by Shehu Idris
Akande shoved the creaking door with all his might as he staggered in, a capped bottle of McDowell’s clamped underneath his armpit.
His tattered, carelessly buttoned shirt reeked of everything from alcohol to marijuana.
With groggy eyes he searched the stuffy, dimly lit one-room apartment for his wife.
He has been like this since his teenage years – worshiping alcohol and feeding on marijuana.
Abstinence even for a single day spells doom. He would go insane without both.
“Hey, stupid!” he called out, neck hung in the direction of his wife. “Why didn’t you open the door for me on time?” Every syllable came with a mist of saliva.
His wife ignored him. All her attention was focused on the baby in her arms. The tiny infant, barely three months old, sucked hungrily at her right breast.
Reaching for a napkin on the shaky wood table beside her she wiped away the beads of sweat that the intense heat had brewed on her forehead.
She wiped her baby too, down to the tender neck.
“Woman!” Akande bellowed again, sending out additional dribs of spit. “I asked you a question! Or have you gone deaf like your mother?”
At the hearing of “your mother” the wife could no longer stomach the insult.
Not her mother again; he can’t keep mentioning her every time he threw himself into another skunk mood.
“Baba Taju! You know you’ve started again. You have started again! Go back to wherever you are coming from and fight with them there and leave me in peace o! Stupid drunkard!”
Rolling her eyes at the shameful man she married, a shrill hiss followed.
“Me? Stupid drunkard? It is your father that is a stupid drunkard!”
Akande swung round, barely managing to remain standing, grabbed and turned the key to lock the door.
Turning back, he wobbled forward, towards his wife, ready to pounce on her like he’s been doing for three consecutive days now.
With little regard to the new-born infant in the woman’s arms, he threw a punch at her, just underneath her rib cage.
“Ye!!!” she cried, clutching firmly to the baby.
But when a more powerful one landed on the corner of her mouth, she couldn’t even hold herself not to mention her baby.
She was sent back with force, and head first she landed on the floor.
And the baby?
Rolling on the hard, cement floor, the newborn gave out a great cry of anguish through his thin lips.
The cry that woke the entire compound!
Soon, they were at their door, banging and screaming.
But that didn’t stop Akande still.
Sending clouts after clouts to his wife’s thin body, the woman only joined her baby in wailing.
She struggled to squirm away from the insane man she called husband; she knew he wouldn’t stop until she’d become unconscious.
She must help herself. She must defend herself—somehow. For herself and her child she must, else she will be history.
They’ll both be history.
Hands scrabbling around for something, anything to save herself with, she finally felt something.
Something thick and heavy.
She gripped it firmly, as ever she could, and when the mad man bent down to drill yet another punch into her, she smashed his unreasoning skull with it.
The bottle shattered, blood mixed with liquor spilling everywhere.
With half of the bottle now in sharp fragments, she clutched onto a bloodied shard.
And then she aimed strongly for his chest, piercing him all the way through.
“Uhmmm—uhmm,” Akande gave out, before slumping to the floor.
Thick, dark-brown blood quickly circled him.
The frantic woman pulled out the bottle piece and sent it in again.
And then again.
Finally, the door of the room was knocked down and their neighbours rushed in.
Welcomed by the sight of a dishevelled woman grasping a bottle fragment with blood dripping off it and a man worming in a pool of his own blood and a dead baby lying still with a cracked and bloody skull, they could only stand stiff and watch.
They were too late.
Just too late.
Clearly, as many of them would go on to say, the devil has done his work.
Say NO to domestic violence.
Why box when all you need is talk.
Livid situations demand placid solutions.
Story edited by DNB Stories
Shehu Idris is a Mass Communication student at the University of Lagos, with the sobriquet, ‘Unchoppable Eba’.
Connect with him on Twitter: @NA_Idrizeba