We arrived at Lagos few minutes past nine in the evening and finally got to Madam Cherry’s home or should I say brothel, around past ten in the evening. My body ached in so many places as the bus seats were not comfortable. I was very weak and hungry as the bread Madam bought me had long vanished from my stomach.
As we entered the old looking building, I felt chills in my bones. This place was not going to suit me well at all.
“Madam, welcome,” a young girl of about 19 years of age greeted as she took Madam’s bag from her.
“Where Nancy dey?(Where is Nancy?)” Madam asked the girl.
“Nancy dey attend to customer,” the girl replied.
“Okay,” Madam signalled her to leave.
She scurried away in fright and I wasn’t surprised at that. This place was enough to give you the chills.
“Girl, follow me.”
I immediately followed her and she lead me inside a large sitting room filled with men and young girls. Some of the men were old enough to be my grandfather, others were middle aged while the rest were young men. Girls younger than I am were displaying their body in front of these men. It felt disgusting and I felt like puking. The smell of alcohol and cigarettes were in the air. The air felt hot. I felt hot. It was like my air supply was being cut short.
I needed to get out of this room fast. I tried leaving but Madam grabbed me roughly by the shoulder.
“Where do you think you’re going to?” she sneered.
“I-I-I cant breathe,” I stammered as I struggled with my breath.
She pressed her claw like nails into my shoulder and I screamed in pain.
“You were saying?” she demanded but I kept quiet, the pain was too much for me to say anything, “That’s more like it.”
She removed her nails from my shoulder, drawing blood in the process. I tried to move my arm but winced in pain.
“You better learn how to breathe, girl! The earlier you do that, the better it will be for you,” she threatened and pushed me forward.
“Cherry, my love,” a drunkard slurred from one corner.
He reeked of urine and alcohol. Madam made a face of disgust.
“Tomi! Tomi!”Madam called to a girl sitting on the laps of a customer.
“Madam,” she quickly rushed to Madam’s side.
“Who let this wretch into my house?” She demanded.
“Madam, he let himself in. We tried to stop him but he was too strong for us.”
“C-Cherry, my w-wife, I n-n-nove you vely vely m-m-uch,” the drunkard smiled at us.
“Wait for him to sleep before you girls throw him out. Make sure you throw him inside the gutters. The next time he shows his face here again, do not hesitate to pour hot water on him. That should get him back to his senses. Do I make myself clear?”
“Useless fool!” Madam spat on the man.
“Tomi, take this girl to the dressing room. Make sure she looks good before you bring her back here. I give you thirty minutes.”
“Yes, Madam,” the girl answered and turned to face me, “Follow me.”
As Tomi applied make up on my face, I decided to ask her the many questions that were bothering since I came here.
“How did you get here?”
“It’s a story for another time. We must not waste more than thirty minutes or we will end up in the punishment room.”
“What is this punishment room?” I enquired.
“As the name implies, it is where Madam metes out punishments to us whenever we disobey her. Believe me, you don’t want to be in there. Just do as Madam tells you to do and you will be fine. Now, wear this!” she ordered.
What choice did I have? I had none. I looked at the skimpy gown and slowly started to remove my gown.
“Please be fast, I have lots of customers to attend to,” Tomi told me as she started applying more powder to her face.
The gown was too tight for me. I don’t think it was my size at all. Half of my breasts were out and if I bent down, it would expose my butt.
I looked at the mirror and saw a different Omaira. I looked like a slut. A lone escaped my eyes and fell down my cheeks. I quickly wiped it off before Tomi would begin to complain that I was ruining the make up on my face.
“Wow, see as you hot. Na now you be like correct asewo. All those men go nack you taya dis night. Oya make we dey go,(wow, you look hot. You look like a real prostitute now. All those men will fuck you till they get tired tonight. Let’s go.)” she stated excitedly.
She opened the door and I followed her. I was following her into a new chapter of my life.