By The Bed (1)
In this month that celebrates women, we are going to do something different. I am going to share with you a fictional short story I had written a few years ago to creatively call attention to the menace of rape in our society. I hope it will get your attention and make you act to protect one and all.
Lub dub lub dub lub dub dub, her heart wildly drummed, as she crouched under the bed. It was a dark, cold night in November, but she was drenched in her sweat, effusing like an angry geyser. Her palms were slippery. Those hands would soon fail to support her deadening weight. Jemima was shivering with fear as the shadow appeared in the gap under the door.
The man she had seen at the playground had finally come to finish his job; to take her life in cold blood. But she was only six years old!
She did not deserve to die young, she reasoned helplessly. That happens only to bad people, or unlucky people, or mad people. How could she die when she did no wrong? She had been hurt quite all right, but not that hurt! And the wound was not even her fault. It was Joshua?s.
The doorknob shrilled her back to the insane present. It was turning slowly, clockwise then anticlockwise. The door was then pulled but it was locked. Jemima bored into the icy wall which sent spikes into her bare skin. Her teeth began to chatter and her pupils pulled wider. Her bones began to freeze.
The man from the playground had nailed his eyes on her from across the road that evening. He was dressed in a black caftan with a cap that matched only in colour. His skin was red and his eyes pitch black. She heard him call her name from within, ?Jemima, it?s time to pay!?
Now he was at her door, and Joshua was nowhere near, as she had always ominously envisaged. Something had always told her that when it mattered most, he would not be there for her. But he was her maternal uncle and the only friend she had.
They were a family of four, her loving parents and him. Uncle Joshua had promised her the finest clothes, the latest shoes, skirts and toys, if she agreed to play with him. She had always played with him, only him ? football, hide and seek, scrabble and ?notice me?. Now he said she was a big girl and the play must change to reflect her maturity and intelligence.
He said, if she allowed him to play with her in a certain way, then she would become a matured girl; and if she kept it between them, it would make her intelligent. Jemima could not wait to prove herself to her uncle. She was matured all right. So, with sparkling eyes of innocence, she agreed to play the game, whatever it was, anytime he was ready.
As the door began to move inwards and the hinges creaked, the last few days flashed past her eyes. Uncle Joshua was not here to save her as he promised. Now she was going to die because she played with him. The murderer had said that much. She heard him in her head while his eyes blazed. He was cursing her and the day she was born. He said the world could not contain her sin. She had to die tonight!
She did not understand why it was a sin. What made it a sin anyway? Besides, Uncle J said it was a fun game of life between men and women, mothers and fathers, big brothers and big sisters. And he was her uncle. How could it be wrong? Just that the game was painful and disappointing. And she had to remove her clothes. Games should be fun, like hide-and-seek. But this game was too painful. It made her bleed. And now she was to die. How could that be fair?
?It?s not fair,? Jemima?s mouth uttered, ?I don?t want to die.? But the door was wide open now and the man-in-black was clutching a serrated dagger in his left hand. It gleamed in the dark sending torrents of fear into her heart. Jemima bored further into the wall.
?Liar!? The voice screamed inside her. ?Your pathetic desire for sin and shoes and skirts made you refuse to tell your parents what your uncle did to you. Alas, you are not going to live to wear them.?
?I aaam sorry?? She began to stammer.
?Quiet!? The voice shrieked in her as the black figure advanced towards the bed. ?Your body was sacred, and you desecrated it. You were suffering from pains and the bleeding but you refused to tell your parents what he did to you. You cunning little witch!...
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK