After a church service on that windy Monday evening, I wanted to let my hair down after working my strength away. I called a friend who picked me up for the suya-night I had been invited to. I did not feel up to driving and been caught in the traffic. Mike was right on time. He was always making me feel slow whenever I was around him. I did not want to forget so soon that he had always come to my aid time and again.
On the dot of nine, he returned me to my house. I greeted my neighbours who were outside. Gosh! No light(please, hold candle near). I approached my staircase and saw a shadow. I almost screamed out of fear.
“ Did I scare you?”,the shadow asked.
“My heart almost flew out of my ribcage”, I frowned in reply when I placed the face. “good evening, Mr Tsado. What brings you here?”, I asked.
“I came to see you.” He made it sound so simple but nothing ever was.
Now I was really surprised. I saw this man only at association meetings at the end of every month.
“I just wanted to talk. It has been a while.” He sounded so reassuring like if he could do me no harm. I smiled.
“You scared me for a moment. How about making it some other time?” I pointedly looked at my wristwatch.”sir, it’s late.i leave for work early in the morning. Let’s make it weekend” I did not ask him because I needed no response. I simply was not going to chat with this man in the dark. I held the doorjamb ready to bolt if he attempted to be “nice”.
“Alright, my dear. Hmmn…,”he sighed. “Weekend then”, he concluded. “Have a nice week ahead”.
“Thank you sir. You too!”
I turned my back to him to get him going and fished my key out of my bag. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw that he had not moved.
“Goodnight sir”, I said pointedly.
“I love you my dear”,he said to my retreating figure.
Before I could turn the key, I heard a sharp knock.
“Who is it?”
“Me and only YOU”, came the reply.
The door flew open and I ran into his arms, almost knocking him down.
“Sweety, why did you not let me know you were coming?” I demanded.
I found out only some hours ago. I called you but got your voicemail. Guess you’ve not listened to it.”
“Why are you sounding like this?” I asked. He was spoiling my good mood.
“ Why? You ask why?” he sneered. “I park across the street eager to see you. First, a guy drops you off. Next, an old man is loving you. Hey missy, who’s next-an insane man?” he paused.
I was enraged.” How dare you speak to me like this?” I demanded. “You know Mike of course. We’ve been childhood friends for as long as…” I waved my hand and continued. “And that geriatric is the associations chairman. I don’t have anything to do with either of them”.
He looked at my hands. “You want to punch me?” he taunted. ”why are you clenching your fists? Why defend them if ‘there is nothing’ like you say”, he mimicked.
“That is an explanation not a defense”
“Suit yourself, after all it’s your life. You are at the peak of-“
“Get out of here this minute!” I cut him off. “leave! and I mean it!”
“Okay. I’ll leave if you want”, he raised up both hands in surrender. ”But I warn you, ‘my childhood friend’ may have his designs on you. I don’t see why you could not picked a taxi”
“Enough! Now get!”
I re-entered and resisted the urge to slam the door. I walked up the stairs in poor spirits. I pressed the light switch. Power had been restored but the switch was not responding. My help was not doing her job. And why did my sister not replace it? I would have refunded her. Another headache!
I put my key in the lock but it was unlocked. These girls want to kill me before my time. I opened the door, blackness.
‘’Stephanie! Divine!’’, I shouted.
I heard a dull POP and a thud and I quickly jammed the door. I ran to the next door, entered and turned the key. I leaned against the door and thought of what to do. It was a trap!
‘’Welcome’’, a voice called. ‘’We have been expecting you. Come, have a sit’’, the voice invited.
What irony! A stranger welcoming me in my home and then I found my voice. ‘’Such guts!’’, I spat. ‘’In my house, you sit as if you own this place!’’. Anger dripped from every word. Just then someone turned on the light and I saw my help hugging my sister, both of them huddled in a corner. I moved towards them but he stopped me in my tracks.
‘’No’’, the leader called. ‘’You wouldn’t want to do that’’.
‘’And why?’’, I countered.
‘’Because if you do I’ll hurt one of them’’.
He dropped his feet off the couch to the floor and turned me to face him.
‘’Where are the documents? The deed’’.
‘’I don’t know what you are talking about’’. I thought he was going to slap me so I steeled myself for it but he just smiled.
“ Teddy, bring the sister’’’
‘’No!’’, I interrupted. ‘’They are in a drawer in my room. Top right inside a ream of paper.’’
‘’Good. Saul bring it’’, he directed. ‘’You are co-operating which is a good thing. But we…’’
The beeping of my phone trailed off his words. ‘Again, we cannot leave with only the documents. That will take the fun out of it.’’
‘’So what do you want? Take anything, only don’t hurt us.’’
‘’Now she’s begging’’, his goons laughed aloud.
‘’Alright, your sister’’. But I was already shaking my head even though I knew I had little(no) choice in the matter. Then he said it for me: ‘’You don’t have a choice’’, he said.
‘’Please, take me instead’’, I said without hesitation.
‘’Oh! Not your maid but you. How kind!’’, he sneered. ‘’Teddy bring the girl’’.
‘’NO!’’, I screamed and then it came. Two hot slaps landed across my face leaving handprints. Tears rolled out voluntarily as my face turned all shades of red. I argued no further. I dropped my bag that I had in a death grip on the floor, stepped out of my heels, and started to unzip my dress. I had never dreamt of offering myself in this manner. Where were the red roses showing our love? I was dying inside.
‘’Take me and leave her out of this’’, I pleaded in my new role as the second messiah.
‘’Fine by me’’, he responded unbuckling his belt. I was shivering.
‘’Are you cold?’’, he smiled like a cat. Incapable of speech any longer since my bravery had fled, I just shook my head.
‘’When the boss asks, you speak up!’’, one goon barked.
My eyes glowed like coals but I was powerless to melt him on the spot. ‘’No’’, I said with a quaking voice.
‘’That’s better’’’, said the boss as he pulled down his trousers to reveal his swollen member. ‘’Do you like it? Really impressive, isn’t it?’’, he grinned and I almost gagged. He saw my expression and that tore the smile off his face. He tore off my bra and panties and roughly pushed me to the carpet. My sister and maid were watching.
When he encountered resistance, he smiled and said ‘’This is one apple ripe for the eating. Holy Mary!’’, he leered. The pain sent shock waves to my brain and I had to bite my bottom lip to keep from crying out. When he was done, he called another person to take over and then I blacked out.
When I opened my eyes, people surrounded me and I had been wrapped in a blanket. I just drifted in and out of consciousness. My best friend came and he took me to the hospital. I woke up in the doctors’ examining room and then I was on my way to dream land. When I woke, I cried, quarreled and screamed at God for letting it all happen to me. I felt like a bug under the microscope after the series of tests.
By month end, my period was late and my fiancée Gad had traveled out of the country on his honeymoon. Why did it have to be me?