My house is at the top of the hill. You can’t miss it; it’s the white three story mansion that is bordered almost all around by the slums. Except for the side that faces Muthaiga and which has a private driveway. It’s a beautiful house it actually looks like a castle. The kind a gal dreams about to live in and live happily ever after. I wish it was. Appearances are deceiving because that is a castle of nightmares.
My name is Carol. I started living here two years ago when I was ten. My parents died in an accident and there was no one to claim me. Mama Salma said that she would take me in. No one argued, well no one would dare too. Mama Salma supports half of the slum I used to live in, in one way of another.
“Carol you are going to be very happy with me. All my gals are happy. And you are so pretty, in a couple of years you will be beautiful. Yes, you will do. Yes, you will do very nicely.” Mama Salma told me. It’s a good thing I didn’t know what she meant else I would have refused to go with her.
We walked to the edge of the slum with Mama Salma. Her with her beautiful fashionable clothes and me with my hand me down second hand clothes. A Mercedes picked us up from the edge of the slum and drove towards a gated compound just next to the slum. The gates opened themselves as if by magic and I only discovered later that they were called electric gates.
As the white mansion neared I was caught up in amazement at the lawn and the compound the likes of which I had only seen on TV. The mansion was big, a massive three floors. The inside was even more impressive. It was painted in shades of red and cream and the floors were marble. It was beautiful. I almost pinched myself to see if I was dreaming.
I was taken to the second floor. The pretty lady who took me there smiled and opened for me a room. “This will be your room,” she said. I was stunned. I asked, “I will be sharing this room with others children?”
“No! it’s just you. We need to get you out of those awful clothes. You need to get clean and then we will de-lice you. We can’t have you not looking beautiful. Come let me show you the bathroom.”
I wondered what it is about beauty that attracted these people. I had noticed that all the people I had met had been either handsome or beautiful. People told me I was pretty. My daddy actually used to tell me I was beautiful and when I would grow up I would turn heads.
I was short; I had pretty brown eyes, a light brown complexion and long natural hair. I hadn’t started blooming yet. My breasts had not come out and neither had my hips. I was a rose about to bloom. Looking back to then when I was naïve and innocent I was a rose ripe to be picked and bloom in someone’s garden.
After I had been washed, (I found this strange as I had not been washed since I was 4) the pretty lady who had introduced herself as Natalie, went out and when she returned she had some beautiful dresses and sandals. “Pick one and wear it,” Natalie said.
I was unsure of what to choose. I had never had new, new clothes. All my clothes had been bought second hand from the market or handed down to me by my cousins. I choose a yellow sundress and some pretty red sandals.
Natalie sat me down after that and told me there were rules to be followed in the house. The first rule is that I was never to go anyone unaccompanied by someone from the house. The second was that what happened in the house was private it was not for telling to strangers. The third was that I should never try to run away or break any of the above rules otherwise I would be punished. The fourth rule was that I was not to leave my room without permission. Natalie asked me whether I understand and I said I did.
Natalie said with a sad smile, “you don’t have to stay here. Do you have any relatives that you can go stay with? You have one chance to leave and that’s right now.”
“I don’t have anywhere to go,” said I.
Natalie sighed and then said, “Well now that you’re here to stay I’ll be taking care of you.” She reached for the telephone, dialled some numbers and said, “Please bring some food for Carol. Some chips, chicken, and a soda will do. And ice-cream for desert.”
Natalie looked at me and told me, “If you need me press three. That’s my number. Enjoy your food.”
I was left in this room that was big enough to fit our old house plus another two. There was a big bed in the middle of the room. It had a pink bedspread, pink frills and even a mosquito net. I thanked God for these wonderful strangers who had taken me in and had given me luxury that I had never imagined. At home I used to sleep on a mattress on the floor because there was only one bed, my parent’s 3 by 4.
For the next two weeks I never left my room. I watched TV on a big screen TV that was brought to my room. I ate, showered and relaxed that’s all I did. In fact I started adding abit of weight on my bones.
One day when I was watching TV Natalie came and ordered me to bath. “We are having special guests tonight. They all want to see you. They have heard how pretty you are and they want to see you for themselves,” she said.
Natalie took me to the bathroom and this time again she washed me then she braided my hair into cornrows. She oiled me with some fragrantly smelling oil and sprayed some perfume on me. When we returned to my room there was a lacy dress that did not seem to have any lining. Wear that, I was ordered. I was puzzled but I was too frightened to speak. Natalie had this expression on her face I cant describe it but I felt scared. There was no underwear and when I asked for some I was told it doesn’t matter. She gave me a glass with some juice and told me to drink it. It tasted funny but since I didn’t want to argue I drank it up.
We went downstairs through a lift that was at the end of the corridor. I was taken to a large room where there were many chairs and a sort of stage with one seat. I was told to seat there. There were men in the room, no women except Mama Salma and Natalie. Natalie came and stood by me. The men were drinking. I was young but I knew the smell of alcohol.
I sat there feeling so uncomfortable. I was wondering who these men were and what they were doing there. And all these men were looking at me. They were around 20 of them. Some old and some young. They all had one thing in common. They all looked rich. Having lived in the slum you can tell when someone had money. You can look at their face, nails and hands and clothes and you can tell.
After a while mama Salma stood and clapped. She smiled and said, “welcome gentlemen. It is our honour to host you again at our lovely abode. Today we have a tasty morsel for you. We have managed to acquire into our family a young untouched gal. She is a virgin and she is up for sale. We will start bidding at 120,000 thousand. Gentlemen come look at the merchandise. Isn’t she beautiful?”
At this point I was shaking. I looked around; I thought they were talking about someone else. But when the men started walking towards me with leery grins I realised I was in trouble. I was in deep deep trouble. I couldn’t believe that this could be happening to me. I started feeling dizzy and my heart was racing. I tried to stand and run away. Natalie held me down to the chair. For some reason I was feeling tired and my muscles were not obeying my commands.
When the first man came and started touching my face and caressing it, I fainted!
End of part 1
to be continued