple if she did not exercise patience and receive treatment.
“And how long is it going to take this inflammation to go away?” Julie queried with tears running down her cheeks. “Something awful is going on, I can feel it! I need to see my parents! I need to go home!”
“Don’t worry, and don’t stress yourself, please,” the elderly doctor said kindly. “It should recede in a few days, otherwise we might have to perform a little surgery to clear it, okay? But it is very important that you lie very still.”
“A few days?” Julie shouted, shaking her head. “No, I don’t have a few days! I need to go home!”
“Listen, you’re facing a crisis here!” the doctor said, his voice firmer. “I’ll be blunt with you, miss. You have a contusion around your spinal cord that, if not handled by experts, could make you bedridden for up to a year, and you might never walk again. Do you understand? I’ve already sent a request for the best surgeon, and he’ll be here this evening.”
And, put that way, Julie could only lie down and weep silently.
The specialist came, as the doctor had promised, and ran a series of tests on Julie. He was a kind elderly man who looked professional and serious, and then he finally looked at Julie and smiled.
“I have a fair idea of what has happened, miss,” he said carefully. “However, I need the lab results to confirm. What I can say for sure, though, is that you’re going to need a little surgery to remove a contusion. It is just a little routine surgery that might not take more than an hour, and then you’ll be free to go.”
Julie nodded as tears filled her eyes again.
“And when will you have the lab results?” she asked softly.
“Tomorrow afternoon,” he replied.
Just as she was about to go into a frenetic mood, the door opened, and in walked her siblings and Jacob Acquah, her fiancé. Following close behind them was Mr. Joshua Andorful, her father’s lawyer.
Jacob – tall, dark and handsome – walked up to the bed and smiled sadly down at her.
The doctor welcomed them and told them they couldn’t stay for too long because she needed to rest.
“Oh, don’t worry, sir,” Sandra said sweetly and giggled. “We are not really going to stay that long.”
Julie began to weep pitifully and held out her arms to Jacob.
“My love,” Julie wept. “Why has it taken you so long to see me, Jake? Please, hold me in your arms! I’m dying in here!”
But Jacob remained standing with his hands thrust into his pockets, smiling down sadly at her.
“You’re going to be fine, Julie,” he said softly.
Julie’s face went wide with shock as her arms slowly dropped.
Jake never called her Julie.
For two years now he only called her Princess.
“Jake? What’s up with you? What’s the meaning of this?” she said in a lost little voice. “You won’t hold me? You won’t kiss me?”
“Oh, how sweet!” Sandra said as she strutted forward and stood looking down at Julie. “How adorable! You want a kiss, Julie? Really? After killing my father to inherit his wealth, you’re now overjoyed and in need of kisses, aren’t you?”
“What the hell is the matter with you?” Julie screamed, her eyes filled with tears.
“My parents are dead, and you stand there and talk nonsense?”
“Your parents are not dead, Julie,” Abednego said as he stood at the foot of the bed and looked at Julie with hot mean eyes. “Our father is dead, and our step-mother is dead. But the good news, at least to you, is that you haven’t lost anybody. For all we know, your real parents might be alive and well somewhere.”
And it was around that time, that particular moment in time, that Julie felt her heart giving a mighty and fierce kick as total fear surged through her.
His words dazed her, and made her throat dry, and made her feel very dizzy.
Real parents…real parents…your real parents…
The words echoed in her mind, causing her a great agitation she could not handle at that very moment!
It was no secret that Abednego disliked her intensely. He had never tried to hide that intense dislike from her, but in the past, it had never really bothered Julie. But now she was alarmed by the smug look on his face, and it terrified her.
Desperately, her eyes sought out her fiancé, the man she loved, the man she was going to marry in a few months.
“Jake-Love, please, my darling, what is going on here?”
Jake raised his eyebrows and looked really uncomfortable as he scratched an itch in his ear.
Sandra giggled and linked her arm through Jacob’s and looked down at Julie with real hatred reflected plainly in her eyes.
“Oh, poor you, Julie!” she spat out. “Oh, how I’ve waited for this day, to see your face when you learned the truth! You see, my father is not, and never has been your real father! That bitch of a woman you call your mother was a barren harlot, and she has never been pregnant!
You are the daughter of an unknown girl who gave birth and couldn’t send the baby home and begged the nurse to find a good home for her child. That particular nurse was a friend of Selina Dorman, my father’s wife, whom you believed to be your mother! She met the young girl – your real mother – after the nurse arranged the meeting. Selina promised to take good care of you, and so your whore of a mother gave you to Selina, who needed a child badly! She raised you as her daughter!”
Abednego chuckled evilly as he stared at Julie’s shattered face.
“You are the daughter of a whore of a woman who became pregnant due to her slutty life, and gave you away to a woman in need of a daughter,” he said evilly. “Now you know why you’ve been such a whore, sleeping with any man you come across. You’re not my father’s daughter, and you certainly aren’t Selina’s daughter. You’re just a lost girl thrown away by her own mother, Julie. Just a piece of shit, and nothing more!”
And at that particular moment in time, Julie just wanted to die.
Julie lay in bed and stared at them, and in her grief, she saw their predator-like expressions, all of them, and slowly her soul thrashed wildly in her body.
She fought hard to stay on a level keel, to assimilate the painful news they were giving her with a level head, but she simply could not. The stress and torture were too much, and she looked at Jake and the lawyer for some sort of comfort.
Lawyer Twumfu Andorful, their family lawyer of many years who had been such a great friend to her, more of a second father, was now looking at her with the same level of disinterest being exhibited by the others. He was standing rigidly with his bag and staring at her with a mixture of unease and grim determination.
It was as if the lawyer knew what he was doing was distasteful, and yet was going through with it anyway.
Julie fixed her gaze on the lawyer.
“Uncle Andorful, please, I beg of you…surely, what they’re saying can’t be true!” Julie said painfully. “Please, tell me you’re not with them!”
The lawyer took out a handkerchief and wiped his face, then smiled sickly at Julie as he glanced quickly at Abednego.
He licked his lips and spoke in a rush.
“Look, Julie, dearest, this all came as a great shock to me too, so I asked for evidence,” he said quickly. “We came to the hospital, when you were unconscious, and took samples from you and your parents…no, from Mr. and Mrs. Dorman, and a paternity test was done. Here, I have the results.”
He put his briefcase down on a low table, opened it, and extracted a sheet of paper. His hands were shaking quite alarmingly when he handed the DNA test result to Julie.
Julie stared at him with profound shock, unable to believe what she was hearing.
“My God!” she said quaveringly. “While I was lying here unconscious, and my parents were dead, you took samples from us for a paternity test? Are you people human?”
“Yes, human enough to make sure you receive your just punishment for your greed, you evil little bitch!” Sandra cried spitefully. “Go ahead, read the report! You can always do another paternity test, Julie! It will still prove that my father and my step-mom aren’t your biological parents! You were just a giveaway piece of turd!”
Julie’s eyes skimmed the report.
Yes, it was true…she wasn’t the biological daughter of the man and woman she had believed all her life were her parents!
Yes, indeed, she was just a nonentity!
She thought that they might be lying, forging the document for their own selfish reasons, but she knew that they couldn’t do so, not when they knew she could take them to court and obtain a redress, and carry out another paternity test!
Her lips trembled as the paper dropped from her hand.
The tears were like giant drops of water that dripped down her face, dragging the bitterness and pain and sheer helplessness from her belly.
“I’m sorry, Julie,” Lawyer Andorful said sadly as he picked up the report and put it back hurriedly into his briefcase. “It seems that you’re really not the biological daughter of Mr. Dorman. Under the law though, once they adopted you and made you their daughter, you might be considered a part of his inheritance, although in his last Will and Testament he left all his possessions, both tangible and intangible, to his biological children, Sandra and Abednego.”
Julie stared at the lawyer with horrified eyes.
“Lawyer Andorful!” she screamed pathetically. “Surely, that cannot be true! Dad showed me a photocopy of his last Will just three months ago! He left half of his inheritance to me and my mother, a quarter to specific charities, and a quarter to be shared between Sandra and Abednego! How can you lie like this?”
Lawyer Andorful shook his head hard, and a sudden fear came to his eyes.
“That cannot be true, Julie, no!” he said hurriedly. “Your father never got round to updating his Will although I reminded him over and again! His last Will and Testament was done thirty-five years ago!”
“That’s a lie!” Julie screamed, thoroughly agitated now. “Stop lying, Lawyer Andorful! Thirty-five years ago? I wasn’t even born then! Thirty-five years ago he left half of his properties to my mother, a quarter to his children, and a quarter to specified charities! I know all that because he told me everything, never kept anything from me! He changed his Will when I was born! So why are you trying to lie and switch the Will? Have they bribed you, Lawyer Andorful?”
The lawyer was sweating furiously now, and he wiped his face with his sodden handkerchief.
Sandra looked at the ruffled lawyer, and then she giggled insanely.
“Oh, he’s so upset!” she said. “Yes, Julie-Juu, we bribed the poor old Lawyer, and promised him some buildings and a divine retirement package, and being human as he is, he accepted readily, of course!”
“Stop that!” Lawyer Andorful shouted, agitated. “Please, stop that! Someone might hear! Walls have ears, you know!”
“And so the wicked, poor lawyer gave us this,” Abednego said, and slowly held up the original Will and Testament of Mr. Dorman. “And you know we can’t allow you, a complete stranger who sleeps around like a mad rabid dog in heat, to inherit the juicy parts of our father’s toils, do you? You have enjoyed enough as it is, bitch!”
His eyes were fierce as he took out a lighter from his pocket.
“No, no, no, please, please don’t do this!” Julie moaned in anguish as fresh tears fell down her face. “Please, Abed, don’t burn it! Respect your father’s last wishes! Don’t burn that Will!”
Abednego and Sandra laughed as the man brought the flame of the lighter to the Will, and carefully held it as it began to burn! He opened a foot-pedal dustbin near the door, and carefully lowered the charred remains of the Will into it!
“There goes your Will, Julie!” Abednego said savagely. “Gone! Poof! And now the old Will and Testament will hold supreme, giving everything to us! You’re now penniless, Julie! And you’re not welcome to the Company or any of the properties of our father anymore!”
“You’re fired, baby!” Sandra said and laughed raucously. “Oh, you don’t know just how long I’ve waited to wipe that smug slutty look off your fucking face! From here, don’t come anywhere near us again! Go and look for your missing parents, slut, and let them give you their sweat and toil!”
Julie turned an anguished face to Jacob.
“Jake, my love!” she whispered tremulously. “Are you going to stand there and watch them do this to me? You haven’t said a word! They can have it all, if they want! But please, my love, speak to me! Come to me, my darling!”
She held out her arms to Jacob, but he remained standing with a small smile playing around his lips.
And then the most horrifying thing happened!
Sandra linked her right arm through Jacob’s and slowly lifted her left hand, and showed the glittering, diamond-studded engagement ring on her finger to Julie.
Julie gasped with sudden unbearable pain!
This was the engagement ring she had ordered from Italy, complete with wedding bands for her and Jake to use on their engagement and wedding days!
She had given them to Jacob for safe-keeping! Not only that, but most of the items they had bought for their wedding were with Jake!
“You must congratulate us, Julie!” Sandra said viciously and winked at the cringing Julie. “Jacob decided to marry me, after all. Seems he had still been in love with me all this while! He was just using you…or so he told me!”
“Sandy!” Jake said at last, greatly appalled. “Must you be so cruel?”
“No, Jake, please, my love, don’t do this to me!” Julie wailed pitifully, lifting her arms toward Jacob. “Please, come to me! Hold me and kiss me and tell me this is all a bad dream! Oh, Jake, don’t kill me! Please, don’t kill my soul! I beg of you!”
Jacob Acquah, horrified, passed a hand across his face with sheer abject dejection.
“Oh, you didn’t know Jacob and Sandra dated for two years before breaking up?” Abednego asked and chuckled. “They’re old flames! Jake had always been a gold digger, Julie. He had always wanted to own a part of Dorman Capitals. He dated my sister, but when he found out the old man was probably going to leave everything to you, he dated you and proposed to you after breaking off painfully with Sandra.”
“And that was when I hated you to death, Julie-Juu!” Sandra said cruelly. “You not only stole my father’s love, you stole my love too! But who’s getting the last laugh now, huh? See how old firewood can light up? I have Jacob back, and I have my properties back! What are you gonna do about it? Go burn the fucking sea for all I care!”
“No!!” Julie screamed shrilly, her lips trembling uncontrollably as tears fell down her face. “Jaaaaaake! Jaaaaaake! Tell me it’s all a horrible lie!”
“Lie?” Sandra said spitefully. “Even when he promised to marry you, he was still screwing me senseless, baby! He always cheated on you with me! Seems he loves my pussy more, and can’t stop hitting it! He was only with you because he knew you would eventually inherit the chunk of Daddy’s Estate. He’s mine, and he’s back, and you can go take a hike or drink all the seawater with a teaspoon, and I won’t give a fuck about you!”
She then put her arms around Jake’s neck, pulled his head down, and kissed him in a wet, seductive way!
Julie struggled to a sitting position.
She couldn’t breathe!
Her heart was shattered now, and she just wanted to die!
She was screaming shrilly with pain, and she tried to hold Jacob’s hand. He was a step too far, and as she lunged forward to hold him she felt a sudden and excruciating pain in her back!
It was a horrible pain that seared down to the roots of her hair!
She screamed over and over again as the pain intensified!
Too late, she seemed to hear the doctor’s warning again, over and over…
Lie still…do not move…lie still…do not move…lie still…lie still…
Dimly she saw Jake and Sandra leaving the room, followed by Lawyer Andorful.
Abednego remained standing at the foot of the bed and looked at her suffering!
And then, as doctors and nurses suddenly raced into the ward, drawn by her bleating screams, something horrible suddenly happened!
Julie couldn’t move her lower body!
She couldn’t feel any sensation in her thighs and legs and lower back!
Dimly she was aware of the doctors putting her on the bed and their expert hands roaming over her legs.
“Can you move your toes?” one of them asked.
“I can’t!” Julie screamed. “I can’t move any part of my lower body!”
“Oh, my God!” one of the doctors groaned bitterly. “She’s paralyzed downstairs. Seems the cyst and contusion took a turn for the worse!”
“Jesus Christ!” another said with horror. “Quadriplegia?”
“No, not total paralysis of all four limbs, no,” the senior doctor said. “I think she’s still functional with her hands.”
“Paraplegia then?” the junior doctor said.
“Yes, total paralysis from the waist down, could be permanent!” the senior one said, agitated. “Hurry, get her to the theatre and let me take a good look!”
Julie listened to all these words, and she just wondered if this was one hell of a nightmare, because reality could not be this scary, this horrible, this heart-breaking!
If this was reality, then she preferred to die!
She doesn’t want to live a single day more!
If, indeed, she had total and irreversible paralysis from the waist down as they were saying, and if indeed Jake had broken her heart so totally, and if indeed she wasn’t the daughter of her parents, then life was not worth living anymore!
She would kill herself…yes, she would!
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