"Stupid Girl!Did your poverty stricken mother ever have a China plate in her life? Ify literally spat out, a spray of saliva shot out of her mouth.
More streams of abuses followed as
Ify yelled and squeezed Ufoma’s ears.
Ufoma was kneeling on the kitchen floor with the broken pieces of the plate scattered around.
It didn’t matter that the plate had slipped out of her hands when some of the hot water which Ify had spilled poured on her legs.
It didn’t matter that the skin on Ufoma's legs were the hot water touched, was beginning to peel.
Neither did it matter that Ufoma had been forced to kneel on the floor that was littered with shattered fragments of the broken plate.
All that mattered was that a plate was broken.
TWO DAYS LATER
Ufoma limped home from the market, tears rolling from her eyes.
It had taken about half an hour to painfully extract the sharp tiny fragments from her flesh.
Her wounds were never treated.
At the young age of twelve, she had already seen Lazarus-like hardship.
Her stomach rumbled, it was almost four pm.
Hunger was part of her life.
She was used to this. She had gulped down as much water as she could when "Madam"Ify, wasn’t looking.
“ Give me my change!!!” Ufoma cried out in frustration.
“ See me, see trouble. No change abeg.” The bus conductor retorted.
“Oga It's fifty naira I pay to this side.” Ufoma said.
Alas, the bus zoomed away.
So she had to trek back home, and she knew what awaited her. She cursed the bus conductor who had taken seventy naira from her,due to “fuel scarcity”.
Ufoma wondered if Madam Ify was aware of the hike in transportation fares. She got home eventually, but it was almost 8:30pm
“Madam welcome o! So you are now big enough to go out and come back whenever you like ehn?”
“No ma! I had to tre…”
“Shut up! You have started following boys abi?” Ify snapped at her.
“Bae,allow her explain..."Ify's husband cut in.
"......Ufoma, why are you coming back by this time?” He asked
Ufoma looked up at her Oga(whose name was Ozi,by the way) and wished he would stay out of this.
Ozi was a good person, but whenever he interfered, Madam Ify took it out on her for a long time.
“Sir,I entered bus to the market, but the conductor gave me only thirty naira change instead of fifty naira, so I had to trek back home” Ufoma replied
“You mean you trekked home all the way from creek road market?” Ozi asked in an alarmed voice.
“Baby, were you not the one that told me transport fares have been increased due to fuel scarcity?” Ozi asked his wife
“Ehn yes, but I heard it had come down”
“You see how you made this girl trek all the way from the market” Ozi said sternly
It seemed the couple quarreled for hours after that.
Tears rolled down Ufoma’s eyes as she lay on the ground. Her stomach ached her very badly, as unknown to Ozi, Ify had sent her to bed without a meal.
Ufoma thought of her mother. She had been only six years old, when her mother got hit on the head by a rotten branch and died on her farm. Ufoma wished her mother was still alive.
Since then, she had been passed down from one family to another, by her Aunt. She sobbed until she fell asleep.
“Wake up! Stupid girl.” Was the first thing she heard.She jumped up, thinking she had over slept.
Her eyes were still groggy with sleep. Looking at the clock, it wasn't even 4am yet.
“Go and wash beans that you would grind for moi moi. When you finish grinding, wake me” Ify told her
“How many cups ma” Ufuoma asked forcing the sleep from her eyes.
“Three” Ify replied, on her way out of the room.
Ufoma rolled up her mat, and sleepily went towards the kitchen.
She hated Saturdays, and Ify was in a bad mood, so obviously this Saturday would be worse than usual.
By 11am, Ufoma was already tired. Luckily for her, Ozi was at home, so she had breakfast.
Madam Ify always put up a good front whenever he was around.
A DAY LATER
idn’t you see these clothes?” Adaoma asked, adding more clothes to the pile Ufoma had to wash.
Adaoma was Madam Ify's first daughter.
She had just turned sixteen, and was already following her mother’s footsteps.
Ufoma rarely said a word to Ada because even Ozi could never find any wrong in her.
“ Wash these clothes very well, or else you would re-wash them.......Lazy girl. And be fast about this, because I want to loosen my braids” with that Adaoma went into the house.
She washed the clothes, under the scorching sun, and was called in half way through, to prepare lunch. Ozi wasn't in the house, and when she served the food, Ify accused her of stealing a meat from the pot.
Ufoma denied, and Ify went into her room and came out with ropes. With the help of her three children, she bound Ufoma hands and feet, after stripping her naked.
Took her to the backyard, and flogged her with the mai guard’s whip. Then she poured hot soup on her, and left her out there.
Ozi came back by 9pm, and when his wife served him his food personally, he asked of the maid. She replied that the maid was at the backyard working.
So he thought nothing of it. He became suspicious, when his daughter Ada was the one who came to clear the table.
Knowing how much his daughter hated working, he decided to find out what exactly it was the maid was doing, that was so important that his daughter had to take over the maid’s duties.
He got to the backyard and was shocked at the sight that greeted him. His wife, untying the naked maid, while his second daughter Ugomma poured water on her face, trying to revive her.
Ozi was furious.
The next morning, Ufoma made breakfast for the family as usual, she made scrambled eggs and bread for them, and set it on the table.
She called them to breakfast.
Three hours later, the house was quiet and Ufoma sat in the living room packing her bags.
As she locked the front door behind her, she looked towards the dining room, and she felt pity for Ozi. He was a nice person, but his wife was a wicked person.
Later that evening, the corpses of the entire family was discovered. They had died at the dining table.
The maid is still at large.
......inspired by real life events
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