I fear for my life.
It has been 23 days since I whipped the boy. 23 days of silence and forced meals. 23 days of cold stares and overly efficient work.
Perhaps I whipped him too hard, but it had to be done. He had hit Chidombo’s girl like a professional boxer and left her bawling like a three year old. She had teased him too far, like she always did, making jokes about his mother and running for safety when she riled him up enough. He caught her that time, and left her with a progressively blackening eye.
He had no right to hit a woman though and I always told him, warned him even. A man can only take so much but then again. Perhaps I might have remembered how my own father beat my mother as I whipped him. He begged for a while and then went silent, taking the remaining blows with a stony silence.
I tried to apologize that evening. I bought all the boys in my workshop Coca-Cola but he turned it down. He said he was not thirsty and did not want to waste my money. He worked late into the night and only went to bed after I ordered him to. He continued the next day, long before I awoke, all through the day, barely eating anything.
He became a shadow in the house; seen, but silent. Just yesterday, I caught him staring at me with eyes fit for the devil. I actually had goose bumps. I asked what was wrong and he said nothing, calmly walking away. Throughout the day, I could feel his eyes on my back. I noticed that the other boys had begun avoiding him too, a deathly silence descending on them whenever he entered the room. I had heard them talking about him in hushed tones; stories of midnight walks and strangled chickens. I ignored them all; after all, he was only a boy. I knew his mother, my sister, a rather unsavoury character hell bent on selling her body, and I had rescued him from her. He ought to be grateful.
But here I am; bound, blindfolded, and gagged, in a place I do not know. I feel the ache in my head. I hear the clanging sound of metal striking metal and a hushed chuckle.
I fear for my life.