(Continued from A Game of Traitors I)
Mr. Kasida runs several businesses in Sodi. He owns the Shell Petrol Station franchise in Sodi, as well as the mini-supermarket next to it. He also owns several buildings in Sodi market, as well as a fleet of matatus. His biggest investment, however, is Walan Retreat Centre, which has grown to become the best meat joint in the region. Kasida is a Christian, a church elder and the Chairman of PCEA Sodi Church. His wife Beatrice is a secondary school teacher and the Secretary of the Woman’s Guild at their church.
Beatrice took in Rhoda when it became evident that her mother wanted nothing to do with her. Together with her husband, they offered Rhoda a home and offered to pay her school fees at Sodi Mixed Day Secondary School, where Beatrice is the Deputy Principal. Their other adopted child, an orphan called Mitwa, is also schooling there. Beatrice and Kasida are hailed across the village for their kindness.
But Rhoda has quickly realized that life will not be easy for her. She has become their house manager, cleaning, washing, and cooking whenever she is not in school. Mitwa is their shamba boy. He weeds, feeds animals, milks and takes the milk to the dairy whenever he is not in school.
For the past three months, Mitwa has been teaching Rhoda resilience.
“We are here for just a season. Bear with it and work hard at school. One day we will have a better life,” he often tells her. Every evening she takes his food to his cabin because he is not allowed in the main house. As he eats, they study together for a couple of hours. Mitwa then prays and Rhoda goes back to the main house.
Life was bearable until Kasida started visiting her bedroom. He came in for the first time one week after her arrival while Rhoda was sleeping and started stroking her legs. When she woke up with a start, he covered her mouth with his hand and warned her not to scream. He defiled her that night and now comes to her room at least three nights a week.
She knows he will come again tonight because he did not come last night. He has never skipped two consecutive days. She is already sobbing softly, as she usually does when she thinks about him. She even sobs as he does his business on her, but that does not seem to bother him; as long as she sobs quietly. She is too afraid to tell anyone. Not even Mitwa. During the day she pretends that is all is fine and goes about her chores and schooling.
When Rhoda hears the door open, she cringes. Kasida closes the door behind him and softly approaches her bed. He does not switch on lights; that will attract attention. As he starts removing her nightdress, she feels helpless against him and starts to sob. He removes his pajama and starts defiling. Minutes later, the door opens and lights come on.
Through her sobs, Rhoda can hear Beatrice’s gasp.
Beatrice quickly overcomes the shock of seeing her husband on top of the teenager. She has always known that her husband, despite being a church elder, is a womanizer. She knows a few young women that he sleeps with; one even has a child that resembles him to the bones. Earlier in their marriage, she used to confront him frequently, but he would just shrug her away with a smile. He wouldn’t even deny it. With time, she stopped fretting about it. As long as he didn’t bring any of those women to her matrimonial house, then he was free to do whatever he wished.
Women in this generation may believe in standing up to cheating men by walking away and demanding a share of the property, but not Beatrice. Her mother Rakeli taught her that a woman defends what is hers from the inside. Besides, she did not want to put her children through a divorce. Could she even afford a lawyer? Her secondary school teacher’s salary certainly wouldn’t allow her, unless she took a loan. But take a loan to pay a lawyer? No sir.
So she stayed on to fight for her marriage, which really means fighting the women Kasida sleeps with, or rather scaring them so that they do not get too comfortable. There is one particular one that had grown horns and had started visiting the Kasida homestead whenever Beatrice was away at school. When Beatrice got wind of it, she went to the salon where the girl was working and beat her to a pulp. That was the last day of the affair. But a week later, Kasida was seeing one of the waitresses at Walan Retreat Centre.
Kasida’s womanizing is well known, but the church chooses to look the other way because of his deep pockets. Not even an admonition comes his way. As a matter of fact, Beatrice has caught several female church leaders, married and unmarried, flirting with him.
But raping a child? This is a new low.
Beatrice walks in and stands within inches of her husband. They stare at each other for a few minutes.
“You know what you are doing can land you in jail, right?” she says finally.
“Who is going to report me? Is it you or this destitute girl? And you think any policeman in this area will arrest me?” Kasida responds, laughing sarcastically.
He rises from the bed and dresses, and then leaves the room. He hadn’t intended for his wife to catch him, because in spite of everything he still has some respect for her. But now that she has found out, what can she do?
Beatrice is furious. The disrespect that this man has been showing her is infuriating. But he is right. She is not about to do anything that might hurt the perfect image of her marriage. True, everyone knows he cheats, but still, she is his wife; the wife of the village tycoon. She can hardly be compared to those lowlife girls that he likes chasing.
But this is different. Rhoda is only sixteen years old. If this comes out her husband could go to jail, not to mention that the image she has fought so hard to maintain will be lost. So what should she do?
Never in her dreams would she have imagined that her husband would fancy a child. She has always been wondering where he has been going every other night for the past three months; but since she usually does not hear the main door being opened, she hasn’t bothered too much. She assumed that perhaps he is usually unable to sleep and decides to do some reading. Or maybe he is chatting on WhatsApp with one of those twerps he is currently fooling around with. As long as he is inside the house, she has not been worried.
For some reason, however, she decided to follow him today. She left their room and tiptoed after him. Amazingly, he did not look back. He was walking carefully so as not to make noise, but he did not look like a man in fear.
“How long has this been going on?” Beatrice asks Rhoda.
Rhoda continues to sob softly. Beatrice strokes her gently.
“It is okay, Rhoda. It is okay.”
“How can it be okay? Your husband rapes me and there is nothing I can do about it. How is that okay?” Rhoda wails.
“Ssshh! Speak softly. You don’t have to announce to the world.”
Rhoda does not respond. She has stopped sobbing but she is still doing the after-crying sniffing.
“Don’t you worry, I am here now. I will protect you,”
“How will you do that?”
Beatrice sighs. Is this girl that naïve?
“I will get you female condoms that you can wear before he comes. They will protect you from diseases and stop you from getting pregnant.”
Rhoda bolts up suddenly as if she has been stung.
“Is that what you call protecting me? Handing me over to your husband to be raped is what you call protecting me?”
Beatrice’s face hardens and the gentlewoman swiftly disappears. She resists the urge to lash out at Rhoda. She knows if she does they will start yelling at each other, and that is the last thing she wants.
“So what do you want me to do? You heard him. There is nothing you and I can do to stop him. I did not bring him here. In fact, how do I know that you have not been seducing him behind my back?”
“I did not! He has been raping me!”
“Of course that is what you will say after I have caught you red-handed shamelessly giving yourself to my husband. Don’t you have shame, after everything I have done to you? How can you stoop so low as to start seducing an old man in his own home? Tomorrow I want you gone. Pack your things and leave first thing in the morning.”
(Continued Here. If you wish to join the Sanctuary Side WhatsApp group, kindly text 0105571156. If you wish to purchase a copy of any of my 33 novellas, follow the instructions below.)
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