(Continued from Besieged by Vultures III)
When her father drifts off to sleep again, Janice slides out of the bed and gets out of the bedroom. She has just been raped by her own father, and he evidently took advantage of her when she was dead drunk last night. The odor from Fredrick’s body is terrible, but it is not permanent body odor; it is the unpleasant smell of dirt. Fredrick has not showered in a very long time, and that coupled with the smell of stale alcohol and cigarettes, gives off a suffocating stink. The hatred in Janice’s heart is insurmountable. When she steps out of the bedroom, she finds Farouk on the couch flipping TV channels.
He is sulking and itching for a fight.
“I see you have had so much fun with your father,” he growls. “In all the years we have been together I don’t think I have made you scream in bed.”
“I was asking for help you idiot,” Janice replies testily. “But you were too busy making love to Adriana that you couldn’t come to my rescue.”
“How would I have known that you need help? Last night you were all over Fredrick kissing him and touching his manhood. You seduced him into sleeping with you. You humiliated me in front of Adriana who, for your information, I did not sleep with. Not everyone is loose like you.”
“Are you trying to tell me that you and Adriana did not…”
“Not at all. Adriana is mourning her husband, and I am committed to my girlfriend even though she keeps looking at others.”
Janice knows he is lying; there is no way Frank can pass over a woman, and Adriana is a bimbo, and not exactly the face of a grieving widow. They must have slept together last night. But Janice is not in a mood to fight or apologize, so she goes to the kitchen looking for left over beer. There are four bottles left in the crate. She opens one and takes a swig. She is longing for the comfort of her house in the city; she really needs to get out of this stupid village.
The sergeant ensures that Eva has taken proper breakfast before she is taken to court. His wife has prepared fried eggs, four slices of bread spread with margarine and fruit jam and a mug of very thick tea. She eats in the small interrogation room, in the company of a female officer called Chepkoech. When the time to go to court arrives, the Sergeant allows her to sit at the front, in between the driver and Chepkoech. There are about eight male suspects at the back of the van, guarded by the Sergeant and two police other police officers.
The protective police officers from Ganga Police Post finally release Eva to the court cells where she is held with about twelve other women. But the officers’ timing is such that she doesn’t stay in the cell for long before she is ushered to the court room. Eva has never been inside a courtroom before, and she is very nervous. She scans around the room, spots Geoffrey and smiles.
Last evening the sergeant allowed her to make a phone call and there is only one person she could think about calling: Geoffrey. This man has been a real father to her since she married his son. Her own parents died in a road accident when she was in college. But Geoffrey has filled a large part of that vacuum. No one can really replace a biological parent, but for Eva, Geoffrey has come close.
He told her last evening that he would get her a lawyer, but she still doesn’t know who that lawyer is. There is a group of young people sitting at the front, and Eva guesses that they are the lawyers, because of their dark suits and the files in front of them. She knows that one of them is her lawyer; they just haven’t met.
Geoffrey is a man of his word.
The magistrate is a young girl, probably the same age as Janice. She has kind eyes, and that helps to ease the tension. When Eva’s name is called out, it is a young lady who stands up and identifies herself as her lawyer. Next, the charges are read out to Eva. She hasn’t talked to her lawyer, but Geoffrey told her to deny the charges.
“But I beat them up, Father. Should I lie to the court under oath? The Bible tells us to tell the truth always,” she argued with Geoffrey last night.
“I know, child, but courts don’t work that way. If you admit, they are going to send you to prison and lawyers won’t get a chance to help you. Besides, saying you are “not guilty” is not saying you did not beat them up. It means that you might have beaten them up, but there is a reason for it. So when you are called just say “not guilty your honor” and let the lawyer prepare your defense.”
Eva listens carefully as the court clerk reads the charges to her. They are accurate, basically saying that she beat up Fredrick and Janice in her own house in Ganga. But she remembers her father-in-law’s advice, and says “not guilty your honor” twice when the court clerk poses the question. Her lawyer then stands up and says things that she mostly does not understand, except for the word ‘bail’ which she repeats several times. The prosecutor then stands up and says that the “state is opposed to bail” and follows that with an explanation that Eva doesn’t care to understand. The magistrate scribbles something and begins talking, but Eva can barely hear what she is saying.
Eva panics slightly when she is pushed back to the cells, but when she throws a glance at Geoffrey, he smiles at her and gives her a thumbs up. Everything is okay.
Eva is released at around noon, and is received by both Geoffrey and the lawyer, whose name is Carol.
“I didn’t understand anything that happened in there,” she jokes. “I thought they are sending me to prison.”
Geoffrey and Carol laugh.
“The magistrate released you on a cash bail of twenty thousand, which Geoffrey paid.”
The girl is calm and confident, but Eva also notes that she has kind eyes, just like the magistrate. Eva prides herself at being able to read people’s character from their eyes. She can tell when a pupil is lying to her by just looking at his or her eyes.
“I don’t think the two of you are properly introduced. Carol, this is my daughter Eva. Like I told you, she has a few issues with her wayward daughter but she will tell you all about that later as you prepare for the case. Eva, this is Carol. She comes from a family of lawyers. Her grandfather was the first lawyer from this area…”
“Kitheka?” Eva asks.
“Yes, Kitheka is my grandfather,” Carol replies.
“He must be very old now. I used to hear about him when I was a little girl.”
“He still goes to court and argues cases better than my father and I,” Carol replies. “There is one thing he and his friend here share: they have refused to grow old.”
“We are not that old,” Geoffrey says and all the three of them laugh. “Why don’t we grab coffee as we finish this conversation? I think there is a café just outside the court house.”
“We need to talk, Eva,” Geoffrey says after Carol has excused herself and left.
“You are right. I just don’t know where to begin Father. Where did I go wrong with my kids?”
“I don’t think you did anything wrong, child. In fact, you did exemplary well under the circumstances. You equipped both of them with the tools they needed to succeed in life, but they chose a different life. That is on them, not you. It is the same case with my own children…”
“With the exception Fredrick, your children are okay…”
“Not necessarily. Fredrick has always been a trouble maker, but Joel is more dangerous. It is just that he is more suave than Fredrick or your daughter Janice, and so it is difficult to expose him. But I have reasons to believe that he is behind your current woes.”
“You may be right. He was in my house with them yesterday.”
“For quite a while now he has been saying that it is shameful for his brother to be begging in the streets while a stranger is occupying his land. The stranger in this case is you. I also believe that he is the one who started the rumor that you and I have a thing going on. I know he feels that I should have given him a larger portion of my wealth because he is the first born. He is jealous of his siblings, but I treated all my four children equally. They even went to the same schools, of course except my daughter who went to a girls’ secondary school. But their careers and later success were determined by their efforts.
Sometimes I think Joel is worse than Fredrick. Fredrick is an open wound, painful to even look at, but Joel is like a cancer eating you from within. You will be perfectly healthy until it decides to bring you down with vengeance.”
“Let’s go father,” Eva suddenly says. “I had a rough night, and I just want to get to my house, take a shower and rest. We can talk about the wickedness of our children after I wake up. I will visit you and mother in the evening, I promise.”
“That is what I am trying to tell you, child. It will not be possible to go to your house right away.”
“Janice, her thug Farouk, Adriana and Fredrick spent the night there, drinking and playing very loud music. I didn’t even know you had a music system…”
“Sam is the one who bought it many years ago. I have never used it, so I did not even know it was functional.”
“Well yes it is, and it gave us little peace last night. As I came here this morning all was quiet so I assumed they were asleep. But Jude called me as Carol was preparing to get you released and told me that the party is back. Somehow they have procured more alcohol, and that has drawn all the village louts to your compound.”
“Did you say Farouk and Fredrick spent the night in my house?”
“I cannot be sure whether they actually slept there, but late at night I heard them shouting over the music alongside Adriana and Janice. I don’t think they left that house.”
“And where was Sam’s son all this time?”
“After the funeral he followed me home, so he spent the night in my house.”
“I swear I am going to kill someone, father. I have reached the end.”
“No, you are not going to do anything that stupid. That is what they want so that they can get you locked up.”
“I don’t care anymore father.”
“You should. Listen child, you have overcome so many obstacles in your life, and this will be no exception.”
“So what do you think I should do, Father? Let them kick me out of my own house?”
“First, you are coming with me to my house. That is where you will rest, and then later we can figure out the next step. We have to be smart about this, because Joel is a very cunning devil, and I know he is the one behind this.”
“Father, what you are telling me now is that I am homeless, is that right?” Eva asks, and before she can get a response, she breaks down and starts crying.
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