Witches in Surgery Ward is a short story of a man who is ambushed in a surgery ward by witches after a successful heart surgery procedure.
The three-mile journey from my place within central London to the hospital was mostly along deserted roads. In many decades, it was the most minimal daytime traffic I had ever seen in the town. Under normal conditions of peak travel, the roads were packed or jammed at this time of the day. The day was wet and chilly, but bright. It was Spring. A neighbour, Moreno, was kind enough to take me to St Thomas’ hospital for a surgical procedure that morning.
Mufugbenous change had been hovering over western societies for long, but recent events had now given it its own patch in our way of life. We passed buses, cars, vans, and people who must have been essential workers. The workers wore looks that could be aggregated as necessity anxiety without error. Otherwise, my perception might have been both erroneous and exaggerated since the workers on the streets we travelled wore light blue protective masks. Nevertheless, I was diehard in my assessment. How many people would see things differently? The absence of youngsters and children on the streets might have helped shape my perception of the adults I could see.
“The roads are so dry.” I said.
“That’s what happens when we have Covid lockdown restrictions in place,” Moreno said.
“True. I never believed Tower Bridge Road, Borough Station, and Westminster Bridge Roads would be deserted in peace times. It reminds me of a 1970s TV series, Survivors, in which a plague had struck England and the Oval Tube station was derelict.” I said.
“That was before my time. All I can say is only God knows what Boris Johnson is doing,” Moreno said.
“How do you mean?” I asked.
“If society was in a straitjacket like it is now, Jozza would not be PM,” Moreno said.
“Well, leaders always do things that contradict their entry into power,” I said.
“They say power corrupts; I say it deludes,” Moreno said.
“Thank you very mercilessly.” I said.
We both laughed.
My trip to hospital for a replacement procedure was happening on the day after the 7th anniversary of the surgery to place an ICD in my heart. My heart needs one. Seven years though was two years overdue, and the device could just barely perform its function in the last six months. My breathing had become onekindish and my perception of well-being somewhat. Nervousness about my health had been threatening for weeks. Relief is magical when it comes sometimes. Going to Hospital often portends bad news but this time it was an elation to embrace. Destiny elongation.
We arrived at a near empty hospital car park. At every other time I had been to the hospital, the car park would be full, with visitors parking in undesignated spots. We both stepped out of the car.
“May your surgery go well. I will pray for you. If you don’t make it, I will pray the Lord fixes you up with countless virgins in heaven,” Moreno said.
“Thank you so much, my brother. If I make it, please arrange one clean girl without virginity when I get home for some activities.” I said.
“Those runs are easier to arrange in heaven,” Moreno said.
“Have you been there?” I asked.
With a twinkling of mischief in his eyes, he got into his SUV and headed back home.
The parts of the hospital I traversed, the drop off point, the entrance, lobby, lifts, and main corridors barely had any staff or patients. On a regular day as a regular patient at the hospital, I would encounter hundreds of people till I got to a ward or clinic. Today, I did not encounter more than twenty people, they were all wearing light blue protective masks. Again, I could perceive the people in hospital looking like they had necessity anxiety driving them. You could see stacks of masks and hand disinfectants pumps help-yourself-style at many points across the hospital. St Thomas’ is a mega-hospital with great facilities, capacities, equipment, skill, and merit. Right then it was in a state of under use, though not a waste. Hospitals cannot afford their operational routines to take naps. No major institution can.
At the second set of lifts, I noticed a smartly dressed man perhaps a young doctor in his twenties coughing as he was about to enter a lift alone. Coughs, repetitive ones, had never caught my attention as a threat before but this one did. Covid talk in the media and its social counterpart sounded scarier than AIDS back in the 80s. Furthermore, it was also airborne; hence the light blue masks and hospitals were the best receptacles to catch it. I coughed twice in response perhaps as a reflex action and the fear of someone else’s cough left me. Was I in advanced denial or using my Eastern Wisdom equanimity technique? I will not attempt to answer that question till 2030.
People had heeded the government advice of either not to attend hospital unless it was an emergency, or the personal stay away for fear of infection. Outside hospital the overriding government advice was people should stay indoors. All sorts of dread-inspiring rumours were circulating about the coronavirus, 5G telecom networks, and death tolls. And government announcements did not help; they fuelled conspiracy theories.
I got to the ward from where I would be ready for the procedure at 10.00am. A good looking and personable blond was at the nurse’s station. She was wearing a transparent face shield instead of a mask. I always like bright eyes no matter the complexion they sit in.
“Good morning. Are you here for a procedure?” she said.
“Yes, I am good morning,” I said.
“What’s your name please?” she asked.
I showed her my admission letter and ID.
“I am Laurie. You will be under my care today. Come with me” Laurie said.
She ushered me towards Bed 2 in a six-bed section of the ward. It was not a usual cardiology ward, and I was the only patient. The ward was serene, clean, and filled with strong morning sunlight. I liked it. I usually went into filled up wards and on occasion see patients taken into waiting rooms to create space for new admissions. Laurie then brought me a jug of water with ice and a small bag of toiletries. She went back to the nurses’ station wiggling her backside but not too much. Five minutes later another young lady came to my bedside.
“Hi, how are you today? I am Dr Olga Markov, and I will be replacing your pacemaker-defibrillator shortly. Are you aware of what the procedure entails?” she asked.
The doctor did not talk over me, my response was slow. She took off her mask. To be a lead surgeon she must be good at her aspect of surgery. I also believe she could make it big on the silver screen or on the catwalk. Barring all doubts, she was Bond Girl material.
“Yes, I am aware of the procedure.,” I said.
“Okay, do you have any questions?” she asked.
“No,” I said.
“Okay. You will be able to go home after your op. However, if you require a higher dose of local anesthetic during the op, you will have to sleep over,” she said.
“That’s, fine,” I said.
“I will see you in theatre shortly,” she said.
The doctor might have had military training considering the spring and balance in her gait which was somehow also graceful.
The procedure began at 11.00am and took forty minutes. It was successful. The only snag was the higher dose of intravenous fentanyl during the surgery. At 106 kg, I guess I was heavier than the average surgery patient and would need much more anesthetic. Before the surgery ended, I had lapsed into deep sleep.
I am not quite sure what woke me up, but I was awake, and suddenly so. The side-effects of high dose fentanyl I could feel but nothing worse than hang over from drinking too many cups of Nigerian Guinness stat. I prefer the word stat to stout in matters of Guinness. I have no problem saying the word stout when describing the girth of a baobab or oak tree. Or any other alcoholic stout, even Kilkenny’s.
The pain of the fresh cut on my chest was sharp. It was more painful than =for the first op seven years ago. I would need painkillers and a district nurse to change the dressing for a few days. And I would have to stay in bed, mocking my upper body as little as possible. Coughs and sneezes are unacceptable if I could help it. My compensation was breathing was easy. That was a good enough outcome to impress me.
Well, my frontal lobes were searching for basic clarity to perceive what lay around my surroundings when to the right of my bed I saw two people in simple African attire standing a meter away from my bed. The woman closer to me had a darkened face as if ash had been used as rouge. Her hair was loose, full, and tidy adorning an exceptionally beautiful face. The interplay of bust, waist, and hip dimensions could instantly heal erectile dysfunction whether of organic or psychological causes. Gbogborogbo!
As blood engorged my extremities any of my stubborn resistance to casual coital temptation was wiped out. But not for long. You may have experienced that extreme but temporary moment of weakness followed by rebounding strength that overcompensates for a surprise vulnerability. Despite her beauty the lady in the middle was a witch on a mission perhaps to injure me. Well, so my intuition told me and it told me right. Their timing was astute. The time just after an operation is a great time to bewitch a target. She and her foil were not my visitors. We were in Covid lockdown and the last place people wanted to be was in a hospital without wearing masks. And standing barefooted in their midsummer tropical clothing on a chilly day was bizarre.
The person to her right was a shorter male who had bulging biceps, a thick neck, and a muscular body to match. He had the face of an ox and a feral demeanour. Further evidence he was a Night Boy was unnecessary. Despite his impressive build I suspected he had always lived on a carbohydrate-based diet. The development of his Adams apple hinted years of aggressively swallowing large boluses of strong cassava and yam meals. A day without swallowing must have been meaningless for him.
Some may remember the popular lyrics of the Kool & The Gang song, Night People. The words floated into my mind without invitation nor expectation,
Night people, Oh Oh,
People of the night,
I want to tell you about the people of the night on the street…
Those lyrics were referring to night groovers and crawlers you find on the streets in cities that never sleep. Party people like Lono Brazil and Onomaro. The night people I was encountering right now are practitioners of nefarious witchcraft, intrusions like incubus and succubus, and life-minimising/death-dealing spells and hexes of the dirtiest kind. Members of evil fraternities and sororities.
The two witches looked like avatars projected from a place elsewhere. Yet, on reflection, they neither looked like holograms or apparitions. Their bodies looked so solid to me. I could not understand it. Their eyes were fixed or frozen devoid of movement or sensitivity. Could they even see me though those eyes I thought? Anyhow, there presence was neither endearing nor welcome. They were witches!
The witch lady leaned towards me stretching out her hand and using her finger like a dart in slow motion. Looking at the trajectory of her finger she was directing it at the site of surgery on my chest. She wan put her finger inside. Bianimikaley! Was she a surgeon too? Ibabo! My father! So, this is how the witches operate? I thought that all their operations were decided, designed, and executed across space and time from the laboratories and control towers of the coven. I did not believe that they could operate tangibly in the physical world. Hmmm.
My reaction to the witch woman’s attempt to finger my new thorax cut was uncomplicated. I recited a nine-syllable incantation. The person who gave me the incantation, Makitikpo, said it is the guy-name of Archangel Michael. It sounded like a name either congruent to Sango or Hanuman. Makitikpo was once a worshipper of Okunovu, the Guardian Deity of Jesse, so I am not sure if the incantation is linked in accordingly.
Without losing focus on its enigmatic sound, I recited the incantation in my heart once. On the last syllable the lifeless eyes of the two witches came to life. The eyes I thought could not see me were now blaring at me with harsh acuity. Blank eyes became bad eye. Then I heard the witch woman shout “Eeee!” the onomatopoeia of bitter regret. The witch woman’s forefinger shrunk down to the base of her palm as she pulled it back towards her. I was certain the finger would never come near me ever again.
The nostrils of the witch man began to flare and breathed out mists rather than smoke. I could later see smoke coming out of their bodies again like as they squirmed in agony. The smoke as foul as it was to my nose smelled of burning rubber, not burning flesh or vegetable. But they began to shrivel like meat or plants would in a flame but their eyes continued to blare at me. Out of caution rather than fear I recited the incantation a second time. The speed of their disintegration overtook my imagination. That must have been the best fire I ever lit even though I did not have a clue it would happen and burn the foes. Was this a case of underestimation? The witches must have thought I was unarmed, spiritually. Angel Michael had spoken.
The bodies of the witches were reduced from complete forms to two piles of ash where they each stood. The nurse came to my bed and saw the piles of ash.
“What’s that?” the nurse asked.
“What’s what?” I asked
She then pointed to the piles of ash, her pretty face now looking out of order.
“I don’t know, I didn’t put it there. I have just woken up.”
“It looks weird,” she said.
The nurse left and returned in a couple of minutes with a broom and dustpan. She swept the ashes with utmost care. She must have been aware of the problems with sweeping powdery or granular substances. My guess was probably right. I saw her with a mop and bucket soon after. My environment was now clean again.
I had just escaped a combined attempted witch attack by good fortune. Nothing had made me more vulnerable to the attack than my fall for the beauty of the witch woman. Without any prompt I broke into song.
I say na wetin kill the boy o,
Na toto kill the boy
That was my lullaby for the evening and it was both a reminder and a warning to me. It was up to me to heed it.
Now the important undertaking for me is to discover the guy-name of Archangel Raphael to draw total healing upon myself. The Day of the Night People in my life ended terribly for them and there shall never be another.
Nevertheless, I hope Moreno will answer his father’s name when I get home tomorrow. I pulled hard on my right ear and pulled it again.
Be good, not lucky.