THE BACKFIRED ATTACK (SHORT STORY)
Chinenye stood motionless before the mirror in her room for a full minute. Then the shaking began. Her legs could hardly carry her weight but she willed herself to remain upright. She peered into the mirror examining the scratches and bruises on her face and arms. She could see nothing that would leave a permanent scar.
She moved back from the mirror a few inches and gasped as she unstrapped her backpack and pulled her blouse over her head. Blood was seeping from the gash on her right shoulder where she had been stabbed. She needed to see the nurse next door in her off-campus compound to stitch it up and give her something for the pain plus an anti-tetanus shot. She hadn’t cried yet. That would come later, she hoped. It was her cherished release mechanism.
She had been in lots of fights before, for sure, but never with someone on a lonely path at night and never with one with such sinister intentions. And her reflexes were not what they should have been because she was slightly out of form having relaxed her training routine in the past five months due to pressure of academic work.
Right now, she was just thankful she was alive. She couldn’t be so sure about the guy who had attacked her, though. He had picked the wrong girl to assault – a Taekwondo Black Belt champion who had been admitted into the university eight months ago. She would have been content to immobilize him but when he brandished a knife and actually drew blood, she decided she would break every single bone in his body that she came in contact with.
The encounter went from a scuffle in the first two minutes to a one-sided kick-and-smash duel with the seconds when they circled each other and he suddenly flipped out a knife and cut her in between. The man’s estimated 1.83m, 90kg frame to her 1.65m, 57kgs gave him no edge at all due to her fleetness and agility. She was not called “Blitz” in martial arts circles for nothing. The confrontation was over in about six minutes and her back pack was securely attached the whole time. The padded strap was the reason the knife cut she received wasn’t deeper.
She knew she had lost it for a while out there as she often did during her earlier days in the sport. Unfortunately for her attacker, they weren’t having practice where her coach would shout “Enough” or a match which the referee could end. If he survived, he would have some permanent physical impairment to contend with and he definitely won’t be waylaying anyone ever again. She had made certain of that by concentrating her strikes on his limbs and groin but there was the occasional kick to his ribs at first. She didn’t know whether to thank God or not that in the end she had stopped just short of delivering the coup de grâce by bashing in his head as he lay in a crumpled heap on the ground.
As she stepped out to receive the nurse’s care, she reflected on how she would behave in the future. No more night classes, no question about that! Robbers, rapists and their like were on the loose in the area and much as she could defend herself, she decided she wouldn’t be caught dead outside after 7 p.m. ever again. She had no intention of hurting anyone again for her safety’s sake.
And she would beg the nurse to hold the matter in confidence. She would also skip school for a few days to heal. No need drawing unnecessary attention to herself. She hoped she would be able to forget the whole thing in a fortnight or so but she didn’t know how the human mind handled incidents like this or how hers in particular would. But once again, she was thankful to be alive and winced as she lifted her right arm to knock on the nurse’s door.
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2016
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