By: Ben Akponine-Samuel.
Chioma ran away from home and nobody knew where she had run to. Chioma’s father had been very worried but his wife, Ngozi whom the girl had run away from told him not to worry because she would return.
Chioma was only fifteen years old and her father thought she was too young to run away from home. He feared that she would run into danger.
Ngozi had sent the girl on an errand to the market and had told her to be back within fifteen minutes but hours later, the girl had not returned.
Ngozi was Chioma’s stepmother and had married Chioma’s mother few years after Chioma lost her mother. Ngozi had quickly thought that the best way to keep Chioma under her reins was to be harsh with her.
She maltreated her and made her do all the work in the house. Fortunately for her, Chioma’s father was too much in love with his new wife to see whatever wrong she was doing.
It was worse when Ngozi had her twin boys. She turned into a very wicked stepmother and was not only maltreating Chioma but also beating her.
One day, Ngozi had beaten Chioma because she ate the food her father had remained. Ngozi had intended to give the food to the dog and when she saw that Chioma had eaten the food, she got furious and attacked her, calling her a thief.
‘’What is going on here?’’ Chioma’s father who was taking a siesta asked as he came into the living room when he heard the noise.
‘’Is this your stupid daughter that is behaving like a criminal that she actually is’’ Ngozi said.
Chioma’s father was not sure he liked that statement being referred to his daughter. ‘’What happened?’’ he asked.
‘’After she had eaten her food, she went ahead to steal food that isn’t hers. Can you imagine that?’’ Ngozi screemed and made to hit her again but Chioma’s father prevented her by standing on her way.
‘’Steal food how?’’ the man asked.
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‘’The food that you remained and I wanted to give it to the dog that hasn’t eaten. She went to eat it,’’ Ngozi said, still steaming.
‘’Remnant?’’ the man asked and turned to his daughter. ‘’Why would you even eat remnant?’’
‘’I was hungry,’’ Chioma said.
‘’Is your stomach a deep pit? How many times do you want to eat a day? Now, the poor dog had no food to eat,’’ Ngozi said.
‘’It’s okay Ngozi. Chioma is my child. She should eat good food to her satisfaction and should not eat remnant. And that is not enough reason for the beating.
The dog cannot be more important than a human being who is even my child,’’ he said.
Ngozi stared at him, mortified, for a moment. ‘’This is how you spoil her. This is how you support bad behaviour. So because she is your child, she should be a glutton and eat all the food in the house and the rest of us should starve? It’s okay, keep spoiling her,’’ she said, hurt. She walked away.
Chioma’s father tried to stop her but she brushed past him in her rage. He went after her. It was obvious that he loved her so much and was ready to do anything to please her.
Chioma knew her father would go begging Ngozi for forgiveness and that would further embolden her to maltreat her…..
WatchOut for Chapter Two (2)…….
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