I looked at him for some information after he had asked the man to get his men together and surround the area to make sure the man did not escape but to also stay out of sight since it could be a false alarm but when none came, I had to ask “Who was that?”
Derek: “One of the officers posted to Kiyi Banara; a suburban area in Kuje. He said he saw a suspicious looking man and a young girl there this noon”
Anita: “We have to check it out as soon as possible. No! We have to go there right away. Please make a U-turn already” she said .
Derek: “There is no need for that dear” he chuckled stepping harder on the accelerator.
Anita: “But why?” I looked at him unbelievably. “A child’s life is at stake here and you are saying no need?” it was unimaginable.
Derek: “There is no need to turn back because we are headed there right now. This road leads there too and it is the shortest route. Do not worry my wild cat. We will save our girl”
Anita: “I see! Why didn’t you just say that in the first place? How can you be so naughty” I asked trying as much as possible to conceal my embarrassment but of course he must have known I was since he gave me that knowing smile of his again.
Rose: “So what are you waiting for? Aren’t we going to get on with it already?” I asked when he only sat down on the mat, blowing breeze on himself after endlessly sharpening the same axe he had used before.
Man: “I am not in a hurry my dear girl so you shouldn’t be too. Didn’t you say you were going to enjoy every bit of it with me? I am enjoying it already so why aren’t you?”
Rose: “You are really a psycho. I wonder how God allows men like you to continue breathing fresh air with the normal humans. You are not normal at all” she sighed and shook her head.
Man: “Yes I know I am not normal. I am not disputing that my dear. Knowing I am not normal is what drives me, knowing I am different from the rest of you who think you are good just because you are not acting on your dark desires makes me feel special” he defended himself.
Rose: “Oh dear! How does acting on your dark desires make you feel special? You are so twisted beyond repair”
Man: “Yes I am twisted my girl. I am twisted and I know I am twisted, I love being twisted, I love being extra ordinary or paranormal or abnormal or whatever you want to call it. Now let me tell you something, there are two sides to every coin, when you throw it up, only one side will turn up and the other side down. Now people are like that too. We all have two sides: the good and the bad side and only those who wholly embrace their two true nature are the true humans. Sometimes I can be good and sometime bad depending on which side turns up. Right now my good side is up and that is why we are having this conversation”
Rose: “I should be grateful then? But to think of it, a part of that theory of yours does not apply to humans and that is why there are good and bad people. You can choose to turn off your bad side totally and let the good in you wholly be in charge. Even at this young age of mine, life has dished out bad experiences that adults will find daunting on me yet I have never thought of paying it back in its own coin. You are not wise, I can see wisdom is not by age and yeah age is just a number. You should read more books, you obviously need it”
Man: “Oh wise one! Today will mark the end of that wisdom of yours. Now tell me, of what use will it be to you in the grave while the foolish ones like me roam around free?”
Rose: “I feel like I could start liking you if we keep up with this conversation so just keep your mouth shut”
Man: “You are rude child and I like you already but I will still kill you. I need to feed my ego. Not just that, I have to keep you silent forever, you will do me no good being alive” he paused for a minute, listening to a sound that was not there or maybe he did hear a sound. “Why do I feel there are eyes watching us? I need to check out this surrounding again” he said, peeped out and rushed back inside. “Oh my God, they are outside. I have to do something and fast” he reached for me but stopped in his track.
“If I drag her along, they will come for us. I have to pretend as if I am going to ease myself then crawl out of sight. She might start screaming any moment too and that will be the end of me” he seemed to be in a very deep thought as he kept mumbling unintelligibly. The funniest part was I had no intention of screaming, I was ready for whatever was coming my way.
He looked around the room, sighted a bunch of dirty old looking cloths piled at a corner and walked hurriedly towards them with his knife, cut a long piece from it and came back to me. He tied the piece tightly around my mouth and my nose then relaxed.
Man: “You can now enjoy it all by yourself, but I am afraid I might not be here to enjoy it with you” He looked so innocent all of a sudden wearing it like an old comfortable shoes.
He walked out, walked for a while and said loudly “I want to ease myself girl. Will be back in a jiffy” he probably said this that loud so whoever was watching would hear him loud and clear.
I was surprised to see a village as remote as that in Abuja. It took us more than thirty minutes to reach there despite the speed we were on and the fact that there was no traffic jam. He called out the men but only one of them came out…
Derek: “Where are the rest of your men?” he asked as discreetly as he could. “And where is the house”
Officer: “Over there” he replied pointing at a little round hut which I’m sure will not be able to accommodate five people.
Derek: “And the rest of your men?” he asked, checking out the direction the officer pointed .
Officer: “They went after him” he replied looking down.
Derek: “What? You mean you let him slide through your fingers? A man we have being searching for, for the past one month?” he couldn’t believe that trained police officers could be that foolish.
Officer: “We heard him say he wanted to go ease himself. We didn’t know he had already noticed us. When we realised that he was taking too long, the men went after him”
Derek: “Damn it! And the girl?”
Officer: “She was not with him sir”
Anita: “Did you check the hut?” I had to say something, I wouldn’t forgive myself if anything had actually happened to the girl.
Officer: “Not yet ma’am, we were waiting for him” he replied casting Derek a glance.
We both looked at each other and bounded for the hut with one trying to outrun the other. He never really got to beat me in a race before. I got there before him and on the floor, sprawled Rose, her nose and mouth were covered with a piece of cloth knotted tightly at the back and she looked lifeless…
I slowed to a walk immediately I saw her like that while he ran to her, removed the piece of cloth around her face, bent over her and started giving her CPR, when she did not stir, he gave her mouth to mouth and went back to CPR. He stopped felt her pulse again then returned to giving her mouth to mouth. I could not bear the look of things, I could not bear seeing her, someone who was my responsibility in such state. I walked out trying to stifle the sob that was just at the corner of my mouth with my right hand.
The officer strutted towards me with unsure steps, grimacing when he saw Derek dash out with Rose sprawled across his arms and rushing to towards the car. He must have been praying in his heart that she was not going to die because that would mean his and his team’s doom. I felt they were not a competent bunch and probably so did Derek as he cast him an angry look when he had finally placed her gently on the passenger seat while he held the door open for him. I climbed in and placed her head gently on my laps.
Anita: “Is she going to be okay?” I asked looking at him from the rearview mirror as he brought the engine to life and sped off the dusty road leading to the express. I needed assurance and more reassurance. I felt her pulse and got a very faint movement and heaved a sigh of relief knowing that at least she was still somewhere in there.
Derek: “Yes she is going to be fine. There is no need fidgeting over her dear”
Anita: “Oh thank God. She could have died if you hadn’t done all those”
Derek: “I am glad I took extra classes in first aid treatment anyway. It came really handy today. As for the psycho, I just pray the guys would get him. If not they will be in a really deep shit in my hands. How can a bunch of trained police intelligence officers not be able to nab one man and let him slip in between their fingers?” he was way beyond angry, he was also disappointed.
Anita: “Let’s just pray this girl survives this first. Now I am just remembering I still need to face my boss, this is going to be a serious issue as Henry is hell bent on kicking me off this case so he can have his way and I can’t let that happen”
Derek: “Too bad you didn’t allow me to kick the idiot in the butt the day I got the chance to. I don’t know why I have always not like him but I think I do now. He is a pain in the ass like you just said” he chuckled.
Anita: “Oh thanks for the kind gesture. Can you concentrate on the road now? We need to get the lass admitted in the hospital as soon as possible and please concentrate on the road”
I woke up with a splitting headache, wondering where I was until I saw the face of a nurse and tried to remember what had happened after he left and how I got to where I was but all I could remember was him walking away and then me gasping for air. I wondered if he had been caught. I wondered who got me to the hospital, could it have been the good people of the village? Who did he see that made him
flee like that? I saw a tall and slender lady scramble to her feet wearily and walked towards me. On a second glance, I realised it was Miss Anita.
Anita: “How are you feeling now?” she asked looking at me so intently.
Rose: “I am fine thank you. I think I should go back to the house now since I am really worn out” I noticed for the first time that I wasn’t wearing my sweater and the wounds I inflicted on myself along my arms had being bandaged neatly. I felt so embarrassed”
Anita: “Did he also do all those to you?” she asked gesturing at my bandaged arms.
Rose: “That is none of your business. I said I want to go home” I yelled but felt sorry I did immediately when I took in her disoriented look. She looked so tired and worn out I felt she should be the one lying on the bed and not me. “I am sorry” the words rolled out of my mouth in quick succession.
Anita: “It is okay. It is too late to go back home now. We will head back to town first thing tomorrow morning. I just needed to be sure you were safe” she said gently.
I regretted that I was being pitied so much and taken care of like a stray puppy-well I guess I was a stray puppy indeed.
That night after we had gotten her admitted at Kuje general hospital, Derek had tried his best to persuade me into going back home…
Derek: “Just take a careful look at yourself. You look terrific, you need a cold shower and a change of cloth. Please go home to take care of yourself then come back tomorrow for her since the doctor said she will be okay by tomorrow”
Anita: “No I cannot do that. Just imagine how he sneaked into a house which had security guards at every corner of it. How much more a hospital like this? I need to be here myself to be sure she is safe”
Derek: “Isnt that why I will be sending police officers down here?”
Anita: “I don’t trust them. They might sleep off in front of her door giving him the chance to strike. As far as I know, he is hell bent on killing her and I can’t let that happen” I argued contumaciously.
Derek: “What will happen to her if you happen to break down and get hospitalized too?”
Anita: “Then I will neither break down nor get hospitalized. I am fine Dee. You can just go back home okay? I will really be fine”
Derek: “Well I am going nowhere too. Do not worry, we will both keep a look out for our psycho here. I can’t let you face him all alone especially when the officers fall asleep in front of the door” he had replied sarcastically.
Anita: “That is so gentlemanly of you. We will owe you our lives then our prince in shining armour” I replied with the same gusto. I just couldn’t imagine why life would deal such a young girl such a hard blow.
After I was done speaking with her when she woke up, I felt so relieved but very tired. Derek was at the door, keep watch. I stepped out and saw him standing by the window at the end of the hallway. There was no sign of sleep in his eyes at all and wondered if they were also trained to cheat nature. This one was just especially good no wonder he head had to turn down so many promotions down. He wanted to remain in the field and not behind some desk signing papers and receiving salutes.
Derek: “Where are you going to?” he asked walking towards me while I did same.
Anita: “Wanna get to the restroom downstairs. That one seem to be in a better shape than the one here. Need to wash my face”
Derek: “Okay I am coming with you. I have checked and the place is secured. There is no sign of an intruder at all” he said like a junior officer giving a report to his senior.
Anita: “Are you sure?”
Derek: “99.9% madam” he said and gave me a slight bow. He looked so adorable in that instance I wanted to just fling myself unto his arms and sleep enwrapped there.
We both walked down hand in hand to the restroom, he wanted to enclose me in his arms like I had dreamed some minutes back but I stepped back not wanting to elongate our stay there unnecessarily. I had a haunted thought of Rose getting kidnapped under our watch again. I rinsed my face hurriedly while he watched me from the mirror.
Derek: “When are you ever going to get us both out of this phase we are into? Cos I know my fate is in your hands”
Anita: “Let’s not talk about that today dear, we have a girl to take care of. I am done! Let’s go back” I announced eagerly and walked out while he followed suite with the feeling that she had disappeared again lingering on in my thoughts.
My eyes darted first to the bed but lo and behold, she had indeed disappeared. The room began to spin under my feet and before I could get myself back together again, everything had gone blank while I lingered in the air…
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