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THE GUARDIAN

‘Don’t forget tomorrow Monique,’ someone shouted at her. She shouted back, ‘I won’t. See you tomorrow. Bye Sheilah, Wilma.’ Monique got in the bus taking her seat. It was dark just a little after 7p.m. She didn’t know whether where she heard moved to was safe. It was only yesterday that she had moved out to the new place at Naivasha Road.
Monique got off at the last stage. She adjusted her duffel bag and walked home. A few cars passed her n the road reminding her that she was the only soul on the road.
She branched to her right and stopped. Up ahead- she remembered during the day the path was lined with thick bushes and beyond the thicket was undeveloped land. Now the path was pitch black that even Makmende would think twice before passing there.
She offered up a silent prayer then rummaged in her bag for her torch which she found and lit the road ahead. She felt a wee bit braver as she walked up the hill. Halfway up the ascent she heard crunching of gravel. She quickly flashed the torch ahead. She saw a black dog on its hunches watching her.
CRUNCH!!
She stopped, her heart beating wildly. Her Imagination answering to Fears persistent knocking. She took rein of her imagination then continued.
CRUNCH!!
This time she said another prayer and kept on.
CRUNCH!!
Something brushed her leg. She quickly illuminated her leg to see the dog following her. She wanted to scream but didn’t incase the dog sensed her fear and attacked.
CRUNCH!!
She flashed the beam ahead and staggered back as she saw the silhouette of a person watching her- in the middle of the road… She wanted to run out of fright. She felt the dog come up to her side. She lit the path again.
HE WAS GONE!!
She quickly covered the few metres to her gate. She stopped n sensed she was all alone. She flashed the beam around and sure enough the dog had vanished. She got in locked the gate n straight to the guest room.
She freshend up and then made supper. A knock was heard n da door. She opened it and the guest walked in.
‘You have come now?’ she was asked. She nodded slowly. ‘This place is not safe especially this stretch to the main road. Muggings and rape have taken place. You be careful. Plans are underway to light up this road. I am Ken your neighbour,’ he said.
Monique introduced herself. They chatted for a few minutes then he left. She smiled and put on the telly. Later and she did her assignments and headed to bed.

The second day she reached Town at 8pm and by 9pm she was walking up the desolate road. The dog got up and followed her up to the gate and vanished. She heard retreating footsteps to her right and flashed her torch which illuminated a silhouette that melted into the darkness.
For two full weeks that was the norm. After the first 3 days she became secure when she heard the CRUNCH CRUNCH up ahead and the mysterious Houdini dog.

‘We on today Monique?’ her girlfriend asked her at the Mess Hall. She put down her tray on the table, ‘Sure Mercy. You’ll help me finish the project.’
Mercy nodded and sipped on her blackcurrant, ‘Is it okay if Kay Will comes along?’
‘Isnt Kay dat guy in class who keeps on giving me the eye eye all the time? I thought he neva talks to anyone. How the hell did you become friends?’ Monique asked surprised.
‘I see you have a stalker,’ Mercy teased.
‘Dont talk to me about stalkers. One is enough,’ she muttered.
Mercy stared at her, ‘What do you mean?’ Monique clammed up and sipped on her soda quickly. She watched as Kay sat down on a table by himself. He looked up, saw Monique watching him and quickly looked away. He got up carrying his tray and tripped over his shoelaces.
He sprawled down the floor. Everyone laughed at him Mercy got up quickly and went over to him. She helped him up to his feet bringing him over to her table.He avoided looking at Monique as Mercy gave him paper napkins to clean himself. He muttered a thank you and left.
‘Such a klutz there is no way. I’d ever be seen with him,’ Monique laughed. She stopped, watching Mercy’s eyes. She slowly looked back and saw Kay Will turning back quickly.
‘He heard, didn’t he?’ She asked. Mercy nodded finishing her soda. Monique waited for him to come to class. He was usually among the first to get in the hall. However he did not show up for the lecture. After class the two girls searched for him and bumped into Wilma who told them she had seen him leave quickly at lunch time. Mercy sighed and thanked her. Monique felt bad and asked if Mercy had his number. She shook her head. The two then boarded the University bus to Town.

When Mercy saw the dark stretch she hesitated. ‘Relax it is safe,’ she said handing Mercy a torch. When the two reached halfway up, Monique stopped.

‘What’s wrong?’ Mercy asked. ‘The dog has not shown up,’ Monique replied. Mercy looked round quickly fearfully. ‘Is it a stray?’

Monique shook her head, ‘I do not know. It is just always escorts me to the gate then vanishes.’ Up ahead a beam of light flashed at them.

‘Monique is that you?’ some one shouted. She replied and they were met by Ken who said, ‘There was a prowler around just near the gate. I heard a scuffle with him and did some damage I think to him with my knife. I think he was your stalker. You better hurry in.’

The two girls did so quickly. Once in while drinking hot chocolate, Monique told of her stalker. ‘I guess you were frightened the first day,’ Mercy teased. Monique nodded then said, ‘Guess it was just Ken watching over me.’

Mercy put down her mug and stared thoughtfully at Monique, ‘Isn’t it strange? Your guardian dog has not shown up tonight and Ken meets you at the hill after two weeks of hiding. It doesn’t add up. By the way had you told anyone you were stalked?’ Monique shook her head.

‘Then how the hell did Ken know?’ Mercy enquired. ‘Who cares? Maybe someone told him. As long as we are safe,’ Monique shrugged. Mercy sighed at her friend’s naivety. She took out her books and begun studying. At eleven, Mercy borrowed a flashlight and bade farewell to Monique.

She descended thoughtfully her mind far away. Something brushed her leg and she almost jumped. She saw a black Spaniel at her side.

Something about the dog hit her mind. It escorted her to the main road and vanished as quietly as it had come. Up ahead she heard footsteps. She followed them and concluded thert the person was heading the same direction as her. Her beam of light picked up a shiny object on the ground. She picked up the silver locket and next to it was a drop of blood. A car hooted and she got up.

The person vanished when the matatus headlight illuminated the road.

Mercy reached Tinderet crescent at midnight. She had to get a matt in Tao. She got one and saw she was the only female. The rest were pot-bellied men who eyed her, some making sexually suggestive remarks. She squeezed in between 2 men at the back.
One by one they got off at different stages, until only her and a hefty man were left. He got off at Lower Tinderet. Unfortunately the matt stalled at Upper Tinderet and she had 2 walk. The road was dark but the moon had stopped playing hide n seek and was now lighting her way.
As she passed the Kilimani-Westy by-pass she quickly looked round. 3 dogs passed her chasing each other across the road. She shivered as the cold wind whipped her exposed areas.
SNAP!!
She stopped for a minute then continued. Her ears heard the slow footsteps behind her. She started humming to herself as she joined Nyeri Road. The moon blushed and hid behind a cloud.
SNAP!!
This time it was louder right behind her. She started running, her sandals clapping on the road. She looked back and bumped into a burly figure. She saw it was the man who got off at Tinderet. He read her face and understood. He walked with her all the way to the junction. He pocketed and slowly pulled out something.
At that moment the moon overcame its shyness and smiled at the earth. It saw its reflection on a silver blade.
Mercy stopped to adjust her sandal straps and lost her balance toppling over to the bushes. She then realized that she was pushed and the only person nearby was the man. She then saw the blade and swallowed in fright as it hit ha
HE WAS THE STALKER!!! She was 2 scared to scream. He grabbed ha by the neck and pinned her to the ground. She knew what he was going to do next. Her hand grabbed a stone the size of her hand and struck his head hardly.
He groaned n grabbed his head. She tried to push him off her but he was heavy. He chuckled n unbuckled his belt. His zipper jammed and he had to stand up to undo it.
She cried silently as he felt her curves. He started to unbutton her top slowly taking his precious time. Then she heard it.
A low rumbling growl just above her. He was too busy thinking of the fantasies he would get. It became a distinct angry and dangerous snarl. She saw a black shadow jump on his back. He yelled as it bit his neck. He got up quickly n threw the dog off him.
It bared its fangs at him but he threw a rock at it and it ran away. He turned back to Mercy who was stuck trying to get up.
She closed her eyes not wanting to witness what happened next. She waited to fill him on top, instead she heard a scuffle. She opened her eyes and saw a smaller figure beating up the man.
She then saw the rapist plunge something in the smaller man. He staggered back n that would have been the end if the dog had not appeared jumping and clamping its jaws on the rapist’s neck. He fought with the dog and managed to throw it down. He quickly showed a clean pair of heels.
The dog stood over the smaller figure then came over to Mercy. She saw it was the black Spaniel wondering if it was the same one. The figure came over and put out his hand pulling her out of the ditch.
She buttoned her top took her bag and looked up to thank him.
HE WAS GONE!!
She saw him 2 metres ahead his back turned 2 ha. His right hand clutching his abdomen. She tried to catch up but she could not. The dog was by her side. The figure was limping.
She tried to run but he walked faster. She found herself at her gate. The dog pulled its Houdini act. She looked round but so had her savior- he vanished.

She got in her room and sighed. She took out the silver locket and examined it. It had the initials H.W. engraved in it. She opened it and saw a young beautiful girl staring at her. The sandman came by, blew sand in her eyes and flagged the Night Bus which took her first class to Slumber land

The next day Mercy told Monique of her ordeal but left out the locket. The two looked around for Kay Will but he had not arrived. At lunch time they did not see him. It actually was a week before showed up.

Five minutes into the lecture he walked in to the hall. He put down his crutch and pulled out his books.

‘Glad you could join us Master Williams. Where were you?’ he was asked by the lecturer. Monique looked up quickly as she had not seen him enter. Mercy was watching him.

‘I had an accident and tumbled down the roof at home,’ he explained. ‘Klutz,’ someone shouted and every one laughed. Monique looked down as Mercy shook her head. Kay stared blankly into space and handed his project.

After the lecture every one left. Mercy was staring at the bandage on his head. She walked over to him followed by Monique.

‘What happened to your head?’ She asked him. He looked at her and shrugged not uttering a word. He took his bag and flung it behind him. Kay then looked at Monique deeply and she saw hurt in his eyes. He looked away quickly but not before she registered a new feeling. He limped away on his crutch.

Monique could not believe it. ‘Could it be? No, that was a long time ago. NO it wasn’t. Just a false alarm.’ Mercy stared at Kay her mind processing the facts she had and she shook her head.

The two girls looked at each other- each knowing something but not sure if they were correct….

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