On Sunday, the doctor roused you from sleep and said it was morning. His voice brimmed with a strange cheer. He called you by name.
“Shola, there are clothes to wash, the bathroom tiles need scrubbing.”
You nodded slowly, your eyes on the clock towering above the entrance door. A boring headache crawled inside your skull. Since the doctor appeared in a good mood, you cracked your voice.
“Yes?” He stood halfway in, bright eyed.
“I’m feeling a bit of headache,” you said.
His face blackened, as if darkness had spilled on him. Your fingers began to tremble. He stepped in and eased the door shut behind him, but in your head, you heard it slam close, heard his soles bang towards you, heard his voice rise to a growl, like it had that evening many nights ago; a few days following your fourteenth birthday.
His finger touched your skin. “Are you sure?”
Sweat broke off your face. “Yes.” You dared his eyes. “I think it could be the drugs. Maybe they weren’t supposed to be…”
It came like thunder, the slap. An excitement had rooted in you and you were about thinking maybe everything could be better in the end, maybe the doctor would start treating you the way he had promised your handler, maybe eventually you would go to school and write UTME and wear coats to the laboratories. Maybe the late-night assaults had been clipped.
But your dreams died with the slap. Fire cracked against your lower lip. You felt your feet tumble back, towards the bed, and then, a part of you hit the wall and you collapsed on the hard foam. His image loomed above you, monstrous, and you begged.
He reached the bed, threw his weight on your torso. The wood under you split, you did not cave in, and later, when you talked to the strange voice from the house’s landline, you told her you would have preferred if the edge of the broken wood had pierced your spine.
A punch rammed your jaw into the bed. After the third punch, your eyes forced close and you stopped counting, stopped breathing. You could not breathe when the zip snapped and when the clothes shielding your upper body flew up.
Later, the doctor stood lingering at the entrance. “The tiles need to be scrubbed,” he said.
He left you crying.
The voice on the other end was soft, not unlike the doctor’s, and you wondered if she was any different.
“Hello ma’am. How can we help you?”
Static hissed. You held the receiver away from your ear and listened. A sound filtered in from the bathroom. The sound came again, like water dripping into a hollow container.
“Hello. We would like to help, but we need you to speak up.”
“Yes, yes,” you said. You told her everything. Midway, when she did not say anything, you plucked the receiver and listened to the drop of water.
“There’s a sound in the background,” she said.
“Water.” You should be washing, you told her, but your fingers were swollen and your back was stiff as a pole. Your head was ballooning on the neck. No, the doctor was not home. He was working rounds at the clinic while pursuing researches on vaccines and drugs, the same ones he had tested on you. Yes, you had gotten pregnant following ceaseless rapes and your headaches came in slams, and when you told the doctor, he gave you drugs.
How long? Two months since you started using the pills. Something shy of a week since you found out you were pregnant. No, he didn’t know you were using the phone. You were forbidden.
“Can you help us with your house address?”
“Shola.” You had told her your name and when she said it, it felt as if the roof had caved and snow was showering on you.
Downstairs, the door opened. The doctor’s feet shuffled in.
“Hurry,” you said, “I might just kill him today. And then, I will kill myself.”
Then you slammed the receiver and began to cry, again.
© Michael Tolulope Emmanuel, 2017.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Emmanuel is a twenty two year-old graduate of Chemistry. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction, blogs occasionally, plays with graphics design, reads thrillers and suspense. He was shortlisted for the 2017 edition of Okike Prize for Literature in the prose category. He won Best Creative Writer for Quramo Publishing Award 2018.