MOST STORIES DO NOT start from the beginning, some plunge into life at the very end, some are established in the climax of it all, others start when there is a significant event worthy enough to pen down.
I do not know where to start my own story.
At birth or where life took a turn for the worse for me. Where the universe showed me that it could be merciless, and uneventful.
I cannot say that I had the perfect life before this tale began as no life is faultless, but at least I did have a soul worth saving.
I was born into this world in the mid nineties 1995 to be categorical, into a middle class or shall I in proper terms without the need to sound untrue, say a poor family.
My parents were happy to have me I believe, just like all parents would. They were married, I wasn’t unwanted, to them I was a blessing, and so, they named me Oyinye. But my grand mother had chosen the name Mirabel for me and it stuck to me like glue.
My mother had said that I was so beautiful, so surreal everyone had believed that I was wondrous. Wondrous beauty _ Mirabel.
I grew up to be quite the beauty, my mother donned on me till the point it almost seemed like an obsession to her. Maybe because for a long time I was all she had or perhaps because I did look so much like her.
My dad didn't spoil me so much, but I knew that he loved me. I could swear on it.
Life wasn't Perfect like I said, nevertheless it was good, at least in my little young mind.
However, everything turned sour when my two youngest brothers were born five and six years later.
Our finances were drowning and begging for support. It soon became too obvious who had been the man of the house, my mother.
Then the screams started, the fights, the hate, and the cursing.
My mother struggled to make ends meet, and my father on the other hand struggled to make our lives more unbearable each day. If his family weren't the problem, his women were. He was my father, but I started to wish otherwise.
The situation at home made me grow up rapidly in mind, but it was not until I was twelve that I knew what it meant to live in the world, as a child with poor and struggling parents who detested unity. In a world where the poor had so little say and could only afford to have little dignity. Where there were willing victims, and equally willing victimizers.
As a catholic I attended the stations of the cross all twelve years of my life and apart from the usual responses the crowd was meant to give, some other words stuck in my head.
The one I loved the most and could possibly never forget was that of Christ when the priest would in his bass voice say, 'your will is yours and no force on earth and none in hell can take away your will'.
Oh! that word stuck to my brain like two neutron stars.
I loved to hear it over and over again and sometimes I did read it.
However, a time came where it hurt me to hear those same words because no longer did I want my will to be mine I wanted someone to snatch it from me. I craved for someone to lead me while I followed, because my thoughts seemed to always be wrong and my will though mine felt like it wasn't.
Maybe, I didn't grow up fast like I wanted to believe; I think what happened was that the situation at home broke me. It made me feel small, helpless, feelings which were attributed more to grown-ups.
Nevertheless, even with so much hollowness I continued living. I lived by dreaming, and imagining fairy tales and beautiful princes who were selfless and handsome. The ones who could save me.
But, soon those dreams started to fail me as I watched my mom every day while she left the house to do all kinds of businesses. She would leave before we went to school and by the time we were back, she would be there waiting for us. She worked really hard. Too hard. So, I tried to do all that she asked of me even though they were not all pleasing to me.
I did them because I appreciated the effort she continued to make so that we could live a comfortable life even though my dad did little to nothing.
I did them because I felt guilty.
FATE DOES HAVE A WAY OF PLAYING with us most times in a sadistic way, using sadistic measures or both.
My mum soon became close friends with someone from the upper class, Lisa. A plump fair woman. They had met in some business conference, and immediately clicked.
She soon became 'the' friend that my mom trusted and wanted us to please. After all, if she liked us then she could help us, and we did really need help.
"I'm struggling for you my children without little or no help from your father or his relations. We need all the help from people like her. I'm not asking you to do much just be good children like you are always and be nice to her and her daughter." My mum had said.
Then I didn't fault her. She was just a mother who wanted her children to live a good life.
If only she knew what the friendship was going to cost her in the nearest future maybe, she would never have been friends with Lisa in the first place.
But none of us have the ability to see the future, and that remains one of mans various inadequacies.
FEW MONTHS INTO THEIR relationship, Aunt Lisa let me and my two brothers stay in her house for a week. A mini vacation during the long break.
The first two days of the vacation saw me sleeping in her daughters room, Bella. Bella was about six years younger than me.
We became best of friends and she was extremely fine. She had this beautiful brown skin and big eyes that went well with her oval face. I loved her more than I loved the fact that her parents were rich.
There were three rooms and four bathrooms in the huge passage. Bella slept in one, Ken and his sister Anita the other, and the last one on the hallway belonged to Aunt Lisa. They had three other guest rooms at a separate corner of the bungalow but Aunt Lisa wanted us close.
I had enjoyed my first two days in Bella's room as it had the kind of set up a young girl like me would love to sleep in. It was small but beautiful.
There was a small bed just opposite the door and a huge wardrobe at the side of the room where all her clothes, books and teddy bears were hidden. I was a bit jealous of her as I never got to have so many teddy bears and books_ fairy tales to be precise, while growing up.
The window was by the side of her bed covered with pink flowery cotton, the room was also painted pink which had been my favorite color at the time. The rug was pink, her bed sheets and pillow cases were also pink. It was the kind of room I saw myself having in my dreams.
When no one was watching, I would look at my reflection in the vanity mirror which was placed by the side of her door and wish I had the life she had.
But I didn't and it was OK.
It was on the third day of that week that my life changed. Change, a very scary word I must admit. The fact that you could not predict said outcome made it even scarier.
Anita had suddenly made me sleep in Ken's room which was much bigger that Bella's. The bed was bigger, the windows were bigger and the wardrobe too, although both rooms had the same setting.
Ab initio my brothers had been sleeping with him as he was a friend to me, and to them.
At first, I was quite unsure of the idea, but I trusted him and my brothers. Although, the reason for my skepticism wasn't entirely Based on trust, but because I hated change.
However, during my two days living with them Ken had built an immense trust, so deep that I thought him incapable of hurting me in anyway.
Trust; a disappointing four later word.
YOU OFTEN HEAR THE WORD BROKEN DON'T YOU? But have you ever felt it so explicitly that you could be used in defining it, in describing it. When it so happened that every time you tried to get fixed you are broken, over and over, and over again, until it became a part of you, the void feeling of brokenness. That you cannot live without the feeling of emptiness, because it is the only feeling you comprehend.
I sound so desolate, don't I?
That's exactly how I felt as I laid down on the bed frozen. My body was there but my mind was not. It had again wandered too far away leaving my soul at risk.
Back to reality I understood what my body had been clamoring to tell me and what my mind was trying to prevent me from witnessing.
I had been so asleep, in the depths of another world that I barely noticed my skin crawl.
I opened my eyes to meet a scene that I found, sudden, scary, disgusting.
What is he doing? I kept asking myself as I watched Ken move his hands slowly from my knee to my thighs.
I turned around and slapped his hands away hoping that he would stop, he did.
No words were exchanged between us or apologies given. Not that I needed any. I craved only to return to my dreams, while hoping to summon sudden amnesia.
I was the girl who desired the impossible.
With my eyes slightly ajar I watched him go back to the floor where he had been sleeping.
On the other hand, I continued to lie down, not necessarily unbothered, not entirely bothered.
I was fully aware of his presence, and the abomination of his actions.
Regardless, I stayed hoping that by reason of the fact that I had caught him then he would let me be.
That was a careless decision, but I was never known to make the right choices. In addition to that I prided myself with the delusion that I could defend me.
After a while I drifted back to sleep, albeit still worried that he would once again try to do something inappropriate to me. So this time I stayed standing on the boundary between sleep and wakefulness weary not to cross any for my fear had become magnanimous.
I had almost crossed the line drifting to yet another fairy tale land when Ken climbed the bed again.
His presence immediately called up apprehension within me. My heart raced a thousand meters Though I remained still as night.
He thought it as a sign that I was asleep, or a sign that I wanted him to touch me. Ignorant that in my head a wave of emoticons flooded paralyzing me.
I felt his weight deepen on the side of the bed, and my heart started to beat wildly against my ribcage. Its beating became stronger when Ken touched my cheek.
I whimpered, repelled, fear came later.
My hands I had hidden under the soft pillow was starting to get sweaty.
I felt exposed to him; my tiny breast, my stomach, my lips.
I turned, so that I was lying belly flat against the bed in the hope that it would send him away, but it didn't.
He climbed me, still I didn't move; I thought that maybe if I stayed whist then, he would go away. I did that a lot, I ran from my problems and pretended like they did not exist in anticipation that if I paid them no mind, then they would leave on their own accord.
It was not until I felt something hard touch my back that reality came hard to hunt me. I flared up. I didn't know where the courage came from, but I was so damn angry!
Disappointment didn't quite adequately describe my feeling anymore.
“Get off me” I shouted, turning back to face him. Now that I laid with my back to the bed I felt something hard in between my thighs, and I knew what it was.
I may have been pure, but my classmates made sure to most times enlighten me on what impurity looked like.
I glared straight into his eyes, not blinking, not fearing, feeling nothing; a feeling that to me had become all too familiar.
“Just a little touch, it won't hurt much I promise.” He said, trying to kiss me. “You are so beautiful.” He moaned, against my neck.
“No! Get off me!” I repeated, speaking through clenched teeth.
I tried pushing him off with all the strength I could muster, but It wasn't enough, it didn't move him more than two inches away from me. I was slim, and young, only twelve, why did I think I could fight him?
“Get away from me!.” I shrieked.
Terror, desperation, they were all the things I was feeling. Things that my little mind couldn't quite grasp in its entirety.
“Please, I love you, I won't hurt you.” He whispered. “Don't you trust me?”
“Get up or I'll scream and you know Aunt Lisa will hear me.” I warned, pointing my ring finger at him.
He was glaring at me and I matched his gaze.
My brothers were sleeping peacefully beside me and I didn't want to wake them up to the horrible act. They were so young, I could not afford to expose them to something so awful.
They were the only reason why my voice hadn't woken up the entire world yet.
“I am warning you. Aunt Lisa would hear us now.”
I tried to sound as stern and confident as I could in such a risky situation, but terror was starting to quickly envelope me.
My only hope was the suspicion that he was afraid of his brothers wife, and I was right.
He stopped moving and relief washed through me like river flowing down rocks. Still, I continued to keep up an impassive face even though I could hear my heart pounding in my ears.
“I'm sorry please don't scream, and don't tell her please.” He begged. Distress evident in his face and voice. I almost didn't feel too repulsed by his presence.
He didn't stop looking at me for a second. He expected defiance, but I was not stupid. I feared that he would hurt me if I did anything. I didn't want to warrant any more destruction on myself.
“OK I won't tell her.” I promised. I knew I was lying through my teeth. I definitely would tell Aunt Lisa what he tried to do to me immediately I awoke, that was if I slept at all, but he didn't need to know that. He didn't need to know that I was not as naive as he thought.
I couldn't believe I trusted him, and to think my aunt had a daughter younger than I was. I felt sad for her, she didn't know she was harboring a monster.
What's that saying about a wolf in sheep clothing?
KEN HAD GONE BACK TO SLEEP ON THE Rug, but this time I did not make the same mistake of closing my eyes. I watched him from my peripheral vision as a consequence I felt his eyes on me too, eyes that felt like tiny insects crawling up my skin.
My fright though steady was not all consuming for I had the heart of a warrior. Nurtured and Bred by time and war.
An hour of silence slowly elapsed and I looked down to see that Ken had fallen asleep.
I remembered then how I had slept on the bed but arose on the rug when I kept feeling like someone was touching me.
Then, I didn't think much of it for I had trusted Ken and my brain had been fuzzy from sleep. I had even assumed that I had fallen down from the bed.
What had made me worried a tiny bit was the fact that I was a very light sleeper, so I wondered how I got down without knowing, except...?
Except I was drugged.
God! My heart wrenched as this realization dawned on me.
When I had stirred he quickly pretended to still be asleep. Not thinking much of it I had gone back to the bed to stay close to my brothers.
He planned this with his sister, I felt it within my bones. He didn't give me anything that I could have eaten only his sister could have drugged me which I strongly suspected that they had done.
I kept envisaging it all while trying to keep tabs on him. I couldn't sleep anymore and I didn't try to.
I thought back to the cereal Anita had given to me before I slept. She was never so nice to me, but innocent and naive me didn't find anything distrustful about her sudden care for me belly.
That must have been where the drug was planted.
Who drugs a twelve-year-old?
KEN SNORED SOFTLY AND I KNEW THEN that he was in slumber land.
I quietly tiptoed to the parlor and noticed that the lights in the study, west of the parlor were all on. Which meant that aunty Lisa was awake just like I had hoped and prayed she was.
Eager to expose the wolf, I walked gently to the small study containing one wooden table, a small book shelve by the side, and three chairs.
The Air conditioner was on sending chills down my spine. Crispiness of Betrayal and expectations.
I sat down on the brown rug knowing that I couldn't sit opposite her as an equal as that I wasn't.
I trusted Aunt Lisa, hence I didn't for one second negotiate whether she would protect me or not, so I looked up at her like a child that came to talk to her mother.
My mum had said that Lisa was a good person.
“Good morning” I whispered. My voice came out low; I didn't know If it was from fear or because I had just woken up.
Or maybe it was from buried uncertainty.
“Good morning dear why are you up so early?” Aunt Lisa asked with a soft smile that lightened up her brown eyes. Her eyes immediately went back to her computer, and I was thankful for it.
I didn't want those brown eyes searching mine. I felt that if my voice shook then she might not believe me.
“Its Ken.” I breathed.
I was having conflicting feelings of what I should do that was best. Should I or should I not tell her?
“Yes, what did he do?” She turned to face me now, and that made me even more afraid to speak.
“I slept on the bed but woke up on the rug close to him, he was touching me, and... And... he Even climbed me.” I stuttered, nervously biting my lips. Saying it out loud brought a kind of feeling to my chest. A feeling that I couldn't comprehend.
“He did what!” She shouted. “Are you sure?” She asked, getting up from her seat. She looked just as shocked as I was when I woke up to see Ken close to me. I trusted her all the more now.
“Yes.” I replied. I was frozen to the spot hoping that I did not make a mistake by telling her? But if I didn't Ken might try again and maybe next time he won't stop when I ask him to.
What if he tries it with Bella, she's so little. I was so uncertain. I just didn't want her to doubt me or hate me, my mum was counting on her help.
“OK then leave everything to me.” She said, a strained smile forming on her lips. “I'll take care of him, just go back to bed.”
I wanted to say something, anything, but I could only say, “OK” as I walked out of the office back to the passage.
Bella's room was opposite Ken's, and I was tempted to go back there, but Anita would be within reach, I didn't want to see her.
I shook my head and tiptoed back into the room.
When I walked in, I checked if Ken was still asleep by waving my hand in front of his face.
When I was sure he was, I climbed the bed and drifted to inadvertence. Oblivion, a place too good to be true.