Spring 2021 Issue


“… And as he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and…”

Babe, stop!

What’s up, Honey? You don’t like the tone of it?

I think I’m being followed.

Hehe. Ain’t we all?

No. Seriously, babe. Like followed-followed.

Followed where?

Behind me.

Behind you, how?
Where are you?

I’m on my way to Labi junction.

The heck are you doing at Labi junction at 9:30 pm?

Babe, long story…

Oh well, I have time.

Long story short: I slept off after arriving
from work pretty wasted and just woke up with this mad hunger.
Nothing to eat in the entire house—at least not
till Saturday when I’ll go shopping.
My only hope is the Maisuya at the junction;
I want to go block him before he closes.

And you couldn’t have bought something to eat on
your way from work?

I forgot.

You forgot.

I did. Sincerely.

Well, maybe you shouldn’t have forgotten.
At least not with the kidnappings and rape reported
in your area these past few weeks.

I know, Honey, I know. And I’m sorry.
I know you care about my safety.
But I just can’t gamble with my tummy.
And I don’t want to be nursing ulcer pains till morning.
The thing can even spring a surprise like that in the night.
Can’t deal, abeg.

So who are they?


The people following you.

Yen yen yen. Very funny.


It’s one person jor. A man. Muscular and tall.
Been following me steadily since, I think, the first turning after my house.
Every time I look over my shoulder, I still see him.

And does he see you?

What did you have for dinner, Babe?

Beans and bread.

No wonder.


Someone is tailing me and you’re asking if they can see me.

C’mon, I’m only trying to properly picture the
scenario so I can think up a good solution.
Or isn’t that why you reached out?


Try to increase your pace.

Oh, awesome advice!

C’mon. I mean just try to widen the gap between
you and the person.

You mean all I should do is walk briskly with a killer after me?
What if he runs after me?

Killer kwa? That escalated so fast.

You’re not here, so how can you appreciate how frightening this is?

See, I’m just saying while you want to be vigilant
of your surroundings, it doesn’t help to get all paranoid as
well. Else, everybody will look like a potential harm
waiting to happen to you.

Okay o.

Right. So that’s how you lose someone on your tail:
Carefully increase your pace until they can’t keep up
anymore. And be wary of startling or sudden movements
like breaking into a run—unless you can’t help it. Just
widen the distance between you both.

I have noticed him following me for a greater part of 8 minutes,
the hell I’ve been trying to widen the gap!
Look, never mind. Sorry I bothered you.

I’m on your side here, remember? Calm down na.  

Or when in the history of calm downs have you
ever heard the person being told to calm down ever calm down, huh?

Okay, okay. What does he look like?

Hasn’t stopped being tall and muscular, like I told you.

I know; I remember.
I mean like anything else? Can you describe him?

In case he’s your buddy so I can say hi on your behalf?

No, I mean anything peculiar about him?
Any menacing features?

You mean other than that he is dangerous-looking
and would descend on me any moment?

Can you quit being dramatic for now, please?

And how exactly are you helping?

Alright, alright. Can you do something…

Honey, that’s why I’m reaching out.
So you can tell me something I can do!!!

Could you slow down?

Jesus, Kene! Are you for real right now?

It sounds crazy I know but, Sweetie, can you
slow down a little bit?

A minute ago, widening the gap was how to lose a stalker.
Now, applying the brakes is the gold standard.
Is Sherlock Holmes confused?

What’s with the sarcasm na? I’m racking my brain
here thinking of how to solve this problem! All I’m saying
is gradually shorten your strides. That rocket science?

No, Detective Alex Cross.
I won’t stand by and watch someone come cheaply slit my throat.

OMG. Can you do something I say for once!
Nobody is saying you should wait to get killed or some
whatever horror story you have plotted out in your head.


Just slow down your pace to a halt while pretending to be
lost in the chat the whole time. But then stay alert as he draws
closer and be ready for anything. Fight-or-flight mode. You can do this,
Baby Girl.

Too bad I didn’t buy that pepper spray last week at the mall.
Who knows how helpful it would have been now?
Or that penknife keyholder I saw at Gracy’s store…

Honey, focus!


Just breathe. You can do this.


Here we go. Just wait it out. It’ll soon be over.

Wait, why am I doing this again?


Okay, sorry.
Isssh, he’s coming clo oose rrrr.

Of course he is. And he will soon pass by, you’ll see.

OMG, he’s almost here…

Easy, Dear.

I think he reeks.




And death.

What’s all this nah?


So…how far?

He just passed…


He didn’t even look my way.
Just had his eyes glued to his phone like me.
Didn’t seem to notice me one bit.

Did you get a good look at his face?

Boo, you told me to fix my gaze on the phone
and be battle-ready, not go ask him out.

Yeah, okay. Anything else?

He’s just walking on. Not looking back or anything.

There goes your paranoid self.

Hehehe. Sorry, Babe. Maybe he’s not a stalker after all.

Now see why we had to do this? Same thing I’ve
been telling you since forever, Darling: Some fears are
simply baseless.

OMG, I can’t believe the last 15 minutes of my life.
So surreal. Ah, I can now breathe.

Glad you’re safe.

Me too.

I adore you, cupcakes.
And I never want
anything or anyone to hurt you. Ever, Babe.

Aww. And I really love you, HoneyBunny.

So how are we spending our 2nd year anniversary?

Wait, Babe I think he’s stopped walking away again o.

How? Why?

I don’t understand again o. And it’s getting scarier.

What’s he doing exactly right now?

Not much.

When I got to maisuya’s he seemed to stop a little after that.
Then he turned, keeping an eye on me and another on his phone.
But now he’s looking like he might do something any moment.

He can’t possibly be tracking you or taking pictures
or something, can he?

Not likely @ pictures. His camera is facing down.
Tracking? He sure has been tracking me for the past nearly half an hour!

How close is he now?

Ye! Honey, he’s coming back.


Oh my God, he’s putting his right hand in his pocket.

Hmm. Stay calm. He doesn’t seem to be bringing
out anything, is he?

He could have a knife, or gun.

Okay. Just be calm. Are you done buying your suya?

And now I’m slowly leaving and he’s following.
His hand seems to be slowly coming out of his pocket.


And what—until he pulls a machete on me?

Machete from trouser pocket? (Ulcer plus hunger is crazy).

My God, I feel like breaking into a run.

No, don’t! He’ll most certainly outrun you. And it’s late so
no one might be there to help or rescue.

Whatever. I’m so hopping on a bike back!

Even smarter. Please do that ASAP.
Keep me updated per second please.


What happened? Are you fine? He’s still coming close to you?

This is so insane.

OMG. Did he attack you?

You won’t believe THIS!

Oh, make me. Please!

I was about to mount the bike…


When he came ever closer…


And then…

For Christ’s sake, Sweetie, spill it na!
You want to give me a stroke?

And then said, “Auntie, I take God beg you, never go…

I’m confused.

…the last episode never download finish, abeg.

Oh Juliette, how many times will I have to tell you
to put a password on your Wi-Fi hotspot?

Bunmi Oke

Bunmi Oke is a renegade poet who writes fiction. His work has appeared in Agbowó, The Peace Exhibit, AFREADA, African Writer, Boston Literary Magazine, 81words, Drablr, 101 words, Lifewords and other places. He is a licensed drug dealer–Pharmacist, easy–and an armchair product designer every other minute

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