Crankson cannot believe what he has just seen. No, it can’t be possible. No man can do what Chris has just done to Bobo. Bobo Black is an expert, a power freak who also doubles as Mike’s sparring partner. He is strong, he is fast, and he is an expert in many forms of martial arts. But his destruction had been within the blink of an eye. Mike knows, quite too late, that he has bitten off more than he can chew. Mike is not a coward, and never had been, but he knows a bully when he sees one, and he knows that Chris Bawa is a bully, and he knows deep down that he has been terribly wrong about this Bawa dude. . He is no match for that furious maddened man coming for him. Chris steps across Bobo’s sprawled body and rushes forward, but Darlett holds unto him tightly.
Son, son, son! Take it easy, son! You will kill him! They’ll send you back to prison!
But Chris is beyond listening to reason. Seeing Junior lying so still, so hurt, with blood on his head has just taken all reason out of his head.
He pushes Darlett aside easily.
Stop him! Oh, please, somebody stop him, please!
Many men rush on Chris, holding him trying to bring him down. He is like an eel, knocking them off one after the other with such rage that when six men fall to the ground moaning with pain, no one dares to hold him again. By that time, though, Bosomtwum and Crankson are in the Hummer, and the driver has started up and the car is moving down the street. Chris is like a robot! He can’t see beyond the red haze of his anger, his hurt, his bitterness! He begins to run after the Hummer, pumping his legs, his arms, running, chasing it!
Bosomtwum and Crankson turn and watch him through the back windshield. Chris is oblivious of the horns of cars behind him. He chases the Hummer with such one-track anger, his eyes seeming to cast glows of hatred after the huge black car.
But the car is fast, and is gathering speed, and soon the distance between them widens, and still Chris will not stop running after it, even when his heart begins to tear apart with lack of oxygen.
When the Hummer is safely away, Bosomtwum turns away and sits down, but Crankson is riveted to the windshield, still looking out.
You can’t fight that man, Mike. The fight is off.
Crankson finally sits down and looks at his trainer.
He’ll force me to fight now, Nana. I’ll have no choice.
Bosomtwum turns and looks at the young man with hard eyes.
There should be a choice, Mike. I saw a beast out there. It is personal for him now. I don’t know if his boy is going to be alright. You pushed him too hard. Whatever we do, we’re not fighting him.
I ain’t scared of that old man! I’ll tear him apart.
From what I saw, if you fight that man, you’ll never fight again. He’ll kill you!
Chris is still running until Effe’s car suddenly crosses him.
He looks at her desperately.
(tears running down her face)
Chris. Get in the car!
The backdoor opens. Darlett is there, cradling the still form of Junior. Chris, fatigued out, climbs in. Effe begins to drive with her horn blaring. Chris takes his son in his arms and holds him gently as his whole body continue to vibrate with rage.
A moment later he feels pressure on his middle finger, and looks down, and Junior is gripping his hand hard.
His eyes open slowly and he smiles weakly at his father. And, much against his will, tears of love and relief flood Chris’ eyes.
Champ! Oh, Champ!
The huge Waiting Lounge of Eyram’s Consultancy is filled with anxious people. The glass doors slide open for the umpteenth time. Steve and Jonathan Afful enter, and Elaine is behind them. Steve pauses with mild surprise. Effe is present, together with her parents. Some of their friends are present as well, and a few more people Steve does not recognize.
Chris is standing at the far end near a window, his back turned, staring out through the tinted glass pane. Besides him is a diminutive white-haired elderly man. Effe is sitting anxiously on a seat near Chris, and she is staring at his turned back with a look that is both tender and worried, and it sears through Steve’s heart like hot daggers.
The doors slide open again and Diana, Chris’ sister, enters. Steve walks to Effe’s side and sits beside her. He reaches for her hand, and for a very brief moment she almost snatches her hand away, but she relaxes slowly as he puts an arm around her shoulders. Elaine sits at her other side of the long seat, and Afful stands, casting furtive glances at Chris and Darlett.
So sorry, love. We heard the news on radio and rushed straight here.
How’s he, honey?
Eyram is attending to him. We just-
And at that very moment Eyram emerges from the wards and pauses, and then she surveys the room. Effe gets to her feet, but Eyram quickly walks forward, and for a moment it appears as if she is going to pass Effe and go straight to Chris, but Effe holds her sister’s arm suddenly with a severe questioning look on her face.
He’s going to be fine. Just a mild concussion. His wound has been treated, and did not even require stitches.
Chris turns away from the window… and his face is death. His eyes are slits, and his jaw is working. Those who know him well know that he is in destructive mode, and has reached the utmost limits of his fury where he cannot be reasoned with.
You were passing me, Rammy? Why? What’s wrong with you nowadays?
Sorry, Ef. Junior is asking for his father. I just wanted to tell Chris that.
Chris walks forward and stands looking deeply into the eyes of Eyram.
He’s fine? You’re absolutely sure about that?
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He’s very fine. He can go home now. He wants to see you.
Without another word Chris moves on, but he does not go towards the ward. He walks to the entrance. Steve is speaking, and Effe is listening as she heads for the ward, and it takes her sometime before she sees that Chris is walking towards the entrance.
She whirls round, and even though Steve tries to catch her arm she side-steps him and races after Chris, and a look of terrible pain crosses Steve’s face.
Effe sees Chris in the corridor, walking rapidly towards the lifts.
He is leaving.
And she knows by his gait, by the angle of his head, by the tautness of his body, that the reckless Chris is back …the Chris she hates, the Chris that does not listen, the Chris that reacts only to the wrath within him.
When she calls his name it is with a heavy heart of doom, because she has a deep inkling that everything good that had happened to them in the past few weeks is rapidly spiralling out of control.
Chris! Chris, wait!
He stops, and turns. She runs to him, and stops in front of him. His face is dark and taut, and even though he is looking at her she knows he does not really see her because at that particular moment love is not his prime focus. Tears come to her eyes, and then as it spills down her cheeks she reaches out with her right hand and lays it on his hard broad chest.
Ever since I fell in love with you, Chris, it has always been like this. At the point where we just have a chance to be happy, you stop listening to your heart, and you only let that temper control you. We have been denied happiness for so long, Chris, because you can’t control that fire in your belly. At this moment, my love, I want to tell you that I’m willing to sit down with you. I’m willing to listen to you. I know I never did that before. I know deep down in your soul there’s a wound there that never healed, and that is what caused you to do all those horrible things. I was young, and I also thought of a whole lot of things, and I listened to a whole lot of people. I’m a woman now, and I’ve come to realize that I love you, and I’ll always love you. I’ve come to realize that I need to help you get that pain in you out. This moment is going to define our love, Chris-Love. When you walk out that door, you’re going to start all the bad karma that destroyed us. This moment I need you, your son needs you. We can turn around and go for our son. You don’t need to go out there, Chris, I’m begging you. Breathe, my love, please! Breathe!
She finally looks into his eyes, and she sees the little-boy Chris in there for a moment, crying out for love, desperately needing the raging inside his soul to end, but then he raises his hands to touch her, to hold her, and he sees the dried blood of his son still in his palm, and in a second the rampaging Chris is back, and Effe’s heart quails, because she knows she has just lost him.
Bastard hurt my boy. I’m gonna put him down.
Effe punches him in the chest with her closed fist, and even though it hurt her knuckles more than it did him, she continues to punch him as her tears of desperation fall.
You promised your son, Chris! You promised him you won’t fight!
That was before that bastard hit my son. Nobody hits my son, Ef. Nobody!
Damn you, Chris! Have you forgotten Junior’s dream? He saw you lying on the canvas dead! Is that what you want, to step in there and die? If I don’t matter to you think of what that can do to your son, and stop that fire and come with me right now. Chris, please, oh Chris… please!
He turns away from her, his wrath roiling and out of control now.
You go in there and take care of my son. That bastard can’t kill me. I’m gonna beat the crap outta him!
Effe cannot speak, and she cannot move because her tears are choking her, and the pain in her heart is considerable. She watches lamely as he enters the elevator, and the door closes.