‘Wake up, bitch. Your mates are already at work.’
The order was followed by a splash of freezing water, and Rihanna jerked upright, shocked out of her slumber. Slightly disoriented, she looked around. The thin mattress on which she had slept was wet, as was her threadbare nightie. A tremor ran through her entire being and goosebumps appeared on her skin.
‘Awake now, eh?’
There was a mockery in his voice and hate in his eyes as he looked down at the bedraggled human that lay before him.
‘I want to take my bath. Go and do the needful.’
Without bothering to check if she understood or not, he walked out of the room.
Rihanna dragged herself out of bed, wincing from the pain between her thighs. He had been particularly brutal last night like he usually was whenever he took her, drunk. She was lucky he had not used any sharp objects on her because he loved to see her bleed.
Her beautiful face bore no marks, a stark contrast from her body and soul which were indelibly bruised. It was deliberate on his part to leave marks on her body where no one could see except she stripped. Her buttocks, back, and boobs bore a myriad of scars from wounds inflicted at different times.
No one could know about them, or she would be dead.
‘Dad, your bath water is ready. Should I serve your breakfast now?’
‘Serve it, and wait for me in the dining room,’ he growled.
She watched as he nonchalantly removed his boxers and walked naked towards the bathroom, moving on his toes like a cat about to pounce. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on his frame, and the grey in his hair coupled with the lines in his face gave him the look of a hunter. She pitied any woman who allowed herself to get caught in his spell.
‘You belong to me. No other man can have you, or else I’ll kill both of you,’ he’d grunted as he rammed into her one night. ‘Do you understand me, bitch?’
‘Yes, Daddy. Please, stop hurting me,’ She’d wanted to say, but she hadn’t. Knowing the repercussion, she’d borne the assault like a trooper. Only the tears that slowly leaked from the corners of her eyes spoke of her hurt.
‘Are you all right, Rihanna?’
Her boss’s concern penetrated the fog that had enveloped her mind.
‘I’m fine, ma. Good morning.,’ she greeted, jumping to her feet.
She was eternally grateful that he’d at least allowed her to get a job after she finished her secondary school education, though she knew it wasn’t out of the goodness of his heart. He’d lost his job more than a year ago and had been unable to get another one since then. The stipend she made as a salesgirl was their only means of sustenance.
Although she only got a fraction of the money from him for her own use, she was glad for the haven that was her workplace. It was her place of freedom; she was usually the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. She was also the only one who regularly volunteered to work overtime, even on Sundays. That had earned her a place as her boss’s, Madam Karen Fowowe, favorite.
‘Good morning, my dear. How’re you? How’re your parents?’
‘I’m fine ma, and they’re too.’
She wished the woman would just leave her and move on, but she had a feeling she would not be that lucky. She was alone at the checking out counter this morning while two of her colleagues were somewhere in the store, attending to customers.
‘Come to think of it, I’ve never met your mother. Does she stay with you?’
Madam Karen had met Rihanna’s father on a few occasions he came to visit his daughter. He was a charming man, but something about him did not sit well with her.
‘My mother is dead. She died eight years ago.’
Memories of her mother flashed in her head. Rebecca had been a reserved woman. A full housewife, she had been a shield. Before her death, the only attention Rihanna got from her father was the occasional slaps and knocks. Her nightmare had started the night her mother was buried, a few months from her tenth birthday.
‘I’m sorry for bringing back painful memories,’ Madam Karen whispered, squeezing her hand empathically.
‘Thank you, ma.’
‘You’re welcome. Meanwhile, with the way this Covid-19 virus has been plaguing the world, we may be forced into a lockdown situation in a few days.’
Karen saw the flicker of alarm in her employee’s eyes.
‘What does that mean ma?’
The question was rhetorical. She already knew. If a lockdown happened, she was going to be trapped in the house with that monster, and only God knew for how long.
‘It means there won’t be any movement, and everyone will be requested to stay at home.’
‘I see. How long will the lockdown last?’
There was a tremor in her voice, one she hoped her boss would not pick up.
‘I don’t know. It may be two weeks or longer. No one can tell. Is there anything you want to tell me? We can talk in my office.’ Her smile was reassuring.
Her father’s voice filled her head.
‘The day you tell anyone outside what happens in this house is the day I will kill you, slowly and painfully.’
She believed him.
‘Everything is fine. I’m okay ma.’ The fake smile stretched her small lips painfully.
Karen sighed, dug her hand into her handbag, and brought out a small Nokia phone.
‘This is for you. It is fully charged, and my number is the only one on the contact list. You know how to operate a phone, don’t you?’
‘Yes, I can operate a phone, but it is not necessary.’ Rihanna’s fingers itched to pick up the phone, but she dreaded what would happen if her father found out. She remembered how he used to monitor her mother’s phone. It disappeared after her death and he had warned her specifically never to get one.
‘What is wrong with you, Rihanna? You are a smart girl, an adult who can make decisions on her own. Use that brain that God gave you.’ Exasperated, she picked up her bag and walked away, leaving the phone behind.
Rihanna gazed at the phone for a few minutes before picking it up. She did not believe in God or his existence. He was not supposed to take her mother, the pillar of her life, away from her, but he had. He had not answered when she called him on her darkest days. No, God was only an illusion in her world.
There was no breathing space for the staff of Bovina Supermarket on the day before the lockdown began in Lagos. The customers kept coming in droves and the cash register didn’t stop ringing.
Rihanna’s fingers ached from packing countless bags of groceries. Her lips were permanently frozen in the shape of a friendly smile, and her spinal cord and legs protested from the pain of standing for so long. Despite her discomfort, she did not want the day to end. Her gaze kept straying to the entrance, half expecting her father to appear like he sometimes did when she worked late. Her colleagues would call her ‘Daddy’s baby’ whenever he did.
If only they knew the truth!
The day finally ended, and she was the last person to leave the store’s premises. Bidding the security men, a good night, she started her journey home in the company of her thoughts.
Her father’s car was not in its usual space. It was unusual for him to get home so late. Picking up the key from underneath an abandoned car in the compound, she let herself into their apartment.
Something stopped Rihanna in front of her mother’s door. Ever since her death, the room had been under lock. On a whim, she tried the doorknob, and it opened, much to her amazement. Checking behind her to see she was still alone, she quickly entered. It took a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the darkness.
The room was exactly the way she remembered it. Nothing had changed, except that her mother’s clothes were no longer there and there was no fresh bedsheet on the mattress. The pillows were bare too, and so was the top of the dressing table. She moved straight to the dressing table and pulled out the drawer. It was still there.
Her mother’s diary.
Her mother always wrote in it late at night. Sometimes, she cried while she did, assuming that Rihanna was asleep. Curious to know what her mother wrote that made her cry, she dropped her bag on the floor, sat on a stool, and opened the book.
He was not her father!
Richard Lawson was not her biological father, and Rihanna was not sure if she should laugh or cry at that revelation.
After their wedding and fruitless efforts to have children, the couple found out he could not father a child as a result of a terrible case of measles he’d had as a child.
Rebecca loved her husband and was not ready to divorce him, so she suggested adoption which he rejected as an insult to his manhood. He rather opted for her to be impregnated by an anonymous donor. Knowing it was her only option if she wanted to remain married to him, she agreed on the condition that he picked the man to do it.
Together they agreed that the deed should be done on the day her ovulation period was at its peak while she was under sedation. She did not know the man who slept with her, but she was elated when she found out she was pregnant. Her precious baby girl, Rihanna was born, and everything was right in her world.
Her husband however changed for the worse after the birth. He became bitter and abusive, hitting the little girl at every opportunity, so much that she learned to keep her out of his sight as much as possible.
‘You will agree with me that you deserve to be treated like the piece of shit that you are?’
Her father’s outburst jolted her, and she dropped the book in fright. She had been so engrossed in what she was reading, she had forgotten to listen for his footsteps.
‘You are so like her in every way. So gullible and stupid.’
Then he started laughing, as if to some private joke.
‘Did you kill her?’
The question popped out before she could stop it.
‘Awww! So cute. She wants to know how her whore-mother died?’
He laughed again.
She did not see his fist move. Something just suddenly crashed into her jaw and she crumbled to the floor. When she regained her consciousness, she was naked on his bed and he was hammering away between her thighs. She remembered her handbag and prayed that he had not searched it.
With a roar, he climaxed and collapsed on top of her. A few moments later, he rolled onto his side and pushed her limp body off the bed. She immediately began to crawl towards the door, but his voice stopped her.
‘Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun state are on complete lockdown for the next two weeks. Since you won’t be working, I’m sure your boss will not pay you anything for that period. You’re a beautiful young girl, and I have friends whose wives are useless in bed. Two weeks is a long time to stay without sex, so it won’t be a bad idea to share what I have been hoarding all these years for a fee. A great idea, don’t you think?’
Violating her was not enough humiliation, he now wanted to invite his friends over to do the same. The thought made her shudder, and she wished could sleep and never wake up again.
The last fourteen days had been exciting and satisfying in a way he could never explain. There was a likelihood that the lockdown would be extended, and he was looking forward to it with the excitement of a child. He had satisfied all the urges his mind could think of with his young beautiful daughter. He had even invited three of his friends to come and have their way with her. Oh! How her screams and fear and struggles had turned him on endlessly and filled him with satisfaction.
His friends paid handsomely for the service and were even willing to pay more for a repeat performance.
Greedy bastards, he thought.
He was smiling as plans for the day filled his mind. Needing to pee, he swung his legs off the bed, and nothing happened. His brain sent out the command, but his legs simply refused to move. He tried to lift his arms too, with the same result.
What could be happening?
‘Your bathwater is ready, and your food is on the table.’
The nymph appeared in the doorway to announce the way she did every morning. She was naked as he had commanded, and her voice was expressionless. Her eyes were dark and empty.
‘Come and help me, idiot. I can’t get out of bed,’ he snapped.
Her eyes flickered once, and he thought he saw the ghost of a smile appear briefly on her thin lips before it disappeared. She slowly turned on her heels and limped away.
‘If I catch you, you will wish to be in hell,’ he bellowed at her receding figure.
‘I’m already in hell,’ she flung back at him over her shoulder.
He would have shouted at her again if not for the urge to vomit which gripped him. It was so strong that it jerked him upright and he threw up all over himself. His momentum carried him beyond the bed, and he landed on the floor with a thud.
Thoughts ran into each other in his mind and panic swamped him. He tried to crawl toward the door, but his limbs refused to move. He even tried to call, but his throat suddenly felt like someone had tied a tourniquet around it. He threw up again and collapsed on the floor.
She appeared after what seemed like hours later with a plastic chair, his phone, and a medium-sized cup. It was obvious she had taken her bath, and she was dressed in a cotton trouser and light blouse. She sat down and watched him struggle for his life as if he was some lowly vermin.
‘Help me…please,’ he begged.
She threw his phone against the wall and it shattered into million pieces. His eyes widened and his mouth opened but no word came out.
‘Help you? Of course, I have done just that. The poison in your system will help you. We both hate each other so much, but now, we will both be free.’ Her voice was quiet but there was madness in her eyes. She drank the content of the cup in one swallow and grimaced.
His chest felt as if it was on fire and breathing suddenly became a struggle. She sat there, watching him gasp until he gave a mighty heave and became still.
Barely minutes later, she slumped forward in her seat and her soul was finally set free.
Rape is a menace that is reigning in our society. It is a physical and phycological ordeal that is very real.
Let’s be our neighbour’s keeper. A lot of people, especially women are going through ordeals you can only imagine.
Be supportive, be conscious and cautious of your environment . Anyone could be a victim!
Please drop a comment if you enjoy reading this. My ebook, TWISTS OF FATE is out for sale. Check it on the list of my menu up there.