…ha ha ha, you’re all doomed for one end… ha ha ha h,a paaaain! What an irony, Terror’s evil laughter, sounded above the tears and cries of a dozen girls he left in the room. I had shed enough tears, the cries and wailing stampeded reasoning, I determined to escape the dreaded future that awaited every captive that yielded. “No, I’ll find the way out”, I thought aloud. From a crack in the tinted window, I could see Terror and six other mean looking men, wrapping and smoking what I perceived to be marijuana, each of them holding once full bottles of some sort of spirit. Two other girls looked at me, they heard my liberating decision. I saw hope in their eyes and I was naturally drawn to them.
We got together, and made brief introductions, the darker one, Alice, began to tell her story; she had visited her boyfriend who lived off campus not too far from her own hostel. Their discussions and flirting lingered, until he struck an unpleasant cord that elicited her anger. They quarreled and barked at each other, he even attempted to hit her. Hurt and blinded by rage,Alice picked up her bag forgetting her phone, and stormed out of her boyfriend’s house ignoring his plea for her to return.
Alice stopped just outside the compound, even as she cried she was sure she heard a creeping sound, she checked her watch, it was 11:30PM, she looked around as she increased her pace, determined not to return to her boyfriend’s place. She perceived Indian hemp, and heard soft steps behind her, she looked back and saw two men in black singlet following her, she broke off in a race for her life, kicking off her shoes as she picked up speed, she looked back again as she approached the bend that led to her hostel and saw the same men chasing her casually. As she turned to face her hostel, she bumped into a man who hit her hard in the face and cut short her scream. She revived to find herself in a poorly lit room with eight girls, all crying bitterly.
We shook our heads in sympathy. The other girl, Linda, spoke next, “God I’m sorry” was the first thing she said, then she began the story of how she was initiated into prostitution by her late friend, after her father died and her mother a petty trader could not provide for her ostentatious lifestyle together with the rest of her five siblings. Initially she was naïve, and erred greatly, till she became a professional hooker, so much so that others even consulted from her. She had heard of many of her colleagues in the trade disappearing for months, some eventually found dead, but she always thought they were not sharp enough. Such things were not her portion, she even prayed fervently before setting out each night, and she had a renowned spiritualist that gave her special protective amulets.
One night, a passenger in the taxi she boarded, preached, reminding all the other passengers that the present time they had was precious, he tried to make them understand that the best time to make the change is now as tomorrow might never be. Linda shoved off the warning and prepared for business. Ironically that night was one of the best; she had three lucrative calls, and got two promising contacts. Two nights after, she had just returned to her spot after two calls, it was some minutes past 3AM, a flashy red Porsche Coupe with two men in front, and a lady behind stopped, the men surveyed the ladies, and beckoned to her, she smiled and walked up to them. As the man on the passenger seat came out to let her in, she could perceive the envy of some of her colleagues. The man in the passenger seat passed a pack of cigar and two cans of beer to them at the back, they drank the beer and within 3 minutes they slept off, waking up as they were dragged into the room.
Ten minutes after Linda and the other girl where brought in, one other girl was roughly pushed into the room. I watched her, frightened, confused and weeping. Our abductors had taken all our belongings, our bags and all. I began to tell them my own story. I had gone for our usual bible study class, after which I felt like staying behind to do some personal study and charge my phone fully. By the time I looked at the clock on the wall, it was about 10:30PM, I hurriedly packed my study books and bible, snatched my phone, forgetting to switch it on, and leaving behind my charger. I held my phone in my hand as I walked very fast, almost running, on my way home. Two men walked past me, sizing me up from head to toe as they passed, from the corner of my eye, I noticed one of them, whose name I later got to know as Terror, nod as a sign to his partner, I started to pray silently, and quickly slipped my phone into my underwear. Immediately they grabbed my mouth from behind, snatched away my handbag and blindfolded me, I heard the sound of a car drive out from nearby. We drove around for some time, my mouth gagged and eyes blindfolded, I was led into the room where the blindfold was finally removed, and my mouths freed. I sat down at a corner of the room as I asked God why, from there I saw a man carry Alice in, then Linda, and the two other girls.
It was almost daybreak, when Alice checked her time it was 6:45AM, none of us had slept through the night, and yet none of us thought of sleeping. Still uncertain of our fate, we just couldn’t stop thinking what next would be done to us or what next we should do. We were yet to hatch a plan, but I asked Linda, and Alice to keep their hopes alive and to ourselves for the time. Linda noticed the girl she was brought in with, she went over to her corner to chat with her, Alice stood up to take a peek through the crack in the window above her, the other girls who were awake were chatting with each other.
As I sat down to concentrate and think I quickly surveyed the room, now clearly visible with daylight, it had two adjacent windows, tinted, with built in burglary proofs, one door which was locked and opened from outside, the floor looked like it was recently cemented in some areas. I noticed the room was an old one and specially built as a fortress, though some of the woods holding the ceiling were beginning to fall off, the ceiling still had burglary proof fitted to it. Just as I was about to give up finding any weakness in the building, which could aid escaping, I saw a crack in an unnoticeable part of the room, the crack showed that the room was actually made with mud and plastered with cement as a facade.
Everyone sat up with fear when we heard someone opening the door, it was Terror, he came without any mask, still putting on a red singlet, he looked sternly and slowly at everyone of us, then he laughed long and hard, I felt anger mixed with fear in my heart. Terror suddenly stopped laughing, reached into the bag he carried and threw miserable looking loaves of bread at each of us, he reached outside the door, and brought in a gallon and a cup, he dumped them in the center of the room, then he mimicked a girl’s voice and said “be kindly affectionate one to another, this is all you’ll get for the next three days”, he roared the most heinous laughter I’ve ever heard, as he walked out of the room.
My mind began to beat fast, sweat broke from my forehead, the words three days, rang again and again in my mind. I could not clearly imagine what would happen to us, I had no idea at the time, but now I knew I had a time limit to get out of the captivation, or I would remain bound for an uncertain and clearly unpleasant future. Time was running, but I was still without a plan, I was confused, frightened and bitter. I looked up to see Alice and Linda approaching with another girl, Linda introduced her as Kate, the person she was brought in with, the night she was captured. We exchanged pleasantries, and I tried to find out her story, she just said she was captured the same night with Linda. Linda suggested we should all work together to see if we could escape. Now we were four, so I decided to tell them my secret, so we could work with that.
We all drew closer, paying serious attention, as I began to speak in hushed tones, telling them how I hid my phone in my underwear. I brought it out for them to see, the girls could not hide their excitement, Kate was the first to ask what we would do with it. But I was hoping we could work with the phone to hatch a rescue or escape plan. Alice asked to see the phone, I gave it to her, she put it on, then she smiled and said she had a plan, all of us became even more attentive, Alice then made us understand that the phone had a GPS application, and so could read the exact position of our location. I had never thought of this, as I never really took time to understand the several functions of the phone. Alice said all we had to do was send the location from the phone as an SOS message to a police number. As we contemplated which number to send it to, Terror came in with one other rough looking man about his age.
Looking at each girl from head to toe, they rested their eyes on Kate, they looked at each other, made a nod sign, moved to where Kate was sitting with us, and dragged her up and out of the room, amidst cries of fear and pity form the rest of the girls. As we consoled ourselves and decided to go on with our plan, Terror came in alone and dragged away Alice, now we became disturbed and worried. When she came back after about 15 mins, she was crying bitterly, when she stopped crying, she told us they searched her and collected the phone, our expected means of escape, we asked her of Kate, she told us she saw Kate sitting in one of the rooms, but she also told us that she heard some of our captors saying they were expecting their boss the next day, after which we’ll be sent to exile.
I began to think immediately, I now strongly suspected that Kate was against us, I told Alice and Linda my thoughts and they agreed with me. We decided not to shove her off when she was brought back, we decided rather to test her once more, feeding her wrong information. Our little group dispersed after our brief discussion.
As I sat down, our uncertain fate dawned on me, and it was dreadful from all indications. I cried silently, that was when I remembered to pray, I prayed and told God to help me and my friends escape from the captivation, after praying, I felt some real peace. Not quite 20 minutes after, Kate was brought back to the room, she went to Linda, crying as she muttered unintelligent words, from where I sat, I could see her crying, but I noticed no tears on her cheeks. Just as I turned away from them, I looked at corner of the room, where some debris was carelessly packed, I noticed something among the debris, almost hidden under a cement bag was a trowel, I looked away again this time my eyes rested on the crack in the wall. Like lightening a thought flashed through my mind, I smiled, as I realized all hope was not lost.
We gathered together again in the evening, I quickly asked Kate what happened when she was taken out by Terror, she said they manhandled her and where about raping her when in order to free herself, as she claimed, she offered to tell them our secret, then they dumped her and came for Alice. We sympathized with her but we still suspected her. I told them not to lose hope, I however decided not to inform them of my thoughts yet with Kate still present. I however asked them to hold hands so we could pray, we held hands and prayed, I asked God to give us peace and wisdom to survive the ordeal. Every other person went to sleep, but I could not sleep, I kept thinking of how to escape from the prison we were in.
It was very dark, I was not sure of the time when I looked outside, but through the window, I could see three men sleeping on chairs, surrounded by empty bottles of beer, with a faint lamp under the table. It was quite dark I couldn’t see their faces, but I could see they were not moving at all, I could hear their snores from the distance, so I was sure they were deep asleep. I looked around, inside our room, every other person was asleep. I carefully collected the trowel, went over to the cracked spot on the wall and began my work. As I put the trowel in the crack and applied some force, a large chunk of cement fell off, revealing even more of the mud within. I smiled, but I could not do much as I was afraid of waking everyone up. I used a carton from the debris to cover the work and went to sleep right beside it.
In the morning, I called Alice and told her of the newest development, her giggling attracted stares from the other girls, who were grumbling for hunger. Alice went over to tell Linda, after I cautioned her to be discreet about it and to leave Kate out of the plans at the moment. Linda looked at me and smiled as Alice related the news to her, she gave me a thumb up from where she sat, and I reciprocated in smile and gesture.