I watched her take keys from her jacket pocket; insert the key in the lock and turn. I heard the lock unlatch and my heart thumped so hard I wondered she was not hearing it.
In that fraction of second, adrenalin coursing through me with the speed of light, I revisited my plan. It was still good, viable.
The door opened and she entered.
I let her free me, playing along, giving her the tell-tale signs that I had heard her loud and clear, and I understood what would happen if
I tried to be a heroine.
Anxiety almost debilitated me as I felt the ropes that bound my feet go slack. It was just a matter of seconds… one, two, three – I counted.
I hauled back my legs and kicked hard Celestine’s thighs. She jumped back, avoiding my feet, and before she could get her balance, I was already on my feet. I had surprise to my advantage.
I did not see it coming. The last thing I remembered was a glimpse of Celestine mid-air, like a gymnast, before something hard connected with my jaw, a second before another hit the side of my head. I saw a million shadows waltz in front of me, stars twinkling in a haze of blackness and I went down (and stayed there).
Guess I was the one who was surprised.
A moment later, I felt her foot on my shoulder blades, pinning me down. I tried to struggle free, applying each and every technique in the book, to no avail.
“I warned you,” she said. “Fighting me is pointless, Folami. Or may I call you Zohara? This isn’t about you and me. It’s a lot bigger.
Trust me. But then, why should you?”
My mind went blank, as though it had been disconnected. Who the hell is this lady, I wondered. She not only knew my codename, but also my real name. Something told me that if I was going to get through this I had to sleep with the enemy.
Probably sell a part of my soul to the devil himself.
But it was not going to be that easy.
“Well, seems like I’ve got no choice,” I said. Air was slowly drawing out of my lungs. “But you are good for a lousy fighter, I’ll give you that.”
The heel of her shoes pressed harder on my shoulder. Pain shot through me like a comet. Guess that got her.
“Listen, Venus, or whatever they call you. As I have said, fighting me is pointless. Now, are you going to behave yourself or should I tie you again, and throw you to a more comfortable cell? Trust me you won’t like the idea.”
…I won’t hesitate to break your neck.
As she’d said, there was no point of fighting her. Maybe she was damn serious when she had said I was in the middle of nowhere.
Play sucker to catch a sucker. Sometimes it’s all what one has to do. Or maybe I was already dead.
She held out her hand to me, a sign of friendship and that she meant no harm with that pirouette. I did not think about it, trying something stupid that is.
Celestine ousted me up and retreated back – lest I surprise her again.
“Jeez, that hurt,” I said, rubbing my jaw.
“And that’s a warning. Don’t try that again.”
“Oh, come on,” I sneered. “I let you do it.” But I knew I was wrong.
You know what they tell you at the dojo during training? It’s all theoretical crap. My martial artist instructor, a Fifth Dan black belt, had emphasized on the element of surprise – attacking your enemy when he least expects. When would people stop lifting up ideas from ancient writers? It was Sun Tzu who wrote that in his Art of War, and people today still use his words like template. Totally a wrong move.
I was a black belt at sixteen – actually, the graduation coincided with my birthday.
That settled, I followed her, but I could sense the alertness in her. She wore no makeup, no jewelry, nor any feminine stuff. She looked to me like that lady who stars in Nikita, Maggie Q. Hell; she was Maggie Q., only that I never saw Maggie Q performing Lucy Liu stunts.
We entered a windowless room. There was a glass table beneath a plasma screen mounted on the wall. The table had neat stacks of papers and spiral bound books, writing materials and a laptop.
Birds of paradise and ginger stood erect in a vase beside the table. Another look around and I took in cameras – surveillance type – four of them, mounted at each corner.
The plasma TV was on, CNN, muted. I reached for the remote control on the table. Grisly grotesque images were being broadcast, of a plane crash.
Such tragedies caught up to me. I wanted to hear what had happened, who’d died, who’d survived, what could be done. It’s all in my blood.
No one had survived.
I turned up the volume in time just as the anchor was saying that the Israeli Airlines was releasing the identities of those who had boarded the plane.
Two Israelis. Ten Pakistanis. Twenty Nigerians. Two Saudis. Five South Africans. One Kenyan… then the snapshot of the Kenyan as captured from the passport.
I leaned closer, almost placing my palm on the screen. Flashbulbs of images flashed through a long hallway in my head.
…a smile… a dimming room… screams…. Chaos… then falling down.
Now it connected.
I was in that plane. The last thing I remembered was the screams, fire, plummeting down, and then… waking up in a cell.
You are dead. No one would be looking for you.
Realization dawned on me – not about my death, but about what had happened.
My body trembled with dread.
It had not been an accident.
I felt Celestine’s eyes on me, her resentment consuming me.
When I looked at her, her eyes seemed to say, ‘Do you need your autopsy?”
Copyright ©Elove, 2013.