In The Path Of Jezebel
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At only Sixteen she is subjected to Abuse. It came from the least she expected quarters: The head teacher of her school. He is secretly lusting over her. He lures her to his office in the pretext of offering extra individualized lesson in his office to pupils interested in improving their grades. Shocked at his apparent intent and clear advances she desperately struggles to free herself from his grasp and ends up inflicting injuries to his eyes. She norrowly escape from the office. As a consequence, her life in school takes an abrupt turn becoming extremely unbearable as the head teacher makes her life a living hell. Her grandmother with whom she lives with would hear none of her excuses to forego school. She rans away to the far away city where her parents supposedly worked. In the end she doesn't find them and ends up lost. Inevitably she accepts the kindness of a woman who pities her and lives with her in the slums. In a series of events that follows, she is tricked and drugged and violated by a man, a brother to her best friend in the slums and she gets pregnant. Embarassed and finding difficulty in expressing circumstances surrounding her pregnancy to the only woman who showed her kindness, she again rans away from the slums ending up in the streets of the City and striving to survive. She is forced into prostitution and she gradually breaks bad and is set on the path of getting even with men intend to ruin their lives as they had done hers.
Chapter 1 The decision
Natalie Danu had made up her mind to tread in the dark path. This decision came as a result of a long deliberation. She saw no other way to survive in the cruel world fate had driven her to.
It had been three years since she ended up in the coastal city of Mombasa. A move that saw her jump from the frying pan to the fire rendering her homeless and without a penny.
She would never forgive the head teacher of that school all her life. In guise of assisting some of his pupils improve their grades, he had lured Natalie into his office. Little did she know that Mr. Kilonzi was secretly lusting after her and that his act of kindness had ulterior motives.
“You are such a beautiful girl.” She recalled vividly how it all started. “You know that?”
It was on a Monday evening during preps time after games. Natalie stared back blankly and nervously at the head teacher not knowing how else to respond. He left his desk. And Natalie’s heart raced fast and sweat formed on her forehead as he closed the distance between them until he stood just an inch away from her. Within no time, she felt his hands fumble about her bust finding her blooming breast. It was then that it became clear that mischief was headed her way.
She cast a glance towards the door and it was bolted. An even greater fear gripped her and the intensity of her heartbeat intensified. She was trapped inside. She took a backward step and he stepped forward in sync. She was soon leaning her back against the door. She held her hands to the back and felt the door bolt. She subtly twisted the bolt. It moved. She was certain that she had succeeded in unbolting the door. Mr. Kilonzi was leaning forward as if intend to kiss her neck.
Natalie, in a sharp and decisive move, dug the fingers of her right hand into his eyes. He pulled away eyes closed and took his hands away from her covering his face with them. That Moment allowed Natalie to pull the door open and leap out of the office leaving her books behind. She went back to class and sat at her desk in silence.
After this encounter, her ralations with Mr. kilonzi underwent a complete metamorphosis. Natalie’s life in school was never to be the same again. He always looked for a chance to punish her. He never hesitated to administer several strokes of cane on her buttocks every time she was found on the wrong side of the school rules and regulations . Her punishment was always worse compared to that of fellow pupils when they had committed the same or even worse crimes than her.
She also recalled that fateful Monday morning, when she arrived at school early as usual. Despite her escalating discontentment her grandmother wouldn't allow her to skip school. She had excused herself the previous Friday claiming to have a headache. This day she had no option but to drag her reluctant self to that hell of a school.
In class, she noted with dismay that there were several plastic jerry cans full of water at the corners of the class. Every other pupil who came after her, entered the class with such container and set it at one corner or another.
"Were you told to come with water?" she asked her desk mate.
"Who ordered that?”
The mere mention of his name shuddered her. While she was still imagining what trouble had befallen her, she heard the head teacher's booming voice addressing pupils in the next class.Then looking out the window she saw a number of them walk out of the class towards the assembly ground and knelt down. She needed not to be told that those were the one who like her, had violated the head teacher's directive.
The rest came out marching out of their class towards the teacher's quarters each laden with a five-litre-plastic jerry can.
Then Mr. Kilonzi came to her class. And his presence set Natalie trembling in fear. All the pupils rose up as per the school tradition. Natalie stood up with them.
"Good morning class!" Mr. Kilonzi greeted.
"Good morning Mr. Kilonzi."
"How are you?"
"We are fine thank you teacher and how are you?"
“I am fine thank you. Now, on Friday I announced that each one of you to come to school with at least five litres of water. Didn't I?"
"Yes, you did sir!"
"Now, pick your water and move forward," he ordered.
The pupils obeyed. Natalie grimaced as she realized she was the only who remained standing with nothing to pick.
"Well! Looks like someone here decided to blatantly disobey the head teacher's orders.” He said moving closer to her.
Natalie's heart slammed to her throat. She knew what was coming next, a slap across her face.
She took a quick glance at the window and noted that it was enough for her petite body to pass through. She had to extricate herself from him once and for all. She inched close to the window stepping on a desk ahead of her then over the window frame and in a second she was outside starting for the fence. Before the head teacher realized what she was doing. She was outside the school compound and he stared at her in bewilderment.
“Boys! Run after her. I want her back. Go!” The head teacher ordered upon recovering from his shock.
Five strong boys scrambled through the door heading towards the school gate. By the time they got to the road, she was out of sight. They stared at one another confused about which route she was had taken. They decided to follow her to her grandmother's house.
Natalie had known that she would be followed and had dared not run down the road in the direction of her grandmother's house. Instead, she had gone in the opposite direction diverting at a junction only a hundred metres from the school gate. Once she was certain that she was not being followed, she had slowed down and began walking in quick steps. She had no idea where to go. Her grandmother would still send her back to school making her house a no-go-zone.
She had to divert again from the main road to avoid detection. She chose the paths across the expansive, silent and empty plains of Kibwezi. She was aware that she was silhouetting in her green dress and a matching sweater. She could be stopped and interrogated. She had no intention of discussing her situation with anybody lest she be captured and taken back to that monster of a head teacher she was leaving behind.
Further and further, she continued to distance herself from the school and her grandmother's home. So far so good. She was feeling lucky not to have met anybody along the way. Not so many people lived in the plains.
The sun was now high up in the cloudless sky, sending its rays down upon her and prompting her to pull the sweater off her body. She tossed it to her back overhanging on her shoulders with its arms to the front of her body. She pulled the arms together and bound them into a knot to prevent the sweater from falling.
The roofs of the shops in Kibwezi town came into view. Tired and thirsty, she increased her pace as the hope of a glass of water at one of the food restaurants in the town intensified. She remembered the twenty shillings coin the grandmother had given her to pay her end of term exams. She pushed her hand into the pocket of her dress and felt the coin with her hand. She would now have to convert it into some other use. She was assured of a meal; a cup of tea and one mandazi. That would cost ten shillings. The remaining ten shillings would be saved for the unpredictable future.
As she stepped into one of the restaurants isolated at one end of a row of shops along the road, four pairs of eyes landed on her. The waiter and his customers curiously studied her wondering where she had come from. They could not identify her uniforms with any of the schools around.
Natalie Ignored their prying eyes and sat down at an unoccupied seat at a corner. The waiter came up to her.
"Jambo!" he greeted her in Swahili.
"Sijambo!" she declared she was fine?
"What can I serve you?"
"A glass of water first, please?"
In a moment the glass landed on the table. She picked it and drained it down in a few mouthful gulps. She replaced it on the table and held it in place. The waiter who still had a jug with water in his hand realised that she needed more and refilled it.
She drank it all.
"Thank you." She said. "You can now give me tea and one mandazi."
It was availed and she fed herself and felt her energy renewed.
Natalie came out of the restaurant intending to continue her journey. At this point, she began to think very seriously about the reality of what she was doing. She had only ten shillings in her pocket. Definitely the fare to Mombasa was a hundred times more than that. And with her uniforms, people looked at her suspiciously.
For a moment, she considered going back. There was no way she would get to Mombasa. Perhaps she should give in to the head teacher's demand.That way, her dream of becoming a lawyer would be kept alive.
There was a lot she was leaving behind. For instance her class teacher Miss Mukoi. What a good teacher she had been; so kind and caring. She was the one who planted the ambitious seeds of becoming a lawyer inside her. She had inspired the whole class to work hard in school and to take their studies seriously. She always emphasized that education was so fundamental in ensuring a successful life in the future. She had challenged them to figure out their purpose and to have a goal and a vision to strive for in their life. She had guided them to make a decision on the career path to pursue. They did this by listing a number of possibilities and giving them detailed information about what each of them entailed. This is how Natalie settled on law, wanting to be a lawyer and later a magistrate and a judge administering justice to the society.
Apart from her grandmother, Miss Mukoi was like a rock, something solid to hang on to in the absence of her father and mother.
The more she thought about this, the more she felt the need intensify, to go back and retrieve what she was about to lose .
Perhaps she should have shared her problem with her class teacher. She should have made it known to her that the school head was bothering one of her pupils. Definitely, there would have been something she could do. Should she go back and talk to her? What if the consequences turn out unpleasant. The idea of redelivering herself in the hands of Mr. Kilonzi was inconceivable. The head teacher would be delighted to have her back. He would punish the truant before she got the time to whisper a word of his trespasses to Miss Mukoi's ears. After all, apart from being a class six class teacher, she held no meaningful authority in the school.
There would be no going back. She had a family in Mombasa; a family that loved her.
She was the only one among her siblings left with her grandmother in the village. But she had never doubted for one moment that her parents loved her.
Her father worked with the Kenya Power company in Mombasa. He had been away for quite a long time from home and the mother had followed him hoping to find him and find out what was the matter with his absence. Deciding to live with the husband, she had came back for the children.
She did not want to burden the grandmother so much and only left Natalie with her.
She would find her parents. And they would take her back to school. And her dreams would come back to life again.
Not far distant was the highway to Mombasa. But still she had around fifteen kilometers to cover. There were a number of mini-buses and fourteen-seater matatus queuing for travelers to be ferried to the highway, but those were for those who could afford.
It took her two and a half hours of hard long walk to get there. And a big sign post by the road side came into view. Its conspicuous writings announced to every passer-by that the city was two hundred and five kilometers away.
There were other travelers scattered all about the stage. They were waiting for a bus from Nairobi. Natalie drew close to join them.
It was not long before a long bus came. Natalie could read its branding writings on the side of it, 'Modern Coast'.
Picking their luggage, the other travellers boarded. She followed them in moving to the back and occupying the last seat at the right corner.
At the comfort of the cushioned seats, she immediately fell asleep.
As they journeyed on, the conductor moved from one seat to another collecting bus fare. She came to the back of the bus and his gaze fell upon a girl in school uniforms. He took his time to study her silently. She was curled up in her seat peacefully asleep. There were no shoes in her callous feet which were covered in brown dust. The conductor read a lot of misery in her and decided not to disturb her peace.
When she woke up. The bus had stopped. She looked about her. People were busy withdrawing their luggage from the luggage rack above her and moving out of the bus.
"Where are we?" she asked a neighbor who was about to leave.
She aroused and smoothed out the creases on her dress. She peered through the window and beheld with amazement upon the exquisite scenery of the ancient city spread out before her. The magnificent buildings were tall, some extending into the blue sky, gleaming in their uniformly painted blue and white colors. She had finally arrived at her destination and a thrill of joy and excitement washed over her.
Having no luggage to carry, she walked patiently behind the last slow passenger exiting the bus. Instinctively her hand went into the pocket of her dress and touched the ten shilling coin in it. She gasped at the thought that she had not paid her fare. No one had asked her.
“Hey! Msichana!” a voice drew her attention as she approached the door. She turned around to face a conductor. Her heart suddenly increased its tempo as she thought she had been caught trying to escape without paying.
“Do you know where you are going?” the conductor inquired.
“Yes!” her answer was quick. She wanted to get away from him as quickly as possible.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes! Am going to Likoni.”
“That means you need to get a tuk tuk,” he said reaching into his shirt pocket and fishing out a fifty shillings note. Take a tuk tuk to the ferry. Cross the channel and you are in Likoni.”
“Thank you!” she said and went her way.
Early in the morning at Likoni channel, aboard MV Jambo, Natalie watched the rising sun peeping out far away in the deep sea at a point where the sky and the ocean seemed to merge. They were crossing from Mombasa Island to the main land – Likoni.
The ferry stopped at the shore and passengers in their hundreds moved out of the huge water vessel into a bustling market.
“It must be a market day,” Natalie thought, walking herself into the multitude. She would later come to know that here unlike back in her village where the market day came only once in a week, here it was the order of the day.
Market sellers hurried briskly to their stalls to display their wares to the view of the passers by, their potential customers. The market itself seemed to have been divided into different sections so that there was a section for fruits, a section for vegetables , another for fish and several other sections for different other merchandise.
She decided to stop ogling around
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