It had been long since she had been home. Home… if she could remember how it looked like. Vague memories of her mother waking her up the first hint of light in the horizon to go to school flooded her mind many nights. The graceful lines on her face courtesy of age gave mom a storybook face, like an angel lived within her…
Another signboard whooshed by at the corner of her eye, head rested on the window, her eyelashes barely touching the glass every time she blinked. She smiled. Soon she would see her mother, the only person she knew she would be safe with in this fair but evil world as she had come to conclude. All the pretty things, and people, in this world had turned against her. They broke her, forced her to trade in her dignity from a day’s meal, eating from a bowl on the floor as her master and client changed notes with a man’s face on it, a man she had seen in nothing but his skin. Money.
Closer, soon, mother. Happy thoughts. Drinking tea, not too hot and not warm, after watching mom pour the liquid from one cup into the other, distance increasing between the cups as the highest one emptied out its content into the other like a waterfall. Soon she would feel her mother’s soft lips on her forehead. She still remembered the look in her eyes when she kissed her those many years ago, like she knew something… she had seen that same look before in her master’s eyes the day life was forced from within her out into the world when she was still new in the trade. The look in her eyes spoke pity, pity as she cried over the lifeless male, barely formed to completion. Pity because the donor of the Y was an evil man and there she was crying over his evil spawn.
She barely saw the sign this time as water played balance at the base of her eyelids. A quick wipe brought the scenery back into focus. Vast green grass scattered with huts, herds and their owners. She did not know where she was but she knew home was at the 50 kilometre mark, just before the rural town. She could get off and pray the strange yet familiar man staring at her did not get off at her stop. She was beautiful, a concept she detested. The men had all picked her first. The oldest and wealthiest she hated most. Wisdom and old age in men to her was a lie told in books she read when she was young. Their gold wedding rings mocked her.
Her thoughts were a mess. Her heart wanted to burst from within her. The anger, the pain, the years wasted. Yet she still chose to cling to life. Drug, alcohol, heck, even rat poison, were at her disposal. But she consumed none of them. So many girls had removed themselves from the closed and secret life they lived, none remembered, more to replace, you know, to keep the business going. But still she remained. Her mother’s face playing in her mind over and over again, a love filling her from her soul, not even the men could penetrate that far. And here she was. Free, but running. No one would ever find her.
She was at the door. The bus came to a stop. The man stood up too. She got off the bus. So did he. She began walking on the dirt road leading to her safe haven, looking back occasionally, the man keeping a distance, looking disinterested in her now. Suddenly, so though magically, the thatched roof came into view, smoke coming from the red brick chimney. She broke into a run, her breath hard and loud, too loud to hear the footsteps behind her. She ran into the compound, it’s memory rushing back. The granary behind the hut to the left, the chicken house right next to it, and the small vegetable garden to the right blooming with color, greens, oranges, reds…
The man ran past her, knocking her to the ground, causing the red dust to rise in protest. She looked up just in time to see him ran into the opened door of the hut. Protest. A scream. That scream. That piercing scream. Then silence. That silence. The strange familiar man appeared at the door way. Looking into his eyes she saw her own.
‘Cruel world, isn’t it my love. No one runs away from the master.’
She now remembered him, and her mother’s warnings, ‘Don’t talk to strangers, especially men, my daughter!’ The man who stole her mother’s innocence came back to steal and sell hers to pay for his drug use. Seven years of her hope had been murdered. Purpose lost.
Shouts, screams, hoarse voice, a slap, silver blade, struggle, steel on skin.
She watched her father dust shoes retreated from her view, leaving her to share her mother’s fate, her heart beating frantically, almost.
He had to pay for the blood of her mother that now spilled from the severed throat, quenching the dry earth floor in the hut. She had found new purpose, the earth could not have her just yet.
I published this last year on my old blog and thought it would be nice to bring it here. I still can’t believe I wrote that.