The Legend of the Stiletto Ladies (1-3)

by Ngozi Janet Akalonu

Chapter One

The Famous brothel was situated at the southern banks of the community, across the Khambili River; students had to ride a boat across to get to it. It was a simple test: the owners of the place understood only desperate and adventurous minds would try to brace such a risk just to satisfy the eternal curiosity of carnal minds. But Dare, Elvis and Tunde were more than desperate and adventurous; they are also foolish.

The University girls no longer excited them. These girls were easily swayed by money and looks, and in barely two years of their stay at the school, they had done them all and were fast getting bored. This was until they heard of the “Delilah Guesthouse” across the Khambili River, a guest house that got most of its enigmatic appeal from legends and stories passed on from generation to generation of indigenes who had lived and died in the community of Abasi.

The legends had it that the original owner of the brothel was a spirit woman with inexplicable comeliness, one that drew many of its customers to their demise. Originally, she had sold only alcoholic drinks, but eventually, she began selling her body too, and as the fame of the place grew, she employed more ladies of same virtue to cater for the numerous wanton and unethical needs of her male customers.

Eventually, they blossomed into a strictly red zone, and all sorts of sexual escapades and obscenities became the order of the day. Men left their homes to spend nights on end at the notorious brothel, and women tasted the forbidden fruits of passionate same sex exploration and after that, for some reason, never walked down the path of a man’s loins again. Booze and drugs were in abundant supply, and depravity reigned supreme in the murky confines of the condemned brothel.

Of course, the legends were presumed false by most of the scholars and students who heard it, but that did not stop a few of the students from wandering along its corridors just to catch a glimpse of the excruciatingly beautiful women that beckoned at men to come lose whatever sanity they may have possessed. In actual fact, very few students did cross the river to the other side and even fewer ventured into the brothel, so few were they that nobody noticed they were never seen again.

Dare, Elvis and Tunde didn’t plan to just wander across its corridors; they planned to walk into the building and explore all there was to their hearts’ satisfaction. After all, they were the only boys the school’s magazine had dubbed “foolish with a touch of insanity”.

As they approached the banks of the river, the shadow of the brothel loomed beautifully before their eyes. It was surrounded on both sides by thick trees and heavy overgrowth, which from a distance, looked like an abandoned garden. The house itself was a three-storey edifice, adorned on all side with neo-classic scenery – four statues of angels positioned strategically at the four cardinal point of the house, three fully functioning oases and an ornately trimmed lawn that looked dutifully tended to. The house had soft music coming from the inside; and to add to its profound aesthetic, everything was painted white.

As the boys alighted from the rickety boat and paid the ferryman, Dare spoke to him, “How safe is this place?” The man looked at him blandly and began to retreat with his boat, but Dare held him back. “I asked you a question; how safe is this place?”

This time, the boatman rewarded them with a glare, his lips pursed in disapproval. He was thin and emaciated with a wrinkled brow that looked suspiciously born out of way too much frowning rather than old age. He didn’t have any cloth on except for a piece of rag wound carefully around his waist and upper thighs and…….he smelt.

“You ask now that you are just inches from the door?” He replied in very broken English.

The boys had to inch closer to hear him. His voice was coarse and inaudible and his breath stank of stale tobacco and cheap alcohol.

“Let me just say this simply: nobody from across the river has bothered to come up here in the past three years; three years boys!”

“But that doesn’t prove anything, does it?” Tunde asked uncomfortably. 

Elvis had turned to steal a glance up at the eerie building once again. Besides its gothic appearance, it didn’t look so bad.

“I know it doesn’t, but we never saw Amati and Osho again.” The boat man said and with that, began paddling his boat further up the river.

“Who the hell is Amati and Osho?!” Dare yelled after him but he was furiously paddling away, putting some distance between them till he was just a speck in their line of vision. Obviously, he was in a haste to depart their presence.

They stood scrutinizing their surroundings for a few minutes, enjoying the laughter and soft music wafting out of the house, letting it calm their erratic nerves. The noises had a sensual and comely feel to it that the boys could feel their tension slowly ebbing away. Every now and then, a shadow drifted past a window gleefully. Sounds of girls giggling, loud footsteps and noisy bickering were coming from the backyard, and from all indications, judging from the very humane noises, it seemed there were at least a thousand people in the house at the moment.

The three friends looked at one another and smiled. Maybe the villagers were just one hell of a psychotic and paranoid bunch that had succeeded in infecting the students with their ignorant superstitions. What harm could come out of a place so soothing, they wondered. It didn’t even look scary; well… save for its appearance which could be blamed on an architect who obviously watched too many vampire movies, the house seemed perfectly safe.

They sure were about to have the time of their lives.

They had barely organised themselves to take the first step towards the front door when it swung open suddenly and three of the most beautiful women they had ever seen in their entire lives stood at the entrance staring down at them.

“Hello boys”, one greeted, smiling sensually at them, “Welcome to Delilah’s Guesthouse where we make all your dreams and fantasies come true”. 

She stressed the “Dreams” and “Fantasies” so much so that the other two giggled suggestively.

And the boys could have sworn they heard the rumble of a thunder somewhere in the distance….

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