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Chained To A Heart

I stared at her, almost unblinking for a full thirteen minutes before her eyelids fluttered open. She was still groggy from the drug-induced sleep she was waking up from; and as she squinted her eyes, trying to focus her vision on a particular object, I let out a satisfied chuckle. I definitely had her where I wanted her to be.

She shook her head, trying to clear her eyes off the sleep and immediately she saw me, her mouth unconsciously formed an “O” of abject terror. Her eyes roamed her body and darted about the room, as she tried to make sense of the whole situation. I kept on staring at her face, the varied expressions she gave giving me untold pleasures, more pleasures than she had given me all these months.

My smile was still fixed in place as she finally broke the silence. “Chike, w–what—what is going—?”

“You’re tied to a chair, that’s what is going on,” I said, snaking my fingers up her arm. She recoiled from my touch, but that only made me smile.

“Wh–why?”

“Seriously?” I asked in mock indignation. “You really don’t know what you did?”

She shook her head, but as she saw the cold anger in my eyes, realization dawned on her. Her eyes widened in fear, as she began to plead with me. “Oh no, no, no. Please Chike, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.”

In the hot and humid abandoned factory room, which was located in the middle of the city, I sighed; memories came rushing back like the waves of a tsunami. I was helpless against them, and as each regrettable action from my past replayed in my head, I balled my fists tighter, until my knuckles started hurting.

“Sweet Nnenna, I think you have misused the word “Sorry” so much. And now I want you to apologize to “Sorry” now,” I commanded.

She looked at me and saw that I wasn’t joking, and as she said, “I’m sorry, Sorry,” I slapped her so hard that her lips cracked open. Her whimpers of pain were like pleasurable music to my ears.

“Good job, girl,” I commended her. “Well, since you already know why you’re here, don’t you think it’s courteous for us to let this factory that we are disturbing this afternoon know why we are having this noisy meeting here?”

“Y–es,” she replied, her split lip dripped more blood as she spoke.

“Nice one girl,” I said. “Hello Factory!” I spread my arms wide and turned in a circle, “please we’re sorry for the inconvenience, but I beg you to listen to me. Afterwards you will understand why this meeting is holding here.”

Then I began talking, more to the empty room than to either of us.

I’d known and had been in love with Nnenna since 2010. That was when I was still in my third year in the university. We had dated for a tumultuous ten months, after which she unceremoniously broke up with me, telling me that she needed direction in her life. I’d been devastated then, and it showed in my results at the end of my time in the university. I’d been a first class student before I met her, but after we were done, I graduated with a second class lower with a CGPA of 3.12.

Life after school was a tough battle, and I fought hard enough to make a life for myself after I had nearly ruined my future. I managed to set up a football viewing center in 2012 in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. As God would have it, within two and half years, I’d gotten enough money to open three cinemas in Anambra—one in Awka, another in Onitsha and the other in Nnewi.

It was during the premier of one of the most popular movies of 2014 in Nigeria that I met another girl who would change my life (at least for a short time). Her name was Bisola, a Yoruba beauty. After the movie, we stayed in touch and three months later, our relationship kicked off. We dated for four years (she was still in her second year in the university then, and still had three more years, as her course was a five-year one).

So in 2018, after her NYSC program, I proposed to her. I was so happy when she said her yes, and preparations for the wedding went in full swing. We’d decided not to waste time and had scheduled the wedding to hold four months after our engagement party.

But two days before my wedding day, I got a call from an anonymous person, who later turned out to be Nnenna. She had pleaded with me to meet up with her, and I had reluctantly agreed. When we met, she was with a little girl of about five or six years old. I’d asked her about the child, and she had told me that her next boyfriend after me had gotten her pregnant and had abandoned them. I felt bad for her, and as I was extending my sympathy to her, she immediately crashed her lips on mine, in the full view of everyone in the restaurant we were in.

She then told me how she had felt sorry for her actions towards me; how she couldn’t get me off her mind; how she still loved me. Truthfully, I didn’t know what to say, and I left her there, and rushed home. I mean, I had my wedding in two days’ time, there was no reason to complicate things further, right?

But when I went home, I found myself thinking about her more than I should. I remembered our relationship and how much I’d loved her then. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Bisola, but what I felt for Nnenna was something else, something… divine. But I decided to go on with the wedding.

At the altar two days later, as we were saying our vows, I caught the sight of Nnenna and her daughter amongst the congregation and my resolve wavered. The next thing I knew was that I was saying no to my vows, telling Bisola, the girl who truly loved me that I couldn’t go on with marrying her; that I loved another woman.

Then I ran down from the altar and out of the church. I didn’t go to Nnenna because I didn’t want her to be attacked by anyone. For six months, I received death threats from Bisola’s family members and friends who were looking out for their daughter and friend. I pleaded with them to forgive me, that I never intended to hurt her. But this question kept coming back to me: if I wasn’t so sure of my love for her, why did I propose to her?

As for my family, they practically disowned me. After the annulled wedding ceremony, none of them spoke to me till date.

Eight months after the incident, Nnenna and her daughter moved in with me. And it was a blissful union for the next five months. I loved and cherished both her and our daughter and did all I could to make her happy. I set up a clothing store for her, bought a car for her, and was planning on getting married to her when I received the biggest shock of my life.

It was on the day I planned to take her to our favorite place to propose to her. I’d planned to make it a surprise for her. So I’d crept into the house after work, and tiptoed to our bedroom and as came into the room, I heard her raised voice.

“I’ve told you before, Andy, give me time! I think he’s going to propose to me soon. I’ll say yes, of course, and pressure him to make the wedding to happen within two months. After the wedding, I’ll cajole him into making me his next of kin, and then we take him out. Simple!”

I was too shocked to move. I stood rooted to the spot as she exchanged words with person on the other end of the phone. I couldn’t believe my ears, and as I was still listening, something broke the silence of the hallway that I was standing in.

“Daddy, why are you standing there?” Abigail, our—her—daughter asked.

That alerted Nnenna of my presence, and as I was boiling with rage, she ran out through the door that connected the room with the kitchen.

It took me a full one month to locate her again, and another one week to kidnap her and bring her here. She had to pay for ruining my life.

Her eyes grew teary as she heard me say that. “Please, Chike, forgive me. I don’t want to die, please.

“Who said anything about dying, honey?” I asked with a sweet smile plastered on my face. “But to be honest, though, you’re not getting out of here alive. So I would grant you one favor. I want you to choose the method you want me to use in killing you. Do you want to be drowned, tortured go death, strangled, hanged, or simply shot to death?”

She started shaking her head and I gave her another slap. “Say something, woman! I don’t have all day!”

Tentatively, she opened her mouth to speak, but her wounds made speaking a tough task. So she gingerly pointed at the gun on the table.

“Wise choice, dear. You chose the least painful of them all. And I’ll keep to my promise,” I said.

She looked at me with pain and sorrow in her eyes and as she opened her mouth to plead one more, I pulled the trigger.

And shot myself. Yes, I shot myself in the heart. Why? Because I was the fool, I was the one that was played. She had played me so well that I had to let her live. This might seem strange, but I hated myself already for all the foolish things I’ve done, so why not end it?

As I fell to the floor, my last thought was that I would meet her in hell definitely. Not now, but sometime in the future.

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