After long hours of traveling by road from Port Harcourt to Abuja, Zel alighted from the transit vehicle at its final bus stop with no clue as to where she was, or where she could go. Seeing the look of confusion on her face, a gentle man at the bus station asked her where she was going, if only he knew that she could not speak. Zel was mute but not from birth. The gentleman, after trying without luck to get a response from her, quickly became angry. Muttering to himself on how rude she was, he wondered how such a pretty girl could have that kind of bad attitude.
Zel was too exhausted to try to demonstrate to him that she could not speak, she didn’t bother especially because he wouldn’t have believed her anyway. Every time she tried to demonstrate to people that she could not speak they would look at her in disgust and some would say outrightly that she was rude because she was pretty. It never occurred to them that she was truly mute. Zel was not just a pretty girl, she was a very pretty girl. The kind of prettiness that made people in her hometown refer to her as a daughter of a river goddess, because it is impossible for a human being to possess a certain kind of beauty without having links to water spirits.
Zel came to Abuja for one purpose and that purpose was to make money, by any means possible. She had already spent most of the 22 years of her life suffering. She had nothing to lose. A man parked his car by the road where Zel was standing looking lost, his car was a black Jeep that looked very expensive. He asked Zel if she would like a ride to wherever she was going and she agreed with a nod. A couple of minutes later, he suggested he drop her off at a hotel to lodge her in, where he could visit her later. She agreed again with a nod, and he assumed that her silence came from shyness and mischief. With a lazy smile on his face he commented that he liked quiet girls, especially fine ones.
By the time they got to the hotel Zel was sleepy. He asked for her name and in response she filled the guest form at the reception table. With his lazy smile, he commented this time that she was such a tease. Zel smiled back.
Zel had a breathtaking look whenever she was refreshed, it was as though each time her body came in contact with water it recalled its roots. She had showered and rested well by the time the man who dropped her off earlier returned to visit her, and his reaction on seeing her did not come as a surprise. He looked almost confused and very taken aback. He kept on commenting on her looks until it was obvious from her face what Zel was thinking. She was wondering if he was going to sleep with her and he did, she let him.
Zel lodged out of the hotel the next morning. Looking as pretty as usual she packed her newly acquired extra luggage, stared at the dead man lying on the bed she shared with him and after an awkward amount of time, she smiled. She was still mute, but she had nothing to lose, especially now.
If the strange man knew what he was getting himself into, he would still have done it anyway. He would have slept with Zel, still.