I woke up with a banging headache. My stomach churned and my throat was dry. I was very thirsty. I squinted, trying to adjust to the brightness of the room. I was sitting on a wooden chair, my hands tied at my back. It was a tiny room. The only piece of furniture was the one I was seated on. My shoes had been removed. I raised my head and looked around. There was a pile of plywood to my left. A water dispenser was by the iron door. There was a tiny bed to my far right which could only take one person comfortably. Damn, I was hungry. I tried to recollect what happened and how I got here. It was all fuzzy. I tasted the dry blood on the cut on my swollen lower lip. I silently cursed the Macho man who hit me.
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.
“Fuck!” 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.. Fuck! 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 something. 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 inter locked 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 went 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.”
TO BE CONTINUED tomorrow.