Abducted – Episode 11
© Onyinyechukwu Mbeledogu.
Ibitoru took a peek at Toni from beneath her long lashes noticing the way his muscles rippled as he moved. She shut her eyes as he moved in her direction to drop his shirt and trouser on the only chair in the room. He left the bedroom, leaving the door partially open. She waited until she heard him turn the key on the bathroom door before rising from the bed.
She picked the keys and his handset, tossing the latter into the bag he’d somehow missed, tiptoeing out of the room. Could she get the door open without his finding out?
She didn’t have to answer that question because she soon noticed that he hadn’t locked the bathroom door but had rather been unlocking the door. The key was still at the entrance. She’d locked it after washing the bathroom at his orders that morning. And it was to her advantage.
She quickly turned the key, locking the door with relish.
‘What the…’ She heard him swear.
She also heard a thud as he hurried out of the bathtub hitting something in his haste. Soon he was pulling at the door handle from the inside.
‘Open this door this minute, Ibitoru.’
‘Make me!’ She jeered as she hurried to the front door.
She began to try the keys on the key ring, noting that the keys were of the same make but didn’t open the same padlock. She had succeeded in opening two padlocks when she heard him heave against the bathroom door.
‘If I get you, Ibitoru Davids, you will rue the day you flaunted my orders.’
‘Oh I’m so scared, I’m shaking!’ she laughed.
The door was beginning to give way. She hurried into the kitchen where she took an empty pot to buy herself time. She reached the bathroom door in time for the door to give way. He fell over and without thought she hit him twice in quick succession on the head with the pot, wishing the rolling pin had been available.
He groaned as he lay there in his towel, the rest of his body covered in soap. As she tried to walk past him, one hand stretched out and fingers wrapped around her ankle tripping her. She fell, the pot flying out of her hand. Toni tried to pull her to him but she struggled, trying to reach for her weapon. Soon she got hold of it and with all the force she could manage, sent it crashing once more on the side of his head. He freed her immediately.
Back on her feet, she returned to the front door, unlocking the last padlock. The wooden door was no problem at all. Within seconds she was out of the house and had succeeded in locking him in. She held onto the purse she had found earlier and which to her surprise still had the money in it. She ran as fast as her legs could take her in the shirt she had grabbed from his wardrobe and his shorts, but this was the least of her problems. What was important was that she was finally free.
At some point, her conscience began to bother her. What if she had injured him more than she realized? She had seen blood on the side of the pot when she’d tossed it away. Could she live with his death on her conscience?
No, all he’d have is a nasty headache, a voice in her head told her. If you go back to that house, he is going to deal decisively with you. And he’s going to forget that you came back to save his life.
That was it! She’d leave and if he got worse he wouldn’t take it out on her. He didn’t deserve her kind thoughts at all.
Toni struggled to his feet, the wound on the side of his head bleeding profusely. She had succeeded in knocking him out for only a few minutes. He poured water over his head, watching as the blood flowed into the sink. He might require a stitch or two, he thought.
Good riddance, he thought but he had to stop her.
If she succeeded in getting away she could reveal this hideout to the police. He could leave this place but he didn’t cherish the thought of spending the night in a hotel or relocating immediately. This house was situated a few miles from other houses that was why he’d chosen it. This part of town was just being developed so it would take years before buildings replaced the grasses and trees. Until then, Ibitoru just had a large stretch of land with different turns to pass. But he couldn’t take the risk. One of the owners of the large acres of land around might just drive by and rescue her.
He placed the first aid box on the table and took out a large roll of bandage which he wrapped around his head to stop the bleeding. He adjusted the towel around his waist as he headed for his bedroom where he put on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. Fortunately, he’d left his car keys in the pocket of the trouser he’d worn to work.
He swore when he recalled that she had locked him in. To get the spare keys would take time. He looked for and found the keys to the back door. Within minutes he was on the road in a deep blue Peugeot 504 searching for her. His head ached but he ignored the pain, intent on finding her.
Ibitoru was so tired. She had been running for some time and was exhausted. There still wasn’t a building in sight.
Damn! Where had he taken her to?
There was also no sign post in sight. She took out her phone and hissed when she discovered that there was no service out there. Not even with his own phone.
She began to walk, breathing heavily wondering if there was really a house around there. Suddenly she heard the sound of a moving vehicle. Finally, help had come!
She stood aside and flagged the driver of the peugeot down. It wasn’t until the driver pulled over that she realized that it was the very same person she was trying to escape from.
How could fate be so cruel?
She took to her heels but he came after her pulling over a little distance ahead of her. He caught her before she could escape pulling her down with him and spraining his left arm in the process but he held unto her. Her struggles hurt him more but he stubbornly held her in place. He dragged her to her feet, threatening to break her wrist. If she didn’t quit struggling. And in his present frame of mind, he would carry out that threat.
He fought a dizzy spell as he dragged her none too gently to the car. He pushed her into the front passenger seat, fastening her seat belt. He hurried to his side catching her as she made to climb out of the car. He pointed his gun at her.
‘You won’t dare it,’ she told him
‘Is that a challenge?’
‘All right I’ll be good,’ she assured him, not wanting to upset him any more than he already was, ‘but you should have let me escape.’
‘To whose detriment?’
‘I already offered you three million naira. The offer is still open. My cheque book is here. I can sign it and we’ll both be happy.’
She waited until he did a quick reverse and they were headed in the direction of his house, before lifting her fist to hit him on the head. His bandage was soaked with blood. He saw it coming and caught her wrist in a grip that had her screaming in pain. He controlled the steering wheel with his injured hand biting back a cry as pain shot through his arm. He held unto her wrist until they got back to the house. He pulled over at a spot where his vehicle would not be easily detected and came out of the car.
He dragged her through the back door, through the kitchen and into the sitting room where he pushed her into one of the seats.
‘Take the three million naira and let me go,’ she told him.
‘After the stunt you just pulled. I should just shoot you and feed your corpse to the vultures.’
‘You are a fine one to talk,’ she told him. ‘You are the one keeping me here against my will, threatening me with a gun. You want money, and so if you feel the three million naira I’m offering you is not enough, then call my dad and make a request for more. There’s no need to keep me in your rotten dilapidated home.’
He ignored her, unwrapping the soiled bandage with his good arm.
‘You know, if you’d let me go, I wouldn’t have called the police. I would have just made other plans for my vacation and put this unfortunate incident behind me.’
‘I don’t trust you.’
‘That’s your problem.’
‘Get me the first aid box,’ he ordered.
‘Why should I?’ she returned stubbornly
‘That was an order.’
‘You are in no position to order me around.’
He gave her a thunderous look and ended up giving himself a severe headache. He winced.
‘You will do what? It’s only a matter of time before you pass out and I’ll be out of here,’ she told him matter-of-factly.
‘I’m a lot stronger than you think,’ he informed her, ‘now get me the first aid box.’
She got on her feet but only so she could retrieve the blood stained pot. His eyes narrowed as he watched her.
‘I’m sick and tired of taking orders from A NOBODY – AN INSIGNIFICANT MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY.’
‘Put that down before you hurt someone,’ he warned her.
‘And I’m tired of taking orders from you.’
When she attempted to hit him on the head with the pot, he grabbed the pot, dragging her down with it. She fell over him and his arm went about her waist in a vice grip. His grip tightened as she struggled with him.
‘Let go of me this minute, you bloody Neanderthal,’ she yelled, trying to push herself away from his body.
‘You are going to pay for the damage you have caused.’
‘Let go of me, you b******.’
She clenched her fingers into fist and sent it crashing down on his head, aiming for the exact spot where he was injured. He winced, releasing her immediately as fresh blood began to flow from his wound. As though possessed, she began to hit him wanting to draw more blood, taking out her annoyance at him.
Toni lifted his hand to shield his wound fighting a dizzy spell. In self-defence, he pushed her off him. Although that wasn’t his intention, IB fell back hitting her head on the side of the table and passed out. Breathing heavily, Toni staggered to his feet, his body aching. He bent over her unconscious body and checked her pulse. Normal. There was no blood beneath her hair which meant that she wasn’t seriously injured but she’d have a headache by the time she regained consciousness. Until then he had to do something about her.
Wincing with pain, he dragged her to her bedroom, crying out as excruciating pain hit him as he heaved her onto the bed. He had to see a doctor. He blamed himself for her escape. If he’d locked his bedroom earlier, she wouldn’t have had access to his shirt and shorts.
He retrieved his shirt and staggered out of the room. He locked her in and headed out through the kitchen door after retrieving his phone from her bag.
‘Ikechukwu Antonio Ekwueme! What have you done to yourself?’ The slender proud mother of quadruplets demanded.
Whenever his mother called him by his full name, he knew he was in big trouble. Marina Ekwueme had never failed to use a stern hand on her children when it was absolutely necessary. Even as adults, they still tried not to get into trouble.
Toni had found his way to the hospital with difficulty fearing he’d pass out before he got to her. And it had been difficult fighting the dizzy spells that came over him with each move he made. Fortunately he hadn’t passed out until he’d stepped out of the car in the car park of Liberty Hospital.
He had no idea that his mother, a consulting neurologist, consulted there. But it had been a relief to see her there though. After his cut had been stitched and his mother had confirmed that he had just a mild concussion and there was no need for his arm to be in a cast, Marina was more than ready to hear all the excuses her youngest child had to give.
‘You have some explaining to do,’ she started.
They were in her office. He reclined on the bed in there, eyes closed.
‘Can we save this for another time, mum?’ He winced lifting a hand to his neatly bandaged head.
‘You are not getting out of this one, Toni.’
Her mother, an Italian, was married to an Igbo man, was grounded in the tradition of her people by marriage, except those she didn’t agree with and she spoke very fluent Igbo, like her children, in addition to her English, Italian and French. She preferred calling her youngest son, Toni (Antonio) and she was the only one who did that. Others referred him as Iyke.
Her children all had Italian names, Alessandro, Ariana, Gianna and Antonio, in addition to their Igbo names and these Italian names were used only in private by their mother.
‘It was an accident, madre .’
‘An accident you say. The car in which you drove down here is in good shape and you were obviously not attacked by thieves because the car is still in your possession. So I’d like to know, what kind of accident were you involved in?’
‘Domestic accident?’ he supplied.
‘Don’t tell me you ran into a wall, because I won’t believe that.’
‘I wasn’t about to. If you must know, I had a little altercation and my hear took the brunt of it.’
‘Have you been fighting Antonio?’
‘No, mum. Just got beaten up. Our dearest madre taught us never to fight and never to raise our hand against… Never mind.’
‘Never to raise a hand against a woman,’ Marina completed. ‘Antonio Ekwueme, did you raise a hand against a woman?’
Did pushing a woman who was crazy enough to bash his head in with tiny fists, away from him qualify as raising a hand against a woman? No it didn’t, he answered his own question.
‘No, madre . I didn’t. I have better training than that.’
‘Good. So why did she hit you and with what?’
‘We had a disagreement and she hit me with a pot.’
‘With a pot!’
‘Yes. At least she didn’t have the rolling pin at her disposal this time.’
He couldn’t tell her the circumstances under which Ibitoru was living with him. She would disapprove.
‘Pot. Rolling pin. What kind of woman are you dating? Is she living with you?’
‘What sort of an answer is that?’
‘You really should mind your own business, madre .’
‘How can I mind it when my little boy is brought into the hospital looking like s***.’
‘Oh oh. You just said the ‘S’ word,’ Toni jeered.
‘You are the only one who makes me use words like that. How do you expect me to mind my business with you looking like a mob attacked you? You must have really provoked that woman to have made her give you such a thorough beating.’
‘Don’t burn my rep, madre . My upbringing made it impossible for me to defend myself or you would have called upon all the patron saints of the abused to pray for my damned soul.’
‘What rep? If you were twenty years younger I would have taken a cane to you fair backside.’
‘Fortunately I’m twenty years older.’
‘Are you going to tell me exactly what happened?’
‘No, madre . Just know that it is not going to repeat itself. I need to get back.’ He winced as he tried to sit up and fell back against the elevated portion of the bed.
‘I’m keeping you here tonight.’
‘And you know how much I hate the smell of hospitals.’
‘You should have thought of that before now. You are spending the night. You may leave in the morning if I’m satisfied that you won’t be a danger to yourself in your present condition.’
‘I’m okay madre , all I need are painkillers.’
‘Who is the doctor here?’
‘You are, but-’
‘The doctor knows best. You are in no condition to drive home and although I have a quiver full, I am not eager to lose one of my sons.’
‘I’ll take a taxi home and come back for the car when I’m stronger.’
‘You are in no condition to leave.’
‘I’m still leaving. I can’t spend the night in a hospital, I’ll go mad.’
‘You are exaggerating. I need to-’
‘Madre , I am not staying,’ he interjected. ‘And you can feel free to give me the drugs you intend to give me for the week. There is no way I’m going to spend the night here.’
‘Good thing I know my boy,’ Marina smiled and suspicious.
Ibitoru cursed as she found her door locked. She couldn’t believe he had locked her in the bedroom! She had woken up several minutes earlier with a slight headache, recalling what had transpired between Toni and herself. She should have hit him thrice with the pot. That should have made her escape successful but she’d pitied him and here she was! You would think he was a friend she didn’t want to hurt.
He had her hand bag and so she would not be able to make a call. Damn! She needed a sachet of Panadol extra. In addition to that, she was hungry and she also needed to use the convenience.
Where the hell are you, Toni or whatever your name is?
To be continuet