in Short stories

The Guiltless Devil

I squawked! Sweat was breaking through every pore on my body. My heart had skipped breath for a while and my brain seemed to have stuttered. My eyes were as wide as they could possibly be but I was tongue-tied even though my lips were wide apart.

He was enfeebled at my squawk and as he turned, she was going to slip and fall. With the swiftness of a hare, I made out for her. She was just in my arms as I ran out. I was barefooted, in my lingerie but I was out on the street, bearing my baby in my hand, constantly checking her body as I drove to the hospital. She was running a fever like before but she was calm like she could make sense of all that had happened and wasn’t ready to cry.

” Please, where is Doctor Jaye, I want to see the doctor” I called out as soon as I stepped foot in the hospital. I was definitely not the one to wait in line to see the doctor. I was lucky he came out just as I asked and ushered me into his office.

“Doctor, it is herpes. It is truly herpes. I caught him, I caught Muyi this morning licking her vagina. I saw him.” I broke down in tears as I remembered in a quick flash how Muyi planted his face between her chunky thighs, slurping her puffy and delicate vagina with his chameleon tongue.

“Cunnilingus doctor, who in this world does that on a year old innocent baby? Who does that doctor? I was going to rest a bit. I couldn’t sleep since she started running fever days ago, you know. He asked to watch over her while I take a nap. Doctor, it doesn’t seem like his first. Those blisters aren’t diaper rashes. Help me, help me, please do the herpes test now” I said all amidst tears while I confirm the speculation the doctor gave me days ago when I earlier visited the hospital.

“You still have to calm down. Herpes isn’t the only cause of blisters on babies like I said days before. It could even be chickenpox but let’s run the test now. Please call your husband.” I was looking at him but I couldn’t see him. His voice was faint in my ears as the flash of what I saw thundered in my mind.

I had stayed in the hospital for 21days after. It was indeed herpes. The fever, the blisters on her vagina and those in her mouth that I didn’t notice before time were because of herpes she must have got from Muyi. Muyi does kiss her even in my presence but I never put much thought to it. I mean, I don’t allow strangers to do that but he is her uncle, he stays with us in the house and I’m sure of his proper hygiene. So why not? Little did I know, he does all forms of oral sex on her while I leave her to him to watch over.

The 21days were horrendous, to say the least. I couldn’t sleep or eat properly as I was in pain watching my daughter go through all the struggle. I wished I had done better as a mother. I constantly imagined when it could have started, perhaps a few days after her birth. I was not sure but I made up the blanks and blamed myself even more. The doctor advised I concentrated on attending to my daughter at the clinic while my husband handled his brother’s case.

I got home and Muyi was nowhere to be found. No matter what it is, my husband and I were not going to let a pedophile go unpunished, such was my thought. So I just settled in back and I was glad my daughter was recuperating.

I was later to get the shock of my life when I asked Ade the steps he took on his brother’s case. “I didn’t ask him anything. You caught him, so there was no need for questioning. I just told him he needed to have an apartment of his own seeing that he is no more a young boy too” he said. I felt like I didn’t hear well and had to confirm again, “you mean you didn’t get angry with him, you didn’t reprimand him for what he did? There was no scolding of any sort talkless getting him arrested? You mean you just told him you were moving him to his own apartment for his convenience? Is that it, Ade? ” I asked like I didn’t believe what I had heard, trying hard not to shout but I could hear my scream.

“See, woman, I don’t have time for this. My baby is responding to treatment. He didn’t rape her, did he? Please let’s just let it go. He is my brother, so don’t press too hard. This has cost me enough money for it to still cause me stress” he responded, adjusting the duvet like that was the curtain call and he needed no more talk.

Dumbfounded is the least to describe how I felt. I felt a rush of anger, hate, and betrayal but my soul was dampened and I couldn’t find words. That minute, all the memories of Ade’s cheating spree came at me. For 2years of our marriage, I have caught him several times flirting with girls on WhatsApp and Instagram. Sliding into Dms and shooting his shot at every opportunity like a single man with no regard for our marriage vows. Whenever I brought up such issues, his defence was always “am I sleeping with them? I sent love messages to her, did I mean it? I’m just playing around please” Anything I say after his lame words of defence would have been responded to with smiles on his face.

For two years, I had watched my husband disrespect our vows flirting with girls online. For two years, I had watched him stay longer in the toilet making calls to those girls. For two years, I have seen receipts of cash transfers to the ladies. For the two years, he has denied me the privilege to go on vacation with him with the excuse that he couldn’t afford to pay for me and his brother and can’t let me go with him without his brother as that would make his brother sad. For those two years, I had always blamed it on me. I had always thought I wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t deserving of unflinching love. That I have no perfect shape for him not to cheat on me. For those two years that he trivialized his cheating attitude, I believed him even though it affected my anxiety and triggered my attacks more and more.

But I was beginning to see it differently, I was beginning to see Ade as a devil that kills without sword after my daughter’s case. She is innocent, she is beautiful, she is his daughter; his first fruit. She deserves his love and concern. Anyone who did her bad deserved to see his red veins. Why would he do this to our daughter?

In the morning, I confronted him. “So you are going to allow your brother to get away with infecting my daughter with a lifelong disease? You are going to let him go free and do it to other children? Ade, you are really going to do this to your own daughter.” I got no reply, just a man with his eyes fixed on his phone. “You are a devil” I yelled at his smiling face with a shot of blood in my eyes, my veins all worked up, my voice came out so loud but cranky from the tears of the night before. He laughed back at me just like he always does. “I will leave this house for you, you can do this to our daughter? I will leave, I will leave today” I screamed not being able to help my tears. He smirked at me and got busy with his phone like what I just said meant nothing.

I did as I said. I got my things and my daughter’s and left the house for my parent’s house. I have kissed my journey of mental and psychological violence; a goodbye. I wasn’t going to come back to it.

“Did he beat you? No. Does he provide for you and your daughter? Yes! What else do you want? See, marriage is managing o, you learn to manage and tolerate your husband. Not that you make divorce an option. It is never an option for a good woman. The daughter that you said is sick, who is taking care of her, is it not him or are you the one spending the money? Did he not send the Muyi away now, either it is nicely or how you want it, the main deal is Muyi already left your house. So why not save your dignity and self-esteem and stay in your husband’s house. We all have tales to tell in our marriages, it is best if you would stop acting like yours is worse and get going to your husband’s house”

Those were the words of my mother as I got to my family house expecting to be welcomed. She was clear with her objection and tried to dissuade every point I made. She made it a point that I return as soon as possible to my husband’s house.

As I rode back home to the strangling silence of Ade, I questioned my judgment. Could it be that I am still the problem? Could it be that Muyi was guiltless? Could it be that the anger and hate I feel are baseless? Who do I even blame if not me? Of my mother, my husband or his brother, who do I curse if not me?

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  1. The way parents see marriage baffles me, it’s more like a trophy won and at all cost must be kept no matter what you face… Muyi is meant to be behind bars for sure but then even his brother does same, who knows maybe worse… I feel bad for the baby and d mother you know, if only she had d right support or stood her ground and never return.

  2. Hmmm. The reality of our society. It’s saddening to see and experience how family and society revere the concept of marriage over mental and physical health. If he beats you, they’ll tell you at least he’s ot cheating. If he cheats, they’ll say after all, he still takes care of you.
    We really need to do better. I’m not a fan of disunity but where a relationship or marriage threatens your mental health and balance, biko RUN.

    Good one as always Muna. I love and enjoyed this.

    • Thanks for the beautiful comment. I love that you paid attention to details in the story. I do appreciate that

  3. Nobody deserves a partner that’s not at least considerate. How would a child grow up and be told she got herpes from her uncle who lives happily with his own family. I think parents shouldn’t tolerate things like this. It is for better for worse and not for evil. These are demons amongst men but who am I to judge. Lovely write up Muna , always something new to learn

  4. Is he cheating??
    Does he take care of you??
    As if those are the only thing a man should be responsible for in marriage… is just really sad that people go through a lot in relationships or marriages that are beyond your partner cheating or taking care of you but if you leave, you suddenly become the bad one.
    Relationship is even way better but when it comes to marriage, I get confused too, like what is she supposed to do?
    She isn’t happy but yet can’t leave……sad!!!!
    Thanks for sharing the reality of our environment.

      • Hmm. While reading I was just seeing the pictures of the woman and her baby’s horrible experience in the hand of her beast husband and brother. Dear parents, it is better to have a divorced daughter than to have a dead or traumatized one. Bless you for this write-up.

  5. This was such a good read, the reality of today. Where do we draw the line, family or not, Muyi deserves to do time.
    I sometimes wonder how most men have little to zero empathy these days. All a woman needs is support and show of care, like I’m on your side and I believe this is wrong and definitely shouldn’t be accepted. Until we erase the olden days mentality, we would forever be managing marriages instead of enjoying🤦🏼‍♀️

  6. Only God knows how many innocent child Muyi has done that to. Muyi needs to be taught a lesson he won’t forget in his entire life. Who knows probably he learnt that act from the shameless husband. God help us in this century.

  7. This really touched some nerves. I like how you wrote it and how this is true in our society.

    For one, marriage should never be tolerated. It is not worth losing one’s sanity for. If it’s not working, leave. Let nobody talk you out of it. You wear the sandal and you know where it itches. Secondly, we should never ever trivialize serious issues as rape and abuse on children.

    I know it’s a story but the fact that this happens in real life even makes me angrier.

      • Muyi and his brothers are both devils that should be sent to jail. it is such a pity we live in a society that had placed value on building more machines than preserving human rights. if this could be done to a small baby and no one sees it as evil even the grandma, then something is wrong with our generation and we might never get it right. this is the kind of abuse some of these children grow up with and when they become nuisance, we blame Government for everything. As for the mother of the baby, she might have seen so many related behaviors with the baby’s father from courtship but that is what happens when being blindfolded by love. it is best to picture your marriage life from your relationships. Any man or woman that treats you with disrespect while dating doesn’t worth living under the same roof with. You let go before you face bigger problems in your marriage. It is also high time parents need to see marriage beyond just providing for a woman. she deserves more than just the money. No amount of money would solve the problem of a wife suffering from psychological maltreatment, for all she needs is care Someone she can lean and cry on. Someone whom she knows will always be there for her in adversity. Marriage entails more.

        This is a beautiful piece Abiola. please don’t ever stop writing. I enjoyed every piece of the story. thumbs up.

  8. Its so pathetic that Ade is just quiet about the issue cos it involves his own brother…. How on earth would he allow such an evil act on his own child? Maybe Ade too is involved in such acts too since he flirts online with other girls… Its obvious its in their family 👪 and so its not worth the struggle… I can’t stand a pedophile…. It really sucks

  9. The best thing about your stories is that, they’re all relatable. It is just so sad how rapists and pedophiles get away with their ungodly and wicked acts, all in the name of the family trying to cover or protect the family’s name from shame. It is also sad how women are being marginalized and being forced to always put up with terrible things men can’t even take 10% of it in marriage. It is sad that there are proves to back it up in our culture and religion. Another interesting one Muna 👍. You don finally dey make read o

  10. Who do we trust in life? Who knows if Ade had perpetrated worse act than Muyi against his daughter. May be that’s why he doesn’t want to take strict measures against his brother.
    Again, this story reminds us of how parents and society at large view marriage. Once our daily material needs are meant, then, there’s no need to call off the marriage even when certain things are apparently not working well. Kudos dear for this piece.

  11. Who do we trust in life? Who knows if Ade had perpetrated worse act than Muyi against his daughter, and muyi was aware. May be that’s why he didn’t want to take strict action against his brother.
    Again, this story reminds us of how parents and society at large view marriage. Once our daily material needs are met, then, there’s no need to call off marriage even when certain things are apparently not working well. Kudos dear for this piece.

  12. Highly detailed and captivating. What’s more interesting is the view of the wife’s mother and her husband. It got drawn to me daily that women without financial power is a slave; and that’s how our society has been for a very long time.

    Even those who goes to school are trained to make marriage a priority as if they don’t have their own purpose as human.

    When I have a daughter, I will teach her no man can make her the best she wanted to be, I will teach her to see a man as a partner and I will encourage her to follow her dream because the world need to hear her voice.

    And lastly, I will let her know that a woman who knows when enough is enough will always be enough.

  13. Both brothers are guilty!!! Let us teach our daughters the value of education, career, finances and goals in life…. Exposure and Education are mutually exclusive, marriage isn’t a basis of fulfilment. It is good to find a good man, he’s just the icing, aim to be the cake itself. However let’s be weary about the company we keep.

  14. Its so unfortunate, I feel the woman’s plight…what if she never caught AGBAYA Muyi,the little baby will suffer in silence and they will be treating malaria.
    Muna,this is a beautiful writeup.. This thing is real walahi.may your ink of knowledge never run dry

  15. I’m teary. The society we live in, how can a father choose to support his brother over his daughter ? and mum make you go back to keep pushing.

    You are such a great writer Muna.

  16. Paedophiles is now a disease that has no cure, every single man is a potential paedophile which is really crazy, every prospective mother just have to be very vigilant, trust no one around those kids not even relative, welcome to our crazy world.
    U are da best sweet, pen goddess… So proud of u

  17. I appreciate your brain and time for this short story, Biola.
    This story could be given a mini-analysis to the pervasive injustice that has eaten African continent to the ground of irrelevance. Ade represents African governments of no concern to their deprived citizens. Citizens who have been denied the little but important dignity to feel like a whole human being. Citizens whose feelings and beliefs of human equality have been made seen impossible by their ruthless leaders.
    We are a lot the citizens in “Ade’s wife” shoes whose cries of injustice to the government that Ade represents has never for once triggered action of truth and Justice that is unalloyed of nepotism, tribalism, and side-taking that is rooted in religious affiliation. Unfitted judgement is given to a crime of large weight, and “we” Africans- as a government and so as people continue to ravage and savage our own self to an irrelevant corner in the global community.

    Muyi represents the few privileged in Africa whose connections in high places of political and religious terrain armour them against the swing of the blade of Justice.

    On a literal ground, all of us as an organized community must be begin to speak up against every form of sexual assaults, as such to the juveniles and adults alike.

    I thank you once more for this beautiful piece. More inspiration, Biola.