“Uncle didn’t come to my room,” I replied with a trembling voice determined not to betray myself.
Madam stared at me from head to toe with visible venom in her eyes.
She seemed to be sure that her husband had been to my room the previous night.
But then there was no way I could admit such fact even if a knife was put to my neck because the situation was more or less like an individual standing between the devil and the deep blue sea.
All the options before me spelt disaster.
Admitting that I slept with her husband was a very big offence on its own therefore, denying the offence was the better option.
Secondly, it was possible that madam could just be playing on my intelligence in a bid to find out the real truth by putting up that allegation to know what my response would be.
Admitting the truth would mean giving myself away cheaply.
So I hung on.
“What did my husband come to do in your room last night?” Madam continued.
“Uncle didn’t come to my room ma,” I replied hanging on tenaciously.
Like lightening her right hand flashed across very fast from left to right and landed with a loud thud on my cheek.
I cried out in pain and made to escape to the kitchen but madam sprang after me energetically and furiously and drew me back to herself to continue the assault.
More slaps landed on my cheek and my wailing doubled. Yet madam continued unperturbed.
She gave me a sharp push on the forehead and I hit the back of my head very hard on the wall behind me.
The pain was very excruciating.
I scre-med out so loud at the top of my voice begging madam for forgiveness but madam wasn’t done yet.
I had made up my mind not to admit that her husband came to my room even if it meant losing my life because if mere denial could fetch such punishment, only God knew the magnitude of punishment admitting the crime would fetch.
So I hung on.
And madam continued with the beating.
It wasn’t yet up to one hour her husband drove out and all these were happening.
I knew I was in big trouble.
The aggression and brutality was much and unbearable, coupled with the fact that I still had more than seven days to stay with and endure the terror.
Madam’s hands soon started aching and she dashed into her bedroom and came out brandishing a long piece of twisted wire.
Three lashes of the wire on my shoulders sent me out of the house and into the environ with severe pain.
I couldn’t endure the pain, not even for one second, so I ran out of the house and out of the compound and into the neighbouring white woman’s compound.
The white woman stared at me surprised when she came out and found me standing at her gate and crying.
I had knocked three consecutive times and it was after the 3rd knock that she came out.
There was surprise and worry written all over her face and she stared at me for a while before advancing closer.
“Please I need your help ma,” I begged as she drew nearer.
The tears falling from my eyes and the fact that I was crying must have induced compassion in her and she came close and asked me what the problem was.
I told her that my madam maltreated me and nearly killed me and I ran out of the house.
She asked me who my madam was and I told her and she instantly remembered the last encounter and sighed.
She told me that there wasn’t much she could do and that she had come to realise that the country was too corrupt and even if she arrested my madam like she did the other time, someone would still grant her bail and the problem would not be addressed.
I noticed without being told that she wasn’t willing to let me into her house because all the while I was standing outside the gate.
She advised me to go back to the house and apologise to my madam and be careful not to find her trouble again.
With that she left me at the gate and went inside.
I was devastated and confused on what to do. Going back to the house meant doom for me.
I didn’t have any other place to go either.
I stood at the gate thinking of what to do. I’ve never been more confused in my life.
So I decided to remain at the gate even if it meant sleeping outside.
But then I thought of the insecurity in the neighbourhood. All these rough boys living around would be more happy to accost me later in the night and rape me mercilessly.
The more I thought of these, the more confused I became.
The day was too long to go. The time was around 10 o’clock in the morning and I didn’t know how to keep busy and for how long.
So I decided to go back to the house.
I swung our gate open and went inside. I was very afraid and expected the worst.
I climbed the steps in front of the door fearfully and tiptoed towards the door and pushed it gently to discover that it was firmly locked.
With the last drop of courage in me I knocked on the door and got no response.
I knocked again and again yet no response.
By the fourth knock the door gently opened and madam stood aside for me to enter.
“Please I’m sorry ma,” I apologised at the door kneeling down.
“Won’t you come inside first?” Madam asked abruptly and I quickly obeyed.
As soon as I went in, madam locked the door firmly behind me and I looked and saw the long piece of wire dangling from her left hand.
Then she turned towards me.
It was the whistling sound of the wire that I heard and before I could say “Jack” it had circled my neck.
Madam knew no mercy.
She flogged and flogged and flogged me with the wire that I almost felt I was dying.
I scre-med and scre-med yet there was no relief. Infact madam was determined to kill me that morning.
The whistling sound of the wire continued lash after lash producing as much pain as the welder desired as the wire whizzed through the air and landed on me.
Each lash left a peculiar scar on my skin as the flogging continued.
At a point the pain became so unbearable and I passed out.
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