Naomi prayed silently under a ripped cover cloth wrapped around her body as she lay on a bare kitchen floor uncomfortable. The sound of mosquitos buzzing around her, still she prayed to God for divine health and guidance. Before she forced herself to sleep, Naomi remembered her dear mother.

Oh mama, I wish I could see and hold you close to keep my body warm from this cold. I miss you everyday.

Naomi is thirteen years old. Her father died when she was still a baby. Her mother Ebere took care of her despite being poor. Naomi was sent to school, her mother always made sure she bought all her notebooks and textbooks. Ebere was always proud of her daughter because she always came first in her school results. There was never a day Naomi lacked food or anything she needed.

When Naomi clocked ten years old, her world turned upside down as the unexpected, worst thing happened to her. Her mother, Ebere died in her sleep. How wicked can death be. She wept in agony. After the burial of her mother, relatives abandoned her. No family came to her rescue as she wandered the street begging for alms. An old friend of Naomi’s mother came all the way from Onitsha, unaware of Ebere’s demise. The woman known as madam Chizoba decided to take Naomi along with her back to the city as her maid, promised to pay her monthly and  also send her to school. Little Naomi had no other choice than to accept.

Oh Mama, ever since I came here tears refused to stop. I weep everyday because of the suffering, maltreatment and I don’t attend school anymore. I am a slave where I ended up. I wake up as early as four am in the morning to sweep in and out of the house, wash the dirty utensils, wash all the clothes worn the previous day for madam Chizoba, her husband and son, Jude. I prepare breakfast even when I’m not allowed to eat. Sweet mother, I miss those your delicious food you use to cook for me. After that I trek very far to my madam’s shop to open, tidy up the place and wait for customers I will be attending to. I must make sales before she comes otherwise I won’t eat through out that day even though I do eat once in a day.

Before my mother died she would always advice me never to steal. She told me stealing was very bad. With the way I miss and cherish my mother, how can I disobey her. It’s even in the bible thou shall not steal. Anytime money is stolen in the house even when I always see madam Chizoba’s son Jude sneaking and taking money from his mother’s bag, I the orphan is called the thief. I get stripped of my clothes and beaten like a piece of rag. Sometimes, after that I get cuts all over my body with a razor blade and blended pepper splashed all over me. I cry in excruciating pain and grief. I will never forget the day I slept off and got the rice burnt. You need to have seen me mama, Madam Chizoba and her son laid me flat on the table with my hands and legs held by them, her husband flogged me all over me with a cable wire. That day I slept outside, shivering, trembling in the cold weather as rain poured on me.

The pain is too much to bear.

Today, I’m sent to the market for food items I will be cooking for the family. The little change from the money left in me will be used to buy rat poison. I’m not going to be eating from the food because the living room floor wasn’t mopped well according to my madam Chizoba. Well, my mind is already made up on what to do with the poison. I’m on my way home. Please don’t judge me for what I intend to do.

I’m prepared for the worst to happen!!!


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