WHORE Of BABYLON (Episode 11)

WHORE Of BABYLON (Episode 11)

Peace doesn’t come until you seek it. Tranquility is earned and not bought. How my life suddenly spiraled from the hoe who likes to fuck for money without paying any attention to emotions to this person standing outside in a hardscrabble street, a cascade of tumultuous feelings surging through him,  is what I’m trying to wrap my head around as I stare blankly into the dark neighbourhood.

Sage.

The thought of the name comes with it a rush of the cool Enugu night breeze. Almost damp and yet leaves you refreshingly dry.

Such irony for a name that has left me anything but refreshed.

I have to clear my head. I began to feel claustrophobic awhile ago, cooped up in Iliana’s room with the lovely woman who just happens to be the sister to the guy I most loathed in the world. So I mumbled some excuse about grabbing some air and fled the room some moments ago. Now I’m out here, idly strolling down the street, riddled by potholes and flanked by sad-looking structures, trying to sort through the things I was feeling. It doesn’t help that I’m surrounded by dilapidation, a neighborhood that seems to embody the manufacture of impoverishment before it gets dispersed into other parts of this city’s civilization. It isn’t even 9 o’clock yet, and the night seems heavily settled in this area, supported as it was by the lack of electricity. I catch flickers of lamplight through open doorways and windows as I walk down the street, the night punctured by the occasional wail of a child and the mournful bark of a dog, sounds that seemed to buttress the cheerlessness of this place.

And the cheerlessness that was roosting in my heart.

With sudden savagery, I realize that I wouldn’t be here, sheltered in this slum, my perfect life as a member of a good middle-class family interrupted, if it wasn’t for Sage.

That bastard!

The occasional passerby walks past me. I do not see their faces, and the thick fall of the night reinforces their mystery. With this ratty neighbourhood acting as a backdrop, every pedestrian that walks past me projects an ominousness that causes frissons to race over my skin.

But I cannot go back home – not yet at least. I need this time to weigh what is important, my need for revenge or my desire for a new friendship.

“What’s this one doing out here alone?”

I stop on my tracks, the palpitations of my heart doubling in the face of impending danger. I squint into the dark at the figure approaching on the other side of the narrow road. I assume the person is the one who had spoken; I hadn’t even seen him coming towards me.

“What are you looking at? You won’t turn and start going back home.”

I recognize the voice before I make out the features and gait of the speaker. The fear that gripped me earlier dissipates at once and I find myself glaring at Mitch.

“What are you doing out alone? I asked you a question,” he says tartly again.

Knowing that he can’t see the glare on my face, I distill the anger into my voice as I snap, “You’d have to forgive me for not responding on time. I was busy trying to comprehend the idiocy of your question.”

I do not know what it is about this boy, but the mere acknowledgment of his presence makes me want to spit.

“Oh shut up, you this girl,” he retorts. “It’s 9:46pm and you’re out here dressed in flayed shorts and a tank top, perambulating this slum like your father owns the place.” He makes a sighing sound of mock exhaustion, like I’m a younger brother of his that is always caught up in one trouble or the other.

I don’t know if I should be offended or touched by the hint of concern I hear in his voice. Where is the resident bitch of Iliana’s compound? That’s the guy I’m more comfortable dealing with, not this person acting like he has a heart.

“I don’t know where you’re going, but you should turn back. It’s not safe out there,” interjects another voice.

I’m startled again as I suddenly notice the figure next to Mitch. He starts crossing the road to where I’m standing, and with his approach, I can make out a fleshy face with small eyes and pout-sized mouth. He appears good looking in the gloom, but I decide to reserve my judgment on that score till I am able to see him in better lighting.

“At least, go back on whatever errand you’re running with someone else,” he says as he comes to a stop before me.

Behind him, Mitch is approaching with slower steps.

“His roommate is a female. Hardly bodyguard material,” he says with a sardonic chuckle.

“Be nice, Mitch,” the other guy admonishes.

“I’m always nice,” he coos back.

“No, you’re a bitch,” I snap at him, feeling my face get hotter with anger at the barb he delivered two seconds ago. “You’re a real unpleasant person. And I don’t have to listen to you.”

He nods, like I have made a valid point. I catch the expression of mocking indulgence on his face. “No, you don’t. You don’t have to listen to me. You can just sashay on to wherever you were going to, flayed shorts, queen bitch and all. And hopefully, you won’t end up attacked and dumped for dead like the two bodies we just saw at the junction.”

My heart skips a beat and I turn to the other guy as though for verification.

He nods. “Really gruesome sight. The way people were walking past the bodies, you’d think they were just part of the road’s construction.”

I swallow hard, suddenly conscious of my legs sticking out, long and lean, underneath my thigh length shorts. What had looked sexy minutes ago when I wore it now looks like it’d mark me for a target for hoodlums who abhor any form of femininity in guys.

Grudgingly stifling my pride and reducing my anger to a gentle simmer, I turn and together, the three of us start down the road where I came.

Bodies at the junction – what could have happened? I wondered with a faint shiver, fresh fear over this new habitat of mine causing me to unwittingly draw closer to Mitch’s friend, who is directly next to me, as though seeking warmth from the chill of my thoughts.

Hmm. This Mitch’s friend sef, I think, turning my head to give him a quick look.

I’m startled when my quick look snags with his; he’d been looking at me too. Upon our visual contact, he smiles and says, “I’m Bryan, by the way – Bryan with a Y.” He looms over me, a towering figure that dwarfs my 5’9 form. His voice has a youthful huskiness, a clear difference from Mitch’s boyish tone and my high-pitched, screeching one.

“Bryan with a Y,” I say. “Hello.”

His smile widens. “Hi.”

“And I’m Mitch, hello,” his friend interjects. “See? Now we’re all properly acquainted.”

“Some things you just wish the universe won’t allow to exist,” I say snidely in a low voice intended to be heard.

Mitch lets out a gusty laugh, like I have imparted the funniest anecdote he’s ever heard. “Aww, why do you have to be so nasty?”

“That’s rich coming from the guy who dished out an insult at me upon our very first meeting this morning,” I retort.

“Oh, don’t be such a child,” he says, waving a dismissive hand, as though swatting away the pesky fly that is my rejoinder. “I was merely reacting to the kind of person I was pretty sure you’d be.”

I turn a look that mixes bewilderment with annoyance to him. “What does that even mean?”

“I saw you get in this morning and I watched you observe us moving in. there was that look on your face, that one that was judging us for moving into a place like this. Plus I’d already gathered from Iliana that there was a guy – you – who’d just come t stay with her at the moment. It didn’t take me long to deduce the kind of person you are: over-pampered brat from a comfortable family, who is rebelling against mommy and daddy and is out here, slumming it until he can get what he wants from his parents.”

Over-pampered brat? Rebelling against mommy and daddy? The fact that he is both right and inaccurate sets my blood boiling again. “You know, for a person who felt judged by a mere look from me, you are pretty judgy yourself,” I snipe.

“Oh go to hell,” Mitch replies in a tone that betrays his offense at my remark.

“Pretty sure there’s an apartment waiting for you there already,” I fire back.

“Ow-kay!” Bryan cuts in. He waves his hands, splayed downward, as if to stay the advent of a fight. “Lots of negative emotions here, people. But we are communicating, that’s good.” He turns to his friend and says, “Oya, Mitch, are you going to quit being a sour bitch and apologize to…” He turns a questioning look at me.

“Ikem,” I supply curtly and then turn my head away, still fuming.

President Obama’s tenure started and ended before Mitch finally dredges up the words I thought Hell would freeze over before he’d say.

“Okay, I’m sorry, Ikem,” he says with startling genuineness. “Friends?”

“No!” I start walking ahead of them with faster steps, trying to shake off the feeling of despair that is suddenly threatening to overwhelm me. The way it’s doing me this night though… If I wasn’t already fully aware of my penis and lack of breasts, I’d say I am on my period.

“Oh come on!” It is Bryan and he is hot on my heels. I know I can’t out-walk him, not with those horse strides of his, so when he catches up, I stop to meet his frown.

“Are you for real now?” His hands are on his waist and his head tipped to the right like a father admonishing his recalcitrant child. “Just a few minutes ago, you were walking on your own like you were running from carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Clearly you have a shortage of people to talk to, otherwise you would be doing just that instead of being out here in this dangerous neighbourhood at night. If you ask me, I think you need a friend. Stop trying so hard to be a hard nut.”

I rear back, surprised that he has picked up that much about me within a few minutes of making his acquaintance. “You don’t even know me.” My voice doesn’t feel like mine. The wretchedness I feel inside spills out onto my words, even though I am desperately trying to maintain a rigid unaffected stance before this stranger.

“Or maybe we do.” Mitch advances, hands in his pockets. “You are just like me. Shorter and definitely more sour. But me still. We try to wrap ourselves in this cocoon of self-defense at the slightest provocation. We hardly let people in because of our own insecurities. We give off the vibes of those that want nothing with the world, but deep inside, we crave attention and affection. Do these at all read like you?”

He is a real bitch, judgmental too, but he has a really good perception about people, I grudgingly admit to myself.

Our compound is already in sight, four yards or so from where we are standing.

I turn and resume walking. The other two fall in step beside me.

“Now will you tell us what has you in a badder mood than a pregnant woman about to deliver?” Bryan finally says, warming his words with a smile.

I turn to him. I debate what I want to do for just a second. And then I begin to talk to them.

Written by Delle

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12 Comments

  1. Mandy
    May 11, 06:42 Reply

    Sizikora and Mitch are going to be friends?! Why?! Noooooo! I was just starting to love their tense bitchy acquaintanceship.

  2. ambivalentone
    May 11, 08:34 Reply

    Wait! You saw him, psychoanalyzed him as a bitch and so he’s not bitchy to u, decided to be first at bitchcraft…does that even make sense?

  3. Mitch
    May 11, 08:43 Reply

    Eh…….
    This was nice. I like that Sizi and Mitch are dealing with their madness or whatever that was.
    Nice episode.

    P.S. Mandy, shey you know your wahala can be plenty? You live for catfights between bitches, abi?

    P.P.S. Mitch is nothing like this bitchy character Delle has created oh. Bikonu! Before someborri wee coman goan be seeing like one bad pelzin like that

    • Pink Panther
      May 11, 08:53 Reply

      ?????This one is just spin you’re yarning. We have drawn our conclusions and we are sticking with it.

    • Vhar.
      May 11, 10:13 Reply

      Mandy was depicted as a calm-headed-faithful-analytical-boyfriend.
      Francis was portrayed as the paranoid “doctor”.
      Colossus was… What was said about him again? Never mind.
      Dennis nko? Or you’ve forgotten that one too?
      And you’re here saying you’re not the bitchy character Delle created?

      My friend, embrace your Sasha Fierce fiercely! Irani.

    • ambivalentone
      May 11, 15:08 Reply

      I don’t hafta tell you Adele has written xters based on his perception of or experiences with them. Glory in it biko

  4. Bryce
    May 11, 14:01 Reply

    Mitch does seem bitchy,but I see him as being like a cactus.
    All prickly on the outside,mush inside

  5. Omiete
    May 12, 10:04 Reply

    This is my best episode so far…… The love i have for Mitch eh!!!!!!!

  6. Eliseo
    May 13, 07:43 Reply

    You can certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

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