BEFORE (SHADOWS 2)

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After calming down and soaking in her humiliation, she adjusted to her new situation.
Frightening, they might be, but there would be a way out. She just had to find it. And find it she would. She tried to maintain a positive outlook. But you see, it’s kind of hard to do that when you’re stinking of sweat, fear and urine, tied to a post and alone with the only true threat to your existence.

Yewande and Ahmed once had a good thing going. After their first encounter at Little saints comprehensive college, (odd name for a school, yes, I know. But I didn’t name it, duh) in the first day of the first term of SS1, both had each taken to the other like a boat to water. They were inseparable. They shared everything. Secrets. Stories. And as their bodies went through puberty, they shared that too. Severally. In fact, she still wondered how she escaped pregnancy those years in school. Probably one of them was sterile. Who knows?

It had only seemed natural that they formalized their union, and as they entered the final lap of their education in Little saints, Ahmed asked her out.

She said yes.
Big mistake.

It was all sunshine, rainbows and roses till he had an accident. That coincidentally occurred just when he was about to enter university. They had concluded plans to live together on campus as a couple. It was really heartbreaking, and she thought she had lost him. Turned out she had, she just didn’t know it yet.

He healed fine, and in his second year, moved in to the house she rented off campus, paying half of the rent and taking care of minor expenses that came with living and then more. For students from am average family with no source of income except allowances, they lived in luxury.
But something, something deep inside him Changed. In a big way. Her Ahmed was gone and in his place was a cold, calculating monster with no limits.

He began to keep really late nights. He slept little and walked out often in the middle of conversations. He started acquiring tattoos. He picked up smoking and drinking. If there was trouble in campus, Ahmed was involved.
Cult boys feared him. He proved quite good at using a knife, and started keeping one on his person at all times. Despite this, he was never once hostile to her. But at night, if she was lucky and he was around when she tried to cuddle or talk or do something, he would just lie there as rigid as a statue.

Then one day, she had enough of him and started seeing someone else. A quiet unassuming guy from the next compound. She really liked him, he reminded her of everything she had and lost. Things were pretty good and looking up again. Then one day, Ahmed walked in on them bumping nasties under the bedcovers. Without saying a word, he grabbed Tunji, overpowered him and slit his wrists. Then he picked him up and rushed him to the hospital.

He paid the bills, and claimed Tunji was suicidal. With tears in his eyes, he told a very convincing tale of how he walked in on him at the last minute and managed to overpower him, but was too late to stop him from inflicting harm on himself.
The good doctor stitched the injuries and treated him with antibiotics to avoid an infection. Then he gave him a blood transfusion to make up for the blood he lost on the way.
Tunji woke up to meet Ahmed by his bedside. Ahmed took him home and gave him a severe warning.
Tunji never spoke to Yewande ever again.

Later that week, she packed out and moved into the hostel. Boys were not allowed in the hostel so she felt a bit safe.
Yet two days later, she met a box of some of her underwear which she forgot in her haste. They had been dirty and scattered all over the place. But now they were washed, dried and neatly folded. A note lying on her pink lace panties bore Ahmed’s scratchy writing.

I thought you would be needing this.”

She knew then that she was not safe. For the rest of her stay in the school, Ahmed chased off everyone, male or female who tried to befriend her. His constant stalking and quiet threats made her a pariah to her colleagues.
Life was hard. But she made it out fine.

She was posted to another part of the country and gradually forgot about Ahmed. Then she started working. She finally found herself another boyfriend, a boisterous Igbo man named Chukwudi. Their relationship had it’s ups and downs, but it was worth it. Then last week he had proposed and she said yes. Then he went missing.

And now, dear reader, we have gotten here, and we can only fold our hands and watch as the door swings open and Ahmed walks in, a mad smile on his face and a knife dancing between his fingers as be approaches Yewande, who is gagged, bound and afraid…

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