Home at last! she thought breathing a sigh of relief as she walked up to her front door, the first thing she wanted to do before any thing else was to kick of her high heeled shoes and put her feet out of the torture they had endured for the last five hours, Whatever possessed me to buy six inch stilettos must have been a demon, she thought but she knew given a chance she would still have bought them, the deal had been too good now she was paying the price.
It took her a while to fish her keys form her handbag, somehow they never seemed to remain where she had placed them especially on a day such as this when the bag was cramped with a lot documents, when she finally located them she inserted the key into the lock and turned but when she tried the handle the door did not buldge, strange, she turned the key in the reverse direction and the door swung open, She hesitated at the doorway I locked the door before I left cautiously she walked in. just as she reached out her hand to turn on the light switch the door swung shut behind her at the same time someone grabbed her from behind pinning her hands to her sides.
Instinctively she stamped on her attacker's foot, he let out a stifled shout of pain and let go of her, taking advantage of the slackening of his grip she dropped her bag grabbed his right arm with both hands and in one smooth motion threw him over her shoulder in a classic judo throw. The man sailed through the air and slammed into the furniture with an almighty crash, then was silent. She stood at the door awaiting further attack and when none was forthcoming she reached forth her hand and flipped on the light switch then as light flooded the room she studied the scene before her
Her attacker lay senseless on the floor; he was dressed in black and had a mask over his head which left only his eyes visible. Leaving the room she returned a few seconds later with a phone cable which was the only suitable thing she could get her hands on.
It was then that she noticed the gun, she gazed at it fascinated, this was the first time she had seen a gun in real life and she had expected it to much larger than the small dark pistol that lay on the carpet next to the door. Her attacker was beginning to stir, she quickly tied his hands and feet, and then out of curiosity she pulled of the mask. the moment she looked into his face it was as though the world began to spin, her palms began to sweat, her legs seemed to have lost their strength to bear her weight and she sunk to the floor, this can't be happening she thought,
'It can't be true' she whispered shocked,
The world continued its dizzying spin, she was a girl of seven again, running for her life, every breath was a torture her chest felt like it was on fire, she was running faster than she had ever run in her life, spurred on by terror but still it was not fast enough she could tell from the ever nearing sound of footsteps and ragged breathing that he was gaining on her.
Only a few minutes ago she had been walking home from the shops almost a kilometer away, in her hand a kilogram of sugar packed in flimsy paper bag. She was hurrying hopping to get home before the clouds that had gathered above released their burden, thunder was rumbling in the distance in response to the occasional flash of lightning. the wind had risen suddenly and she had to almost force her way forward and keep her face averted to avoid being hit with the debris that was being tossed about by the wind, the road was deserted everyone seemed to be holed up in their homes safe and warm as she was going to be in a few minutes.
Just as she turned the last bend she saw him coming from the other end, he was their neighbors son, he was ten years older than her and was a source of trouble to his parents and the whole neighborhood, he had dropped out of school at form three due to drug addition, usually he smoked bhang but every one suspected he was into hard drugs. People avoided his company if they could for he had a tendency to be violent when intoxicated which was almost all the time. He looked up and spotted her through his bloodshot eyes he came towards her his manner menacing, she looked around frantically but there was no refuge in sight, the shops were a distance behind her he stood between her and the nearest homes which was still some distance away, both sides of the road was lined by a maize plantations fenced off using barbed wires it would take to long to go through the wire she had only one option left, dropping the sugar she was carrying she turned and began to run back towards the shop, the chase was on.
He caught up with her and grabbed hold of her jacket forcing her to stop, she tried to wriggle away but he caught both her hands and dragged her off the road, her screams of fear and pain were drowned in the raging roar of the storm that had started to fall.
It wasn't until the rain had stopped an hour later that her older sister was sent to search for her. When her sister returned home and announced that she was unable to spot her anywhere a long the road to or from the shops, her parents got worried and a search party was launched. The found her, or rather they found her unconscious body hidden in a ticket, she was bleeding profusely from a cut on her temple where he had bashed her with a stone and left her for the dead, her pulse was dangerously low, they rushed her to the nearby district hospital where she was admitted in critical condition.
It was two weeks before she recovered enough to narrate her rape ordeal, but by then the perpetuator of the crime had vanished without a trace. The physical wounds she had sustained healed with time but not the emotional ones, instead they festered like untended sores, she had nightmares on most nights, and she would wake up screaming. She couldn't bear to be left alone in the house and she never again went to the shop to buy anything. She changed schools, there was no way she could walk along the same path or face her classmates after what had happened.
On the surface life seemed to go on as usual but beneath the calm mask she presented the world with, she was insecure and hurting inside, she blamed herself for the attack. If she had run faster, if she had been stronger then maybe it would not have happened as a result she became obsessed with self defense techniques and took up martial arts while pursuing her studies at the university. Within a few months she was representing her country in regional tournaments; her instructors praised her dedication and hard work, none of then guessed the reason behind it, none of them knew it was her way of exorcising her inner demons, a means of building her self esteem,
Study was the only thing that gave meaning to her life and it came as no surprise that she graduated with a first class, socially however, she treated everyone with a mixture of fear and distrust and while she had several colleagues at her place of work which was at an advertising agency, she had no friends and had no wish to make any which was one of the reasons she lived alone in her two bed roomed flat.
Until that evening she could have sworn she had gotten over the ordeal and forgotten about it, but one look at her attacker's face was enough to break down the barrier she had erected forcing her to re- live the ordeal all over again.
She touched something hard and cold, she looked down and through the blinding tears she saw the gun, in her confusion and horror she had not realized that she had been dragging herself away from her bound attacker towards the door, the moment her hand closed over it she picked it and pointed it at him.
'Don't move!' she screamed at him when he began to struggle against the bonds that held him, shocked he turned aware for the first time that there was some one else in the room. She was seated around two meters away from him, tears streaming down her cheeks, she held the gun with both hands and had it aimed at his head, her next words shocked him even more
'Why didn't leave me alone Justin?' demanded in lower tone, as if she had read his mind she went on 'I know you are wondering how I happen to know you name, but if you search your memory you might remember a seven year old girl you defiled fifteen years ago,' her tone was rising higher and higher and by the time she was uttering the last words she was screaming again 'You already destroyed my life, why have you come back again, why?'
The realization of who she was sunk into his mind he was shocked the only thing he could say was 'you are dead, I killed you, you are dead,"
She shook her head; 'No, I am not dead though there were times when I wished I was. Do you how it feels to go through life an outcast? To know people are talking behind your back about you?" she shouted 'what did you care that I was a young innocent child? You don't know what it feels like to watch mothers and their babies and know that I can never be a mother because of what you did to me,' She knew she was talking too fast and too loud but she couldn't stop herself; 'You don't know what it feels like to live each day in fear, and each night a nightmare, I often taught of committing suicide wanting to end a life filed with shame and no self esteem.'
Standing up she walked towards the door and shut it, then leaning against it she, faced him, it took her awhile to composed herself and when she spoke again her voice was calm and firm like a person who had made a difficult decision.
'What do I do with you now that you are here? I could call the police but they would charge you with breaking and entering, which is not the only thing you are guilty of. Besides I do not care to recite the whole ordeal before a court room full of people, that is one part of my life I prefer to remain private and confidential in addition to that fifteen years is a long time to start seeking justice for such matters there is no evidence.
' If life was fair you would have spent all your time in jail, and not gone round stealing plundering or molesting other girls, but then life is not fair, not for you not for anyone'
As the finished speaking she aimed the gun at his head and squeezed the trigger, the resulting explosion shattered the peace of the now silent night.
The wailing of sirens that had been getting gradually louder and louder was now almost deafening but she did not seem to hear them, she was still standing there looking at the corpse when the cops broke into the house and placed her under arrest.