...voyage of terror
I woke up in haste, jumped off my bed with my eyes set on my fast ticking wall clock.
Gosh! I over slept my mind blamed me. I had much to do today that every given second is exceedingly precious. Yesterday my uncle had called from Lagos, in respect to a package that has been sent to him and my parents from our uncle in Spain, through a mailing company and since the company it was sent through for security purposes had only one depot in Onitsha i had to travel down to Onitsha this morning, locate the office, retrieve the package and get to Enugu before it is five o’ clock. I also need to send my uncle in Lagos his own part of the package today by any means because according to him, his part of the package is very essential to the business he wants to run the next day. Bottom-line; today is gonna be stressful.
After a fast freshening up, I set off for my journey. As I was advised, i went down to a transportation company and boarded a vehicle headed for Onitsha.
It was a smooth journey to Onitsha; the driver was really cautious and experienced. There was no event that gave rise to fast heartbeat of any kind. I was busy chatting with friends online that i was a bit surprised when we reached Onitsha.
Finally when i got to Onitsha; and annoyingly, It took me two whole hours to locate the office where i will retrieve the package. Well that’s what i get for boarding an aboki’s bike. He practically hardly understands English and knows nowhere in Onitsha. We had to ask for directions every three minutes to know where we are and the direction to head. It was so annoying judging that i had much to do in a really slim time space.
But finally after a handful of running around and stressed inquiries i made it to my destination and paid the aboki bike man (who was actually expecting me to add extra money on his money out of sympathy, but i was too pissed off that i even wanted to reduce the discussed price).
I got into the office and it was something else. Too many customers with very few staffs; There was a whole lot of people waiting to get attended to, so i had to wait another two hours before i got the attention i needed.
By the time i collected the package it was already four o’ clock, and the office at Enugu that i was supposed to send my uncle package through closes by six. I had to leave Onitsha for Enugu a.s.a.p.
I made my way to a major road hoping to see any major transportation company around, but there was none close. When i asked for directions on how to get to anywhere i could find one, i was asked to take another bus to a place they called upper iweka.
As i waited for a bus to iweka, a bus came through with its conductor hollering for Enugu passengers. I knew it wasn’t a bus from a company, and contrary to what i was advised, i decided to join the bus judging that i was already late.
The bus was almost full, so i didn’t hesitate to board the vehicle since it won’t waste more time looking for passengers.
Within minutes, the bus was full and we hit the road. I was seated between a boy and a girl; the guy to my left close to the window, and the girl to my right. As we travelled the girl to my right kept making and answering calls. With the way she sounded on phone, she was rich and arrogant and when she’s not on the phone talking, she was singing loudly to the songs playing from her iPod which she has its earpiece tightly fixed to hers with not less than three ear-rings dangling from it.
Meanwhile, the guy on my left was trying to start a conversation with me. He talked to me about almost everything he noticed in the bus or saw on the highway. My mind was accordingly on my task and with the annoying girl seated beside me; the pressure was much that i had to start conversing with the guy to get my mind off things.
During the course of our convo i got deeply engaged that i wasn’t conscious of any other thing happening around me. Sam (the guy i was conversing with) was even my school mate, he schools in Enugu but the parents stays in Asaba. So we went on discussing our school matters.
The conversation lasted that i was absolutely absorbed into it. I snapped back to ultra reality when i started hearing random voices on high tone complaining. I randomly swung my head around to get a glimpse of what was really going down in the bus. The bus driver had taken an unusual turn into a village which wasn’t the normal route to our destination and it gave rise to a rebel among the passengers.
I really don’t know that route well so at this point i really didn’t know what to say. So i turned to Sam expecting some kind of explanation since he didn’t complain, maybe he knows the route the driver was trying to ply. But all i could get from Sam while the driver was trying to convince us there was a shortcut there was ‘calm down’.
Sam repeated that sentence ‘calm down’ so much i couldn’t be calm. The girl to my right was busy threatening the driver, promising to get him arrested if she got robbed in the bid of going through the ‘so-called’ shortcut.
I was just calm, because i couldn’t even remember the route i went through when coming to Onitsha.
As we travelled deeper into this village, some passengers started raising their voices really far above the ground demanding the driver should stop and drop them at that point that they were no longer interested in finishing the journey with the bus.
This was when i got the shock of my life. ‘Sam’ the so called student of my school with 1/3rd of the passengers in the bus sitting at designated positions pulled out exciting weapons and ordered everyone in the bus to silence.
I was so shocked that i nervously called on him. He slapped me so hard my eyeballs nearly fell out of its socket. I and every other passenger in that bus didn’t utter another word.
We were ordered to bend our heads and close our eyes. As my eyes were closed with my head in-between my laps i was literary sweating through my ears. I was so scared i could feel my spirit leaving my body.
Sam was steadily holding a gun to my head and with the way he switch from a calm voiced charming young man to a harsh voiced terrifying goon, he could burry a bullet in my oblongata if i made a wrong move so i tried hard to keep a steady position even when the vehicle went through potholes and bumpy roads.
Finally, the bus came to halt and the engine was turned off. We were asked to maintain our positions and we were all blindfolded and then led to an apparent dark room because the rays and reflection of light were lost where our hands and legs were tightly trussed to a terrible discomfort.
We were left there for like an hour for our fear to eat us up inside and their plan really worked because within that hour everyone in that room with the males inclusive cried at least once and i don’t know about others but i peed on myself twice.
The girl that was sitting beside me in the bus was busy threatening fire and brimstone. Announcing what she could do and what would happen to the goons if they touched her, possibly to the hearing of the goons because we were locked up in a room and we don’t have an idea of who’s next door.
We weren’t even asked to shut up at first when we were brought to that terrifying room, which means even if we shouted it would be of no use because we were in the middle of nowhere.
There was so much noise coming from the room where we were that the binds were removed from our eyes and placed on our mouths.
After a few moments they started coming to take us one by one to the next room. I couldn’t figure out what was going down in the next room but i heard harsh voices yelling and another (possibly the hostage) crying.
After a designated time, some of the people picked were brought back terribly wounded, weak and almost dead that those of us still waiting to be picked can’t get to find out what really happened to them.
When that girl mouthing off saw the condition of the ones who were brought back, she snapped to reality and recognised what she was up for. The ones who weren’t brought back were possibly dead. I’ve heard of kidnaps and have travelled far and wide but never knew this journey could take me this far. Now I’m in this dark room against my plight, time to stay focused and think of an escape plan.
They started picking from those close to the door. When those of us close to the door noticed they started changing their positions and left the goons with the choice of random picks.
When it was her time, she couldn’t more or less than cry as loud as she could. And never came back.
The picks continued consistently for the next hour. It was time to accept my fate since i couldn’t think of an escape plan. But who am i kidding? I’m not Michael Scofield.
At this time I’ve made peace with my fate. I knew this time around I’m not going to be as lucky as I’ve been in my previous ugly incidents. I was ready for whatever.
Finally, it was my turn. I was taken to the room.
As i walked into the dim lighted room with hefty men standing at random points, i was so relaxed that it showed on my face that I’ve made peace with myself after crying and leaving my eyes swollen.
The first person i saw as i raised up my head was Sam. It really showed on his face that he cared less.
I was seated right in the middle of the room and questioned.
These guys were making random kidnaps hopping to get a relative of a top shot who can pay a fat ransom.
Well with me, it was their unlucky day because there was nobody in my family willing to pay anything for my release.
In the middle of my interrogation, the strangest thing happened.
Everyone in the room rushed out in excitement after the heard the sound of a vehicle drive in. It was like they’ve been really hoping high and anticipating for the arrival of that vehicle like it’s a pirate ship from a treasure island.
At first i didn’t realize i was left totally alone in that room since I’ve given up on hope.
But as i remembered my boyfriend, my mom, my siblings and loved ones, serious crave for life and survival ran through my blood stream again.
This was when i realized that i was in that room alone. I became scared again. My heartbeat multiplied. I needed to facilitate my escape a.s.a.p.
This is not my first time of being in a similar distress of life and death. I’ve survived this kind of situation twice. I became very positive.
I made a move immediately. There was wooden old-modelled window in the room. I stood up after unbinding my hands and legs and moved towards the window, i saw a basket of phones by the window; i dipped my hand swiftly and grabbed my phone.
I slowly opened the window and looked outside; there was another bus in the compound, an executive bus like the one far travellers board. Then i realized why they ran out that way. This bus must have been carrying potential travellers with higher possibility of getting bigger ransoms.
They were deeply carried away, so after a little hesitation, i climbed through the window and found myself outside a village setting. As a matter of fact, there were virtually no houses around. The building i was locked up in was the only building there surrounded by a very thick forest.
I didn’t bother reasoning why someone would build a house in a forest and made a swift run for the forest.
Flinging my heels in diverse direction as i ran into the forest; tearing through the thick forest like Schwarzenegger in commando. The pressure of my bare feet on dry sticks broke them; cutting wounds on my flesh at the same time as the cracking of the woods made continuous sounds that quickly enlightened the goon about my motion towards emancipation.
They quickly got the picture in hurriedly came after me. It was hell, having those goons on my own tail.
I pushed swiftly through the forest towards an unprecedented destination with the goons on my tail with a higher velocity hoping to find help somehow.
It was like i was running with my eyes closed. I ran into sharp grasses which tore my skin carelessly and bumped into trees which will definitely give my forehead physical bumps if i eventually survive this night. I stayed positive.
At a point my energy loss started telling on me. I was soaked with thick sweats breathing heavily and couldn’t lift my feet an inch more.
I lost my last drop of hope since i couldn’t find help and was exceedingly exhausted to a pause. So i helplessly lay flat on the ground waiting for my devourers.
It was just seconds before i started hearing sounds of running feet and cracking dry woods. My end is nigh; cause with the kind of stress i put these men through i wasn’t hoping on going back to holding alive.
It was at that moment that it struck me that all hope wasn’t really lost. There was a huge tree right in front of me and the idea was to climb.
Although i don’t have a history of climbing trees, this was my last hope. So as the goons drew closer, i sluggishly dragged myself up and ascended the tree.
I got really scared as i was just half way up with my slippery sweaty hands when the goons made it to the spot. I paused so i wouldn’t make a sound that will draw their attention. But just like in the movies, magically, they annoying stopped at this point and decided to break into two teams for thorough searching of the forest.
As they divided themselves up, i started slipping down involuntarily. I made efforts to imply a harder grip repeatedly which paid off by slowing down the slide until the goons left.
I pushed up quickly like an experienced monkey and made a balance at the top of the tree and watched the torchlight of the enemy fade into the thick forest. Then my mind started working on me. I thought of my past experiences and couldn’t do more than cry silently until i feel asleep.
I was spotted the next morning by some women going to their various farmlands. ‘It was a village after all’ my mind relived. I climbed down with the help of the young men the women called. I slowly narrated my story.
As they villagers went in search of the goons. I quietly sort a way out of there. I already had enough drama already. For the next two days, I’m going to be in a serious shock as usual.
By Nnagoziem ‘The Vyrus’ Udensi