Monday, May 16, 2016

A Second Chance - Chapter Twenty-Six

“Gray skies are just clouds passing over.” 
                    ―Frank Gifford

Emeka was living with them and she’d since stopped living. Judith was like a walking balloon filled with air and waiting to be popped. Living under the same roof with the man who had attempted to rape her was worse than living in the fury of hell. It was like living in the same room with a known enemy and sharing the same air... one was bound to suffocate and give out soon... But for the meantime, she slept with both eyes opened and that was if she slept at all.

The fear of him coming back to finish what he’d started drove her insane and sleep followed out. Many times she thought of calling it all quit, call home and beg her parents to forgive her for running away at least. And for the many times she thought of doing so, miserable reasons for why she couldn’t grew.

Margaret was fine with Emeka’s presence. She treated him like a king in the blackened castle her home had turned into. She was enjoying this. She had too. She always giggled first whenever Judith managed to walk out of her bedroom, intimidating her for her total submission. He hadn’t antagonized her yet since he came, just stares that made her choke on her saliva as if his hands were pressed tightly on her neck and his fingers deep into her flesh. She knew he wouldn’t until she gave him a reason to. Well until then, she locked her bedroom and prayed for some sleep tonight.

The next day was a good and beautiful morning for some. The sky was covered with darkened clouds, threatening to pour down some rain. The sun still shone–– a subtle heat on the skin which drove out the cold feeling from the cloudy sky. For Bisola, it was indeed not a bright or a good morning. She was to meet with Tunde today after haven’t seen him in weeks. The last time they were in the same room he’d made her tremble until her legs gave out, but today, their meeting to him was for a mutual purpose. Bisola prayed for courage as she stepped into his home for the first time. She’d never visited him before, he’d always come to her––the reason he gave her a home.

The pungent and nauseating smell of a still burning weed stick welcomed her. When Tunde saw her, a satisfactory smile graced his chiseled face. He took pride in his creation. He felt she owned all she was to him; her beauty added. I picked you up from the gutters and cleaned you up, he reminded himself to use that famous phrase just in case she needed some reminder. Once she settled in a chair, he brought out a piece of paper and laid it out on the table separating them.

“You can pick it up. It’s yours.” He gestured, continuing on with his smoking stick. Bisola didn’t hesitate. She did as she was told. A part of her knew what the paper meant, her second client.

“You need no introduction. You missed the opportunity for that. Now, it’s strictly business. He’s a very wealthy man. I wouldn’t want to lose him as a customer so you know what that means. Do whatever, I mean whatever it takes to please him. I want a good report from him when he calls back. The address is written on the...” on the paper too, Bisola helped finish. She could no longer hear him as he rambled on, she’d short out his voice after this sentence, “He is a wealthy man, Bisola.” She replayed his words over and over again. She wanted to ask him what she was now but she knew he would never agree to call her what she was–– his prostitute. She was sure he had a fancier word to describe her new job position.

She smiled a little when she heard the price tag on her head. 150k, for a girl who has never been worth more than one Naira all her life.

When Tunde felt he’d prepared her enough for what was to come, he decided to give her a little motivation to seal the deal. “I hope you’re as good as your sister.” He added.

Bisola left without another word exchanged between them. She trekked half way home not because she didn’t have the money to call for a taxi, she was too numb to do anything other than walk. It was going to rain soon but she didn’t mind. She thought of Tunde’s final words as she made this journey of shame home. She thought of the task she must complete tomorrow night. She remembered the price on her head and only then did she allow herself the pleasure of crying. It trickled down, bit by bit as if she was holding dearly to it even still, afraid if she allow them fall now she would be giving into fear. There was nothing to be fearful of she told herself, however, there was someone to be afraid of.  

He called a minute after she stepped home. He said he had something for her. She turned around and shut the door to her home again and was on the street for the second time that day. It still hadn’t rained. Threats of rain still reigned supreme but not one single drop had fallen yet. When she made it to his front gate, he wasted no time in letting her in this time. He asked about her meeting with Tunde and she told it like she’d heard it but Bisola got the impression that he didn’t believe some of what she’d said when he got up to stand by his window. What part didn’t he believe? She wanted to ask. Didn’t this man care about her wellbeing? She was sure she looked like she was about to collapse in any minute but he’d barely taken a second look at her before questioning her loyalty.

“You don’t trust me, do you?”

“As much as you shouldn’t trust me.” He said quietly, staring pensively outdoor.

“Bu-ut how can we work together if there’s no trust between us?”

“You have your reasons for doing this, let that be your conviction. Next time, report to me immediately after you see him, and leave nothing out. And take this,” he said shortly, moving away from the window to his bedroom.

He came back shortly with a gun in hand and dropped it sloppily into her lap. “And what do I do with this?” she asked, ignorant of what to do haven’t ever held a gun before in her life.

“Oh you’ll find out if, and when the time comes.”

In that moment, Bisola became conscious of her predicament––she was all by herself. This man neither gave a damn about what happens to her or her wellbeing. All he wanted to protect was his revenge. As she headed home for the second time that day, the heavens violently tore open and the rain came pouring like rock stones on her back. At last, she thought solemnly. 

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