I love words; they could be shallow or deep, hurtful or kind. Words could be emanated from the depths of the soul, or roll off the tip of the tongue. It could be deceptive, it could be factually. Depending on the person talking… and as unpredictable as humans can be, so also are words.
To be honest, the vile words hurled at people are mostly done by humans that should know better. I mean, Christians trying to be Christ-like… even the son of the creator never condescended or spoke hurtful words to anyone when he walked the earth, aren’t we gunning to be more like Him? The world is what it is today because people failed to tame their tongues or failed to live up to their well-spoken words. We all know ill-spoken words can’t be unsaid, we all know words we won’t like to be hurled at us. Why do we conveniently hurl it at others; why so wicked?
“It’s true hurtful words like harsh conditions a diamond passes through have made people great, but I’d like to imagine how far they’d have gone if their minds were caressed with kind and motivating words”, Olatunde Gbenuola
Words could carry your very essence or pain, your scars, or even the road map to your heart… as much as I love words; there are certain experiences or moments when you find yourself not being able to compose any words.
Vagnar’s lips trembled “Heaven couldn’t wait for you, now go on… go home”, he concluded reading the Eulogy out at the father’s burial ceremony when he was 9 years old a day after his birthday. That seems unfair for such a young child? Not really, He insisted, he was as brave as they come. Words can be hurled at you at any particular time, words of admiration or words that trigger. However, we have the power to choose what we’d do with it.
Vagnar again, found himself reading the Eulogy at his mother’s burial 5 years after his father’s. That’s much pain for a 14 years old lonely child now orphan. Both of Vagnar’s parents were victims of cancer, the only disease that comes at random and eats up the body from the inside getting powerful with each passing moment. Some people are lucky to win battles against this scourge called cancer, with deep barrel scars of a warrior, some people aren’t that lucky. Vagnar’s loss didn’t break him; he survived the negative moment of his life and rose like a phoenix through the ashes of pain and loss, or did he?
We have people filled with benevolent emotions that they live by, with the ability to love without holding back. Vagnar Larson chose to bask in the abundance of his emotions, love was a lifestyle. The problem about people that open their hearts to others by default is; their frail hearts become easy targets to the scum of this world… It was hard to cope without the love of both his parents but a good soul would always find ways to burn off negative energy. Vagnar’s father willed his empire to his son but he was only getting the keys to the said empire at the age of 30.
“You are a gift to this world, find yourself before you take on this gift I’ll leave behind for you and the generations after you”, said Vagnar as he pondered out loud on the Eve of his 30th birthday.
“Well dad, I did find myself. Even in death, you believed in me”, Vagnar smiled as he stared at the people at the bar there to celebrate with him.
Vagnar was a great artist; he had a unique mind that brought pictures to life. To be fair, he had never had to work a day in his life for money but out of the luxury of time and abundance. He made a name for himself easily by embracing his passion for painting exquisite, well sought-after, and valuable art.
Although, Life for anyone who dives into the world of art can be so lonely… the mind of the gifted is a very lonely place. Well, maybe not so lonely if you consider the voices in the head. Vagnar moved from city to city acknowledging those who wanted to know the genius behind the exquisite and tasteful arts. Made millions from selling off his work and technically became a multi-millionaire before 30…
“Cheers to the big three-zero!” yelled Captain François the pilot of his private jet at the bar not so far from the airport
“Ease up on the champagne captain, I’d like to get back home whole again”, Vagnar teased as the crew laughed. Life was just getting started for Vagnar, he was on top of his world at the time.
At different intervals in our lives, we come across people that are predestined to have huge impacts in our lives; sometimes they’re divine, sometimes diabolical. Unfortunately, most of the time we don’t discern the diabolical people we cross paths with until… it’s too late.
This is the misfortune of Vagnar Larson…
A bartender walks up to Vagnar
“This bottle of wine is sent by that lady”, said the bartender as he gestured to a lady in a black dress
“Oh, that’s nice”, said Vagnar as he waved to the woman and beckoned her to come closer
The woman came closer with a pretty smile on her face; her black dress glistened under the mood light at the bar. Time slowed down as Vagnar’s mouth opened ajar, overwhelmed by her unique beauty… his mind couldn’t figure out why she intrigued him. She was graceful and beautiful.
“I can’t thank you enough for this bottle of wine, I’d appreciate it if we shared it at least”, said Vagnar as broke the soon to be awkward silence for staring too long when she got closer
“Oh my, it was supposed to be anonymous… I was just feeling your vibe from across the room. My name is Hannah”,
“Nice to meet you, Hannah, you’re the first to honor me with a gift on my birthday”, giggled Vagnar
“Yes, my name is Vagnar Larson and today is my birthday”, said Vagnar
“Happy birthday Vagnar, wishing you many more years”, said Hannah as she raised her glass
“Here here”, said Vagnar as the clinging of glasses filled the bar
“Sir, I think it’s time”, whispered captain François into Vagnar’s ear
“Oh well, Erm… Hannah. I gotta go. It was nice meeting you. Thanks for the gift”,
“That’s so soon. I mean, we haven’t even finished this bottle of wine”, said Hannah as she was saddened
“You know what? Come with me”, said Vagnar
“Really? Where do you stay?” Hannah asked
“That’s a simple question with a complicated answer”, said Vagnar
“Just tell me, where’s your chauffeur taking you? Judging by the way he’s dressed. Yes chauffeur”, giggled Hannah
“I’ve been living out of my suitcase for the best part of 16years now, you know? I move from school then hotels in different parts of the world… I don’t know where I’d call my home. However, I’m heading to my father’s house”, Vagnar explained
“Where’s your father’s house?” asked Hannah
“In Liverpool, would you come with me, Hannah? And that’s not my chauffeur, he’s my pilot and those beautiful people with me are my crew. They shouldn’t have left the jet but I insisted”, Vagnar asked
“You’re joking, right? You meet someone on a cold night at a bar in Quebec and you ask her to move with you to Liverpool you’re hilarious hehe”, laughed Hannah
“I’m sorry, I just don’t wanna wake up tomorrow knowing I could have asked you to come with me and didn’t. Thank you for tonight Hannah, you’re a delight. I must take my leave now, take care”, said Vagnar
Vagnar walked outside the bar with his crew as his bodyguard handed his fur coat over to him, 3 SUVs were parked outside for Vagnar and his crew. Vagnar was about to enter his car when
“Wait… Vagnar”, yelled Hannah as ran to catch up with him
“Yeah?” said Vagnar as he turned
“I –I don’t. I don’t know you, it’s unfair how you waltz into my life and immediately make me feel like I’d be making the biggest mistake of my life if I don’t follow you. I mean, you could be a serial killer”, said Hannah
“Hannah, you’re freezing", said Vagnar as he removed his fur coat and covered her, he then pulled her close and kissed her passionately.
“You’ve got balls Vagnar”, said Hannah
“Yes Hannah, I’m supposed to”, said Vagnar with a grin on his face
“How will this work, I’m a student here… I’ve been here my whole life. My parents and friends still need me. I work part-time at a pharmacy. I—”,
“Shhh, we’d figure all of that out. Right now, Hannah… Hannah?”
“Ferguson, Hannah Ferguson”,
“Right now, Hannah Ferguson… I want to be with you. I’d have stayed but I got to pay my respects to my parents”,
“Alright then, take me. Take me away”,
That was an unusual moment in Vagnar’s life, he’d crossed paths with someone special and he’d let it consume him. 6 years had passed, Vagnar and Hannah got married, and 3 months away from the arrival of their first child.
“I was thinking… I want our child to be born in Quebec, your hometown”, said Vagnar as he rolled towards his wife on his king-sized bed
“I envy you”,
“You rolling and slithering all over the place like a snake”,
“Oh come on, you’d be fit to do that in like 5 months. So what do you think? Quebec?”
“I’m not gonna be traveling for at least 3 months after the birth of our daughter, will you sit your butt in one place for that long?”
“For you my dear, anything”,
“Then Quebec it is”, said Hannah
“I’ve got to go now, I’ve got some appointments”, said Vagnar rushed off the bed to freshen up
“Whoa”, said Vagnar “I suddenly just got dizzy spells”,
“That happens usually after sudden movements”,
“Hannah?” said Vagnar as he turned back at her with his nose bleeding heavily “Call- call an ambu-” stuttered Vagnar as he passed out.
A couple of days passed and Vagnar finally came to
“Where am- Where am I?” whispered Vagnar as he looked at his immediate environment.
“Oh, honey. Thank God. Hold on, lemme go get the doctor”, cried Hannah
“No babe, wait… don’t leave me”, begged Vagnar
“Listen to me, you scared the shit out of me and the doctor had a worried look on his face all through. Now, stay still while I go call the doctor”, Hannah sternly said
Hannah swiftly left the recovery room to get the doctor’s attention, the doctor eventually walked in with a file of results
“Finally Mister Larson, you’re yet with us. How are you feeling?” Doctor David asked as he checked his Vitals
“Doctor, what is going on?” asked Vagnar “Just tell me”,
“Mister Larson”, said Doctor David as his countenance changed “I- You-”
“It's cancer, isn’t it?” Vagnar interrupted as he chuckled
“It can’t be Cancer! Sweetheart just shut up”, Hannah quickly cut in
“Actually missus Larson, it is… your husband has Prostate cancer. But it’s in its early stages, he can be saved. We need to start chemotherapy right away—”
“Get me that piece of paper and pen”, interrupted Vagnar as scribbled on the paper “get all you need to work on me to that address, I’ll be there by tonight”,
“No, what are you saying honey?” asked the concerned Hannah
“Doctor please, can you go on with the preparations. I need a moment alone with my wife”, said Vagnar as the Doctor hurriedly rushed out the room to make preparations
“Babe, I married you because I love the way your mind works in dire situations, I’d need your strength to go through this but I want you to trust me right now. We need to do this my way”, said Vagnar as he sat up and disconnected his I.V.
Hannah was speechless… she just sat at her husband’s bedside staring at him as hot tears pour down her face.
“Aww, it breaks my heart to see you this way and I promise I’d fight this till my last breath—”,
“Then stay here. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, you’re not making any sense right now”,
“Alright, listen… let me explain why I can’t stay here. When I was younger, I lost both my parents to cancer. Just before they died, I watched them go through so much agony. And honey, I’ve come to believe what hell is. Hell is watching the people you love suffer, knowing there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. So many times I held my mother’s pale hand wishing I could take away the pain and bear it for a while. It was my hell. I vowed never to go through that… knowing with the chances of getting cancer got higher with both my parents dying of it. I came out with a plan, I got on the dark web and lured the scum of this world, promising 30 million dollars to anyone that kills me painlessly as soon as cancer is discovered in my body”,
“There’s a 30 million dollars bounty on your head? Are you insane? Call it off!”
“I can’t, it is ironclad. If I don’t leave here, I’m gonna die painlessly”,
“Oh heavens, I married an Idiot”,
“I deserved that… it was the way I coped with my loss. Stupid but it worked wonders, now you know why I can’t stay here. I made a contingency plan to keep myself safe after I discovered it couldn’t be undone”,
“What the fuck Vagnar! What the fuck? How many people know about this bounty?”
“Uhm, the bounty is 18 years old… I really don’t know”,
“Where are we going to wait this out?”
“Oh bro, I ain’t following you to New Zealand. What the fuck Vagnar?”
“Come on Hannah, my life didn’t make any sense before that night at the bar. I found happiness, a best friend, a lover, my Queen all in one person. My whole life changed with you in it”,
“Do not patronize me Vagnar. You weren’t honest with me, why would you keep something so huge from your past from me?”
“How would you expect me to look you in your eyes and say Hey if I ever get cancer there’s an active bounty on my head for a painless death?”
“I love you but I don’t even know you as I thought I did and it’s terrifying”,
“Hannah… come on, please. We could talk about this later but right now we need to leave this place. We gotta get to New Zealand. Please, I need you, I can’t do this alone”, begged Vagnar as he reached out to Hannah
“Don’t you touch me”, sputtered Hannah as she walked out.
Vagnar winced in pain as he struggled to get off the bed, but he wasn’t fit enough to run after her. Vagnar’s life was about to change and he was in dire need of her strength, his woman, his wife. Vagnar eventually moved to New Zealand alone, he then started his treatment with trusted and vetted medical practitioners observing his chemotherapy and reactions round the clock.
The Vacuum Hannah left was so huge, it was like fighting a losing battle. Vagnar needed her strength but who could blame her though, she was handed a hard pill to swallow. A couple of days passed, Hannah showed up in New Zealand but as her gaze fell in on her pale and frail husband, her countenance changed. She ran to her husband’s arms
“You promised that you’d make me happy always, you promised that you’d shield my heart. How do you expect me to worry about your health and the bounty on your head at the same time?” cried Hannah
“I don’t need you mad at me, I just need you. Right now”, Vagnar pleaded
“I’m here my love. I’m here. I’m gonna go freshen up and fix up dinner tonight”, said Hannah as she dried her tears. But just before she left “I’d like to have time with my husband tonight, you’d be called when needed. Thanks”, Hannah addressed the medical practitioners around.
Vagnar gingerly walked into the kitchen area as the aroma of Hannah’s food invited him from across the house
“The aroma of your delicacy has fresh life coursing through my veins”, smiled Vagnar as he sat down at the table
“You know no one could make you this dish as good as I can”, said Hannah as she carried a plate of her special recipe to Vagnar.
“Hey, I believe I can beat this, our lives would go back to normal. It’s you and I against the world, okay?”, said Vagnar as he devoured his food, each spoon was like warm hugs and kisses.
“You got quite an appetite for someone that’s sick, your body must have been on pause for my food”,
“Honey, what would you like to name our daughter? We’ve never really thought about it”,
“Hmm, true… I’d like to name her after my mother, Sarah”,
“That’s beautiful, Sarah”,
“Remember that night we met at Quebec?” Hannah asked as she sat right beside him
“Of course, best night of my life, I-I don’t, I can’t—” said Vagnar as he struggled to breathe or form words
“Well, sweetheart… I wasn’t there by accident. I followed you everywhere you went all year long. I’m betting that’s not the only anonymous thing you’d gotten”, said Hannah as memories of random anonymous gifts flashed across his mind.
“To be honest we should have met sooner but you’d always assumed you had fans sending you gifts. No love, it was me. I was your biggest fan. The bounty states explicitly painless death, it didn’t say you shouldn’t squirm a bit before you die slowly”, said Hannah as Vagnar collapsed on the floor and crawled away from her
“Killing Sarah’s dad wasn’t always my plan, but you forced my hand. I’d always known about the bounty, I stepped up and paid off every bounty hunter that got hands on your sick plan. Thankfully, there weren’t as many as I’d feared. Oh honey, don’t stare at me like that… I have my own money, well… had. Giving a million dollars to people looking to cash out on your demise was draining but I was in love, oh! I was so stupid. It’s no surprise that we lose ourselves with love. I even paid great actors to act as my parents and siblings for our glorious wedding. You needy and clueless poor soul with zero ideas of how the world functioned outside your limited mind”,
“Han- Hannah, stop, please. You love me. I know… I can stake my life on it. You love me”,
“Yes, I love you, wholeheartedly”,
“Why are you doing this?”
“I lost my way loving you, now this is me. And for the record, my real name is Rita… I made a vow to you my husband. In sickness and in health, till death do us part”, said Rita as she looked down on Vagnar Larson’s corpse.
How can you possibly kill someone you love or once loved? It’s no surprise… we’re humans, there's no limit to the evil or good we’re capable of.
‘Sometimes, people pretend you’re a bad person so they don’t feel guilty about the things they did or will do to you’
© Olatunde Gbenuola
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