‘Naomi, truth or dare?’
It was finally my turn, the turn I had been dreading all evening since we started this dangerous game thirty minutes ago. The rules were simple enough, but the quests? Beyond explicit.
I had watched saliva drooped from the mouth of two people who had never met before, to another girl, who had gone on her knees to lap on a guy’s thick, veined rod. So I knew what to expect if I picked a dare.
Tears welled in my soul, as I remembered Mama’s warm and proud eyes when I told her I was going for an important youth vigil at Maria’s church, for students that were about to write WAEC. She had cupped my face in her hands and said “Mu na gi eyika.” (You are the exact replica of me).
Although, my younger sister had looked at me with doubting eyes, the kind that questioned me silently if I was doing the right thing, she didn’t say a word to Mama.
The same way she kept mute when she saw Maria kiss me on the lips once. Or when she heard me moaning softly, alone in the bathroom.
Ugochi knew there was more to me than meets the eye. She knew I wasn’t that which Mama thought me to be. She had several evidences she could have used against me.
Yet, she never uttered a word. It was as if she tried not to avert our mother’s eagle eyes, from me to her. She was comfortable with being the shadow child.
My little sister sometimes made me wonder what skeletons were hidden under those silk scarfs and long denim skirts we were brought up to wear. She was as silent as a mouse, keeping Mama in total oblivion of my deeds, while only her big round eyes, judged me from a distance.
“Truth”, I breathed out nervously. The truth wouldn’t hurt that much.
“Sorry, you know the rules. There has been three truths. You have to pick a dare now”.
I grimaced at the one who reminded me of the rules.
I had noticed his eyes on me the moment I stepped into the semi dark room, heavily laden with smoke and smells I couldn’t recognize.
Maria had even whispered into my ears during the course of the game, that this one couldn’t wait to get into my pants.
I had nudged her at her side with my elbow and blushed deeply, as if everyone in the room had heard.
Maria was the kind of friend that served you thorns on a plate of roses. The kind your parents warned you about. The one that would eventually take your man away from you. She was manipulative and I, an easy prey.
“Fine. Dare,” I replied with the last pint of my courage.
His creepy smile deepened even.
“Do the honors Maria”, Ahmed smirked.
And when I turned to look at my best friend, she had this look on her face I had never seen before. Her eyes sparkled with what seemed like a mixture of mischievousness and….. Wickedness?
“Take off all your clothes and give Ahmed a lap dance”.
My heart stopped beating for a moment, and then it began to pump blood twice as fast.
“You can’t be serious!” I blurted out.
“There are no exemptions. You knew what you were getting into when you agreed to join the game.”
Every form of friendliness and protection had faded completely from her eyes and I could see the wickedness clearly now. I began to put the puzzles together. This wasn’t a get together party I was made to believe. This was a setup to rid me of my dignity.
“I still wouldn’t do it!” I yelled at her.
“Fine. But Ahmed isn’t one to back down without a fight,” Maria spoke nonchalantly.
I looked around the room of fifteen people, yet it felt like I was alone in a deep jungle, surrounded by fifteen carnivorous animals.
In my mind I called the blood of Jesus nine times and mustered enough courage to stand up.
“I am leaving”, I announced to no one in particular.
Ahmed stood up immediately and with two strides he crossed the tiny room and stood before me, his presence forcing me to sit back on the chair. Then he start on my laps and started nibbling my neck.
I squealed and looked at Maria for help. She just smiled and mouthed that I should relax.
At this time, Ahmed was already working his way up my thick cottoned blouse. When his hands came in contact with my small, cold nipples, I screamed quietly and tried to push him. His weight on me was unmovable. He grabbed my breast and squeezed harder as I fought him, hitting his head and back with my feeble hands, while his intoxicated friends laughed and made videos.
Ahmed continued to assault every inch of my skin. He slapped me twice when I almost got away from him, and I could still taste the blood in my mouth as he sucked my breasts.
The tears that flowed from my eyes were enough to make God take a break from sending the rains.
Again, I reached out to my left and tried to grab Maria’s sleeves, begging her to put a stop to this. But she laughed with them, telling other people that cared to listen that this was my first time.
And so I remained under him, while the game continued. He would stop every now and then to smile at me and ask if he was doing it right. Since I had lost every form of strength and hope, I stared blankly at him, praying fervently that he would meet with a ghastly accident that would cause him so much pain until death takes him away.
Uncountable hickeys and slaps later, I was on my way home. It was only a miracle that I was heading home whole and a virgin, but I knew that I had been scarred for life.
In my head, I conjured one thousand ways to make Maria die, but none were as gruesome as how much I wanted to kill myself for being gullible.
It was just 5:30am when I inserted my spare house key into the keyhole. That early, no one would be awake and I would be able to escape humanity for a while to cry and scrub my skin off of the dirt Ahmed had inflicted on me.
Ugochi was waiting at the front door, holding a warm white towel, staring back and forth at my bruises. Words of excuses failed me and I crumpled under her small arms that were stronger than mine.
When I looked up at her, I could see the bags that rested well under her eyes. It was either she had been crying or she didn’t sleep well.
“Where is mama?” I whispered.
My sister was unusually quiet.
“We saw the videos on Facebook”, she managed to speak.
I didn’t know how I had missed it, but when I looked farther into our living room, I saw Mama sitting on the couch with her arms folded across her breasts. She was looking at our direction and the lights were not enough to help me make out the look on her face.
Mama stood up without a word and walked through the other door opposite her that served as her bedroom.
From that moment, I knew I seized to be Mama’s little girl.