Back in Old Essien town, Abasiama hid in the bush till night fall, the men had all gone by this time. She crawled out of her hiding place on all fours. She checked everywhere to be sure the men had left. She had heard them saying that, Awasi had inflicted her with madness and they were going to drown her in the Kwa river. Weeks ago, she would have welcomed them with open arms, because life held no meaning. But now, after looking for death everywhere death lurked, she was determined to stay alive. She was convicted her children were still alive, so she was going to look for them, even if she spent the remaining years of her life searching.
She walked quietly to her hut , and saw that they had burnt down her hut, there was nothing left for her anymore.
Abasiama: “My husband, I am leaving the land of our Fathers, this land that has brought us so much misfortune. There is nothing left here; I am going into the world to look for our children. Rest well my husband, I did not fight for my children back then, I let them cast my babies away. But this time will be different, I will find them again” she said looking towards the river where his body had been cast.
After which she hurried on her way, she was going to the other side of the village where she would board a boat to the other side of the Kwa River, Akwaibom, the land of the Ibibio and Anang.
Stinger: “You my dear have just been kidnapped” he said through clenched teeth. Nadia whimpered softly behind the palm that held her mouth captive. Then she realized the gravity of the situation and began to struggle to get free.
Militant: “What next boss?”
Stinger: “Gag her, and let’s take her away” he replied.
They stuck a fold of old, dirty rag into her mouth and threw her on their shoulder. Nadia screamed but it could not be held. She clawed the neck of her abductor, so much that he threw her down on the floor.
Militant: “B—h are you a vampire?” he lamented holding his neck which was already bruised.
Stinger: “Look here, I am sure I can get another victim in that house, for what I have in mind, so don’t vex me to the point that I decide to kill you” he said cruelly.
Fat beads of tears began to drop from Nadia’s eyes. This was not the attention she bargained for, she had hoped that the right brands would notice her and her phone would buzz endlessly with calls from brand managers and CEOs, asking her to be their brand ambassador. The gig she managed to score before coming on this cursed trip was even shaky, as they were threatening to terminate her contract. But no, the right people didn’t notice, only kidnappers and criminals noticed her. She began to hit the ground in frustration.
Stinger: “Do you have something to say?” he asked. Nadia was stunned at first, and then she nodded her head vigorously.
Stinger: “Don’t be smart, if you scream, I will burst your brains with my big gun.” He said as he removed the gag.
Nadia: “It is not me you want; I am just an orphan who is trying to make her way in the world. The person you need is Kaylah Assanga, she is the most beautiful girl in Lagos, and she is set to represent Lagos at the MBGN beauty pageant next month. Besides, her parents are rich; they own this house you see” she whispered.
Stinger: “How I do I know you are not just bluffing?”
Nadia: “I will show you her room” she replied and Stinger stuck the gag into her mouth.
Stinger: “Any pranks and your grey matter will be scattered all over this floor” he retorted and pushed her forward with the butt of his gun.
They entered the house through the big oak door. Nadia pointed with her hand, and they all took the staircase, to the top storey of the house. It was indeed a magnificent house. Nadia pointed to a door and they all stopped in front. She began to shake her hands wildly. It was a sign that she had something to say. One of the militants removed the gag from her mouth, and they all stood at the ready, waiting to pummel her with bullets, if she screamed.
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Nadia: “I have one request. Permit me this one request. If you kidnap her, so not ever let her come back. Maybe you could drop her off in a jungle after your needs have been met, or you could just kill her” she said, and immediately she felt a thud on her face, Stinger had hit her. She stumbled and almost fell, but one of the militants held her up.
Stinger: “Don’t act like you can tell me what to do. I might just decide to take you both” he said and turned to the door. He knocked on the door.
Kaylah heard the knock on the door; she had been unable to hear the squabble outside, because the walls were soundproof. So when she heard the knock, she thought it was either her brother. He probably wanted to continue the conversation they had earlier in the day, so she thought.
Kaylah: “Malcolm, please go away, I am not in the mood for intense talks” she said aloud, even though she knew he would not hear her. But the knock persisted, so she jumped out of bed, her patience already worn thin, and opened the door in an angry jerk. But instead of Malcolm, she was looking down the nozzle of a gun. Her heart skipped a beat and she gasped. She moved backward and the men pushed themselves in, knocking her to the ground. She and Stinger locked gazes for a few seconds before they looked away.
Stinger: “You will follow us quietly and no harm will come to you” he said looking down on her, as she sat on the floor where they had pushed her.
Kaylah: “Where are you taking me, please I have an event tomorrow, I cannot disappoint the children. Please after the event I will go with you.” She pleaded. Stinger was taken aback by her love for the children, he saw every rich person as evil, wicked and self-centered. But for the first time, he was looking at a rich person who cared. He almost softened towards her, but shook his head to clear the invading thoughts.
Stinger: “Just shut up and follow us. Hey Assasino, gag her and tie her up”
Kaylah: “At least, allow me put on clothes” she said in a small voice.
Stinger: “You may do that” he said and they all turned their face in another direction as she changed into a flannel trouser with a Lavini tee shirt she had bought a few days before her trip to Eket. By this time, Nadia had scooted away, so it happened that Kaylah had not seen her, she was focused on the gun in her face and did not notice Nadia. They pulled her along with them in their midst, there were men before and behind her. Malcolm came out at that moment from his room, and was taken aback by the men in their house. They immediately directed their guns at him, with a menacing stare.
Stinger: “Go back to wherever you are coming from before I splatter your brains on these walls” he barked. Malcolm made to leave, but he peeked Kaylah from a little space.
Malcolm: “Kaylah!” he yelled and rushed at the men. They pummeled him with blows till he lay unconscious, and they hurried out of the compound. The operation was taking longer than they had bargained for; they had expected everyone to be asleep. They hurried out of the compound, into their waiting vehicle.
Stinger: “Go go go” he ordered and the driver drove off in a haze of dust.