As I aimlessly swam in pitch darkness, a stream of consciousness gradually surrounded me. There were faint movements and distant sounds all around. The numbness in my body gave way to pain and the pain crept steadily against me, increasing in intensity. I tried to move but couldn’t. I felt like I was in the midst of a terrible nightmare.

I opened my eyes slowly and for a moment, my vision was blurred. I shut them as pain flooded my being from every corner of my body. I felt my head throb and I tried to move again. No success. I opened my eyes again and my first clear view was of my legs. Suddenly, I remembered some men were after me and instinctively, I jerked myself forcefully. I still couldn’t move. I was sitting on a wooden chair with my hands tied behind me. I suddenly realized my precarious situation. I had been kidnapped!

I looked around the unfamiliar room that was my prison and panicked. It was semi-completed. The walls lacked plastering as the building blocks were visible. The asbestos had dried water patches; a clear indication of a leaking roof. Rodents scurried about freely, totally oblivious of my presence. The room stank of decomposition, probably the corpse of one of the numerous rodents who were now my room mates. It was bare of furniture apart from the chair I was tied to and a dusty make-shift table and chair directly opposite me. Lots of abandoned building materials and a few rags lay about carelessly. It was a filthy room. The windows were painted black, just behind the heavy steel protectors. Who builds a house like this, I wondered. I suddenly became aware that my white shirt was sticking to my skin. It was so hot in here.

The throbbing pain in my head came back with a fury and I winced in pain. I remembered being clobbered on the head before I blacked out. I wanted to feel the spot where I was hit but my restraints wouldn’t let me. I had the feeling that I probably was injured. Questions without answers came at me without mercy. Who the hell were those guys? Did I do anything wrong to them? Who sent them? Where was I? What did they want from me? Were they going to kill me? The questions made my headache worse but I had to know who my assailants were?

“Hello!” I yelled. My voice came off as a croak as my throat was parched and I was so thirsty. I cleared my throat and allowed some saliva to circulate before I tried again.

“Helloooo! Anybody here?!” My voice reverberated the room before it dissipated. It was then I noticed the eerie silence. The sounds I heard were the symphony of crickets, the scurrying of rodents and the distant hoot of a nocturnal predator.

“Where the hell am I?!” I screamed in anger to no one in particular, realizing it was night already. Two small rodents scurried to safety, now aware of my presence. A wave of fear passed through me and I told myself not to panic. I decided to assess my situation. The duct tape secured my torso and legs to the chair. My hands were taped tightly to each other behind me. All initial attempts at separating them failed. It was definitely going to be an arduous task.

I shifted my chair with difficulty to the window and tried to listen for sounds. The songs of the night greeted my ears. So I was out for the full day, I thought. I shifted with my chair to the door and listened. No discernible sounds. The door was wooden and quite firm. I cursed under my breath. Why me Lord? I asked in despair. What did I do to deserve this? My stomach growled and I suddenly realized I hadn’t had any meal today and I cried. Not because I was hungry but because for the first time in my life, I was afraid and totally helpless. I thought of my mother; about how this would certainly kill her if I never returned. I thought of Veronica and I felt bile rise to my mouth. I so hated her right now. I blamed her for all the problems that had befallen me. Exhausted from my thoughts, hunger and fatigue, I slept off uneasily.

I woke up a few hours later with a full bladder that was about to burst. The mosquitoes were fully out now. They sang happily in my ears, taunting me while others fed off my blood. I moved as best as I could but they didn’t go far before they swamped back in their numbers. The noisy and persistent little buggers! I didn’t mind them feeding off my blood. Just be quiet about it! I guessed it was around two to three am judging by the way the temperature in the room had dropped. I was cold and my sweat soaked shirt made matters a lot worse. I wondered out aloud how I was going to ease myself. When I could take no more, I released my overworked phallic muscle. I felt the wet warmth spread around my buttocks, soaking my wet trousers. The odor of ammonia from my urine and the decomposed rodent made an unholy mix that nearly gagged me but it was the least of my problems. I didn’t care. I was angry at myself and angry with world.

I slept off again. There was nothing else to do…

I woke up. The heat was building up gradually. I felt the sweat return and this time, I was pressed to take a shit. I was weak by now, wondering how long I would last without water and food. I laughed at the thought of myself starving to death. I cried, terrified by the thought. I remembered God. Help me Lord, I said. I decided to close my eyes and pray. I did for a few minutes and slept off.

I half woke sometime later. My stomach was constantly growling and I was dehydrated. The heat was terrible. My eyes stung and my body ached. God, please don’t let me die like this, I pleaded. I thought about my life. I wasn’t a bad person but I definitely could have done more good with all the money I had amassed. Now, that bitch was going to get most of it if I never made it out of here alive. I was depressed at the thought of that. I had no offspring. Not because that I was impotent. I’d just been foolish. I should have taken my security more seriously. I was going to buy a big gun and kill these two bastards. I cursed myself until I got tired. I drifted again…

I thought about Mr Tomlin. His very British manner and his report. My minds eye glanced through every page. And something caught me. I had skipped that part due to heartbreak and despair. Joe was my mysterious caller. Good old Joe! I felt my anger rise. So he’d known all along? Why didn’t he tell me? I wouldn’t have believed him anyway. If I ever got out of here, I was going to kick that woman out of my house. I was going to take back everything I ever gave her. I would find a worthy woman who would give me a son…

I awoke in shock by a splash of water on my face. The splash was most welcome and my lips trapped some of it to wet my mouth. It was the two muscular guys had who attacked me. The taller of two looked at me with an amused expression on his face. He wore a green t-shirt with jeans and a pair of sandals. He had a scar across his cheek and his eyes were red. The other one walked out to answer a call.

“What have I done to you guys?” I asked, contritely. “Tell me. I’ll apologize right away and we can discuss like the gentlemen we are on how best to resolve this.”

He smiled, revealing a massive gap in his tooth. Charming fellow.

“Is it about money? I’ve got plenty. I’ll write a you cheque of twenty million if you’ll let me go.” I continued in my most persuasive voice. He continued to stare at me.

“Why don’t you just tell me what you want?” I said, getting angry.

His partner came in and they spoke in hushed tones for a minute. I couldn’t catch what they said.

“WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!!” I screamed in anger. They turned to face me. The taller one frowned and walked towards me menacingly, his hand curled in a fist and before I could protest, his fist slammed into my face, breaking my nose. It felt like a sledge hammer had smashed my face. I grunted in pain as blood spurted out of my nostrils freely. His fist landed again; this time, a crushing blow to my empty stomach before I had chance to recover. Never in my life have I felt so much pain! I wanted to cry, I wanted to laugh but I could do neither. I just sat there, the sounds of pain on delay. They finally escaped my long opened mouth. I coughed and retched; pain registered everywhere. I just gave in to the unconsciousness that hovered. It was so much easier…

I awoke again, startled by the slamming of the door. Somebody had dropped a bottle of water and a small loaf of bread on the table. I was on the floor and I could move! I felt my head. I had a bump there and it hurt. The blood gushing from my nose had caked. The pain was unbelievable. I swore I was going to get back at that bastard, one way or another. I rushed to the table and drank water in large gulps, nearly choking on it. I tore the nylon off along with bread and stuffed my mouth. I devoured the loaf in seconds. I drank some more water and stretched my self. I heard voices and moved to the door.

“…he said we should just demand for five million.” One voice said.

“This man don offer us twenty. Try make you dream big for once?” The other said.

“Ok, after calling his wife yesterday to ask for five million, you’re going to call again to ask for another twenty? That’s insane!”

“Na you know. Me I wan make as much as I fit from this racket.”

“What if she can’t raise the money?”

“You nor see the car when e dey drive? No worry, them get money.”

“That’s not the issue. What if she can’t raise the money?”

“She go raise am. No worry. No be today I start this racket. We go collect the first five, then we collect another twenty. After that, we kill am.”

My blood chilled! They were going to murder me!!

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