As Florence manoeuvred through the crowded dance floor, she had no idea who or what she was about to face that night. A beautiful, young and promising girl in the prime of her life became a man’s plaything in the blink of an eye. She didn’t know this was what her life would come to when she started university. All she wanted was education so she could better her odds.
The day she got her acceptance letter, her mother sat her down and counselled her on the big city. It seemed like an exaggeration to Florence at the time but she soon realized her mother was right. Everything moved fast. Everyone was in a hurry to get somewhere and she noticed the preying eyes watching her moves.
Luckily, she made it to her dorm in one piece and soon, she was making friends with other newcomers. Laughter echoed through the halls as the girls got to know each other. One particular girl took a liking to Florence. Her name was Aisha and she was a second-year student.
“If you delay, you might miss dinner.” She cautioned her after finding her still unpacking.
“Oh, thanks. I was just about to leave.” Florence replied.
Just as predicted, Florence missed dinner. Her first instinct was to go back to the dorm rooms and cry herself to sleep but just as she walked back, she bumped into Aisha carrying a steaming plate of pilau and kachumbari.
“You missed dinner, didn’t you?” she asked rhetorically. “We can share mine.”
This isn’t what the rest are having.” Florence mentioned as they got to Aisha’s room, a private, spacious room that didn’t smell like dirty laundry. She struggled to figure her out. Yes, Aisha was a gorgeous girl and stood out from the others in school but she just didn’t seem like a student at all.
“Wow. Nice room,” she commented taking it all in. She noticed an empty bed on the other side of the room. “Hasn’t your roommate come yet?”
“I stay alone… unless I want a roommate.” She replied.
One Semester later
Florence and Aisha became close. They were the most popular girls in school thanks to Aisha’s people skills and Florence’s looks. They would dominate any party they got into and soon, they upgraded from campus parties to clubbing in high-end spots. Aisha’s boyfriend was a manager at one of those clubs and he would get the girls VIP treatment every Saturday.
Guys would always come to their tables and try to talk to them. They would usually ignore them. But there was this guy who was persistent this particular night.
“How are you girls doing tonight?” The white, greying man asked the pair who didn’t respond. “I have money. I can take care of both of you.” He added but still he didn’t get a response.
They were both picky and smart. For Aisha, she was already spoken for and she wasn’t about to fumble her first-class ticket to the good life. On the other hand, Florence was extremely intelligent. Looking at her, you couldn’t tell that she was a straight-A student. She never missed a class, not even when the rain poured mercilessly. She would grab her mustard trench coat and matching umbrella and get to class. Despite being from a remote village from the eastern side of the country, she was well aware of how the city worked.
After a few awkward minutes, the man left with a slightly bruised ego but he wasn’t done yet. He would come back later on in the night.
“What are you doing, Flo? That man is rich. Go talk to him.” Aisha advised her friend.
“He seems too old. What will people say?” She asked innocently.
“Do you think anybody cares here? In fact, he’s like a hot cake. You’ll see.”
Sure enough, Aisha was right again. As the night grew older, women trickled into the VIP area hoping to lure rich men with their God-given talents. The white man seemed to be quite popular and he enjoyed the attention but he still wanted the two friends.
Aisha left for a while to entertain her boyfriend in his office and Florence sat alone scrolling through her phone. Before she could look up, a waiter brought over 2 mojitos and a shot of whatever he poured.
“Ule mzungu amekukufia.” He joked with her as he laid the drinks down. They had grown to be quite close as Florence frequented the place.
“Na unazileta tu.” Florence was not having it with the man’s flirtatious gestures so she picked up the drinks and took them to the man’s table where two other girls were seated.
“Why don’t you join us? You seem lonely over there.” He asked.
She was getting bored and thinking of leaving soon so she thought of killing time with the white man as she waited for Aisha.
It was around 3 AM and Florence could not find Aisha. She was quite drunk as well, more than usual. She was on the verge of blacking out and her waiter friend had closed for the night. It was just her and this patient, old man. Or so she thought.
“Wh.. where’s Aisha?” She struggled to get her words out.
“Don’t worry, I’ll drive you home.”
Before she could answer, he was holding Florence’s semi-awake body making their way to his car. He sat her on the passenger seat, secured the safety belt then ran his hands on her face admiring her lifeless-like body.
By the time they reached the estate, Florence was recovering from her alcohol-induced sleep. She looked around and noticed an unfamiliar but luxurious estate.
“Where are we?” she asked
He didn’t reply.
She was still woozy and could barely lift herself up or make any movements. The car suddenly stopped and he got out. After a few seconds, he came back with a tall, slender man who carried her out of the car and into the man’s house.
Florence tried with all her will to resist, but she felt paralyzed. He placed her on the couch gently and then left. She could hear the man unbuckling his belt. The sound rang like church bells in her mind. Then, she heard him walking towards her and felt a sudden pain. He was holding her up by her hair.
“Who do you think you are?” he asked pushing her against the wall and grabbing her neck.
The sweet, old man had turned cold and angry. He breathed fire against Florence’s face.
“I will beat you to the ground!” He threatened her and laid his first punch on her cheek.
“You think this pretty face makes you any special? You’ll be nothing but an ugly, dead cow tonight.”
He continued punching and hitting her with anything in sight. Florence tried to scream but her voice barely came out.
It felt like a nightmare. She could feel every bone crack, every organ bruise. She coughed out so much blood she was basically choking on it. Eventually, after two hours of endless beating, he stopped. Like a machine. He just stopped. He walked away and that was the last Florence ever saw of him.
The door opened and the same man who had brought her in carried her out and put her in a different car. He drove her lifeless body for almost an hour and dumped her beside the road. Sure that she was dead; he drove off as if nothing had happened.
A herder, who came across her body lying in a thicket, picked up Florence. He gathered a few boys who rushed her to the nearest clinic. The doctor looked more stunned than the herders to see such a grotesque sight. After liaising with his colleagues, they sent an ambulance to pick her up and take her to a hospital.
Today months later, Florence still lies in the hospital with only her mother beside her. Aisha has never been seen again and the only hope for justice is if Florence could get out of the coma and explain what happened to her.
Her mother gazed at her once beautiful daughter with tear-filled eyes. She said a short prayer for her and squeezed her hand tightly hoping for a miracle.
“Mama, you should get some rest.” said one nurse, who was on night duty.
“How? Even if I go home I can’t sleep. so why should I?”
The nurse had nothing more to say. The hospital grew silent as more people left. She was used to the silence.
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This story first appeared on the blog as Midnight Whispers: Florence’s Great Night Turned Nightmare
Image by kjpargeter on Freepik