Your Brief Bio:
My name is Linda Samuel, a 300level law student in the Ebonyi State University Abakiliki.
I'm an avid reader of almost of genres of novels and occasionally pen down some short stories.
Tweet-Style Story Summary:
My story tells the horror, pain, trauma, etc passed by one of the abducted chibok girls. But every story of pain should always end with a ray of hope.
THE AMBUSHED TALE
I will always blame all my misfortunes on daddy.
It began in SS1. After first term, where we offered all the subjects known to man, ranging from science to art subjects, we were finally allowed to choose our preferred field of study. After much discussion with Gabriel, I decided to go for arts. Physics and chemistry I decided, held no appeal to me for they were way too abstract for my liking. But government and literature in English, I could easily relate with.
Gabriel had jokingly pointed out that my love for Government stemmed from my crush on the idealistic Corper that was appointed to teach Government.
Wait ohhh he began, "are you sure you are not choosing Arts because of the sexy corper Ade?'' Gabriel questioned with that mischievous glint in his eyes.
Gabriel I gave a dramatic pause just as I had learnt from my mum whenever she was about to scold us.
“I had two over ten in the last chemistry test. Gabriel! Two! I screamed for dramatic effect.
“But you have a thing for the guy ni, don't deny it he insisted.
Whilst I grudgingly agreed that the Corper in question held a certain sex appeal with his soulful, puppy eyes. My passion for the art field went deeper than the sexy teacher. It could be accounted for in the fact that in government, I saw the classroom manifesting in real life.
When my classmates complained about literature in English and the novels we were meant to read, I chuckled in delight at all the novels we were given to read, and delved into them with reckless abandon, swallowing every nugget of information voraciously.
So it came as a surprise when daddy, who had never picked any interest in the lives of his seven daughters, and treated us like irksome pets you just had to tolerate, while he poured all his love and adoration on his only son and spoilt him with way too much affection, insisted I go into the science field. I didn't put up any arguments, my father was simply not a father whose pronouncements brokered arguments, and his word was law, absolute and binding. Gabriel who was born to be a scientist was quite happy with this new development, we get to be in the same class.
Corper Ade's brows furrowed when he saw me in the chemistry lab,
“You perform much better in arts he said with wrinkled brows that reminded me of a poor Wi-Fi signal.
I wanted to tell him about my dad’s pronouncement, but then it seemed my tongue was glued to my palate. A lot of emotions coursed through me, excitement that he had noticed my good grades and sadness that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend his classes anymore.
The way he stared at me, it seemed his eyes were able to pierce my soul, and strip it bare.
“Just remember” he continued, it's never too late to follow your dreams” he said this with a rare finality that mirrored the sadness in my soul.
Gabriel did his best to help me out but his efforts were like pouring water into a basket, and then expecting it to be filled, it just had the aura of futility.
Two years later, I wasn't surprised when I came out with the worst WAEC result ever, designed with Fs and coloured with an A in English language.
Dad wore his disappointment like a child's favorite Christmas cloth and never failed to mention his disappointment. In a twisted way, I guess I was sort of glad.
It serves him right, I thought with malice, he pushed me into science.
My dad finally had my time, he had finally noticed me.
Dad's solution to my predicament was to send me off to a boarding school in Chibok, Borno state to rewrite my WAEC.
Its no new news that exams invigilators could be bribed in small towns
The night of 12th April 2014, I had the weirdest dream. I was in the verge of entering this horrendous forest. Gabriel tried to stop me but then he was restricted, it seemed he was inside a large, transparent globe. Tears formed streamed pathways from his eyes. With a false bravado that was greatly undermined my jittery nerves, I stepped into the howling forest which seemed to call out my name.
The next morning, I and 276 other girls were abducted into the much heard and dreaded Sambisa forest.
The morning of the abduction is quite vague in my memory, like an old, monochromatic movie.
A stampede was caused by rumors of a bomb being in the exam hall as we were all ushered into a white van, probably made by an indigent welder by fixing large sheets of aluminum together. To say the van was rickety, was an exercise in understatement. Aisha, my bunk mate and the closest person I could call a friend had an epileptic seizure in the van.
We banged at the van interior till the van groveled to a stop
Immediately the van was opened, about 15 girls jumped down and ran as if the devil was after their souls.
I was never a good athlete, and Aisha had quietly whispered,
“Dan Allah don't leave me alone. In her thick hausa accent.
Gun shots followed the girls, and the screams that rent the air that cast fear deep down our spinal cords.
I think, that was when it occurred to me that this wasn't a rescue team.
“If any of you try any other prank The voice thundered, your case will be worse than this
“Infidels! he hissed, closing the van with a bang that jarred most of us out of our reverie
Zuiya chose that moment to start crying.
Her noisy display of emotion spread like a desert fire during harmattan, for soon enough every girl huddled up in the van started crying.
I joined in the mournful cry for I knew my life had just taken a miserable turn for the worse, and this feeling intensified with every turn the driver made.
My arrival into the forest was arrested with a strong sense of Deja Vu, it took me a moment to remember my dream. I supported Aisha for she was as weak as a kitten, and I feared if she could survive the ordeal. The cooing sounds of different birds formed a musical symphony which I found endearing, because to me birds were very cute, and frightening because it reminded me of how far deep we are into the forest. The musical symphony of the birds was supplemented by the cacophony of wild animals I couldn't place. It reminded me of the Choir in St Louis Catholic Church. At that moment though, I would have given anything just to find myself sitting on the hard bench in Church listening to the awful Choir noises.
You know the good thing about this forest?
He threw a rhetorical question at us as he paced in a dignified manner
“When you try to escape,” he continued, we don't have to bother ourselves to track you down and kill you,” he paused for effect the wild animals will help us do just that he concluded with a smug snicker.
The man speaking seemed quite different from our other abductors. He wore a plain blue shirt and a stripped black and white trouser. A clean shaved moustache and glasses over his eyes
The first thing that hit me was surprise, his English was almost flawless and free from the usual Hausa accent, and he had an almost scholarly demeanor.
Then the fear set in.
We were assigned to mismatched tents and thereafter assigned some much cleaning jobs.
These men are pigs, I though in disgust, trying valiantly hard to ignore the faint traces of excreta I saw in the cloth I was washing. Goosebumps appeared on my skin and I all I could wish for at that particular moment was the hand sanitizer my mum got during the Ebola scourge.
The night of our abduction will still remain the worst night of my life. That night my innocence was wrenched from me the way a dangerous object is collected from a child. The night was augmented with agonized screams and grunts from the men who occasionally interspersed their grunts with furious admonitions of,
“ki yi shuru in their quests for pleasure. It was later on I got to know that it meant shut up.
I waited in my tent counting the minutes and dreading my own turn. I was filled with a deep sense foreboding, knowing that the inevitable approached. I was immobilized by a deep gut wrenching fear, when a man bent and entered my tent, the kind of fear that cripples your whole body parts and leaves you incapacitated.
Hmm he hummed satisfactorily, I could hear the smacking sound of his lips and the dangerous thought of what I could do to his lips filled my mind.
“Oyibo? I like fuck oyibo he uttered in his unintelligent English, referring to my skin color.
An indignant anger coursed through me and I kicked his groin so hard, he yelped out.
Quick as lightning he landed two vicious slaps on both of my cheeks, I momentarily lost consciousness. When I came back he was staring at me with a twisted smile on his face.
He still had the smile on his face when he tore out my clothes and held my legs wide amidst my mad struggle.
He penetrated me with such brute force I stopped struggling and screamed like a banshee from hell.
I could feel the pain tearing me apart like a paper shredder. At that particular moment, I could feel the pain of every girl being violated. The salty taste of my tears made me realized I was crying. I didn't stop crying, I cried some more because at that moment I knew my life would never remain the same.
The fight had gone out of me when my second assailant entered my tent.
He was the leader with the scholarly demeanor.
I hear Ibo girls like foreplay, well, you are in luck because I love foreplay too he said with that same smugness he had used to threaten us earlier.
At that point, I was too tired to wonder how he knew I was Ibo. I was too tired to think. And the self-disgust I felt was only rivalled by the strong loathing I had towards my abductors.
I hated myself some more when a slice of pleasure coursed through my body as he sucked my nipples.
For some time, I was Abdullah's favorite. A former English professor whom unsatisfied with the Christian teaching and western education joined the Boko Haram sect.
I knew this because he always used himself as an instance of an infidel who sought out the teachings of Allah.
“I was a Christian of the Catholic faith, and a reputable professor in Usman Danfodio University Sokoto, so you see, I've seen it all. he always droned this into our ears, as time went on, I was able to mime what he said.
A hot, vicious slap had followed when he asked me of my name.
My name is Oluchi even my voice sounded alien to my ears
“No, your name is Zainab he pronounced after I had recovered from the slap
What's your name? he questioned again
No one needed to remind me of the answer this time.
Soon enough, Abdul discarded me like an old doll. By then I was heavily pregnant and had lost all vestiges of my old self. It took me a full minute to recognize my self in the side mirror of one of the motorcycles. My fair skin was sun burnt to an unrecognizable state, my once filled cheeks were gaunt and hollow like that of a dying cancer patient.
What changed most was my eyes.
It was laced with so much bitterness, suffering and pain. It had the haunted and ravaged look of a victim's. It mirrored mummy's eyes. And I wondered what experience mummy must have passed through.
I had given up hope of being rescued from my living hell, because I thought forlornly, this is Nigeria.
My candled ray of hope was slowly extinguished till what was left was faint traces of smoke.
I gave birth to a thin, malnourished baby boy with little sprouts of brown hair in his bald hair and yellow, jaundiced eyes. All these didnt stop him from giving a throaty scream immediately my fellow prisoners delivered him. I could take hate, I could even take pain, but what I couldnt take was the look of pity the women gave me. At that moment, I knew I had hit rock bottom.
I didn't need a DNA test to know it was Abdul's child. I didn't bother to ask of the date so my son could have a birthday. I was simply bereft of all strength. I secretly named my son Jidenna meaning 'hold your father'
A sharp light pierced through my lidded eyes. My blurred vision was able to decipher a mixture of men in green and gray clothes. The muffled sounds of gunfire forced its way into my subconscious, but I could only lie down, I was too numb to do anything.
What's your name? One of the uniformed men questioned.
“My name is Zainab and my son's name is Jidenna. I droned listlessly.
I repeated this till we reached the hospital. I repeated this like a native doctor's incantation.
Everything thereafter happened in a haze.
I was visited by so many government officials. A tall, wiry man with bony fingers shook me with a firm grasp. I was told by the doctor that he was the president. At that point, I didnt care at all.
Mummy travelled all the way to visit me in Borno specialist hospital. She looked more haggard than usual and seemed to have aged far beyond her age. I asked of Daddy and she broked down with heart wrenching sobs.
“After Junior died-
“Junior is dead? I questioned incredulously
Yes, your father used the 5 million naira compensation fee to marry a new wife” she explained further.
I couldn't bear anymore sad tales so I didn't ask any questions.
I was diagnosed with HIV and VVF. Jidenna my son didn't survive. So many promises were made by the government officials. Promises I doubt they would keep.
Gabriel broke down when he saw me.
Corper Ade came to see me after your abduction, he blames himself for what happened to you he explained matter of factly.
I remembered the handsome corper with a melancholic fondness.
“It's not his fault, it's daddy's fault. I replied weakly.
I wish I hadn't survived this.
I wish I had died with Jidenna.
Suicidal thoughts filled my mind as it occurred remotely to me that it was not too late to join Jidenna and Junior in the region beyond pain and sickness
A rustle beside me makes me turn my head sideways.
I see corper Ade.
Life has taken its toll on him from his slightly gaunt cheeks and lines that ran deep into his face. He seemed to have lost some weight and that buoyant Youthfulness that I had found quite endearing.
Albeit, he was still my corper Ade.
Hello, I'm Ade" and I wonder whether he thought my mind had been so ravaged I'd forget his name "and I'm HIV positive"
I am momentarily stunned, afraid that fate had decided to play yet another cruel joke on me. I look up to Ade's beaming face.
And suddenly, slowly but surely, my extinguished candle is lit again.