‘Hmmm…’ Henry kept shouting out words which were inaudible as he struggled on the seat he was tied to. His chair and Tarasha’s were placed backing each other. She was also tied in the same manner. Each legs tied to corresponding leg of the chair and both hands tied together at the back of the chair and their mouths covered with a large plaster.
‘Ooh shut up you idiot!’ One of their abductors barged into the room angrily and smacked Henry on the face.
‘Leave him alone’ another one said as he came in bare chested with a red jersey hanging around his neck. ‘Let him scream all he can now, he might not have the opportunity to scream again until his next life’ The first guy hissed and turned towards the main entrance followed closely by the second who hurriedly put on his shirt.
Soon they were out of the compound, the sound of the gate closing could be heard. Henry became calm all of a sudden, his mind was full of sadness, for Evelyn and his parents. Evelyn was just an innocent girl whom he put into trouble. His parents also depended on him as their only source of joy and proof of their parenthood. He could not think of what would happen if he was killed, his parents could die just from the shock of the news.
He struggled fruitlessly again to set himself free, shaking the chair vigorously, his head hit Evelyn’s. She gave a soft groan, the only sound that she made after several hours that they had been tied.
Tarasha could still feel the steel on her wrist, now she could sense that it was time to use it. She used the rope tied on the wrist to push it down and it cut her jacket and fell in between her palms, causing a small cut on her middle finger. She took a hold of the knife’s handle and carefully moved it up and down the rope, slicing it slowly. Her hands got free in a minute. She stretched her fingers before removing the cover on her mouth. The heavy breath she let out after got Henry’s attention, he suspected that her mouth was free and made some noise to alert her in case it really was. She looked at him but ignored and continued to cut the rope off her leg.
After the rope was off, she got up and stretched her legs. Henry noise was louder as he was fully aware that she was now free. She hid back her knife before she walked to him and took off the cover on his lips, then she bent down to loose the ropes on his legs.
‘How did you loose your ropes?’ Henry asked impatiently without waiting for Evelyn to finish setting him free.
‘They didn’t tie it as tight as yours is.’ She said after setting him free totally. Henry got up and stretched his body tiredly. He looked straight into her eyes but she turned away and walked towards the window to peep.
‘Thank God’ Henry said. Tarasha stood suddenly still. Henry did not notice and he continued. ‘Thank God, I’m sure he’ll still get us out of here alive.’ He turned to look at Evelyn as she wasn’t responding to him Their eyes met. Henry had never seen such fury like he did on anyone’s eyes. He couldn’t explain it but he knew there was a kind of dangerous anger in her. Then he remembered that he had just given “God” the credit.
Tarasha suddenly remembered the reason for all the knifes in her pockets. This could just be the right time to drain out life from his body, she thought.
Mallam Jefa carefully arranged his seats in his joint. Very soon, several of his customers would begin to troop in to fill their bellies. He deals in toasted bread, tea, noodles, roasted cow skin (ponmo), “suya” and assorted drinks. Jefa was well loved and patronised around the area. Many atimes, his customers would not leave after filling themselves but would stay and have fun as it would turn to a large gathering. Jefa always had to send most of them away when they began to lit their cigarettes or drink alcohol heavily to avoid violence and destruction of property.
Mallam Jefa whose real name was Jeffery was not an Hausa man nor does he dress like one, he only earned the nick as a result of his job, height and popularity among young men of the Hausa tribe. Merely looking at Mallam Jefa’s face, one who conclude that he was in his early fifties or close to sixties as wrinkles and spots had begun to show on his face. But it was not to be so, Mallam Jefa was just in his early thirties, a young man who looked so aged and troubled because of problems and several misfortunes that had befallen him in the past. Very jovial and kind he was to everyone but a closer look at him would reveal his sorrowful mind. One who’s heart wasn’t at peace, one who only tried to feign happiness even though he never was.
As Jefa opened the window, he could see two of his customers stroll out of their compound which was just about three metres from his joint. He knew they were coming to him as they turned to his direction. He quickly cleaned two seats for them and returned to his stand room where he attends to customers.
‘Mallam Jefa’ one of the guys hailed, putting up his hands as they strolled into the neatly made wooden building.
‘Hey!’ Jefa hailed back. ‘Welcome my guys’
‘Thank you’ the first guy said as they took their seats. The other guys just continued to puff his cigarette in silence.
‘What do you want me to offer you?’ Jefa asked. The guys whispered to themselves.
‘What do we take?’
‘I’ll go with moi moi and bread first, then a bottle of beer later” the cigarette puffing guy spoke.
‘You want to stay here and drink?’ The other guy asked in low tones. ‘You know we’ve got to watch over those “dogs” back there’
‘I know’ came the reply in a harsh tone. ‘There’s no problem, they can never get away with those ropes used to tie them’
‘What of if Afo comes?’
‘Afo would return by three thirty and this is just two pm’ he said after glancing at his wristwatch. ‘We still have a lot of time’
‘You guys are selling dogs now?’ Jefa asked innocently as he served their order.
‘No, we’re just keeping them for someone’ the first guy replied with a smile.
‘Okay now’ Jefa smiled back.
Several customers trooped in one after the other and Jefa soon got busy. His first two customers did not stay as long as expected, they paid him and walked away by exactly two thirty pm.
02.30pm Tarasha motioned slowly to Henry, her hand slowly finding its way into the pockets where she hid the knifes. Henry stood still, puzzled as she approached him. The look in her eyes was unexplainable as well as the atmosphere around. Just two steps away from him, the gate clanged and she stopped. She removed her hand from the pocket and turned back. Their abductors were returning. Tarasha’s strange mood suddenly returned to normal. Her eyes blinked severally as she let out a deep breath, an unusual calmness overwhelmed her .
Henry quickly walked to the window, he opened the curtain and peeped, two of the guys were returning inside. He motioned back to Tarasha and grabbed her right hand. ‘We have to get out of here’ he said and dragged her along with him. They walked further into the other rooms in the house, all the rooms were dark except one that was brightened a little by a dim torchlight. Henry picked up the torch and pointed it round the room, looking for something to use for their defence.
The main entrance door creaked open. The smile on the guys’ faces changed into a deep frown immediately as they saw that their captives had gotten loose already.
‘D–n!’ The first guy cursed under his breath and brought out his gun. The other man followed suit.
‘I believe they are still around, we didn’t stay long at Mallam Jefa’s.’ The second put in.
‘Afo would kill us if they escape’ the first guy whispered. He bent down to pick something, a wristwatch.
‘They went this way’ he said, pointing towards the direction their captives took.
‘The backyard door is closed’ the other added softly.
‘So, they must be in the house’ he brought out a phone and turned on the flashlight. He returned it into his pocket to hide the light, planning to bring it out when it’s necessary. The guys proceeded in slow steps in the same direction their captives took.
Tarasha sat at the corner of the room, looking pale like a helpless person. Henry felt the need and the responsibility to protect her. He already found a rod, with the help of the dim torchlight, a huge long one whose proper use was to close tightly the door at the back. He positioned himself behind the wall by the entrance of the room, planning to take by surprise anyone that enters first. The room was silent so the slow steps and breathings from the guys could be heard softly by Henry as they approached the room. Henry raised up the rod in anticipation as someone got behind the door and touched the handle. The person paused, Henry paused too and strained his ear to listen.
‘You… backyard’ was all he heard. There was another pause again, footsteps could be heard walking fast away from the door. Then the handle was turned and the door opened. The first thing that entered was the ray of light from the flashlight, then the person’s right leg and the whole body. Henry landed the rod on the back of the man’s head and he went down immediately, his gun falling away, blood began to ooze out of his head. Henry quickly dropped the rod and picked the gun. He checked if it was loaded and gave a brief smile before bending to search the man’s body. He found a phone. He squatted and began to type into it.
‘I’ve been kidnapped, report to the police and let them locate this phone number, that’s where I’m kept. Henry’
Henry quickly sent a text to his boss, Sylvester.
Sylvester hurried into the police station with the security guard running after him.
‘Hello officers’ Sylvester greeted as he got to the reception stand. The officers who recognised him saluted back and gave him attention.
‘I heard you brought in one of my new workers to your station today’
‘When exactly?’ One of the officers asked with a frown.
‘Few hours ago, between ten am and twelve noon’ Sylvester replied looking to the security man for confirmation.
‘Yes’ the shivering security man replied. ‘Sir, are you sure it’s our station? We’ve not brought anyone in today’ Sylvester turned to the guard.
‘Please explain everything to them, the same way you explained to him’ The guard began his explanation in details of how the officers parked beside the corporation and one of them approached him and asked him questions and how they also took Sylvester when he drove out of the gate.
‘And they said it’s Division A?’ An officer interrupted.
‘Nobody has been brought in here today and none of our officers have gone out to make an arrest along your direction today’ the officer spoke after checking through the records in a book.
‘Are you sure of what you’re saying?’ Sylvester asked the guard again.
‘Why didn’t you tell me early ?’
‘I couldn’t get to you, so I told the secretary’ the guard replied.
‘You told Bola?’
‘But she never told me anything’ Sylvester said and turned back to the officers. ‘Please can I see any of your senior officers?’
‘Let’s check if anyone is available first’ one of the officers said and walked away from the reception.
‘Have you called the person who was arrested on phone?’ Another officer asked.
‘Yes, his line is switched off. That’s what’s making me alarmed, I believe I’m the first person he’ll call if he gets into any trouble’
‘Hmm… But you’re the Boss of the Security cameras corporation. Have you checked the tapes?’
‘There’s no record. I’m suspecting that he has been kidnapped by the same people who have been hacking our security, I only want to confirm if he’s here first before I make a report’
‘Okay’ Sylvester’s phone vibrated in his pocket. He brought it out and checked. It was a text message.
2.30pm In a large uncompleted building, an abandoned one. Boys could be seen sitting on the window edges, smoking Indian hemp and drinking. Another guy was parading the compound with a cigarette in his mouth. A policeman stood right in front of the compound’s gate. He looked around the environment to see if anyone was watching him before opening the gate slowly and walking in.
‘Hey you!’ The parading guy was the first to accost him. The other guys also jumped down from the windows, alert.
‘What do you want?’
‘Your boss, Afo is waiting for me’ the policeman replied.
‘Okay’ the parading guy nodded and signaled to the other guys while the policeman proceeded to the building. One of the guys led the policeman to their boss. Afo was seated on a set of neatly arranged six inches blocks. A half unclad lady was seated on his laps. Afo noticed the policeman’s entrance and engaged the girl in a kiss before dropping her off his laps. He then smacked her on the buttocks playfully before asking her to excuse them.
The policeman turned to look at the girl walking away and she eyed him mockingly. He turned again to look at Afo who’s body was thrice of the girl’s He shook his head in pity for the lady, wondering how bad she would scream when Big Afo starts banging her mercilessly.
‘Miko’ Afo hailed, extending a handshake to his guest.
‘Afo’ Miko replied unenthusiastically, still looking at the girl who was walking slowly away, rolling her buttocks in the process.
‘Miko!’ Afo hailed again and tapped his guest playfully on the shoulder.
‘Do you want me to arrange an “opeke” like this for you”
‘No’ Miko shook his head in disagreement. ‘I don’t need that’
‘Well, that’s your problem’ Afo brought out a cigarette and his lighter.
‘Why have you come here in your uniform today?’
‘There was no time for me to change before coming, I had to come like this’
‘Okay, so what have you come here for?’
‘What have I come here for?’ The officer asked with a look of surprise on his face. ‘Didn’t we have an agreement?’
‘What agreement?’ Afo asked, blowing some smoke into the air.
‘Come on Afo. Didn’t I release a car and some uniforms to you today?’
‘Oh! That?’ Afo feigned surprise.
‘Yes, I’ve come to get it. That’s our agreement’
‘Ermm… It’s true. That’s our agreement, but…’
‘But what?’ Miko was getting impatient.
‘I still want to use it’
‘No, I have to leave here with everything now’ Miko disagreed boldly.
‘Calm down Miko, I’ll triple your money’
‘It’s not about money, I’ll get into trouble if I don’t return with them this evening’
‘Then don’t return at all’ Afo said coldly.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Go somewhere else’
‘No, I can’t ‘
‘No, the police would find me anywhere I run to hide’ Miko retorted.
‘I know somewhere where they won’t find you, I can help you get there’
‘I’m not…’ Miko couldn’t complete his statement as a bullet sank into the back of his head.
‘Take out the idiot’ Afo commanded the same guy who shot from the back. Afo took in another large amount of smoke as turned back. He picked out his phone and dialed a number.
‘Afo’ Dare answered from the other end.
‘How far? Hope you’ll keep to time, we are expecting you by 4pm like you said’
‘No, I’m sorry’ Dare sounded down. ‘My Dad just called me, he wants me to meet with him after work immediately’
‘It’s okay, so should we still wait for you?’
‘No please, drop both of them’
‘You can do that immediately, make sure that their death is slow and painful, especially for the man. And do make sure that their bodies are never found’
‘Okay, I will ensure that’ the call ended. Afo dipped the phone back into his pocket and finished the stick of cigarette before proceeding out of the uncompleted building.
‘Come, let’s get out of here’ Henry motioned Evelyn who was already coming towards him. They locked hands and crossed over the dead body at the entrance of the room. They began to head back in direction of the main door, Henry leading the way and guiding her with his gun.
‘I can’t find them anywhere.’ Henry and Evelyn paused as they got to the first room where they were tied before. The man who had gone to check the backyard was returning through the entrance. Henry cocked his gun, he made Evelyn to hide behind his body and got set to take down the approaching enemy. The door opened and the guy came in unsuspecting, a bullet entered into his chest immediately. Henry jumped up and rejoiced with Tarasha as the second enemy fell flat.
‘Let’s get out of here now’ he said to Tarasha who was looking indifferent. They opened the door and began to run to the gate. The gate creaked, Evelyn and Henry paused in fear. Then the gate began to open slowly, a car was behind. Their fears were confirmed, Afo and his other men had returned.