I woke up with a jerk. I was wet. A bucket of water poured on my head, splashing all over my body and soaking my cloth.
“Get up mister,” a voice called out.
I looked up slowly. The guy was swarthy and he had an athletic frame. His face was long, and he had Cornrows styled hairs. There was a star shaped tattoo on the right side of his neck, and I had done enough research to know it was the Machismo cult sign.
“I said get up mister,” he shouted again, hitting me hard on my head with his right hand.
My head ached as I stood up. I looked straight in his eyes; they were red as fire. I could smell locally distilled alcohol, ogogoro, from his mouth.
“Consider yourself dead,” he threatened, “Just look around; this is the house of death!”
I tried to raise my hands in protest, but I discovered it was tied together, my legs too.
“But I didn’t do anything,” I said slowly.
“Yes you didn’t do anything. You didn’t do anything when you trespassed and eavesdropped on us in the graveyard. I bet you had a camera. The next thing we’ll see is our pictures pasted at the library with the tag – ‘EXPELLED’ at the top”
“Please. That’s a lie.”
A slap fell on my cheek. I fell to the ground.
“How dare you say I’m lying. Are you crazy?” the guy said. His fists were balled, and his body swelled. His face was dark, like the skies on a moonless night.
“I mean—em, that…em… I’m not working for the senate. I just got lost,” I lied, stammering.
Another slap hit my cheek.
“You are lost! A 200L student got lost. You’ve got to look for another lie.” The guy shouted. “I have searched you when you fainted, and I found this ID card,” he revealed, stretching my ‘Beam magazine’ identity card to me.
My eyes bulged out.
I am in trouble. This guy knows I am a journalist
“Em…em, yes I’m a writer for Beam magazine, but I swear I’m in the entertainment section.” I lied again.
It seemed the guy had a lie detector inside of him. He knew every time I lied
“You keep on lying abi,” he yelled, “first of all, you said you were lost, and then you admitted that you are a journalist, now you say you are in the entertainment section. I don’t know what an entertainment news writer wants to write about in a graveyard.”
“I haven’t told you any lies sir, it is true that I’m journalist with ‘Beam magazine’, and that I’m in the entertainment section. The truth is that I went to visit a friend at Adenike, and I got lost while I was returning home. I had never been to Adenike prior to yesterday.”
Another slap landed on my face. “I have been lenient with you since. But now you will see pepper.”
The door suddenly blew open. A guy of my size staggered in; he was being push kicked by another guy, a cultist like my jailer; I could tell by the star shaped tattoo on his neck. He had a Mohawk styled hairs that stood still like a cock.
“Hey Tunde,” the voice called out, “Here is the other one we caught. He was snapping the house. He is probably working for the senate too. Make sure you drill the info out of them.”
“Simple job,” the Mohawk guy chirped.
“Lock both of them up and come. The Kapol wants to see us.”
My jailer eyed me with distaste before he left the room with the other cultist, locking the door behind his back.
The guy, who was push kicked in, sat a corner of the room, shivering. His knees were raised, and his feet were on the paved floor. His oblong shaped was placed on his knees. I could hear him sobbing silently.
I nibbled at the knot of the rope used to tie my hands. Slowly it wore out. It soon became loose. I attacked that of my leg, and it proved much easier because my hands were free. My legs twinged as I stood. I ignored the pain and moved slowly to the corner where the guy sat sobbing. I touched him, but he didn’t respond. I touched him further, this time gently raising his head against his will.
His eyes were like a flooded river Niger. Tears flowed out of it uncontrollable.
“It’s okay,” I consoled. “We would figure something out.”
The tears from his eyes stopped. He seemed to calm at my mention of ‘we would figure something out’
“What can we do?” He asked. His voice was dejected, like a chicken whose chicks had been carried away by an eagle.
“Lemme see,” I said, sitting close to him.
My eyes close together like a detective. I gazed at the burglary which sun filtered in through; the white painted ceiling with cobwebs dangling from them; and the polished door.
“What are you gazing at man?” the guy asked. “You keep looking at the ceiling, the window, and the door. There is no way man, the security here is tight. There is nothing we can do; we will die here.”
I stood up ignoring his fears, and moved to the burglary. I shook it; it was firm. I took the granite stone lying beside him, and I knocked at the walls. The sound was hollow.
“Hey man, what are you up to?”
“You just watch me. I’m trying to figure out a way for us. I’m not going to be used for rituals by some avarice crazed guys.”
He stood up and moved close to where I was, “So what are you planning on doing.”
“Very simple,” I said. “We just need to make holes that can size our feet on this wall.”
“Then what?” he asked.
“We will climb out through the roof’s rafters.”
“What a perfect plan,” he exclaimed
“Yes, but we’ve got a problem.”
“What problem?” he interjected.
“Noise,” I answered, “There is no how we can make the holes we need, or break down the ceiling without making a noise. And that will alert these guys. Within seconds they will be swarming this place like LATSMA officials.”
He sighed. “Let’s sit and have a rethink of all this. Am sure we can figure out a way without them knowing. There is always a chance you know.”
We sat like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson while we confabulated on the different ways we could escape. We could break down the burglary, but for that, we would need tools stronger than this brown coloured granite stone; we could attack the guy with Mohawk hairstyle when he comes, but we don’t know how many more guys are in the house, that was a dangerous path and we didn’t give it a serious consideration.
All of a sudden, the door blew open, and the guy with Mohawk hairstyle entered the room.
“Hey you,” he shouted at the other guy in the room, “Come here. Your judgement day is here.”
Tears began to overflow the banks of the guy’s eyelids. I could hear him slowly murmuring a prayer and he was reluctant to stand.
“U dey craze?” the guy with Mohawk hairstyle screeched rhetorically, striding towards him with speed. His athletic body had swelled by the time he got to the guy.
The guy’s tears churned out from his eyes like water escaping from the spillway of a dam. I had never seen someone cry with such intensity prior to now. The tears were so much that it could possibly make an executioner suspend his axe for a guillotine condemned prisoner.
But Mohawk guy wasn’t moved by the tears.
“Stand up now, or I’ll kick you.”
“Guy, stand up,” I pleaded with my fellow prisoner, “All will be well, just have faith.”
The guy slowly stood up. Two kicks from the Mohawk hairstyle sent him forward, and he was staggering once more towards the door.
“You,” he said, pointing to me, “Don’t try anything stupid.”
My jailer left with my fellow prisoner, kicking him in the buttocks to keep him going. I sat still as the door slammed shut. I was meditating hard on how I could escape through the ceiling without make a noise loud enough to alert my jailer when the door blew open.
My jailer strode in with another guy; the other guy was quite smaller, and thinner than my jailer, and he looked more like one of those famishing refugees from the middle-east.
I can easily knock out this one, and hit my jailer with the granite stone
“Stand up,” my jailer yelled, beckoning to me.
I stood up slowly, grabbing the brown granite stone with my right hand, and hiding my hands behind my back.
The other guy searched round the empty room.
“I can’t see any stone,” he reported to my jailer.
My jailer stood still in his position and he looked round the room. He then issued an evil smile.
“Bring out your hands,” he commanded.
I began to tremble, and then I slowly dropped the stone. The crashing sound made my jailer furious..
“You asked for trouble, and you would see it, soon.” he threatened, picking up the stone. He and his partner walked out of the room slamming the door close.
To be continued