Fiction

Short Story: The Meeting

The moment she saw the mail of invitation, the buzzing in her chest started. After over thirty years since she finished her writing degree, she was finally going to achieve her lifelong dream of being an author. Her book was a collection of the most interesting events in her life. She had taken all the heartbreak, all the laughter and tears and she had turned it into a fictional novel. She hadn’t been brave enough to write nonfiction.

She was afraid that no one would want to read it, that the email was someone playing a cruel prank. After all, how interesting was her life? She wasn’t sure how she should present herself. She decided to dress ten years younger. She bought herself a chic pink suit and kitten heels and prepared to dazzle.

Because the meeting was slated for a public holiday, she got a cab pretty fast. She took it as a sign of good luck.

She walked briskly into the brightly coloured building. The walls were painted in many shades of greens, blues and reds but somehow, it all came together. She was mildly surprised to find that there was no one at the reception. No one in the building at all, save the security man. She was about to turn around and go back home when a very young looking man poked his head out of one of the doors leading out of the reception.

‘I have an appointment.’ She said. ‘There’s no one here. I was just about to go home.’

She adjusted her gele and hoped that none of her grey hair had escaped its edges. She wanted to be thought of as a good investment. In her experience, old people were considered less than useful.

He smiled at her, showing off beautiful teeth. ‘I’ve been expecting you. Please come in. Your shoes make quite a lot of noise.’

‘Well yes, I was trying to make an impression, to dress like you young people.’ She said, with a smile that felt frozen on her face. She was starting to get uncomfortable. Where was everybody? Would he think her problematic if she asked? She followed him into his office.

The blast of cold air that greeted her felt like an attack. He guided her by her elbow to one of the two chairs in front of a wide, solid looking desk. A MacBook sat comfortably on the table and there were several sheaves of paper on his table. He looked to be a very busy person and she was flattered that he had made time for her.

‘I love your manuscript, Miss– Mrs. Akinwale.’

‘Miss, please. I never got married.’ She said, with a burst of awkward laughter.

‘Hmm. That must be why your body still looks so beautiful and young.

Her sense of dread came back to her, unbidden. What was that supposed to mean? She was tempted to shift back her gele so he could see her grey hair and recognize that she was old, maybe older than his mother. She sat back in her chair, to put distance between them.

‘You must be comfortable with me, Miss Akindele. I like your manuscript and Skylight Publishing would love to work with you. It’s give and take though. I trust you understand what I mean.’ He smiled again. That familiar smile had now turned lecherous. He looked like a hyena, waiting for his meal.

She tried to ignore the fact that he had called her by another name. When was the right time to react?

He leaned into her face, lips puckered, looking like a chimpanzee.

She shrieked and slapped his face in alarm. Her heart started to beat faster. Would this boy really rape her in this lonely building? Was that why she was here? What was happening to the society, to the youth, for this small boy to attempt this?

She stood sharply. ‘I appreciate the offer but I’d like to decline it. Thank you.’

She tried to make her way to the door but he blocked her with his body.

‘I don’t think you understand, ma’am. I’m your one chance. Your manuscript is trash, no one will ever publish it.’

‘I thought you said you loved it.’ she said. He didn’t answer. She tried to maneuver past him again. He blocked her way.

‘Get out of my way, boy.’ She tried to intimidate him. It didn’t work, he only laughed.

‘You need me.’

Her eyes darted back and forth, looking for something, anything to use as a weapon. Her eyes seized on a stapler hanging off the edge of his table. She grabbed it and flipped it open.

‘I’m going to give you one chance. Get out of my way.’

He didn’t see her coming. She slammed the stapler on his head. His howl of pain as the pin jammed into his head followed her as she ran all the way home, her tears trailing behind her.

Thank you for reading.

This is my first story after reading Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. Did you like the story? Tell me what you think of it in the comments section.

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