Ejike rushed into the compound and the first person he met was Chike, in anger, without thinking, he raised the cutlass and brought it down. There was a scream, and everywhere went quiet. Everyone who had escorted Ejike to the medicine’s man compound had their mouths open, like they had been stopped by an unseen hand. A life had gone; they could feel it on their skins.
Chike looked at himself, and saw no blood. So why were the people having horror stricken faces, he was alright, the cutlass didn’t touch him, perhaps Ejike had controlled himself at the last minute, he thought. Then he looked to his right, and let out a blood curdling scream. The truth was, when Ejike raised up his cutlass, the medicine man was coincidentally coming from the backyard when he saw Ejike raise his cutlass, he rushed toward him and pushed his son, out of the way of the cutlass. He saved his son, but he wasn’t that lucky.
Chike: “Father! Father!” he kept on screaming. There on the floor was his father, with his lifeblood seeping away from him, and his head open, with the brain matter splattered on the ground.
The people seemed shocked out of their ‘mute’ mood by Chike’s scream, normal men and women who had seen Ejike running with a cutlass, suddenly turned into a mob; they rushed at Ejike, he tried to run but they caught up with him, and grabbed him. They began to beat him; with sticks, stones, pal leaves and anything they could lay their hands on. His wives didn’t know what to do, they wanted to beg for his life, but how could they, when the medicine’s man’s dead body was just in front of them. They began to agitate to burn Ejike alive, but someone among the mob advised that they take him to the chief’s place.
Ejike was taken to the chief’s place, but on the way he was beaten, people who were going to their own businesses stopped and asked, when they were informed of what he had done, they joined in the beating.
Ejike was bruised from head to toe, his body was covered in blood, and his eyes were swollen shut. Nobody asked why he had taken a cutlass to the medicine man’s house, which was inconsequential because someone had died.
At the Chief’s palace, the Chief asked why Ejike had been beaten;
Chief: “What is his crime; did he steal somebody’s wife?” The chief asked. Ejike heard the question and tried to speak. He wanted to tell the world that a small boy such as Chike had bruised his pride, because he had gone after another man’s wife. But the chief was not asking him, and even if he were, his lips were had been clamped close with blows, he was sure he was missing a few teeth.
People: “He killed a man” the people told the chief.
Chief: “Then it is not in my hands, I will call the white man’s police” he said. The people kept Ejike on the ground and waited for the police to arrive. His wives kept crying and begging, people asked them why Ejike had carried a cutlass to the medicine man’s house, but they didn’t know either.
Chioma heard that her father was at the chief’s place for killing a man, her heart flew out of her chest when she heard that because, she thought that Chike had been killed.
Chioma: “Oh papa, what have you done? I told you I want to marry him, and you went ahead and killed him?” she cried, and as she cried, she blamed Adaku for everything.
Chioma: “I curse you Adaku, I curse you for all the problems you have caused” she cried. Then her mother entered, with her hand on her head.
Senior wife: “Hay chineke me, Ejike, can you see what your unbridled anger has caused?” she soliloquized.
Chioma: “Mother, where is father?” she asked
Senior wife: “The police have taken your father away; he will be in jail and will be tried for murder according to the white man’s laws”
Chioma: “Hay God, help my father oh” she began to wail. She was still wailing when she saw Chike approach.
Chioma: “Mother, Chike has come for me oh, angry ghost I am sorry” she cried and hid behind her mother. The senior wife saw Chike and wondered why her daughter was calling him an angry ghost, when he was a living man.
Chike: “You Chioma! Are you happy now?”
Chioma: “Angry ghost I am sorry, I didn’t mean for you to die, please don’t kill me” she wailed. Both Chike and her mother turned to look at her, with puzzlement.
Senior wife: “Are you having high fever, and hallucinating?” her mother asked, as she felt her neck for her temperature.
Chike: “I am not dead you dummy, it was my father’s life that was lost, all because of your jealousy. What did you tell your father?” he yelled in anger. The senior wife began to understand, she turned to her daughter;
Senior wife: “What did you tell your father that made him go to the medicine man’s house with a cutlass?” she asked
Chioma: “Chike was having an affair with Adaku, and I told father about it because I wanted Chike for myself. I am sorry mother, but Adaku was already married to father, why did she have to go after Chike when she knows I love Chike” she said.
Senior wife: “You have led your father to his early grave, because it is either they hang him, or they put him in jail forever. You have killed me, Chioma, you have made me a widow before my time” she wailed.
Chike: “I will never forgive you, and I will make sure your father dies for his sins” he said pointing a finger at her. As Chioma watched him leave, she felt confused, she did not realize that things could get this bad.
Senior wife: “I hope you are happy now. I am pregnant, perhaps it is a son this time, but he will never know his father. All because of you” she said and went inside the compound.
Chioma: “Why does everyone blame me, did I tell him to carry a cutlass to the medicine man’s house?” she said defiantly.
At the chief’s palace, a van of soldiers arrived to take Ejike away. They were Hausa soldiers and people were sure that Ejike would go through hell even before his court hearing. They were taking him to Asaba, the Capital; it was where he would he tried in court.
Madam Biliki told Adaku to follow her to the supermarket because they had a new shipment, and she needed more hands before they opened.
Raja: “Are you sure she should go with you, her stench is unbearable” he said squeezing his nose.
Madam Biliki: “The sales girls will have to bear her smell, just till we are done stocking, I will spray the place after she leaves. I have told you, take little water, in fact don’t even take water”
Raja: “Don’t you think you should take her to the hospital, this could be VVF (Vesico Vagina Fistula)”
Madam Biliki: “Ki lon so, Vesico kini?”
Raja: “It is a condition which causes involuntary release of urine from the urinary tract. It is caused by prolonged childbirth or rape at a tender age” he said
Madam Biliki: “I am not sure that is her condition, she doesn’t have a child nor has she been raped. You foreigners like to give a name to everything. Adaku, just reduce your water intake” she said and pulled her toward the door.
As the family’s driver drove Madam Biliki and Adaku to the supermarket, Adaku kept thinking of what Raja had said. She knew she didn’t take plenty water, in fact she hardly took water because she was trying hard to stop urinating on herself. Therefore it was possible it was as Raja said, only her knew she had been raped countless times.
Adaku: “You really damaged me. May it not be well with you Ejike” she whispered to herself as she thought back to all she went through in Ogwashi-Uku.
Madam Biliki: “What are you whispering?” she asked looking at her ward.
Adaku: “Nothing madam” she replied.
After working at the supermarket, Adaku came back home tired, she had to lift heavy boxes at the supermarket, and because Madam Biliki had given her more than she expected, she couldn’t complain, even when she was almost falling down with fatigue. When she got home, she just jumped on the mattress she had been given and slept off.
She was dreaming of happier times, when she felt the touch of someone, it was so soft and soothing that she thought she was still dreaming. She knew she was no longer dreaming when she felt her legs pushed apart. She bolted out of the bed, and saw Raja with his manhood out.
Raja: “Come on girl, lie down and don’t be afraid, I will be gentle” he said holding his nose because Adaku had urinated on her body again.
Adaku: “Please sir, don’t do this to me. You see my condition, I think it is VVF like you said and you know why because in Ogwashi-Uku where I met Madam, I was raped every time by a man that was forced on me as a husband. I came to Lagos to fulfill my dreams of being an independent woman. Please don’t rape me again” she said, with tears soaked face.
Question: Would Raja go ahead to rape her?
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