HER FATE… Continues

The fat woman in her flowing gown turned and took in the new entrants, nodded in greeting then motioned for them to sit with the others. Her mother dragged her to the available spot on the bench. The others shifted to accommodate them. Her mother immediately untied the wrapper holding the still wailing Braiye and sat him on her laps. When he refused to quiet down, Ma had no option than to breastfeed him. Nimi sat as quietly as possible, observing everything and everyone. The fat woman who seemed to be in charge of the place was discussing in low tones with some of the women and any time she glanced at Nimi, which was often, she would shudder involuntarily. The curiosity was killing her so she mustered courage and asked,
“Ma, what is this place and who is that fat woman?” Her mother looked up from the now happy Braiye and replied,
“You will soon find out Nimi, be patient ok? Be calm, nobody here wants to harm you”.
Nimi wished she could be calm and trust these strangers, but she just could not. There was nothing calming about this place, the environment was rather hostile and stifling and was making her nervous, all those women staring at her in stony silence.

“Ma, I want to go and wee-wee” Her mother opened her mouth to protest, but changed her mind and after staring at her awhile, told her to go. She quickly dashed off to get some fresh air and escape from the offensive environment. Outside, Nimi strolled around the hut, first to the front, then the back. There was no sign of life, so she assumed the place was used temporarily, not a permanent abode. Before she could make it to the other end of the clearing, she heard her mother shouting for her. She moved away from the hut, lifted her gown and pulled down her panties to urinate.

“Come on Nimi, hurry, they are waiting for us, I do not know whether you want to take the whole day to urinate. It is not as if much of the urine came out sef” observed her mother, eying the little dot of wetness on the sand

“Ma, ‘waiting for us’ for what?” asked Nimi, adjusting her dress properly as she went after her mother. Her mother ignored her. Inside, the room the women were murmuring amongst themselves. One of the women stood up and beckoned on them as they entered the room. She led them through another door which Nimi did not even notice earlier, into another room. This particular room was darker if that were possible but more airy containing just bare essentials, a mat, chair, table, and a water container. There they saw the fat woman arranging stuffs on the wooden table at one end of the room. She turned to face them, a knowing smile on her wrinkled face. She reminded Nimi of a crumpled paper
“Welcome my daughter, Nimi abi?” At Nimi’s nod of her head, she went on,
“Sit down both of you please. Nimi, we are here to assist you to become a beautiful woman worthy of her future husband and the entire community, so you must be courageous ok? Do not be afraid” Nimi wondered what the old woman was talking about.

She watched the woman get back to arranging stuffs on the wooden table which held a variety of objects not too visible in the dark. This got her even more perplexed. She looked at her mother but her mother’s face was bent down, as if she were watching Braiye sleep. That was a bad omen, her Ma avoiding her gaze, and this got her heart hammering in her chest.

“Oya, this way Nimi” said the fat woman pointing towards the mat spread on the bare floor. Nimi looked at her mother who looked at her this time and nodded at her in encouragement. She refused to move, shaking her head from left to right, large drops of tears beginning to stream down her angelic chubby face. Her mother held her in an embrace, promising her heaven on earth, but she kept squirming on the seat, sobbing into her mother’s bosom. One of the women came to drag her along with her, but she clung to her mother tighter, refusing to budge. But the woman lifted her unceremoniously while her mother pried her little fingers away from her waist.

No one seemed to care about her cries and screams as she sat down there on the mat, not knowing whether they were preparing to kill her or what. Before she knew it, the women had gathered around her, her mother nowhere in sight, chanting songs about womanhood and beauty. The old woman who seemed to be the leader of the group sat down on a short wooden chair and another woman handed her a razor and other things which she didn’t care to identify.
“Come on Nimi, time to beautify you dear. Lie down now and do not struggle” Said the old woman.

But Nimi only cried harder. Her mother pleaded with her to cooperate with them but all she wanted to do was to run away and they made sure she could not escape. One of them forced her to lie face up on the mat and as she opened her mouth to scream, used a cloth to gag her, while another two held her hands and leg. The fat woman advanced with the razor and a dark red piece of cloth dangling from her elbow. Nimi began to struggle harder but she was only seven, they easily over powered her.

The woman bent down towards Nimi’s legs and opened it wider. She gasped in shame and horror as the woman lifted her gown and dragged her pants off her, her hands deftly probing her private part. She struggled even harder to free herself but could not. In an instant, she felt the razor sawing her body in an excruciatingly painful way. She let out a blood curdling scream but the gag drowned her screams. The woman continued mutilating her, ignoring her pleas and struggles for mercy. She felt the blood oozing out, sliding off her body, felt herself letting go, plunging into darkness, into oblivion. Nimi lost consciousness.