‘Hmmm…’ Henry kept shouting out words which were inaudible as he struggled on the seat he was tied to. His chair and Tarasha’s were placed backing each other. She was also tied in the same manner. Each legs tied to corresponding leg of the chair and both hands tied together at the back of the chair and their mouths covered with a large plaster.
‘Ooh shut up you idiot!’ One of their abductors barged into the room angrily and smacked Henry on the face.
‘Leave him alone’ another one said as he came in bare chested with a red jersey hanging around his neck. ‘Let him scream all he can now, he might not have the opportunity to scream again until his next life’
The first guy hissed and turned towards the main entrance followed closely by the second who hurriedly put on his shirt. Soon they were out of the compound, the sound of the gate closing could be heard.
Henry became calm all of a sudden, his mind was full of sadness, for Evelyn and his parents. Evelyn was just an innocent girl whom he put into trouble. His parents also depended on him as their only source of joy and proof of their parenthood. He could not think of what would happen if he was killed, his parents could die just from the shock of the news.
He struggled fruitlessly again to set himself free, shaking the chair vigorously, his head hit Evelyn’s. She gave a soft groan, the only sound that she made after several hours that they had been tied.
Tarasha could still feel the steel on her wrist, now she could sense that it was time to use it. She used the rope tied on the wrist to push it down and it cut her jacket and fell in between her palms, causing a small cut on her middle finger. She took a hold of the knife’s handle and carefully moved it up and down the rope, slicing it slowly. Her hands got free in a minute.
She stretched her fingers before removing the covering on her mouth. The heavy breath she let out after got Henry’s attention, he suspected that her mouth was free and made some noise to alert her in case it really was. She looked at him but ignored and continued to cut the rope off her leg. After the rope was off, she got up and stretched her legs. Henry noise was louder as he was fully aware that she was now free.
She hid back her knife before she walked to him and took off the covering on his lips, then she bent down to loose the ropes on his legs.
‘How did you loose your ropes?’ Henry asked impatiently without waiting for Evelyn to finish setting him free.
‘They didn’t tie it as tight as yours is.’ She said after setting him free totally.
Henry got up and stretched his body tiredly. He looked straight into her eyes but she turned away and walked towards the window to peep.
‘Thank God’ Henry said. Tarasha stood suddenly still. Henry did not notice and he continued. ‘Thank God, I’m sure he’ll still get us out of here alive.’ He turned to look at Evelyn as she wasn’t responding to him
Their eyes met. Henry had never seen such fury like he did on anyone’s eyes. He couldn’t explain it but he knew there was a kind of dangerous anger in her. Then he remembered that he had just given “God” the credit.
Tarasha suddenly remembered the reason for all the knifes in her pockets. This could just be the right time to drain out life from his body, she thought.
Mallam Jefa carefully arranged his the seats in his joint. Very soon, several of his customers would begin to troop in to fill their bellies. He deals in toasted bread, tea, noodles, roasted cow skin (ponmo), “suya” and assorted drinks.
Jefa was well loved and patronised around the area. Many atimes, his customers would not leave after filling themselves but would stay and have fun as it would turn to a large gathering. Jefa always had to send most of them away when they began to lit their cigarettes or drink alcohol heavily to avoid violence and destruction of property.
Mallam Jefa whose real name was Jeffery was not an Hausa man nor does he dress like one, he only earned the nick as a result of his job, height and popularity among young men of the Hausa tribe.
Merely looking at Mallam Jefa’s face, one who conclude that he was in his early fifties or close to sixties as wrinkles and spots had begun to show on his face. But it was not to be so, Mallam Jefa was just in his early thirties, a young man who looked so aged and troubled because of problems and several misfortunes that had befallen him in the past.
Very jovial and kind he was to everyone but a closer look at him would reveal his sorrowful mind. One who’s heart wasn’t at peace, one who only tried to feign happiness even though he never was.
As Jefa opened the window, he could see two of his customers stroll out of their compound which was just about three metres from his joint. He knew they were coming to him as they turned to his direction. He quickly cleaned two seats for them and returned to his stand room where he attends to customers.
‘Mallam Jefa’ one of the guys hailed, putting up his hands as they strolled into the neatly made wooden building.
‘Hey!’ Jefa hailed back. ‘Welcome my guys’
‘Thank you’ the first guy said as they took their seats. The other guys just continued to puff his cigarette in silence.
‘What do you want me to offer you?’ Jefa asked.
The guys whispered to themselves. ‘What do we take?’
‘I’ll go with moi moi and bread first, then a bottle of beer later” the cigarette puffing guy spoke.
‘You want to stay here and drink?’ The other guy asked in low tones. ‘You know we’ve got to watch over those “dogs” back there’
‘I know’ came the reply in a harsh tone. ‘There’s no problem, they can never get away with those ropes used to tie them’
‘What of if Afo comes?’
‘Afo would return by three thirty and this is just two pm’ he said after glancing at his wristwatch. ‘We still have a lot of time’
‘You guys are selling dogs now?’ Jefa asked innocently as he served their order.
‘No, we’re just keeping them for someone’ the first guy replied with a smile.
‘Okay now’ Jefa smiled back.
Several customers trooped in one after the other and Jefa soon got busy. His first two customers did not stay as long as expected, they paid him and walked away by exactly two thirty pm.
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