‘Jesus Christ,’ gasped Olivier as the lamp fell from her shocked hand. She was cornered. The gorilla fellow took a step into the room and Olivier chickened back. ‘Please don’t touch me,’ she pleaded, ‘please, please, please.’ Olivier stepped on Ahmed’s lizard-flat belly and crashed on the floor.
Ahmed jumped to consciousness, determined to teach Olivier a bitter lesson.
‘Help me, they want to rape me,’ she pleaded.
Ahmed was taken aback. ‘Who?’
‘Stay out of this.’
It was the voice of Suleimon. Ahmed turned and beheld the giant. ‘Ahmed,’ the voice was full of loathing, ‘stay out of this!’
‘Please help me,’ Olivier begged Ahmed.
Ahmed was on a lost. He rose to his feet but Suleimon pushed him down. ‘Stay where you are!’
Olivier now had her back on the wall, praying that the wall open its arm and melt her in the concrete.
‘Girl,’ Suleimon ordered, ‘lie down here. I don’t want to force you by force.’
‘NO,’ Olivier screamed, ‘I am pregnant; you can’t do this to me!’
‘I thought you said you have HIV,’ Ahmed pointed out.
‘I swear I am pregnant, you must beg them not to touch me, my good sweet friend, please, please.’
Ahmed shook his head. ‘You are a lying little witch. In fact, Sule, she must submit. Taju give me one rubber.’
Anger, hatred, disgust at Ahmed’s betrayal cut Olivier’s heart into two violent halves. Her grip tightened around the handle of the knife. She would have to fight them. Suleimon surged forward. He grabbed Olivier on the shoulder and began to pin her down. Olivier snapped her hand and the knife pierced into the man’s eye.
‘HOOIW,’ he mooed and staggered back. ‘My eyes, my eyes o,’ he cried. Olivier stood rooted at the spot, gaping at the man as he rumbled with pains. She was almost sorry to see the damage she had caused, so occupy was she, she didn’t see the fist raised high above the head, she didn’t even realise she was been hit until she was on the floor.
‘NO!’ she kicked and fought as the maddened Suleimon closed in and began to tear off her school dress.
Olivier opened her eyes on a bed. She quickly shut her eyes when her senses acknowledged the fire in her abdomen.
Where am I?
Then she remembered Ahmed’s room. The bloodied Suleimon, ripping her dress off. Her kicking. The lost fight. Her unheeded cry for help. The pains. Darkness.
Olivier opened her eyes and tried to heave up. Where was she? They would return for her. No, she would get away. As she threw the green sheet off her, strong soft hands gripped her. ‘Calm down, dear. You are safe here.’
Olivier looked into the angelic face of a woman, clad in immaculate white coat with a stethoscope around her neck.
‘I am your doctor,’ the angel said. ‘You are safe here. The men who did this to you have been arrested and jailed. They will never bother you again.’
Olivier returned her back to the soft hardness of the mattress.
‘We are happy you survived, dear; we almost lost you.’
Olivier touched her belly and looked at the doctor questioningly.
‘We lost the baby, dear; your life was in danger, we just couldn’t save the baby as well. So sorry, dear.’
Olivier didn’t know whether to be relieved or weep for the loss of Tony’s bastard. She wouldn’t think of it now; she would even try not to remember. There would be long years of tears ahead. She shut her eyes tight, willing herself not to remember anything. The pains of remembering hurt her more than anything. But she remembered all right. The it was as futile as shutting the sun with a blanket, she couldn’t stop herself from remembering; even as she shut her eyes, she couldn’t stop the hot tears of recollection forcing their ways from her eyes into the public gallery of her cheeks, hurting her, cutting her heart like blade.
One week later, Olivier sat before the doctor, all bones and weak with a bitter tasting mouth.
‘Congratulations,’ the doctor beamed.
Olivier looked at her blankly. She had been abused, now she was being congratulated for surviving, for being alive to relive her pains.
‘Now, we must get you home to your parents. Where do you live?’
Olivier looked at herself and discovered she was wearing a pink blouse. Over-sized.
‘We don’t even know your name.’
Olivier looked down at her fingernails. Too long. Craws.
‘Hello,’ the doctor soothed, ‘talk to me. What is your name?’
Olivier looked at the doctor’s beautiful face. So beautiful. And young.
Maybe thirty or thirty-one.
The doctor took Olivier’s hand in hers. Soft.
‘My love, you must talk to me, please.’
It was like talking to a painting. Olivier didn’t budge. After three quarters of an hour of unanswered questions dished out with great care and affection, the doctor rose to her feet, hurt. Olivier was sorry to see her hurt, and sorrier even to see her leave the office. To see warmth leave the room. Few moments later the angelic doctor returned and placed a soothing hand on Olivier’s shoulder. Olivier so wished to hug her. Then Olivier saw the toothy smile of a man behind the doctor. No! she shot to her feet, No!
‘What is the matter?’ the doctor was confused.
Olivier grabbed a pen from the desk and held it out like a weapon.
The man, a psychologist understood. ‘She doesn’t want to see me. Perhaps I have some sort of resemblance with those who abused her.’
Quickly, the doctor escorted the man out. Olivier relaxed a little, her breathe still laboured.
Outside, the man said, ‘There could be a problem.’
‘What is it?’
‘The girl is still in traumatic state. She may not just want to see me; maybe she doesn’t want to see any man.’
‘How could that be?’ the doctor squeezed her pretty face.
‘It could happen: she has been through an ordeal. Although she looks big, she is still a baby and could have an enlarged sense of paranoia. She could think that every man wants to attack her.’
The doctor shook her help. ‘How can that be?’ The doctor looked at the man’s bushy face and large unyielding shoulders. Even she, in Olivier’s shoe would be afraid of this gentle gorilla.
‘You can give my analyses a try. Send Jude into the office. He is handsome, isn’t he?’ The psychologist hid a grin. He knew that the young unmarried doctor had a crush on the younger Pharmacist Jude.
‘Send for Jude,’ the doctor said, a little embarrassed to see the telling looks on the psychologist’s face.
Olivier sat down on the chair, an eye on the door, the pen tight on her hand, ready.
‘Relax dear; the man is a psychologist and was here to help you.’
Olivier wasn’t listening. She wouldn’t be taken unawares again. The door opened and the handsome face of Jude popped in. Olivier shot to her feet and rounded the table to hide behind the doctor.
‘What is the matter?’ the surprised Jude asked.
‘Go away,’ the doctor dismissed him. It was confirmed, Olivier didn’t want to set eyes on men.
Olivier stayed in the hospital for a couple of days in which she would recoil and grab any object for defence at the sight of anything on trousers. And she was yet to say a word. She only nodded and shook her head which was even at rare occasions, mostly when her doctor was around. Her doctor knew this couldn’t continue forever. She asked her co-doctors and nurses to help get Olivier a home where Olivier could be free from the sight of men. She couldn’t take Olivier to her house which she shared with her angry jobless lesbian-suspect friend. No, she wouldn’t. So she sent words around, with the promise to help pay Olivier’s up-keep bills.
Olivier was twenty-one days old in the hospital when the doctor got the help she so needed. Pharmacist Jude informed her that his sister had agreed to take Olivier in. The elated doctor called Oliver to her office.
‘Good news,’ she announced cheerfully.
Olivier sat, blank.
‘We got a home for you. The woman lives in a compound with her three daughters all in your age bracket. No man in the house. The husband is in the United State and wouldn’t be back soon. That would be your new home for now.’
Olivier nearly smiled.
The doctor was unimpressed. ‘But we can’t release you to the woman if you don’t tell us your name. And don’t think you can remain in the hospital. We will send you away into the world where you will meet giant angry men.’
Fear grabbed Olivier and evil memories brushed her face. She quickly snatched up a pen and wrote ‘Olivier’ on a piece of paper on the desk. The doctor almost smiled. She wasn’t comfortable threatening Olivier, but that couldn’t be helped. And it brought instant result. The end and the means!
‘Your surname?’ the doctor demanded.
And Olivier wrote ‘vengeance’ against her name.
‘So your name is Olivier Vengeance?’
Olivier didn’t nod, but the hate on her face spoke volumes.
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