Glimmer Part 1

Dear reader, by popular demand I have begun a series. I’m not sure how long it’s going to run for, so be sure to follow my blog! This is a FREE story.

It has been seven years now since the death of my father and sometimes I miss him so much. Today is one of those days, when I’m reminded of how life used to be: full of hope. Alhaja has come for me like mother said she would and I am ready. Although my mother was the third wife of my father Alhaji Olagunju, we had been comfortable. Upon his death however, his brothers and other family members took over all his properties leaving my mother and her colleagues penniless. We had to relocate to Osogbo, to my grandparents’ where my mother has been selling food in a kiosk by the roadside. Although this caters for our immediate needs, we are constantly in need when it comes to the bigger expenses such as school fees and bills.

Alhaja is my mother’s customer. She especially likes her amala and abula garnished with bokoto and ponmo; her maid Biliki comes for it every afternoon. She told my mother about one of her friends who lived in Lagos and was in need of a house help; a young girl who was semiliterate and could communicate effectively with her other rich friends. I would be well taken care of; her friend wouldn’t have her house help dressed in rags or inferior clothing. Her friend was willing to pay fifteen thousand naira monthly. I would have to open a bank account, she would pay my salary directly into my account. Alhaja thought I was perfect for the job. My mother was excited. Last night she went on and on about how large I should shine my eyes. I am seventeen years old and my body has taken the shape of a curvaceous young woman. Puberty came early. My mother doesn’t even have to say too much. I am tired of this life of wanting.

progress

Alhaja was right about the house. It is magnificent. The security guy opens the gate and greets Alhaja effusively. His reward is swift. She promises him a tip on her way out. Before we enter the house she warns me again to be on my best behaviour. I promise I her would. We enter the house and Alhaja calls out to her friend telling her that she’s brought me. A beautiful middle aged woman with warm eyes comes down the stairs in a few minutes. I like her. I go through an interview and she seems satisfied with me because she tells Alhaja that she hopes I pass the test. What on earth she is talking about? Am I an animal that is to be examined before it is bought? I am not one of those other house helps from Togo or Benin. I am a school cert holder simply faced with the harsh reality of life. I am about to object when Alhaja says “You better set out now so you can make it back before the rush hour traffic. My fate is sealed. However I have enough confidence left to ask “What kind of tests ma?”

“See this foolish girl, what kind of question is that? Do you think she wants to use you for blood rituals?” Alhaja snaps at me, furious that I would dare to be audacious.

“Ah ah Alhaja don’t worry about it. It’s just a simple question. You are going to do a pregnancy test, HIV test and any other tests the doctor advises” she calmly explains.

Now I am afraid. Since my encounter with that unfortunate man, Lasun, Alhaja’s driver I’ve been experiencing itching in my private part. We set out in her jeep and although I am enjoying the elegance of the vehicle’s interior, I am anxious.

Taken

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For all those who have been taken…
“You’re going to get yourself killed!”
“I can’t do this” Jemaima cried
“You have to! Look, it is either you die or you accept your fate”
“I’d rather die. I am a married woman, I have children, I am an usher in my church! I can not do this”
“Think of it this way, you’re staying alive for your family till help comes”
“Help? How long have you been here Adeezat?”
“Ten months” she replied
“And you say help is coming? Let me tell you what the reality is, it’s every man for himself out there. A few people are trying do something about this but really no one cares. The world has moved on. Help isn’t coming!”
Adeezat pondered this for a while, she was probably right but one couldn’t lose hope or face the gruesome death that awaited anyone who rebelled.
”They  will slit your throat” she said
“Then let them. I will never subject myself to this life”
A baby cried two rooms away; it was her son Mustapha. She had been abducted ten months ago along with some other teenage girls and women. The rebels had brought them into this big house where they had been kept in a room. They had all wept, consoled themselves and wept again till they came for them.
By nightfall they were distributed among the men and the best of them were reserved for the leader and his second-in-command. Those who had dared to resist had been beaten brutally and one of them strangled. The men were drunk and high on marijuana; they could not be appeased or reasoned with. She remembered Toyin the Yoruba girl who had taken her own life because she had lost the pregnancy she was carrying the night they were abducted.
Gradually they had settled into their new life as sex slaves. They cooked and cleaned during the day and surrendered themselves to the men’s passions at night. They offered no opinions, did not speak unless spoken to, took whatever was offered them and did their best to make the most of the situation. A few had tried to escape and were promptly executed.
They realized that they were also expected to get pregnant and have male children, and when she got pregnant and had Mustapha she was “honored” with the responsibility to prepare the new abductees for their new lives. Her heart broke today however, when she recognized her friend Jemaima who had lived on the same street with her. Not only was she sad that she was unfortunate to be in this horrid situation, she was also a reminder of home, who she was. She reminded her of the wedding she would have had two months after her abduction. She knew it would be difficult to accept this new life but the alternative was worse. It was getting dark and they would soon come for them. She tried to reason with her once more.
“Please reconsider my sister, stay alive for your family”
Jemaima gave her no response. She thought of her boys and her husband and her tears flowed freely, fear etched on her face. How could she accept this life? Yet she was very scared; these men were responsible for the death of thousands, how could she survive her planned course of action?
The door opened and they were taken out amidst screams and cries.

The Need to Be

He was gradually losing control. There was a debate going on in his mind weighing the pros and cons of the decision he was about to make. Here he was seated close to a beautiful girl who would give him what he wanted without any preamble. There was only one problem, she was five years old. His gaze lingered on her dark, silky, unusually long hair and her fair glowing skin. She smelled so good!
“Stop it!” an inner voice told him
“Why should I?” he countered
He wasn’t exactly handsome, in fact, he was far from it. His acne riddled face which was characteristic of his stage of development also made things worse for him. He was skinny and tall and his spoken English was so defective that he could not even say as much as a hello to the girls in his class without eliciting a mocking laughter. His already low self-esteem was made worse when his male colleagues found out about his virginity. Not only did they tease him to no end about it, they bragged about their legendary sexual encounters. Last week, Kenny had brought pictures of a girl he had slept with and had excluded him from viewing it because he was “still a small boy”. Whenever they were given an exhortation against pre-marital sex at the assembly ground, they whistled his name. Even the girls knew he was a virgin; they already thought him weird anyway. The only girls who would give him an audience were the “outcasts”, the girls who were too unattractive to be significant.
Now he finally had an opportunity with this beautiful girl who held him in awe because he always gave her biscuits and sweets. Today her mother had left her in his house to go and attend a wedding. His mother was at the backyard doing laundry, his Dad was out and his younger siblings were asleep. He had brought her to his room when the power had gone out and she could not continue watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He would do it quickly before his mother finished her chore. No one would ever know. He would tell Kenny that he was no more a small boy. He called he to him and set her on his lap.
“Do you want another sweet?” he asked huskily
“Yes” she said bashfully. He gave it to her.
“Do you know you are very fine?”
“Yes” she replied, too distracted with unwrapping the sweet to notice that he was slipping his hands gently up her skirt.
“Dare!” his mother called
“Y…yes….yes ma!” he responded
“Bring Eniola o. Her mother is here” she said
“Y…yes ma” he replied

“My sister that was why I came back o! If I had driven into that main road, I would have seriously regretted it and …” Eniola’s mother was saying.
The first thing she noticed was the unmistakable bulge in front of Dare’s trousers. She quickly pulled her daughter to herself and checked her. Everything seemed fine.
“What did you do to my daughter?” she asked before punching him in the face

Great Expectation

The
men sat on cement blocks facing the road, watching vehicles and people come and
go, waiting for someone to make their day worthwhile. The market opposite them
was gradually filing with up with buyers and sellers, the festive season was
near. They had come with little or no expectation today because nothing
happened yesterday. They had sat down for hours from dawn to late afternoon in
hopes of a job. The few who came with little expectation had heard that two
trucks laden with cement would arrive at the market today. Nafisat the food
vendor approached them, a large stainless steel basin covered with polythene
nylon on her head. Most of them ignored the aroma of her delicious pepper stew;
they had eaten yesterday and had had no work to do, it made no financial sense
to eat again this morning.
“I
tell you, Mustapha swore he saw them at Ogere” one man said
“I
wouldn’t believe Mustapha for a moment even if my life depended on it’ said
another
“Whatever
you believe, I know those trucks are coming, I got the information from a very reliable
source” yet another man said
The
argument continued until eventually half of them were convinced that the trucks
were indeed coming. Three hours later, the hot sun burned their skins, the trucks
had not yet arrived and the men were still waiting. Suddenly, someone saw from
afar the two trucks, their hopes surged as they anticipated getting paid at the
end of the day. There was a holdup though, so to pass time they quickly called
on Nafisat to sell them some food.

Finally, the trucks came and pulled up in front of
the market. The men drew near to them, hunger quenched, ready to finally work. The
trucks were opened but alas, in them both were sheep! The men could not believe
their eyes, where was the cement? How would they pay Nafisat? They looked on as
the sheep were herded into the market and the clouds began to gather.    

A Random Tale

Baba Okiki sat in front of his house picking his teeth. He
had just had a meal of amala and ewedu soup. That new wife needed to be
taught how to cook he thought. Iya Okiki would never serve him tough meat.
Experience had schooled her in the art of cooking meat; what kind of meat to
buy and how long it should be cooked for so that it was pleasantly soft and
juicy. This was not the only reason he was dissatisfied with his new wife Toyin,
she was so naive in a lot of things, the only things she seemed to know how to
do better than the other wives was dress well and give him a good time in bed.
The useless woman! He had spent a fortune on her bride-price and for the wedding
ceremony and three months into the marriage he was beginning to seriously
regret his actions.
“She will bring you great wealth, her head will see to it
that all your lost glory will be restored, she has been destined for great
wealth” the priest had told him.  He had
married Toyin for this reason because he desperately needed to rejuvenate his
dwindling resources. He had built a house when his first wife was pregnant with
their second child and his block-making business was doing very well. He was
going to acquire more land and build a bigger business when his mother brought
Folasewa to his house one cold evening.
“You must marry her! We do not have bastard children in this
family. All our children are raised under their fathers’ roofs. If you were
bold enough to make love to her, then you must be bold enough to marry her”
And that was that. Within the next six months, he had
married a new wife and become a father to a set of twins. He had greater
responsibilities and it became financially burdensome to cater to all the
family needs. His business was doing well enough, but he kept diverting his
profits to his household needs. So he had married Toyin but she was only making
things much more difficult for him; there was always a party and the need for a
new dress, she always needed money for something. The marriage was still new so
he had indulged her so far but his patience was wearing thin.
 He winced in pain as
the broomstick pierced the soft flesh of his gum. He savoured the taste of his
blood while he pondered what to do to redeem himself from the financial mess he
was in. By nightfall he had decided he would go and pay Fadeyi the priest a
visit early the next morning. The house was quiet, his first wife had gone for
her weekly night vigils to pray out the demons in her home, Folasewa had taken
her children to see her parents and Toyin had gone to a friend’s house to help
her prepare for her wedding. He was going to be alone tonight but that was
fine. He did not need any distractions.
In his bed he tossed and turned, too worried to sleep. That
wedding was a huge mistake, he thought, so much debt! He had promised Isiaka
that he would pay him the balance of the wedding cow the next morning. He had
no money to pay and Isiaka had heard enough excuses. What would he do now? In
his frustration he tossed the covers off his body and put on some clothes.
It was a cold night and he shivered  as he walked in the direction of Fadeyi’s
house. He suddenly hissed in anger, he had forgotten to take some money. How
was he to appear before the deity empty-handed. He considered going back home but
then resumed his journey toward the priest’s house.
 “What have the gods
given me after all the sacrifices and payments I have made?” they would just
have to accept him empty-handed he concluded. He was in no mood for pleasantries
so he decided to take the back door and avoid Fadeyi’s family members. He would
go straight to the consulting room where Fadeyi would be concocting his herbal
mixtures after a long day of receiving clients and tending to their needs. NEPA
had been gracious enough to restore power and he could hear the television
blaring. These women and homevideos! He thought. He was about to make the turn
into Fadeyi’s consulting room when his eyes fell on a familiar slipper. Funny,
he thought it looked like the one he bought for Toyin a few weeks ago. He
dismissed the thought and opened the door. He stared first in horror and then
in anger at his new wife who was trying desperately to be modest and then he
closed the door.