© Tisa Phiri
The girls woke up with a start as the loud noise from the door draged them out of their sleep.
They all sat up aggited, except for Thandi who seemed to be aware of what was going on. Her father was back home and as always he pushed the door wide open and shouted her name above his voice.
” where are you, stupid ungrateful girl!” He screamed hitting plates and pots from the room in the middle of the house.
” am here father!” Responded Thandi fear written all over her face. The very presence of the man in the next room made her shake unbearably.
She jumped out of bed and pulled a wrapper from the line crossing the room where her clothes hang.
” stay here and don’t talk please. He’s nuts there’s no telling how he will treat you all” she warned the girls and headed to the door as the loud noise covered their ears.
Mattie and Sali looked at each other both with a million questions but none bothered to utter a word.
” how many times must i call you before you give me the attention that I need you stupid girl!” Thandi’s step father yelled at her pulling her closer to him.
” am sorry Father, I was asleep and didn’t hear you walk in” Thandi answered turning quickly to look at the other room where she had left her friends.
” look at me!” The man ordered placing his hands on her shoulders his drunk red eyes piercing her very soul.
Thandi slowly lifted her shaky face staring at the man before her the smell of bear and dirty touching her nostril and getting to her gullet making her burp as she struggled to keep her insides together. His scruffy face looking like an hungry dog about to feed.
“I am hungry I need food. ” the man whose name was Mavuto spoke sternly as his eyes searched around the body of a small girl and lust building up as he landed them on her body top which showed off her small round hard breasts.
He kicked his lips lustifuly, ” go on and prepare my food then I will finish up with your sweet body later on” his wearily smile opened as he pushed her back.
Thandi staggered back and managed to find her balance from the wall.
” am sorry but there’s no food in this house, we used up everything we had yesterday and I have not been luck in finding jobs to do the past days.” she answered almost in a whisper as she prepared her body to be hit any moment.
“Oh, so now you will starve me to death, eehee? Is that your plan? To purnish me after giving you a roof to lay your stupid body in since your mother died. You pay me by lazing around!” Mavuto yelled loudly pulling the poor girl back to his filthy self and roughly tearing off her top.
Thandi was now panting and crying as her father grabbed her waist pulling down his trousers ready to rape her a millionth time.
She screamed to beg him to let go but he hit her hard to silence her, ignoring her cry to be left alone.
Mattie and Sali stood by the door on the other side of the room and peeped through the hole watching as the man in the other room tore apart the clothes of Thandi.
” we cannot let him do that to her while we watch” Mattie spoke up courageously. ” but she said we shouldn’t move from here” protested Sali shaking vividly her lips trembling.
” well, stop being a coward, it will be three against one and that man is drunk, he cannot beat us all. We have to help her, come on you fatty!” She pulled Sali dragging her out of the room and they came into full view of Mavuto who had now succeeded pushing Thandi down and was getting ready to push himself in her.
” leave her alone you animal!” Mattie shouted holding a cooking stick in her hands ready to hit him.
Mavuto who was now fully aware of the presence of strangers laughed hysterically shaking his head in disbelief. ” well, well, who has come to disturb me in my own home?” He laughed still holding Thandi to the ground.
“I said leave her alone!” Mattie raised the cooking stick higher. ” She s just a girl, just look at how you have hurt her face already. What is wrong with you?” She added her hands trembling but now not with fear but rage.
The sight of lust in the man before her reminding her of her own experience with rape.
Without warning she viciously hit Mavuto in the head and immediately he fall to the ground holding his head in pain.
” come on get up!” She shouted at Thandi who stood surprised at the courage she was seeing in her friend. She was still in shock when Mavuto pulled Mattie back and started hitting her.
Seeing how he was attacking Mattie, Thandi gained courage to defend her friend and she got to fight her father pushing him back with full force.
Sali too joined in and the three girls screamed and cried as they all beat up the now staggering man. He stood up to fight his way out but the vicious and angry girls launched their anger at him hitting him with anything they could hold their hands on, from the room.
Mattie and Sali stood back after realising how weak and blood Mavuto had become, but Thandi wouldn’t let go, she cried as she contiously hit her step father in the head and chest with a heavy pot letting out all her anger and her pains and suffering for years.
” stop now!” Mattie pulled her up from him as Mavuto groaned painfully blood covering his face.
” we have to go out of here!” She added looking at her friends. ” Thandi put on something else and cover your body, we have to leave now!” She ordered pulling the plastic shoes and putting them on her feet.
” are you crazy? Where do you think I will go from here? This is my home. My mother worked hard to build this house for us and it’s the only thing she left me. This man found me here and there is no way am leaving it for him.” Thandi cried pointing at the silent form of Mavuto.
” well, suit yourself, this man might die any minute and you will have yourself to blame if the cops put you away in Prison for the rest of your miserable life!” Mattie yelled back holding Sali’s hand.
Thandi stood watching them not knowing what to do. Either she followed the two strangers she met the previous night or await her fate in the house she grew up in with Mavuto not showing any signs of life.
” wait! ” she shouted realising the girls where walking away leaving her behind.
Mattie sighed looking back as Thandi pulled down a blouse on her naked breasts as she trailed behind them just as they were almost leaving the compound.
” I promise we will be okey girls, if that man is dead, well, hell awaits him. But if he’s going to wake up, his wounds will be a reminder for him not to ever take advantage of a girl” she added holding her friend’s hands assuredly. For some reason they seemed to believe her and gained confidence in her words.
They quickly walked out of the compound heading to the busy market and finding their way through the clouds of people who were already filling the market stalls as the early traders got to their businesses. The sounds of their voices calling out to customers reaching the ears.
They managed to escape the clouds and headed out using the small road leading to stalls of goats and swine being sold on the other side, the stench of the dung from the stalls choking their nose.
” where are we going guys?” Sali finally asked as they past to join the road that joined a tared road from the shanty compound market.
They managed to get as far away from the town centre of Lusaka out to a different compound and they finally decided to sit down under a big tree to rest and catch their breath as they had been walking since the incidence at Thandi’s house.
Thandi took time looking at her companions. Mattie was taller than both of them, she was light in complication a long face with cute features her curly hair evidently long even if she had plaited some kind of Bantu knots that were way out of neatness. Her soft eyes, pure white outmarking her facial features. The small round mouth with thin lips giving Thandi the impression that Mattie was like she had noticed earlier, talkative. The floral dress she had on reached beneath her knees showing of her strong legs.
She turned her head to look at the heavy form of Sali who she noticed was huge even though her round face with small Chinese eyes could show that she was younger than both of them. She had a wide smile that showed off all her teeth especially when she laughed which Thandi noticed she did a lot from the way she laughed as they walked to the point they were sitting.
Her round legs looked white from the dust that had covered her feet. She was clad in a short which looked brownish but she wondered if her perception that it used to be orange were true. She wore a baggy tshirt that didnt give justice to her already big body. Luckly she had small hard breasts poping up.
Her small feet , she could figure out she was a size less than hers. But the look of her short hands warned her that Sali had some natural strength to man handle someone.
Thandi was more like a link between the two girls, she was not as tall as Mattie but an inch taller than Sali, she was the darkest of the two with a soft and smooth dark skin. Her forehead was a bit wide and round with her short kink hair she would qualify for a black African girl contest.
Thandi as thought by many people, was beautiful. At her age she already had round contours around her body which she came to hate somehow thinking if she wasn’t some what that naturally beautiful, her step father couldn’t have seen a woman in her instead he could have known she was just a girl.
Her mother died three years back, she had walked in from school one morning just to find people gathered around the house.
” Thandi poor child this world is so cruel. With all the suffering you and your poor mother have been through, she has committed suicide leaving you alone in this world” an elderly woman shook her head as she held Thandi by the hand and lead her to sit outside the rid mat where a group of other women sat crying and wailing in sorrow.
Thandi was only 12 by then doing her 6th grade at a nearby government school. She had decided to ignore her step father who always found a way of manipulating and sleeping with her even when her mother was still alive.
She feared he would kill her mother if she said anything to Her, so to keep her dear mother safe and alive, Thandi had to bear the secret of her step father’s trails of raping her.
She had wanted to run away from home after her mother’s funeral after her step father assured her mother’s sister who lived far away on the Copperbelt she had no idea where exactly, offered to get her. Mavuto however, protested saying he was going to take care of her as he considered her his daughter even if he never fathered her.
Owing to the fact that the sister to Thandi’s mother was also not doing so good, being married to a polygamist who had five wives on some farms with her being the fourth one, the decision for Thandi to remain with her step father sold out and that was how she found herself leaving under his torment for the past 3 years of her life.
Now that she had taken the chance to join her newly found family, she wondered how the three of them, Mattie was was a year older than both of them, Sali the seemingly weakest of the three and herself where going to make it through life with nothing but their breaths.
She sighed sadly looking up at Mattie who had now stood holding her small waist as she looked far away .
Thandi stood up and went to stand next to Mattie, ” thank you for saving me back there” she spoke up her hands holding each other.
” I was once like You, until one day I said enough. Though you are lucky you only had your vicious father to face. ” she shrugged not turning her eyes from where she had been staring, her dress blowing up in front of her as the small winds blew around them.
” tell me all about yourself Mattie” Thandi spoke softly looking at both Mattie and Sali more like ” I want to know who you are girls and what your stories are”
” you and us are just beginning our journey of life together and today you will get to know both of us and how we found ourselves at the cliff last night and saved you from getting youself the easy way out of life.”
Mattie smiled holding Thandi’s hand and leading her to sit down on the rock besides the tree bunk.
” we will tell each other our stories later guys, for now we have to find food. Am starving” yawned Sali patting her big tummy.
The girls giggled at her and Mattie nodded her head in agreement. “Let’s find food then, later on we can talk about ourselves” she shrugged casually leading the girls to the township ahead of them to find jobs to do.
To be continued