Sweat beads formed on his forehead as a crowd began to gather. He tried to move, get out of the car, but his body refused to comply. His sight was fastened to the body lying crumpled a few feet in front of his car. A leg lay at an awkward angle and bruises were scattered irregularly around the face.
Blood leaked from somewhere, yet all Edidiong could think about was how he had become a killer in a split second.
But it wasn’t his fault. No really. He had been driving behind this lorry that was straddling two lanes, and this was Lagos. Every Lagosian knows that lorries, or trailers, were the worst. You only ever drive in front of them. Not at the back, and never ever beside them.
It didn’t help that the trailer was constantly belching plumes of smoke, polluting the atmosphere and his car. He just had to overtake the trailer, for his and his passenger’s safety. And then the guy came out from nowhere.
“Wetin this man dey do?” “Oga! You no go come down?” “Come down o!”
People were now shouting at him. They wouldn’t understand even if he tried to explain. Edidiong looked behind him to the back seat. His passenger was no longer in the car. She was now standing with the crowd, a phone pressed to her cheek.
He slowly exited the taxi, unable to look anyone in the eye.
“Okay, we need to get him to the hospital. There’s no ambulance coming, and even if there was one, they’d be unable to get through once traffic builds. So, we’re going to use your taxi.”
His passenger had sprung into action, taking charge. But he couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying. Even the voices of onlookers blaming him, repeating what had happened to those who hadn’t witnessed the accident, had blurred into static. White noise. Someone brushed past him, but he barely felt it. Would he go to prison? What about his family? His daughter was only 13 years old.
How would they cope without him?
They moved the victim to his backseat. His passenger was now telling him to take a less known route to the hospital. Something about increasing temperatures and rainfall had caused flooding in the area of the normal route. Yes, his daughter had said something about a flood this morning.
Global warming, she had called it, as he looked at her with pride. He recalled that she also mentioned that smoke from trailers can contribute to the phenomenon. Everything bad was caused by lorries. And now, that useless trailer had brought its global-sized problems to his doorstep and vanished!
“Oga! What are you waiting for? Let’s go!”, his passenger cried.
Edidiong scurried back into the taxi as she got into the seat beside him. He barely registered how much she had helped. He just kept hoping and praying that the guy in the back seat did not die.