Click here to read the previous chapter Walk In The Dark, Walk In The Dark: Episode 2, Walk In The Dark: Episode 3, Walk In The Dark: Episode 4, Walk In The Dark: Episode 5, Walk In The Dark: Episode 6, Walk In The Dark: Episode 7, Walk In The Dark: Episode 8 and Walk In The Dark: Episode 9
The man stood before the door, his gun raised and ready to shoot, on either side of the door stood two men, each with a gun, their fingers to the trigger. The first guy tried the door and when it wouldn’t budge, he leaned back and brought the full weight of his foot to bear on the door sending it crashing inward and in one swift movement, rolled into the room, his gun raised and scanning the empty room before him.
He motioned the others to come in and they did; cautiously, their schooled eyes browsing and taking in every detail of the scantily furnished house. Three doors and a corridor, the first guy motioned them towards two of them and himself went for the third.
This room, was empty, unlike the outer room, there were no furniture’s but there were signs that someone or some people had lived here at one time. The room reeked of human sweat and waste, the floor littered with food particles. Most of the wall had been blackened by touch, he let his gun drop to his waist as he proceeded into the room.
This was definitely a cell of some sort, the windows were heavily protected and the window pane painted over to avoid eyes prying in or looking out.
There was a gaping hole in the ceiling; the only source of ventilation in the room. After a few more moments, he left the room to join the others in the outer room.
“Mine was empty.”
“Mine was empty too but there are signs that at one time people were being kept in there.” The leader whispered, the name on his badge read Efretei.
Efretei signaled the other two toward the unlit corridor, they proceeded quietly down the corridor, there were two doors; the first led into an unkempt toilet and they let out a collective gasp when the second door was opened to reveal what lay behind.
“…they found the house? No one was in there? Okay sir. Thank you so much for this sir.” Mama Shola said before hanging up the phone.
She came to seat beside Baba Shola, whose face was buried deep in a newspaper pretending not to be paying attention to his wife’s conversation.
“Ife mi (My love). That was Major Collins, he and his boys are in a forest in the outskirts of Lagos. They have found the house where Ade was kept but he was not there.”
“Mmm.” He hummed, before putting aside the newspaper. “They will be found soon, those men have no place to hide. They have been discovered.” Baba Shola said, putting his arm around his wife. He was scared but he knew he had to be strong for his family, no use getting hysterical. He had not had a decent night’s rest in three weeks, every night he woke up soaked in sweat and always said a silent prayer to God to protect his son. This was one temptation that he and his family would come out of stronger.
He felt his wife begin to quiver and soon started to cry, her hot tears soaking his immaculate white vest. He could feel his eyes start to well up, he batted them back, biting his lower lip at the effort it took to keep them back.
Altogether there were three human hands and feet, three heads, livers, three hearts and three tongues. Efretei had been in the army for more than ten years, ever since his twenty fifth birthday but what he saw behind that second door, sent cold shivers coursing down his spine. He could feel the goose bumps on his skin, his colleagues were not faring any better; their horror was etched like a sign on their forehead, as they surveyed the horrid sight before them.
They had radioed in their position and by now there were half a dozen soldiers searching the vicinity of the building and they soon discovered several mass graves containing torsos, some were decomposed, others had been dead for long and all that remained were bleached bones.
“Over here, I have found something!” Came the voice from somewhere inside the bushes, prompting the rest of the soldiers to move towards him.
Nkechi touched the painful lump at the back of her head and winched as the pain shot through her body. She was disoriented and could not remember anything past her day on the farm, so she was surprised to find Bello and his goons at her place.
Her head was spinning and she was having a hard time keeping her eye open and was constantly drifting between the darkness and day.
Bello shook her hard as she drifted once again into darkness. “Where them go?!”
“Who?” Nkechi asked groggy, her eyes barely open.
“The kids, where them dey?!” Bello barked.
“I no know, I no know wetin you dey talk about.”
Bello pushed her hard back to the floor and stormed out of the hut.
“Let’s go, we have wasted too much time for here!” He cast one last look at Nkechi who lay motionless on the floor of the hut and walked away into the bushes.
The path was dark and ominous but they had no choice but to move on. They huddled close to each other for reassurance. The bright sun blanketed by the thick branches and leaves of trees they had never seen before. The sun only visible through pockets of space between the leaves creating a sight reminiscent of angels descending, like in the movies. The forest was alive with the sound, the sounds of animals and insects, chirping and cooing away at the passage of time.
They were beginning to hear the faint sounds of the outside world, once in a while they would hear the faint honking of a horn or the zooming sound of a vehicle; strengthening their resolve that they were getting ever closer to freedom.
After they had left the hut of the woman who had given them food, they waited to see if Bello and his men would show up and sure enough they did; all of them! And they were carrying sophisticated weapons that put the fear of God in their hearts. They slowly backed into the forest and continued their escape.
Snap!!! That was all Ade heard before the pain traversed his slim frame, a guttural scream leaving his mouth before he bunched over, clutching at his feet. His leg had been caught in a beer trap. He writhed in pain as the others gathered around their leader, gasping as they saw the source of his pain. Ade was moaning uncontrollably now, his face buried in fallen leaves and dirt.
“Lemme see it.” Musa said in his thick Hausa accent. He bent closer to look at the trap; it was locally made, hence easier to unlock. He sighed before turning to the others, “hold him.”
When he was sure Ade was secured, he proceeded to push down on the lock on either side, allowing the giant teeth on around Ade’s leg to ease open. When the mouth was wide enough, Ade pulled his leg free, blood sprouting from his gaping wound as he did. Kemi gasped as some of it hit her.
Musa quickly tore a sleeve from Ade’s shirt and tied it over the wound to minimize the bleeding.
“Can you walk?'”Kemi asked.
“I can try.” Ade said through gritted teeth and with the help of Musa and Kemi, managed to get on feet, holding on to Kemi for balance.
Musa fashioned out clutches from a tree branch and gave it to him. They waited for him to rest a bit and continued on their journey.
Every step felt like torture to Ade but he soldiered on, he had slowed the team down enough and could not afford to waste any more time again.
Samuel remembered that incident like it was yesterday. He and his younger sister Oiza, had been playing in front of their house. They had just finished having lunch and their mother had let them go outside to play a while as she often did when she wanted to concentrate on her work; she was a teacher.
That faithful day, Oiza and him were playing on the swing their father had made using ropes and an old tire secured to a tree branch, when a man they never seen before approached them, offering to buy them sweet, if they could show him the house of a man whose name Samuel had forgotten over the years.
The man scared Samuel and he warned his older sister not to approach the stranger but she; stubborn as ever, refused and walked up to the man, just as she got within an arm’s length of him, the stranger grabbed her and darted away. Samuel rushed inside to go get his mother but before they could come out, the man and his sister were long gone.
He will never forget the horrific scream that left his mother’s lips as she crumbled to the floor, rolling in the lush green grass that grew in their yard. His mother’s scream drew sympathizers but there was nothing to be done, Oiza was gone.
His parent’s marriage was never the same after that incident and they divorced soon after. His mother never remarried but his father did and was blessed with two more kids; Samuel’s step brother and sister.
His mother became a shell of herself, often blaming herself for Oiza kidnapping and the failure of her marriage. Samuel would often find her murmuring to herself and soon she lost her job and became even more withdrawn. She died a couple of years later of a heart attack, leaving Samuel only with the image of a broken woman, who once was happy.
So as Sergeant Samuel, walked through the bushes, he knew this mission was personal to him. He was on a personal vendetta on those who were responsible for breaking up his family and killing his mom.