Malcolm was waiting for any news of his sister, the tech guys he was working with, were still tracing the money from the off shore account, to its final destination. But he was pensive, what if they took the money and just killed his sister. He paced up and down the living room. The house felt too big and lonely, his parents were in India for his mother’s surgery, Kaylah was with her abductors who may not release her, but kill her. He broke down in tears, and that was the time Nadia chose to show up.
Nadia: “Oh my God, I am so sorry; I didn’t know you were in this state. The gateman let me in” she said and rushed to hug him. Malcolm sniffed and wiped his face with the sleeve of his shirt.
Malcolm: “I am just overwhelmed. My parents are in India for my mother’s surgery. We have paid the money but we have not been contacted, am so frustrated and worried sick” he replied
Nadia: “I am here now. What can I do?”
Malcolm: “You could help find…” he was interrupted as breaking news came on air.
News anchor: “Today, near the Qua Iboe jetty, a group of militants were accosted by the Nigerian army. Two have been confirmed dead, there was a lady in the truck with them. An informant who is or was a member of this group told the army that the kidnapped beauty queen was being taken to a drop off point as at the time of the assault”
Malcolm: “Oh my God, I have to leave now” he said and hurried out of the house.
Nadia: “Go, go save your sister, when you are back, we will see if you can save her from me” she said and sat on the couch, looking around the big living room with disgust.
Kaylah had walked all the way to Esit Eket , she had removed the pair of slip she had on when she was abducted and walked on barefoot. Her legs were sore and blistered by the time she got to Esit Eket. She located a guest inn, and asked for a phone.
Receptionist: “Madam no vex me this hot afternoon oh, you keep phone for here. You think say the world dey revolve around your fine face” the male receptionist said angrily. A guest was passing by and heard the receptionist, he stopped and scolded him.
Guest: “Is that how you talk to your customers? Show some respect”
Receptionist: “Hay God, see me see wahala oh, trouble dey sleep, yanga go wake am. Customer or not, I go change am for you oh if you no waka away” he said blinking his eyes. The guest was about to make a retort, but he looked at him properly and saw that he was a cross dresser.
Guest: “No wonder, waste of time. Young lady what do you need?”
Receptionist: “Na your papa, your papa papa, in fact all your generations na waste of time and waste of space”. He shouted, blinking his long lashes. Neither the guest nor Kaylah paid him any heed.
Kaylah: “A phone. I have just been released by my kidnappers; I have to reach my family”
Receptionist: “Ha madam, na you be Miss Lagos wey dem kidnap, ewe, sorry oh. Abeg, take phone call” he said and extended the land phone to Kayla.
Receptionist: “Please mister man, I thought you were checking out, drop the key and be on your way” he said in clear English. This got both Kaylah and the guest surprised. Kaylah had tried her parents’ number, none was connecting, so she tried her brother’s number as a last resort.
Malcolm had called all the people he knew in top position who could give him intel about the whereabouts of his sister, but none knew, the militants are escaped when the army accosted them. There was a general outcry against the actions of the army, people came on television to condemn the army, even SGI, threatened to sue the Nigerian army. But all these was not what Malcom wanted, he wanted his sister back. He was in his car, thinking of the next step to take when his phone rang.
Malcolm: “Hello” he listened as the voice on the other end shakily asked him to come to Esit Eket.
Malcom: “Kaylah, I am coming right away. Stay inside the guest inn and don’t move an inch” he said and turned the ignition.
Stinger, when Scorpio did not contact him, he knew he had been betrayed yet again in a different way. He communicated with the other groups scattered all over Eket and Ibeno, that there has been a compromise and everyone should lay low. He decided to hurry to the bank and cash some of the money so he could distribute to the group. The money had been wired from the Cayman account through Switzerland, to his PBC bank account. He entered the building wearing a hood and a pair of wayfarer sunglasses, and walked straight to his account officer who was in on the deal and had a percentage cut from the money. The young man who was his account officer refused to pay heed to him; he stood up immediately and left his work station. Stinger was still wondering at his behavior when he felt a hand on his arm. He turned round and stared into the face of an aboki soldier.
Soldier: “You move I shoot you” he said in heavily accented English. Stinger closed his eyes in defeat, after being so invincible he had been caught. He cursed the day he met Kaylah, where before she had brought him good memories, this time, she had brought him nothing but bad luck. He raised his hands up in surrender. Two other soldiers, heavily kitted pushed him along, with their gun trained on him.
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Abasiama waited for a long time, she did not see anybody, even the Stinger who had employed her. She was worried about Kaylah. Her instincts told her something had happened and Stinger might not come home. She decided to leave, but where she was going, she did not know. She had thought she would work for a while to get money to start a life here because she knew if she stayed with Stinger, she would never find her children. She told herself that the first step she needed to take was to find a way out of the bunker.
Out of the bunker, she did not remember which way they had taken, on the way to the bunker. She turned south and began to walk. She was weary, she had walked a long way, but she had to keep going. She counted the few notes Stinger had given her as upfront payment. Just 5000 naira, but it was better than when she first left old Essien town.
When Kaylah saw Malcolm, she was filled with mixed feelings. She had missed him, but she was also pensive. He had gone abroad for another masters because they could not stand being in the same place. They were both in love with each other. Malcom just starred at her, he wanted to hug her so tight, and kiss her with all the yearning in him, but he was afraid of Kaylah’s reaction.
Kaylah: “Brother” she said. Malcom bowed his head in sadness; she called him that whenever she wanted to remind him that they were siblings. When he raised his head, Kaylah was standing so close to him that he could see the tiny pores on her face. This was too much of a temptation; he was not a strong man. He damned the consequences and pulled her into a very tight hug, his nose in her hair. Then he pressed his lips to hers, without pushing farther. They stood like that for a few seconds before he pulled her towards the door.
In the car, they drove in silence, each occupied with his own thoughts.
Kaylah: “Where is mom and dad?”
Malcolm: “A lot has happened while you were away. Mom had cancer and did not know. The news of your kidnap was a like a trigger than set everything. She was in coma when dad flew her to India. He turned to look at his sister, she was sitting really still. That was her way of coping with pain, she went into herself.
Malcolm: “What happened to you there?”
Kaylah: “Malcolm, leave me alone, just let me be” she yelled. Malcolm told himself that perhaps when his parents were back, he would travel out of the country. He wanted to fight, but he had no weapon. Kaylah would always see him as a brother.
When they reached home, Nadia was in the sitting room waiting for them.
Nadia: “Here are the love birds” she said with a wide smile on her face.
Malcom and Kaylah: “Lovebirds?” they said in shock.
Nadia: “Oh sorry, I had meant to break it to you after you are rest, since it is already out. I have evidence to prove that you two are lovebirds, that you Malcom disvirgined your sister”