Must Read: The Fretful Reverie (short story)

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Quarreling, pummeling, smashing
objects, screaming.

This was my coffee every morning due
to lack of love, peace and unity in
my divided family. It always began
with mama yelling and throwing
hostile glares , saying he was a cheat
and meanly avaricious, thereafter, I
would hear flying objects against the
wall followed by smashing of wine
bottles and plates. Sometimes papa
would decide to go further in his quest
of quenching his fire by beating mama
to pulp leaving us with a purpled eyed
woman and open wounds scattered
around her body, she always cried till
her eyes turned bloodshot.

While mama was a teetotaler, papa
was a staunch alcoholic, he
occasionally came home staggering on
his feet, holding the poor walls for
stance. Sometimes he voiced a ditty
using an unconventional rhythm
leaving us to hold our ears tightly for
fear of our hearing-impaired. He came
home with the smell of rotten eggs
conveying it to our 2 room apartment
and of course mama always bemoaned
about it. Our residence was quite old,
the two rooms were connected to the
living room, the bathroom and toilet
were together, the kitchen was very
small. I was the only child so it
became a custom for me to hide my
disdain behind a feigned smile on my
lips everyday, I no longer lived with
parents rather strangers.

Going to school was the worst, I had to
beg papa for money every morning
because I needed to board a bus,
Sometimes I felt it wasn’t asking for
money but indeed slavish attention, as
if he fed on my pathetic attempt to beg
for money. He would later call me and
ask why my skirt was below my knee,
why my thighs were visible, why I
looked indecorous, these unannounced
interrogations followed the
excruciating sound of my uniform
tearing to pieces. I learned my lesson
that day and always left the house
before he woke up, I would sell sachet
water and keep the change. When I
arrived at school I was seen with my
patched uniform, my leather satchel
that had holes and my sandal that was
buckle-less leaving me to welcome dust
between my feet.

I was in my junior secondary school
three, having only three friends wasn’t
much of a struggle. With
unsympathetic and judging stares my
other classmates would skim through
my attire looking for circles of stain
and holes, they would feign innocence
and approach me confidently, asking
why I had such stains, perhaps you
forgot to bath?, they would ask or how
many cloths do you have?. My friends
Marcel ,Vincent and Uchenna would
assemble in front of me with their
hands cocked confidently behind their
hips throwing hostile glares at any
body planning on saying anything to
me. They were always ready to speak
for me when necessary and attack
those that decided to go extra mile to
bully me, they always asked how my
parents were and why I always came
to school late running like a cheetah
with sweat dripping down my face
and body. Initially, I hesitated to tell
them for weeks but eventually I
summoned courage and explained why
I was always this way, for a fleeting
second they stayed seated with their
mouths wide open and wide eyes filled
with shock, almost immediately like
igniting fire they started accusing me
of not telling them earlier and how I
could handle such heavy load, they
also planned to match into my house,
pack my bags and carry me to their
houses. But of course I refused, I
couldn’t leave my family and run
away, I wanted to stay till the end,
even though it might drain the little
amount of life left. My friends
adamantly persisted in their quest but
I silently rejected, I loved them so
much I couldn’t burden them with my
worries.

From that day onwards they followed
me to and from school, told me to stop
hawking and paid my bus fares.
Albeit I refused, they still opened my
bag every morning, without my
knowledge, and put large amounts of
money.

When junior waec was approaching I
knew papa and mama would throw
insults at me if I decided to bring the
subject of money so I started hawking
again.

When Vincent found out, for he saw
me crossing the road with a bucket of
sachet water placed on my head, he
was furious with me and told Uchenna
and Marcel. They all shouted at the
top of their voices screaming that I
should trust them, i cried and cried
and couldn’t stop crying for the
thought of them leaving me was like
my heart being forced out of my chest,
eventually, they showed pity upon me
and softly explained to me why they
were angry, we reconciled that night
and went our separate ways, it was
very late in the night when we
separated so I decided to pass a short-
cut on my way home. It was a narrow,
dark and scary path filled with
bushes. I quickened my pace when I
remembered the disgusting stories I
heard of this place. I was too
distracted by the thought of the events
of these past weeks that I failed to
hear quickly the crunching sounds of
the leaves in the bush. I stopped for a
second to make sure I heard wrongly
and I was proven right so I walked
faster, almost reaching the end I
slowed down a bit to rest a little. I
once again heard the crunching sound
but this time more distinct and near, I
was frozen to the spot, my heart was
beating so fast, I thought my rib cage
would break, I was shaking like the
leaves that were taken unannounced
by the wind, I was frigid. I tried
looking back but was stopped midway
when a hand seized my mouth, I
noticed immediately that he smelt like
alcohol and my fear skyrocketed, I
screamed and screamed but it was
useless, I tried hitting him but failed
because of his enormous muscles, he
held me effortlessly like I was a leaf
and dragged me to the bushes, I
continued hitting and hitting and
biting his hands but it was useless, he
threw me on the floor then brought out
a cloth to tie my lips, I used that
opportunity to scream but regretted it
when I received a life changing slap,
my cheeks felt so hot, it was stinging so
bad I wanted to shed tears but
wouldn’t because I needed to be
strong.

Luckily for me I wore my tight
trousers with belt so it was difficult for
him to pull down, he started grunting
and sighing loudly due to impatience,
he brought out a blade from his pocket
and started tearing bit by bit, I felt the
night cold engulf me with its soothing
presence so i knew the tearing process
was over, he started stripping in front
of me and I knew it was over, I cried
and cried and tried to scream but it
was pointless, he removed his boxers
and I was left with the disgusting sight
of his dangling grasshopper like
manhood, I tried to look at his face but
I was left with a silhouette, he knelt
down and tore my pants and I prayed
to God to help me, the repulsive man
looked at me and i immediately jolted
back from the worst daydreaming I
had ever had, I found myself still
standing on the spot when I heard the
crunching sound, I decided not to look
back and ran for my life

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