I must have just dozed off because I wake up feeling fuzzy-headed and confused. Someone is opening my bedroom door.
“Mom,” I call out. “Is that you? Mom?”
Then I remember that my mother is spending the night at my grandmother’s house. She won’t be back until morning. Which is about eight hours away.
“Who is it?” I demand, trying to keep the panic out of my voice. “Who’s there?”
There’s no answer, but if I strain my ears I think I can hear someone breathing. It’s very dark. There are no streetlights around here. If I want to switch my bedroom light on I have to get out of bed and walk across the room.
“Is that you, Kabelo? What do you want?”
Even as I say it, I know exactly what he wants. On some level, I think I’ve always known.
My heart is beating so fast I can feel it pounding painfully in my head. I sit up and slide as far into the corner of the bed as I can. I can just make out a darker shadow standing near the door. As I watch, the shadow detaches itself from the doorway and starts moving across the room. Towards me.
“No!” I whimper as I feel his heavy weight sink down onto the bed. “Don’t do this. My mother…”
Kabelo gives a low laugh. “Your mother won’t know anything about it. And if you tell her she’ll be out on the street with no job. This is our little secret, Latoya.”
His hand starts feeling along the blankets for me. I hear him give a little huff of annoyance when he finds I’m not where I’m supposed to be.
I’ll fight him, I decide wildly. I’ll fight and scream. I’ll kick and bite and scratch. There’s no way I’m going to take this quietly.
His hand closes strongly around my wrist as he finds me in the dark. Just as he starts pulling me towards him, we hear the sound of a car driving up to the house. It’s a gurgling VW engine that we both recognise immediately – my mother’s car.
Instantly Kabelo’s weight is lifted off my bed and he glides silently out of the room. There’s a soft click as the door behind him. I sink back down under the covers, listening to my heart pounding in my ears.