I was still lying on the pavement outside waiting for mama to come home. I had earlier overheard aunt Oby saying she traveled to far away Abakaliki and would be back very late. My aunts and uncle were already fast asleep upstairs but I was forbidden to go to bed unless mama comes home. Mama I know hates knocking and waiting for someone to open up for her.
The weather has changed and I was so sure it would soon bless the earth with its showers and drench my poor self, so I intensified my prayers not only for mama to come home soonest but for it not to rain that night. If it rains, I would have to stay awake to fill up all our empty drums, and my heart skips a bit whenever I envision how long that would take. As if my prayers were going unanswered, lightning began to cast it’s presence in the sky. I watched and prayed silently in my heart, my mind uncertain of heaven’s plan.
Everywhere was pretty dark and quiet and one could clearly hear the sound of the cringing birds. I couldn’t even see our pawpaw tree as darkness had enveloped it all. I was now very scared and wished I could be called in, even if it is to lay on the floor while waiting for mama, but I knew in my heart it was just pure imagination.
I waited for over four hours until I heard faint flapping steps coming towards me, I became more afraid as I couldn’t make out who it was. The steps were very closer now and the sound they made more alarming, I was dead with fear. As if a strange voice whispered some words in my ear, I jerked up and ran to a corner for safety. I needed to confirm who it was before I would make my presence known. There had been recent reports of robbery incidents within the estate and none of the robbers has ever being caught neither could anyone tell those involved.
As the being drew closer, I tried to make out the face but all I could see were two huge white balls floating in the darkness. I was now very much afraid.
“Don’t tell me this girl has gone to bed! ” I heard her say. That was mama, my step aunt. I wouldn’t lie, that was actually the first time I have felt huge and genuine relieve hearing her voice.
“I’m here, good evening ma” I greeted stepping out to carry her bag.
“and why were you there? ” she asked. “so you wanted to scare me this little brat! ” she cursed.
“no ma” I tried defending my action. “I was very scared when I heard your footsteps so I hid. I didn’t know it was you” I cried
“You See, that’s why I keep saying you are possessed! You are afraid? Of what if I may ask? A little girl that’s presumed to be innocent? What are you afraid of? ” she barked! I shook my head in plain defeat.
“If you ever try this nonsense again, you will sleep outside! ” she warned and went inside. I picked up the bags from the floor and turned to follow her but a cold movement on my right leg made me shiver. I shook my leg vigorously and whatsoever it was fell off. A blind closer look saw me staring at my nightmare.
It was a snake!
I screamed and ran inside but my alarm brought mama out.
“And? What now? ” she asked flashing her torchlight angrily on my face. I was practically shaking and kept pointing towards the door.
“snake! Snake! ” she turned her light sharply to the direction I was motioning at but saw nothing. She walked towards the door flashing her light left and right. After silently looking around for some minutes without any sight of whatsoever I was running from, she turned her lights on me.
“what did I say earlier? You are possessed! So your clique came to attack me but got you instead eh? I have power in Christ Jesus and I am stronger than you both physically and spiritually!” she screamed
“no ma! ” I pleaded. “there was a snake there! ” I cried.
“so you are still talking? ” she barked and in a moment of rage snatched her bags from my hands while pushing me aside. She turned abruptly and walked into the door, I tried to follow her but rather felt the door slammed in my face.
“I warned you, so you are sleeping outside tonight! Idiot!! ” she cursed
And then I heard the same flapping steps as they climbed the stairs. Knocking wouldn’t help as I know mama would be pissed. I was sure it was almost 11pm and she wouldn’t like me waking the sleeping neighbours.
I have never felt this afraid in my entire life. I snuggled by the door side praying and hoping my nightmare doesn’t come back for a bite, and most importantly for the day to break earlier.
I awoke the next day feeling rather great. Last night’s event have actually made me stronger since I couldn’t believe I would pull through. I started off my chores eagerly , apparently hurrying so I could be in school early as I had a test that day.
I swept the compound, the kitchen, the rooms and the staircase. I washed the plates and ran my other usual morning errands. I checked the clock and it was already 7:46am and I knew I might be late yet again. I hurried off to have my bath but my aunt’s call interrupted me. I ran to her room.
“I have no water in my convenience, fill up the buckets” she ordered. I was calm, awkwardly quiet but my heart was exploding. I looked up at her with so much pains in my eyes but she was so busy with her phone to notice me.
“But aunty, I filled some of your buckets yesterday, I am running late for school and I have a test to write today ” I cried. I could see her pause, slowly turn her head towards me with a frown
“Did you say anything?” she asked. I knew what that cue meant so I just shook my head and walked out dejectedly.
I have lived with my step aunt for the past five years. She has four children who were already adults. They lived together in the house except the eldest son who lives in a different area with his family. With them, I have witnessed every undescribable form of abuse, but denying me the opportunity to be in school early like my mates hurts me so bad. My younger aunt knows how much I loved school and has always used that as a weapon of punishment on me. I’m sure she feels fulfilled watching me cry to school on an empty stomach everyday.
I walked to the kitchen and emptied two of the 50 litre gallon in there. I carried the two at once in the fairly good wheel barrow as I was hoping it would make the journey faster. There has been scarcity of water lately and the nearest borehole was miles away. Thankfully it did work as by the next hour, I was home amidst sweats. I brought down her buckets and filled up some. I hurriedly carried them to her and then proceeded to quickly have my bath. I was ready for school but it was pretty late. I still believed that if I could make it to school before 10:30am, I could actually partake in the test. Many that saw me race to school shook their head in pity, while some motorists who never knew me cursed me and called me lazy.
I got to the school gate around 10:15am and as expected it was locked. There were three students leaning on it, pleading with the security man to let them in. I joined in their quest but it all proved futile. At a point, I sat on the ground and began to cry bitterly. Maybe my tears touched the aged man as he reluctantly let us in. But then right there before us stood one of our teachers. He beckoned on us to come closer. I was so afraid of being flogged as I walked towards him like a skeleton. I was shaking visibly and he noticed my fears instantly.
“Don’t worry, I have a better punishment” he announced to me in particular, “just follow me”.
Please kindly leave a comment; Thanks for reading.