The teenage girl hid under the bushes; crouched, oblivious of the thorns that scratched and bruised her, her heart thumped hard with each passing second. Glancing around, she did, occasionally; to be sure she was in no danger.
The rustling of leaves, as well as the chirping of crickets could be heard from the trees and the bushes, each lending their voice to the dreadfulness of the night. An owl hooted from a tree, signaling its readiness to herald evil tidings.
The girl rubbed her aching and bruised legs; they felt heavy, like lead. She ran her hand across her bleeding nose, from which blood trickled down onto her sweat-soaked Nike shirt. Her tongue moved involuntarily over her lips to wipe away the blood that touched it, the blood tasted metallic.
There was a rustle of leaves, bringing the girl’s attention to the figures of men with guns hanging on their shoulders and holding torches.
“Where do you think she might be?” a lanky man asked, waving his torch around.
“I no sure say she dey here, make we go the oda side,” another man said in pidgin. Fear was evident in his voice.
“Sharrap! Sule, wetin you mean? Shebi na you talk say you see am come dis area?” a third man said.
Sule swallowed hard. “I no, but you no say. . .”
“Know wetin,” the third man said, “When you go be man?”
“See, no need to insult one another, let’s find this girl immediately,” the lanky man said.
The third man thought deeply. “Na true you talk, wetin we go do?”
“See,” lanky man began, “I suggest we go separately, and search every nook and cranny of this forest. You know we have a deadline to bring her tonight before dawn. Let’s be quick.”
“Ok na. If na so, make una go inside inside, while me I go dey for here.”
“Who you tink say you be to dey give order?” the third man asked Sule, visibly angry. “Look, take ya time, na me be oga here, no be you, you hear?”
“It’s alright, no need to argue. Sule, you stay here, I and Joe would move in.”
The girl watched from her hiding place as the two men left, leaving behind Sule. Her heartbeat increased in pace, surely, she was doomed, she thought.
Sule stuck his torch into her mouth, removed the double-barreled gun which hung on his right shoulder, cocked it and positioned it before him, with his finger on the trigger.
The girl observed as Sule moved stealthily, stooping, ensure he brought no attention to himself. She knew she had to be quiet, for any noise could be her end.
Sule took a quick look around; he knew the girl couldn’t be here. Not in this scary place, that little girl didn’t have the heart to stand the frightfulness of this place, he thought. An owl cried out, sending jitters down his spine.
“Which thing,” he mumbled.
As if in response to his abusive words, the bird flew down towards him with great speed, and hovered over his head, before letting out a piercing cry.
A figure dashed in lightning speed towards Sule and the owl. . .
A bloody head fell on the ground, sending spatters of blood on the leaves, while the bird flapped its wings frantically in a bid to escape.
The girl licked off her blood-stained fingers, nodding her head satisfactorily as she savored the essence of the red liquid.
“One down, two to go.”