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Monday, June 17, 2024

The Adventures of Fast Joe (2)- Innocence Lost- The First Night

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She lay sleepless on her bed, cool air from the wide open window fanning over her naked, scented body. The room was in almost complete darkness, the only light coming from the weak glow of the moon, through the mosquito netting.

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She had taken pains with her ablutions this evening, in anticipation of the night ahead. Her two small children were sleeping in the room next door. The lamp had been lowered in that room, but the door was open, so that a little light also flowed into the bedroom from the lamp.

There was a faint, kerosene smell from the smoke of the kerosene lamp in the hall, but otherwise, the scent of her heavily powdered body pervaded her bedroom. She wondered if he would come. She took a peak at her husband’s wind-up wristwatch on the side-table. One of the few possessions he had unwittingly left behind when he abandoned her and his two small children. Almost ten pm. Was he still up? In the village, with no electricity and very little entertainment in the evenings, people tended to go to bed early. The lucky ones with husbands, wives, girlfriends or boyfriends engaged in frenetic sense, then settled in for the night. She hoped, after over a year, that she would be as lucky tonight. She had told him that when it was time, she would go once by the door he shared with his mother and siblings to the communal bathroom, and allow her slipper to make a little noise. That was the signal. His cue. When she returns, she would leave her door open.

Joe had long since put out the lamp in the hall that he shared with his three other brothers. The two older sisters, who came immediately afer him, were sleeping with his mother, Auntie Afua inside.

Even though the lamp had long since been put out, the room was stuffy. It had only one small window, and even though it was open and curtain less, with only the mosquito netting, air was slow to come in. This was not strange because this was a compound house, build like a rectangle, and the double rooms facing a larger inner compound. Later, after midnight and towards dawn, it would become chilly, and then he would need to cover himself with one of his mother’s clothes. But for now, in only a pair of knickers and shirtless, he could still feel a little sheen of sweat on his body.

Even though the room was in darkness, he could see the three small lumps made by the sleeping shapes of his younger brothers. They played hard during the day and after school, and every evening began with animated conversations which soon turned into yawning and drawls, which soon turned into snores. For now, the room was buzzing with three irregular snoring patterns, and Joe knew they would only wake up when his mother, on her way to the bathroom at dawn, kicked them open. They needed to start preparing early for school because it was at the other end of the town. Joe was always the first to be woken up, but not to go to school. He was in his second year of secondary schooling, but this was vacation. Whilst his siblings were preparing for school, he would get his mother’s baskets and trading things ready for her, so that she can set off for the market to buy fresh farm produce to resell. He often carried the basket for her to the market. Joe, in many ways, was a dutiful firstborn son.

Suddenly, he heard the low squeak of a door opening somewhere in the house, and soon after, slow steps treading past his door. This happens once or twice every night whilst some insomniacs went to relieve themselves, but almost always it was much later ion the night. The footsteps went slowly by his door towards one end of the compound house, then soon returned, seemed to falter as it went by his door for a few seconds, then was soon lost. He did not hear the door close. Was that the signal?

Joe, his heart hammering, waited a few minutes, even though he had no means of counting the minutes. He then got up, and on silent feet, approached the door of the sitting room. His own door, fastened on loose hinges, often squeaked when it was dragged open, unless one took pains to lift it off the floor.  He wondered what to do. If his mother thought he was sneaking out into the night, she would be very angry. Better he made some noise, quiet, considerate noise, and give the excuse that he was sitting outside for a while to take in the air. He also wondered what this woman wanted to talk to him about. What does she want from me, he wondered.

At the door, he took care to make sure door made some noise, and waited to hear from his mother. He heard a low grumble from the bedroom, but no further noise. Auntie Afua did not have an easy life, and was probably already deeply asleep.

Joe stepped out into the compound, and paused in the darkeess his mother’s overhanging porch with the leaky metal roof. He looked to his left, three doors away, and thought he could see the faint glow of a small kerosene lamp. A door was definitely open there. Three doors down, was Sister Ama’s room.

He debated with himself whether to put on his plastic slippers, known as ‘Charlie Wote’, then decided against it. It made noise, and instinctively, he knew that if he forgot it at where he was going, there would be questions asked.

He stepped cautiously into the dust of the yard on bare feet, and artfully paused to scratch his head, slowly looking around. The whole house was quiet. The moon was behind a cloud. And he could see no shadows that suggested that somebody could be watching. The whole house was innocently slumbering.

On shaking legs, but on soundless feet, he quickly walked to the door with the light. He was right. It was open. And he could see a shadow in the doorway.

His heart was hammering even harder, as he watched her. A hand came out of the darkness and beckoned him forward. He looked left, then right. Nobody seemed to be watching, so he stepped into the porch.

“What is it,” he whispered hoarsely.

“Shhh!” said a voice in response, and his wrist was grabbed with one hand, whilst a finger was placed on lips that looked wet in the darkness. Now he could make out the face of Sister Ama.

She gave a tug on his arm, but he resisted.

She signed urgently for him to follow her, and after a little resistance, he did.

In a moment, he was past the doorway, inside the room. Soundlessly the door closed behind him and he gave a small start when he heard the slide metal lock slip into place.

“What?”

“Shhh!” it was instructive, a command.

As his eyes adjusted to the low light, he could see two sleeping children on mats to his left, and an open door directly ahead of him. She held his arm and started dragging him towards the open door. Joe wanted to ask why she was dragging him there, but having been shushed twice, he thought better of it and followed her, as a lamp to the slaughter.

On silent feet, she dragged him into through the door, and in the low light, he realized that he was in a bedroom very similar to that of his mother. He panicked and began to turn round, but found himself grabbed forcefully around the waist by one arm, and another going over his mouth.

“Shhhhh!” a third command, much harsher than the first two.

Joe’s eyes bugged. In church, he had been told of the story of ‘Joseph and Portipher’s Wife’, and his eyes became round. Even at fifteen he did not know exactly what Portipher’s Wife had wanted from Joseph, but he suddenly remembered that he was also called Joseph, and he was being tempted. Could it… could this… he started struggling even more, determined to get out of this temptation like his name sake, then suddenly he felt a hot flame rush through his entire body as her strong right hand, which was holding him by the waist, went down and grabbed his manhood whilst two firm mounds of flesh pressed into his back. Suddenly he was rooted to the spot as blood rushed to his head and loins…

To be con’t.

(You can follow stories in the Daily Searchlight on www.thedailysearchlight.com or Daily Searchlight on our Facebook home page. Write to us on searchlightnews@yahoo.co.uk).

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