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Tears Of Agony

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Young and beautiful Becky marries the love of her life; an army officer. She soon settles in her matrimonial home and all is rosy. A modern girl, that she is leads a sophisticated lifestyle and her code of dress sharply contrast that of the women like her in the village. This life style thrust her into a conflict with her husband's conservative uncle who does not approve of her dress code and ends distasting everything about her. He immediately begins pestering her with lecture after lecture demanding the she rid herself of most of her clothes and conform to the ways of the clan. Becky finds his concern an unnecessary bother and tells him off to mind his own business. The uncle, who doubles up as a clan elder used to being revered by all and sundry is infuriated by this open display of arrogance. He swears to teach her a lesson and make a hell of her life. Will he succeed?

Chapter 1

Becky strode gracefully along a narrow path. A twenty litre barrel of water lay on her back, held steadily in place by a robe wound around it and looped about her head. Her upper body slightly leaned forward, and her eyes were glued to the path on which she trod.

When she raised her head a little, to have a good view of the way, her eyes caught a glimpse of Pabonya, her husband’s venerable paternal uncle. She tensed but kept her eyes on her path and kept walking.

When she sensed that she was very close to him, she looked up again and met his gaze. He was leaning against the fence, his arms folded across his chest.  She noticed a weird smirk in his austere façade and her heart sunk in a sickening plunge.

There was a marked difference in the way Pabonya had been treating her lately. And it s*ck*d. Their recent meetings had been as discomforting as meeting a swarm of angry bees.

“Why don’t you listen?” Pabonya started so suddenly that Becky gasped despite having anticipated this.  "How many times do I have to remind you that at no time should you be dressed in such atrocious clothes?” His voice was loud and harsh.

This was the hundredth time he had been talking to her like this and about the same subject; the indecency of the clothes she wore. “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself, walking around half naked? Look at you; wicked girl,” he condemned.

Becky examined herself as though she had been unaware of how she was dressed. It was just her tight, black miniskirt and a red tank top. And indeed, the miniskirt was short, partly covering the upper parts of her legs and was sl*t at the back. Anyone looking at her from behind would get a clear view of her thighs.

She looked at him again after that brief self-inspection. Her tension had began to ease up a little. “It is not your business to tell me how to dress; my dress my choice!” the words had come before she had properly considered them. 

There was no doubt; Pabonya was surprised at her words, and that set his annoyance simmering. Becky took note of that and encouraged, she continued to torment him. “Isn’t my husband comfortable with me?” she posed unflappably, “Have I any interest troubling myself to mollify somebody’s delicate sensibilities, when he would hardly be pleased with anything I do?" Her tone was laced with vexation.

Pabonya’s face wrinkled in distaste. He was used to women addressing him in reverential tones. He felt so mortified. He could not believe that what he had just heard were Becky's actual utterances. Wasn’t that such a blatant display of pride and arrogance? Yet it was quite unusual and untypical of her. She had always taken his lectures without a word. How and when this peppery attitude crept into her, he could not tell.

Becky could not take it any longer. She had been patient with him for so long. And felt like it was just about time she stood firm, asserted her authority and defended her personal lifestyle. She looked at him one more time and saw a look of defeat in his face. He was getting hurt, and she nearly grinned, fascinated by the success of her jab. It felt good to hurt him in return for the countless times she had been hurt by him.

Defiantly, she walked past him, allowing him a moment to digest the realities of the rude reaction she had just unleashed.

Pabonya followed her with his eyes until she was out of sight.Utterly defeated and rankled, he turned around and took the path that led home. His blood boiled as he paced away swearing that he would institute a package of sanctions that would ensure that she paid enormously for handling an elder so demeaningly. She is brave, he thought, just brave and ignorant. He would do whatever it took to put a major hit on the pride she exhibited and make her life miserable, full of sorrow and shame.

Just before dawn the next day, he wriggled in his bed. For the whole night, he had stayed awake. He had not managed even a minute’s sleep. Over and over, his mind had played the episode of his latest encounter with Becky. He cringed as the memory of her words came flooding in his mind, brewing headache underneath the skull of his head. No one had ever been so rude to him in his life. Had he stooped so low to be so ridiculed?

A feeling began to develop in him. No, it had been there for a while. Just that it was now becoming more explicit and profound. It was hatred. He hated Becky with his every flesh and bone. He would not accept to be disparaged, especially by a woman.

He rolled the blankets off his body and lowered his legs over the side of his bed. Rising to his feet, he slipped into his clothes and walked out of the house.

It was dark. He heard the chirping of birds and realized it would soon dawn. He took a basin from nearby and put it down at his front. He also picked up a plastic barrel full of water and poured some of its contents into the basin. Then bending downwards, he washed his face and went back to his room, picked up a walking stick that was leaning against the side of his bed and left.

He was going to call on Becky. The young woman urgently needed enlightening about the few individuals in the clan she should never mess with.

In a daze, he set out on his little journey to Becky’s house. With every step he made, his pace increased, and his walking stick swung to the rhythm of his stride.

He peered through the fading darkness. A river lay across from him. The river marked the boundary between Tirita, Becky’s village, and Kures, his village. Beyond this river, the ground rose steadily at a gentle gradient, forming a small hill that leveled at its peak. He could see the corrugated iron sheets that roofed Becky’s two houses. Its walls were made of mud and smeared with white earth. Becky was probably peacefully asleep in one of those houses.He crossed the river and climbed up the steep path.

Chapter 2

Fifteen minutes later, he stood at the gateway to Becky's compound. Much to his surprise, smoke spewed out of one of the houses that served as a kitchen; a sign that she was already awake. He scanned the compound and at first, he could not see any sign of her, then he moved closer, and she came into view bent down next to a chicken coop, her back to him, washing dishes.

Becky soon heard the footsteps, stood upright and turned around to face him. She paced aside from the dishes and wiped her hands dry against the leso wrapped around her lower body from the waist. She intended to shake his hand. And so, with a smile lighting up her face, she boisterously extended her hand towards him; a courteous and polite gesture.

Pabonya had not expected to be treated to such a welcome sight. But still, he would not be easily entertained. He did not take her hand. Instead, he just stood still staring hard at her, a look of disdain in his eyes. This act reminded Becky how she had crossed

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