The first thing she did was pull up her bra straps and pushing her breasts further into the confines and making the holster more effective. Then she loosened her wrapper, allowing the slight shifty blouse to hang loose before strapping herself back in tightly. Legs spread out and her face taking on that shape that said only one thing, combat time and no part of my body was to be spared. I had no tears to shed. Orphans are usually all cried out by my age so as the whip cut through the air finding its mark behind my legs I steeled myself for the pain. I closed my eyes and tried to think of another time or place but it was not coming. Michael said that was what he did to take the pain away. The transporting to another place obviously worked whenever she was trying to elicit the truth from him using the liquid candle wax and running it down his back and shouting “Which of you imbeciles ate the chicken neck in my pot?” It was sadly hilarious because the boy was a little bit slower than the rest of us who had to live with the good Reverend and his wife.
I squeezed my eyes shut when another lash of the whip connected with my back this time. There was no other time and place for me. I was brought to the Mission House when I was three and the Mother in Israel never missed the chance to tell me that my mother was the village prostitute who sought to use her worldly wiles to tempt the good men in the town. Her judgment and condemnation didn’t come soon enough, according to Mother in Israel. It did eventually. The good reverend’s wife told me that it was the disease apportioned to women of the world that came for her.
Since none of my mother’s patrons had admitted to fathering the spawn, the responsibility of taking care of me fell to my grandmother. Mother in Israel has often said that the evil that is within me is the reason why my grandmother’s roof caved in; it had absolutely nothing to do with the raging thunderstorm that destroyed half of the village. After that I was brought to the Mission House to be raised in piety and under the doctrine of the Church. Strict adherence to the laws of the church and those of Mother in Israel was the way of the house and any deviation from those laws earned us some form of torture or the other.
Last week, Mother in Israel was missing a tuber of yam from the pantry and of the five boys currently living in the Mission House I was the last to be interrogated. It was the first I was hearing of yam in the Mission house because we never ate anything as fancy as that. Mother in Israel was always quick to remind us of the privilege it was for us to live with them and for me particularly because I was the only one who attended school. The good reverend had seen a propensity for numbers in me when I was brought here and immediately enrolled me in the mission school. House work was crippling and Mother in Israel did not believe in idleness so my every waking moment was to be dedicated to her every whim and so I spent the nights studying.
Today’s crime falling asleep during Bible study and I was being reminded of the importance of being alert when the word of God was being taught to someone as undeserving as me. The whip lash count was just about to hit fifteen when the rain started. Little drops first, causing her to glare at the skies as if questioning why the Supreme deity chose that moment to send the showers.
Fourteen. The number of strokes I received for falling asleep on God and I guess he was indeed forgiving because I was told to go inside. Sleep, more forgiving and more loving came for me and I don’t know how long I was within its warm embrace for before I felt someone nudging me.
“She is calling you”
I knew it was time.
Just like the first time, the evening was cool, and the red sand all caked from the wetness of the day. Just like the first time I knocked twice waiting to be let in.
“Enter, the door is open” and just like the first time. She was lain out on the bed, as naked as the day she was born.
“Bia Ekwe, come and show me what all those girls are always talking about that you have inside those your trousers.”
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