There was so much blood. That was the first thing my fuzzy brain registered even as I struggled to be fully conscious. I couldn’t see the blood but I could sense it strongly and the smell permeated the air. Why was I in a place where there was so much blood? Who am I? Why was I finding it difficult to wake up and why did I feel as though my body was pinned to the ground?
I tried to move my hand and the pain hit me in dizzying waves. I cried out in anguish as that motion seemed to make me aware that my body was throbbing in different places and I was very uncomfortable. Crying out was good and even the pain was a good thing. It meant I wasn’t dead like I originally feared. I became slowly aware of another smell, smoke I think. Where am I? I felt like screaming for help but my attempt only yielded a pitiful squeak.
I sensed slow, painful movement beside me. Someone was approaching and I tensed. Friend or foe? I wasn’t in any position to defend myself even if it was the former. The person was crying and she was calling out something I didn’t recognize.
She got to my side and checked my wrist, then put her hand on my chest. Her relief was palpable.
‘Oh, thank God you are alive. Can you hear me? Please you have to wake up. It is going to blow up. Please wake up, we have to get out of …,’ her last word was swallowed in a sob and she patted me gently.
I cried out again and she recoiled in fright. ‘I’m so sorry. Of course you are in pain but please you have to get up’.
It took supreme effort but I opened my eyes slowly. I closed it again against the blinding glare of the sun and took a few minutes before I opened it again. The person that had been speaking was peering at me closely and she emitted a sigh of relief when I opened my eyes fully. My vision was hazy so the best I could make out was a blurry outline.
‘Oh Sharon, I was so scared I would never see you again. Thank God you are awake, now you have to get up.’
Her words helped in answering one of the many questions that had been racing through my mind. I am Sharon or my name is Sharon. The smell of smoke that I had been aware of earlier became stronger and I recalled that she had said something was going to blow up. What was going to blow up? I tried to move my head and was pleased to see that the action didn’t cause so much pain. The sight that greeted me had bile rising swiftly in my stomach as it churned dangerously.
‘I will help you. We need to be out of here now.’
There were so many still bodies littered around the area. That was the source of the blood I had sensed earlier, it was a gory sight and I averted my gaze as I attempted to control my nausea.
‘Come on, Sharon, I will help you up. Do you know where you hurt so I can be mindful of that area?’
I didn’t trust myself to speak so I shook my head, an action I instantly regretted.
‘Okay, I will just be extra careful then.’
She put an arm around my shoulder and slowly began lifting my upper body up. I gritted my teeth against the pain and with her help, I stood up fully. I had to lean heavily on her for some minutes while I regained my balance and the world tilted precariously.
Her sense of urgency propelled my awkward movements and I tried my best to look away as we passed several bodies. I had to rest every two seconds and lean on her. By the time we got to a clearing, we were both panting heavily.
‘Just a little bit further or maybe you should wait here while I go back to check for survivors. There may be survivors. They can’t be dead, Chioma, Vince’, another sob, ‘If we survived, maybe they did too.’
…to be continued