“Emma Nnaemeka! Anybody for Emma Nnaemeka?” shouted the bus conductor from where he stood at the door.
“Yes, e dey o,” chorused some passengers.
As the bus pulled to a stop at the junction, Lily alighted with the other passengers. She could feel the already dull sky threatening to give way to rain. She prayed for the rain to wait till she reached her destination, not wanting anything to put a damper on the excitement bubbling within her. She looked around her, registering the chaos of vehicles and humans, feeling like a fish out of water in the midst of the crowd of students jostling up and down the streets. Their ‘swag’, dressing and boisterous manners identified them. Everywhere she looked was ample evidence that she was in a university town.
Lily rummaged inside her bag till she found her small red diary where she wrote down the address. It was not as if she did not already know the address by heart, having glanced at it hundreds of times since she got it, she just had to be quite sure. Yes, it was No 78 Emma Nnaemeka Street, Awka. She approached a bespectacled academic looking girl who advised her to hop on a bike to get to her destination since it was quite far inside the campus.
She did not own a phone, so she could only rely on the directions of strangers to find her destination. On getting to what she prayed was the right compound, she sought directions from a handsome young man and was pointed to the last door on the block.
She walked to the door and knocked gingerly. But no one heard her amidst the various voices speaking from the room. Lily wondered how they were able to hear each other in that noise. She knocked again, this time louder – no response. She raised her hand to knock again when the door suddenly opened and a dark, handsome, stout but gentle looking guy stood before her clad only in his jeans, no shirt. He looked her over as if she were an alien, probably because of her dressing she thought. She was dressed in an angora caftan, having nothing else quite appropriate for this journey.
“Goo—ood mor—ning,” she stammered. He continued staring at her as if trying to remember something. Then suddenly his face lit up as he smiled in recognition. It was he from whom she had asked directions just moments earlier. She could not believe it was possible for him to look more handsome, but he did in that instant. He seemed to notice her discomfort and asked at last,
“You are Jane’s ‘school daughter Lily, right?”
She nodded, unable to speak just yet.
“Well, come on in before you catch cold in this weather.”
She followed him inside where she faced another three pairs of avid male eyes staring at her. Lily never considered herself beautiful by any means though she usually got lots of stares from men, which to her were normal for every female. She was not tall by any standards but her fair complexion, smooth skin and soulful, huge eyes gave her an air of allure and innocence. She greeted the guys a shy good morning and went to sit down on the seat vacated by one of them. Fred regarded his friends with amusement before he proceeded to introduce the girl to them.
“Guys, this is my big sister’s ‘school daughter’. Lily, these are my friends and they were actually on their way out, right guys?” he asked, turning to give them knowing looks.
One of them complained,
“Awwwh, Fredo, we are not ready to go yet. Don’t be mean, see fine babe for here”
“Abeg, guys, she’s here for admission runs and we will soon leave for perm site. Make una find una levels joo.
After some more bantering, the guys took their leave.
Lily began to relax bit by bit as Fred chatted with her, asking her questions about herself and her relationship with his sister.
“She speaks highly of you, so much so that I believe everybody in the family knows you, even without meeting you,” said Fred, still ogling her.
“Thank you” she replied shyly, “but I was at your house in Ozubulu when she did her traditional wedding last Christmas.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that, too busy running around that day to notice, not that you’d be hard to notice in any crowd though. Please, what can I get you, a malt drink?”
She nodded and smiled her thanks. He went to his portable fridge and brought a cold can of malt which he placed on the small glass table before her. He sat down on the bed and they discussed her reason for coming all the way from Ozubulu to Awka to see him.
“My sister told me you are looking for admission to computer science. Fortunately, their head of department is my uncle and he’s agreed to assist us, so we are in luck”.
He explained as he watched her, assessing her, definitely shy and naive, but beautiful.
“But let me see your results first”.
She fumbled for the envelope where she kept them and handed it over to him. He looked through them and said,
“You did not do badly at all, not bad at all. It won’t be hard to get admission for you there if we play our cards well.”
He eyed her with a gleam in his dark eyes.
“Amen to that, can’t lose this admission for the third time” she replied, sipping her drink.
“Let me go shower so we can get moving, okay?”
“Alright, thank you very much for agreeing to assist me Fred, God bless you”.
He waved off her thanks, grabbed his towel from the wardrobe door and made for the bathroom.
“You can keep yourself entertained with the pictures under the table – in the absence of electricity to power the television!” he called from the bathroom.
While Fred was bathing, it started raining and Lily sighed in exasperation. Why would the rain start now when they were about going to the great Nnamdi Azikiwe University? She prayed within her that the rain would abate asap.
Shortly, Fred came out in his boxers with his towel draped casually on his shoulders. He hung up the towel then flopped down at the edge of the bed and complained about the rain.
“But not to worry, I’m sure it will soon stop, at least for your sake. I know you are eager to get going. You can come over here let me identify some of the people you don’t know in the pictures while we wait?”
She looked up from the stack of pictures on her lap to look at him, then at the bed before shaking her head.
“Don’t bother yourself, I’m fine with the few I know”.
The rain continued while he seemed to ignore her totally. But before she knew what was happening, he had moved swiftly to where she sat and was all over her in minutes. His hands roving all over her, face, hair, breasts, all in seconds. She was too dumbfounded to react immediately but when she did, it was like a wild cat. She forced herself up and the chair and pictures scattered as she fought back with everything she possessed, claws, teeth, legs, everything. Yet, Fred wouldn’t let go. He continued his onslaught on her, pushing her to the bed where he promptly laid his stout frame on her petite body, completely overpowering her. She shoved, pushed, kicked clawed, but all her efforts proved fruitless.
She felt him lifting her gown and bit him so hard on the shoulder that he let go of her, but only momentarily as this act only seemed to enrage him. He slapped her across the face and, while she was reeling from the impact, he successfully lifted her caftan to her lap. As he made to remove his boxers, Lily knew raw fear, fear such as she had never known in her entire life. She opened wide her mouth and let out the loudest scream she could muster. She continued screaming, being trapped and without any other way to save herself. Fred suddenly jerked up from her to cover her mouth and she grabbed the opportunity and kneed him in the groin. He rolled off her instantly and sat clutching his groin.
“Damn bitch, you will regret this!” he hissed in agony.
Lily quickly stood up from the bed, arranged her clothes, her whole body shaking but, seeing this moment as her only chance of escape, she wasted no time in gathering her things, checked to make sure her gown was not torn, then took one final look at the monster and ran out into the drizzling rain.
“To hell with his assistance!”
Ebele Nweje is from Anambra State, Nigeria, and graduated in Communication Arts at the University of Uyo. She is an avid reader who expresses her passions and interests via writing. Ebele’s philosophy is that “what lies ahead is greater than what I left behind and what is within is incomparable to what is without”.