***WARNING: Mature content. Reader discretion is advised ***
PART TWENTY-TWO (II)
Edited by: Darlene Jones
As he had expected, she was drawn to the necklace. Such a well-timed gift. A hook in itself.
“Are you sure you want me to have this?” she said.
“Unless you intend to share it with someone else.”
A moment passed in silence. “No. I don’t want to. It’s too … well, I don’t think it matters now.”
“Very well,” he said. “Let’s celebrate, then. To our friendship and future union.”
“You mean marriage?”
“Yes. Or don’t you look forward to getting married someday? To be free from the shackles of your master … mistress, whoever it is that you serve?”
A nervous chuckle escaped Ekwutosilim’s lips. She faced sideways, moved her body in a timid manner. “I … I don’t know what to say.”
“Look down beside you. There is a wooden cup and a calabash of palm wine there. I’d like you to pour the wine into the cup and drink from it.”
“You want me to drink alone?”
He showed her the cup he was holding. “I’ve been drinking before you arrived.”
He couldn’t see her clearly any longer. But he could make out the contour of her body as she backed to the window. From the way she moved her head from side to side, he surmised that she wanted to see his face. The weak rays of the evening sun, which was no longer present in the sky, had provided just enough light for him to manoeuvre in the hut without giving Ekwutosilim a good look at him. He couldn’t let her see him clearly, because she would recognize him and possibly balk.
She found the aforementioned items. As she drank the wine, he set his empty cup on the floor and moved closer to the bamboo bed, but kept himself in the shadows.
Outside, dry leaves rustled. Air, moist and cool, wafted through the window. Then it got stronger, hissing, tossing, turning, and blowing in a few leaves and light-weighted sticks into the hut.
Shortly afterward, thunder crashed in the sky.
“Ah! At last … it looks like rain,” Ekwutosilim said, glancing up at the sky. She faced him again. “Aren’t you going to show me your face before I leave?”
“I will. But first, finish off your drink. I paid so much to get us the best.”
He noticed a certain hesitancy in the way she delayed. “I’ll take a few more sips,” she said. “It’s almost dark and I don’t want to return home drenched.”
“Just a few more sips will be fine.”
After she’d had more wine, he walked over and stood by the side of the bed.
“It tastes sweet, right?”
She nodded. “And I’m feeling a little dazed. I must be on my …”
He watched as she staggered away from the window and when she was within his grasp, he reached out to her. “You can barely stand on your feet, let alone walk. Why not rest here a while?”
He led her to the bed and helped her get in. Quietly he lay close beside her and began to caress her face, whispering sweet nothings into her ear. His lips followed, planting soft kisses on her cheek and neck. Even though she managed to voice a weak protest, her body reacted differently, arching toward his every touch. His hand wandered downward until it found her bare breasts. As he worked his way around one of the fleshy mounds, up to its hard and erect crest, she said, “We shouldn’t be doing this. My master will ensure that I’m severely punished if he finds out about us.”
“Perhaps. But what will he do when I offer to pay for your bride price? In fact, twice the said amount?”
“You’re willing to do this for me?”
Thunder rumbled in the distance.
The rain was pouring down; it gave the roof of the hut a steady weary beating.
At first Ekwutosilim had wondered why those few sips of palm wine had gotten her so drunk, but then she’d figured it out very quickly. It wasn’t simply the wine itself; she would need to take a lot of it to be drunk. The man who claimed he had so much affection for her had drugged the wine. Had he thought she would refuse him sexual pleasure or another visit?
She must have fallen asleep for a while, something she didn’t intend to do on her first visit to his place. He was feeling her up again now, his hands on her breasts, squeezing. But there was something strange about the way he was touching her. It was his hands; did he dip them into something sticky?
Ekwtosilim’s eyelids flipped open; she stared into his face. Lightning cast a bright light through the window, spotlighting his features. By the gods! She should have known it was him.
“It’s you,” she said.
He put his hands underneath her hips and lifted her. His hard penis pressed against her pubic hair. She felt the stickiness of his hands as they continued to make contact with her bottom.
“Why are your hands sticky?” she asked. “Is it some sort of charm?”
“A charm, it is. You know that, Okuoba,” he told her. “This is our game; one where I must win and eventually have you as my price.”
Game? Price? Okuoba? By all the gods, what’s going on? “What—what game? And who is Okuoba?”
He rammed into her hard and fast. She cried out.
“It is you, Okuoba,” he said. “You’re all I want. No one else but you.”
Sheer panic encompassed her. This man was totally mad.
“Let me go. Let me—”
He covered her mouth with his hand. “Shush.”
She murmured her pleas against his open palm, then tried to bite his hand, any part of him she could sink her teeth into.
“Why are you fighting me? You want this as much as I do,” he said. “This was your idea, remember? Don’t think you can fool me.”
Ekwutosilim tried to scream, but she felt the grip of his hands on her neck; it was as strong as a constrictor’s squeeze. She squirmed and tried to breathe. But she was unable to, even with her mouth gaping wide for air. The pressure in her ears intensified; it was bad music—so bad it shut out the sound of the rain. She felt his breath, hot and quick, against her face as he thrust her head back and forth. The more she tried to free herself, the weaker she became.
Bright light glanced off the facing wall.
She tried to open her eyelids again, but they had suddenly become dead weights. They were glued shut and remained that way. Her body was likewise immobile. Morbid details assaulted whatever was left of her consciousness.
This couldn’t be happening to her. It had to be a terrible dream. She was too young to die.
Please don’t kill me, she pleaded silently. Oh gods of my fathers! Help me.
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