I paced about the room in quick strides. “Today na today! How dem go lock a whole Senorita put for room?” I said aloud.
The room was big and well furnished, it was my first time of seeing such a big and beautiful bed in my entire life and the adjacent room to it had a white large tub with taps attached to it. The tub had a toilet seat close to it and I had no idea how it worked. I paced for four hours and when the clock struck 2am, I was already tired and hungry. I looked round the room in tears and sighed.
At that moment, the key rattled at the lock and the door opened. One of the men who had carried me in some hours earlier walked into the room and not bothering to speak, he dragged me out of the room.
I protested weakly but the stab of hunger in my stomach left me defenseless, I needed nourishment to carry on with my plot to escape. I was pushed roughly and tossed into a small red room. I call it red because apart from the fact that the light in the room was red, there were red candles, red curtains, red floor tiles and even the walls were painted red. Madame was seated cross-legged on the ground while two ladies dressed in black stood beside her. The air was so warm and misty and I struggled to adjust my eyes to see the people in the room.
“Come closer.” Madame said to me as her eyes remained closed.
I turned and looked around in panic, I couldn’t believe what was happening to me or why I was summoned. Shakily, I sat squarely on the ground, I refused to move. The man that brought me in, left as quickly as he came.
“Bring her here.” Madame ordered. The two girls walked up to me and pulled me closer to her, I raised my voice to cry out but I heard an intangible sound leave my throat. ‘Was I jazzed? Is Madame a ritualist? Am I about to be sacrificed?’ I kept asking myself.
“This is the initiation room…a place where you swear to keep everything that is going to happen to you from now on, a secret. Failure to do so will lead to your death.” Said Madame as her eyes opened suddenly and she pierced me with an owl-like stare.
“Wetin…” I whispered in a confused tone.
Madame gave me a sharp stare and continued speaking.
“Your pubic hairs will be taken and burnt at the altar of sacrifice.”
“Public?” I muttered, more confused than ever.
“Now you will repeat these words after me…I solemnly swear to hold my tongue whenever I am called upon to talk about my organization. I will repeatedly say that it is an NGO established to take care of less privileged women in the society.” Madam said.
I stared at her and didn’t respond.
“Are you deaf? Repeat after me…” Madam raised her voice at me and repeated the words she had spoken earlier.
I still didn’t reply, I wasn’t about to be used as a pawn in anyone’s game lest of all, Madame. Lagos is a free land for everyone, I had no idea why I had been be taken captive against my will.
“Get the chains!” Madam ordered.
I stood up in fear and hurriedly ran to the door of the room but it was locked. I screamed loudly as the ladies advanced towards me like zombies, their hands held portable sized chains. Surprise turned to disgust as slowly, they raised the chains high above their heads and let it rain down on my body as they whipped me.
The pain felt strange, I had never been whipped with a chain before but for the first time in the past five hours, I realized that this people meant business. The chains landed on my body, intent on breaking my bones and I knew I had to convince them to stop or they might kill me.
“E don dooo…I go talk…I go swear…abeg nor kee me…” I scream.
Madame whistled slowly and the girls stopped, each walking back to drop the chains. I wondered how the woman was able to control everyone in the household like puppets.
“Come here.” Madame ordered.
I shakily walked towards her and sat on the ground, right at my former position.
“Repeat after me…” Madame said as she read out the long oath off the top of her head.
Finally when I thought the oath would never end, Madame gave her last line.
“And so, I am offering the hairs from my body to the shrine, this binds me to the organization and its cause forever.”
I gulped and tried to repeat the words but couldn’t, I mean, I didn’t understand half of what she said but, I knew deep down that the words held huge meaning.
“Repeat it!” Madame ordered.
“Errr…and so…I offering the hair on ya body…” I said.
“Hairs on what body? The hairs on your body dammit!” Madame said.
“De hairs on ya body.” I said again.
“Are you daft? Are you joking? Do you think this is child’s play?”
“Are you dafting? Are you joking? You think say na childs we dey do?” I replied.
Madame stood up in fury, she paced around the room in anger.
“Keke…call the guards, tell them to strip her naked and throw her into the empty room for three days. On the third day, let’s see who she’s fooling around with.” Madame ordered.
The lady rushed out of the room and in two seconds, she came back into the room with two men, they hurriedly scooped me up and took me out of the room. But not before I had given Madame a piece of my mind.
“You think I dey fear you abi? You wan join me for cult…my mama na witch…you never see de kain witchcraft wey go put you for corner. Shege!”
I screamed out loud as I was carried into a dark room where I was stripped to my skin and tossed into a tub filled with water. I screamed as the water touched my skin, it burnt the parts of my body that had been whipped with the chains. Some drops of the water had touched my mouth and I brought out my tongue to taste it, it was laden with salt. Hurriedly, I scampered down the bath tub and jumped to the ground. I had no idea of the sharp bottles scattered across the room so I cursed in my language when my feet sank into sharp edges of glass. Quickly I placed them back in the tub and cursed some more as the salt and water found its way into my cut flesh. The room was pitch dark but I could feel the blood ooze out of the cuts in my feet, I closed my eyes and wept pitifully while crouching in the small tub filled with water.
“Chai…Senorita…wetin be dis? Abi na de Lagos Janet come so, na im you come? Lagos no easy ooo…Lagos na hardwork. I swear say, if I comot from dis place ehn, na village I dey go so…my mouth nor fit talk de kain thing wey I don see for Lagos. I nor fit shout… I nor fit die before my time reach!” I cried as I folded myself like a ball inside the tub.