“Last bus stop”, the conductor calls.
Only a handful of people are left in the previously overcrowded bus; most of them aged. I and one other guy are the only youngsters left on the bus.
As we approach the bridge demarcating Ibadan city from the rest of Oyo state, i press the button for the emergency exit and fling myself; over the bridge and into the bubbly river; full from the rain the night before.
Screams from the old women halt the bus and the doors are opened. Crowding around the barriers on the bridge, the handful left on the bus peer into the river.
* * *
I get on the on the bus from Challenge. At Yemetu, some people get on while some get off. The bus reaches its capacity when we get to Sango.
At this point, the bus is so full i have to get up for a heavily pregnant woman and take up a space with the rest of those standing.
As i grab onto the restraints in the bus, memories come flooding back.
Memories i chose to forget.
Memories of a time in the past.
Memories so awful, they make me dizzy.
I’m not going anywhere in particular. I only chose to ride the bus to the end; just so i can escape from the voices in my head.
* * *
Semilore, fondly called ‘lore by my friends and family, is a very troubled teenager.
An only child, I lose both parents in a ghastly motor accident when i am only 10. Accustomed to the good life, life takes a definite turn for the worse when my father’s relatives take over all my parents’ estates and refuse to enroll me in school anymore.
In the blink of an eye, my young teenage dreams come crashing down.hard… And that is only the beginning of a tale of woes.
My uncle; Kamail is always so nice to me. He lets me play house with his children and gives me his leftover meals. He told me that if I worked hard enough at home, he would be able to raise money to put me back in school.
Night and day, i slave in the kitchen, while doing laundry, and even at my Aunt Baliki’s beauty shop.
One fateful day, i am going to my parents’ to lay flowers on their graves. It has been 3 long years and it is overgrown with weeds.
Night is starting to fall so i say my goodbyes and walk to the car. A thorn pulls at my skirt and while struggling to break free, my already tired and worn out clothes rip apart.
Uncle Kamail had started to walk towards me, noticing my dilemma. On getting to me, he pushes me to the ground, amidst a bed of thorns and hurriedly unzips his trouser.
One hand on my throat, squeezing my trachea, he raises up what is left of my shabby clothes with the other hand and brings out a big black rod-like organ from his trouser.
3minutes pierced with my screams and wails after, Uncle Kamail gets off me and spills a whitish fluid on the ground.
I cant fathom what just happened and while in the car, I realize why no one had heard my screams or come to my rescue. We are far out in the bush, on the outskirts of town and even the road is a long way from there.
In the driveway back at home, he tells me that he loves me and i shouldn’t tell anyone what has happened.
However, unknown to Uncle Kamail, my clothes have blood stains which his wife; Aunt Balikis is quick to notice.
Clearing the dining table in a hurry, she shooes the kids to bed. “The first person to sleep gets an ice cream after school tomorrow” she says. That always does the trick. Sometimes, i wonder if her kids are stupid. At 8, 10 and 13, they still fall for her tricks every time.
‘Kamail! Oh my God! What have you done? For Pete’s sake, this girl is your niece”
I think Aunty knows what happened. She puts me in the shower, combs my hair and settles me in bed. This is the first time such will happen and my little mind starts racing. She tells me I can rest at home tomorrow and not bother coming to her beauty shop.
The next morning, I wake up late; well into the afternoon. Rushing downstairs in a frenzy, I realize all the chores have been done; dishes and all. With nothing left to do, I make my way to the living room and find my Uncle Kamail, his head buried in a magazine with naked women sprawled all over the front page.
Quickly, I turn back, towards the stairs and he calls out. “Come watch t.v ‘lore dear.” Since I Dont have a reason not to, I oblige and sink into the cushion, aware that he is staring at me.
In a bit, I forget all about my troubles and concentrate on “Hotel Majestic” playing on the T.V.
Uncle Kamail has left his seat by the dining table so I feel more at ease.
Suddenly, a hand covers my mouth from behind and in seconds, he stands before me; his black rod-like organ hanging out of his trousers. I bite hard on the succulent flesh of his palm.
He releases me for a split second and just as I’m about to escape, he pins me down on the sofa. Unable to breathe under his crushing weight, he licks his palm, now bloody from my attack and puts it over my mouth. Breathing heavily, he parts my legs and rips my panties into shreds. This time, when he removes his weight, there is no whitish fluid.
I run back to my room and lock the door. I Dont understand why Uncle Kamail is doing this to me. Did I offend him? I am puzzled.
I brush my teeth vigorously, trying to calm my frayed nerves. When I turn on the shower, I observe a whitish smear on my inner thighs. It is sticky. It looks like what came out of Uncle Kamail’s long black rod at the cemetery.
I take a long shower and put on fresh clothes. As I comb my hair, I decide to run away to our neighbor’s house.
All the doors are locked. My uncle is sitting at the spot I was watching T.V and he motions me to come.
A week after, I’m back to my routine. Scrubbing. Washing. Cooking. Aunt Balikis is a little nicer. She buys new clothes for me. But they are all too long and big.
One day we have visitors. They are Uncle Kamail’s friends. Aunty is not around and the children are at their grandmother’s house. They have drunk a lot and are chatting wildly and laughing hysterically. When I come to clear the plates, one of them calls me. He is short, fat and ugly. Really ugly.
He tells me to show him the toilet and I point to it. Uncle Kamail then tells me to take him there. We are almost at the door when he grabs my hand and pulls me into the toilet. He pins me to the wall with one hand and with the other he unzips his trouser.
I’m very scared now because this is the same thing Uncle Kamail did. He raises up my skirt to cover my face and my hands and slips his rod into me. In the process, my skirt falls back and I see his rod. His is pink and shriveled. I feel no pain unlike when my uncle did this.
Some minutes later, beads of sweat all over his face, he let’s out a loud cry and I think I’ve hurt him. He hurriedly spills some whitish liquid into the toilet bowl and I walk out of the toilet.
I bend to pack the abandoned dishes and feel someone at my back. I also feel something else. Warm, hard flesh. When I straighten, it pokes me in my behind and moisture forms over the spot.
I think its uncle’s other friend; Mr Emmanuel. He is a very kind teacher and I like him.
He presses his rod deeper into my behind and more moisture forms. He carries me upstairs; into Uncle’s room and makes me face the wall. He then removes my skirt and panties. His rod is also big and long. But it is bigger than my Uncle Kamail’s and very pink.
He bends me over and parts my legs, then he slips his rod into the hole between both bums.
I let out a loud sharp cry. This is very painful and I can’t help but feel this is a punishment for my crimes. He heaves and pushes and slams his rod into me repeatedly. Then I feel moisture being released into me.
He turns me around and kisses my neck. Then my face. And then long and full on my lips. I like this punishment compared to others. He smoothens my hair and tells me its okay.
He then places me on the bed and parts my legs again. Now I am very afraid and I start crying and begging him to stop.
“You’ll like this. I promise”. He then dips his head and flicks his tongue over my vagina. I do not feel anything at all.
He kisses and licks and flicks his tongue severally and I no longer feel sore. He then pushes his tongue deeply and kisses me again. Then he releases me and I collapse onto the bed.
I wake up with a start. Its dark and this is not my room. I peer into the darkness and see uncle beside me. He is sleeping naked…and I was wrong earlier. His rod is quite big. Much bigger than Mr Emmanuel’s. I think I’ve been punished again because I see a streak of whitish fluid on my clothes.
I tiptoe to my room and stare at myself in the mirror. My clothes are starting to fit better and two things are sticking out of my chest; straining at my clothes. My hair is wild and messy and I have scars on my back; from being pushed onto a bed of thorns.
I wear a cardigan on my clothes and go downstairs. Aunty and her children are not back yet and the dishes are still on the table.
The doors are unlocked and I let myself out. ” Run away” I say to myself. And that’s what I do. I start running very fast and only stop when I’m out of breath.
The roads are very free now and I Dont have to wait to cross the road. I’m now very hungry and I have no food or money. I find a bridge and settle under it. I’m not the only one doing this and soon I doze off.
I wake up with the sun on my face. Aunty and Uncle must be looking for me. But I’m not going back home. I do not want to be punished even worse than before.
But I am very hungry and my stomach is growling. I cross to the busy side of the road and beg for food from people. Then my school teacher; Miss Erika sees me from her car and tells me to get in. Then she buys gala and sprite from the hawkers and gives it to me. I devour it with relish and remove my cardigan. It is now very hot.
She asks me what happened and I narrate my story; including my punishments and she starts to cry. I’m confused and I start to cry too. She then takes me to her house and gives me a room and a change of clothes. She says I Dont have to do any work because she has a house help.
She then sits me down and tells me she doesn’t have money to put me in a proper school so she would employ a lesson teacher for me.
The next morning, Miss Erika brings Mr Emmanuel to the house. She says he will teach me Maths, English, Quantitative and Verbal reasoning.
She also pulls me to a corner and tells me that I can trust Mr Emmanuel; that he is kind. She said he’s her husband- to-be and he would never hurt me.
I nod my head and she drives off. Mr Emmanuel has kind eyes. He teaches me Mathematics first; then Quantitative reasoning.
After a while, I’m tired and hungry and I eat the food Miss Erika left in the warmer for me. Then he lays me on the dining table and makes my legs dangle. He then parts them and inserts his little finger in my vagina. He turns it around and then pushes his rod into it. He is very fierce this time and he hurts me.
He then makes me sit and licks my sore areas. Then he leaves.
When Miss Erika comes back from work, I’m nowhere in sight. I have run away. Again.
I go back to the bridge and sleep peacefully. Voices awaken me in the night. They are 3 very scantily dressed and beautiful girls, maybe about 5years older than I am.
They spot me and I go over to them. They ask me why I’m running away and I tell them of my punishments. They then tell me to follow them. I think they are prostitutes. They take me to an old man in the morning.
He gives me something to eat and tells me nobody will punish me again. He used the words “Rape” and “Magun”. I have no idea what those words mean.
I live with the prostitutes now and men come to punish them. I think they like it. And the men pay them. But nobody touches me. That makes me feel safe.
Its been 3 years now and I haven’t been punished. I’m so happy and my friends put me in a public school. I like my life now.
Then I meet Bode. He’s very handsome and kind. One day he kisses me and I slap him in shock. I’m instantly very sorry. He’s too kind and I like him. I deserve to be punished by him.
So I tell him he can punish me but he’s too shy. So I bring out his rod. His rod is small. I push it into me and he collapses to the floor. I’m scared and I call my friends. They say he is dead. That he deserves it for trying to punish me. I try to tell them that I asked him to. But they are not listening to me.
After a while, I forget about Bode. Then I start liking Ifeanyi in my class. He too is very handsome. He comes to our house and we decide to sleep with each other. I’m naked but he is still wearing his briefs. Then he removes his rod, and puts it back. He then removes it again and lays on me. Then he goes still.
I shove him off me after calling him severally. He too is dead. I start crying. When I tell my friends what happened, they take me back to the old man. But they said the old man is dead. I start crying again. This time I Dont stop.
I leave my friends and check my bag. I have little money. I get on a bus. I’m determined to find my Uncle Kamail. But I can’t remember where he lives. So I will ride the bus all the way and back.
In the bus, a woman peers at my eyes. Then my palms. She says i look pale. That I need more food. Then I get up for a pregnant woman and stand.
My uncle Kamail’s face keeps staring at me. I can still feel Mr Emmanuel’s rod poking me. They all come in my head, all at once and I start to feel dizzy.
I hold on tightly to the restraints and look around. Everyone in the bus looks like Uncle Kamail. Even the conductor looks like him. Its too much to bear.
I have to escape. So I open the emergency doors and fling myself out. I Dont land on the road as I imagined. Instead I land in water. And its so much water. Its cold too. I struggle for a while and close my eyes. I sink to the bottom and I can’t see Uncle Kamail’s evil grin anymore.
Instead I see my parents, asking me to come hug them….
My name is ‘Lore Adenipekun and I have reached the last bus stop.