Madam Biliki forgot her Cheque book in the house, so she told the driver to take her home, so she could get it. When she reached the house, she didn’t see her husband, Raja in his home office, where he did his daily duties. She went to her room to get her cheque book, and then she thought to check on her husband, perhaps he was in his bedroom. She opened the door to the master bedroom, and found no one, she saw a glass of wine however on the table.
Madam Biliki: “Where is he?” she pondered. She decided to check Adaku’s room to ask her if her husband had left the house.
Adaku was looking down when she was talking to Raja, so when she didn’t hear anything, she raised her head. When she looked, she saw Raja was crying.
Raja: “I am so sorry, I never imagined that you have gone through such pain because of people like me, Please forgive me” he said. He was broken, hearing her narrate all the ordeal she had gone through in the hands of a man. He began to really see her, the stoop of her shoulder like someone who had always looked down, the sadness in her eyes, and her soul which had become old from all the suffering. He dipped his hand in his pocket and brought out plenty pound notes.
Raja: “Take the money, perhaps tomorrow when your madam goes to the supermarket, I will take you to the hospital. From now on, see me as a guardian angel” he said. But as Adaku stretched her hands to collect the money, the door opened and Madam Biliki entered. She opened her mouth to speak, probably to ask her maid about her husband, but closed it immediately when she saw what she saw. All these while, Adaku was pleading Raja, he still had his manhood out. So what Madam Biliki saw was, Raja with his pants down, and giving money to Adaku.
Madam Biliki: “Jesu!” she shouted, with her eyes wide open.
She could not believe her eyes. She had never thought that leaving Adaku at home would result to this, she had trusted her husband. Unknown to her, her husband did that with the former house maid, when she couldn’t take it anymore, she left for no reason.
Raja: “It is not what you think, honey” he said as he quickly pulled up his trousers. He was lost for words to explain to his wife that nothing had happened. How could he tell his wife that he had wanted to rape the girl but changed his mind when she told him her story?
Madam Biliki: “It is not what I think, it is what?” she asked and walked up to Adaku, she gave the girl a resounding slap.
Madam Biliki: “You little harlot, couldn’t you have gone outside, must it be my husband? After everything I did for you?”
Adaku: “Madam, I did not do anything. The only thing I did was massage his back” she replied naively.
Madam Biliki: “Ha Raja, why did you do this to me? Oya Adaku, pack your things and leave this house, what am I saying? You didn’t have anything when you came here, so with the clothes on your back, get out of my house” she yelled.
Raja: “You brought her to Lagos; you cannot just send her out like that. She told you that nothing was done, and that is the truth. So, she is not going anywhere” he replied.
Madam Biliki didn’t go anywhere that day, but stayed home cussing her husband out, Raja wanted to go out but he couldn’t because he knew if he went out, his wife would throw Adaku out. Adaku on the other hand, was looking for a way to flee the house. She wished to stay but how could she, when her benefactress was hurt?
So, while husband and wife were nagging each other inside the master bedroom, she packed a few clothes and the money she had from Raja, and left the house. When she got out of the gate, she looked back on the house and a single teardrop fell from her eyes. She looked on the street before her, and it was like she had been thrown back to square one.
In Asaba, where the British appointee ruled from the Royal Niger Company house, Ejike was put in prison pending when his court date would be set. Till now, nobody cared to ask Ejike why he took a cutlass to the medicine man’s house. But in his cell, his cell mate asked him why he had been brought to prison.
Ejike: “They brought me here because someone was seeing my wife”
Cell mate: “Really, one would think it is the adulterer that would be put in prison”
Ejike: “I might have killed a man because of that”
Cellmate: “Oh, so you are here because of murder. Ha, the white man treats murderers with no mercy. They feel one day, you could contemplate killing them”
Ejike: “If I am taken to court, what do you think the judgment would be?” he asked.
Cellmate: “Death by hanging, all the people that have stood before Talbot for murder have been given the death sentence” he said shaking his head sorrowfully, to add gravity to what he was saying.
Ejike looked up and shook his head, he couldn’t believe he was in this position because of a girl who didn’t give him any children, male or female. He regretted agreeing to marry her, he should have refused when Azagba his friend offered him. Could it be he was being punished for raping a little girl such as Adaku?
Ejike: “I am sorry, I didn’t know better” he said, while his cellmate watched him. The truth was, Ejike came from a polygamous house, and the men in his family didn’t ask a woman before taking her, it was their right. If a woman proved stubborn, it was either she wanted it but was pretending not to, or the woman was refusing to do her duty, as in wives. So when Adaku came to the house, he raped her because he needed sons and she was refusing to do her duty by him.
Ejike: “I think I am being punished for raping a girl I am married to”
Cellmate: “Rape? Don’t you know that you should not take pleasures from a woman if she doesn’t give her consent?”
Ejike: “Consent? This is Africa, what do you mean by consent? A woman I married with my money. I paid so much for Adaku” he replied.
Cellmate: “A woman has the right to choose the man she sleeps with. Whether you are her husband or not, if she is not ready to mate with you, let her be. Ironically, I am in for rape, and that is what the judge told me, it makes sense”
Ejike had learnt an important lesson, but whether it was too late to learn, is yet to be seen. His wives sold all their expensive abada and velvet wrappers to raise money to get a lawyer for him. They even sold all the yams in the barns at cheap prices because nobody knew where Ejike kept his money. The money is given to the senior wife to go to Asaba and get a lawyer for Ejike.
Raja looked everywhere around their house, for Adaku, but she was found nowhere. He reported her as a missing person, and was told to wait twenty four hours before the police intervene in the issue. Adaku found herself along Oshodi expressway, after trekking a long distance in any direction her mind led her, although she didn’t know where she was. She was confused; she didn’t know what she should do first. She was fifteen now, but still a small girl, who would lease a room to her. She was still walking sluggishly with her urine drenched clothes, when a danfo stopped in front of her, and a man dressed in dark clothes jumped down and grabbed her. He flung her into the bus and the bus zoomed off. Adaku was stunned momentarily because; her head had hit the iron edge of the seat. When her eyes cleared, she saw four burly looking men staring at her.
Adaku: “Please, don’t hurt me, I beg you” she cried. Nobody told her that as women were given a free life in Lagos, there were also bad men like these in Lagos, Lagos wasn’t heaven after all. Before she could blink her eyes, one had a white handkerchief over her nose. She tried to stay awake but there was a great urge to sleep. Her eyes drooped of their own accord, and she lost consciousness.
Question: Will this be the end for Adaku, child of Emelu? Who will save her from the hands of the kidnappers?
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