It was just a couple of weeks to Christmas and preparations had already begun. Everywhere Stella went she saw smiling faces, people buying presents, Christmas decorations and many others. She really wished her husband was with her. Her parents had invited her to spend the holidays with them but she declined. It wouldn’t feel the same.
She tried to avoid going to places that reminded her of the beauty in Christmas. She couldn’t wait for her husband’s return. She believed there will still be time for them to decorate their own tree since he promised to come back a week to Christmas.
Stella woke up on the last day of the week feeling a bit weak. Few days left and her husband would be home so why couldn’t she shake off the feeling that something serious was going to happen though she didn’t know whether it was something good or bad. After saying her morning prayers she went to the kitchen to fix herself breakfast. The school where she worked had closed for the Christmas break a week ago so she had too much spare time on her hands these days. Deciding to put her time to use she started decorating her baby’s nursery.
Halfway through the painting she heard noises outside and went to the window to check it out. A Christmas band was performing just across the street and people had gathered around singing along with them. Sighing softly, she turned away from the window lost in thought. Soon a knock sounded on the door startling her. Stella wondered for a minute who would be calling on her before moving towards the door. When she opened the door she was greeted by two strange faces.
“Are you Mrs Okoye?” the first man addressed her.
“Yes, I am”
“Can we come in? We would like to have a word with you”
All kinds of thoughts raced through her mind as she stared at them still trying to decide whether to let them in or not. What if they were kidnappers or worse serial killers… she argued within herself but they wouldn’t hurt a pregnant woman…or would they? Well I will just have to take the chance. She stepped aside to let them in and sat opposite them.
“So what do you want to talk about?” she asked making eye contact with the one who seemed to be doing the talking.
“Ermm… madam…” he stopped and nervously cleared his throat.
Stella wondered what was up with him as she waited for to continue. Why was he acting so weird?
After few minutes he continued “we are from the army” he flashed his ID card.
Stella froze as different thoughts raced through her mind why would men from the army visit? Is my husband alright?
“We were sent to inform you that that….” He scratched his head.
Stella stood upright immediately “that what?”
“Madam please take it easy” his silent partner spoke up
“we were sent to tell you that our camp was attacked and about 80% of our men died, including your husband” he finished softly “am sorry…I really am”
Stella screamed and grabbed his shirt “what did you just say?”
“Madam please calm down for your baby’s sake. Most of their bodies were not found so he may still be alive” they tried to reassure her but it was of no use as Stella let out another scream and collapsed in a heap.