I had a restless night.

I’m being plagued by her. She won’t let me sleep. She keeps on calling out for me. She needs my help. She needs to be saved. I don’t know what to do, I tried to reach out but I can’t. I tried to speak but no words came out. Tried to move but my legs were stuck on something I couldn’t see.

I’m so tired, so weak and I need to sleep. I toss and turn and then he holds me, murmurs that I will be fine. He holds me tight till I fall asleep again.

I fall into a dreamless sleep, and she is gone. Her face haunts me no more. No more cries or pleas.  I’m glad. I snuggle closer to him and drift off.

Grrrrrr.  Grrrrrrrrrrr.

Oh crap, the alarm is so loud. I have to wake up.

I open my eyes and he is not there. I try to stifle a yawn but it comes out anyway.

8Am. Oh no I have to get to work.

Lately I’ve been weighed down by the thoughts of her. I see things. I hear voices, whispers but when I look around, there’s no one there.

I don’t want him to worry so much about me; he has work and the children to worry about. I have to help, I have to be better.

I don’t want to be plagued anymore.

Time for work I tell myself. He is in the shower.

I go to the kitchen and find the girls have had their breakfast and have been taken to school by that boy.

I don’t like him. He is a good boy I know, but he is a boy still.

I said I wanted a girl but he decided his nephew was better than employing someone for a fee. I’m too weak to fight him so I concede.

I need to try to pay more attention to the girls. I don’t want them ending up like the girl that calls out to me. I don’t want them to have any sort of trauma. I need to protect them. Be there for them.

I always watch him like a hawk. Don’t want him acting funny around them.

I fear for them like the little girl that plagues me. She is in so much pain and I fear that if I don’t get strong enough I won’t be there to protect my 2 beautiful girls.

I make a cup of coffee. Black and no sugar. Strong coffee.

He calls out my name. He is out of the shower now. I need to go and do the same else I’ll be late again and my superior will not understand.

My superior scares me. He is very intimidating and I cower in fear every time I’m around him. The way he behaves when no one is in the office reminds me of a movie I think I watched a long time ago. I don’t remember the name of the move.

Frankly I don’t know if it is indeed a movie or something that happened to someone else that I saw. I’m confused about that detail.

His breath stinks, my superior that is. He is such a bully. He would call me into his office and speak to me harshly sometimes. Other times he would come close and touch my breasts, and tell warn me not to speak of it to anyone else I would lose my job. I didn’t tell anyone not for fear of losing my job.

I do not know why but I didn’t tell anyone.

‘Sweetheart’ He calls out to me, and when he gets no response, he calls my name again. I’m always lost in my own world, lost in my thoughts.

I feel so lucky. The way he loves me is different.

‘’Time to shower my love’’ he says with a smile on his face, ‘you need to go to work soon else you will be late’.

I walk to him with his own coffee. Black and a cube of sugar, and I give him a hug.

He locks me in his big arms, releases me, collects the coffee from me and gently prods me to the bathroom.

‘Take your bath so you won’t be late darling’. He repeats while sipping his coffee.

I smiled at this. He was my lifeline.

Snap out I tell myself. You will be late if you don’t shower now.

It’s Time to go to work.

After a long warm bath, I came out drying myself and stood before the mirror starring at myself.

In my reflection, my hair is cut short like the Anita Baker style. My once tall bulky frame had drastically reduced. He said he liked it, that I was keeping fit.

My oval face once riddled with pimples and black head now smooth and my skin silky smooth as always and really soft.  My pointed nose and a small scar just above my eye brows. I’ve had that since I was born. Perhaps a birthmark? I’m not sure. I didn’t ask my mum. She wasn’t there to answer anyway.

I looked into my eyes. They were black and deep and they stared right back at me. They looked un-alive. Sad, bitter. They looked dead. Why did they look dead?  I looked harder at my reflection trying to understand, to see if I could find answers.

I stared hard but I was fading. The more I looked the more I faded away, and then as sudden as I had looked, it wasn’t me in the mirror anymore.

There she was again. She was so little, pretty with her pink dress and long hair packed in a ponytail and her doll on her right hand. She just stood there staring at me and I stared right back at her.

She looked really lonely and sad and helpless, she was all alone in what looked like a garden in really big compound with two buildings, and one fully completed and furnished the other building undergoing some sort of renovation.

She was standing in front of the one undergoing renovation. And she kept on glancing at the uncompleted building, then at the and then back at me. I tried to touch her, to take her away from there. But I couldn’t move,

Rose!!! A voice called out to her and she turned sharply. The voice came from the uncompleted building. Her heart skipped a bit and I could feel it. I could hear her thoughts and she wasn’t happy. She didn’t want to go with him but there was no one to play with, and he enjoyed playing with her.

She looked to the completed part of her father’s house and no one even noticed she wasn’t there.  They always let her be. No one wanted to play with her. They said she was too dull. She wasn’t dull; she was just very reserved and shy. And she didn’t like being alone.

Once she had tried to play dress up with her big sister and her friends but she was shooed away. She was told to get out of the room as she was too young to enjoy senior jokes. (Whatever that meant).

Her brothers were worse. She didn’t even want to think about it.

In her own home she was treated like an outcast.

Friends from school were not allowed to visit her, and she wasn’t allowed to visit them as well. Once she asked her father to allow her go visit some friends just down the same street, and he said she couldn’t go. He claimed that he wanted to protect her and that to that she had to remain at home with the people that loved her, and would keep her safe. Pfftttt

She cried herself to sleep that night.

Uncle Leo was very playful. Called her his wife and always bought her sweets and biscuits.

Uncle Leo was funny and went always liked to make her smile. He never shooed her away or bullied her like her brothers did. He treated her like she was grown up. He treated her like she was his sister. He loved her differently.

He called her ‘My Precious Rose’ she loved the name.

Her father on the other hand was always out and traveling and she was at the mercy of her elder ones, the helps and all the boys that worked for her father.

She missed her mom, she wished she knew her. He mom died during child birth and Rose was alone.

She was the baby of the house, and she felt like the others didn’t like her because according to them, she killed their mom.

She heard her brother say that to one of their noisy friends.

She knew they hated her. Her big sister once called her ugly, said she was evil, because of the scar above her eye brows. They just didn’t like her.

Rose!!! , My precious Rose’ Uncle Leo called out to her again.

She had to go to him. She was tired of playing with him. He did something’s to her and she didn’t like them, but she always enjoyed all the things he bought her and the way he treated her, so that was compensation.

At first she liked being around him, and then she noticed that he changed. He always made her touch him everywhere and he would force his face on hers and assault her with his tongue when no one was watching.

She tried to tell her sisters but as usual they didn’t have the time for her. No one thought she ever had anything to say. And her dad was so busy making money to provide for them to notice that she was budding.

One time she avoided Uncle Leo for a week, and hid herself in her room, but that didn’t last because she grew bored and she wasn’t getting any sweets or chocolates anymore. Plus she had gotten so used to his attention and jokes.

She looked at me with a resigned look and turned to meet go to Uncle Leo.

Uncle Leo was one of the boys that helped her father in one of his numerous shops.

Her father accommodated all his workers in his house until he settles them and they start their own business.

Uncle Leo was back from the shop, and as he approached her he had a white nylon in his hands. Probably filled with all the things she likes.

The first time Uncle Leo had taken her to that uncompleted building he also had a white nylon like that and it was filled with so many delicious snacks which he made her finish before going back into the house.

That night she didn’t have dinner and no one cared to ask why she wasn’t hungry.

She really liked Uncle Leo. He was caring and kind and he was the only one that didn’t think she killed her mother.

Uncle Leo led her by the and into the uncompleted building which her father the chief was yet to complete, she looked back at me one last time, her 6 year old innocent face haunting me, and she was a child. I was angry and scared for her. I couldn’t imagine anyone doing this to my girls.

Where was everybody? Why doesn’t anyone care where this little baby is, where are her siblings for Christ sake.

My heart was breaking, I wanted to scream out, I want to go call her and tell her not to go, but I couldn’t, I was transfixed. I could only stare, while my insides were being torn apart.

With tears welling up my eyes and my heart beat accelerating, I watched as he led her by the hand into the uncompleted building, like a lamb to be slaughtered.

He made her lie back on the cartons littered on the floor that served as a makeshift mat.

He gave her the white nylon he was holding, and told her to take whatever she likes.

She opens the nylon and saw lots of sweets and chocolates, especially the type she liked.

She smiled and said thank you. Uncle Leo told her to take off her pants that he wanted to play with her.

Her face fell as she didn’t like that part of their play, but he threatened to take the sweets and chocolate back so she hurriedly took her baby blue pants and gave to Uncle Leo.

He smiled, and then told her to take a lollipop, and she did. He promised her that he only wanted to play with her, that he would cause her no harm and that as soon as he was done playing she would be rewarded and he also promised her a bicycle on her birthday. She nodded in agreement and smiled shyly.

He then took off his trouser and sat on the mat. She was sitting up to. He rubbed her all over with his hands that were rough and calloused.

He smelt really funny. He used his tongue on her, and his saliva was sticky on her skin. He took of his boxers and I watched helplessly in shock and he took her hands so small and told her to hold the most important 29 year old candy between his legs.

Thinking only of her candy, she obeyed, and he was ecstatic.

He asked her to kiss it, she didn’t like doing that because the candy didn’t taste like other candies, and always had a salty tasting liquid at the tip, but Uncle Leo liked it, and he was going to get her a bicycle for her birthday, and more candies.

She had asked her dad for a bicycle twice and he always forgot to buy it for her. Uncle Leo always kept his promise and she was sure he would keep this one.

She kissed his candy as he requested, and looked up at Uncle Leo, but he asked her told her to do it again, he told her to lick it like she licked her lollipop.

His eyes seemed glazed over. She tried to do what he said, but her mouth wasn’t big enough and as she made to pull away, he grabbed her head and forced himself into her mouth.

It filled her mouth and she was chocking, she was crying and hurting a lot.

Thankfully he stopped before she could pass out from the pain, and he pushed her back on the mat and forced himself on her, it was painful, not as painful as the one in her mouth but really painful.

She just lay there sobbing quietly and staring at Uncle Leo. She wanted him to stop. He had never done this to her in the past. She didn’t want the bicycle anymore. She didn’t want the candies anymore. She wanted her mommy.

She needed her daddy to come and rescue her. She was just 8 years old.

She knew no one was coming. No one cared where she was. They were too busy hating her to care.

She just lay there and let Uncle Leo have his fill. She would enjoy the candies and try to forget the pain. She turned to me and looked me straight in the eyes.

I don’t know how long I stood there for. I didn’t realize that I was shaking or that my towel had dropped to the ground.

I had no idea that the tears were streaming down my face until I felt someone hold me from behind and I jerked in shock, my heart rate faster than I had ever known.

I turned and he was there. My Husband, my friend, my love. I smiled through my tears; I didn’t have to say a word. He knew it all. I smiled and walked into the embrace of my love that had become my life and he smiled back at me, causing me to forget once again the nightmares that troubled me during the day.