August 22, 2021 at 5:08 am #50024
Ruth walked along the pedestrian way with bags hanging from her hands. She dragged her tired feet with her mind focused on reaching her destination; her home. She’d gone out as usual to sample some textile materials to people and hoped they would buy. That was her business and the family depended majorly on the income from it. Her husband, Tunde, had become almost dependent since after losing his job in a bottling company some years back. Since then, he had refused fo seek for a permanent employment and only engaged in ‘adhoc’ employments which came once in a while.
Sadly, she made no sales that day after trekking around the town under the scorching sun. As she walked carrying her bags of textile materials and hoping to get home before her tired legs would give way, a mad man walked briskly past her. It was not a thing to worry about as mad people were common sights around the town. But after taking a few steps forward, the mad man ran back and tapped her on the shoulder. She turned to see who was touching her and there stood the mad man with a mean face. Before she could react to the uncommon encounter, the mad man said, “darkness is looming over your family. It has come upon you”.
Immediately after saying that, the mad man ran off without giving her any room to react. She stood at the spot momentarily thinking about what the mad man said and wondering what to make out of it. “Did his insanity made him say that or something led him to me? What darkness could he be talking about?”, Ruth wondered in her mind. After a moment of these nonverbal questions with no answers coming forth, Ruth continued her movement. Throughout that evening, her mind couldn’t rest. The words of the mad man became resonant in her mind. The more she tried to mute the words, the stronger they became. She was becoming restless. When she couldn’t gather her thoughts any longer, she knelt down and started praying.
After the prayer, she felt relatively relieved, but the thoughts never left completely. Deep down, they kept popping up. During dinner that even, she narrated her encounter to the whole family. She had three daughters who were eleven, thirteen and fifteen years old respectively, and a son who was twenty years old. She urged each of them to be careful in whatever they’d do in the coming days. While narrating and worrying over her encounter, Tunde laughed at her for taking the words of a mad man who had since lost touch with reality seriously. But that didn’t stop Ruth from promoting the safety of her family. Something within her believed the words of the mad man.
Days went by and nothing happened. But Ruth never stopped praying against whatever darkness the mad man was talking about. Then exactly eight days later, Ruth received a call from someone that introduced herself as her eldest daughter’s teacher. The caller informed her that her daughter, Shade, collapsed in the class and was rushed to a hospital. On getting the information, Ruth’s mind quickly went to the mad man’s prophecy. She prayed under her breath, asking God not to let her fears be true as she rushed to the hospital. When she got to the hospital, her daughter had been revived. She laid on a bed with a canula fixed on her hand and saline solution flowing through it into her system.
Ruth was very relieved to see that her daughter was out of the woods. Her fears were not true and she thanked God for that. While she sat beside her daughter inquiring how she was feeling, the doctor sent for her. Once inside the doctor’s office, she (the doctor) asked after Ruth’s husband. Ruth told her that her husband was on his way and urged her to discuss whatever she wanted to discuss with her. The doctor obliged. She produced a paper containing some test results and explained them to Ruth. “Madam, your daughter has malaria and typhoid fever. But those are not the major problem”, the doctor said. Ruth became more inquisitive and urged the doctor to say what was exactly wrong with her daughter.
The doctor was reluctant in revealing the remaining part of the result. She knew how heavily the information would weigh of Ruth, but she had no other choice. “Madam, your daughter is also about one month pregnant”, the doctor said pitifully. Ruth couldn’t believe her ears. She asked the doctor to repeat what she said and she did. This time, trying to console Ruth with some soothing words. Immediately she said that the second time, Ruth stormed out of her office with tears already forming in her eyes. She went to where her daughter lied and started making emotional Comment. “Shade, so you are the darkness that mad man told me about? So the condition of our family is not bad enough that you decided to bring more hardship and this shame to us? Where did I do you wrong?”, Ruth asked with tears flowing down her cheeks.
Shade was confused, she didn’t understand what her mother was talking about. She was about asking for clarification when her mother added, “so getting pregnant at this age is the way to help your family? What other training did I not give you. Why did I get it wrong?” Immediately she said that, Shade knew what she meant. She wanted to say something spontaneously, but she held herself. She bent her head in remorse instead while her mother continued making heart ripping comments. The next morning, Shade was discharged from the hospital.
Tunde was in the sitting room when Ruth and Shade got home. Once inside the house, Shade called her mother’s attention and said, “it was daddy that got me pregnant. He raped me twice”.
What happened next?
Remember, we can be your writer.August 22, 2021 at 5:08 am #50025
Immediately Shade said that, Ruth gave her a hard slap across the face for spewing out such abomination. She couldn’t believe such taboo. Shade staggered backward holding her cheeks with both hands. Tears had started dropping from her eyes as her mother continued attacking her. “It is not enough for you to bring in such shame into this family, you now want to save yourself by accusing your father of such sacrilegious evil? What are you planning to do to us?”, Ruth thundered at Shade in agony and anger. Shade stood where she was, nursing her cheek with her hands and crying profusely.
“Mummy, daddy raped me twice the last time you traveled to get your goods. He came home drunk when we had gone to sleep. I was the only one sleeping in the parlour and he pounced on me. He covered my mouth so I would not scream. It was very painful and I was bleeding, but he continued. When he was through, he warned that if I talk about it, the gods of our land will kill the whole family. He said that was our tradition. The next night, he did it again, but he was not drunk then. Mummy, I’m not lying. Daddy is here, you can ask him”, Shade said crying and trying convince her mother that she was telling the truth.
Ruth couldn’t believe her ears. She turned to Tunde hoping to hear him shun Shade for lying. But he didn’t. Rather, his countenance was reeking of guilt. Ruth collapsed to the floor and started wailing. “Okunkun ti gbe mi mi. Kini mo śë asîse? Tani tirë ni mo ikogun? Aye mi ti yipada (the darkness has finally swallowed me. What did I do wrong? Whose own did I spoil? My world has turned upside down)”, Ruth wailed. As she continued wailing, Shade went and sat beside her and held her. “Mama, ma binu. Emi ko mó Kini lati śë. Mama, Jówó (mummy, I’m sorry. I didn’t know what to do. Mummy, please)”, Shade cried beside her mother. As they were crying, Tunde stood up and left the house.
All through that day and a couple of days that followed, Ruth thought of what to do next. She thought of aborting the pregnancy but the thought of losing her daughter in the process deterred her. The darkness was already covering her family and losing her daughter would be irreparable. As she thought of the weight of the calamity that had befallen her family and a way forward, she continued crying. As she cried, she cursed Tunde and the day he came into her life. She regretted ever knowing who he was. At a point she wanted to tell the whole world what the beast she married in the name of a husband did to her child. She felt the urge to broadcast the sacrilegious act of the devil’s incarnate who could not place a boundary between family and pleasure. But she held herself. She needed to protect her daughter. It was shameful already that she got pregnant at that age. Letting the world know that the man she called father was responsible for her pregnancy would be devastating. After thinking about the matter for two days, Ruth decided.
She called Shade when only two of them were at home and had a heart-to-heart talk with her. “My child, I’m sorry that you have to go through such shame. I’m sorry I was not there to protect you. Please forgive me”, Ruth began. Shade was already crying. She never stopped crying since she found out she was pregnant for her father. Many thoughts which included running away and killing herself had come to her mind, but the thought of her mother and her siblings stopped her. “I would have suggested you have an abortion but you could die from it. I can’t forgive myself if that happens. My baby, you will carry this child and bring him or her into this world”, Ruth continued. Shade started protesting. She didn’t want to keep the child or have anything to do with her father again. She didn’t mind dying in the process of having an abortion.
But Ruth held her in a motherly embrace and started soothing and convincing her. “My baby, please hear me. I have failed you once by not protecting you from the monster I married, I won’t fail you again. I cannot let you go under the blades because you want to spare us the shame your father brought upon us. I and your siblings will be with you each step of the way. We will support and care for you. And please, my love, let it be known only to you and I and the monster who is responsible for the pregnancy. That way, your siblings would be spared of the hurt and the world would not see your child as an abomination”, Ruth convinced Shade. Shade couldn’t talk anymore. She held her mother tightly while crying out her eyes. Ruth held her tightly as well trying so hard to hold her tears. But she couldn’t. The tears flowed silently down her cheeks at their own accord.
After the heart-to-heart talk, Shade continued the journey of the remaining eight months carrying and developing the child put inside her by her own biological father. She dropped out of school in other to do so. True to Ruth’s promise, she and her other children supported Shade and took care of her as much as they could. Ruth made sure Shade had a good antenatal care. She also tried her best in shielding her from the ‘righteous’ public who would want to defame her for getting pregnant at such young age. With the care and support from her mother and siblings, the pains of her (Shade) situation started diminishing. She started seeing herself as just a pregnant woman without focusing so much on how the pregnant came.
The ninth month of the pregnancy came and Shade went into labor. Ruth knew she was due and had kept the necessary things ready. Not quite long after Shade got to the hospital, she put to bed. She gave birth to an incomplete baby boy. The child came out with half legs and one hand. His head was also very much out of proportion.
What happened next?
Remember, we can be your writer.August 22, 2021 at 5:08 am #50026
Evil 3 (the end)
Seeing the child, both Ruth and Shade were heartbroken. That wasn’t the reward they expected to have after going through such pains. As Shade held her baby while still lying weakly in bed after going through the painful labour of childbirth, silent tears of agony fell from her eyes. “God, are you still there? Are my sins the worst that you decided to punish me this much? Why not take my life instead of this? Take me out of this hell”, Shade cried in agony.
Ruth held her and tried to console her. But she couldn’t find the words. What was she possibly going to tell her daughter knowing the weight of the burden which had just been dumped on her? A burden she had no say in its making. Only if the man she married had been a bit more responsible. Only if the father of her children had seen his child as his daughter instead of an instrument of pleasure. She couldn’t tell his daughter it would be fine because she knew it wouldn’t. She held Shade and cried with her.
The next day, Shade and her baby were discharged from the hospital. They came home to yet another hurt. The neighbors who came to welcome the new baby left with disappointment written on their faces. The sight of the child left anyone who beheld it in shock. The joy that comes with the arrival of a new baby was never felt. Rather, Shade who wouldn’t stop crying received words of pity and consolation from the visitors. What an irony?
Days passed and the hurt brought by the arrival of the abnormal child didn’t wean down. Ruth, Shade and her siblings were constantly in solemn moods. Shade cried continously even while breastfeeding her baby. She had lost appetite for food and anything needed for sustainability. She had lost the will to live. The only thing stopping her from taking her life was her baby whom she somehow had the sense of responsibility for. How deeply the bond between a mother and her child runs.
Ruth on the other hand was concerned about her daughter’s future and mental health. She knew that having such baby would hold her daughter down for the rest of her life. That wasn’t the future she planned for her children. That wasn’t why she laboured under the sun and in the rain to provide for them. That wasn’t why she became the ‘man’ of the house when the man she married became an invalid. She wasn’t going to allow her daughter to be saddled with the burden of nursing the ‘abomination’ her irresponsible father brought into the world. She made a hard decision. She decided to play God.
Two weeks after the birth of the abnormal child, the family woke up and found his lifeless body lying beside his mother. He died in his sleep. That was what Shade an everyone else believed. But Ruth knew what really happened. She knew she suffocated the child to death while everyone else was sleeping. She couldn’t let him torment her daughter for the rest of her life. Giving him a mercy killing was an evil she was willing to carry on her conscience as long as she lived.
The death of the child affected Shade differently from what her mother thought. Ruth had thought that the death of the child would be a relief to her daughter, but instead, it plunged her further into hurt and depression. She became mute and totally detached from reality. She neither cried nor showed any emotions. She maintained a straight face and rarely left the spot she sat. She didn’t ask of her baby, neither was she there when he was buried. She stayed like a log of wood with no emotions.
All efforts by her mother and siblings to get to her failed as she just sat and stared at them saying whatever they said. Their tears and pleas didn’t get to her either. She had lost every connections with the world. Death was her only craving. Ruth was aware of that thus she was always around to keep an eye on her. But that was not enough.
Six days after the death of Shade’s child, Ruth had just checked on her (Shade) and had gone back to the kitchen to resume her cooking when she heard her scream so loud. She ran to where Shade was and found her on the ground writhing in pain with a screwdriver stuck in her neck. There was so much blood pumping out from the site of the stab. Ruth rushed to save her daughter, but it was already too late. Before she could do anything to help, Shade had given up the ghost. She had left this wicked world as she had recently wanted. Her darkness was over.
As Ruth held the bloodied lifeless body of her daughter, she cried out her heart. She blamed herself for doing what she did. She blamed herself for being a part of the darkness that had befallen her family. She wept bitterly. Ultimately, she swore to avenge the death of her innocent daughter whose only crime was being born to a useless father.
Shade was buried a week later and the family started the process of healing from the darkness which had eclipsed them. Months passed and the pains of Shade’s death was gradually weaning off. Relative normalcy had returned to the household and everyone went about their normal activities.
Then on the first anniversary of Shade’s death, the family woke up and found Tunde’s lifeless body in bed. He slept and didn’t wake up the next morning. Nobody knew the cause of his death but his wife was not particularly pained about his demise. Hopefully, he made peace with his creator before his death. If not, I can only imagine how unpleasant the afterlife would be for him.
Remember we can be your writer