The grey dress had fast gone from a nice formal wear to useless and vulgar as the cold July evening wind blew it way above my knees. I cursed myself for coming to work with those stiletto heels because now I could not walk fast enough to end the torture. Thank heavens my house was just minutes away. It was a little after 7 pm and many people were already indoors in this quiet neighborhood. I had decided to work overtime as I was behind schedule. My house was only minutes away and I would not have to worry about transport hustles. I noticed the car behind me as I turned into my close. There was no one else in the road. In the semi darkness I could see it was a red mini SUV. It seemed to be slowing down as it approached me so immediately I was now on high alert. My gate was still meters away. Then two men got out of the car and began walking towards me. Were they wearing black suits?! It did not look good for me. I knew screaming would not help because no one would dare come out. I increased my pace as I looked over my shoulder and saw them follow suit. My knees felt weak and I was shacking but the desire to survive whatever this was had overtaken the fear. I thought of all the stories about men who were kidnapping people for ritual murders to become rich and the horror movies I had seen with familiar scenes. I was now close to my gate and I quickly made my calculations as my left hand went into my purse. I slowed down and kept looking back every other second to see where the men were. At what I had calculated to be the right moment my hand was out of the purse and I aimed at them both indiscriminately before running like a mad woman. The pepper spray had done its job as evidenced by their screams. By then I was already on the safer side of my gate, locking myself in. Once inside the house and with my heart pounding, I dialled Larry’s number but his line was busy. What if they attempted to get into the house? With shaking hands I googled the local police line and I was about to dial when Larry returned my call. I was close to hysterical as I explained my nightmarish ordeal. He tried to calm me down and promised to have a taxi take me to his office in town. He had also been working late unfortunately. There were local taxis at a nearby shopping centre so as I was rest assured that soon I wouldn’t be alone. After what seemed to be forever the taxi arrived and I was on my way to Larry’s office. Soon the city lights were in sight and my nightmare was over but just then the driver took a route that I knew definitely was not going to Larry’s workplace. At first I thought the taxi driver was mixing up directions so I gave him clear directions but he said he was taking me exactly where my husband had instructed. I was back in my nightmare. What in the world was this? Was this man also part of the duo that had come after me? Had they been outside listening to my conversation with Larry and arranged a backup plan? I reached out for my purse on the seat but it wasn’t there. I had left it at home in my hurry to get to the taxi. The car was leaving the city by now and I was immediately frantic. The windows and doors were locked so all I could do was scream on top of my lungs for the driver let me out of the car which he did not. He remained so calm as he repeated that he was taking me where my husband had instructed him, so calm I began to think he was a dangerous man. I decided to be quiet and try to think but I couldn’t. Soon we were in some sort of garden and there was a huge building in view. Was this where the ritual happened? I was having a heart attack. Just then the car stopped and I saw the driver unlock the doors. This was it. I dived for the door and started another race for my life. I could hear another person running after me but looking back would slow me down. I wasn’t quick enough. I felt strong hands grab me by the waist and I helplessly wriggled to free myself until I heard my captor’s voice. It was Larry! What was this? He reassured me that I was safe and that I would soon understand what was going on. He then walked me into the building and that’s when I understood. Our friends shouted, ’Surprise”, as we walked in. I saw the large velvet cake written, “Happy 26th birthday”. I had forgotten my own birthday! I then spotted two red eyed men in formal wear and I knew who they were. The poor guys! Their evening hadn’t been so great too. Larry had decided to do a surprise birthday party for me but in an unconventional way. The men I had pepper sprayed were the main plan and I had not made their job of “kidnapping” me to the venue any easier. I had been right about the taxi driver being a backup plan, only that he wasn’t dangerous. I was right about there being some sort of ritual but only it wasn’t as bizarre. I did not know whether to kiss my husband or call a divorce lawyer.