400-level Medicine & Surgery
Lagos State University
Her bugged eyes swept through the nothingness of the space around before they settled on the haphazardly-moving dust particles in the sun rays filtering through the window. She chuckled. The random movements of the particles reminded her of her life. She ran her hand over her rough face before seating her chin in her cupped hand.
It has been six years since her kidnap and five since she groaned on the bare floor to push out her first child for her abductors. She snivelled. She was only 13 and returning from school that cool afternoon in June. The sun was peeking out from behind dissipating thick clouds as the last drops of rain were sprinkled on the ground. Perhaps she should not have hurried home after school. Maybe she would not have been grabbed on the lonely road that led to her house.
Her small body was tossed into a van that had some other school children, passed out. She was cold—her feet from her wet shoes and her body from the sweat brewed by terror. She screamed and kicked till the drug kicked in. Her eyes flipped open at an abandoned building with the windows and doors sealed. Her head ached as she sat up. Through an open portion of the roof, the only source of light and ventilation, she could see her soiled uniform.
The ones with the premium looks were shipped off to the world of prostitution while the fate of the less-than-beautiful ones was to breed children for their abductors’ baby market in a remote village. They were viciously raped four nights a week by two of their captors and in the last six years, she had delivered five children. She was now heavy with the sixth.
Her name is Enuma and this story does not have a happy ending.
Enuma was a great investment and her masters treated her as such. She rarely took ill. She carried all her pregnancies without complications and her labour process was always smooth, unlike most of the other girls. She got a room to herself, unlike the other girls who shared rooms, and was allowed to eat in her room and even watch television once a week. She wasn’t assigned chores anymore and was allowed to choose first when things were shared among the girls. She was like the queen of the yard and considerably accrued the jealousy of other victims.
In the solitude of the room, Enuma reflected on her life. She recalled how she desired to become an accountant despite being an average student. She missed her mother and wondered daily how she’d be coping. She had lost her father a few weeks before she was born and now, her mother had lost the only family she had left. Enuma muttered a prayer and hoped her mother was moving on—perhaps, finally remarrying.
She wondered if her best friend eventually got out of her shell and fought back the bullies; if she found the courage to sing the soothing lyrics she wrote, in front of others. Those songs have kept Enuma from going crazy so far. She permitted a short-lived smile.
She looked around the room; it reeked of gloom and loneliness. A small, flat mattress was laid on the floor on one side of the small room. At the opposing corner was a tattered Ghana-must-go bag that held her few clothes and some other belongings. Next to the bag was a little cute cot that held some baby materials pending the time it would carry the next commodity.
As the sun was setting, so was her strength waning. The particles dissipated. She picked her brown-tinted white towel. Barefoot, she slipped under the running shower and shivered. She delicately rubbed the soap over her face before scrubbing like she wanted to peel the filthy skin off. The soap got into her eye and the bar of soap slipped from her hand. The shower flowed miserably and was unable to wash off the soap in time. She motioned to pick a bowl and stepped on the soap. First, a thud with a gentle cry and then, silence.
No one heard the noise. The other girls chattered on in their rooms. The masters were attending to some clients. Enuma’s blood slipped into the crack of the handwash basin she had hit her head on. Less than a year ago, she had craved death but was denied. She lost an early pregnancy and managed to conceal it. Here now, she got it—on the floor laid her lifeless body. She hated that she created a mess but it was only a speck compared to what her life had been. The shower continued running, splattering water on the floor and washing off the blood as it left her body. The end came quickly but she had enough time to permit another smile to outlive her as she felt her body go cold with peace.
No one found her until four hours later.
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