I was alone in class that cold night. I was reading but the cold was starting to get to me and yes sleep too was catching on. I had dozed off for about a minute when I heard a creek in the room, my eyes snapped open! What was that? I grabbed my lamp and flashed it around the room, there was nothing. I sighed. I needed to stop reading alone in the dark. I pulled my sweater tighter and tried to concentrate on CPT 424. Four years of reading alone got me where I was- 1st Class. I had just turned a fresh page when I felt a tap on my shoulders. I jumped! My lamp fell and went off. I died –almost. I rummaged on the floor feeling for my lamp.
Whooosh!Light came, on shinning on my face. I shut my eyes, my heart thumping.
“Are you looking for this?” A voice came from behind the lamp.
I shielded my eyes with my hand and reached for my lamp. He set the lamp down, the light still on my face. I tried to move, but it was as if my legs were glued to the ground, I couldn’t.
“Can I borrow your USB cord? My phone is dying.” He said.
I tried to see his face, but it was perfectly hidden in the shadows.
“I’m sorry…my phone,” I swallowed. “My phone is charging…maybe later.” I was getting out as soon as he left.
Just go away!My mind screamed but my mouth wasn’t moving, neither was he. He moved closer to my table.
“How’s your project going? Are you done with your coding?” He asked. I hadn’t but I wasn’t going to discuss that with him.
“I’m sorry but I really have a lot to do.” I said hoping he would leave.
Now I was getting really worried. I was on the fourth floor of the building, nobody would hear if I screamed. I was vulnerable and my trembling lips were not helping.
“Okay.” He said, turned around and walked away. I almost collapsed with relief. But then he paused and sat at the back of the class. I stood and waited, he wasn’t going to leave? I was supposed to just continue reading with his eyes boring holes into my neck? No, I would not be held hostage by my fear. This guy whoever he was, was yet to make a move to harm me, why was so I afraid?
“Excuse me, you cannot…” I started to say, then my phone rang. I stopped and looked at it; Segun. I tapped the answer button.
“Hello Segun, where have you been?” I whispered. I looked at ‘my visitor’, I still felt his stare. I had to leave the room. “Segun, hold on.” I held my phone tightly and hurried towards the door.
‘Oh God, don’t let him follow me,’ I prayed .”Should I wait?” I heard him call from behind the room. I opened the door and ran across the corridor to the stairs. I stopped at the bottom of the stairs breathless. I had run down four flights of stairs, now I hoped he had not followed.
“Hello Segun, are you still there?” I asked. My head swooned, I was exhausted.
“What the heck was that?” Segun replied.
“Where are you?” I asked, ignoring his question. “Come to the Lab now please, come now.”
“Why? you’re scaring me.” He said.
I told him everything as quickly as I could and I asked him again to come get me.
“Sorry, but I’m not in school” He answered. “And you left your stuff upstairs?” He asked.
I sighed, I had only wanted to get out as fast as I could. I’ll have to go back
“I’ll send Dave, he’ll help you get your stuff. In the meantime, just sit tight.” I nodded and ended the call.
Now, I waited. I stayed in the shadows where hopefully I wouldn’t be seen. I looked at my watch for the hundredth time.Where was Dave?The night was crazy quiet, it was scary. I had never noticed how deserted my department was at night, as much as I saw it now. Nobody else read here at night, it was too far from the hostels. I always thought no harm could come from solitude; how foolish.
I looked at my watch again. Where was…David?Iheard a movement to my left and I paused. Who was that? Dave? It was about time. I stood still and held my breath. And then I saw the figure approach. Was it Dave? He stepped into the light – it wasn’t Dave! For the first time I saw his face! There was nothing spectacular about it; maybe it was the ordinariness that scared me. I looked away from his face. He had a presence around him that scared me. He looked harmless yet deadly, warm yet cold.
“Why are you standing alone in the dark?” His voice pierced through the night. I sighed and came out from my hiding spot.
“I’m waiting for a friend,” I said, avoiding his stare. “He…they actually, four of them, all guys, are coming to meet me here.”
He didn’t seem to notice my not so veiled threat. He smiled and moved close to me. I stepped back and closed my eyes. I waited but nothing happened. Slowly I opened my eyes – he was gone! I sighed and tried to calm my trembling fingers. Should I run? He could be back. I still had my stuff in the classroom, a long dark flight of stairs away. Dave, where are you?! I shoved my hands into my pockets. My hand hit something and I removed it. It was a piece of cardboard – no a handmade card.Don’t open it!My head screamed. It was just a card, what was the worst that could happen? Killed by a card bomb? I opened the card, away from my face; no use taking chances. It was a love card –the several red roses said that much. I held it to the light and read.
“Roses are Red, Violets are Blue. My love for you will never die, You’re my true love.”
I burst out laughing before I could stop myself. Was that a poem?
“What’s so funny?” A voice said and I froze. Oh my God! “I don’t understand, but I thought you were scared, now you’re laughing?” It was Dave! I jumped and hugged him very tight.
“Why didn’t you do that two weeks ago when I asked you out?” Dave asked. I punched him lightly on the shoulder and exhaled, relieved. Dave asked for what had happened and I told him. He laughed and laughed, I couldn’t believe I had been so scared either.
“The guy is guilty of nothing but creepiness and bad poetry.” Dave said. “You probably won’t see him again.”
Amen! I whispered.
“Now, let’s go get your stuff.” Dave said but I did not move. I wasn’t ready to go up that staircase, not yet. Dave understood and he went to get my things. I paced as I waited. Dave started to take too long, I became nervous again.
My phone rang, I brought it out and looked -it was an unknown number. It could be my creepy admirer.
“Good evening.” I said.
“I thought you said ‘no’ to him,” It was him! “What is he doing with you?”Oh my God, how did he know? Was he close by?“And you laughed at my poem? I have loved you for four years and I finally tell you and you laugh at me?” he continued.
I racked my brain for a sane reply but my First Class brain let me down; I had nothing!
“Erm, I’m sorry”, I finally mumbled.
“It’s okay, I forgive you.” He said, chuckled and continued. “Our first fight already? I guess the best couples fight early. I am glad we finally met today after all these years. I got tired of our long-distance relationship. So, see you tomorrow?”
I wanted to scream for him to leave me alone, but my tongue refused to move.
“See you tomorrow then.” He said and ended the call.
My fingers trembled as I slid the phone off my face. What I had gotten into?
“Are you okay?” Dave was back.
“Yes.” I nodded.
“I think you should see this.” He said.
On my laptop screen was a collage of about 30 pictures of me, pictures I’d never seen. Under it was a caption.
‘We will be together forever, I promise.’
And that was how it started!