I knew there was something wrong with Chika, I could see it in her eyes, they reminded me of iced fish; lackluster, dead. It was there in the way she moved, like a puppet being jerked by a master, it was there in the way she cowered and trembled when asked questions in class and in her grades that were beginning to fall like a stack of dominoes.
Chika was changing, she had withdrawn into herself, choosing to be alone. She, who had won Dr Asika’s scholarship three years in a row was now scoring a low as 7/30 in her test scores. It was almost impossible to believe that my best student was failing so woefully. I kept asking her if anything was wrong but she insisted she was okay. After grading her last test, I knew I had to get to the root of the matter. During break time, I asked her to stay behind.
“Chika, I think you should see this.” I watched her face crumble as she looked through the graph of her grades I plotted. “I’m going to call your parents. I need to talk to them.” I have met her parents a couple of times, her father is a Pastor in a church and the mother works in a bank. Both of them well educated people who took so much pride in their only daughter.
She looked at me, her eyes widening in what seemed like fear. “Please ma, don’t call them.” She knelt, clutching the hem of my gown.
“But I think they have to know what is going on.”
She shook her head, tears filling her eyes. “Please Ma, I will do better. I… I’ve just been distracted. I will do better, I promise.”
‘This isn’t just about your studies, it’s about this new inexplicable change that has come over you.” I handed her a roll of tissue to wipe her tears and as she took them from me, I noticed some marks on her wrist. I grabbed her wrist. “What is this?”
She began to flutter, gently at first till it seemed like a tremor was going through her. “Chika, I need you to talk to me.”
She shook her head, more tears pouring down her face. “I can’t. I can’t.”
I relaxed my grip on her. “Chika, you know you can talk to me, right? I need you to talk to me. I need to know how to help you.”
She bit her lips. “Nobody can help me. You can’t help me.” She curved into herself and lay on the ground sobbing. “You won’t believe me. Nobody will.”
Without hesitation, I plopped down on the ground beside her. “Try me.”
Daddy says it’s a beautiful thing when he touches me. I have to open up and accept the Holy spirit into me. Mummy is there sometimes to hold me down. She tells me not to struggle. It is a privilege to be chosen by the Holy spirit. I have to be receptive. I have to allow the Holy spirit work through me, that’s the only way to attract God’s blessings, that’s the only way to make God bless Mummy with more children. Some days ago, I bit down on daddy’s shoulders as he forced himself into me, so Mummy held me down while he gagged me and tied up by hands with rope… they say the devil is trying to prevent the Holy Spirit from using me. Mummy would say, ‘Chika baby, stay still. Hush now. Hush now. You need to allow the Holy Spirit use you.’
I’m blindsided. This was totally unexpected. How do I handle this? I can’t let this go on!