It took everything Adaeze had learned about patience for her not to attack her mother in-law as she spoke to her. This was the third day of her flow, and Adaeze felt like a pig. They gave her strips of cloths for makeshift pad, and Adaeze prayed that she wouldn’t get infections from the dirty cloths.
She was yet to take her bath for the three days since she regained consciousness, and she wondered how long she had gone without a bath. She had no idea what day it was; she only took note of night and day.
Her mother in-law was giving her lectures about her luck on marrying such a man as Edmund. She was teaching her to remain submissive once she got pregnant and have to go and live with him. She also had the audacity to tell her that after giving birth to the child, she would be given a two year break before she would return and get pregnant again for the next child.
“Edmund and I,” her mother in-law was saying, “have always wanted three children, preferably two boys and a girl. He told me that you agreed on that when you were courting. He told me you were obedient, and that’s why I accepted you as a wife. Other ladies were very pompous and too inquisitive, some of them even demanding for sex from him. The moment he told me that you had not even made a move for sex, I knew you were a good girl.” Her voice was laced with pride.
Listening to her droning, Adaeze concluded that her mother in-law was mad, and had infected her son with the same madness. She made such sick experience appear normal and right.
Adaeze was gathering strength and was planning her mode of attack. Edmund had left to town for work three days ago, and asked his mother to call him when she needed him. He was obviously the smartest of them all, but Adaeze was not going to underestimate her mother in-law who trained Edmund, and so she planned well.
They forced her to eat daily, and she could almost feel the men waiting to pounce on her once she was done with her monthly flow. Her mother in-law embarrassed her daily, checking to be sure she was still flowing, and for the first time, Adaeze prayed for this to be one of those rare seven-day flows she got from time to time.
She would rather die than allow these men sleep with her. She was ready to die, but she hoped to escape so she could apologize to her mother.
“Are you listening to me?” her mother in-law shouted in that their annoying dialect which gave Adaeze an extra work of interpreting.
“Don’t fight with these men. They are doing us a favour, help to give us a child. We are just giving them stipends. So don’t fight. If you behave well, I can talk to my son to treat you right, if you don’t, you will be in hell. We are all the family you have now, so don’t think you can fight us all.”
Looking into Adaeze’s eyes as she spoke the last sentence, she walked out, leaving Adaeze scared.
What if she knew Adaeze’s plan and was issuing her a warning from that stare?
Left alone, Adaeze made her plans again. She was afraid of how bad things could get. She was afraid of getting killed, and she was afraid of being broken. She knew that if she stayed here long enough, she would be broken.
She was not about to let that happen. She’d rather die.
Listening to be sure there was no one around, she gingerly stood up for her daily exercise. She didn’t want anyone to know that she had gathered enough strength to get up from the chair.
At the third push up, she was panting heavily. Yesterday she had been able to do just one, so doing three today showed progress. She wondered what Edmund used on her to make her so weak. She had never experienced such weakness before, not even one close to it.
Still listening for any approaching footstep, she did other exercises, hoping that by the time her flow was over and the men come to her she would be able to fight back.
She doubted it.
Adaeze had just finished one of her silent prayers which she still felt as though they went nowhere past the four walls of her cell, and was trying to force herself to sleep so her body could heal, when she heard someone opening the door.
Lying still she watched the figure approach her, and recognized him as one of the men who were enlisted to try and make her pregnant.
“Woman,” he called in a whisper, in the annoying dialect. The command in his voice and words had Adaeze gritting her teeth, but she remained still, hoping he’d leave her alone. She was not strong enough for battle.
“Woman, wake up,” his whisper alerted Adaze to the situation. He was not supposed to be here and so didn’t want to draw attention to himself.
“I don’t know who told them that a woman on her flow can’t have sex,” he was saying as he tried tapping her awake. “I see nothing wrong with it. Wake up!”
Adaeze kept still and gave no reaction, even when his hands wandered up her thighs. She bit back her scream, hoping he’d leave her alone since she was unconscious.
His confidence and audacity made Adaeze deeply sad and mad. This is what Edmund had reduced her to.
After years of celibacy, Edmund who was supposed to be her husband had thrown her to dirty, ignorant men for sex.
The pain in her chest grew with each groping move the man made of her body, each touch more daring than the previous one. Before she could help herself, she attacked his eyes, scratching them with all the strength she could muster.
His scream broke the silence of the night while Adaeze went back to her still mode, but the anger she felt towards Edmund was nowhere close to being reduced.
“My eyes!” he screamed over and over, no longer trying to hide his plan. “This witch has scratched my eyes,”
Her mother in-law and some of the other men arrived, sleep evident on their faces. “What happened?” they kept asking.
“She has scratched my eyes, I can’t see. Please take me to the hospital. Please I don’t want to go blind.”
“What were you doing here?” the mother in-law asked, reminding Adaeze of Edmund. They were both smart. “I told you men to stay away from her that it was a taboo to sleep with a woman during her period. I warned you all when you told me you didn’t mind.”
“It is not my fault. I came here prepared and so needed to ease the pressure,” he said, dancing in pain. The lamp her mother in-law came with reflected a liquid flowing off his palms covering his eyes. Adaeze didn’t think it was tears. Her nails had obviously done great damage.
She took a mental note of her weapon.
Adaeze never loved long nails, but Edmund did. He suggested that she grew her nails, and she had done that for their wedding. She was happy she listened to him. She only wished she could use it to scratch his eyes out too.
“Besides, I don’t know how she could have attacked you when she can barely feed herself.” Her mother in-law continued, peering down on her, and bringing the lamp close.
Adaeze kept her eyes close.
“I hope it’s not the god of the land that fought for her against the sacrilege you wanted to commit. I told you it was a taboo.”
“Let’s take him to the chemist. The blood is still flowing,” one of the other men said.
In the following minutes, they hurried out of the house, leaving the house in silence again.
Adaeze was about to fall asleep when her eyes flew open on a realization. The doors were open and she was alone at home.
Her time for escape had come.
CONTINUE HERE>>> NIGHTMARE
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