Chained (Part 3)

...Continued from last post...

After Emeka and I had registered, we were smuggled to Libya, where, according to them, we were to take a flight to any European country of our choice. Emeka and I had different places we wanted to go to, but at the same time, we wanted to be together. But things turned sour before we even had the time to choose a country. The agency kept us in large warehouses. I was separated from Emeka and kept in a warehouse which contained about two thousand people. All of us seeking passage and better life in Europe. It was amongst those people that I realized the full extent of my predicament.

They told me that we were not going to Europe, not unless we were sold there. That sounded strange. As it turned out, we were slaves. When I asked what we would be doing as slaves, their replies further shocked me.

“The women become sex slaves, while the men are sent to work at some factory or the other.”

Oh Emeka! What have you gotten us into? I later learned that some people who didn’t want to be separated claimed to be married so as to be kept together. I looked for ways to get to Emeka, but I just couldn’t.

The day we were to be auctioned off was when I knew the name of the city we were: Sabha. After the sale, the slaves will be taken to Tripoli, where we would be ferried to Italy. It was here that I was sold to Giorgio Bernazi. I also reunited with Emeka. He was looking like a shadow of his former self. His seeks were sunken, his eyes bloodshot, and his face, lost and forlorn.

The ship that took us was crammed to the capacity with slaves. These were people who were deceived by the promise of better life in Europe. Many of them were Nigerians, but there were other African nationalities there; Ghanaians, Cameroonians, Togolese, many of us Africans were jammed together for an unknown but unpleasant future in Europe. It was during the journey that Emeka and so many others died when our ship capsized.

As I reminisced, I felt the hands of Mr. Dubois sliding inside my thighs. He had long, calloused fingers, like the hands of someone who was familiar with rough work. I looked up at him, he threw a glance at me and smacked his lips. He looked like a predator stalking his prey. Shortly, he gave a nod to Georgie. That was his cue to leave us alone. He stood up, kissed me on the cheeks and left.

Antoine also stood up and extended his hands to me. I took it and he led me to his room. Inside his room, he told me to go and freshen up while he did so too. After the shower, I came out with only a towel draped over my body. I lay in bed waiting for him. I just wished it would be over fast. When he came out and saw me, his eyes glazed over with pure lust. He sat on the chair opposite me, and looked at me for terribly long time that I started getting scared. There was something in the way he looked at me that unsettled me. He said:

“My dear, you’re absolutely stunning. And as much as I want to taste every part of you, I want things to be more exciting.” He then removed his belt and leered at me. It was then that his intention became obvious. I’d heard of men who derived pleasure from hurting women but I never thought that I would encounter one. This was really a nightmare. He asked me to remove the towel and lie on my belly. I did as he commanded, praying that he would change his mind.

The first landing of the belt on my bare back sent slivers of pain throughout my whole being. He landed the second one, and third one. He then flipped me over, sat astride on me and tied his belt on my throat. I was choking, but he was oblivious to my muffled shouting. He was moaning with perverse pleasure. I felt myself slipping out of consciousness. With a a last strong-willed effort, I pulled out the pin I used in arranging my hair and stuck it in his shoulder. He yelped in pain and slackened his hold on me. I pushed him off, took my clothes and ran into the elevator naked.

I gave no thought to the fact that someone might be in the elevator; I probably wouldn’t have cared. I dressed up inside the elevator and walked briskly out of the hotel. Outside, I started running. I had been told many times by Giorgio that he had contacts in the Italian police and immigration, and as such, I had no place to run to. But I was in France, maybe I had a chance to get out of the hellish life I was in. I was heading in the opposite direction we had come from when suddenly I felt something of tremendous weight hit me. I was thrown in the air, and then I saw darkness.

~~~~~~

I woke up to the sound of dials and the smell of antiseptics. I was in a hospital. I tried getting up, but I felt such an indescribable pain that I moaned. That was when I saw him. He rushed to my side and was asking me if I was alright. Who was he? Why was I here? Did Georgie find me? But these questions did not leave my mouth. I felt my head swooning and I fell unconscious again.

He was still there when I woke up again. He was looking at me, with a worried look on his face. He had the kindest eyes of any human being I’ve seen. He left, to call the doctor but I was sad that he left. The doctor came in, took my vitals and said that I was indeed lucky to be alive; it was the car of the man who was with me that had hit me.

The man, whose name I found out to be Chike was apologizing profusely and asking me not to press charges. As if I could. He then asked me questions about what I was doing, running like I saw a ghost. At his inquiry, I recalled what happened and started crying. I tried to stall the sobs, instead they came out in torrents.
“Hey! Hey. Take it easy. Calm down please. I’m sorry if my question was uncomfortable for you,” he said.

Later, I calmed down. And for the first time since I came to Europe, told my story. I told everything, about my family, how we tried getting to Europe, how we were slaves and sold off as sex workers, and finally, what happened to me which caused me to flee. After I finished talking, he was very disturbed. He informed me that he was part of the Nigerian diplomatic mission to France and that he was coming back from a meeting when he hit me. He also promised to send me home.

I remembered what Georgie said about having contacts everywhere, and was scared that he would find me out. He saw that I was agitated, and said,

“No harm will come to you dear, I promise.”

~~~~~~

Two weeks later, I was back in Nigeria, among my family members. When I came back, Chike helped me to gain my feet back. He organized rehabilitation programs for me and at his request, I would set up a foundation to educate people about the dangers of illegal travels to Europe.

Today, I was scheduled for an interview with a prominent news agency. My story had become popular and everyone wanted to know what had happened to me. As I stepped into the newsroom, I saw the faces of my family and Chike, I smiled at them. I am now home, among the people that matter. No harm can come to me now.

THE END.

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