Charity noticing the change in Stephen’s countenance turns around and sees Chucks. She freezes on the spot, unable to say or do anything.
Chucks: “Well, well, well. Did I interrupt anything? Go ahead, you were hugging him, why did you disengage when you saw me? Continue hugging him, I want to see what will happen after that”.
Charity: “Erm, ah, I, please, I just”.
Stephen: “Charity, what is your husband doing in my house? Is this a sort of set up or something?”
Chucks: “Oh, you are asking if it is a set up? Oh, I know lawyers can be smart, bravo. I walk in on you hugging my wife and you asking if this is a set up? Set up ko, coup ni”
Charity: “I am sorry but it is not what you think…”
Chucks: “Shut up your dirty mouth there before I shut it up for you. How do you know what I think? Who asked you to say something?”
Stephen: “What is he talking about?” he says turning to Charity.
Chucks charges forward and grabs Stephen on the neck. “Are you asking me what I am talking about? Haven’t I warned you several times to stay away from my wife? You think I am one to be joked with?” he begins to rain heavy blows on Stephen.
Charity: “Please, stop. Stop this madness Chucks, he is innocent. Please let him go, he has done nothing wrong”. She tries to pull Chucks away from Stephen. Chucks in his anger turns around and slaps her, sending her crashing on the sofa. He kicks her with his leg and faces Stephen as he charges at him.
Stephen: “You wife beater, how dare you raise your dirty hands against a woman”.
Chucks: “Who is a woman? This animal that deals in lies and deceit is what you call woman? I will raise my hands and even my legs against her if I wish. What business of yours is it what I do to my wife? I married her with my money and so I am free to treat her however I wish”.
Stephen: “You are a monster, an animal. You ought to be in the zoo, that is where you belong”.
Charity staggers to stand on her feet, her face red, carries signs of Chucks’ fingers where he had slapped her. She makes for the door to run away. “And where do you think you are going?” Chucks harsh voice penetrates her ear causing her to remember her pain.
Charity: “I am going back to my father’s house”.
Chucks: “Really? My daddy’s daughter of a wife wants to run away to her father’s house. You don’t want to marry me anymore?” he draws close to Charity.
Charity: “Stay away from me, you monster!”
Chucks grabs her on the arm slaps her again and drags her by the hair outside.
“You think marriage is something you can walk in and out of anytime you wish? You are my wife and you are going nowhere. You only visit your father when I permit you. Now get into the damn car”, he opens the door and shoves her in.
Stephen regaining his composure runs out to help Charity but Chucks drives away before he can get to them.
Stephen: “My God, what has Charity gotten herself into? I wish I can help her. Well, it is husband and wife issue, they will sort it out at home”.
Chucks drives into the compound and instructs his security man to lock the door. “Adamu!” he calls the security after he comes in.
Adamu: “Yes, sah!”
Chucks: “I want you to keep the gate always locked. On no excuse should you allow my wife step out of this compound. If she ever steps her feet outside this compound or if anyone comes in to visit her, you are fired! Did you hear me?”
Adamu: “Yes, sah. I hear am for what I say walahi”.
Chucks: “What did I say?”
Adamu: “I say make madam dey inside house like dog wey dem put for cage, say any day wey I allow madam commot, I go sack am for me”.
Chucks: “Good. Not only will I sack you, I will kill you”
Adamu: “Tou oga, Allah ya kiyaye fa!”
Stella: “Hello, iyawo, how far na? This one wey your phone dey switched off these days, na wa o. E don reach one year wey una marry o, honeymoon never tire you?”
Charity: “Hi, Stella, I am sorry for not getting in touch all these while”.
Stella: “No wahala. I get gist for you o, when you go dey house na, make I come visit you”.
Charity: “Erm, visit me? Stella, my husband, erm”.
Stella: “Which kind emergency stammering come be this one now? Wetin your husband do?”
Charity: “My husband…erm”, she scans her head for something to say to cover up for the fact that Chucks has stopped her from receiving guests. “Chucks and I travelled to Dubai, we are not in town”.
Stella: “Wow! You dey enjoy your marriage o. Abeg buy something come for me o, you fit carry am come my house or I go come collect am by myself, no problem”.
Charity: “Okay, I will”.
Stella: “Ehen, NYSC mobilization list don commot o, you better do come register so that we go join this batch o”.
Charity: “Okay”, she sees Chucks standing beside her. “I have to go now, bye”. She drops the phone on Stella.
Chucks: “And who was that? Why did you end the call when you saw me? Guilty conscience?”
Charity: “That was my friend Stella. She said our NYSC mobilization list is out. I need to go for the registration, collect my statement of result from my school and prepare for camp”.
Chucks: “You are going nowhere”.
Chucks: “I said you are going nowhere. You are my wife and you will only go for service if I give my consent. Forget about NYSC. It is not for you”.
Charity: “What? How can you even say a thing like that? Why won’t I go for service when I am not above 30 years? All my life I have admired corps members uniform and I have looked forward to the day when I will wear mine and you say I am not going?”
Chucks: “Are you questioning my decisions now? I said you are going nowhere and that is final. You don’t even need your results because you won’t work, the university can eat it up for all I care”.
Charity begins to weep. “Chucks please, what did I do to offend you? For almost one year now you have kept me locked up in this compound. I only go out when you want us to go out together. My friends don’t visit me and you don’t allow me to visit them. I am tired of this life, please allow me serve my fatherland, it is my right. Please”.
Chucks: “If you like plead from now till tomorrow, you are not going anywhere. You remain in this house and that is final”.
Charity angry charges at him. “What wrong did I commit by marrying you? I’m I your prisoner? Why will you lock me up in this compound like a common criminal? You go out, keep late nights and even sleep out and I yet I can’t step out of this compound, not even to go to the market. What did I do to offend you? You must kill me today and take my body to my father”.
Chucks: “Of course you are my prisoner. I married you with my money just the same way I buy other things with my money and I so I can treat you in any how I like. Who do you even think your father is in the first place? Do you know how badly my own father treated me simply because my mother refused to change her religion after she married him? My father is a wealthy northern Muslim but he never took responsibility for us his children. My mother struggled to train me before she died and that is why I am not a Muslim because she used to take us with her to the Church. I never told you about this because you never cared to know all details about me, all you were interested in is money and gifts. So, I don’t ever want to hear you talk about any father in this house again. Father my foot, rubbish!”
Charity in tears continues to scream, “You must kill me today o, I am tired of this marriage. Kill me and take my body to my father o, is it a crime that I kept my body pure until marriage? Are you supposed to be treating me like this after deflowering me and taking my pride as a woman away?”
In a flash of lighting, Chucks pushes her away and begins to punch her, slapping, kicking and flogging her with his belt her at the same time. Charity begins to scream and ask for mercy but he ignores and beats her to his satisfaction.
He spits on her, picks his car keys and drives out leaving her in severe pains with a swollen face. She remains in that spot weeping and thinking about all that she has been experiencing in her marriage. After about an hour, she gets manages to stagger to the bathroom where she cleans her face with hot water.
Two years later, Charity wakes up in the morning feeling feverish. Her head felt like she had a mad drummer rehearsing his drumming skills inside it. She tries to get up but the pains in her lower region causes her to fall back on bed. The pain was from Chuck who was into the habit of forcing his way into her whenever he came home drunk. Whenever he attempts to make love to her and she refuses, he will throw her on to the bed and rape her claiming that her body was his to do with it whatever he wants. She who used to very full of life is now a shadow of herself as a result of chucks ill treatments. He had succeeded in cutting her off the world, she had lost out of going for NYSC and he didn’t even allow her collect her result from the University. Three years into their marriage, he had turned her into his punching bag and her face bore signs of his ceaseless beatings. Several times she had contemplated speaking to people about the violence against her in her home but afraid of what Chucks will do, she prefers to suffer in silence. Even when she speaks with Stella, her father or other of her relations on phone, she always pretends that all is well. Twice she had visited her father with Chucks and they had pretended to be the happiest couple on earth before her father. She also got used to spending the night all alone as Chucks was always sleeping out. She got tired of complaining and resigned to her fate since the only answers she gets when she asks where he slept are ceaseless poundings. She attempts to get up when her phone rings.
Charity: “Hello, who is this? What! My father is in coma? Which hospital? I will be there shortly.” She drops the phone, and begins to dress up hurriedly.
Question: What could be wrong with her father again? Will the security man allow her to go out? How will Chucks react when he finds out about her going out? Should she open up to people about the violence against her?
…SEE Episode 20 Below (You don’t wanna miss this!)
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