The gateman had no idea of what was happening as he was already closing the gate. Kamsi entered the room she slept in and shut the door behind her, she was the only one in the house. Auntie Anita had walked into her room some minutes ago and said something about going to get something to eat. Kamsi hadn’t eaten anything all day and she was already hungry. She sat on her bed and bringing out the phone, she punched in the number she’d memorised. It didn’t ring as the phone was switched off. She sighed as she stared at the number she’d dialled, it was her mother’s number. She dialled the second number and watched it ring, it was answered quickly.
Kamsi stood behind one of the potted plants outside the house and stared out at Anita’s car which was leaving the compound. The gate man had opened the gate and was directing her out of the house. It was already evening and everywhere was quite dark. Kamsi thought of what to do, should she run? She thought but she remembered the stories her daddy told her about children who wander at night and how they could get kidnapped by bad people. She quickly ran to the gate man’s post and stood there, she didn’t know what to do. She was still thinking of her next line of action when the gate man’s phone began to ring loudly, she was scared so she entered the small post and stood there watching the phone ring. When it stopped ringing, she picked up the phone and as quick as a deer, she raced into the house.
“Hello…” Her father’s voice floated out to her.
“Daddy…” She said in tears.
“Kamsi! Where are you? Are you okay? I’m coming to get you baby…I’m coming.” Her father said.
“Please come quick daddy, auntie Anita said she’ll do bad things to me unless you confess. Have you confessed to her?”
“Don’t listen to her…just tell me…tell me where you’re calling from? How did you get the phone?”
“I took the gateman’s phone but he wasn’t looking when I did. I’m sorry that I took his phone but I had to call you and mommy to come and take me.” She cried.
“So, no one knows that you’re with a phone?”
“No…auntie Anita just left the house and the gate man was closing the gate when I…I…took his phone and ran.” She said.
“Do you know where you are?” He asked.
Kamsi wanted to speak when she heard the frustrated voice of the gate man behind her window, it was obvious that he was looking for something.
“Daddy…the gate man is looking for his phone.” She said.
“On no account should you give it to him.” Her father said to her.
The network provider warned that there was only one minute remaining.
“A woman’s voice just said one minute remaining.” Kamsi said.
“Okay…just keep calm and follow my instructions. When you hang up the phone, try to put it on silent mode. Do you remember how you play with my phone and mistakenly put it on silent mode?”
“Yes I remember…but this phone is different.”
“You’re smart and you’ll figure something out. Just put the phone on silent mode and stay with it. I’ll call you back. I don’t want it ringing out loud and drawing attention to you. You know that Anita should have no idea that you have a phone with you. Do you understand?” He said.
The line went dead. Kamsi quickly looked for the phone settings, just the way she did with her father’s phone and quickly placed the phone on silent mode. Her heart beat so fast and she was so afraid. A number began to call the gate man’s phone but she didn’t answer it because the number wasn’t her dad’s number. She sat there and waited, when the number was done calling, her father’s call came through.
“Daddy…I placed it on silent.” She said.
“Smart girl! Now, what you’re going to do for me is that you’re going to find out where you are.” He said.
“I remember the houses we passed when we were coming…we passed some tall buildings and we passed a toll gate.” She said.
“Yes…a toll gate where auntie Anita gave money to the person at the toll. There were many gates with red and green arrows…”
“That means you’re in the Lekki axis.” Her father said. “What else can you remember?”
“I can remember that we went round a roundabout after the toll gate and went in through a wider gate…I wasn’t able to read what was written at the top of the gate.” She said
“You’re such a smart girl Kamsi…can you remember any other thing?”
“Errrmmm….not really but we passed a big ice cream store…” She said. “Daddy, are you coming to get me?”
“Yes I am coming…just wait for me and wait with this phone. On no account should you tell the gate man or Anita that you have the phone with you.” He said.
“Are you telling me to lie?”
She heard her father’s sharp intake of breath.
“Yes…I am sorry darling but this is our only chance…”
“Okay…” She said.
When she hung up the phone she pushed her knees to her chest and hugged it close to her, waiting for her dad’s rescue.
Madu picked up the small duffel bag he’d packed and hurried downstairs, the cook was in the sitting room and immediately the cook saw him, he panicked.
“Are you…leaving sir?” He asked in a shaky voice.
Madu didn’t respond, he exited the house with the small bag and rushed out through the gate. He saw a bike man and halted him, he quickly got on the bike and left Anita’s house.
Madu arrived at the house he’d shared with his family and taking the keys from his bag, he opened the door.
“Madu! Neighbour?” A female voice called out to him.
It was Bianca, his neighbour’s wife who had thrown herself at him once in the past. He looked at her and forced a small smile.
“Are you serious? You’re back? You’ve been gone for so long and you didn’t even tell us that you guys were leaving.” She said.
“I err…we just left for a while, a change of scenery was needed…” He lied.
“It’s so good to have you back. Where’s your family? Your daughter and your wife.”
“They re err..on their way…” Madu lied and slipped into the house.
The house was very dusty and he coughed loudly as he opened the windows. He dropped his bag in the room and quickly rushed out of the house. He had just stepped outside the house when he saw his aunt alight from a vehicle with a young man.
“Madu…” His aunt called out to him.
He thought she said she was far away, how did they get to Lagos so quickly? He asked himself.
“Auntie welcome…please I’m in a hurry…I have to go somewhere.” He said to her.
“Is that how to welcome your auntie? I have been on the road for hours…anyway, meet your cousin, Emenike.” She said to him
Madu looked at the young man, he’d never seen him before in his life.
“Hello…please excuse me…my house is a mess and I’m in a hurry to get going…” Madu said desperate to leave.
“Good evening cousin, errrm…I know that we came unannounced and that you need to get going but could you please spare us a brief moment to talk to you?”
“I need to get my daughter! I don’t have any time to spare.” Madu gritted out forcefully.
His aunt and cousin stared at him in confusion.
“Where’s Kamsi?” His aunt asked.
“It’s a long story auntie but I need to go and get her.” Madu said.
“Okay…I can drive you there…where is she?” Emenike asked trying to help.
Madu exhaled and looked at his cousin with defeat in his eyes.
“I really don’t know…she gave me a description but I don’t know…” He said emotionally.
“What are you saying? Where is Kamsi?” His aunt screamed frantically.
“Let’s get into the car, we’ll talk about this on our way.” Emenike suggested.
“What are you talking about Madu?” His aunt pressed.
“Please stay in the house auntie…when I get back, I’ll explain everything.”
“Ewooo…I felt this ooo…I have been feeling so uneasy for weeks now. I wonder why I didn’t trust my instincts to come to Lagos ooo…my granddaughter ooo…” His auntie cried.
Madu and Emenike headed towards the car and when they got in, Emenike asked.
“What really happened and where is your daughter?”
“I just know that she’s in Lekki phase one but I don’t know the house….and I don’t know the street that she’s in.” He said.
“She’s in Lekki? I live in Lekki phase one and I happen to know some of the policemen there and I’m sure that they can help.” He said.
Madu looked at him.
“Are you serious?” He asked.
“Sure…I am a resident of the place and I can assure you that if your daughter is in any of the houses there, we can find her.”
Madu closed his eyes in gratitude and said.
“Thank you Lord.”
Stella sat still and planned her escape, she couldn’t continue to live like this, she told herself as she stared at the very huge wardrobe that made up the bedroom she shared with Duncan. Duncan had stepped out for a bit and he was to be back soon and Stella knew that she’d better plan her escape as soon as possible.
“When did you become a captive, Stella?” She asked herself. “Why are you living life this way?”
Her phone rang and she stared at the caller ID for a while, it was Rhoda. Pain and betrayal burned in her gaze and she picked the call.
“Hey babe…how’s the most gorgeous friend on the planet?” Rhoda asked with a loud ring in her voice.
“Someone sounds excited.” Stella said.
“What’s up?” Stella asked, trying to sound cheerful.
“I’ve just been promoted.”
Stella felt her heart clench.
“Really? What position?” She asked.
“I’ve been given your position, the one you wanted to have before you left.” Rhoda said triumphantly.
Stella didn’t know what to say, she wanted to scream, yell and call Rhoda a back stabber, a betrayer and an evil friend but one word left her lips.
“Congrats.” She said.
To be continued on Friday….
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