Life after the wedding day saga felt so rosy and aroused the concretisation of the saying that it’s not about the start but the end. We might not have started well, but I believed we were on course to bliss. Collins became a darling once again.
He treated me like a king would treat his queen, holding and squeezing my hands occasionally and pecking my forehead as a conclusion to every decision making. He would pat my back with assurance and cupped my face in his hands when he wanted to clarify me.
Few days after my black eye had disappeared and my red eye also, we set for Dubai. Our trip started on Facebook before we flew on Snapchat and later landed on Instagram. All other of my social media handles had their fair share. This time, my settings were not altered rather I had to tag some people in a bid to ensure the posts never eluded Vera.
She had become a silent preacher of marriage and good homes with some decent pictures of blissful moments with Desmond. They were expecting a baby even. A cold wordless war was going on between Vera and me, a cyber war. If she was aware of this war was something I never gave a hoot about rather I had solace in the fact that my fan base had increased drastically because of my slay pictures and short videos.
My several pictures around the fleet of cars that graced Collins’ compound, including that of his neighbours helped me a lot. I simply entered the Range Rover Sport and took pictures in the driver’s seat, behind the wheel, playing music and turning my head left to right like a standing fan and before a minute, it had hit over a hundred likes and hearts with comments from drooling admirers.
I began hosting contests and dolled out huge amounts of cash on Facebook and Instagram.
My road to fame was made easier than so many other’s road to their toilets, or so it seemed.
As soon as we arrived Dubai International Airport, we had a chauffeur driven car waiting to take us to a cabin near the beach. The interior was state of the art and luxuriously furnished with furniture sets, chandeliers, a plasma TV and a 70’s recorder.
From the bedroom upstairs, we had access to a view of the beach with white and black skins bared under the sun.
Everything about the cabin felt like I was shooting in a music video. In my mind’s eyes, I put golden chains on Collins over a big white t-shirt and sagged pair of white jeans trousers and loafers; he looked like Davido. I just needed to dance and twerk and frolic around Collins before a camera, under lights and boom mic, for the feeling to be complete.
It felt even cooler being made love to by Collins on that large bed. We spent more time idling about, sensualising our bodies. Touching and teasing erogenous parts; his nipples, ear lobes, back of my neck, my arms and lot of other places.
The cuddling was grand.
We spent our honeymoon on sightseeing and shopping in several of Dubai’s malls. The highlight of our stay was a visit to the Seven Star Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.
The sight of gold stung with me as I gawked at the golden walls and decors of the massive hotel that was symbolic of the United Arab Emirates. That day culminated in an intense love making.
All these happened and not a thing missed the social media. My fans went with me to Dubai, they knew and could tell my story better than me, especially those prolific and talented writers among them.
I was ponderously rummaging the cabinets and dark corners, looking for nothing exactly, just idling away as I waited for Collins to return from a business meeting he had scheduled after luckily running into an old associate of his father’s.
My mind idled on why Vera had never reacted to any of my posts; not even a single shade talk more of a sub.
Damn! That girl was saner than I had thought. What ever was wrong with her, I rebuffed the thought with a jeering face.
I decided to check our clothings and other stuff in preparation for our departure since we had barely three days left. I was searching the wardrobe when I found a round knob at one end. I didn’t understand it but just decided to turn it.
I tried turning it clockwise but it didn’t move so I tried anti-clockwise and it broke free after the second attempt.
After turning the knob, the board behind it loosened and I shoved it inside. I needed a flashlight and quickly recouped one. I flashed it in and found some framed pictures and other photos stacked together. I pulled them out and retreated to the table to study them.
The face I saw in the framed photos looked familiar. Yes, my brain quickly called it up. It was the huge dark predator at the post wedding party.
It was Shrek, the ghoul Collins had addressed as Buggy. I began to sweat and shake visibly in the air-conditioned room. What was his picture doing here? Perhaps he used this room also or even owned it.
I quickly sought to see what the other stacked pictures held. My eyes bulged at the sight of what I had forgotten, what I once thought was hallucination.
So it was real? The same things I had seen in Collins’ room the first time, even a scarier sight. I searched from picture to picture at how women were bondaged and fastened to an apparatus where they were tortured and used for sexual gratification.
Conspicuous marks from whip lashes and dripping blood decorated the women’s bodies as their faces writhed in pain and tears. What was all this?
Curiosity led me to view more and by the time I got to the last photo, I was convinced that the room in the photos was in the cabin I had been sleeping, eating and making love in. I was totally oblivious of the spooky nature of this house, enjoying what was supposed to be a nightmare for me.
The revelation made me shudder and drop one of the framed photos to shatters on the floor and jolted me from the seat. I wanted to see it all.
I knew I had to search the house to find this room. Where else could it be? I had entered all the rooms in the house so no room that size could be anywhere on the surface of the earth, sharing the same building with the one I was in.
I was about giving up when I tripped and fell, crashing into a flower pot just under the staircase. I was struggling to stand when I caught a glimpse of a squat door on the floor underneath the staircase.
Yes, there was a basement.
I struggled to my feet and went to check the door. The metal latch on the door was posing some difficulty but I forced it open anyway and found a wooden staircase that led into a steep darkness. I went back to retrieve my torch and returned to calm my curiosity. I took one step at a time, descending the creaking stairs without a rail. I flashed my torchlight but couldn’t see much ahead.
At the foot of the stairs, I searched and found a light switch. As soon as I switched on the lights, my jaw dropped and my stomach churned. My head swirled around me and my limbs lost their strenght. I slumped and passed out.
When I woke up, I was lying on the bed and Collins had almost packed all our bags. I didn’t understand what he was up to.
In a flash, the pictures of the basement, the sight of bondage apparatuses looking like a serial killers laboratory, the whips and chains and clips and needles, they all came back. With a jerk, I thrust myself up to a sitting position, startling Collins to an abrupt turn.
“You’re awake.” He turned and continued packing.
“What is this place?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. What is his picture doing here?” I asked through squinting eyes.
“You ask too many questions.” He replied coldly.
“And I need answers Collins.” I yelled. “What exactly are you? Who are you? Who did I marry? What else am I going to find out?”
He lunged at me at lightening speed, pinning me down with a hand cupped over my mouth. ”
Shut up, this is not Nigeria. Stop shouting or I’ll kill you and leave you here to rot.”
After he calmed me, he retreated and stood at the edge of the bed, looking down at me.
“We’re leaving first thing tomorrow morning. I got a call from home that my parents were both involved in an auto crash. They are both unconscious as we speak.” He said calmly and started for the bathroom.
I was weakened but never shut a lid until daybreak.