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BN Prose: The Girl With the Hazel Eyes by Arit Okpo

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The eyes that looked back at her in the mirror lacked expression. Expression had died with her first scream. Thereafter, all that had been was blankness.

She bathed carefully but quickly, each pass of the shower head washing the blood from her body and creating a light red stream running from her feet. Drying herself off, she walked to the mirror and started the systematic self-appraisal that had become an unconscious routine. She looked at her eyes, studying them with mild, abstract interest. One eye was swollen almost shut; the other studied her with the same absentminded interest with which she studied it. She had the most curious eyes, a clear hazel, throw back from a relative she had no clue about. They were haunting eyes, not that they’d ever done her any good.

She turned away from the mirror and limped slowly to the door. The limp was nothing new. Once he’d beaten her so hard that she had been unable to take a breath without a sharp pain in her chest. When he had come home that night and seen her lying on the floor, gasping for breath, he had quickly taken her to the hospital where her ribs had been bound.

The doctor said she had broken her ribs and asked what happened. Silence had answered his question. He had looked up again to meet those curious hazel eyes watching him with mild curiosity. Feeling strangely unsettled and citing important cases to attend to, the doctor had hurried out of the hospital room.

She had recovered from that, and she would recover from this, she always did. Her eyes marked the features of the house as she walked to the room. It was a beautiful house, built with the best materials that money could buy. Under different circumstances, she would have been sad to leave.

She stopped at the door of the living room; the intimate one for family. The sight arrested her briefly. Blood splashed on the floor and the door, thick ribbons festooned the walls like gory streamers from a macabre birthday party; she walked through, carefully skirting the splashes as they marked the spots where everything had taken place. The air seemed to shimmer, everything seemed so unreal, as if time itself, shocked by the horror of all that had happened, had chosen to shroud the house in a veil.

She walked into the room, the pretty little room made for a beautiful 9 year old, the same 9 year old who now stood beside the bed, her eyes trained on the door, brightening in relief as her older sister walked in. “Are you ready?” she asked. The 9 year old nodded, reaching behind her for the little black backpack that lay on the bed. “Good, give me a minute, let me get dressed, I need some things from the safe, then we will go”. She turned to the door as she spoke, then paused at the rustling sound of the backpack being carried. Without looking back, she held out her hand and waited as her little sister hurried to her.

As they walked through the living room again, they paused almost unwillingly to look at the bloody mass that lay on the floor, his head had been mashed in until all his features had become a red, lumpy porridge. Blood flowed from what seemed to be 1 million stab wounds, body parts lacerated over and over again. The cause of the wounds still lay beside the body, the broken half of a bottle of vodka; edges rimmed in congealing blood. A pestle, gloved in red. She looked at them, and then at the wounds on her arms, some had started bleeding again. She closed her hands into fists and hurried along.

Dressed and packed, they hurried downstairs. As they walked out, the 9 year old broke the silence, “Where will we go?” She looked down at the beautiful face of the child beside her and her eyes registered a flicker of emotion. How fortunate that she had been at home when he decided that it was time. She remembered the look on his face 2 weeks ago as he looked at her in the kitchen, at the bulging stomach barely covered by her Guess tshirt. She thought of the disgust that had flickered across his face as he had looked at her, and as he turned and went upstairs, a part of her had started to wait for the day when he would touch her sister.

The scream had galvanized her into unthinking action. She had grabbed the pestle from where it lay in a corner of the kitchen and dashed upstairs to the living room to see her sister struggling frantically as he pushed her little pink sundress up to her stomach. Shock had translated to anger and then to strength she didn’t know she had. 7 years she had been silent, 7 years she had allowed him, hoping that her silence would be sufficient price paid for her sister’s safety.

Enough was enough.

The first blow stunned him, the second broke his nose. The third time, she crushed his windpipe. The blood gushing from his face had made him look like a monster as he crashed to the ground, knocking over his bottle of vodka. She stared at the bottle, the same way she stared at it almost every evening as her father pounded into her, his grunts punctuating his every movement.

The bottle crashed against the wall. She could not say when she began to stab, but she stabbed him until every inch of his body bled. She stabbed him as the bottle cut into her hands. She stabbed until her blood mixed with his and the bottle slipped from her hands. Then she picked up the pestle and started to pound, a blow for every thrust, for every muffled scream, for every bleeding tear, for every illusion gone. She pounded until the red haze covering her eyes was replicated on the rug, the walls, the very fibre of the room.

Her sister’s whimpers brought her back to earth; she looked at the little girl, sitting in a corner, eyes closed, rocking back and forth with her hands over her mouth. That was when she stopped.

She didn’t touch her sister; she knew what she must look like. She turned instead to go to the bathroom, and as she walked to the door, the sudden wetness between her legs told her that another life had just ended.

The girl thought briefly on all this as she stood by the door. She looked back at the house – scene of her deepest fears and deepest losses – and then she looked at the little girl beside her. “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine”

The girl closed the door very gently behind her and took her sister’s hand firmly in hers. Together, they started the walk towards a new beginning; a 9 year old girl and her 14 year old sister. As they walked, anyone looking into the girl’s hazel eyes would have recognized the emotion that overflowed in them – it was hope.

Photo Credit: dawnali.com

52 Comments

  1. HRS

    April 23, 2013 at 9:50 am

    *GooseBumps*……

    • Jenny Craig

      April 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      Chaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiii

  2. Hurperyermie

    April 23, 2013 at 9:52 am

    OMG!!!!!!!!!! this is so touching

  3. Xan Signature

    April 23, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Now you just made me cry.

  4. Myself

    April 23, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Highly emotional write-up, i’m amazed there is not a single comment, maybe yet.
    Rape!!! There is no palatable perspective to it.

  5. Abimbola Dare

    April 23, 2013 at 10:10 am

    very well written! excellent.

  6. Grace

    April 23, 2013 at 10:27 am

    First time making a comment on any blog, hopefully i dont break the rules. A beautiful story yet not the kind of ending that should be encouraged. This is the second or third story posted on Bella Naija that ends with the ‘murder’ of the villain involved in the domestic abuse. I do not condone domestic violence of any sort and it is a good thing that it has recently been given wide spread recognition finally. I think it is important to know that a lot of victims read this story for inspirations and comfort, promoting them to act and take the law into their hands is only going to result into a double tragedy. Please make them aware that, while the characters in the dramas may be able to ‘dissappear’, it does not always work that way in the real world. The most important thing is to get out and get help, not act out of anger. Thanks

    • annoyed

      April 23, 2013 at 10:48 am

      shut up grace and go preach somewhere else, serves men right…….he has a right to end his story the way he wants…….truth is some people will always be pushed to the wall to react so pls keep ur advice…..msshcheeewwwww

    • Omo1

      April 23, 2013 at 11:33 am

      @Annoyed..Your response is quite uncalled for..I don’t see why you should be pouring so much annoyance on Grace and her comment! yes this is a writer’s story, in some cases it happens like this but very few. Lord knows that If i happen to find myself in such a situation (GOD FORBID) I could swear I would have done similar.

      But sad enough not all such victims make it..we may see it end this way only in movies.. so in my opinion, Grace is only trying to be realistic in her own way.

      We hear these thing happen all the time and if help is not gotten “somehow”, people will keep getting away with it, so are we encouraging our youngsters in this situation to become murderers as well??? Do we have any idea how such trauma molds a teenage child into an adult (coupled with the trauma of sexual abuse)??? HARDENED !!

      Just my opinion..

    • Bleed blue

      April 23, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Grace, you’re quite right in some ways but then again, you say “get out and get help”. From where in Nigeria please? If this question can be answered and the place(s) of “help” found to be genuine, with proven results of solving the problem and rehabilitating the victims, then by all means Bella Naija, let us know so we can spread the gospel.

      I don’t condone violence either, however speaking from experience (both mine and others’), I can tell you our society has refused to treat this issue in the “get out and get help” black and white way you’re suggesting.

      What was Hazel eyes to do? Cry to relatives? They won’t believe her or they might brand her “witch” or “prostitute”. Or talk to friends? And risk getting ostracized? Or set her father up by calling on neighbours to catch him in the act? That would have most likely resulted in a similar gruesome lynching.

      Arit has told a story, the same way Nollywood and Hollywood tell us stories. Does that mean we act out what we see in those movies? I’ve read at least 300 books in my lifetime, some with profound themes and plots which the average person can relate to, does that mean we will act out what we read? That just suggests the reader’s weakness of character and story teller(s) cannot be blamed for a person choosing to adjust his/her moral compass to commit crime on the back of fiction (or even factual accounts).

      Bottomline is, people will see what they will see in stories like these, for me, I see hope, I see escape, freedom and the refusal to allow evil to thrive.

    • Grace

      April 23, 2013 at 11:32 am

      @bleeding blue. thanks for your comment. I agree with you when you talk about the attitude of the government in Nigeria to such cases, but this is changing gradually.
      wbfafrica.org, tamaraidfoundation.org these are two NGOs that i got to know about from previous write ups on bella naija and i can check for even more.
      My point is, sometimes when you read a story that hits close to home or what you are currently experiencing, it has a way of impacting unconsciously on the way you might react. I have a family member that went through something very similar to this and that is why although i can identify with the raging emotions.However, I feel its important to point out that in reality, there might be consequences to acting out in anger that puts the victim in an even worse state eg prison. But then again, its a fictional story and every writer is entitled to designing their ending. I just stated my opinion.cheers

    • Bleed blue

      April 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      “when you read a story that hits close to home or what you are currently experiencing, it has a way of impacting unconsciously on the way you might react”

      I hear what you’re saying Grace and I repeat, this can only be attributed to weakness of character. It cannot and should not be blamed on a storyteller.

      Last night I watched Romeo and Juliet, my parents aren’t at all keen on my choice of husband, so shall I then blame William Shakespeare for inspiring me to ingest poison as a solution to my problem?

      The average brain is equipped with an impulse control centre. It’s up to the individual how it’s used or misused.
      Let stories be told and let lessons be learned.

    • Sel

      April 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      I think the murder was used metaphorically. It signifies the lady saying no more abuse! The morale therefore is when you find yourself in such a situation, you should have the strength to end it somewhat.

  7. Bleed blue

    April 23, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Tears flowing down my face. Too familiar. Wish I’d had a big sister with hazel eyes.

    I’ll NEVER understand why this sex thing makes (mostly) men lose all sense and sensibility.

    • Jenny Craig

      April 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      Wow… I’m sorry you had to go through whatever it is you went through. It is well with you.

    • Bleed blue

      April 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Amen and thank you “Jenny”. God bless you!

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      April 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      May God fully erase any lingering traces of shame or pain in your mind, replacing them completely with the brightness of a restored future. That monster DID NOT win, you are GREATER THAN any wild animal that attempted to drag you into the same dark hell that he inhabits. You are free, while his demons are constantly feeding on his soul, my dear sister and so just walk on ahead your freedom and healing, the evil done in your past has no authority over your destiny. There will be a greater and better ahead of you, by God’s own special Grace.

    • Bleed blue

      April 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Wow! Thanks, I felt the power in your words. Seriously. Thank you so much. I’m work in progress and I have faith that healing is almost fully complete.

      I guess it’s a bit more difficult for me because it’s not a “he” that I constantly suffered under, it’s a “they”. But God will sort me out. He has to.

      Hugs hugs hugs Mz Socially Awkward, you’re tres cool!

    • nwanyi na aga aga

      April 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Oh dear Bleed blue for someone who had experienced this kind of hurt you sound so healed and so matured. The good Lord will erase completely any remaining traces of this hurt lingering anywhere in your life. God be with you sister. XoXo
      I had tears in my eyes after reading this. God save the little girls in this kind of mess…..

  8. unsocial butterfly

    April 23, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Dear God!!! Sad piece, on another note though the rape cases that are becoming every day news is quite terrifying. U hear of a man in his 40/50 having carnal knowledge of a 7/8/9 yr old απϑ the man made to walk free. I mean there shld be grave penalties. Raping someone is like killing the person, the favour should however be returned. Lord have mercy! On another note, this is a well written piece, quite gripping

  9. x factor

    April 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Wow…Profound expression of hope!

  10. Ann

    April 23, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I was in tears after this. People go through similar circumstances every day. Amazing write up. Would love to see this developed into a novel. It’d be great

  11. Peachy_mo

    April 23, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Wow! this is a heart wrenching piece….well written, thought provoking and picturesque piece…THE TIME IS NOW!

  12. Mousepad

    April 23, 2013 at 10:48 am

    beautiful story! very well written…

  13. pjoluks

    April 23, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Hmmm

  14. Annie

    April 23, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Very beautiful write up indeed, the write captured the exact situation most teenage girls go through in the hands of their supposed fathers, i do not support violence, but how else can these shameless monsters be stopped from inflicting such life pain on their daughters? their nieces? there are a lot of shameless men doing this same thing to little girls every day, every hour, most of these girls are scared to speak, one can imagine the kind of hatred, bitterness, fear some girls grow up with, some time the society wonders why some girls wouldn’t want to ve anything to do with men, this is just one of the so many reasons..God help us all..

  15. T.baby

    April 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Clapping. NIce, very very nice.

  16. arbie

    April 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Beautiful..deeply touched

  17. Chic

    April 23, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Powerful!

  18. ub40

    April 23, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Its so sad, and to know that this stuff goes on every day in our society.

  19. Olori

    April 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    You sure can write. This story though…eish!

  20. La Belle

    April 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Well written. 🙂

  21. oluchy

    April 23, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    l had goose reading this, a very captivating write up. Keep it up.

  22. cathy

    April 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    shaken to my marrow, i would have stabbed him but not to death. he would have lived the remainder of his life wishing he was dead.

  23. Ella

    April 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Hmmmm… crying at work,
    Always on the look out for Bellanaija prose.
    I PRAY FOR THE VICTIMS OF ABUSE IN ANY FORM.
    Welldone Arit!

  24. Objecty

    April 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    So beautifully written…Wonderful piece.

  25. ukay

    April 23, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Powerfull, I can literally see the scene unfolding. Am sorry for those who think she wasn’t right to kill, Ÿ̲̣̣̣̥ø̲̣̣̥u̶̲̥̅̊ kill beasts when U̶̲̥̅̊ get the opportunity! That said, I look foward to a better country, where victims can find solace and justice and perpetrators jailed and killed by hanging or drowning.

  26. Jae

    April 23, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    hmn……………………….

  27. Tola

    April 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Dat lady kinda luk like KENYA MOORE.

  28. Kiki

    April 23, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    ENOUGH!

  29. Mz Socially Awkward...

    April 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    This was a little harrowing for me to read, imagining a teenager being made to suffer such abuse that her thoughts turn willingly to murder. Knowing it’s not far from reality makes it worse… Human beings are the worst animals of all, when you have grown men who roam society, intent on killing the souls of children. And what exactly do we need as the deterrent to stop future perpetrators of the same crime?? Seriously, what??? Because child predators continue to grow in number, even in western countries where you’d imagine the laws and levels of punishment are enough to stop this evil from continuing.

    What can a man find attractive in a little, helpless child? See how evil has multiplied on this earth, Lord save us and those we love from these agents of hell in our midst.

  30. Nelly

    April 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Arit dearie…really nice..remembering your stories back then in Auntie Margaret Int’l school…really nice you got this far…..

  31. Naveah

    April 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Very visceral write up! I wish the protagonist had fought back in a different way with the law by her side. How do you stop the cycle when she met violence with violence in the presence of her sister? I guess a woman has got to do what she’s got to do but I do believe she could have left without having to resort to murder. It is easy to get lost in Nigeria.

    ***Side bar: the picture of the young lady looks like a young Kenya Moore…hope it’s not otherwise she will come after you, BN for using her image without permission.

  32. Grace

    April 23, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Well done aunty Arit!!!!

  33. Konnie

    April 23, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Very gripping and gritty. A pity that incest goes on unabated a lot. Too many sickos out there. I had a roommate in school (college) that was such a victim. Her last bother was also her son. a terrible situation made worse by a silent mother who didn’t realize she was aiding and abetting her sicko husband.
    Long short of it was my roommate and friend was permanently damaged by the whole affair ….nothing else to say….. a terrible situation to have in any family. Hopefully, people are standing up , more to such inexcusable behaviour

  34. Ovuoke

    April 23, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Excellent write up. Is this Kenya Moore’s story? Otherwise the picture of her is a bit odd.

  35. Yikes!

    April 24, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Gory…

  36. jyde

    April 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    In a lot of cases like this,the only way out for the victim is to take matters into their own hands.
    A lot of women cant understand the extent to which some victims have been abused and disappointed by those who should have saved them.
    Many of us were fortunate to have been raised by god fearing decent people who would never stoop so low as to abuse a child/wife.Thank god.
    However those who don’t have decent people around them sometimes have no other choice but to lash out and end their living nightmare.
    To each their own sha,but I still believe that such abusers deserve everything they get.
    In short,,,,,Fuck em. No great loss.The worlds better off without them.
    Youd be surprised at how weak and cowardly abusers are when faced with the wrath of a victim or loved one.
    If only victims could find the strength to lash out sooner.If only.

  37. Alvin Ikpe @eAlvinattor

    April 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I was virtually seeing this write up as a movie, reading it. Beautiful piece, and quite gripping too!

    • Noel

      July 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      @Alvin i totally relate to what you said. I didn’t realize i was holding my breath until the end when i exhaled and all i could think was ‘Dear God’.

  38. Nomy

    April 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    She endured for seven years ba? Enough was really enough, if we swap positions, i would cut him into tiny pieces after killing him. Rubbish!

  39. @mr_babson

    May 24, 2013 at 8:37 am

    This is emotionally sapping. I’ve read BN prose for a long time withot ever commenting, but I just had to comment on this. Take a bow Arit Okpo.

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