She opened her eyes slowly and immediately closed them as the rays of the sun penetrated the windows; and then slowly, she opened them until everything finally came into focus. From where she sat facing the window, she could see that she was not on the ground floor of wherever she was. She was still tied to a chair but she was in a different room and there was no duct tape over her mouth.
She wondered where she was. She then remembered her kidnapper pulling the trigger. She was still alive so it was obvious he had shot her father. She felt hot tears sting her eyes instantly.
Who was this man? And why in God’s name would he think she had a hand in the accident that had occurred ten years ago?
Chinonso Okeke, her best friend, had been dating her until her death. She had never even had an encounter with her, but Ify disliked how outspoken she had been. That was all. Chinonso had never remained the same after the incident; he was beyond help and she had not heard from him in years.
Her father had been killed because a scoundrel thought they had a hand in her death…
Instead of feeling anger, Ify felt scared.
…and then she thought of it. Why was she still alive? Where was she?
“Help” she said weakly. She was thirsty and tired. “Someone, help me” she said a bit louder than the first cry.
“If you don’t want to join your father, you’d better shut your mouth” the familiar deep gruff voice said behind her as she gasped.
“Please” she begged. “Trust me, you have the wrong person…I –” she stopped as his strong hands gripped her face from behind, holding her chin tightly that she felt her gum would bleed.
“Your denial makes my blood boil” he said as he released her and stood in front of her. Her head was bowed. “I swear you will pay for what you did…you thought you could hide forever?” he asked rhetorically as Ify bit her lips wondering for the umpteenth time why the maniac thought she was a murderer.
…and who even said she had been on the run? What was she running away from?
“You will suffer for what you did…for what you and your good-for-nothing father did” he swore angrily and squatted to be on the same eye level with her but her head was still bowed.
“How does it feel to know your father was killed and you could do nothing about it?” the malice in his voice was unmistakable. “Answer me” he yelled as she looked up angrily.
“You’re a –” she stopped as she stared in shock at her captor. “Nonny?” she called to be sure. “Nonny…you…” the tears that welled in her eyes threatened to trickle down her cheeks as she stared at her best friend who had just murdered her father.
“The sooner you stop shedding those crocodile tears, the better for you” his angry tone came again but Ify had still not gotten over the shock.
“Nonny why…what…w…how…” she stammered stupidly and realized that a million questions tried to make their way out of her mouth.
“You’re shocked…you thought I wouldn’t find you, right?” he smiled wickedly as she stared at him.
What was wrong with him?
She never knew he had also gone crazy…and that too he was very dangerous and her life was in extreme danger.
“Nonny…” she tried to sound calm. Maybe she could talk to her best friend in the maniac staring at her. “Nonny…why would you think I –”
“Would you cut the act, Ifeoma?”
“You had a hand in Onyi’s death”
“You’re crazy” she said seriously as he slapped her hard across the cheek and gripped her neck.
“The fact that you’re still breathing does not mean I don’t want you dead yet…” he whispered through clenched teeth as she tried to breathe and he released her while she gasped for air.
She wanted to yell at him; she wanted to tell him to kill her; but he was crazy and that meant he could kill her and probably nobody would know anything about her death.
The question came again, why was she still alive?
As if in reply to her question, he rose up from his squatting position and walked to a corner of the room and from the corner of her eye, she saw him return with a knife and a black refuse bag. Her heart raced. How would it feel when the knife would find its way into her heart? What would become of her four year old child? What would happen to the growing child in her womb? How would David cope?
“Nonny please” she began in fear as he squatted once more before her.
His angry stare replied her. “I’m very sure she was pleading for her life that day” he said as Ify gaped at him and then felt him hold her left hand tightly and cut the rope.
In surprise, she turned to her free hand and held it up but very cautiously while he cut the other on her right hand. Her wrists were chaffed but that would be the least of her problems.
“I said you’re going to suffer for what you did…I wasn’t bluffing. Even though killing you now would be so satisfying, it won’t do me any good to know you just died without going through a pain similar or even worse than she had gone though in that fire” he said and cut the ropes holding her legs to the chair.
“So what are you going to do with me?” she said as he opened the bag and brought out a towel.
“First of all, you’re going to have a bath” he was not surprised at her surprised stare as he rose up and threw the towel at her.
She did not stand up. Was she being cautious? He wondered. That would be really smart of her but would still lead her nowhere.
He pulled her up to her feet but she fell to the ground tired. He pulled her up once more and this time, led her to the en suite bathroom and sat on the seat of the toilet.
“What’s going on?” she found the courage to ask.
“You’re going to get into the bathtub, close the shower curtains and have your bath” he explained as she stared at him.
He really was crazy. “And you’ll remain here…watching me?”
“That’s not going to happen” she hoped he would not hit her again.
“Okay then…you’re not having your bath. Get out of here” he ordered immediately as stared at him and turned to leave. He was already up on his feet when his phone rang and he looked at the screen.
Ify took the chance and ran out of the bathroom, closing the door behind her and locking him in before he could reach for it.
“Bitch” she heard him cuss as he banged on the door furiously. “You’re playing with fire” he warned in a tone that scared her.
She had to get out of there. He would not be a threat to her if she was far from him…but he had kidnapped her. That meant he had his eyes on her. She could not run away from her home with her husband and child because her crazy ex-best friend was after her.
He banged on the door and she shook her head as she made for the door. She could think about that later, all she had to do at the moment was escape. She turned the doorknob but it was locked.
“Shit” she said as she hit her fist on the door and stared at the door of the bathroom in fear. The way he hit the door almost made her think he would send it crashing in minutes.
“Where are the keys?” she asked in a shaky voice as his laughter replied her.
“You really think I’m that stupid?”
With that reply, she sat down downcast on the bed. How on earth would she get out of there?
“You have five counts to open this door” he threatened as she glared at the door and looked around her; her eyes hovered around the bed looking for nothing in particular.
If he broke down the door eventually, she had to be ready to defend herself.
All that was on the bed was a small notepad with an address and time: DIVA’S PLACE; 7:00pm.
She crouched and looked under the bed and her eyes caught sight of a small box. She reached for it immediately and pulled it towards her and finally placed it on the bed.
She had to be fast. She opened the box and stared at the black gun wondering whether to take it or not.
“Four” he yelled as she took hold of the gun immediately and walked towards the door of the bathroom.
“Five” he said but nothing happened and the silence that followed scared Ify to death.
What was he doing? She swallowed hard and pointed the gun at the door, she knew how to use a gun; David had taught her and if Nonso had not caught her off guard in her home, she would have had a chance to defend herself then.
“Just one phone call and your precious David and dear Chidi will join your father”
It had not sounded like a threat, but Ify knew he was very well not bluffing.
“Nonso…please” she begged. Her voice was almost a whisper. She badly needed a drink and he was her only chance of getting one since the door was locked.
Without getting a reply from him, she cautiously and fearfully turned the key in its lock with her grip tightening on the gun.
“It’s open” she announced as he opened it and started to lunge at her but stopped as he stared at the snout of the pistol.
He looked impressed and then angry. “You can’t handle that” he said in a low voice as she scoffed.
“Try me” she said and put out her left hand. “Your phone” she ordered as he stared at her and smiled.
“Don’t be stupid” he advised. “You’ll never know where they are…you just have to give me the gun and –”
“Shut up and give me your phone as well as the keys” she said as he shrugged and put his hand in his back pocket.
Ready for any crooked move from him, she held on to the gun with both hands. She watched him throw the bunch of keys on the floor and smile at her.
She glanced at the keys and back at him. He had set a trap for her; if she bent down to pick them up, he would attack her; and if he bent to pick it, he would probably pull her legs and send her toppling to the ground. He was bigger than her and obviously smarter.
He was reading her expression; anticipating what she would do next; what stupid decision she would take. He was surprised when she took five steps backward and ordered him to pick the keys. As soon as he did, she motioned for him to open the door and he did so without hesitation.
“Turn the door handle” she ordered as he obeyed and the door creaked open.
She did not know when a sigh of relief escaped her; she was free at last. She could not suppress a smile.
“Move” she said with a frown as Nonso obediently did. She motioned for him to move farther with the gun and he did.
It was when he got to the door of the bathroom that she was satisfied. With her back towards the door and her eyes on Nonso, she began to move backward. The first thing she would do would be to get a drink and then she would go to the police.
“Not so fast, sweety” she heard a female voice say behind her and then the cocking of a gun followed. “Drop it” she said as Ify let go of the gun immediately. “Kick it towards him” she ordered as Ify obeyed quickly; her heart beating twice as fast.
Nonso picked up the gun and with a frown, walked towards her. The anger in his eyes was overwhelming that Ify wished the gun behind her would act before he got to her…but it did not.
He gripped her neck unsuspectingly and throttled her as he watched her face redden with pain.
“When I’m done with you, you’ll watch your husband and son burn before your eyes” he promised with his hand still on her neck as she struggled fruitlessly to loosen his grip. “I swear you will watch them go up in flames as I had to watch the girl of my dreams” he continued as her eyes reddened and she feared she would pass out soon.
Her face grew redder but he did not care to loosen his grip on her throat. Just as her eyes began to flutter, he realized himself and shoved her to the wall making her land on the floor with a loud thud that made the lady who had stopped her from going out cringe.
She moved weakly as she earnestly tried to gasp for air. It took a minute and a half for her to catch her breath and when she looked up at him, he had a look of satisfaction in his eyes; he was enjoying himself. He had almost killed her and that meant he would not hesitate to hurt her husband and child. She could not let them die…yet. She had to keep them alive and do whatever he wanted; she had to stick with him like an obedient dog would do to its master.
Her forehead throbbed with intense pain as she managed to open her eyes. She did not know how long she had been asleep. She looked around weakly. She was in a different room. That did not surprise her though. All she could only remember was when Nonso had throttled her to near-death and then she had become unconscious when he began talking on the phone. She tried to sit up but the pain in her head was something she had never felt before. Her body ached all over. She turned slowly to the bedside table and noticed the digital clock standing on it: the time was 1:00pm; but she had no idea what day it was.
She took in a deep breath and finally propped herself up. The pain bolted through her body. The sides of her stomach hurt her so much that she doubted it was hunger. Her unborn child was going through a lot. It felt as if it had been ages since she ate something. She finally managed to get on her feet but not without staggering for few seconds. She put her two hands to her head – how hot it felt.
“Nonny” her voice was merely a whisper and she wondered why she was even calling him.
Well she knew why. He was the only one who could help her. She needed to see a doctor. He hated her but the real Nonso she knew would care about her innocent child; just like its mother was innocent.
“Non –” she stopped as the door opened and a lady came running towards her while Nonso stood at the doorway.
“What is it?” he asked emotionlessly.
“Nonny” she whispered. “I’m pregnant…I just need to see a doctor” she requested as the lady holding her stared at Nonso whose face was completely devoid of emotion.
“I promise I won’t run” she earnestly hoped he believed that she was with child. “I just want to make sure my baby is –”
“Your baby is dead”
By Miracle Emeka-Nkwor (M. E. N)
For more stories, visit talesbymimi.blogspot.com