* * * * * * *
She took a few steps; exerting more pressure on the interlocking tiles to convince herself she wasn’t creating a delusion. A couple of footsteps nearby in a similar rhythm to hers made her wonder if all she was hearing were mere echoes. A bat whisked over her head and she ducked in fear. Then she heard another step and she was convinced she was being followed.
She took to her heels and raced into her street from the main access route. Her heavy steps and laborious breathing left a trail too easy for her stalker to follow but she didn’t care. So far she got home before he caught up with her.
Three blocks from her building, she dug into her handbag and fetched her keys. A minute later, she was fiddling with her door handle as she struggled to insert her key into lock. She turned the key in a rotary motion twice and the lock snapped. Quickly, she entered her apartment; the boys quarters apartment in an illustrious compound in the suburbs of Surulere. Her door slammed shut and she gasped with the noise that strew across the still night. She bolted the door and peeped through the blinds to see if she could sight her pursuer.
She saw no one and retreated into her bedroom. The clock chimed two as she took off her nurse vesture. She had a cold shower and collapsed on her mid-sized bed. She laid on her bed thinking about the incident and slept in two minutes after the exhaustion she suffered from working extra shifts at the hospital. She had not been asleep for five minutes when she heard a knock. She woke and snatched at a flashlight on a bedside cupboard. She switched it on and scanned her room for intruders. She heard another knock and sighed. Her heart raced as she exited her bedroom and advanced on the main door.
As she approached the door, she noticed the light from the flash light waggle as she struggled to keep herself from shivering. A few feet from the door, an envelope slipped under the door panel and she heard footsteps retreat from her door. She fought the urge to open the door to see the letter carrier and picked up the envelope instead. Her mind played out different scenarios for her current plight and she chuckled when she imagined it being a letter bomb.
She laughed it away and sat in a nearby settee. She tore open the envelope and an object fell from it. She picked it up and saw it was a necklace with a locket. In the locket was the picture of a young lady and a little girl; most likely the lady’s daughter. She laid the necklace aside and unfolded the letter. A quick glance told her she didn’t know the sender as the handwriting was unfamiliar. Straining to sound calm, she read it:
She paused and wondered how the sender knew her name. If he was someone she knew, why did he go through much stress to hide his identity. She shrugged off the thoughts and continued:
It’s great to see you, child. It’s been ages since I did. I hope you’re faring better than I am. I do miss you and I’ve always been around even if it didn’t seem like it. I hope you’ll forgive me abandoning you. I was young and naïve.
Still, I’m proud of you. And dare I say I’ve seen you work. I’ve seen your work and I’m deeply impressed. You’re the true child of your mother. I’ll get in touch with you soon.
So it was a She, she thought; her mother to be precise. This was splendid. Now she had a stalker who was also a blackmailer. She tossed the letter away and some scribbles on the rear of the paper caught her attention. She picked the paper and put her hand to her mouth as she read the note.
If you don’t believe it’s from me, go back to the orphanage and ask for the pictures I left them.
She ran her fingers through her hair in stupefaction. Only her mother knew about the pictures. The same pictures she had retrieved from the orphanage some months back. She went into her room and came back with a brown envelope. In it were the pictures the letter talked about. She never opened them since she collected them. She feared for the worst as she tore open the envelope. The contents fell to the floor as her hands were shaking in fear. She picked up the first picture in the stack on the floor and left her mouth aghast as she saw a magnified image of the one in the locket.