After Aunt Engee had her bath, she called me to her room and asked me to use warm water and a soft towel to massage her body, starting from the swollen forehead. Then told me the story of her trip to Oga Deji’s house in Lagos,
Aunt Engee: “My sister, e nor good to be selfish. Hmm. Wetin I talk?” she asked me, expecting me to repeat what she had said
Me: “You say, e nor good to be selfish” I mimicked her accent, then I waited for her to tell me
Aunt Engee: “Oga Deji don use my pikin do
juju OOOO! Hmmm! As I comot from here dat day, I reash in house e com say make we leave my pikin Sandra for the house girl so dat we no go get distraction. As we com back dat night I ask am ‘where Sandra?’, e say make I no worry say she dey safe hands. For night I hear pikin dey cry, I trace the cry go downstairs, na for there I see how dem dey cut my pikin like cow meat…” she paused and wiped her tears
Me: “Jesus! Aunty! Tel me Sandra is not dead Oooooo God!” I said, shocked
Aunt Engee: “…wetin my eyes see, I nor fit talk finish, dem cut my pikin body like cow meat, as I try to shout Oga Deji come tie my hands and legs, beat me like say tomorrow nor dey. Hmmm. Shiber, if nor be God, I for don die. I swear to God.” She began to make a loud noise, with her lips tightened, like she was humming a funeral song
Me: “Aunty, we cannot just fold our arms and watch that cultist take Sandra’s life away just like that, we need to do something, let us call the police…aunty please, Sandra was my sister…” I could not control my tears, I sat on the floor and cried bitterly as my pelvis ached
Aunt Engee: “Shey as Mr. David dey take good care of me, I for sidon with one man. Engee nor gree, I nor gree ooooo…now Sandra my pikin don go. How will I tell the whole world?”
Me: “Aunty lets report the police, since you saw everything that happened”
Aunt Engee: “Police?” she looked at me with her eyes and mouth wide open
“Police catch General? Oga Deji go kuku kill me be dat. E nor even know say I escape, and I nor fit tell Mr. David, e go kill me. God, why you do me like dis? Why I no go ever do better runs for my life? See my mates, dem don make am for life, and I still dey here. Na curse? Chai!”
I watched her lament, forgetting that I had my own problems. I did not really understand what Aunty had said, but it looked like Uncle Deji had deceived her and used her baby for money ritual or some sacrifice, and she could not report him to the law because he had a strong hold on the law. She also could not tell her boyfriend, Mr. David what had happened because she had lied to him that she was going to our village for my cousin’s wedding. I could feel her pain, how was she going to live with the guilt for the rest of her life?
It had been two weeks after Aunt Engee’s return from Lagos, she had refused to eat or drink anything, she even refused to go out of her room. She had told the neighbours that armed robbers had attacked her on her way from the village and kidnapped Sandra. Each day, one or two neighbours would visit to check on her. Meanwhile, Mr. David had not been home since the last time I saw him; maybe he had ran away or gone on one of his mysterious trips, because aunty did not ask after him.
Despite Aunt Engee’s past ill treatment, I did everything I could to make her recover quickly; I made sure I was there for her all the time. Each time I talked with her in her room and was about to leave, she would hold me back and say, “Thank you. God will bless you”…those words softened me heart and made me sad; I felt she was going to die.
Each day, before retiring to bed, I would go under my mattress and bring out my diary; Miebaka had given it to me the previous week. He had said that whenever I needed to talk to someone and there was no one, I should pick up my pen and write. And it truly made me feel better, I wrote about all my worries and fears; that diary was my secret book!
Aunt Engee: “Where is Shiber? Miebaka! Shiber! …Call Shiber!” she called out one early morning when I was in the bathroom, I refused to answer because I thought I had done something really bad and she wanted to scold me for it
She opened the bathroom door and shouted
“See me when you are out of the bathroom” she said, with a straight face
I had to rush my bath, I was a little bit tensed, aunty had never been so impatient, I knew that whatever she wanted to tell me was very serious, because of the way she spoke. I got to her room and met her holding my diary, then I knew I was in big soup; there was no way I could lie about anything. Everything she needed to know was written inside the diary. She asked me to sit beside her, I did, shaking like a bird beaten by rain
Aunt Engee: “Tell me, wetin happen. Tell me the truth! Wetin dat man do you wey you write for here?” she said and looked at me
It took me ten minutes before I could put myself together and tell her what had happened between me and Mr. David while she was in Lagos. She patiently waited for me to summon the courage.
“Are you ok now Shiber? What did that bastard do to you? Don’t be scared, just tell me! I won’t beat you”
Holding my tears back, I told her everything I could remember; how he got drunk, called me to his room and raped me, and how he lied to the neighbours that I had been raped by some boys in town. Surprisingly, Aunt Engee took me to the hospital and had a check done; she had told me the last money in her account was what she used to pay the bills- she was responsible for her boyfriend’s actions, she said.
We had just returned from the hospital when we met Mr. David and one of the neighbours standing outside the house; he was probably telling the man one of his framed-up stories. Aunt Engee got off the motorcycle, grabbed a branch of the cashew tree and hit him on the head twice,
Aunt Engee: “E nor go better for you! God go punish your generation, uuuseless man. Na woman go kill you… you…” she was stopped by the neighbour who held her hand
Neighbour: “Madam stop now! Haba, this is your husband you are talking to, whatever it is you both should settle it inside, you know how this barrack is…”
Aunt Engee: “This rejected man from hell my husband? Tufiakwa! Make I die! I say make I drink poison if I marry this useless man, Oga dis man bad pass devil” she pushed the neighbour away and ran to hit Mr. David a one more time
“You murderer! You think I wouldn’t know? Cursed man. You have daughters and sisters, men will destroy their lives, I promise you. Bastard.”
Neighbour: “Madam put yourself together. Don’t you have respect for his age? Common”
Aunt Engee: “Shut up! Who even invite you come dis matter? I call you? Instead wey you go go treat dat your mouth odour you come dey here dey settle …na Amebo go kill you. Comot from my side joor!” she gave him a fierce look, the man moved aside.
Miebaka ran out of the house, looking shocked, his face explained it all, he did not know what was happening. Neighbours began to gather as Aunt Engee kept throwing everything she could lay her hands on, at Mr. David, as she did, she booed him continuously. When the embarrassment was too much for him, he went inside, picked his belongings and was about to leave
Aunt Engee: “Where do you think you are going to? You think you can destroy a young girl’s life and disappear just like that? Mr. David, it shall not be well with you” she turned around to look at the crowd
“this man is not going anywhere OOOOO! He is a wicked man, a rapist!” she ran after him and collected the car keys”.
The pain from the injections I had been given at the hospital held me in one position, I began to feel dizzy, everything became blank, then I fell…I could hear people calling my name and calling for help, then all my senses went completely off; I thought I was dead.
To be continued!
Will Mr. David be arrested for rape? Will Aunt Engee choose to save the life of Shiber over embarrassing her boyfriend?