Tomi led me into the large room. Madam Cherry was waiting impatiently for us at the bar. She marched up to us.
“How long does it take you to dress her?” she sneered.
“I-I a-am so-sorry, Madam,” Tomi stuttered.
I gulped. The look on Madam’s face could make one urinate in his pants.
“I work with time here. Time is precious to me. You’ve wasted my time. You will work extra hours tonight. Disappear from my sight!”
“Yes, Madam,” Tomi blurted and scurried away like a rat.
She turned to me and eyed me.
I gulped again.
She took me towards a group of men smoking weed. They were heavily built and hard looks on them.
“Sweet Cherry! Afa na(How are you)?” one of the men inquired. He was the most bulkiest among the men.
“Bullet, I dey o(I am fine),” Madam replied.
“Who be ds fyn fish na?(Who is this beautiful one)” another one asked.
“You like am?(Do you like her?)” Madam teased him.
“Yes!” most of them chorused.
They looked at me in hunger. It was so terrifying. The image of Papa and Tolaani appeared in my head. The image of both of them giving me that hungry look. Like a leopard waiting to pounce.
“Girl!” Madam yelled as she twisted my left ear.
I winced in excruciating pain.
“You better listen carefully!” she cautioned, “It seems one of them has taken a liking to you and wants you for keeps. Meaning anytime he comes around, you must please him. Only you!”
“Ain’t you done already?” a gruff voice demanded.
“Yes, we are. You can have her now. She’s all yours.”
“Who?” I innocently asked.
“Keep quiet!” Madam snapped, “Don’t talk to him unless he allows you to. He is not to be messed with.”
“Come here, doll!” he ordered.
Doll! I hated that name.
I studied the guy’s facial features. He had a long scar across his face. He had thick eyebrows, almond shaped eyes, a pointed nose and full lips. He was big but not close to the Mr Bulkiest. I walked slowly like a robot till I reached him. He was sitting at the midst like a boss. I think he was their boss.
He held his hand out for me. I placed mine on his. His palm was rough and full of blisters. I gulped for the third time in fear. He tapped his lap, indicating that I should sit on it. I hesitated but Madam gave me a hard shove and a glare that could kill. His large hand quickly found way to my waist and held me tightly. The other fell on my exposed thighs and he caressed them. It was not a wonderful thing. It felt like someone using iron sponge to rub my thighs.
“You are one pretty thing, doll,” he spoke.
The stench of weed was so evident in the air. I felt like throwing up on him but I remembered Madam and what she could do to me if I did that, so I forced every bit of it back into my system.
“That is not my name.”
“Hmmmm, Feisty! I like it!” he tapped my nose with a finger. I turned my face away and the other men guffawed.
“She won’t be like that for long, Bullet. She’s new here. She just came in today,” Madam tried to explain.
“No, I love the feisty ones. Come on, doll! We’ve got work to do,” he stood up carrying me with him.
I really felt like a doll this time, hanging from his side.
“Please, put me down,” I firmly told him.
The men only laughed the more. They were beginning to get on my last nerve.
“Oh, I will. But not here, on the bed,” he laughed.
I glared at him but he didn’t see it neither did Madam.
He carried me in that uncomfortable way out of the noisy room. He walked through a narrow passage filled with pants and moans. I felt sick.
“You hear that? It’s going to be us making those noises soon,” he licked my face.
“Uuurgh!” I uttered in complete disgust. I had it to my last nerve, “Put me down! Let go of me, you big oaf!”
“Hey!” he bellowed, “Be quiet!”
I kept mute immediately.
He opened a door, entered the room, closed the door and locked it. He threw me on the bed and I winced. This man doesn’t know the word gentle.
“Now the fun starts,” he declared as he unbuckled his belt.
That was when reality dawned on me. This man was going to have sex with me. Whether I cooperated or not, he would have his way with me.
“Don’t come near me!” I blurted.
He didn’t answer me but removed his shirt. By the time he was completely naked, I removed my gaze from him. I had never seen any man’s nakedness apart from Papa’s own. This was the life my mother had subjected me to. A life of misery.
“Stop crying! It won’t solve anything. Just cooperate, give me what I want and I won’t hurt you,” he stated when he saw tears on my eyes. What he said only made me cry the more. I wept loudly and refused to listen to him.
“Please, please, don’t hurt me. Don’t touch me. I beg of you,” I begged as tears rolled down my cheeks.
“Keep quiet!” he yelled and grabbed my neck, “Shut the fuck up, bitch! The only noise I want to hear from you are your moans when I drive into you.”
I didn’t listen. I wailed even louder and the next thing I felt was a sting on my cheeks. He slapped me.
He ordered, “Quit your whining, bitch!”
I shut my mouth for fear of a beating. The scene of Papa beating me before he raped me, came to my mind. I felt woozy.
Bullet flipped me over, tore my dress exposing my bare body.
“Now this is what am talking about,” he spanked my butt and I cried out in pain, “Cherry really did a good work in buying you.”
He began to throttle me as he forcefully entered my depths. He was worse than Papa. I choked and hit the bed with my palms to get his attention but he didn’t notice me. I couldn’t speak out. My oxygen supply was fast running out. My eyes were becoming teary again and black dots filled my vision. I grabbed his hand and tried to yank it away from my neck but I couldn’t. He was too strong.
Each time he thrust into me, he tightened his hold on my neck. Is this guy planning to kill me? I could hardly breathe anymore.
I prayed harder that he would finish quickly.
It looked like hours before he was finally done with me but I knew it was only a few minutes. He released my neck and I wheezed. I began to cough violently and I greedily took in air. I fell to the bed exhausted with my entire body throbbing in pain. Worse still, the fool fell on top of me. I tried to push him off but he wouldn’t budge. What was his problem!
“Get off me!”
He lazily got off me and removed his condom. He threw it at me and I flinched when it fell on my body.
“Get rid of it!”
“Where?” I asked stupidly.
“In the toilet, doll.” It seems he was too tired to exchange words with me.
I picked the condom with two fingers and dropped it on the floor far away from me. I checked the bed but there was no blood.
“So you’re not a virgin.”
It wasn’t a question.
“I was raped.”
“My foster father.”
He didn’t ask further questions and let me be. He slept off few minutes later. I decided to move to the small bathroom in the room so I could freshen up. I felt dirty. I picked the condom and went into the toilet. I threw it in and flushed it. I turned to look at the small mirror and almost screamed. I looked ghostly. My eyes were bloodshot, there were eye bags underneath my eyes, my cheek was swollen and there were bruises already forming around the skin on my neck. My hair looked like a bird’s nest.
What kind of life was this?