He told my mother that he wanted me to come to his house and take the money he was owning her. I’m not always comfortable going to this man’s house and my mother knew this and she would always send me to go and get one or two things from him, meanwhile, I don’t really know the relationship between her and this man. A lot of people had been complaining about him both in the street and in his compound; on how he handles young boys roughly in the compound. So when mother sent me there, I was reluctant to go but she was of the opinion that I should go because, if I did not go and collect the money from him, we would all go hungry for that day. I prowled out of the compound as she began to abuse me and call me all sort of names which I don’t like at all.
When I got to his house, he ushered me in and asked me to sit down on the sofa which I did, he went into his room and came back later with small scissors. He went to the door and bolted it. He was looking at me on the sofa where I sat. Then after locking the door, he came back to me and sat behind me.
“Ebuka,” he called, “See, you have to cooperate with me and no harm will befall you. But if you don’t cooperate with me, you will not like what I will do to you with these scissors. Don’t scream, don’t shout or hesitate in any position I ask you to stay, ok?!”
I answered afraid, looking at the small scissors in his left hand and his angry face and back to the scissors in his hand. He began to gradually remove my trousers. Next, he removed my pants and began to caress and rub my private parts to my head. I was aroused by his romance and gentle touch. I wanted to scream and shout at him but was afraid of what he could do to me with those scissors. After touching me here and there, he asked me to stand up from the sofa I was laying down. I stood up, and he gave me back my trousers that he put behind him. I collected it from him and wore them; waiting anxiously for him to give me the money that I was told to collect. He stood up and gazed into my eyes and said.
“Ebuka, make sure no one hears of this because if they do, I will kill you and nobody will know your whereabouts. You are just a small boy and you know, the way I will kill you and your mother and sister will not know and; you know your father is dead and no one is going to fight for you. You are a nobody. And for your mother, tell her I don’t have the money yet.”
After saying that to me, I covered my shame with my hands because I couldn’t look at him in the eyes due to the fear that filled my eyeballs. I was afraid that he might just thrust me back to the bed and strangle me there and no one would know what had become of me. I was afraid of being beaten by this hefty man whose face was brutally designed with marks and stripes that I can not describe with my little aging eyes. I left his house abused, ashamed of myself and my hatred for life materialised again. I hated being human; human frustrated by another human in the name of satisfying their feelings and want sexually.
I walked down to the street still crying, the trees I ignored their greetings and dancing. Before, if I was not in a bad mood, I would rush to one of the trees and shake it with my little strength which mother once said it can not even kill a fly let alone hurt someone. But I told her I knew many ways of dealing with situations rather than coming to them face to face, I would target their weak points. I know the weak points of those trees that shake their bodies towards my side. I knew where to hit them and they would feel pains. I wasn’t in the mood to look at trees, I thrust myself forward; daydreaming, remembering how he touched me here and there. He kept on telling me that if I shout I would be in trouble. He unzipped my trousers, held my manhood, and caressed it excitedly. He romanced me and asked me to stand, sit and stand again. He moaned and groaned with his eyes tightly closed with my manhood in his palms angry. I remembered his painful fingers in my anus strolling as if he was looking for a lost coin in a deep hole. As I remembered all this things, tears filled my eyes, but I immediately wiped them off my eyes because of what he said. His words still ring a bell in my heart and head.
“Ebuka, make sure no one hears of this because if they do, I will kill you and nobody will know your whereabouts. You are just a small boy…”
When I got home and mother saw me coming towards the gate, she ran to me anxiously as if she wanted to devour me like a hungry lioness. I make sure my eyes were carefully wiped and no sign of red colour was seen on it because mother was a careful observer. She could see what is hidden in your heart.
“Nno O. Where is the money, Ebuka?” she barked.
“He didn’t give it to me, ma” I said putting my face down.
“Why? Why? Why? why didn’t he give you the money? You of all people knew that we have no food in the house and that money is our last hope!”
“But he said he doesn’t have money.”
“Chukwu okike! I told you not to leave there until he gives you the money, Ebuka!! If he doesn’t have money why did he ask me to send you in the first place?”
“I don’t know ma,” I said raising my head.
“Ever since he bought that palm oil from me, he did not want to pay me the money for it. I wonder where he thinks I get money to buy new ones. Chelukwa! what is that on your face? Did you cry?”
“No ma, I didn’t cry,” I said fidgeting.
“Ok, go inside the house and join Nneoma to pick the Rice. I will see him in the evening.”
I joined Nneoma in the parlor to pick the rice mother asked her to pick. I couldn’t look at her face. That innocent face of hers, she was innocent and I am guilty in my conscience. I have sold my innocence to get my family fed. Guilty of who I am, guilty of not telling my mother what had happened to me in Desmond’s house; guilty of letting my childhood out in such a cheap manner, guilty of not being brave. Guilty of letting a stranger touch me against what our teacher taught us in school. I was guilty and I knew it. I decided to walk into my room and cry, which I did.
Hours later, mother came back roaring like a lion. She banged on my door and I woke up frightened. She held my hand and dragged me out from the bed.
“Ka nju kele gi! So Ebuka, you didn’t go to Desmond’s house in the morning!”
“I did, ma,” I replied.
“Shut up! He said you didn’t come. Now this is 7 pm, go to his place and collect the money for me. I could have sent you and Nneoma but he said only you should come.”
“But mummy..” I protested.
“Just go, don’t mummy me.”
On my way to the house, I calculated what he would do to me. This is the fifth time he would touch me with that disgusting hand of his and I don’t want it anymore. I don’t want him to hold my manhood and shake it, suck it, romance it and caress it and, then moan and groan as if it was nothing at all but a mere stick. I don’t want him to touch me again! Even if I tell mother, she won’t believe me. She would say I was lying, she would not believe me. She said I was bad, spoilt and disrespectful to the elders. I don’t know why she won’t believe me again not even in a second, I don’t know why she abuses me at every slight mistake; tell me how I resemble my father; my dead father. She said he was like that until he was killed by armed robbers. I was stubborn and I knew that but she shouldn’t compare me with my father, the father I never knew; the man I never felt his fatherly care and words. He never called me ‘Obim’. Maybe he doesn’t want me, maybe I was disgusting to him, maybe he doesn’t want a boy to come that was why he died before I came to this disvirgined earth. If the story is to be told anywhere, I was not to be blamed because I didn’t create myself.
I went to Mama Okoro, our Neighbour, and explained my ordeal to her. She was surprised at hearing my ear breaking tale of abuse. She said my mother must hear this but I told her not to bother that I wanted to disgrace and expose Desmond that night if she could help me. She agreed to assist me, so we hit on a plan; a plan that would expose that dog to the public. She would go with me to the house and stay outside the house without being seen by Desmond, when I enter into the house with him and he starts his business, I would give out a shriek that won’t be so suspicious to him, she would then come in to the scene by hitting hard on the door. This would leave him with no option but confusion and destabilization.
The plan was cooked and we were ready to go and expose him in his evil act. When Desmond saw me coming, he gave out the perfect smile that brightened the night with his shining teeth.
“What kept you so long? I have been longing for this night taste of your body to satisfy my feelings. Come inside boy, this night I will give you money for ‘Akara’. Just come in,” he said smiling.
He carried me gradually to the door and locked the door behind us. I saw Mama Okoro make her way to the side of the room then to the door when we had entered. He put me down on the sofa, the fan whirls, the tick tack hands of the clock blossom in their journey, the silent room reminded me of the silent torment of mankind against his fellow, the hated mankind for the silent torment. I see every man the same as Desmond.
After putting me on the sofa, he went to the kitchen and came out with the normal scissors he always brings. He asked me to stand up which I did and as he unzipped my trousers and pulled them down, he removed my pants and began to touch my manhood. I shrieked out loud and Mama Okoro began to bang the door. Desmond became shocked, confused and amazed.
“Did you bring anyone here?” he asked. I kept mute but watched him as he moved here and there.
As the banging got more fierce, he ran to the door and opened it. Mama Okoro saw me with my trousers in my hand. She began to beat Desmond, screaming at the same time. The neighbours gathered in one accord and Desmond was dragged to the police station that night. Later he was charged to court where he was sent to jail for child abuse. Till now, my conscience still hurts me whenever I remember the incident.