It was hard to believe that the sun whose gaze had been angry and intensely hot all afternoon was beginning to wear a smile as though it were glad to be retiring for the day. I looked up to see the clouds enveloping it. If there was anytime I liked most in a day, it has to be the evening. The cool breeze kept blowing and I could feel its gentle touch all over me. I closed my eyes and sucked in the fresh evening air, I smiled as I felt it sail down my throat. The palm trees planted strategically towered high and the rays of the setting sun gave them magical looks. Being close to is indeed magical. I stood up from my seat and walked down to the dam few metres from me. Here and there, some girls chirped while others sang; their gentle tune played in my head and I marvelled at how beautiful their lives are. I threw one, two or three stones into the dam and watched the ripples it formed. I checked my wristwatch; it was a quarter past six and my boyfriend had yet to show up. I was supposed to meet him here. I made a list of excuses he would make for standing me up. Even though he discovered this place that I have come to like, it would take some begging and pacifying before everything goes back to normal. I already made to leave when I saw him.
I knew I should have run. The pace at which he walked was unfathomable, he was half-walking and half-running and I wondered why anyone would walk like that. He had the appearance of my boyfriend even with his masked face, maybe that made me stay. “He could be up to one of his usual tricks”, I thought. Every bone and tissue in my body asked me to run but I stood rooted to the ground, anticipating his next move. He was just a few metres away when I saw the gun. With all agility and strength I could muster, I ran. It took him some seconds to catch up and in a flash, I was on his shoulders.
“You have dined with the devil without a long spoon; you have no chance of escape”, he thundered
It really was my boyfriend. His voice had confirmed it. My next instinct was to scream but we are in the middle of nowhere; it would be of no use. I looked up helplessly as the dying sun finally disappeared into the clouds; into darkness.
I woke up with a start. I just had one of my frequent dreams. How I wish it remained a dream. I don’t know what the science people call this but I have been having dreams from what happened to me in the exact same way they happened. The devil incarnate himself was beside me snoring in his usually characteristic and annoying manner. How much I loathe him. It’s quite heartrending that I used to love him or so I thought. He stirred in his sleep and that made me scurry back into sleep in pretence; I fear him that much. With the dim light available in the room, I looked at the table clock; the time was 6:15 am.
“Thank God”, I muttered and sighed. Mine was a life of despair. Without warning, he yanked off the bed cover and gave a scowl with his always piercing gaze.
“Wh-wh-what do you want? I stammered.
“Did you really need to ask that question? Hehe, why are you so dumb, he mocked “Okay, I want my birth right”
“I didn’t know you were going to be up early, I’m going to the kitchen right away”
“I’m not talking about food here crazy pants. You are lucky I’m in a good mood today. I will be going out, be ready before I come back, no excuses” he said while caressing my face. With that, he kissed my forehead, laughed haughtily and went out.
I couldn’t bear it anymore; I let the tears roll freely as the events of the past two months started playing in my head…
It was a Friday afternoon and I had just come back from a lecture and was doing an assignment. The stories I’ve heard about the penultimate year usually being the most stressful were beginning to come true. I was getting bored when my roommate, Tobi came rushing in.
“Dami, I’ve got some exciting news” she said in her usual jovial manner
“Hmm”, I replied absent-mindedly “what’s the gist”
“There’s going to be a rave tonight at club GQ”
Now club GQ is that spot downtown of the campus that I’ve always wanted to go, especially with my ex-boyfriend whom I have just broken with at that time.
“Err… I wish I could go but I’m not really up for it and beside I don’t think a rave is for me” I said, still not looking up
“Come on” she insisted “you’ve always wanted to go to that place….”
“That was when I had a boyfriend” I retorted. Tears had started welling up in my eyes
“Ohh, I’m sorry. I should have been more careful with my words” she apologised “Still, that’s more reason you come. You need a break from this stress you’ve been through. Tonight, you are going to forget everything and just have some fun” she insisted.
In my last lame attempt to get her off my back I told her about the ticket but she told me these kind of things are usually free for the ladies; it’s the boys that needs to pay.
The party was in full gear when we got there. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone. The poor lighting made everywhere somewhat hideous and the stench from cigarettes was sickening, I used one hand as a shield to guard against the cigarette fumes that had filled the area. Tobi led me to a corner of the bar and sat me down. Then, she gave me a drink and muttered something about not doing anything until I’m ready before she left. I stared at the yellow content in the cup as thoughts of the break up overwhelmed my already fragile heart. “Jerks” I muttered “They are all jerks”.
A tall shadow stood over me and I was forced to look up.
“Seems like you need some company” he said. I had told him not to bother but he insisted, saying something about women sitting and drinking alone at the bar means there is a lot wrong. He introduced himself as Tunji Oyekunle, a graduate from my university. I looked up to study him, from his exquisite blazers to his Nike sneakers. Really, this rave was not meant for boys. We had talked a lot. He seemed intelligent and I found myself laughing at his jokes.
“This one here is a proper gentleman, maybe coming to this rave is not totally a bad idea”, I thought.
“Let’s get the out of here” he whispered
I asked no questions as he led me to a quieter part of the club and we talked some more; each person trying to garner every bit of information about the other. I had forgotten about Tobi as he offered to drive me home. The ride back to my hostel was probably the most comfortable car ride I ever had. I found myself relaxed as we converse as though we have known each other for a long while.
“What do you do exactly” I asked.
“Well, I’m into the family business y’know, real estate management” he answered.
We exchanged contacts and he planted a kiss on my cheeks while promising to call. A proper gentleman he is. I couldn’t wait to tell Tobi everything.
He was my first caller the following day and he called every day after that. We started hanging out as friends. My mind begged me to take it slow. No, I couldn’t, I’m falling for this stranger already.
“He is not totally a stranger. I know where he lives and what he does” I defended myself from my teasing subconscious.
He did take his time before he asked me out but I didn’t take my time before I gave him my yes. He was simply lovable, that was the only thing that mattered.
Everything was going on fine with us. He was the most romantic of all men. Maybe all men aren’t jerks after all. Tunji gave me that closure that I even forgave my ex-boyfriend for being a jerk, if we hadn’t broken up, I wouldn’t have gone to that rave and I wouldn’t have met the “most adorable” of all men. It wasn’t long before jealous people started spreading rumours; jealous people who include Tobi, my roommate and former best friend. They said I needed to be more careful with him.
“I did some digging, his three ex-girlfriends disappeared without trace. That can’t be a coincidence” Bolu had told me.
I should have done some digging but I didn’t, I trusted him so much that I believed him when he denied it. I was going to lose my freedom very soon.
On that day when everything was going to take a wrong turn. He had called me that morning, said he needed to see me.
“Where” I asked
“It’s a place at a quiet part of your school. I doubt you’ve ever been there. I’m going to text you the address” he said before hanging up.
I had gone to the place and was fascinated by the scenery. I liked the quietness; it was romantic. That was going to be my doom. He came out of the shadows and kidnapped me with little resistance and no one saw it happen.
In the not so comfortable ride to my prison, I asked him why he was doing this.
“It’s nothing personal. Torturing women just gives me pleasure” he said
“You lied to me” I cried
“No, everything I told you is true. You never asked me if I torture women: there is no way I would have lied about that”
We got to this mansion in the middle of nowhere. It was really secluded from the rest of the world.
“Your ex-girlfriends, what happened to them” I asked, I have never been more terrified.
“See for yourself” he answered curtly as he led me to the back of the building. There laid three graves with a bold inscription of the names of their occupants. He laughed haughtily and told me there was no escape for me. I couldn’t believe this was the man I loved; that I cared for. I told him this but he didn’t even blink before telling me that it was a mistake that I would have to live with for the rest of my life. My supposed love for him turned to hate then to fear that instant.
“What is my job here exactly” I stuttered
“You are going to be my every means of gratification. It’s that simple. And no more question” he said menacingly while seizing me by the hair and dragging me along with him; into slavery.
The toll of the clock in the living room jolted me back into reality. It took some time to realise where I am but the room I’m in looked strange. I must have been wandering about the house while recounting my story. I opened the first drawer I saw and there came a lot of white substances wrapped in brown parcels. I need not be told that they are drugs. I took the parcel to the living room and sat down. It won’t be long before he comes back. I can’t bear another look of his piercing eyes or the touch of his burning hands. I’ve had enough. Maybe it’s time to join the other occupants of the house at the backyard; maybe it’s time the graves become four. I hope this was the last time I will ever have to make a decision. I looked at the white substances and sighed. The coroner’s cause of death report will read “Died of drug overdose. Maybe that’s not a bad way to die. I prayed as I stuffed the white substances into my mouth; it is time.
From the distance, I heard the sound of police sirens, followed by a harsh voice on their PA asking whoever was in the house to put his hands on his head and surrender but I was already basking in the euphoria of death. If they are going to catch Tunde, it had better come from me. No girl ever needs to suffer so much in his hands. Maybe I’m going to be celebrated for putting another evil man away. With the little life left in me, I heard the harsh voice telling the prisoners in the house to stay calm; freedom has come. I have no desire to be freed, I have found my freedom; I have found it in death.