Someone is following me, I thought. Since I was 15, I’ve always felt I was being watched, being trailed.

I’ve read about stalkers and serial killers, and I’ve watched many films and documentaries about them. They belong to an atypical, malicious world, nothing like the world we live in. And for all I know, serial killers need some psychological gratification, a glaring motive for their action, and it beats me why anyone would want to hurt me, or stalk me even.

If my life were a movie, it’d be the low-budgeted, gloomy type, pictured in monochrome, the type that’d make you want to sue the producer for making such a depressing film and reminding viewers of how abysmal life can be. So why would anyone waste their money on such a boring movie?

The only times I was genuinely happy were those days I spent with Gozie.

I felt the hair lift on my nape as I remembered Gozie, my first love. Was Gozie murdered by the same psycho stalking me?

“Mbanu! No, that can’t be!” I thought inwardly. But when I suddenly saw different heads with bulgy inquisitive eyes, glaring at me from different angles all at once, I realized I had spoken my thoughts aloud.

Momentarily, I had forgotten I was on a queue at the bank, waiting for my turn to use the ATM. Someone nudged me and I jerked away in fright. Fretful, he said, “Are you okay?”

No, I wasn’t. Something was missing; I needed oxygen, but realized I’d forgotten how to get it. So I stared at the figure before me, deadpan, dazed.

The voice spoke again. “Hey, calm down and just breathe.”

Yes, that was it; I needed to breathe. I inhaled deep breaths and released them slowly. But for the quiver in my stomach and the army of tremors that attacked me, I felt relieved.

I stared at the figure; a fat, baldheaded man, with small stumpy legs and a shriveled goatee, who would be in his late sixties. His face looked so black and ugly, as if his creator was totally out of it on the day he was created and used charcoal in place of mud.

I drew my mouth into a straight line, then forced a wry smile from my face, and told him I was fine.

A sound came from my phone. I took it out from my jeans pocket.

It was a WhatsApp message from “Sweet Mummy.”

Nchedochukwu, ogini? What’s wrong with your line? I’ve been trying to reach you.

Mummy, I’m scared. Someone is following me, I can feel it.

Nchedo, I’ve told you it’s all in your head. Calm down, you’re just freaking out for nothing.

No, mummy. I have a feeling something might go wrong today.

Nothing will go wrong nwa m, my daughter. Where you at though?

At the bank, but the queue is preposterous, I can’t even deal.

Ngwanu, will you help me go to Mama Nkem’s shop and get my fabrics?

No mum. I have a date with Makuo later.

Okay. Don’t sleep over, and don’t be late.

Alright. Bye mum.

See you at home.

For people who bemoan the horrible economic situation of Nigeria, the bank was ironically filled to the brim. One more “we have no money, the economy is really bad” from any soul, and I’d be sick. If everyone was impoverished, why were they all in the bank, shoving and spitting and arguing for a space on the queue?

My harried self couldn’t bear being in the same space with a million people, not while I was scared my stalker will appear from their hideout and knock me out cold. The thought of the brutality I might have to endure sent me the shudders, and I cringed away from both the thought and the bank.

I cast one last glance at everybody in the bank, shook my head in disappointment and sauntered outside, with no tinge of gusto. Whistling “Lord I Hope This Day is Good,” by Don Williams, I tripped and hit my left leg on a stone just beside my car.

I held my chest and muttered “who’s going to die?” in terror. Instead, I got a totally unrelated answer.

“Babe,” a voice mumbled behind me and I jolted.

“Who the hell…”

I instantaneously spun around to spot the danger. Recognizing the figure, I hissed and whimpered.

“What the heck is this, Chuma? You scared me.” I huffed and clutched my hands around my belly.

He burst into a bout of mischievous laughter, baring his tobacco-brown, Dracula fangs of teeth. Chuma would have been attractive had it not been for the twin handicaps of his unorganized, unattractive dentition and infuriating personality. If there was any constant thing in my life, it’d be Chuma’s notoriety for stepping on my sore feet. That annoying son of a thousand fathers, I thought.

“I didn’t mean to do that,” he blurted and smirked; his eyes squinting, lit with an inner glow of mischief.

“What do you want from me? Wait! Are you stalking me?” I said, my eyes widening.

He chuckled and winked at me again, and I felt raw nerves crawl all over me. Chuma would effortlessly win the award for the most annoying human alive.

“So what if I’m stalking you? I told you I love you so much and I’d do anything to get you. I can’t stand you being with any other guy either. So…”

“Shut your trap!” I cut him short and shoved him ferociously when he tried to touch me.

“Don’t you dare lay your grimy, leprous hands on me!” I bellowed, pointing my index finger at him; the flesh under my arm dangling in concord as I yelled.

“I’ve told you over and over that I’m not interested in whatever it is you’re offering. I wasn’t interested in the past. Now I’m not and would never be. So please take your ludicrous yarn to the birds and see if they care. Because I, Nchedo, Amadi don’t give a crawling hoot about you,” I roared, my eyes blazing red, anger curling hot in my gut.

“Nchedo, you’re mine. I’d do everything within my power to get you. You belong to nobody else but me,” he grunted and beat his chest, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down as he babbled.

“Get lost, idiot,” I cursed and then vroomed my car to life.


For the umpteenth time, I peered through my rearview mirror, scared I’d see a particular vehicle racing behind me, trailing me while I drove, but saw none.

Instead, I saw commuters going about their daily businesses. A man in a 2000 model Toyota Corolla, who had a bunch of paralleled tribal marks emblazoned on his face like a cat’s claws, barked at a hawker for being so clumsy in crossing the road.

Idiot! You no go leave that road before I jam your two left legs? Ode!” the tribal-mark-faced man bawled in pidgin. His marijuana-coated baritone, which accented with the mellifluous timbre of Yoruba, filled the air as he ridiculously honked beside my car.

Later, when I’d think about the tribal-mark-faced man, I’d wish I possessed the superfluity to utter profanity and cuss out at anyone at will. I’d imagine what my life would be if it was yanked from the chasm of terror and paranoia, and shoved into an ocean of bliss; one, where I would have no need to worry about my stalkers and evil. One where I’d be so open minded and foul-mouthed and carefree, and can cuss at any hawker or driver that irked me.

I have a very bad feeling about today. I shrugged and exhaled deeply.

I swerved right to Thinker’s Corner Avenue Enugu. Makuo would be home by this time.

We just had a heated argument two days ago, and I had outright ignored his existence ever since.

For the past two days, he had continuously called and texted, begging for a chance to apologize appropriately, confessing how sorry he was for calling me a clown. But I am not the type to let things slide easily. Why was he so condescending then, if he knew he’d be sorry later? Does “sorry” right every wrong? If so, the devil would just say he’s sorry to God, and then God would send a thousand cherubs to welcome the prodigal angel back to his rightful celestial home, and they’d live happily ever after. It’d be the hottest and most sought-after fairy tale to grace the world. Sadly, things don’t work that way.

I ignored all his calls, but decided to pay him a surprise visit. I knew I’d forgive him, because he’s the second best thing that has happened to me after Gozie. But I just had to pull some strings; I needed to not act “cheap,” whatever the word meant.

After I lost Gozie seven years ago, I had clung to my mum in a tight grip, scared she would leave me, too. I was barely two when my dad eloped with his lover, and being the only child, my life had revolved around my mother. It was just my mother and me, no siblings, no friends, till Gozie came. I was only 15 when I fell in love with him.

We had to move from Owerri to Enugu a month after Gozie’s death because I was traumatized to the point where I felt like taking my own life. I never dated anyone else, ‘til four months ago, when I met Makuo.

Slowly, his aura illuminated my dark life, and I watched in great awe as the puzzles started getting solved. Happiness crept back to my life, and for the first time in seven years, I thought about the future.

Today feels like the day everything would go south. The premonition clanged its plate on my head again. My stomach tightened as I remembered I felt this way the day Gozie was murdered in cold blood. He was just 17.

Soon, I drove into his compound. I looked over my shoulder suspiciously, as if to catch a spy snooping on me, and my clammy hands jerked as I slammed my door shut.

“All is well,” I whispered to myself and ascended the stairs. But my being didn’t align with what my mind said. All was not well; I could feel it.

Makuo’s is the first room on the first floor. His door was slightly open and I wondered why it was so. He detests leaving his door open and giving his neighbours the opportunity to steal glances at him when they’re scaling up and down the stairs.

The sight that greeted me hello, as I snuck into the room, sucked the life out of time. Because time seemed to be on a standstill; dead, defeated.

It finally revivified, but I couldn’t make meanings out of what I saw. I stood transfixed, unable to move, unable to breathe. The sight sapped all my energy and breathing capabilities, immobilizing me. My pulse pounded vociferously in my ears, as I stared at the figure before me.

Makuo, lying lifeless on his couch, castrated.

His penis hung from above his wall clock, gore trickling from it, like it was an emblem of a cult group. It seemed he was stabbed a dozen times before the retarded murderer decided to finish him off.

A stab at a vital point was more than enough to exterminate him, but no; the psychopathic butcher had to mutilate him, long after he had journeyed to the underworld.

Was it some sort of deja vù? I had seen this scene somewhere.

Oh yes! It was Gozie.

Gozie was also found in a pool of his own blood by his neighbours; lifeless, castrated, penis dangling from above the wall clock.

Who was doing this to me, to the men in my life? It must be the same psychopath, because the patterns were the same. Stabbing, castrating. I opened my mouth to scream, but my larynx had long deserted me. I was alone; frozen, dumb.

How do I get out of this reverie?

Somebody help! I screamed inwardly.


At Thinker’s Corner Police Station, I sat on a wooden, termite-infested chair which quaked anytime I made any sort of movement. Of course, the ugly, rickety chair was not even among my million lists of worries.

I was too traumatized to try to make sense of how I got there, let alone allow myself to be bothered by an uncomfortable chair. I was still unable to get a grip of my larynx yet, unable to blink, unable to move.

A policeman nudged me and mumbled some incoherent words, but I stared back at him; blank, incredulous. And when his colleague said something about directing all questions to my mummy, he just eyed me contemptuously and jotted down something on his paper.

Of course my mother, who juggled between being my mother and my superhero, was there to save the day. I didn’t know how she got there, or who alerted her, but she was right there, calm, calculated, giving a statement and speaking with the DPO. What could I have possibly done without my mother?

I inhaled and exhaled occasionally, trying to ward off the repugnant things happening to me.

First, it was Gozie murdered in cold blood. I didn’t discover the murder; it was his neighbour who came to borrow his laptop that did. I was on my way to the venue of our date, when I received a call from his neighbour and raced to the scene.

The Police had already arrived before I got there. But they said he was stabbed sporadically a thousand times and castrated. Who is the psychopath perpetrating this? I sighed.

Guilt crept all over me. It came from a place of regret and pain. Why did I ignore him for two days? Why didn’t I reply his text messages? I could have helped him in a way. I could have averted his death; he could have been saved had I not been adamant.

My body wracked with an onslaught of tears and sobs. I held my head in my hands and bled the salt of my soul.

“I’m sorry, Makuo; I failed you. I should have been there earlier. I should have answered your calls. I’m sorry,” I moaned.

Soon, we were ready to leave the police station. Mummy held me in a tight embrace as I sobbed my existence away.  She kissed me on the forehead and said, “Baby, it’s okay, I have everything under control. You’ll be fine.” But I didn’t believe her, I’ll never be fine.


I intensified my pace, as my conversation with Chuma yesterday replayed gaudily in my brain, like it was some cassette. “You belong to me, nobody else but me…” I hissed as I caressed the pen knife hidden under my belt and marched to his apartment. That bastard must pay for ruining my life.

No sooner had I reached his apartment than I heard a gunshot, accompanied by a piercing cry. I raced to his room, and halfway, vaguely heard a woman’s throaty laughter while he begged for dear life.

“Please spare me,” he pleaded in a wobbly voice. I sensed he had been shot and bleeding profusely.

“Why? So you can dangle that little animal between your legs some more? I’m afraid, my darling, I can’t grant that wish. How about you learn what it feels like to be a eunuch?” the woman said hysterically and began to laugh a devilish laughter, accentuated by occasional hacks. My heart flew to my ass the moment I recognized that voice.

I dashed into the room and confirmed my fears.

“Mummy!” I shrieked and felt a sudden coldness that hits at the core. What was Mummy doing here with a gun? Chuma lay beside his sofa, holding his leg and writhing in agony. He had been shot in the leg.

She turned and smiled at me. “Hush, my baby. I’m here to finish him off, too, like I did to those two golddiggers Gozie and Makuo,” She laughed again like a Disney witch and I wondered if she was possessed by an evil spirit. There’s no way that frenetically-laughing freak was my sweet mother.

“My daughter is mine and nobody can come between us, because I love her so much. Baby, I can’t bear the thought of them having sex with you. I’m the only person who’s supposed to do that,” she smirked and stroked the pistol in her hands.

“No! We’ve never done that, Mummy!” I howled and felt a prickling in my scalp. My heart suddenly lost track of its duty; it should be beating, but something else was happening instead. A thousand Atiliogwu dancers had infiltrated my heart and hijacked it. Performing their acrobatic somersaults, they thumped and slammed. When I could take the anguish and pain no more, I fell to the floor in a disheveled heap. My utter hopelessness and misery converted into tears that rained down my face at lightning speed.

“Oh yes we have, my baby. All those mornings you wake up feeling numb and disoriented, I usually slip a pill in your juice the previous night and fuck you all night long,” she revealed and giggled manically once more.  There’s only so much a single human can take…

I plummeted on the floor and held my head in my hand as I sank into oblivion. My mother has been sleeping with me surreptitiously; what sort of epiphany was that? I couldn’t bear the thought of staying alive for an extra second. What was there to live for? Mummy was the psychopath I’d always dreaded? The revelation was too much for me to handle.

So, I slipped out my pen-knife and plunged it into my belly, while Mummy screamed and hurried to my side. “I love you Nchedo,” she whispered and stared at the gun in her hand. Then, she raised it to her temple and squeezed the trigger.