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The kerosine lamp burnt dimly across the room.  Inusa sat with his legs wide apart after eating the oily jollof rice Maimuna had prepared. It was the fourth night since she was dragged like a goat to his house to become his wife. She had satisfied the hunger in his stomach. It will soon be time to satisfy the one in between his leg.

He cleared his throat and called for her to pack the plates. He complained about how the rice was tasteless and poorly cooked and how he had only eaten it cause he was very hungry. She paid no attention to him. It was the kind of thing a man like him would say.

After she packed up the plates and cleaned up where he had eaten, she sat outside on the verandah to watch the star-studded sky that hung above her. It reminded her of her siblings, Hadiya and Ahmed. How they’d often sit outside on the verandah close to their mother’s room to argue over the moon and if people lived in it and about the stars and the meaning of the different clusters they formed. But as she sat there, that moment, nothing made any meaning.

Later that night she was underneath him moaning between thrusts. It wasn’t moans of pleasure but of anger and helplessness and hurt. She hated how he vigorously pulled at her breasts and poured saliva and sweat all over her face. He had such bad breath. She could hardly wait for him to pull off and when he finally did, she hurried outside to the bathroom as though he had dumped a bout of disease she needed to do away with.

“I went to ease myself. I was really pressed,” she explained in hausa after she returned and he confronted her over how she ran off.

“Ai bamu gama ba, but we are not finished,” he said with eyes that glittered with greed as she settled in bed.

“I am tired”

“Tired? How can you say you’re tired when I paid a full Bride price and extra to your father? Ba ki isa ba. Take down that wrapper.”

She did.

When she went underneath him for the second time, she did not make any sound, and her eyes did not meet his. She realized she hated him now more than she did the day he raped her. She closed her eyes and reminisced over the events that preceded her marrying Inusa.

How he started paying frequent visits to her father and they will talk, most times in whispers and he would occasionally throw glances at her. How he forcefully had sex with her in her father’s sitting room on one of his visits and how she was blamed for being too beautiful, as if she created herself. She hated her dad more because he was at home when the event occurred, but he ignored her screams and denied ever hearing her or being close to the house. Then she was made to drop out of school. Her father said there was no need because Isa had quickly paid her bride price, following the “unfortunate event.”

“Inusa paid a huge bride price on your head, and you will lack nothing as his wife. He gave me two plots of land, and you know what that means.”  He said in an enthusiastic voice on the night she was taken to Inusa’s house.

Her mother had no say in the matter, so she just watched and Maimuna hated her as well for her silence.

It was when she heard Inusa snoring that she realized that he was done. His head lay wryly, close to her cleavage. As she watched him, a new anger welled up inside of her. She could smash his face against the wall.

She looked away from his head and as she turned to look at the door, her eyes met an object that glittered in the dim light of the room.

It was the Kibiya she used to loosen her hair earlier in the day. She reached out for it with her hand and brought it close to Isa’s head. As she was about to drive the pin into his ears, he opened his eyes.




Post image by Adam Jones via Flickr.

About the Author:

Portrait - AdamuFarida Adamu is a young Nigerian writer of prose and poetry. She has a couple of her poems published in an online chapbook “Obliterated Faces”. She loves to visit new places but hates travelling. She lives and writes from Jos.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

11 Responses to “Ordeal | by Farida Adamu | An African Story” Subscribe

  1. nhlakes 2016/06/24 at 04:44 #

    I kinda liked it,nicce story

  2. Mariam Sule 2016/06/24 at 05:48 #

    My darling Farida ❤

  3. Chalya Princess Miri-Gazhi 2016/06/24 at 08:44 #

    Now we will never know whether she continued with the deed, thrusting inspite of… A good story from Farida Adamu. An ending with a gasp.

  4. Ezeamalukwuo 2016/06/24 at 11:06 #

    Nice sad story. Only God knows what young ladies, what women face in many parts of the world. The perennial deprivation, the shroud that buries as much as it covers, the shaming, the death before the dying.

    I try to relate…Nice story again.

  5. Fatima 2016/06/26 at 01:47 #

    This reminds me of growing up in the north and seeing young girls my age (between 9 and 13) struggle with a toddler and a suckling babe at their breast.

    I would watch them and worry that my folks would one day make me one of them.

    I have a potential continuation for this story -Isa would probably wake up slap her around, send her home and ask for his land back. Baba would slap her around some more, threaten her with all manner of torture, send her back with a bag of masara for his “good in-law”.

    Mama will sit at home, silent.

    Evocative writing Farida. De kyau.

  6. Farida 2016/06/26 at 04:22 #

    You have the perfect continuation Fatima. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Farida 2016/06/26 at 04:25 #

    Thanks for reading @Ezeamalukwuo @Chalya @Miriam @nhlakes

  8. Mikeinioluwa 2016/06/27 at 04:09 #

    This is beautiful. There are not many stories from the North and reading this makes me feel happy…..and sad too. I can only imagine what the poor girl is going through beneath Inusa now, for I am sure he continued thrusting.

  9. Mirabelle Morah 2016/06/27 at 08:03 #

    “She hated her dad more because he was
    at home when the event occurred, but he ignored
    her screams and denied ever hearing her or being
    close to the house. ”

    I’m really upset right now. Well, this story is just simple and amazing. No use of too grande styles. Tsw, I wish I knew what to say. I think I hate her dad too. #sigh
    Is there usually any hope for girls like this? Apart from killing their husbands? I mean, I’m not sure. I don’t know 🙁
    What happens if the try to run away? They’d just be caught and thrown back into their husbands’ houses like chickens to a poultry. #sigh again
    This is just truly sad

  10. Tayo Oladipo 2016/06/27 at 17:20 #

    Memories! Things that happened in Yola.

  11. Charles B 2017/01/10 at 08:45 #

    Fareeeeeeeedah. Quite typical. A simple, but provocative story that paints the picture, rather than just tell a tale, of the reality many live in. I love the underlining protest tone of the story and for me that is the most intriguing part. It is beneath the obvious complacence of our silence that the veiled discontent gains nurture and seeks a release. Thank you for sharing this creative piece, FA.

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