It was a beautiful Friday evening. Time: 7pm. The streets of Ikorodu were busy as usual, different kinds of people. The conductors were shouting at the top of their voices trying to outdo each other in the clamor for passengers. People hurrying in opposite directions. Many were corporately dressed trying to catch the next available bus to their final destinations, after a hard day’s job. Agric Bus Stop arguably boasted of one of the highest number of people that lived in Ikorodu. A market woman screamed at a man who was half running to catch a bus that had just one more seat left, and in the process, scattered some of her fresh peppers on the ground.
“Oloshi..Oloriburuku…Weyrey!!!” she screamed obscenities at the man at the top of her lungs. The culprit was already in the bus. If he heard the curses rained on him, he didn’t show it. I smiled wryly, bent and began helping the woman pick the pepper scattered on the floor. I washed my hands with the water she provided and continued on my way home. I was feeling particularly happy though. I had just experienced a wonderful time in the arms of my heartthrob. I called in sick from work and had spent the past 5hours with her. She was going to be away for quite a while, studying for her Masters in Canada. I had a quick flash back in my subconscious. The smile grew wider.
I crossed to the other side of the road. I needed to take a “keke napep” to the entrance of my street. I still had a little bit of distance to cover so I increased my pace. I wondered why there were so much people in this part of Lagos. It is the outskirts of the commercial center of the city and yet it was a host to a lot of new tenants every day. I dreamt of one day owning plots of land in Banana Island, having properties on Queens Drive Ikoyi or even a big Hotel in Lekki. Not this dumpster I had to hide in because of my past.
“Owa o.” I said to the driver as I got to my bus stop. I paid him, collected my change and watched as he zoomed off. I waited patiently at the bus stop for the road to clear so I could cross and enter my street. I was still waiting there when all of a sudden, a black tinted Toyota camry screeched to a stop in front of me. The back door yanked open and a huge man, dark glasses, wearing a mafia suit came out of the car, gave me a blinding slap and then bundled me inside the car. The car sped off. All happened in seconds.
My head was ringing; I felt blood on my lips. I touched my lower lip. There was a little cut and it was a bit swollen. It took a while for my eyes to readjust to the darkness inside the car. I was sandwiched between two huge men. The one who hit me was on my right. I could tell because he still had his glasses on. I studied my environment trying to make out any detail that would help me. The dimly lit car did not help matters. Two guys. I guessed they were thugs. The other guy wore a body hugging t-shirt, silver necklace and had a huge mustache. He was smoking and did not seem to care about me. The driver wore a face cap. Met his eyes about once or twice from the rear view mirror. There was no other passenger in front.
I could feel the eyes of my captor on me. I wanted to speak but was afraid to. I opened my mouth. Nothing came out. I was still in a state of shock. I quickly said a prayer for God to forgive me of my sins. I was too young too die. Different thought crossed my mind. These guys looked a little bit sophisticated. I did not owe any one money. I did not do any bad deals. Had my old life finally caught up with me? I managed to catch a glimpse of the macho’s wristwatch. It was pure gold. Welders. Were they ritual killers? I shuddered at the thought. So this was how I was going to die?
We were driving at high speeds, avoiding the small roads and sticking to the freeway. My eyes were accustomed to the dimly lit vehicle. I decided if I was going to die, I should at least know what was happening. As I made to open my mouth, Macho man’s phone rang.
“Hello ma. Yes ma’am, we got the package. Okay ma.”
The other guy finished his cigarette and lit another one. Package? Am I the package? A woman was calling the shots?
I decided to be brave.
“Good evening sir. Please sir what I have I done? Where are you taking me? I beg you in the name…” I began to say, facing Macho man.
The smoking thug gave me a powerful back hand slap to the side of my face.
I passed out.
PS: TO BE CONTINUED tomorrow by 8pm.