(If you haven’t read part 1 of The Void, click Here)
I am standing next to an old bus; those which homeless people turn into their homes during the night. Or those in which people scramble to quench their sexual thirsts when they do not have much to spare for a hotel room. Or those in which, surrounded by darkness, people find their way to dump used bodies, slit-throat bodies, poisoned women, raped children, deadbeat parents.
The kind of old buses in which you take a dump; a big hot one, when you think we are not looking.
There are slight drizzles, but I do not shelter because I have been so dirty on the inside. I have always been, but today, I need the rain to slightly uncover the ugliness beneath. The umbrella in my hand is making small dips in the sand, to the rhythm of the music in my ears.
Girl, we nah go talk anymore,
This nah we postpone,
After we leave from the party,
I’ll be taking you home,
Been holding on for so long,
I’ve been waiting,
Time for the real ting.
No retreat, no surrender…
It has been two weeks since Alex reached out. So yeah, now was time for the real thing.
“What is taking you so long?” He had asked after a week of silence.
“Nothing. I am not just ready to meet you.”
“Why? If you do not want me, I will bow out.”
“Look here, man. We work with my timelines, not yours.”
The drizzles begin to turn into rain just as I spot Alex making his way through the crowd. I always know how they look. Slumped shoulders. Fallen cheeks. Thirsty, if not angry, eyes. He reaches into his pocket to get his phone when I tap his shoulder.
“I presume you are Alex. Let us go.”
He follows; just like they do. Unlike the others, he does not care for small talk. He offers me his jacket, places his hand around my waist and begins to speak.
“So now, what do you have to offer, Bedie?”
“I do not know. We will find out with time.”
“Come on. Are you sure? Don’t you want to give me a teaser?” He presses.
“No, I like surprises more.”
Patience boy! Patience!
It is half past 3pm when Alex unzips his trousers and lowers himself into me. I sigh, so deep that he looks into my eyes and asks “Are you okay?”
I grunt. He is bigger than I expected. Wider than I anticipated.
Thrust. Moan. Sigh. Repeat.
“Wait, can we start this over? May I have you in my mouth?” I ask.
“Why? Am I hurting you?”
“No. I Just prefer starting from below.”
“Well, I do not like that.”
What does he mean he does not like that? Does he know how many people have moaned their ways into my mouth? Does he know how many have craved the tenderness so much they had to beg me? Does he know how many have died, literally and literary, while inside me? They did not like it, they loved it.
He thrusts, deeper, so deep that I feel my insides churn.
Does it feel good? I do not know. All the time, I am thinking. How do I get him? My trick has always been in my mouth, in the saliva.
No! I cannot put the powder inside my vagina. There is no room for spitting when it comes to the vagina.
Think Bedie! Think fast!
“Stop! You are hurting me!” I scream.
He does not stop.
You are running out of time, Bedie. Think!
“I said you are hurting me!” I scream.
He stops momentarily and looks straight into my eyes. There is anger and rage in his. There is a silent sadness beyond the darkness. What is wrong with this guy?
“Does it hurt more than death?” He asks, lowering his body so that his voice is directly in my ears.
“You heard me right, does it hurt more than death?”
“How would I know? I have never been dead before.”
“Ah, for a person so tiny, you lie too much. Too much!” He retorts.
“Where is this coming from? You do not know me.”
He pulls out, shakes his penis, wipes the white against my thighs and turns to give me his back.
“Do you see this?” He asks, pointing to a scar just above his left butt.
Then it hits me.
He is the one. I know him. He knows me. Oh shit! What have I done?
We were five years old when we first had our encounter with a madman. Outside our house, on a chilly Friday mid-morning, we took turns at reading out stories to each other. It was hard; reading English, but was fun because of the laughter. Because of the beautiful shame brought about when we mispronounced words, and everyone else fell back in stitches.
In the middle of it all, a silent Baba Akinyi had walked towards us and asked about his daughter.
“She is not with us, she left,” Alex had said.
“Where did she go?”
“We have no idea. She did not say.”
“At what time do you think she will come back?”
Silence. We had no idea. All we wanted was to go back to our reading.
Then anger. Rage. Rough hands. Blue skies.
I remember the ordeal as painful. The cutting of skin. The penetration. The weight against my tiny self. The pain. My friends’ screams in my head.
“I am already a troubled man. So, will you keep calm and let us get over with this?”
Baba Akinyi, together with two of his friends, took turns at forcing themselves into us. Shirley, Alex and I. We all screamed, but none was louder than Alex. Was it his stomach? I did not understand why they had Alex lie on his stomach, yet Shirley and I were lying on our backs.
“Henceforth, the three of you are mine. So, this is a bond that will make sure this remains a secret among us. ”
Baba Akinyi had then used an old nail to make the cross-incisions just above our left butt cheeks. There was pain. Blood. Dizziness, and a heart slowly turning into stone.
“Hello Mama Bedie. The children got into a small accident, but do not worry. I have taken them to hospital and they are already bandaged.”
That was the last day I ever saw any of the persons in that room.
The last day I saw Baba Akinyi, he was lying at peace in the coffin, his sins unknown to the world. He was at peace, yet he had left behind chaos within the heads of six-year olds.
There is silence between us as Alex dresses up. Too ashamed at the memory, I clutch at my nakedness.
“Isn’t it weird that twenty-five years down the line, the memory of what happened still hurts? That we still live with the ghosts from our past?” He asks.
“How did you find me?”
“I kill people. I know you do too. Killers know each other. Most importantly, killers with the same motive know each other.”
“I am not here to scare you. Rather, I am here to ask whether killing them moves you a step closer to healing.”
He moves and sits next to me on the bed.
“Does it feel better?”
I nod in affirmation.
“Good, then we keep doing this until we heal,” he says casually.
“What if we get caught?”
“If we die, we die. After all, we are already dead inside.”