I had to get out of here. With the tip of my fingers, I felt the tape used to tie my hands. Masking tape. I looked around for any shred of metal I could use to loosen myself. None. I tried to force the masking tape off me by pulling my hands apart. I groaned and struggled. It did not come off. The 100 watt bulb was blinding my eyes. There were no windows and the fan was blowing at a very irritating low rate, making funny noises. Tiny drops of sweat formed on my forehead.
What time was it? Where was I? Was this where I was going to die? Is this the slaughter house? All these questions ran through my head in milliseconds. I started crying. I was weak, hungry and afraid. I was not going to die here I told myself. I looked round the tiny room again. This time I looked very slowly and very carefully. As I looked past the door, something shiny caught my eyes. There was a part of the door which had a little protrusion. It looked sharp. It was very small, like a design of some sort. This could work I told myself. I had watched The Avengers where Black Widow was held captive in a similar situation when a call came through to her. Her deft mastery of martial arts helped her escape and defeat her captors. I wished I knew martial arts. I prayed quickly and silently. And I lifted myself up with the chair. The wooden chair was not heavy after all! I hopped and hopped and hopped. Finally, I got to the position of the shrapnel looking protrusion on the door and turned my back against it. I tried to locate the shrapnel by trying to feel the door, my hands still tied behind the chair.
“Fvck!” I cursed. The shrapnel cut my finger. I felt the warm fluid trickle out. I wanted to suck it to stop the bleeding. I could not. I continued, trying to trace the shrapnel and get it to where I could successfully pierce the tape. I found it. I tried to pierce the masking tape with the shrapnel.
“Ahhhh..Fvck! God!” I cried as the shrapnel cut my palm. I could feel blood oozing out. I smiled. The masking tape was loose. I quickly freed my hands from the chair and got up. My palm was hurting. I cut some foam from the bed on the floor and tried to clean the blood. I cut more foam and cleaned the drops of blood on the floor too. I scrutinized the area to see if any changes could be easily noticed. It was not.
I bent my neck at the dispenser and opened the tap. The taste of cold water was soothing. I had my fill and let out a loud belch. I saw the bed and a huge desire to just lie down on it came over me. But a lot of work was yet to be done. And if I was found unbound and on the bed, the next restraint they would put on me would not be a masking tape. I carried the wooden chair back to the exact spot it was kept initially and sat on in. I paced the room, deep in thought and trying to work out a plan. I can’t die now, I told myself, shaking my head. I was just 27. In my prime. I meant so much to my mum. My girlfriend would break down if anything happened to me. The office would freeze for at least a week before they could get themselves back up. I had to do somwthing. But what? I put my head on the dispenser bottle and tears trickled down my eyes. I prayed to God to forgive me my sins and that I would dedicate my life to him if I ever got out of this alive. My nose ran. I dragged it in.
Just then I heard footsteps. And then the footsteps got closer. Designer shoes. Maybe cowboy boots. It could also be a woman in high heels. But from the sounds I heard, I knew that there was a corridor of some sort outside this door, which was either tiled or very smooth. I made to resume my prayers on the dispenser when I heard the jangle of a bunch of keys and a key go into the lock. I immediately rushed to the chair, sat down and put my hands behind the chair, in the position I was left making sure I didn’t make a sound. The Iron door opened and someone stepped in, closing it behind him. The door made a soft thud when it closed. I kept my head low, my heart was pounding so hard in my chest I was afraid he would hear it. There was a moment of silence. I could feel his eyes all over me, trying to survey me. He kicked my legs gently. He kicked again. Then he came closer.
“Hey” He said tapping my chin. I kept mute.
“Hey! Boy!” He said louder, this time tapping my chin a bit harder twice and lifting my face up.
I pretended to be waking from sleep. I opened my eyes slowly. It was Macho man. My heart beat faster. This brute of a man was so merciless. I still remembered the ringing slap he gave me hours ago. I groaned.
“We are leaving” He said.
I dropped my head again as if I was fainting. He stooped to look at me, a certain worry in his eyes. That was his mistake.
I don’t know where I got the courage or the idea. I felt this sudden rush of adrenaline and I was not even thinking about my actions. Even I could not believe it. As he stooped to look at me, I freed my hands from the back of the chair and gave him two heavy slaps on each eye. I put all the power and force I could get into the slaps. I was afraid I had blinded him. He screamed and held his face. I pushed the chair back and landed a huge kick to his ball5. He fell on the ground gasping for air. I made for the door but he held my leg. I turned and kicked his hand with all the might I could muster. He was still gasping for air. I got to the door, turned the handle and bolted. The corridor was long, with doors left and right. The floor was tiled and clean. It looked like an apartment in progress that was nearing completion. I got to the end of the corridor and opened the door. The Toyota Camry that picked me was parked neatly inside the compound. It was not a very huge compound. The floor was interlocked with bricks. I dashed to the gate, got out and continued to run. I had no idea where I was going.
I was on a small pathway that could barely take two cars. There were bushed all around. No trace of civilization. I looked farther ahead. Nothing. Just a lonely pathway with bushes everywhere. I was getting tired. I had been running for a while. I had no phone. My wallet was still with me, but it was of no use. I looked behind me a few times, trying to see if Macho man was coming after me. No sound of a car or anything of the sort. I stopped to catch my breath. After a while I began walking slowly, tired and hungry. I was fatigued. I sat down on the floor beside the road, praying to get help. I began to cry again.
I hear d the sound of a car coming from the direction I was heading. I quickly stood up and listened. It was approaching me now. Any help would do at this point. I flagged down the car but it ewent past me. It got a few meters away from me, then reversed. I thanked God.
It stopped beside me and the driver’s window wound down. It was a woman. Thank heavens.
“Please ma’am. I would be extremely indebted to you if you could please give me a ride anywhere out of here. If I can get a bus anywhere, I would be very grateful.” I begged.
She looked at me as if assessing me and deciding whether to give me a lift or not. When it seemed like she was going to zoom off, I begged her with tears falling from my eyes.
“Please ma. I mean you no harm. Please” I begged.
“What happened to you? What are you doing here? And why are you looking so tattered?” she asked.
“It’s quite a story ma.” I replied, my tears refusing to stop.
My tears seemed to give her a change of heart. She nodded her head to the side of the passenger seat.
“Come in.” she said.
She opened the door and I got in. The refreshing AC, the comfort of the leather seat and the safety in the hands of a good Samaritan were all welcome developments. We drove at some speed and when we passed the house I was held captive in, I glanced and looked inside. The Camry was still there. I was relieved. I relaxed.
“So what is your name?” the good Samaritan asked me after an eternity of silence. She spoke very good English. Gold earrings, gold bracelets and a gold necklace. She smelled of class. What did I expect? She was driving a Honda Civic 2012.
“My name is Sean ma.” I replied.
“Nice. I am Sophia.”
She felt good to be at the CEOs’ Awards dinner. Her boyfriend was Regional Manager at one of the top banks in the country and she felt so happy to be privileged to be a part of the event. There were a lot of distinguished personalities from 12 different countries around the world. It was a dinner that admitted people strictly by invitation. She knew she looked stunning. Why wouldn’t she be? She had been preparing for weeks. Kunle had told her a month ago about the very huge dinner and award night and that she would be going as his partner. She had carefully searched the internet and viewed catalogue after catalogue of dinner gowns. She saw a design she liked on a show on Dstv and had her designer make something gorgeous for her. From the moment she walked into the hall in Oriental Hotels Lekki, she felt all eyes on her. Kunle beamed a wide smile. He looked handsome in his Tuxedo as he strolled to his designated seat, hand in hand with his adorable girlfriend. He knew she was stunning. This could get him a raise, a recommendation or best of all a promotion.
She was dark skinned and very beautiful. She measured 5ft. 7inches without the heels. Now donning a 3-inch heeled shoe, she was almost the same height as Kunle. They had been dating for almost 7 months and already looked the couple. She was busty and a little chubby with an as5 that made heads turn, both male and female alike. Kunle was in his mid30’s. Already climbing the ladder of successful banking business, he had very little worries. He saw this as an opportunity to invest, market, show his class and get to meet his superiors whose only contact with him had been via emails. He also hoped he would have the courage to proceed with his plan. He wanted to propose. For her it was a night of pictures for updates on instagram and bbm. It was a night to flaunt her beauty and her body. It was a night to make her boyfriend very proud. She knew it was a long shot, but she did not mind being whisked away by one of the money bags present. She was amazed at the caliber of people she saw. She knew it was a big night. She did not envisage that it would be this big. He followed her to her seat, pushed back her chair, waited for her to settle in and helped her tuck in before going to his seat opposite her. The table already decorated with assorted wines and drinks had his name and designation already written boldly on a fancy looking cardboard: MR KUNLE BALOGUN – REGIONAL MANAGER SOUTH WEST NIGERIA. They were seated in the middle of the hall, close enough to see the activities happening on stage. She smiled at him. He smiled back and held her hand across the table. She was so happy to mean this much to him to be brought here. He wanted so much to pop the question to her right there and then. He felt the ring casing in his pant pocket.
“Soon,” he said to himself tapping the pocket with his free hand.
Outside Oriental Hotel, the venue of the party was a parked dark Nissan Armanda jeep. Shina was in front in the passenger seat. There was a white earphone in his left ear which he held in place with his left hand. Iyke and Francis were at the back smoking white London. Francis wound down his side of the glass and threw away the butt of his finished cigarette. He wound up and closed his eyes. Iyke hit him playfully with his elbow. He dipped his hand into the insides of his faded brown leather jacket and brought out a silenced .45 revolver. He smiled wickedly as he brandished it before Francis.
“Baba, relax. As long as this baby dey here, no shaking.” Iyke boasted.
“Shhhh!!!!” Shina said from the front suddenly looking sharp and continued. “Brenda is going in.” he finished.
All three men were suddenly very sharp and alert. The two at the back were looking at Shina and watching his facial reaction. If he felt or heard anything he did not show it. He was the best at masking how he felt, no matter how good or bad. That was why The Ghosts hired him.
Inside, an announcement was made for everyone to order appetizers. Kunle and his girlfriend picked up the menu in front of them and chose their appetizers. There was an attendant for every table. When they had made their decision, Kunle signaled the waitress. When she was close to them, he looked at her name tag. BRENDA
“Brenda, could you please get item 17 for my beautiful princess and item 3 for me?” Kunle asked smiling.
“Fantastic choice sir” she said scribbling on her pad. “I’ll be just a minute please.” She finished and left.
She got into the kitchen area and presented the piece of paper where she had written the couple’s order to the chef. She quickly went to the side of the room and whispered into the collar of her suit.
“I’m going in.”
Three minutes later Brenda came back with a tray containing the ordered meal. She placed Kunle’s in front of him and then the girl’s. She opened the red wine and poured two wine glasses half full. She straightened up.
“Is there anything else you may need sir?” she asked smiling at both Kunle and his girlfriend.
“No, thank you Brenda.” Kunle replied.
“Your fiancée is really beautiful sir. Lovely gown too.” Brenda said smiling wider.
“Oh yes she is. Eva is the queen of my heart.” Kunle said.
“Have a good evening sir and ma’am. And please feel free to call me if there is anything I can get you.” Brenda finished.
“Thank you Brenda.” Eva said.
As Brenda made to turn around, she deliberately used the tray to hit the wine bottle such that it spilled on Eva’s dress. She made it look like an accident. She had rehearsed this move for days. She was a pro. A few eyes turned to look at their direction. But the gazes did not last for long.
“Oh my God! I am so sorry. Please forgive me. Please, let me get u a napkin.” Brenda said begging and apologizing as the liquid made a little stain on her dress.
Eva looked horrified. Kunle was worried but calm. She quickly composed herself and accessed the damage. It was not much. Nothing a little dab could not clean up. She asked for the rest room. Brenda pointed at the ladies, apologizing as she directed. As Eva got up, Kunle tried to get up too but she gave him the “I’ll be fine my love” look.
“Please excuse me baby, I will be right back.” She said to Kunle smiling.
Brenda led the way as they took a door to their left, went behind the hall and entered a corridor to the rest room. Just about the same time, a fair skinned lady with glasses got up from her chair in the hall, kissed her boyfriend lightly on the cheeks and headed in the same direction as Eva. As she stepped out of the hall, she tapped her collar and spoke softly into the collar,
“I’m making my move.” She walked towards the ladies.
Brenda was still begging Eva. Eva was getting irritated and asked her to leave, saying that it was okay. She could handle herself, she told Brenda. Brenda apologized again and left the bathroom. As she left she passed by the fair skinned lady in glasses and winked at her. The lady in glasses just nodded. She did not smile back.
The bathroom was deserted, just Eva.
The lady in glasses took out a glass container and sprayed the contents on her handkerchief.
She opened the bathroom door and went in.
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