Chinwe’s father stopped the car in front of the house he claimed was his cousin’s, he opened the door and asked she and Nkem to come with him. She pulled her brother by the
hand, he was just 9 at the time and she was 14.
They walked behind their father till they
arrived in front of a flat.
Shoes were scattered at the entrance of the flat with music blaring from inside, their father knocked on the door many times before a scrawny boy came to open the door.
“How are you Dare, where is your father”
“He is inside”
“Then call him out”
“Okay sir” the boy disappeared back into the flat and the loud music was turned down.
Some seconds later, a bigger version of the little boy opened the door. When he saw them, he enveloped her father in his arms, pulling them inside the flat.
“Ahah, it’s getting late, I was expecting you since yesterday.”
“Don’t mind me, I just wanted to make sure no one noticed me leaving the house with them, you understand now?”
“Yes, yes, I do. Chinwe how are you?”
“Nkem the big boy, how are you too?”
“Fine sir”, he replied too
“what can I get you, Dare!” He shouted, too loud considering the boy was just in the next room
“Go and get bread and eggs from the road and you Chinwe, I guess you can cook o, because you are the only woman in the house”
“She dares not say no. their mother made sure of that. But I have to be on my way, I cannot stay too long, it is late already”
“I understand, but where is their bag or will that be for tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow ke? The bags are in the car. I am being careful. You know the guy I am
running against, he told me to my face that my children are not safe and I should be ready for him if I am not ready to step down.
I cannot risk being followed.”
Chinwe was able to deduce that her father
had come to drop them off to somewhere
‘safe’, because of the coming election.
The tension in the house had been great since they were picked up from school unexpectedly the week before. Since then, they have not been allowed to step out of the house until today. Her mother had some clothes packed for them and their father ordered them into the car.
Their father left them there without any
explanation or reassurance, he returned some minutes later with their bags and some books.
“Chi, take care of your brother and listen to your other father here. I would not like to hear any negative report when I come back to get you, understand?”
“Yes sir” she replied dutifully
After he left, her uncle showed her to another room. She calculated the rooms to be 3, he told her to feel at home and ask him for anything.
They settled in and she went on to
prepare the eggs Dare bought and they all ate the dinner together .
They had been there for a week when her
uncle returned from wok that night, asking if all things went well. He turned to Nkem and asked her to move to the other room with Dare, saying that she was old enough to have a room to herself and besides, Nkem and Dare
are not far in age.
Chinwe was happy with the development,
hoping to get the privacy she was used to
back at her parents’ place. She quickly helped her brother to pack as she rearranged her things in the wall wardrobe and later settled for the night after dinner.
Not suspecting anything, she suddenly became aware of a presence in the room with her, sometimes around midnight. She sat up alarmed and was surprised to see her uncle sitting on the bed with her.
“Relax, I just want to check on you and see if you are not missing your brother”
“No sir, I am fine” Chinwe tried to cover her lacy nightwear with her wrapper.
She hoped she had not drawn attention to her chest.
“What are you covering? With this your body, I am sure you are more mature than your age”
“I don’t understand what you are saying sir”
“You don’t understand, well let me make you understand now”
He snatched the wrapper from her and
covered her mouth immediately, forcing her on her back and then reached for the
switch….the light went off.
Chinwe sat in her room the following
morning, she had not changed position since he left her after having his evil way with her.
She thought of many ways she could report or get in touch with her father but there was none.
She looked up to see him at the door,
looking as if nothing happened some hours back.
She has been too shocked to cry, her body aches and her heart was numb. She watched him, he was obviously saying something but all she could see was his lips moving but she heard nothing.
Nkem came to check on her after he left for work, that was when she finally let the tears out,. She cried so hard that Nkem started weeping too. Nobody was around to comfort them.
She later wiped her face, had her bath
and washed the bed cover. She asked her
brother to move his things back to the room with her.
He was surprised to see Nkem’s things back in the room when he returned from work;
he,however, could not force him back to the room.
They were in the sitting room when a
large bang on the door startled them all. Dare quickly stood up and looked out of the window and then turned to his father.
“It is Bisi’s mum”
“All of you go into the room”
Chinwe however stayed close to the door of her room and listened to the noise and ruckus from the sitting room with Nkem beside her.
“You evil man, no wonder your wife left you, you have been sleeping with me and my daughter at the same time?, ah may the almighty God punish you and you generations, may the land pay you back for your evil”
chinwe could not help but cringe at the heavy curses Mama Bisi rained on him.
She, however, listened keenly for his reply.
“Why all the noise, did she tell you I raped her? You talk as if that was not what she wanted. I have never in my life taken a woman by force. She s£duced me and if you want to go to the police, please go ahead.
My doors are always open when they come, nonsense!”
“Ahh, it is lie, he raped me when you asked me to come and give him soup. He forced me and threatened to beat me when he finished, he did it again when you asked me to come and pack his dirty clothes last week. He said I would run mad if I say anything, I did not s£duce him.” Another voice, which must be
Bisi’s said from the farther end of the sitting room.
Her voice was drowned as she sobbed.
Chinwe could not see her face, but the pain and shame in her voice was clear; she could relate to it.
She slept in the pool of her tears that night, waking at the smallest sound. Her father came to visit them 2 days after and when she mentioned she wanted to go home with him,
he shouted at her and asked her to go back and quit acting like a child. “I am trying to save you and you should be grateful for that,
so go back and stay there till I come to pick you”
They ended up staying there for a month, he never allowed their mother to visit and that was the only time he raped her. He must have thought she would tell her father when he came to visit them .
That experience changed her life forever,
putting her and her father at loggerheads
from then onward. He did not even notice the change in her behavior when he eventually won the election and came to take them back to the house.
Chinwe became perpetually moody, hating her parents.
She only took solace in her brother
and some music she could listen to; She
blamed her father and her mother for
everything that happened to her.
She finally got to know through one of the staff that her mother was hospitalized for over a week after suffering another round of beating from their father. According to him;
their mother did not support his dreams and only cared about her children when all his effort was for them to have a better life.
She was still in bed when Tokunbo announced her father’s arrival. When she walked into the sitting room, she met her father and Olu Oyewole, his lawyer having some cups of tea.
She has been awake for a while and decided to stay in bed not wanting to run into Tokunbo.
She had a lot to think about after he
dropped that million dollar question on her lap.
She also had a lot to think about her
misfortune 10 years back and wondered what would happen. How she would react the next time she sees her ‘Uncle’. Dare, his son stayed
with them once within the last 10 years and she almost could not stand the thought of him under the same roof with him just because of his father.
How would Clara feel about seeing Tokunbo after all these years, because she sure would raise hell if she had to be in the same room with her Uncle who raped her.
She might even do him some bodily harm if forced to discuss that particular incident with him.
“Chinwe, good morning, how are you”
“What happened last night, I called but you never picked” her father asked instead of answering her.
“I saw it”
“And you could not call back?”
“I already got your message”
“Anyway, sit down lets all talk”
Instead of sitting immediately, Chinwe went back to the kitchen to get a bottle of water but found an empty fridge. So she got water from the tap instead and walked unhurriedly back to the sitting room.
Tokunbo really loved her punk and could not help but smile, he shouldn’t be the only one to suffer from her attitudes at least her father should also have a taste of her attitude.
“Are you done” her father asked irritated, looking at her as if he would like to say more.
Instead of answering, Chinwe pulled a chair out from the dining table and sat on it the other way, resting her chin on the backrest.
“Hmm-hmm” the lawyer cleared his throat
“well, I will go straight to the point. I just want to prepare you both for the press conference. Somehow, they’ve been able to hear about your return and different papers would like to interview you. They will be asking lots of questions and in reply to them,
please stick to the kidnap story. Your father has many enemies and a story of an
elopement would do no good to the plans we had for his senatorial come back”
“Wonderful, tell me more” Chinwe asked excitedly, obviously trying to taunt her father to anger.
However, instead of replying her,
the lawyer continued in his thoughts. He gave different likely questions and the answers expected of them.
Tokunbo listened raptly and
wondered if he would be able to remember the answers.
After about 45 minutes, Chinwe stood up
again, saying she needed to use the bathroom.
She surprisingly came out fast enough.
“When is the press conference” she asked as she resumed her seat again.
“Friday, this Friday”
“That is yet to be concluded as we want as many pressmen as we can get to be there”
“Hmmn, Friday will not work”
“And why not” her father asked
“I have a condition, if I am to appear there or attend any press conference to tell lies, I have to get a job and I must be sure of that job before I can give any interview”