Pushed to the wall

I happened upon this competition while trolling through the TNC website. The link is http://www.thenakedconvos.com/two/.

NOW     

    Aigbe smiled callously as he watched Esosa tumble backwards onto the floor. He thought to himself that she quite looked like a fish out of water – flailing about, reaching for support that would not be forthcoming. His smile very quickly evolved into a cruel laugh as he watched the back of her head crash onto the cold, tiled floor with a sickening, wet sound. Leaping astride her semi-conscious body, he rained three solid blows onto her torso, working his way from her lower ribcage to her sternum. She yelped, shook and choked with each blow, unable to fight back.

“You are the one that will die, not me, Stupid Harlot!”

He spat into her face as the last blow landed and she choked violently, jerking with the impact of the blow and recoiling from the glob of projectile spittle that had hit her face.

“You!  Are! A! Mad! Dirty! Prostitute!”

Each word was punctuated by a slap that sent waves of pain coursing through Esosa’s head. She could barely speak or shout or scream in protest, much less move. She felt herself start to slip into a numb blackness but she tried to hold on.  Aigbe wrapped his hands around her neck and muttered.

“Witch! Harlot! Your plan has failed!”

Esosa closed her eyes and let the numbing darkness take her as her husband choked the remaining life from her, his wedding ring pressing into against her carotid artery.

 

2 hours earlier

        Esosa smiled to herself as she poured the brown powder into the bottle of Merlot. She re-corked it and shook it violently until the powder began to dissolve. She knew Aigbe was already on his way home… It was a bitter smile, the smile of a crayfish forced to bend to avoid breaking. Looking at the wine she could not drink, she almost laughed at the irony. It was she, and not her violently possessive husband that was using a love potion. Shrugging off the thought and putting on a happy face, she heard the sound of his keys in the door as she put the Brian McKnight CD on the stereo to play.

        She smiled at him when he came into the room and the smile widened as she noted his surprise at the feast laid out on the table. She felt a frisson of excitement  run through her spine as he lifted her up and gave her a full kiss on the mouth. It was going to be a good night, she just  knew it was.

2 days earlier

         She got the call as she was towelling off. The voice had been pleasant and generic. At first. It was one that she could not identify. She had happily  responded to the voice as it had greeted her pleasantly and inquired as to her name to verify her identity.                       

           Ten minutes later, she dropped weakly onto the bed that she and Aigbe had bought 3 days before their wedding. She wanted to cry. If he found out what had happened all those years ago, he’d hate her. She had no doubt in her mind of that fact. None whatsoever.

            She lay on the bed and considered her options, ticking them off individually according to their merits or lack thereof in her precise circumstance. She finally decided on the one that appealed most to her. She would confess, tell him everything. She remembered her criminal law class in UNIBEN and remembered something her professor had said: “the best defence in a case of defamation is the truth”. She would tell him the truth and let the chips fall wherever they chose to.

             She was quickly disabused of her noble ideals when she opened the Sun tabloid that night. Aigbe had brought it home from work as he did every  weekday. The picture attracted her attention first. On the cover of the tabloid, there were pictures of a woman’s face before and after her husband had bathed her in acid. She read the accompanying story in growing horror. The story seemed to her a poorly written Nollywood movie trying too hard to be a thriller instead of the teenage- type romances they usually were.  A woman, after marrying her husband, met his estranged step-brother whom she had dated while in secondary school and into the university. She had even aborted children for him. The brother had gleefully related the news to her husband with whom he had been in competition from childhood in the presence of the woman. The husband then proceeded to beat his brother into a pulp. Strangely, he said and did nothing to his wife. Months had passed and still he maintained his silence on the matter. But when his wife announced that she was pregnant, he had quietly left the house and the result of almost a year of silence could now be seen on the cover of the tabloid.

  When her husband came into the room, she pointed out the article to him and asked his opinion on the man’s (over)reaction. He defended the man. She didn’t need to ask what he would do in the same situation. If the woman told him the story, he would hate her. He might divorce her and she couldn’t let that happen. She loved him too much and as she’d just discovered, she was pregnant. Her child would not be raised in a broken home, she determined. She devised a plan. It was risky but if it succeeded, nothing the woman said would make Aigbe stop loving her. She didn’t get any sleep that night.

2 months earlier

       Esosa held Aigbe’s hand all through his father’s wake and through the burial ceremony the day after. She knew it was wrong but she felt relieved the man was dead. She had felt uncomfortable when she had learnt that he was Aigbe’s father. After all, what man would want for a daughter-in-law a girl he’d seen for almost a year with his best friend, and in very compromising situations? She had even tried to break up with Aigbe almost as soon as he had introduced him as his father but Aigbe had won her back by threats and promises.

      Strangely, the man had said nothing to her until the day Aigbe had told him that he wanted to marry her. Then, he had gotten her alone and asked her politely, to leave his son alone. She tried to explain that she had tried to do that but he wouldn’t listen and had gotten progressively nastier and stormed off eventually. He had opposed the marriage until his son had informed him that if he did not give his support, they would get married in a registry and cut off all ties with him. As Aigbe was his only son, he had reluctantly given up his opposition but even after the marriage, he’d never warmed to his daughter-in-law. Neither  Aigbe nor his mother had the faintest idea as to why the normally friendly man was so detached from his daughter-in-law. Esosa, on her part, had tried in various ways to make him change his opinion of her. But nothing she’d done had altered his dislike of her. Instead, it had worsened over the years.

But now, he was dead, and her secret with him. Looking around however, she met the eyes of a middle- aged lady. The woman was staring at her with a mixture of disapproval, disgust and hatred. She felt a tremor of doubt and wondered who the woman was. But she shook it off. She was home-free. Chief Lawani wasn’t one to rock the boat. In fact, he played possum every time he saw her in the company of Aigbe. But why then was the strange woman standing beside him pointedly staring at her? As the priest continued to talk about the “dearly departed”, she completely forgot about the woman or the look.

2 years earlier

        Esosa stared, bored, outside her dormitory window. She was waiting for her “aristo”. She saw so many luxury cars pull up and speed off moments later with girls who were wearing clothes that looked like bikinis. It was evening. She remembered a saying by Charles Baudelaire: “here comes the charming evening, the criminal’s friend. It comes like an accomplice, with stealthy tread” She refocused and saw her ex- boyfriend, Aigbe- a spoilt, immature, daddy’s boy whom she had dated for almost a year before he left her because she “did not come from the type of family his parents would approve of”. She had believed him until later that same night when she had caught him exchanging saliva with another girl.

    Now he was back, and determined to win her back. He was, she had to admit, charming and funny but the mistakes of the past could not so easily be erased. The day after he had broken her heart, she had angrily told her roommate, an “aristo girl” to find an aristo for her. After all, if circumstances had conspired to deprive her hardworking parents of wealth and by extension dignity, the thing between her legs would make up the difference. No one would ever make her feel small again, she vowed.

 

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