Mammy Iye cried loudly to alert the village. Kadija slumps on the ground unconscious, the little girl, traumatized and crying, struggles to hold onto her mother’s right hand.
“I told you I will kill you!” her husband shouted, spitting closer by her feet and walked off, almost barging on to Mammy Iye who jumps out of his way.
Shaken and angry at the violence on the poor woman she bent down and listen to her heart, hold her right wrist and feels her pulse, and then picked up the child and ran to the village.
Her husband had returned to the village and joined his friends on a game checkers. The game is a favorite pastime for men in the village and they often spend the whole day competing amongst them.
“You look angry, brother,” one of the players remarked, looking him in the eyes.
“I cut off the lie from that vulture of mine!” he replied, his words suppressed with anger. “Kadija is an enigma in my household!”
“That is what a man must do to control a woman. When you leave your wife free, every mouse will have a say in your house,” the other replied.
“You are indeed right, brother. There is indeed a mouse in my house!” he continued.
They spotted the old woman running towards them, crying and calling for help.
“That old lady will destroy this village!” he said through gritted teeth. “She is a mouse!”
His colleague stopped playing and walked towards the old woman and asks why she is so distraught.
“Ask him!” she shouted breathlessly. “Ask that killer near you. Ask him!”
The man looked at his friend and then at the old woman considering what to say next when they see Kadija, face swollen and mouth bleeding, struggling on her feet as she walks towards them. She stopped by the palm tree on the roadside, holding onto the trunk when suddenly, she collapsed.
The old woman runs to her side, cursing and crying.
“She will come to her senses after she passes through this,” her husband muttered, spitting on the ground and then urge his friend to return back to their game.
“My wife once tried to challenge me but I almost broke all of her teeth. Now she hardly speaks when I speak!” the other boasted. “A woman needs control! How will a woman dare challenge a man? “
He grits his teeth, nodding his head as the other continued “A woman should not be given a space to rest. Keep her busy every day and when your wife starts to question you, realize she is no good!”
“You know that I will never allow that to happen,” he replied, focusing his attention onto the game board when he hears the loud voice of a man shouting his name.
Augustine! Augustine! Augustine!!
He recognizes the voice. Kadija’s cousin, a soldier in the army who happened to have visited the neighboring village with a colleague and heard about the abuse on his cousin rushed to the village.
Augustine moves away from his seat and faces the angry stranger. “Is this the way to visit a brother-in-law?”
“Then you tell me if it is right for a husband to treat a wife the way you did to Kadija!?”
But… Augustine continued but was too late to complete his words. He is already on the ground protecting his face from the raining blows. He yelled, calling for help but his friend has fled the area and disappeared into the bush.
The two soldiers take him to the palm tree and tied him on the trunk and lashed mercilessly.
“You will kill me,” he cried, “You will kill me!”
“How do you feel when you were beating Kadija?” he asked.
“Please forgive me. Please. I will never do that again,” He continued, sweating and writhing in pain.