Mercy had never been in such a sterile environment all her life. The unpainted walls wore smudges of dark things that made faces at her. The round lamp that dangled from the ceiling flickered on and off causing her imagination to run wild. She concentrated her gaze on the table and prayed that someone would come to get her. It had been four hours and she knew that house would be agog with news of what had happened. Her step-father would have come to get her. But he couldn’t, not anymore. She would spend a dreary night in this room where grotesque faces danced with each flicker of the light bulb, her face hidden firmly behind her palms. She wouldn’t cry this night, she had no more waters in her.

* * *

The long grating sound the door made as it was pushed open roused Mercy’s head from the table. She wiped her eyes with her exposed wrist. They had not placed handcuffs on her when she was brought in.

“Young lady! Do you care to elaborate on what you told us the previous day?” the officer asked.

“There is nothing left to say”

“You can help us understand. Your mother vehemently denies your statement. She says you couldn’t have done it”

“Don’t worry about my mother. She would never believe it even if she saw it happen before her eyes”

A portly man, who had some of the buttons on his uniform threatening to break free of him, stood looking at Mercy for a few minutes then turned abruptly and left the room.

* * *

They will bring her mother and brother into the dreary room later in the day. By that time Mercy would have spent forty-eight hours with the faces on the wall so that the pain on her mother’s face would mean nothing to her. The confusion etched on her brother’s young face will test her resolve but she would look over his head to a shadow on the wall, the one that looked like the battered face of an old man.

Twice, Mercy will open her mouth to tell her story to them. The first was the minute after they came in, but she will swallow it with the water that collected in her mouth. Later, as they rise to leave, the pain on her mother’s face turning to accusation, the confusion on her brother’s deepening; she will begin to say something. But the words will not go past her lips.

 How could she tell them that she had impaled their father with a kitchen knife because he had impaled her first with something that sent fires between her legs? How could she explain that he had done this to her numerous times, warning her never to tell anyone? How could she make them understand that she was keeping his little secret even after his death? She looked at the shadowy face of the old man on the wall. He was still smiling.

Ifesie, Ozichukwu believes in the God no one is preaching. He believes beauty can only be found in out of way places and in little things like being human.