Stella wiped her face and began to confess,
“I was alone in my room on that fateful day when our uncle came in uninvited. I was surprised to see him as it was unusual. He surveyed the room and asked me if I wanted to have better years in his house. He repeated the question and I answered in the affirmative. His mischievous smile revealed his evil intention. He left my room that day without mentioning anything else. I was worried because he hasn’t spoken nicely to me and my sister before. Life went on until the day I met Mama Patience on my way home…”
“Mama Patience? What did she do? That woman is …” Sophia fumed.
Ruth beckoned to her to allow her speak her mind .
“Ok, go ahead…” Sophia said reluctantly.
“She told me her intention of helping me to be a better woman with dignity…”
Sophia cut in again,
“Is Patience good enough? I once caught her with Mr Fred, motor mechanic. I’m even ashamed to say what I saw. Like mother, like daughter! Nonsense ..”
“Let her speak, Sophia.” Vincent pleaded.
Stella cleared her throat and continued,
“She told me of one Mr Boris from the US who planned to marry from our town. She gave me his details and he later contacted me…”
“When did it happen? Why didn’t you inform me?” Sophia scolded her.
None of them interfered again but looked on as the sisters exchanged words in their familiar way.
“Sister, I was thinking of escaping from the evil grip of our uncle who is nothing but a younger brother of the devil.”
“At least, you should have told me.”
Stella looked at her and continued,
“Mr Boris came to our town and Aunty Rebecca was aware of it.”
“The same aunty Rebecca? Our uncle’s wife?”
“Yes! He told me of his intention of marrying me immediately I finished my final exams. He started calling me and introduced me to some of his friends in our town. He once asked about our land and …”
“You mean our land? Why? Who told him? And you kept this to yourself? Stella!”
“I was so naive. I bared my soul without thinking twice. I was blinded by his promises of taking me out of here. He once mentioned that our uncle is a nice man and ready to accommodate people.”
Sophia shook her head in pity as she listened to her pathetic story.
“So, he began to visit our house…”
Sophia couldn’t bear it anymore.
“You mean our house? Where was I? My God!”
“He used to visit whenever you’re out of town. Our uncle and his wife warned me not to disclose anything to you.”
“So, all the scoldings were a pretence? Am I right?” Sophia asked.
“Yes sister. She even made me to swear over a calabash containing Palm oil and cowries. I was scared and decided to play along. It got to a point I became puppet in their hands.”
Sophia was impatient as she asked her to tell her who was responsible for the pregnancy.
“So, who impregnated you?”
Stella paused briefly and confessed,
“He took me to his house and entertained me. Thereafter, I found myself on his bed. Then, it became a frequent visit until he disappeared. I became restless and couldn’t concentrate in school again. When I discovered …”
“So, Mr Boris impregnated you?”
“Yes. All my attempts to reach him failed. When I confronted our uncle and aunty Rebecca, they told me it happen to women of bad character and evil destiny. They told me to forge ahead and forget about it.”
“And the pregnancy?”
“Yes. Aunty Rebecca said it would be terminated if I danced to their tune?”
“To their tune? I don’t understand.” Sophia asked.
“That a higher bidder would locate me soon and our future will be secured but I rejected their offer to terminate the pregnancy.”
Sophia who was already in tears asked her,
“Stella, why didn’t you tell me all these? Why? I have laboured so hard to ensure you are comfortable but is this how you want to repay me?
“No sister. My hands were tied and my mouth sealed with an oath. I don’t want to die prematurely. I love you my sister.” She cried bitterly.
Ruth went to comfort Stella who was totally broken down. Vincent was already in tears seeing the love between the sisters.
“Sister, some weeks ago, our uncle came to my room and threatened to force me on a man who promised to build hotels and school on our father’s land. I couldn’t take it anymore and I decided to flee. I left my phone at home and fled when I heard you were around that day.” Stella said.
“I remembered vividly. I saw a note written with strange handwriting and I knew you didn’t write it.” Sophia declared.
“Hope you still have the written note?” Vincent asked.
“Yes. I have it in my bag.”
Stella continued her story,
“As I got to the main road,. I waved down a car and I jumped inside. Immediately I entered in, a man sitting beside me placed a white handkerchief on my face and that’s all. The next thing was when I found myself among other women inside the forest. It then dawned on me that I had been kidnapped. It was a real torture chamber as I was daily fondled by two of my captors.”
Sophia couldn’t bear it anymore. She asked,
“Who do you think was responsible for the kidnapping? Was it planned or coincidental?
Stella cleared her throat and wiped her face,
“I know who was behind it.”
To be continued in Episode 32.