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Nairobi, Kenya;

SOPHIE LEFT THE CARNIVORE AT 6:30 p.m. and decided to walk home, a fifteen-minute walk.

Everywhere, and in all directions, people walked and talked—life a beehive of human activity—going about their lives like nothing was going on.

Glancing around to ensure she was safe, she realised there was still enough light to qualify as daytime. Despite the security measures she had been told to observe—to be more aware of her surroundings, not to be Facebooking, tweeting, or listening to music while walking—she fell victim to her foible and plugged her iPod earphone buds into her ears and also gave in to the temptation of Facebooking as she ambled home.

She walked on, Rihanna’s Russian Roulette playing on her ears while chatting on FB, liking what her friends posted and sharing their pictures as she commented on their statuses after writing gibberish electronic graffiti on their Facebook walls.

Sophie was completely unaware of the two men following her. She took a narrow street, a shortcut, and found herself walking alone. She looked over her shoulder and saw the two men, but she was closer to her destination—home.

She didn’t feel concerned at first, not until she glanced over her right shoulder and saw the men running, catching up on her, closing in. Within no time, they were onto her. One of the men slammed her to a wall, and before she could scream, an adhesive tape was stuck to her lips, sealing them as though to keep a secret. Plastic cables lashed her wrists and legs together.

A sharp prick on her neck, as that of a hypodermic, brought a thick drapery of darkness that festooned her vision.

Sophie came to four hours later. She was lying on a bed, her arms tied and anchored behind her head. Her legs, too, were roped to the bed’s metal frame. And then she made another discovery—she was naked, a white sheet draped between her legs.

A new kind of fear swept through her like cold fire, and she almost passed out. She couldn’t be sure, but it felt like she had been over-raped.

She surveyed the room—it was odd, everything seemingly rustic. That was it; she was somewhere no one would find her. The only way was to talk her way out of this nightmare, survive, live, and fight another day. As all this went through her mind, she realised she was not alone.

“Hello, beautiful,” a hoarse male voice said. “Ain’t it kinda wonderfully romantic?”

That’s when realisation tumbled onto her like a ton of a thousand bricks.

She knew that voice, knew it very well.

It was her disgruntled lover. He had been stalking her, threatening her if she didn’t give in to his advances (in his wildest wet dreams), driving her crazy.

Well, she’d play by his rules if she wanted to get out of this nightmare, she decided. Sleep with the much-loathed enemy; even sell part of her soul to the devil.

“See, Willy, I could do what you want. You know you don’t have to do this,” Sophie said. “Sorry I have been a bitch, playing hard to get. It was just a game.”

But she had a plan. Once she had the opportunity, she’d kick him in the balls, where it hurt most. She knew enough judo to disable him, as big as he was. Then she’d run like hell for her life.

“You don’t seem to understand, do you?” Willy said. “This is a game, too.”

With that, Willy tore away the sheet between her legs and forced himself inside her for the umpteenth time. He raped her for hours until she could take no more, then climbed off her.

“Yes, you could do what I want, but would you do it?” Willy asked her. “The game has just started. It’s you whom I want. Let’s call Daddy; perhaps he’ll make us rich.”

“Please,” Sophie pleaded. “My father will give you whatever you want. Just let me go.”

“That’s the spirit, dear,” Willy snorted. “Dad’s gonna pay your dowry, then we’ll elope.”

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