Short Stories, Tale Africa

Torn (4)


By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa:

The third time I was 16 years old, my body was fully developed and I was a full blown mapakisha. I still didn’t have any real friends, except my dad. That year my mother got promoted and become the matron at our nearest hospital. My father was a teacher, which meant he had more time to spend with me. Growing up in Vryheid wasn’t hard at all, and we were not a poor family.

I still had the desk in my room, and still slept with the lights off. At that point I had had a couple of incidents with the touching man but all dismissed as hallucinations, so much that I started believing it. The guy didn’t do anything but touch me with his creepy long fingers. At 13 I started secretly taking sleeping pills, to block the ‘hallunications’. I had stolen prescriptions when visiting mom at work; long story short, I slept hard and never felt anything. One morning I woke up bleeding, my whole body felt different, but my mother said it was just my periods. That was at 16 years, a few days after the third incident. I knew my periods cycle, and I knew my flow, I had taken time to study it. I was the only child remember, I had a lot of time on my hands. I had also started sewing, as a hobby; I had a set of needles and scissors in my room.

The night of the incident I didn’t take the sleeping tablets. Something in me didn’t want to fall asleep, I just lay in bed and stared into the darkness. I don’t remember what I was thinking about but I remember the door opened and interrupted my thoughts. I remained in the same position and waited for him to make a move. He crawled into the bed and started touching me. I got angry; for 10 years this man had been violating my body and nothing was being done about it. 10 years!

I let him continue as I contemplated my next move. He touched my breasts and started breathing heavily in my ear. Next thing, he took off my underwear… I heard sirens in my head, like a firehouse alert. At the speed of light, I grabbed the scissors on the table and stabbed him. I turned him so that I could sit on him and I continued stabbing, countless times, and I could see his life leaving him. I threw the scissors in for the last time and let out a loud scream. I couldn’t control anything about myself at that moment. My room was stark dark. My scream was long, I don’t know how long because I only stopped screaming when my mother turned on the lights and I opened my eyes. The blood was there, the man was there, lying in his blood – lifeless. It was never hallucinations…

Upon realizing the body, my mother started crying and cursing. I couldn’t make out a lot of what she said, because of the crying and the voices in my head. All I remember her saying was;

“You little demon, you’re a curse! You killed my little boy and now look what you’ve done… He was a sick man, he was just a sick man”.

That was followed by more tears and more curses. It stuck. She made me realize that I had a baby brother that I allegedly killed when he was still a few months old. I have no memory of that, even today. I also realized that she knew the man violating me, she knew it was never hallucinations. My head was already spinning when she said she doesn’t want to live with me because I’m a real life devil, my mother called me that. She said I should kill her. She repeatedly said I should kill her because she could not imagine living with me after taking her loved ones, so I did it. I snapped and I threw a set of needles at her face. I wasn’t so good at throwing back then but I wasn’t so bad either. She swallowed some but the scissors finished her off.

“Nozipho,” my mother whispered.

I was woken by that same whisper in the police cells. This happens every time; the voice of the victim echoes in my head. I knew my life would change forever. At 16 years old, I had killed my whole family.


“Nozi! Nozipho!”

I wake up roughly as Sipho shakes me. I’ve just had one of those episodes again. ?Sipho and I worked hard to bury all of this but why is it coming back? I think Zweli’s death is bringing up all these memories. Maybe it’s the pregnancy… maybe.

“It’s just a bad dream,” he whispers while holding me.

“I killed them Sipho,” I start crying. God I’m losing my mind again.

“You didn’t kill anyone,” he whispers, “listen to me. You’ve never killed anyone.”

I nod. He gives me the bottle of water I always keep next to my bed. I must’ve fallen asleep and he continued with cooking because he is wearing an apron – just an apron. I gave him another tattoo on his right arm. His upper body has a small space with no tattoos, and every tattoo tells a story – a memory. This time he asked me to draw him a small cross, that didn’t even take long. Afterwards I was crazily aroused, as usual, so was he. I have a crazy needle fetish, the very reason I became a tattoo artist. For Sipho, for myself, for us. We had steamy sex, and I must’ve fallen asleep afterwards. I was supposed to have a peaceful sleep, why didn’t I?

“The food is ready,” he says after a brief silence.

He must be hella turned on right now. Cooking gives him a ridiculous high and he gets turned on, just like I do after tattooing. I smile as he brings our plate of food. We eat together when he’s the one that cooked, that way we finish faster and get on with curbing his craving.

He is such a blessing…

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