The echoes of her cursing voice were still bouncing off the walls, the floor and the ceiling of her bedroom
By Nhamo Muchagumisa
Darkness settled upon the land, layer upon layer and its particles, like coal dust landed on tree leaves, blades of tufted and runner grass, rock surfaces, fallen tree branches and anything that could be found under the night sky.
Natasha sat on a rock, seriously considering the long journey she had started. Maybe it was not that long after all, as there was likely to be nothing that counted for life beyond her last breath.
Once the last breath escaped her lungs, the journey was likely to be over.
What was holding her back now? She wondered. She had walked the ten kilometres from Dangamvura to this woodland in Dora Dombo to die, not to brainstorm on what possibly lay across the bridge if death was a mere walk across the bridge.
The pesticide bottle whose contents she had decided to swallow in a single, determined gulp was there in her handbag, but her appetite for its deadly contents had vanished.
The laughter of a hyena in the distance filled her with dread. Why should she be food for nocturnal creatures when she could still choose life, walk half a kilometre to the nearest homestead and ask for accommodation for the night? Why should a beast of the night savage her flesh with rabid fangs?
Natasha remained anchored at the same spot, as if the walk across the bridge was over, and the other side of the bridge was only like the same old life staring back from the mirror. The hyena laughter pierced her eardrums again. Suddenly, she felt like the hyena was laughing at her fear.
She had a wonderful list of choices, the pesticide, the hyena’s razor sharp fangs, hanging herself… but somehow the fear of death had suddenly seized her once she had landed on its unholy sanctuary.
The laughter of the hyena became more and more distant until it could be heard no more, but Natasha was not relieved.
The life in her womb had died maybe a day before and the quickest way of avoiding further complications was to terminate her own life. She wondered what she was waiting for yet she had come fully prepared.
Things had gone wrong when she had attended a teen party against her better judgement. She had decided not to touch alcohol at the party, but someone had drugged her drink when she had visited the toilet.
She had increasingly become drowsy, until the boys started doing horrible things to her while the girls cheered.
She had been packed into a car and driven back to her doorstep after quenching the lechery of about six boys.
Now an attempt to abort the result of the depraved molestation of her body had turned futile, and the dead thing in her womb had started to rot.
There was a sudden commotion in the branches of one of the bushes right in front of her, and Natasha’s nerves exploded within her body, as she expected a beast of the night to emerge from the shelter of the luxuriant leaves. But what appeared from the quaking bush was worse in her eyes than a monster from the deep.
Mrs Rukwa, dressed in a floral dress materialised from her covet, and approached the girl, a plastic smile dancing on her face. “I told you it will work, but you decided not to listen to me,” Mrs Rukwa admonished her.
“Leave me alone witch. For how long have you been stalking me?” Natasha responded angrily.
Mrs Rukwa burst into laughter and Natasha’s eardrums could hardly bear the torture of the husky laughing voice and the odium of her behaving like a witch to torment her troubled soul. She was the woman who had given Natasha the concoctions to procure an abortion.
Mrs Rukwa advanced two more steps towards Natasha. The girl stood up, squaring for a fight, but the woman evaporated into the night air before she reached Natasha.
Suddenly, Natasha was lying on her back in her bed. She had never had such a long dream. The echoes of her cursing voice were still bouncing off the walls, the floor and the ceiling of her bedroom.
She had refused to involve herself in a teen party, organised by her school friends as the last party she had gone to, involving the same people, had turned out chaotic.
All the teenagers involved in such parties had parents working in the diaspora, and the parties were held in the comfort of family houses. Natasha could not bear seeing her friends, boys and girls stripping naked and dancing in their nudity.
Having refused to belong to the gang again, Natasha had received a countless threats on WhatsApp from her “friends” and other people unknown to her. The worst threat was a plot to have her gang-raped if she was not careful with her movements.
She wondered if she should share her story with the housemaid who was her mother’s age, but she dreaded it, fearing that the woman would pass a fabricated story of her problem to her parents who were in South Africa.
Mrs Rukwa, an elderly neighbour was a better alternative, but her response was hopelessly awry. She thought Natasha wanted to procure an abortion.
“If you are pregnant, you need only an hour to be yourself again. How much do you offer for the service?” Mrs Rukwa asked.
“Sorry, you do not understand my problem, and even if you understood, your advice won’t be any good,” she had said.
Now blinking the remainder of her night away, Natasha realised that reporting her problem to the school authorities was the only way to go, even if she would be labelled a traitor.
Nhamo Muchagumisa is an English Language and Literature teacher, and he writes from Odzi. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on +263777460162. Email him at: email@example.com
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