Lola Opatayo

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Breaking out 1

Somewhere in Southern Nigeria
“I heard that some of you are grumbling, you don’t like this place and you want to leave. Listen and listen carefully! There’s nowhere for you to go, you’re all mine.” Madam B thundered, looking at the girls disdainfully and taking a minute to wipe the perspiration on her upper lip with a sparkling white scented handkerchief. The ceiling fan was rolling at the highest speed but it could not stop nature- Madam B was a big woman.
“You young girls are not at all patient and you have no foresight because if you did you would know that we are moving into a new house soon. Not just any kind of house but the one built by Senator Brown. Very soon you would all be glowing, he is also making sure that all of you get a change of wardrobe and of course that means a higher class of customers like politicians” she paused observing the effect of this new information on the girls and wiping her upper lip again.
“So I’m warning you to be very careful and not test my patience. I don’t want to hear of any grumbling again and before any of you decide to be smart, remember the oath!”
Gloria sat on her bed and bit her lips nervously, she had to get out of this place.

Tears welled up in her eyes as she remembered all she had been through in the last three months. When her friend Joy told her of a wonderful job opportunity in sales she had been excited and flattered that she even considered her. She had been out of of school for three years because she couldn’t afford to continue her education. Her father had six more children to worry about and her mother’s trade in firewood produced very little profit.
She traveled with Joy to begin the new job where she was rudely shocked at the nature of the business. She hadn’t questioned her, even her parents didn’t because they had grown up together and no one could have thought it was such a business. It was too late, no one refused Madam B. She was raped by one of her boys and forced to swear an oath of allegiance.
Initially she refused to do the job but promptly complied after Madam B ordered the older girls to beat her into submission. She lay every night crying and wondering how to get out of her predicament. She wanted to be more than this, her worth was not in satisfying men’s desires. She had bigger dreams and always believed that no one could confine her to a life other than the one she chose.

Madam B was excited, Inspector Musa was coming to her brothel tonight with some of his boys. She smiled contentedly when she remembered Big Mama’s words: “You think you can make it without me? You think I’m not treating you well? Go on your own and see if you can survive without me, you ungrateful wretch that I picked up from the slums.”
“I more than survived, I made it!” she said out loud, smiling and looking at her reflection in the mirror. She was still beautiful, after all she had been through.
Big Mama had made them do unspeakable things, even animals had enjoyed the luxury between their thighs. Any slight provocation required the use of her whip and her boys, they had lived in terror each day. She had made the decision to leave Big Mama when she instructed the doctor to take out her womb because she got pregnant. She sighed, that was her only regret in life- her barrenness. That pregnancy would have compelled her to quit her trade and that was what Big Mama saw. She couldn’t afford to lose one of her best.
Madam B dispelled the thoughts of the past and smiled in anticipation of the cash that was coming her way, it was going to be a good night.
Gloria had diarrhea. It had to be the beans she had eaten for dinner, as the youngest of the girls she couldn’t serve her food until the others had been served. When it got to her turn the food was finished so she had had to eat the beans she found in the fridge. She felt dehydrated and dizzy from her frequent bowel movements.
“Where is Gloria?” she heard Mama B ask.
Walking wearily she got to the living room where the girls had been paired with the policemen.
“What is wrong with you?” Madam B asked irritated
“I’ve been going to the toilet” she said weakly holding on to the wall for support
“You’re not serious! Get dressed and come back here immediately!” she snapped.
“She looks weak, let her rest. You don’t want a dead body on your hands, do you?” The police inspector said appraising the young fragile girl, he loved vulnerability in women.
“Okay if you say so my inspector!” Madam B said laughing humorlessly and making a mental note to punish Gloria for making her look incompetent.
Gloria lay on her bed, grateful for the break. She was however becoming uncomfortable with all the noise in the house. She tossed and turned trying to get some sleep but it didn’t come with all the moaning and screaming. Finally she decided to get some water to drink, she had become incredibly thirsty.
She drank slowly still feeling weak then looked around the kitchen when it struck her. This was her chance to escape! In no time she would be out of the compound, she knew where the keys were kept. She quickly went back to her room and changed into more appropriate clothing and took all the money she had.
She tiptoed out of the house, gently turning the keys and closing the doors. She opened the gate slowly careful not to make a sound then stepped out.
“Eh! Where are you going?” someone called out from behind her.

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