I look up at the prison warden as she opens the metal doors for me. She has a sympathetic look on her face and I try to smile. My attempt fails miserably.
“Today is the day,” she whispers as she puts the handcuffs back in my hands. I nod slightly and say nothing else as she leads me to the court house that is a few meters away. As I step outside rays of sunshine burst on my face, but the sunshine is not the only thing bursting today. A huge roar erupts, shouts everywhere. I squint to adjust to the sharp rays of light that just hit me and after a while I can see the multitudes. Thousands and thousands of women. For a split second I am lost of what to do, and for the first time since they brought me in I almost break down. The emotions are overwhelming. I hear my name being called out, I see the police everywhere, trying to contain a situation that looks like it’s going to spiral out of control. The warden allows me a few seconds to acknowledge the protesters and then hurriedly takes me into the courthouse.
“All rise for the court,” the prosecutor yells.
“Be seated!” the judge screams before anyone can stand. “Where is the defendant? Where?”
My lawyer stands as grandly as he can and points towards my direction. I hate the son of a bitch. I didn’t even want a lawyer in the first place. But they said I have to have one, it was standard especially for a case like this. The pompous jerk took the case for its notoriety. Every lawyer worth his salt wanted the case. Since I came in, I have had hundreds of offers. And of all the fucking offers the women’s organization chose this one for me.
I don’t even care anymore.
I look at Judge Bernard. There is absolutely no pity in his eyes. He stares at me with cold snake like eyes, his old nose wrinkled in disdain. He looks at his watch impatiently, probably wondering when this will be over for him to go play golf. Behind the full courthouse, the camera’s click away furiously as my mind slips away, and I recall what put me in this position in the first place.
It was 11AM. I needed to go shopping for a pair of heels I wanted so badly for the upcoming wedding of my sister that was a month away. The fact that she was getting married before me and yet I was her elder didn’t bother me even for a second. I was elated. As I headed to town while in the Jav, a woman screamed and said she had just seen the most horrible video ever. It was of a woman being stripped. Everyone wanted to watch it. I shake my head sadly, angry that this was getting out of hand. As the person next to me handed me the phone, I was almost sure I didn’t want to watch it. Until something I saw stopped me dead in my tracks. Or rather someone I saw.
I watch keenly, the voices in the vehicle becoming a blur as my head swims and my whole body trembles.
A gang of men. With one frustratingly helpless lady. She was in a black pair of trousers. The men surround her. One hit her on the face so violently that blood trickles out of her mouth. She turns to look at him bewildered and asks in a scared voice why the men are surrounding her and being violent. What have I done? She asks with a tremor in her voice. They shout, probably for the sake of any person passing by, that she is indecently dressed and needs to be stripped. With one swift moment, they strip her. She is in her panties and bra now. She cries as one pulls her hair and swivels her around. I can sense her fear even from the phone. One man grabs her breast as another yanks her legs apart. They push her to the ground. It’s daytime. It’s not even noon yet. People are passing by; none is allowed into the circle. I see the faces of two people I recognize. Two people I had seen in that locality.
They yank her around and kick her abit. They spread her legs wide and insert their dirty fingers in her. They spread them even wider and take photos of her private parts. One man even spits on her…….
I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take watching the clip of my sister being assaulted.
The one who was getting married in a month.
I give the phone back to the woman and as the bile rises in my mouth ask the driver to stop the vehicle so I can alight. I take a cab back home. At that moment, at that very moment, I already knew what I would do.
I remember going to find my sister in the house, trembling and not crying because she had no tears left to cry. I hold her silently and we rock back and forth, back and forth. We don’t say anything, because she knows I am the only one in the whole world right now who knows what she was going through. I urge her to get up and dress as I take her to the hospital. I stayed with her for the three days she was admitted. The hospital administration urged us to file at the police station but I had other plans.
Once we were out I went to the local hardware. I purchased a jerrican of concentrated sulphuric acid. And a sharp 15 inch dagger. I went home and planned everything myself, I dint want to involve my sister who was now almost going out of her mind because her wedding had been called off.
It was not self defense. I won’t sit here and lie to you that I did what I did out of self defense, or that it was man slaughter. Or plead a case of temporary insanity. It was murder. Pure pre meditated murder. Cold blooded murder. Meticulously planned. And not for one second have I regretted my actions. I am proud of them. An eye for an eye, is what.
I dressed in a manner most likely to provoke them. I wore a micro mini skirt. I wanted them to come to me. As I left the building; my small jerrican in my huge handbag and my dagger fully tacked away, the neighbors looked at me in amazement but I ignored them.
I took a Tuktuk and went to the exact location the incident happened. I alight and walk around aimlessly. At first nothing happens. Then I catch the eyes of one of them. The one I saw on the phone. He shouts and like moles in a plantation, the thugs begin streaming out of nowhere. It’s amazing, really. I look from the side of my eyes as I see them organizing themselves and approaching me cautiously. At the back of their minds I think, even they know that this is not their everyday victim. They sense something. And it scares them a bit. But they have a false sense of security because of the numbers, so they surge towards me anyway.
The gang leader tells me to stop and explain to them why I am in a short skirt. Explain to them. My God. The unbelievable audacity in these scums. I stop and turn to look at him. Right in the eye. He hesitates, but only for a second. He comes towards me. The confidence back. I open my bag slowly. I open the jerrican and bring it out of the bag. The leader stops in his track. He is not sure what I am holding but I can see the growing fear in his eyes. It’s too late for him. I pour the acid in his face, in his eyes, on his head and on his whole body. The screams coming out of him are like those of an injured animal. Primitive painful cries. The others step back in horror, all their courage gone. The man gets on his knees as the smell of burning flesh fills the air. They step even further. I see one taking a video. I look at him for a few seconds. I want him to capture my face fully. I remove the dagger from my bag.
Oh yes, I am not done, yet.
I wanted that son of a bitch dead.
I kneel and look at him in the eyes. I see the fear in his eyes and I relish every moment. I stab him in the stomach. I cut him up, piece by piece, I don’t know for how long but suddenly the police were there, taking me away. I smile one last time into the camera of the bloody son of a bitch.
“My” lawyer cuts me from my flash back with his shrill voice. I stare at the judge whose eyes have never left my face. I can see the puzzle in his eyes. He is trying to understand what made me do whatever I did. He is wasting his time. For even I don’t know what got into me.
I sit back and wait for all this to end, a smile of satisfaction on my face. I don’t care what verdict they give me. I can feel the judge’s eyes on me, never leaving my body. Maybe he wants to ask me out on a date once all this is over? I don’t know.