Late for class again, I dash between unsuspecting pedestrians as I race for the public bus that would take me to school. Mrs. Funke would be furious at me for showing up late once again. I have promised myself several times that this time would be different but it seems to be wired in my genes to be tardy.
I’m close to the bus stop now, just need to cross the road to the other side and intercept it as it arrives to offload and take on passengers. The day is about to break as bright rays of sunlight stream through the clouds, lightening up the whole street.
I look around before crossing the street, no time to use the flyover, and that’s when I notice them there, as usual, floating above the heads of every single person walking by. A bright green bar hovers a few centimeters above their oblivious heads.
The first time I spotted this thing, I was horrified. I could not fathom their meaning at the time but eventually, I came to understand what they represented.
They were basically life bars that indicated how long a person was going to live. Over time, the green bar would devolve to an orange bar which meant they were closer to their demise steadily. Then a dark brown bar was next which inched them further to their expiry date and most times people with the brown bar had one health issue or were very elderly.
But the one bar I dreaded the most was the deep red bar which means that person was about to die very soon or within the hour. It could be a freak accident, a stroke, or a heart attack.
Whenever I was in public and I spotted a red bar, I did my best to try and save them from whatever impending danger might be lurking around for them before it turns grey, which was the final color that would float above the recently deceased
Often times I succeeded and some other times I failed, their deaths have weighed on me multiple times in the past but I made up my mind to save as many people as I could.
Hospitals were my least favorite places to visit, I would often witness a sea of brown and red bars littered everywhere as people desperately fought for their lives.
Despite this horrific power of mine, I have learned to see the beauty in things and despite my ability to see everyone’s life bar, I can’t seem to see mine which scares me often. I have stood in front of my mirror hoping to see it but nothing shows
I am still lost in thought when I approach the bus stop which was in front of an uncompleted building currently undergoing construction and was laden with a ton of construction materials and scaffolds.
I stood at the bus stop patiently still observing people’s life bars, a kindly old woman in a wheelchair rolled beside me also waiting for the bus, she had a diminishing brown bar which was gradually degrading to red. Her raspy cough indicated to me that she was towards her final years, I hoped she lived a full life.
She smiled and waved at me and I smiled and waved back, I put on my earphones and started listening to music from my phone, which tends to calm me down.
It was then I noticed something strange. A young man in a suit holding a briefcase was walking towards my direction. He was talking to someone on his phone but also glancing at his watch indicating that he was on his way to catch the bus as well.
He had a green bar which was not surprising considering how young and healthy he looked, but then it dropped rapidly to the orange state, I was taken aback, it was a steep drop.
The man looked to be at his prime, he was at the peak of the human physique and there were no visible signs of anything wrong with him. I was still contemplating what I was observing when the orange bar drooped down to a brown bar.
I am perplexed, he was walking on the designated sidewalk and there were no cars in any form of proximity to him. I frantically dart my eyes left and right, searching for what the source of danger could be.
Brown becomes red. Hairs on the back of my neck rise, goosebumps shoot all over my body as my blood turns cold with fright. This man was about to die and I had no idea how.
It was then I heard it. ‘CLANG’ ‘CLANG’ The sound of metal banging on metal. I immediately realize that we are both standing in front of the uncompleted building currently undergoing construction. There are several pieces of scaffolds around the building with a dozen of workers and artisans hammering nails and drilling in holes.
The man was barely ten steps away from me when I noticed his harbinger of doom. High up on the scaffolds, as the artisans tirelessly work away, a piece of scaffold metal had shifted shaken its content which was a workbench that contained a dozen metallic rebars on it.
The scaffold gave way, and rain of metallic rods cascaded down towards the young man. I raced forward and threw my weight at the man, knocking him and myself backward and out of the way of the metallic rain.
“Hey what are you doing?”, the man yelled angrily as he landed hard on the floor.
‘CRASH’ The metal rods, several centimeters thick, landed on the concrete ground. The force enough for some of the rods to be embedded into the hard ground, leaving them standing vertically.
The man’s eyes widened in horror at his luck. He could not believe that he had just escaped death by a hair’s breadth. He stared at where he would have been impaled to death if not for my intervention.
“Oh my God. Thank you so much”, he exclaimed as he was shaking me in a mix of fright and appreciation.
I looked up at his life bar and noticed that it has reverted back to a green color once more.
“How can I repay you?”, he asked
“Please just be more observant of your surroundings”, I reply as I move back towards the bus stop to intercept the bus that has arrived.
The man sat still on the ground, his eyes wide open as he played back the scenario in his head, people crowded him asking him if he was hurt and showing concern.
The man was still staring at me as I board the bus, I look at his life bar yet again and notice that it remained green, he looked up above his head as well, following my gaze and seeing nothing, further cementing his confusion.
“They would not understand”, I think to myself as I find myself a seat on the bus.
I heaved a huge sigh of relief as I approach my school.
Classes were already in full motion, I had already missed two classes, but at least I would not encounter the wrath of Mrs. Funke, for today that is.
I hurry into my third class, stealthily tiptoeing in from the back entrance to avoid attention from the teacher. I see down at the back of the class and scan my surrounding, taking note of my classmates.
Helen and Ali were seated in front as usual, still in denial of been infatuated with each other.
The nerds sat in the first line of the class, as usual, some of the class clowns sat at the far right, making jokes and gossiping.
Nimrod sat still at the far back corner as usual, taciturn and isolated. Kareem and Akeem were ogling the slay mamas in their full-blown makeup as usual.
Everything was going as normal and expected in school. I shiver lightly, my mind flying back to the near-accident from the bus stop. As much as I have faced death, it still bugs me when I encounter it.
I look up at all their green life bars and their cherry happy faces, living their lives as freely as possible.
The class ends and two more follow suit, my mind barely focused on the curriculum and teachers as my mind wander as normal.
“RING” the bell for the lunch break peels as we all pour out of our classrooms to the courtyard to have our lunches and take a break.
Helen and Ali giggle incessantly and disappear behind the admin office which is located far off from the center of the school, probably up to juvenile shenanigans.
The students all rush into the courtyard with their lunch boxes while some approached the food kiosks to purchase food. Nimrod rushed into the toilet, silent and passive as usual.
I unwrap my lunch and sit on a bench still pondering over fleeting thoughts. I was still deep in thought when the end of the break bell rang signifying that we return to our respective classrooms.
I pick a seat in the middle room this time so I could at least appear interested in the next volley of classes. By now everyone had returned into the classroom, Helen and Ali still giggling from whatever activity they had just completed.
Everyone was in except Nimrod, I figured he must have had a bad lunch and was suffering the consequences in the toilet.
Everyone was settled in as the teacher walks in to begin the class. I stare at everyone’s green bar again. seeing so many greenery usually calms me and makes me feel at peace
The class begins and then it happens. one by one, everyone’s life bar drops to orange, my blood turns cold as my heart skips several beats.
What could possibly be responsible for this mass decline?
My eyes start darting back and forth, as usual, looking for the source of the impending predicament.
The orange degrades to brown. I shift violently in my seat, cold chills run down my spine. The sharp drag of my seat draws everyone’s attention to me.
I ignore the looks still frantically searching for the danger when everyone’s brown bar drops to red.
I get up from my seat rapidly. my heartbeat pounding harder than a bongo.
“What seems to be the problem, young man”, the teacher calls out to me.
I gaze at a crimson wave of red bars, sweat drips down my face profusely. Everyone wears confused looks on their faces as they keep staring at me.
I inch backward slowly as the feeling of nausea rise within me, I do a full 360 degrees turn and spot my reflection in the classroom mirror located at the back.
My heart flies into my throat when for the first time ever, I see my life bar. Pulsating in a deep scarlet red, hovering over my head.
What could this mean? I have never seen my own life bar. Was I about to die with all my classmates form a freak accident?
I ran through so many questions in my head when “BOOM” the classroom door flies open. everyone exclaims in horror at what was at the door entrance.
I turn to see what the cause of the commotion is and see the teacher fly across the classroom with a grey bar, as a force throws him off his feet and unto the wall with blood gushing out of his chest. The gunshot was loud and deafening.
I trace the source of the shot and that was when I noticed Nimrod holding a 12 gauge shotgun with rage in his eyes and tears streaming down his cheeks.
I close my eyes and expect the inevitable.