Thriller

Becky

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The young girl was a lonely soul, looking for the slightest respite.

Ahhhh” Poor Becky agonized. Veins ran in various directions across her face – of course, the distress she was under made them much more visible than ever before. In fact, one could see them, almost tearing through her bleached skin.

“Shut up, you fool!” The hushed voice came on.

“Ungrateful piece of dirt! You just can’t escape my claws.” The merchant of primitive savagery tried the most to strangle life out of the poor girl. The more her hands pressed against Becky’s neck, the more she squeezed her face as though she wanted her wicked act to be completed, much faster than it was already taking.

Poor girl gnashed her teeth as she was no longer able to utter any audible words. She was just inches away from the finish line – at least apparently. Gently, she made her eyelids lap against each other. The monstrous lady had succeeded – the young girl could no longer put up a fight. That was how her dead body would be picked up by the police over there in Ontario . She had gotten to the finish line of the struggle. She had countable breaths to take, and was about taking the very last.

“I bind you!  I rebuke you! Not my portion! Not my portion!”  Becky quickly jumped up from the corner of the bed, where she had reclined herself while the dreaded dream lasted through the night. The pace of breath tripled, just like one on a life-and-death chase. The coldness of the weather scarcely prevented droplets of sweat from filling up her face.

“I’m covered with the blood.” She made the sign of the cross up to a thousand times within a minute. Not minding whether she missed the routine. Her thoughts went amok. She wanted to believe she was in a trance. But somehow she knew wasn’t.

With her nightwear recklessly falling apart, she rushed for her little bottle of olive oil. She believed it would wade off the remnant of the gory dream and of course prevent reality from playing its part .After a brief uncoordinated search she found the bottle. In a bid to pull off the lid, the little bottle of olive oil slipped from her hand and landed on the floor. The bottle got broken, and the content spilled.

“Mummy J!” She screamed – with her two hands joined over her head. Strange calmness seemed to have suddenly come upon her. Tears were then pushed down from her eyes by some dark memories; running through her checks, the mixed up with the spilled olive oil which she didn’t bother to wipe off – at least immediately. Calmly, she sat on the left corner of the bed.

“Madam Jane!” She called out again. This time she couldn’t help but call out the lady’s name in such an official tone. She panted further – though gently. That was the lady who orchestrated her stay in Ontario – Canada, alongside other girls, whose whereabouts she couldn’t confirm. The lady was seen by the young girls as a saviour; little wonder they called her Mummy J, as a form of endearment.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Jane, was the founder of a known non-governmental organization, somewhere in Lagos State – Nigeria. An outfit that branded itself as a safe haven for traumatized young ladies. Its activities were widely applauded, as the young but unfortunate young ladies, are aided in the  charting of new courses for  their lives. Parents and guardians willingly enroll their wards into the organization’s  programmes having the assurance that their daughters would be shown the brighter side of life.

The organization – Girls’ Alive Initiative, had a Canada-based sister organization. The organization based in Nigeria, would recruit young girls under the pretext of a better life abroad and hand them over to their supposed partner in Canada, who would carry on with the finely designed plan – under their strict control from Nigeria.

“We mean well for your daughters. You’ll soon be glad we came into their lives.” Madam Jane would tell some of the parents, upon the departure of their daughters.

And to the girls, she would say; “Wipe your tears. Life has much more juicy offers for you.”

The hopes went high. Expectations were polished and fingers remained very much crossed. All in wait for a better life abroad. But as the girls cross the border, they are served lemonade – to their chagrin. Most surprising, they were put in conditions wherein laying complaints was not just a taboo, but was apparently impossible. They are left with their discreet plans and flabbergasted selves.

Becky was one of those girls .She was actually Ifeoma – beautiful thing .Born and bred within city of Owerri, somewhere within the southeastern part of Nigeria. It was upon her travel that her benefactor renamed her Becky a name she believed would be more acceptable for the reason she was been sent abroad.

Becky was at a teenage age, betrayed by the uncle she had so trusted. Taken to Lagos by her uncle; having been brought up by her widow mother, with meager resources. Uncle Pas she called him; promised to help train her through secondary school, as her education was already threatened at senior class two; having repeated that class twice .She would be experiencing township life too. The young lady was ecstatic. Her mother jumped at the offer too. At least, part of her burdens was to be ameliorated. The days rolled by, and young Ifeoma made her way to Lagos, with her uncle.

It took the young naive girl a few weeks to integrate with her new  family – Uncle P, his wife  and an only son, who was about four years old. Life in Lagos was totally different, but she blended, nevertheless. At the beginning of the next academic session, Uncle P enrolled Ifeoma into one of the secondary schools around. But as her breast became more attractively rounded, and her became more curvy; Uncle P took notice and wouldn’t to compliment her too.

“You’re now a big girl oo” He would brush his hands across her buttocks- smiling sheepishly.

“Thank you uncle” naïve Ifeoma would respond.

The uncle – niece touches and compliments, grew from being rare to being frequent. And Uncle P’s wife was either ignorant or indifferent to the growing closeness. ‘After all, they were relatives, so there was absolutely nothing to suspect. Anything on the contrary would have amounted to weirdness. Even their son, was too young to read any meaning into his dad’s sudden closeness to the young aunty; whom he was told was his niece. Ifeoma on her part, was both indifferent and naïve.

A day came, when Uncle P was alone in the house  with Uloma. He had earlier dropped off his wife and son at an event, but came decided to come back  home, only to meet his niece alone in the house ; busy with some chores.

“Wow!” He screamed, seeing her bent down, still busy with some sweeping.

“Uncle good morning!” Poor girl stood erect; unconsciously adjusting her skirt. Her firm breasts were almost escaping from her blouse. Quickly, she pulled up her blouse, as if to prevent those tender breasts from shooting out finally.

“Uncle good morning!” She greeted again. This time, with a shy facial expression, probably Uncle P’s stare . She got wind of his unspoken compliment, and admired it.

“Good morning dear!” His eyes were still fixed at her chest.

Uncle P’s body was visibly standing. But Ifeoma was not weary of that.

“My dear, there’s something you will need to clean up in our room.” He said and quickly walked into the room.

“ Okay Sir.”

Meanwhile, Uncle P’s wife was the one that usually cleaned her room by herself. Ifeoma had never before done the cleaning. But was Uncle P’s instruction came that moment , she didn’t think through the status quo.

Soon, the young lady made her way to Uncle P’s room. He had already stripped to his underwear and was laying charged up on the bed.

“Come in , come in!” He said to Ifeoma who had already appeared uneasy.

Of course, Ifeoma drew closer to the bed side, to commence the sweeping. Uncle P grabbed her, threw her on the bed; and the rest was a disgusting story. He had carnal knowledge of her. Even when the news filtered into the ears of their neighbours, they were in serious doubt because; no distressed voice was heard, on the day in question.

Meanwhile, stupefied Uloma kept the whole incident to herself . Even when it happened for the second time. Uncle P’s wife was apparently unaware of what was going on behind her nose. But when her husband noticed she becoming suspicious for a foul play, he threatened to send the young lady back to the village, under the guise of insubordination. His wife didn’t mind either. The distressed young girl prayed he didn’t make true. Seeing that he was bent on keeping to his word, Ifeoma had to confide in one of her teachers – for the fear of being sent back to the village.

On the day she was to be sent back to the village , she managed to escape to her teacher’s house before it was dawn. And so news got to Ifeoma’s  mother that her daughter had run away from Uncle P’s house, to an unknown place.

“ Ewooo!” She kept screaming at the news.

“Where’s my daughter? The eyes with which I see.”

“I just can’t tell.” Uncle P replied, with a look of seriousness and ignorance.

“If she’s dead, better let me know oo”

The distressed woman wailed and wailed, even after Uncle P’s departure. But her distress was soon replaced with trauma, when she heard the true from her daughter who arrived with her teacher some days later.

“You mean….” Tears couldn’t let her complete her statement. Mother and daughter broke into uncontrollable tears.

Nevertheless, they made up their not to tell anyone, what has transpired. Of course, they weren’t sure anyone would believe them. Even if anyone did believe them, the stigma o Ifeoma would be too much to bear. They bore their pain all alone. Ifeoma’s teacher actually came to get her consent, so as to enroll the young lady into the program of Girls’ Alive Initiative, after having discussed with Ifeoma. The woman was reluctant. She just couldn’t imagine her daughter traveling to a distant country – out of her sight. But she agreed after all – after much tears and promises. After some days of hasty preparation, the young girl travelled back to Lagos in company of her teacher. And that was how she got in contact with Mummy J – a woman that orchestrated her travel to Canada .Ifeoma got introduced to the programs of Girls’ Alive Initiative; she was enlisted alongside ten other girls, for the organization’s oversees travel. With an ecstatic moment it was for the girls. Traveling outside the country was indeed a dream come true for the girls – of course, it would help erase certain dark memories. Arrangements were quickly made – visas were quickly processed. For some reasons, the girls had to be renamed – Ifeoma was to answer Becky henceforth. She loved her new name anyway. Even their ages were reduced. In fact, their identities were all doctored . Of course if they had their way, the fingerprints of the girls would have reconstructed too. The girls were too ecstatic to have questioned the reasons behind the brazen forgery.

The days  rapidly came by, and the girls were set for a lifetime travel to Canada.

“ Shine your eyes!” Mummy J repeatedly said to the girls, at the airport, prior to their departure.

“You don’t have to be in the river, and let the foam from the soap fill your eyes.”

The girls probably began to read the handwriting on the wall. Asking unnecessary questions seemed not to be their exclusive preserve. All they did was to maintain some suggestive eye contacts among themselves.

“Is that clear?” She said to them.

The girls chorused “Yes Ma!”
“Good!”

“Our oversees partners would receive you over there” She continued.

“They would see to your welfare .But now and always I’ve got my eyes on you” She made a gesture of pointing her two fingers to her eyes and back at the girls, who tried so hard to put up smiles of ignorance.

“What did I say earlier?”

“Shine your eyes!” The girls chorused, almost causing a scene, at the part of the airport wherein they waited.

Soon they were checked in. The journey of their lives began.

The journey to Canada and then to Ontario was hitch-free. The young were fidgety at take-off and on landing, but didn’t stop them from mopping up and down the gigantic plane. Upon landing, a lady named Cecilia arranged for their picking-up in company ofher partner–Edison. They were the oversees partners Madam J talked about. Cecilia was Madam J’s cousin, but she never told the girls that. Of course, she needed not to. That was part of the many codes of the trade. To the girls , Lady C was just a foreigner , who worked in partnership with Mummy J’s agency, centred in Nigeria.

“I’m Cecilia by name. But you can call me Lady C.” She said

“Okay Ma.” They chorused, shivering from the coldness of the winter.

“That’s Edison; your guider” He waved at them, without saying a word.

“You’re welcome” Lady C continued.

“You’re welcome to the land, wherein you use what you have, to get what you want. You just need to be smart, and you will eat the good of the land.” She gave a coy smile.

At this point, they girls noticeably looked at themselves. They had probably read and understood the handwriting on the wall.

Lady C gestured at Edison, who quickly ordered the girls to submit their passports and all travel documents. They murmured and were reluctant – apparently. But the submitted the documents anyway. After that, the girls were dismissed to various locations – in threes.

Becky, with the other ladies, was to remit a particular amount to Lady C daily. That amount was to be realized from servicing the libido of the randy men that would be steadily brought their way. That was their mission in Ontario. That was their trade. Of course, they were briefly coached on how to go about their new trade. Their communication with the outside world was strictly regulated. Social media was prohibited for them. In fact, they had specific days they were allowed to talk to their relatives –under close monitoring. Lady C was no longer the friendly Lady C they saw at the airport.

“What then is the good of the land?” One of the girls asked.

A loud and dirty slap was the form of answer she got from Lady C – to her bemusement.

The girls daily put their bodies under much strain, all for the sexual satisfaction of their randy clients. Madam J gave them a daily target of a hundred Canadian dollars- claiming that each of the girls owed her sixty-five thousand Canadian dollars. “Your clients must enjoy themselves. Do you get that?” She would draw their ears to her own heinous rule of participation. Of course, they hated what they did. But they lacked to temerity for an objection. Each passing day; Becky would cry her eyes out ,remembering what her widowed back home, would be thinking of her. As she moans under the those randy men, her mind would quickly flash back to the day Uncle P took advantage of her . And her heart would bleed, profusely .She was like the sacrificial lamb, whose own life, she no longer own. Of all the things she tried so much to avoid, it was recollecting the thoughts of her mother – that increasingly made her suicidal.

As the days went by, poor Becky could no longer hear from the other ladies. “What happened? Could they have finally ended their own lives?” She randomly asked herself. She almost knew what some of them were capable of doing and she wasn’t sure if they had decided to keep up with the joneses – either. Whatever the true story, she felt a strong premonition, that almost tore her heart into shreds. Amidst all those, she momentarily managed to pray to see the very day she shall surprise her own self.

Of all the clients that came Becky’s way, My Trevor was the one who gave her the nicest treat. “That’s their way” She muttered.

Madam J warned all the girls never to be emotionally hooked up with any of the men. In fact, seeing them in public gatherings with the men was utterly prohibited. But Becky defiled that with Mr. Trevor. Both went on a shopping spree, had lunch at McDonald’s, before family retiring at Trevor’s – probably for the main issue of the day. But while the young, handsome was trying to be the ‘Mr. Nice guy’ to the poor girl, she visibly sent the message of indifference. “That’s their way” She thought. She was almost convinced that the niceties were just preludes to his rough handling of her. “So, what’s there to be happy about?”Ecstatic Trevor wasn’t careful enough to have noticed that.

“Make yourself comfortable” He said, as they arrived his place.

“What would you take?”

“I’m fine. Of course these gifts are more than enough” She pointed at the bags of goodies.

“Oh! That?”

She nodded, with decreasing timidity.

“Don’t worry, you gonna get much more ..” His hands had already gotten to the helm of her shirt , with a gentle stroking on her cold thighs.

“Could you please stop it” Becky said, pushing away Trevor’s hands. The firmness in her voice was not just a surprise to Trevor, but much more to her.

“Wahhh” He stood next to her , embarrassed.

Becky were taught to be puppets in the hands of their clients. Talking back or challenging them was just a crime, with consequences better not imagined. Becky had broken all the rules. The first was going out with Trevor. And now she dared talk back at him, not to talk of challenging him – the worst of all.

She stood next to him shaking like a bird badly beaten by the rain.

“I…please..”The possible repercussion of her effrontery suddenly dawned on her. In fact, she was stuck in the middle of being glad over her strange resistance and some kind of regret.

Meanwhile couldn’t hide his embarrassment. Rape was a heavy crime – not just in Ontario, but across Canada. But that was most unlikely to be his restraint. Maybe he was just a gentle man, poor Becky was yet to know.

Minutes after standing next to her, transfixed, he quickly ran upstairs. Strangely, Becky refused to follow him up for an apology. She boldly sat back, apparently unfazed.

Becky had immediately wanted to take her leave, but the little courtesy remaining in her restrained her. She would at least see Trevor before taking her leave. So, she relaxed on the sofa – taking an unplanned nap. She had just woken and was ready to take her leave, when her host  sluggishly climbed down and walked towards her.

“I’m sorry” She managed to say – standing. It was already evening and she forbade whatever would make her spend the night there.

“Naa. Cut that” He slowly said, with an apologetic countenance.

“Well..” He continued. “I should be the one apologizing.”

“No, no!” She feigned remorse.

“I take exception to that though.”

“Alright.”

“Don’t be in a hurry to go.” Trevor noticed her increasing hastiness to go.

“I guess you’ve got something to tell me”

“I don’t think so. I need to get going.” Becky insisted.

“What about the bags?”

“Don’t worry”

“But I insist”

Becky sluggishly took the bags. Of course she had always wanted to, but was only waiting to be pushed.

“I could drop you off. If you don’t mind”

“Alright” She said, with a hidden gladness she forbade to show.

Trevor dropped Becky off to the place she deemed cool. Becky couldn’t deny the touch of peace that hovered around the young man as they drove along. So agreed to meet with on a later day – certainly not his house. She would tell him all he wanted to know about her journey to Canada. He had so quickly brought her to the point wherein she would pretend no longer. They exchanged contacts.

Trevor and Becky met after some days. She opened up to him to the point that both broken down in tears.

“You mean you’ve gone through all these?” He managed to ask.

Becky, nodded – overwhelmed by tears.

That discussion was like a scratch on the surface of a healing wound. She was instantly reminded of the past she dreaded and worked hard to forget. At least she was glad she had found a ‘foreign angel’ that was willing to help her find her former self. But there was a problem – her person has been battered front and back – finding her true version would be a herculean task. She no longer knew if her name was actually Ifeoma or Becky. In fact, everything about her had been doctored.

“Don’t worry” Trevor repeatedly assured  her.

He was poised to help pull her out from the pit of despair. And she would try to locate the other girls too.

Soon after the authorities were dully informed and Madam Cecilia got wind of that, she fled with her cohorts – but for a moment. And the fate of Madam J in Nigeria was left in the hands of Interpol.

 

Chika Obi (NIGERIA)

Chika Obi is a young Nigerian writer with some works published on Kalahari Review, International Poetry Digest and www.storyhouse.org.

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