THE CHRONICLES OF THE STRANGER
Perhaps, in a really morbid kind of way, life really began for Juliana Ohenewaa Dotse when she was thirty years old.
That was the day –the exact day, actually – when she lost both of her parents in the most violent of ways, leaving her so guilt-ridden that she felt she could not live a day longer on earth.
Julie had been preparing for her thirtieth birthday all year, basically.
She had purchased an expansive plot of land for her father’s company, and had turned it into a beautiful resort.
The Hideaway, as she called it, was located on top of the steep Samanku Plateau.
She was sure her parents would love it. She planned to commemorate the resort on her birthday, and had sent invitations to some prominent people in the society, and outside the country, to attend.
Her major problem had been the road to the resort.
The road up the surface of the plateau was steep and dangerous, and so she had spent a lot of money change the ascend from a straight uphill horror into a series of L-shaped turns, with both sides of the road protected by strong concrete and metallic railings….
And so, early on the afternoon of her birthday, she had set off with her parents to surprise them with the beautiful resort she had built.
But, as fate would have it, her parents never set eyes on the edifice.
They had been meandering their way up the incline in the sturdy car.
Her parents had been in the back whilst Julie sat beside the chauffeur.
And then, quite suddenly, the driver had lost control of the car quite alarmingly, and slammed into a concrete railing, which hadn’t held as expected, but had collapsed, and suddenly the car had somersaulted down the incline, and everything had gone dark for Julie!
Juliana Dotse woke up in a hospital bed.
She had a splitting headache, and her neck really pained her.
She was wearing a cervical collar around her neck, and her whole body ached.
Also, she had a slight painful sensation in her right leg too.
Julie stared at the ceiling.
It was dark, she guessed, and a low fluorescent tube was on at the end of the ward.
She shut her eyes tightly as she heard that horrible sound again…
…the sound of shearing and grinding metal, the sound of the whining engine, the sound of breaking glass, and then the horror of the car somersaulting, the screams of her dear parents…
Tears seeped from under her closed eyelids, blazing a hot trail down the sides of her face…
She opened her eyes slowly again, her heart beating with trepidation as she tried to sit up.
Her head and neck throbbed painfully as she tried unsuccessfully to get up, and just as she got ready to scream, the door opened and a portly woman in the white uniform of a nurse strode in.
Behind the nurse was a medium-built handsome man in his early thirties.
He was dressed in black trousers and navy-blue plain shirt, and a darker shade of blue tie with white dots.
The tie was loosened at his neck, and his sleeves were rolled up.
He was bespectacled, and as he walked toward the bed he slowly removed his glasses and carefully tucked it into his top pocket.
“Please, don’t try to move, madam!” the nurse said sharply as she put a flat tray she was holding down, and quickly held Julie’s arms.
Julie’s eyes, however, were focused on the man who was standing at the foot of the bed with his hands thrust into his pockets.
His name was Akwasi Dapaah, and he was part of the accounting team in Dotse Capitals, her father’s company.
Julie, a top Executive in the company, had never liked Akwasi although her father trusted the young man very much.
He had always seemed to go out of his way to frustrate most of her initiatives, always stressing on the fact that there was no planned capital available for her initiatives, or that the money would be better served in other ventures.
Akwasi had raised a lot of fuss and misgivings about her intentions to build The Hideaway Resort, and for a time her father had almost stopped her from assessing the funds to complete the project.
However, the Financial Manager, Jacob Acquah, who happened to be Julie’s fiancé, had come in whenever the going got tough to convince the Board that they could spare the extra funds for the project.
Recently, Julie and Jacob had been planning to have Akwasi sacked from the company.
Jacob had been building up a case against the young man, much to Julie’s delight.
She would be happy to see the back of Akwasi.
She couldn’t explain why she hated him so much, or why they always seemed to be at each other’s throat.
Maybe it was because Akwasi was the complete opposite of her.
Akwasi, still a bachelor, was a staunch Christian who believed in all that stuff in the Bible which, to Julie, was a bunch of fairy-tale crap.
Akwasi was still a virgin at thirty-two, but Julie wasn’t.
She had eventually decided to settle down with Jacob, and they had planned their wedding at the end of the year.
That didn’t stop her from sleeping with him though in the four years since she accepted his proposal to marry her.
Jacob was forty-eight years old, much older than her, but she loved him to bits, and that made up for any other differences between them.
She didn’t believe in the Bible, or the Great Judgement Day of God, or heaven and hell.
Maybe, it was Akwasi’s disdainful and judgemental attitude toward her way of life that made her hate him so much.
“What the hell are you doing here, Akwasi?” Julie asked tightly.
He regarded her for a moment, his face completely expressionless.
“I asked you a damn question!” Julie threw at him. “If you’re just going to stand there like some silly gargoyle just get the fuck outta here!”
“Madam!” the elderly nurse said with a disapproving frown. “Please, stop that! This gentleman has been here for many hours now, since the accident, just waiting for you to come out of the unconsciousness!”
Akwasi sighed softly.
“Don’t waste your breath on her, nurse,” he said in his calm, deep voice. “Just checking on you, Julie. I can see you’re okay, so I’ll take my leave.”
He turned, but suddenly Julie spoke again.
“No, wait, Akwasi!” she said quickly. “My parents…please, how are they?”
Akwasi stopped, but his back was still to her, and for several minutes he couldn’t speak.