Ken stood tied like a marked cow for Salah Celebrations as I looked at the terror that danced on his dilated and almost popping out pupils. I felt ruthless and his fear made me furious. I hit him few times with the knife and cut him deeper in bits, his groans and pleas digging out satisfaction where fear dwelled. I asked Guru and Massai to beat him into a pulp and they did, Ntwanu, although tough looking, was always a softie so left the scene. I made them tie him upside down and started butchering him from his anus. His fecal matter, washed with beaten water, his shouting, lost in my furious rants. I peeled his penis ever so slowly and shoved the peels in his mouth. Removed his eyes and shoved them into his mouth, forcing him to chew. I don’t know how he died but by the time I was way into his stomach, his shrivels had stopped. Even his death gave me no satisfaction, I dug out his heart and stepped on it. Used the tip of the knife to angrily punch into what little was left of him and cut him down. With my hands and feet, I punched him until I was a mess of his blood. Guru lifted me from him pleading for my sanity. I cried hysterically through it all.
After a while, it dawned on me that I had killed a person. A person I did not know. I could hear my mother reciting a quote from the ten commandments “Thou shall not kill” over and over again. I could see myself standing trial as hell’s mouth opened in wait for my swallow. I could see Jesus Christ crying for my loss, I could see me dying from guilt, I could see my horrible deed being replayed on giant screens at the gate of hell, I could feel rage battle guilt deep within my soul. I was just a mess, a mess of my guilt with a spice of the world’s cruelty. Instead of being happy, I was miserable! Guru took me in his arms and consoled me. He gave me a bath and rocked me like a fragile baby. He told me all would be alright but deep down, I knew something was dead inside of me. I knew nothing is bound to come back to nomalcy. I knew, I just knew. It didn’t take long to know that that was the little innocence I had left. As I was being stolen by the whispers of sleep, I thought I heard a voice in familiar voice saying, tomorrow is another day.
Paapa, Maame, I muttered on my way to a restless sleep in the assuring hands of Guru.
“SCENT OF FILTH
I am a human gutter
One whose mouth welcomes it all
From filthy slimes to horrid shit
Cold heating to hotty cold
Fire may burn me but my ashes slip within
Flood may overtake but my stench stays with me
From abused ears to pounding vaginas
I am, oh I am
I am a filthy human gutter”
I wrote such doomed poems for well over weeks. I hated myself, felt smaller than a chicken after seeing a dog chase one in front of our kiosk. I developed a phobia for dogs and couldn’t stand them. I wanted to go back home, to beg my parents and do their bidding but I reckoned none picks a used dress, shredded it into tatters only to return it to its owner. So I stayed. I remembered my conversation with Ntwanu after he came to visit me. He had taken a suitcase full of dollars from Ken’s place and some other valuables. They had decided to give it all to me so I could get out of the rat hole I lived in. I became insanely angry with him. How could he ask me to get rich on the ticket of a man I had murdered? How could he suggest that to me? I was a prostitute not a murderer! I blamed Guru, I blamed Massai, I blamed Ntwanu, I blamed everyone. I even blamed Mimi for bringing me to Kumasi. Worst of all, I blamed myself.
I blamed myself into self hatred. I couldn’t forgive me for not protecting me. I couldn’t forgive me for desecrating my very soul through my carelessness, my disrespectfulness, my defying my parents. I couldn’t forgive me for feeling like a chicken in the belly of a dog. But soon, the self pity turned into callousness and filled me with some greed scratching for a feed. I developed thick skin and decided I had done nothing wrong so would live on the cash of the man who degraded me to less than a chicken’s maimed chick. I called Ntwanu, Guru and Massai.
They were happy I was now myself. I couldn’t come to terms with being touched. I asked them to get me an apartment in a good area. I spoke to Mimi who was more than glad to move in with me. Somehow, there was another lady who had joined us. Her work name was Shai. She had been picked by Mimi after hearing her story in town. She was almost dead and left close to the train rails in Kumasi Central. Mimi picked her up and sent her to the hospital. There were many questions but she ended up well and we were able to bring her in.
She was caught and forcefully married off to a 68 year old man to pay off the debt of her uncle. Orphaned at birth, her soldier father died before she was born, her mother died right after she was born. She became the slave to the whole household. She hated sleeping with the old man, at 17, she saw no reason to be in the hell so run away to Accra but they searched and found her, tied her up like cargo and placed her in the boot of a rickety commercial vehicle along with goods back to her husband. Shai was lucky the boot was not locked because of the many goods which left some air for her throughout the twelve hour journey to the north. She was locked up and whipped by her uncle and branded a whore by her husband’s family on reaching “home”. They publicly bathed her with a broom to the delight of many male spectators, made sure they tested her for sexually transmitted diseases before he started sexually molesting her again. When they realized she had had enough, they made her the servant of the house once more.
Something happened that forced her to plan to vanish from the village. The man went broke and his lazy wives looked upon her to feed the house. She was made to sell groundnuts through hawking to bring the money home. The soles of her feet cracked, she felt tired all the time and they abused her for not getting pregnant. According to them, she was preventing herself from getting pregnant. She could not tell them the man could barely make porridge in her vagina. She took off on one of the days when she went hawking. This time through another village’s vehicle travelling to Kumasi. She decided to sleep alongside the head potters outside the stores at night but was beaten, raped and physically assaulted until she collapsed. It was then that she was found by Mimi whilst many stood watching her like a new interesting movie. According to Mimi, some were cursing her that it was what she deserved, some opined she could have been a thief taught a lesson, some also were of the view that ritualists might have abused her, some were sympathetic but did not want to send her to the hospital for fear of police interrogations and all those judging her, most importantly, knew nothing about her. Ruka Abanga Suari was her original name.
Ruka’s story helped me from my pit of misery. We got an apartment in a very rich neighbourhood. I was shocked at the house Guru and his friends chose for me. A four bedroom apartment with three bath houses, a two bedroom boys quarters with a big library and an even bigger kitchen and hall. I took my learning seriously. I was improving with every single day of learning. Ms. Barwuah had grown to love me like the daughter she never had and I had grown fond of her. Through my poems, she read my mood and gave me the best of advice without judging or criticising. I sometimes felt she knew what I did for a living and disapproved but said nothing about it. The first day of staying in a proper house marked a new beginning. We ate expensive food from a restaurant and drank expensive brandy. Shai would not drink because she was a devout Muslim. I knew she would break that habit but wasn’t one to tell her. We danced to Daddy Lumba’s “Sɛ Wosee” and Kojo Antwi’s “Afrafranto” and slept on the woollen carpeted floor as I too gayly sang in no proper rhythm “Sign of Victory” by R. Kelly, perhaps for the first time in three months, looking forward to what tomorrow would bring.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © October 2017
Photo Credit: Google Pics
Chapter 8 will be posted on Saturday, 11th Nov. 2017