Thanks so much for reading and thanks for the positive feedback. I noticed everyone complains that the episodes are short so here’s a special and lengthy episode. I hope you enjoy it
CLUB FREEZE, LAGOS
I squint at the mass of sweaty bodies through the haze of cigarette and marijuana smoke, trying to locate my friend/course mate who had gone off to dance with some guy. No luck.
I take another sip of my insanely expensive can of coke which has now gone warm. I don’t care if it goes hot, for the price I bought it, I am going to be sipping it all night. I subconsciously tug at the hem of my short dress which had ridden up as I sat. My mother would have a stroke if she saw me dressed like this; wig on, big earrings, loud makeup complete with false lashes, a dress so short it barely covers my ass and high stiletto heels.
She’d probably scream “Ah! A pastor’s child dressed like a whore! What will people say?” Never mind that said pastor is actually not my father. My mother lives and breathes for what people will say. She craves approval from society more than she is concerned about me, her child. She has tried so hard to mold me to fit the image if what she expects society to approve. It is stifling and tiring and I resent her for it.
That means living like a born again Christian; no makeup, no jewelry, definitely no trousers and church five times a week. I was so glad when I gained admission into the university. Not only was I able to escape the strict lifestyle, I was also happy to be away from my step father.
My father died when I was five and three years later, my mother married the pastor of her local church in Sagamu where we lived because people said it was bad for a woman to be by herself. Since the day they got married, my mother has made herself his lapdog and his wish is her command. She gave birth to twin sons who are now eight years old and after their father, they are next in line for her devotion and attention. A lot of times, I feel like I am an outsider in that house.
I also have a secret that I have been carrying for many years now. My mother’s husband is not who the world thinks he is, but I dare not breathe a word of it to anyone because no one would believe me. But every day is for the thief and I can’t wait for the owner’s day to come.
This is my first time in a nightclub, even though this is my second year in the university. Throughout my first year I kept to myself and I did not really make friends. There was too much going on in my life and in my head that there simply was no space for friends. I had only just started warming up to people after getting used to the freedom that being on campus afforded me.
I am at this party in a borrowed dress because my roommates have either gone home or to visit their boyfriends and I didn’t really want to be alone this night. So when Nkay invited me and I said no because I didn’t have what to wear, she came back with the clothes and shoes and that was settled.
It was on our way to the party that I spotted my coursemate who was seated two seats away from me on the coaster bus that was brought to take us to the club. Two seconds after we arrived at the party, some guy had asked her for a dance and she had gone off since then.
It’s crazy how I’m at a place packed full with people yet feel so lonely and bored. I took another sip of my warm coke and picked up my phone to play Candy Crush.
Someone tapped me on my shoulder and shouted in my ear, “Please can we go somewhere to talk?” Grateful for the distraction, I followed the tall stranger outside for a talk.
Immediately we stepped outside the club building, I gulped in clean air into my lungs greedily as fast as I could. My companion chuckled and said “Inside there is stuffy huh? I know the feeling”.
I nodded in response. He had a slight British accent, and he was very, very, very, handsome. I suddenly couldn’t find my voice.
“My name is Yemi, what’s yours?”, he asked.
This time, I found my voice and replied “Becca. My name is Becca”.
Actually, my name is Rebecca Abiona and I have never been called anything but ‘Rebecca’, but it seemed like the wrong name to give to this Adonis, hence Becca. Rebecca seemed a little too…’churchy’.
He smile again and spoke “I have been observing you for about two hours. You aren’t feeling the party at all. Plus you look a little uncomfortable. I can tell this isn’t really your thing.”
My heart did flip flops at the thought that he had been watching me. I tried to remember if I had been cute all night but his voice interrupted my thoughts.
“We have to get out of here. And fast too. I just got word that something is going to go down here tonight. Trust me, you don’t want to be here when it happens. We need to leave now.”
What does this guy take me for? Because my boobs are hanging out of my dress he thinks I’m a cheap ho he can lure into his bed just like that.
I opened my mouth to give him a barrage of insults but before a word came out, I heard the first gunshot. With the speed of light, I grabbed his hand and ran in the same direction he did.
When I heard something that sounded like a gunshot, I thought it was probably a cool trick of the DJ because I refused to believe that someone came to shoot at my party. When I heard the second and third gunshots however, I knew it was real.
There was pandemonium as everyone in the club fled in different directions. I looked around for Chief but he was nowhere to be found. My brain froze and I couldn’t think of what to do. All around me, people scrambled for the exit and I tried to do same but my high heels hindered me. So I quickly took them off and made for the door.
But the shooters had other plans. They marched everyone right back into the club and ordered us to be on our knees. I recognized two if the guys and I knew immediately that it was a cult clash. And I was the reason for the clash.
I started saying the rosary, hoping for a miracle.
The forest is thick and dark, illuminated only by slivers of moonlight that escaped through the thick canopy of trees. Everywhere is eerily quiet and I can hear the sound of my own heartbeat. I am trying to remember how I got here and find a way out but my concentration interrupted when I hear footsteps behind me.
I quicken my pace and the footsteps quicken too. Then I break into a run and the footsteps give chase too. I run as fast as my legs would carry me and I almost outrun my pursuer when I trip on a fallen branch and fall.
The person catches up with me and pins me to the ground. I see Bayo’s sneering face as he rips my panties menacingly and taunts “Imagine how much your daddy will pay”. All around us are men who laugh as they videotape the assault.
I woke up in a pool of sweat, even though the AC was on full blast. Since that unfortunate incident, I had been having variations of this dream. I hadn’t told anyone what happened because I was not sure of who to tell.
I thought of reporting to the police but apart from the fact that I have no faith in the Nigerian Police Force, I dreaded the scandal and publicity that would follow should such information get to the general public.
I thought of telling my mother but decided against it. You see, my mother is crazy with a capital C. She is half Jamaican and half American but she has the character of Isale Eko women and probably speaks deeper Yoruba than them.
If I told her, she was crazy enough to march o Bayo’s parents’ house with area boys and have them beat up everyone insight before setting fire to the building. Yes, she was that crazy. If you report someone to Rekiya Ade-Doherty, just know that the person’s life is hanging by a thin thread.
Telling my dad would break his heart and he would probably have armed guys escort me everywhere I go henceforth. I didn’t want that either.
I got up and took a shower, hopeful that I will stop having these nightmares soon. I dressed up and picked my car keys but I simply could not step out of my apartment. I was gripped by a fear so acute that it crippled me. I couldn’t not get my feet to move beyond the threshold no matter how hard I tried. My breathing became rapid and my heart slammed painfully against my ribcage with each beat.
Since that night when I drove here after beating Bayo to a bloody pulp, I hadn’t left my apartment. Each time I tried to leave, this same thing happened.
I couldn’t believe that Bayo wielded so much power over me that even though he didn’t actually rape me, he still had the power to control my dreams, thoughts and actions. I shut the door and sank to the floor, giving in to pain and crying anguished tears of anger like I have done every day since that unfortunate day.