Caro was shivering as her aunty ambulated about the sitting room; she seemed to be whispering to herself. Caro tried talking but the quivering lips betrayed her; she was curled up at corner, her aunty came closer. Peter stood at the veranda eavesdropping.
Amarachi: “So, this is how you repay me for being good to you, abi? Off all the men in the world, it is my own that you chose to seduce? Why? What wrong did I do by allowing you stay in my house?” Caro unable to say a word shook her head instead, “Would you wipe the crocodile tears and talk to me? Do I look like someone you can deceive with tears?”
Caro: “I… I…”gasping, “ I no do anything oo!” she burst into tears.
Amarachi: “So you have the guts to still deny after being caught?”
Caro: “Chai! Chineke!Aunty, I swear I…” a slap sent her to the ground before she could say another word.
Amarachi stood over Caro, who was sprawled on the ground like withered vegetable,
Amarachi: “Bifo I close an open dis ma eyes eh, I wan maik you disappear!” Amarachi darted into her room, Peter ran into the room as he heard his wife’s footstep. She met him pacing around the room vexed, with hands akimbo, she stood staring at him; he stared at her too,
Peter: “So? Are you going to allow that seductress spend one more minute in this house?”
Amarachi shook her head; she had her doubts been aware that Peter was a fervent womanizer,
Amarachi: “She denied it, Pet!”
Peter knew he had to be on a defensive to really punish the girl,
Peter: “What!? And you believe her? Were you expecting her to admit it?”Amarachi stared at him, “I’m going to teach her a lesson of her life never to be a liar,” he got hold of his trousers and swiped the belt out, with the speed of light made for the sitting room, Amarachi followed behind, Caro was about getting up when she felt a leather strike on her back, it stung that she couldn’t yell, to the ground her body was flung, the strike continued it came more fierce leaving imprints on her. Screams twirled above her head, it was aunty,
Amarachi: “Stupid girl. You want to ruin my sweet marriage! Deal with her!” she kept saying behind her husband.
Peter whipped her even harder, kicking and cursing, Caro used her hands to cover her face but the belt still found its way in tearing at her lips, ears and eyes. The pains were racking, she wanted to cry but the mouth couldn’t open only hot tears trickled down peeling off the skins of her cheeks- she remained curled up like a snail.
Amarachi: “I’ve said that this girl is a witch! A very big witch, seff. See she isn’t crying! Wait lemme hold her hands so that you will flog her very well” she ran to where Caro was curled up and held hands, feeble Caro couldn’t fight, Peter threw the belt, started using fists as his wife threw slaps. In her heart, she could only wish for death. Her aunty, flung her body short but fat body on her, Caro could feel the weight; Peter continued kicking aiming at her ribs,
Amarachi: “Home wrecker! Husband snatcher!”
They were both punching her, Amarachi made for her arms and mouth while Peter maintained the ribs even kicking her butt; he made for her wrapper, tore it exposing her smooth and rounded thighs barely covered by the skimpy gown, Peter was having an arousal,
Peter: “I can imagine how it feels to be inside this poor thing, “he thought staring with lust.
He was lost for a moment as his wife continued with the battering in an abrupt manner he joined before she could notice.
Caro pretended to have passed out but the beating didn’t stop even though her aunty and husband seemed to be panting it didn’t look like the beating was going to stop anytime soon. Blood dripped from her broken lips, “run” she heard a voice whisper to her, strength slipped into her and like a whirlwind with eyes pitched at the door, she made for it, flung it opened and never looked back. The pains on her ribs seemed to reduce her pace but the memory of the beatings kept her going with her skimpy gown dancing to the rhythm of the Harmattan breeze; she entered into the night, the voices of her aunty and husband were gone. The seduction claim made by Peter, her aunty’s husband, and her aunty’s refusal to allow her go into model clawed at her heart. She cried and wished for death. Took off on her heels after a while her legs began to fail her. It dawned on her that she had ran for a long time- continued her journey blindly not knowing where she was headed, entered a compound walked straight to a door managed to knock and when its owner opened, she collapsed.
Caro woke up in the morning twitching in pains as she rubbed her neck with the right hand; the whole of her body was sore- when she touched a part the other parts cried too. The tip off her tongue had the taste of fever. Where was she? She wondered. Was she dead? Was the beatings of last night a nightmare?, “ You’re awake!” a male voice brought her out of her thoughts, it was Kalu.
Kalu: “What happened? You slumped at my doorstep last night.”
The bang in her head was as if Oghene music was being played in it; she rubbed the forehand. While she was asleep Kalu noticed the swelling on her body and massaged her with ointment. He forced her to take hot tea and slices of bread but she could only eat a little.
Caro managed to narrate what happened to her, Kalu was steaming with anger as tears flushed down the cheeks. How could people be that wicked? Her world was crushing. In less than an hour, Caro was shivering and throwing up, Kalu dashed out of the room down to street to a pharmacy, he knew the owner, Abubakar, they watched football together but he didn’t have a dime on him. Abubakar was from kano he studied Pharmacy at the university but instead of working with a government hospital with a fat salary,he decided to have his own pharmacy where he bragged that he’d soon start producing his own drugs and was working on discovering the cure for aids, intellect with full blown Kano accent. They became quite close with Kalu. At the pharmacy he looked frustrated explained to Abubakar that his girl friend was dying,
Abubakar: “ Kalu, don’t wori aii! I will gib you zee right combination” he entered and came out minutes later with a white envelope, “Let her take zis one now and zee rest after zee pomitting has stopped ko?”
Kalu nodded and dashed to the house, about to open the gate of his house a call came him-it was his mother,
Kalu: “Oh! Not now,mama!”
He picked but she sounded distant, network in the village was terrible, the only thing he could make out from the fluctuating voice was, “I’ll be in Abuja tomorrow! I’m following night bus” the call ended.
What? He couldn’t believe it, where would he keep Caro? If his mother were to see Caro in his house hell would break loose. His mother was calm but could make trouble; her trouble was a double of Iya Kpati and Mama Chinedu’s.
Kalu wondered if something was wrong with them, no job, Caro’s route to success was blocked by her selfish and envious aunty who almost killed her. And his mother was coming to compound their issues.
Question: should Kalu call his mother and tell her not to come? Wouldn’t that be rude? Where was he going to hide Caro? Should he send her away? What if she died in the process?
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