“Who asked to go first?” The new Numero Uno asked.
All fingers pointed at Pheya. There was a narrow bed in one corner of the room. Two cuffs dangled from the roof. Two were attached to the legs of the bunk. Two guys came out from the end-suite bathroom, stark naked and blindfolded. They had purple scarves round their forearms. Every other detail was depicted as similar scenes from Nollywood even the sombre tunes were playing in the head of the soon-to-be Victims. And of course, there was an elderly man with a white spotted calabash. The two guys that accompanied them into the room led the other two girls to one corner of the room before going back to undress the Numero Uno. Friar ripped Pheya’s clothes off. She froze. This time, she could not conceal the fears. Janet and Tumininu watched helplessly as Pheya was being7 led to the altar of defilement. Friar cuffed her hands and legs, put off the light, finally allowing the candles around the bed lowly glow. The elderly man signaled for the ritual to commence.
Aside the fetish aura around, every other thing felt déjà vu to Pheya. She was only twelve years old the previous week. It was as dark as now but her light of innocence flickered then, before she became as wilted rose. The driver bolted the door behind him. He bellowed in a low-pitched call of her name. His body smelled of liquor and sweat mixed with an intriguing sense of lack of judgment. She let out a cry for help and kicked at the air, called out in every language she could – the Ibibio her grandma taught her, the Yoruba she picked from the neighborhood, the French she learnt in school, the Spanish her tutor was teaching her and even the Korean she learnt from movies and of course, English language. After about thirty minutes of wails, pleas and prayers, the maid woke up from her sleep and got herself downstairs. She pushed the drunk driver off Pheya. He staggered and hit glass centre table. He was knocked out cold for some minutes. The maid tied him up and called the estate guards who called the police to whisk him away. Pheya cried out all the tears in her glands. Her parents flew back the following day and took her to see a counselor. Except for the counselor, the story never left the corners of the house. The maid even lied to the guards that it was only an attempt. She said she pushed him away in time. All the lies just made Pheya cry more.
She wished her parents could press charges for the right reasons and not cover it up for their selfish political personalities. It bled her heart for a few months especially when she discovered some of her mates and seniors that wanted to befriend her only wanted to hear the full stories for their blogs. She grew with perpetual hatred for her parents. She became paranoid about every advice they gave whether they were for her good or their political ambitions.
Well, that evening, she laid still on that bed like she laid on the sofa nine years ago. Tears rolled down her cheeks to lightly soak the bed as the whole event played in her head again. She cried not for the present defilement but for the previous deflowering. The kingpin was soon done with her. He rose up like a jolt of power ran through his veins. He gave this King Kong gesture, beating hard his chest and gnarling. The switch of the room soon flipped and the darkness faded swiftly revealing an exhausted Pheya, unperturbed Baba, stunned cultists and pupil-dilated Fumbi and Janet. At the door were four armed personnel. Baba soon retreated into the wall like a tortoise into its shell and disappeared. There were enough cuffs to go round. They also got a towel to cover the kingpin. Janet ran to loose Pheya from her shackles. Pheya laid still, as frozen as the dry tears that have managed to roll down. She dressed Pheya up. Fumbi offered them her kimono to conceal the torn clothes. One of the policemen walked up to them and whispered some words that made Janet and Fumbi fix their gaze on Pheya seeming to request for permission. Fresh tears rolled down her face as she gingerly nodded her head seeming it was going to fall off. This is the second rape incidence that has to be covered up, not for the victim sake but because some people wanted to cover the laxity on their part. Janet and Fumbi helped her get up and comport herself in the sitting room. The entire world was going to be waiting outside to be deceived. They emerged behind the gang and the policemen leading them. Ably represented were the Campus Security for eye-service sake. To their surprise, James was also there, pacing up and down.
Tumininu sat at one edge of the gutter with head between her palms. She sensed increased activity around her so she raised her head. She stood up to join James who was already running towards them. On sighting Tumininu, Pheya pick up some pebbles and aimed at Tumininu. James pulled her out of the projectile and shielded her in his arms. Janet held Pheya’s hand to calm her nerves.
“Devil! Devil!” She yelled as fresh tears got precipitated to the corners of her eyes.
Fumbi tried to explain that it was probably Omohafe that changed the venue, considering she was the only other person that knew about the party. If only she (Fumbi) had been told it was Bermota that owned the number, she could have suspected the foul play when Omohafe was talking to her earlier that day. Pheya wiped her tears and finally got her nerves calmed. James felt it was finally safe for them to approach. They had a long group hug session. James looked at Janet, seeming to ask “Did we come to time”. Janet shook her head seeming to mean “just a little, a little late”.
James broke the hug and walked towards a black car, he transmitted his anger to his leg, kicking the tire as hard as his ankle’s ligaments could bear.
“Wait! Something is not right. That is the black car that followed us. I told you it had an FCT number plate” Pheya managed to announce.
James kicked the tire for the last time before uttering loudly, “I shouldn’t have written the sticky note.” He opened the door to the driver’s seat of the black car and sat with his two legs outside. The girls came closer trying to really understand his regrets.