Since there was no pictures to display of his missing child, they had to place adverts on newspapers of his story and how he had lost his son. When they waited for some time and that yielded no fruit at all except that people called to sympathize with him and to wish him luck in his search, none of them indicated being familiar with the story or that they had found a missing boy 26 years ago.
The policeman whose name was Mubarak, a young guy from Katsina state had made sure he took proper care of him even though he was not that buoyant financially either. Mazi Nnamdi for the first time in his life noticed that being a policeman was a job only the brave did since they had to work 24hrs a day, 7 days a week and yet only being paid a meagre salary. It is unlike any other job, when a doctor is owed a month’s salary, he could go on strike, likewise teachers and even menial labourers but a policeman could be owed ten months’ salary but he will still have to continue working like an Hausa man’s donkey.
He had always hated the police because of their twenty naira bribery escapades and how they sometimes brutalized the innocent civilians but after meeting Mubarak, his perception of them changed. all they needed was to be treated well, to be paid what they deserved since it was frustration and poverty that led them into what they were doing which had given them bad reputation among the masses.
Mubarak came back home that day to meet the old man cooking something he had never seen before…
Mubarak: “Ah baba! What are you cooking?” he asked with smiles all over his face.
Mazi Nnamdi: “You came back early today o. what happened?” he asked ignoring his question.
Mubarak: “They have granted me leave at last, just two days leave” he replied removing his shoes and uniform and throwing them on the old sofa in the sitting room. The kitchen was adjoined to the sitting room.
Mazi Nnamdi: “After how many months. Your job na wa o”
Mubarak: “wetin man go do? we still have to do it, if we don’t, who will? So what are you cooking?” he entered the kitchen at last.
Mazi Nnamdi: “I am cooking an Igbo delicacy for you since you have refused to get married”
Mubarak: “Get married? Where will I get the money to take care of her? I have vowed to die a bachelor”
Mazi Nnamdi: “Shiior. Even if your salary is not enough, you should marry an educated girl who is hard working. She will be contributing to your meagre earning too. Two will always be better than one. Well I am cooking a soup called ofe onugbu. When I am done, you will beg me to continue cooking it for you everyday”
Mubarak: “I cannot wait. Can’t remember the last time I ate good food in this earth. You are heaven sent baba” he went closer and made to hug him from the back but he shied away from his embrace.
Mazi Nnamdi: “Mr Man go and get married before you start looking for an old man to hug. And I have something I need to tell you. I am planning to go back home soon”
Mubarak: “What? Why? But you haven’t found him yet? I mean we haven’t put in our best in the search yet. Please stay a little longer, we will intensify our search don’t worry”
Mazi Nnamdi: “I am already a burden to you my dear. You have tried all your best. You have spent a lot already even though you don’t have. Let me go back home and pray to my Chi to bring him back on his own”
Mubarak: “You cannot give up like that. We will go to a TV station tomorrow now that I am on leave. I have a friend there who has decided to put you on his Saturday night show. Please don’t give up, think about your wife” he pleaded with him hoping he would change his mind.
Suzan Snr: “Hmmmmmm… this is really serious o. what do we do? Who do we run to now? This is going to kill us financially hope you know that?”
Suzan: “Yes I know but my husband’s life is more important than our wealth right? I cannot live without him, I cannot breathe without him mum” she paced up and down in the living room, unable to get her thoughts straight.
Abodunrin: “This is really serious indeed. The problem now is who will buy the business in three days? How do we get someone who will be ready to buy and pay in cash in three days?” he contributed worriedly.
Suzan Snr: “I have been thinking about that too. Should we beg them to accept 5million when they call again? I definitely know that is the amount we have right now. There is no hope out of this situation. 20million naira? That is outrageous” she looked up to Abodunrin for help but all she saw there was helplessness too.
Abodunrin: “Excuse me please. I need to get to the rest room” he said and hurriedly walked away.
Another day passed by with no one even knocking on the window of the room he was kept in even though he heard chit-chattering of people outside who didn’t sound like his abductors. They had returned after day break that day and had emptied their bladders into his bowel with their early morning semen and all. He had begged for his life but that had only succeeded in making them more excited.
They had stripped him naked to examine his anus but when they noticed that it was not wide like they had expected, they let him go talking about him still being a virgin and laughing hysterically. They had spanked his bare ass and used their belts on him with his mouth taped so any sound he made was be muffled. When they had gotten tired humiliating him, calling him filthy names and bartering his body, they had left him be again and gone back to where their main apartment was at.
It started getting dark again, that was his second day with them without water or food, only their waste products forming waste product in his own bladder too. He was almost dying of thirst, his head began to spin and his head reel. He prayed silently for help to come from nowhere, he prayed silently for him to live to tell story of what he was passing through at that moment. He prayed and prayed but only darkness responded to his prayers with more chirpings of night animals.
He was just about to lay back and close his eyes so he could die in his sleep when he heard banging on the door from outside. Someone was trying to force the door open. He sat up immediately and started making muffled sounds so as to make whoever was outside know someone was really inside. He tried and tried but then, everything went silent again…
Her phone vibrated violently and when she checked it, it was another unknown caller. She picked it with a quivering hand, looking from her mum to Abodunrin.
Caller: “It is tomorrow, hope you have not forgotten? I will let you know where to take the money to so just wait for my call tomorrow”
Suzan: “Okay but please we have been able to raise only 10million naira. Can you accept that please?”
The line went silent for a minute or two…
Caller: “Okay. Just thank your stars that I am in a good mood today or I could have just killed him right away for the boldness you just portrayed in negotiating with me. Wait for my call tomorrow” he said and the line went dead immediately.
Suzan: “He has accepted 10million” she said and heaved a sigh of relief.
The banging continued and all of a sudden, he door flew open and two men walked in. he was only able to see their silhouette as they had just one dim flashlight which could not even illuminate the room properly. One walked over to him and yanked him up to his feet.
Question: Are the two men an answer to his prayers or just part of another dangerous scheme of his abductors? Will Mazi Nnamdi listen to Mubarak and try a little harder?
Final episode coming up in 30hours…
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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