The Girl Child

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Screams of pain. Echoes of pleas. Subdued silence.

Agnes woke up panting like she had just seen a ghost in her dream. Her bed was soaked in nightmarish realities of her past. "Babe, what's up with you? This one you dey behave like fish inside water." Jessica jeered at Agnes still focused on the mirror applying all sorts of mascara and pomade on her face. "Babe," Jessica called again. Agnes paid deaf ears as she walked into the bathroom. Looking at the bathroom's mirror, the memories of time past began playing in front of her.

It all started when she was thirteen. She lost her parents in a car accident and had to stay with her mother's sister in Lagos. Her aunty was a workaholic, working three jobs in a day. In the mornings, she served as a cleaner in a factory; in the afternoon as a trader; in the evening as a nanny to one Chief Oluda. So, she's always home late. However her husband who was always home earlier was drunk and smelt of cheap cologne which nauseated Agnes.

With tears in her eyes, Agnes looked deeper into the eyes of the mirror as the images played faster.

On that particular night, her aunt's husband came home drunk as usual,passing his normal sexual advances which Agnes had reported to her aunty countless times but her aunty so trusted her husband to a fault, she wouldn't believe him to do such. Mr Husband tried forcing himself on Agnes but his drunk state limited him. "Those mangoes are ripe for sucking," he said to Agnes as he managed to cup one of them in his hand. "Uncle. No. No. Please. Please." Agnes begged on the top of her voice but it was too late. Like a lion tearing its prey, Mr Uncle tore at Agnes front and back to his satisfaction. Her muffled silence during the action thirty minutes later surged him with joy and strength. He felt like a man. When he was done, he kicked Agnes out of his room threatening to kill her if she ever spoke.

Agnes bled out her eyes with tears that night. She had lost her honeypot and soon she lost her honeycomb because it became a regular affair between she and her uncle. Every 6pm, she laid naked on his bed as instructed for the usual until this particular night her village people spelt her name correctly.

This time around,her uncle laid on the bed while he commanded her to slowly peal off her clothes as he watched the whole process of God creating Eve. That was when her aunty stepped in.

"What? Wetin you dey do my husband? Chineke ekula o," her aunty bolted at Agnes hitting her head on the wall thrice to show her frenzied anger. The husband quickly quipped in that he was trying to sleep while Agnes was trying to seduce him. That day, they beat Agnes blue and black leaving her cheeks sore with swollen marks. Like Joseph and Portiphar's wife's story, Agnes was thrown into prison - the prison of the wicked world's hands.

She had no where to go. So,she went to the nearest bridge to sleep and slip away from her problems and fears. Thirty minutes later she thought she was sleepy eyed seeing eleven trees. She cleaned them again. This time she saw eleven men who surrounded her. One covered her mouth while the rest undid their trousers zipper.

Screams of pain. Echoes of pleas. Subdued silence.

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WHILE I WAIT.

by Joy Okwori, published 1 month ago

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I was once imprisoned by words whose aura is darkness. I was held down in this prison by unfriendly forces, so I sat on a stool of uncertainty as I held the moon.

I crawled through the night with gritted teeth, like one with no hope. And I couldn't dance because shackles held my feet.

Yesterday was once, today doesn't make it twice. I breakout, I don't belong to prison; the Judge said so. I smelt like rotten tomatoes, frail from tireless torture.

The Judge beckoned with open arms, and I ran with the speed of light. My accusers didn't know what crime to nail me with. The Judge knew what currency to bail me with; the blood.

Broad smiles.

Heartfelt laughter.

I dance.

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Leah

by eli-smooth, published 2 months, 4 weeks ago

The ride down the empty hill felt like a deluge. Five people cramped into an old Peugeot 504. The car jolted its way down the rough terrain and with each sharp turn, their eyes narrowed with despair.

The driver was Kelechi, a 22 year old medical student who had joined the fraternity about a month ago. His low hanging beard chiseled into his sharp jaw-line. The scar that was above his eye gave him a menacing look.

“How could this happen?” He wondered as he drove through the rickety slope. His eyes squinted a little as he swerved to avoid a goat that had moved into their path. The sudden swerve forced the engine to quake mildly and shut down.

They all moved out into the open space.

Silence lingered for a while.

“What do we do now?” Simi asked. Her dark skin glistening under the low light of orange setting sun. She was a psychology student. Brilliant but edgy; unwilling to succumb to the wild stereotypes that followed the other women in her life.

“We do nothing; we just bury the body where no one can find it” Sam whispered coldly.

Leah winced and paced the space around them, sobbing gently as she walked from side to side. She seemed the most distraught of the five. She wondered how different the day before had been and wondered if her life would ever be the same.

But it was the fifth person who seemed the most odd.

His tattoos were visible under the sleeveless shirt he had on. A nose piercing marked him out from the rest of them. He barely talked as the others encircled the empty bushes around. He just leaned on the car and peacefully disappeared into his thoughts.

“We were only supposed to scare him” Simi lamented. Her voice seemed to echo a distant regret.

“I keep asking what happened and no one wants to tell me. We were all on the same plan but as soon as I turn to take a leak, I return and find a fucking dead body on the floor. What happened while I was gone?” Kelechi asked. He seemed to be screaming at everyone else.

“Is it that important? Would you rather not have the truth be a little subdued from your conscience now?” Goni, the boy with the tattoos whispered back at Kelechi. His voice was cold, almost haunting.

“I don’t know. I didn’t sign up for this.” Kelechi confessed.

“Oh, so you think we all woke up and planned a murder and you were the only person out of the loop?” Simi asked angrily.

Kelechi looked away. His hands shaking under the weight of his deepest thoughts.

Sam chuckled slyly as he watched Leah’s wandering theatrics. He seemed calmer than he was a few minutes ago.

“The truth is right here. Whatever we say it is” Sam cuts in. The others looked at him. He nodded. They all nod back except for Goni.

“We still haven’t answered the most pertinent question though. Who poisoned the little old chap?” He asked calmly.

“Does it matter, we all know he was a dwindling, two faced monster” Leah said.

She had stopped pacing and sobbing. She seemed calmer and her big round eyes cut into her beautiful face. Sam looked at her in admiration

“We all knew that, but we also knew that the idea was to scare him and not to murder. So who amongst us had the most reasons to murder him?” Goni asked.

They all went quiet. The few seconds left between their breaths built up a reckless angst. Leah stared at each of their faces. She wondered who amongst them fits the murder type best..

Sam was a nerd.

It was odd that the frat boys loved him but underneath his queer humor and deep lingering eyes, there was no reason to suspect that he could be a killer. Leah thought. Simi was mostly indifferent; capable of the mundane but also the awe inspiring moments. Her calculative mind set her apart as the most logical of the group.

Kelechi was by matter of chance, the only one that was unavailable when they witnessed the death.

Goni was the one who seemed the most vulnerable to accusations. He had fought with the dead boy just a few minutes before the boy broke into a fit. He seemed more dangerous than anyone else and he also seemed to be nonchalant about the corpse that lay in the trunk of the car that had just stopped.

  • Simi looked at Leah from the corner of her eye. Their eyes meet and for a few seconds, they lingered on in their sanctified space. Simi felt a rush of casual emotions rushing within. She remembered their nights underneath the moon when the boys were away. She remembered every feeling and it made her question her every truth. But she also knew the other truth.

The five of them stood in an arc as the trunk was slowly being opened. The three boys straddle the body and move it towards the empty path that led one into the bushes. The rustling of the leaves just in front of them stopped them in their tracks.

A Park ranger had his gun pointed at them. The boys surrendered and raised their hands. The Ranger looked on in surprise.

“Who killed him?” He asked as he nudged the safety of the gun; turning it off.

The group stood, staring at him in silence.

“Who killed my partner?” The Ranger asked again.

This time his gun was pointed at a visibly distraught Simi.

She was overcome with fear.

“Leah, Leaaah,

She poisoned him because he raped her” Simi confessed.

The boys look back at Leah, stunned.

Leah’s face bore a look of resignation.

“Thanks so much for having my back; Lover” she said in disgust.

They boys all stood stunned. Processing both news that had crept into their ears.