Short Stories

Untitled by Elisha Oluyemi

I honour righteousness in all things—even in murder (as some critics would tag my benevolence). But at least, that is my patients’ sole possibility of relief and a painless exit.

Today, it’s all about Bala, a colon cancer stage IV patient, bedridden, and sure to disappear in three weeks. I see him grip his belly again, face crumpled and teeth clenched, probably to ease his ever-enduring pain. After holding out for four years that seemed like eternity, his perseverance is simply a worn elastic. Unable to hold back his agony, he blares out a groan, forcing looks of concern from other ‘awaiting-death’ patients, who are also, at the same time, anticipating their own inevitable episodes of pain.

I puff out air as I rush to Bala’s bedside. He is drenched in sweat, and his limbs are the outstretched arms of a drowning child. Once he sees me through his half-closed eyes, he stretches out an arm that wasn’t so engaged in the struggle and his clenched teeth parts a bit. “D—doc—tor! Ki—kill me! Please ki—”

“Don’t worry, Mr. Bala; it’s your turn today. You’ve endured a great deal, and now you should rest.”

He gazes at me, this time, seemingly unconcerned by agonies. His voice calms and a smile spreads across his face. “Thank you, doc—tor!”

I run my hands over a litter of instruments on a tray and single out a bottle of euthanasia drug, labelled ‘Freedom’. And in a minute, Bala becomes a free man.

Now, I turn around. Other terminal patients are staring. Similar looks of envy and desire. . . . Of course, they’re all entitled to this same deliverance—just like Bala.

© Elisha Oluyemi

About The Author

Oluyemi Elisha grew up in Ogun State, Nigeria. He is a creative writer, and presently an English Language undergraduate. He began writing as a teenager, and has contributed a number of poems to literary journals including Nnoko Stories, UpWrite Nigeria and Spillwords.

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