Stacey was her name, or at least that was the name people told me she answered. She was a girl I got to know a year after I moved into Stantoky Avenue. She was slim, very tall, and beautiful, with sapphire eyes and golden hair. Apart from her physical beauty I was also quick to notice that she was absolutely strange and reserved. It was like she was hiding away from something. It was as if she had the deepest secrets. So many things worried me about her and I couldn’t help not wanting to get closer. No one ever came to see her and I doubt if she had friends and relatives because none ever came around to see her.
At night from my window, I would watch her dancing in the moonlight. She would dance and dance till she slumped on the ground and couldn’t get up. I had noticed this a week after I moved into the boys’ quarters as her neighbour. We were the only tenants living in the compound. The first night I had seen her dancing, I had been amazed and enchanted. Then suddenly I felt that something was wrong because of the way she was dancing; as if some kind of spirit had possessed her. I had rushed out of the house to help her after she slumped to the ground; I arrived breathless only to find no one there. I had stood there for a while wondering if truly I had seen her dancing.
The next morning I had found myself at her door knocking my knuckles out. The door was shut quiet alright, but I could hear sobs and screams from within and yet she didn’t open up. I had to go to work that morning deciding to meet her once I was back from work but I never did since she was never outside. I really had to wonder how she ate and survived since she rarely came out of the house, unless she did that while I was away.
Deciding to fill my curiosity, I decided to wait till weekend when I would have an ample opportunity to sit and watch on her. As the days went by, my anxiety grew; I couldn’t wait for weekend to reach. It was as if the days were a barrier to the secrets I knew I was going to uncover soon. Something in me told me that Stacey might be in trouble; that same sensation was telling me that I alone could help her.
To me the coming weekend was the only opportunity I had in order to monitor when she would go out then I could accost her to know what her problem was.
When weekend finally came, I felt lighter and happy as if I was expecting a tip off in something or what. Meeting Stacey was indeed going to be a tip off. I got up early enough, had a quick bath, rushed through my breakfast and went outside and sat down in front of my apartment. I was certain that she hadn’t left the house that early, that is if she was ever going to step out that day. I sat outside the house all day except when I got up and went into the house to pee and brewed myself some creamy coffee which I drank outside with some sandwich. I came out shortly and sat down again, watching and waiting but she never came out. Late in the night I retired inside after waiting like eternity. Not long after I began to hear her footsteps stamping hard against the interlocked floor outside. Stunned, I ran to the window and peeped out. She was twirling and dancing like one possessed by some strange spirits. I watched on, marveled and unable to do anything but watch in perplexity. Suddenly like someone enchanted I stumped out to catch her and caught but only the air, I fainted.
That was a year ago. Since then I have been trying to understand what happened that night or even how I got to the hospital but till date I still have not been able to comprehend the mystery of that night. Although I had stopped prying on her yet my heart and feelings towards the Stacey never stopped. Each time I remembered her, my heart pounded hard against my chest as it palpitated rapidly as if it was going to burst out soon. I still felt a kind of connection between us and something inside me kept telling me that the girl next door was calling to me.
After I had woken up in the hospital after I fainted a year ago, I had been told by the nurses that a young girl with hair like snow had brought me in. I wanted to believe that it was her but how can I when her hair was golden. For a while I let her be until one night.
It was early April, the beginning of spring. The night was cool and dearly. The sky was void and gray. I was sitting at the porch over a glass of wine and noodle when I first heard the ear splitting scream. For a while I paused and strained my ears. Nothing, I relaxed. The shrill scream came again almost knocking me senseless; I jumped out of my seat and gazed towards the direction of the scream. She was screaming. Without trying to consider anything but my feelings and the fact that she needed me now, I raced towards her apartment. Surprisingly the door was open, I turned the knob and the door sprang open. The scream came again and I went in, the door slammed close right after me.
The room was unusually dark but because it was built in the same style as mine, I was able to find my way. I was quick to notice how empty the room was too. There was nothing there but two cushions and a rug on the ground. The scream was fluttering in now from one of the rooms, persistently as it came with some inaudible words. Quickly I made my way towards the room abhorring the persistent cries. As I walked through the endless passage, my heart pounded hard against my chest. I was tensed and horrified yet I trudged on and only paused when I got to her door. She wasn’t screaming anymore now, she was talking to someone but whom? I listened, the sound coming out from the room was more of a whisper so I strained my ears closer to the door and began to hear the petrifying words.
“No!” she was screaming. “No, I wont, please no. I want to be free. Haven’t you done enough harm yet? I love him, please let him be.”
I froze at the mention of love. It was weird to believe that the strange girl actually loved someone. I listened again.
“Please, let Leo be. Please I beg of you.”
Leo? I thought suddenly remembering that that was my name. No, I shook it off. There was no way she would be referring of me? She doesn’t even know my name, I thought in confusion. When I heard a hushed whisper and I listened again, I couldn’t make out any word they were saying but it seemed as if it was her visitor talking, the visitor I hadn’t seen come in.
“Yes, I accept,” I heard Stacey say out loud. “Turn me into a lioness and send me into the wild but let Leo Wilbur be.”
I couldn’t wait to hear it all as I fought to open the door. She was talking about me; there were no two ways about it. Obviously she knew more about me than she made me to understand. She loved me, why then was she hiding it. Why didn’t she slip it out? The realization was too overwhelming and terrifying too. It brought a kind of glee to my heart knowing that she complemented my feelings for her too. Yet I couldn’t help being afraid. She was sacrificing her life to save me and I never got to tell her that I felt for her too. I banged hard at the door hard, calling on her name to open the door.
“I can save you Stacey,” I cried out as I pushed at the door. The door was locked from within. I kept hitting it to no avail. Pulling back a little, I ran towards the door with force and kicked the door. The door didn’t open. My feet hurt to that effect but it didn’t deter me. I drew back once more and rushed towards the door with a grater force and shoved it with my entire body. This time the door gave way just when I saw her turn into a beautiful lioness.
I was too late. Perplexed and exhausted I stood and watched as tears whiled up my eyes. Although she was entirely covered with the luminescence from the blinding light, I was able to see her clearly. I must confess, she was the most beautiful lioness I have ever seen all my life.
“Stacey,” I muttered with an outburst. “Please don’t go.”
She looked my way once, gave a loud roar then disappeared into the smoke, but not before she told me her real name, Sheena.
As I slumped to the ground in a faint, I wondered who will take me to the hospital this time around. Could it be a beautiful maiden with pearly eyes and fire-blazing hair?