I was awake long before I opened my eyes; I knew I was alone here; I hung my head low, gauging the sounds around me. There was nothing, I let out my breath slowly and tried to move, I was bound tight I knew that already but I tried anyway. My head snapped back and I winced at the pain at my neck. I opened my eyes, my mouth was gagged with my handkerchief I was bound to a chair, and my hands were tied behind me. I was bound all over; my legs were spread apart though, tied at the chair legs. I strained against the ropes hoping something would give way. I had awoken from a deep slumber induced by chloroform. The last thing I remembered? Nothing! Where was I? How did I get here? I looked around, studying my environment, I did not recognize this rat infested place! It probably used to be a warehouse but it obviously had not been used in a while. The setting sun shined through the grimy high windows. An old couch sat in the corner in front of a television on a small table, my hand bag was beside it. Is that where my captor sat watching me, anticipating my wake?
A tiny rat skittered close to my bound feet, it stood up on its hind legs sniffing the air, and it probably smelled the dry caked blood at my feet. I wanted to scream, get away! Surely it would kill me! Nibbling slowly at my perfectly pretty manicured toes. I was scared and the rat knew it. Sweat trickled slowly down my spine as I watched the rat move closer…then just as suddenly as it came, it scampered off again and I let out a sigh of relief
I don’t want to die…suddenly memories of what happened before I got here filled my head. Supermarket… Buying the usual… Tampons, skimmed milk, diet soda, cookies. Greeting the security guard as I passed, no my bag wasn’t heavy I could carry it myself, then I getting to my urban seven series BMW, checking my big Prada bag for my car keys, then nothing…
Where was I? I asked myself again. Then I heard a car door slam shut, my captor was back! I hung my head low again and shut my eyes pretending I was still unconscious. I heard the quick steps. The door opened. I knew it was a ‘he’ the minute he entered, and he was alone. He was angry about something, he scuffled his feet in the debris, cursing as he almost stumbled on an empty tin can. He walked to the couch and I heard it grumble under his weight as he sat down, he switched on the television, who was he? I was too scared to take a tiny peep. I tried to still my heart; I wasn’t going to let him know I was awake.
“Wakey wakey…princess” I almost jumped out of my skin he was behind me.
I hadn’t heard him walk over; the t-v was too loud. I felt his warm heavy breath behind my ear. Don’t touch me! I thought…please don’t touch me! I did everything I could to stop myself from shuddering.
Then he whispered “I know you are awake” my heart beat faster, how did he know?
“Open your eyes” his said.
I opened my eyes slowly scared out of my wits. Where was he? He was behind me. Will he kill me? Or will he torture me first? I will not scream, I promised myself. He came before me, I looked up, he was backing the setting sun and he was remarkably tall from where I was sitting. I couldn’t see his face, he was wearing a face cap, one of those ones that have the fake NY embroidery. He bent down and sat on his hunches, I could hear my heart pounding against my chest. He cut the rope at my right feet. He massaged blood into my feet. I sighed in relief; he wasn’t going to kill me yet. He cut the rope on the other one, and massaged it as well. He removed the sandal at my feet and caressed it gently.
“You have beautiful toes, M’lady, how much goes into them? Naira? Dollars? Pounds?”
I stilled my breath, watching his hands as he held my feet, what was he going to do?
“You know, they could be more beautiful if they didn’t have this unnatural colour on them”
He kissed them gently; I shivered as his lips touched them. He had remarkably soft lips…
“I asked your family for some money, do you know how much you are worth?”
“They think you were taken by the Niger Delta Militants; they will pay anything to have you back, but you are mine now and mine alone. Do they know for how long I watched and wished you would come to me? Do they know that you are much safer with me? All those men… did they know that only I can give you what you need? Don’t cringe from me M’lady, I will not harm you”
Then why am I here? He seemed to talk to himself alone as if he was trying to observe my reaction without looking up at my face.
I did not know this man! Who was he what was my crime? I ached in many places, I felt dirty and smelly. How long have I been there?
He dropped my feet suddenly.
“You need to eat. What shall it be? Caviar? Chocolate? Lamb chops? Pasta? Sorry for covering your mouth” he stood up again I still couldn’t see his face.
“I’ll remove it now, but you have to promise not to scream, even if you scream no-one will hear you, the next house isn’t for miles, if you are a good little girl, I would let you sleep on a real bed tonight, that chair must be uncomfortable”
I nodded quickly I was so uncomfortable. He pushed down the handkerchief; I stifled the urge to scream. Then an unnatural calm stole over me. He stood up again, the light outside was fading fast and I still couldn’t see his face. I took in a deep breath; I thought I heard him sigh.
He was quiet, skulking in the dark watching me. I was quiet as well. I needed to know the enemy.
Then he went to my back and cut the ropes binding my hands, he removed the rest of the ropes, I was very still, what was his game?
“Can you walk?” I wasn’t sure, but I was going to try, the thought of his hands on me again, propelled me.
I stood up rubbing my wrists.
“Follow me” he said.
I walked slowly, I used the faint light to pick my way across the floor of the old warehouse, the cement floor was cold against my bare feet….