But something bothered me. It struck me later on that the picture he sent to me could be fake, after all he had warned me early enough that even video calls could be faked; “on the internet, everything is possible,” he had said. So why should I believe that his picture is real? Why should I even believe anything of what he had told me? Even his profile on the platform where we chatted did not reveal much about him. In fact, the details there were not particularly real too. He left the conventional social media platforms like Twitter, etc and chose Nimbuzz for us to chat on, claiming that he did not trust Facebook, Twitter and the rest so I had to create an account there too.  I chided myself for accepting that picture without an objection. As if reading my mind, he sent me a message “don’t worry, we will be fine. I would have loved a video call with you but my phone is bad. Let’s see what happens in the next days.” This message was supposed to calm me down, right? But no, it didn’t. It worried me even further. Because this message came after we had said good night to each other. I was just lying in bed, waiting for sleep to get hold of me so how did he know that that was my exact thought at this moment? Who is this individual? It was becoming more adventurous than I thought. In my thinking, it was becoming mysterious. I recalled during one of our chats, he told me that he was a magician, he could read palms as well as foretell the future. Many thoughts ran through my head. The more I thought, the more the images were magnified. I wanted to get scared. Fortunately for me, my room light just came on indicating that power has just been restored. ‘This is a good sign’ I said, smiling despite myself. With the appearance of light, I felt safer so I left my room, went to check on my father and then my brother. My father was sitting in a chair in his bedroom, there was no panic. Then I knocked on my brother’s room door. Without waiting for a response, seeing that his room light was on, I entered his room. His bed was empty. He was not in his room and he was nowhere to be found. For a moment, I forgot my internal conflict as a result of RSP and became apprehensive for my brother. I couldn’t remember my brother telling me that he would go out that night for it was 11:55 PM and my brother wasn’t used to keeping late nights. I remember that I saw him about three hours ago, working on his laptop just before we turned off our power generator. I returned to my room, picked up my phone and dialed his number; “the number you are calling is switched off…” that was the message from the Service Provider. I ran back to my father’s room to ask him if he knew the whereabouts of my brother but one look at my father’s face told me that it would be better if I left him alone. I entered my brother’s room, turned off the light and was heading back to my room. “What are you doing in my room” my brother asked. He was standing at the door. I was startled. ‘LTV, you scared me. I was looking for you everywhere and your phone was switched off.’ “I locked the door and went outside. My phone is charging in my room.” He said casually.

I wanted to tell him about RSP but I changed my mind. There were no very concrete details about him. I also thought of showing LTV his picture, just to ask if he thinks the picture is real but I knew that I couldn’t show him the picture without saying something about it. LTV, noticing my demeanour, asked “are you ok, this one you are still very active by this time?” It came as a surprise to me when I heard myself say “Yes, I am fine. Good night” because I wasn’t ok at all. I was troubled. I wanted to talk to someone. In times like this, it’s my father I would have confided in but obviously I could not do that tonight besides the details about RSP were so sketchy that I really didn’t have much to tell.

Back in my room, still having the desire to feel safe, I left my room light on, said a silent prayer and slept off never a thought of the possibility of sharing my bed with a stranger… TO BE CONTINUED


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