Tears rolled down her cheeks. Kila couldn’t take it anymore her life was a great misery; she was not living but merely existing. Why did she have to suffer? Had she been born to bare pain? Her heart twisted into a knot, perhaps, she should accept her fate and move on. NO! She had had enough. She would take the risk.
Swiftly, as if refilled with energy, she packed her meager belongs into a black polythene bag. A torn dress and a pair of old battered rubber shoes were what she could call her own. Without a second glance back, she took the first step; a step that would completely transform her life, and walked out of her misery.
Things had started going sour soon after her parents succumbed to what the village ‘experts’ called “the strange disease’. Her uncle, Kisirani, who was her only surviving relative, took her under his supposed care. However, things did not turn out as expected for the little girl. A nightmare had just begun.
At the tender age of seven, Kila was treated as the official domestic help in Mr.Kisirani’s house. The kitchen would also serve as her bedroom at night and she would dutifully spread the thin blanket on the cold floor as soon as she had finished all her chores, usually way past mid-night. Kujipenda, her aunt, had made it crystal clear that she was never to be seen anywhere near the living room lest she contaminate the room with her rural primitiveness. That is, except when she was cleaning it of course!
Unsay able insults would be hurled towards her whenever she did something that was ‘stupid ‘according to her aunt. Huge blows would then ensue. Kila lived in constant fear of what would befall her. On the multiple days that she went without food after thorough beatings, she would stare blankly at the walls wondering where the so-called God, protector of widows and orphans, really existed.
Still, she survived. With no education, love nor care she withstood. At twelve, she was more mature mentally than most adults..Her aunt’s cruelty was increasing with each passing day. Her aunt made it quite clear that she would not hesitate to send her to an early grave to join her parents should she dare joke around.
Insults and beatings had lost meaning to her. It had become the definition of her life. That she could bare with…but what her uncle did…No! No! She wouldn’t let it happen again. Her dignity was at stake.
Kisirani had come back home early the previous day and demanded for his meal. Kila dutifully rushed to serve him. The man kept staring at her with a strange look in his eyes. Uncomfortable though she was, Kila shrugged and continued with her duties .As time went by, her uncle’s stares became more suggestive. Suddenly, as she turned to leave, her uncle pulled her forcefully onto his lap.
Kila was still in awed shock when her uncle whom she could barely recognize now ripped her shirt. He had become a ferocious beast. The devil had possessed his soul. All of a sudden, the impact of her uncle’s intentions hit her like a heavy boulder. She screamed and cried like a mad-woman. Her dignity would not be defiled. Her long scraggy nails came in handy as she scratched and clawed his face.
Finally,fuming with anger,he let go.cursing and calling her all sorts of names,he reminded her that the struggle was not over.He always got what he wanted and she had better prepare to give in or else…he woulld slay her like a hen.
Kila had made up her mind and she was not Lot’s wife to look back. She would venture into the unknown, her soul her only companion. Perhaps doom was in store, but yet again, maybe she would find refuge and solace…One thing was certain however, there was no turning back.