I tried tilting my head backward, the pain around my neck was both sharp and numbing. The skin around it felt as though it was wrapped in a blanket of needles, i closed my eyes to avoid looking at the bruises on my body.

Iyawo Pastor, our neighbour, had said in the morning that i deserved it. My resounding screams from being etched in his deadly fists had caught her attention – and nudged her to my front door. “Endure it” she told me, her stare fixed on my hollow eyes. “Sometimes when we are disobedient, we push these men to give us what we deserve”.

The evolving pain in my forehead came like a breath under water, diverting me from my thoughts. I opened my eyes and searched for the time, 6:45pm. The clock on the other side of the room, unlike me, felt alive – its heartbeat constantly ticking.

He would be home soon and the soup pot was empty. I hissed, knowing I had just invited another round of pounding. I made an attempt to get up but the pain that enveloped my body forced me back down. I laughed at my helplessness as i imagined his imminent blows.

I closed my eyes and waited, it was going to be another long night.