Zara - S01 E03 (Story Episode)

7 months ago

Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 3

“Hi Zara K.” The male voice said causing her
to freeze.

Only one person called her that.

Her eyes filled as she straightened her back and
sat on the floor, momentarily forgetting her
search for her lost slippers. Despite not
having heard his voice in almost three weeks,
she felt the butterflies in her tummy emerge
at the sound of his voice.

The butterflies
fluttering did nothing to mask the pain she
felt at surmising the truth that had stared her
in the face for so long – Iyke no longer loved
her.


Had he ever to begin with?


She couldn’t remember ever hearing him say
the three iconic words to her.


Across the miles, he could hear the gates go
up, the clink of the chains that further
barricaded her. He knew she was closing her
heart against him. His chest constricted at the
thought. How could I have been so stupid?


He cared for her, no doubt but his heart
didn’t feel strong enough to take the rejection
he would face from her. Oh! But of course she
would reject him.

His family’s history wasn’t
a pretty one. That she had no clue was
because he had worked so hard to make it so.


Made sure that as long as he lived, no one


“Hi, Iyke”, Zara replied, feeling sure that her
voice would not betray the overwhelming
sadness that she felt.


Iyke closed his eyes and swallowed at the cold
greeting. He had expected yet never prepared
for her voice to be devoid of the warmth that
he had inadvertently gotten used to. What did
he expect?


She waited for him to reply, her body still as
if in obedience to instructions she had given
her heart.


He didn’t know how to continue. He had
ignored her calls for so long that – “Iyke?”


Was he still there?
“Hello?” Did he feel as flustered as she felt?


Perhaps he hadn’t meant to ignore her phone
calls. Maybe, his phone had gone missing for
a while. Maybe – Her heart soared with hope.

My He cleared his throat. “Hello, Zara.”


His business-like reply crashed her castle of
hopes like the house built of sand. Zara? Just
Zara?


“I got your message about Ima. What
happened?” He asked as though oblivious to
the hurt he was causing her.
She had been right in guessing that Ima was
the reason he called but couldn’t he at least
pretend to care, a bit? While she had a
romantic relationship with Iyke, Ima had been
his close friend as well. Could it be that they
were more than that? Zara shook her head of
the doubts that were starting to take root.


There was no way.


Ima would never do that to me.
Sighing heavily, she explained the situation.


“Ima went on her annual vacation about a bit
over a month ago. She was due back – “
“Where did she travel to this time?” Zara
smiled, despite of herself, at the question. Ima
was known for using her vacation to reach
the unknown parts of the world. Unknown at
least to them. Her quest for adventure had
grown with age and her job in a major downstream sector oil and gas company
afforded her the means to do so.


“She picked Kenya this time. Said she had an
invitation from a friend she met during her
masters in London.” Zara paused for his
comment. A sigh escaped his lips.

She detected the mixture of amusement and
sadness in it.


“So, why has she been deemed missing?” “She
was returned two weeks ago to the country
but no one has seen her. The last conversation
we had took place just before she boarded her
flight.”


He knew Ima. At least he would like to believe he did.

She wasn’t the type to be
considered flighty.

Her adventures were
always backed by facts and people that they
could contact. So, what was happening?


“Have you told the police, her parents- I mean
her mum?” Ima’s parents were separated for
reasons he wasn’t yet privy to.
Did he think her stupid? Why wouldn’t she
have informed the authorities and her best
friend’s mum? “Yes, I have told them, Iyke.”


He sensed her hurt pride. “I didn’t mean it
that way. Was just asking to have all the
facts.”


“mm-hmm. Anyway, the police don’t believe
me. So, they’ve turned out to be useless to
me.”


Why wouldn’t the po- “Why don’t they
believe you?” “Well, for some strange reason,
her Facebook account is active.”


Iyke rested against one of the trees in The
Jardin Botanique, a breathtaking park that
reminded him of how he felt whenever he thought about Zara.

Sovie, his tour guide was
some meters away from him. He studied her
profile.

Being with her in the past three days had opened his eyes to the folly of his ways
when it came to Zara.


“How is that possible?” If her Facebook
account was still active, then he understood
why the police wouldn’t take the situation
seriously.

It would seem that Ima had
probably just gone off without telling them.


They wouldn’t listen to how much it wasn’t in
her character to do so. Or was it?


“I don’t know. I think she’s been kidnapped
but there’s no ransom note to support my
fears. In truth, there has been nothing to
suggest even remotely that Ima is in danger.”


Zara paused as tears threatened to pour. What
if no one ever took her serious? What if Ima
never came back? She refused to believe that
Ima had deliberately skipped town


“Whew… What’s her mum saying about this?”


Short of asking questions, he didn’t know
what else to do. It wasn’t until he returned to
Nigeria that he would be able to do something
concrete.


Zara let her head fall to the bed as her back
touched the hard wooden frame. “At least
she’s begun to see reason. Ima would never
go at least two days without contacting her
mother. It’s been two weeks. She’s definitely
seeing my point of view. I spoke with her
yesterday. She said the private investigator
hadn’t come up with anything yet. I never
knew there were private investigators in
Nigeria but apparently there are. Anyway, she
has hired one. Imagine that? She promised to
get back to me soon if anything comes up.”


Iyke smiled at his friend’s tirade. This was
the Zara he knew and missed. Not the one
who answered the phone earlier.


“But something is bugging me though.” She
said, daring to open up to Iyke. “What is it?”
Zara paused for some seconds before
answering. It was probably nothing but – “It’s
her father. He hasn’t called me to ask any
questions about Ima. I want to believe Ima’s
mum has told him but I’m not sure. Although,
it’s not like they are that close but I can
remember a couple of times when he couldn’t
reach her. He would call me to speak with
her. He hasn’t called me.”


“Well, you know the nature of her dad’s job.”


Iyke replied. “Yeah… Also, there’s something
else, Iyke. Her phone keeps ringing.”


Iyke nodded to Sovie’s sign for him to round
up. He raised three fingers up to ask for three
minutes more. She nodded.


“What do you mean by the phone keeps
ringing? The battery ought to be dead by
now. Right?” A sigh escaped her lips. Yes. The
battery ought to be totally drained but the
opposite was the case. Another reason why
the police thought it wasn’t worth their time.
“Right, Iyke which has me thinking. Is it
possible that – “ The sentence stopped. She
couldn’t voice it. It was absurd even to her
ears.


“Is what possible, Zara?” “No. I was just
thinking that with Mrs. Obi’s political
ambition, Ima may have been kidnapped. I
know it is a long stretch but it’s still a
possibility.”


Iyke found himself nodding in agreement. It
was a possibility but he doubted it. Ima had
never been publicly linked with her outgoing
and social mother. “Has her mother said
anything in that line?”


Her shook sideways in the negative. “No. She
hasn’t. Not even when the police asked her. I
looked at her face and didn’t see any sign that
she was lying about her answer either.”


“hmmmmmm… And no ransom note?” “mm-
mm. No ransom note. I hope she isn’t being
held against her will. Somehow I find myself
hoping that she skipped town. It would better,
right? Than for her to be in danger.”


The wisdom of the hope couldn’t be faulted.


He hated to think of Ima kidnapped or injured
or possibly de-. No he wouldn’t think of that.


She wasn’t dead.


God please don’t let her die. Please. Wherever
she is fill her with hope. Let her know she
isn’t alone.


Sovie tapped him signaling that it was time to
go. The park was closing already. He hadn’t to
see the park but he was thoroughly pleased
that he had been able to reach Zara.


“It would be better indeed. Ermmm… Listen
Zara, I’ve got to go now. I’ll call you back
much later.”


“Will you?” The question slipped out before
she knew it. Iyke guessed he deserved that.


“Yes, I will. I promise.” She sighed. If Iyke
promised, then he would do it.
“Alright, then. Bye.”
“Bye, Zara.”
She still believed his promises. A flutter of
hope began in his heart and then died almost
immediately for he remembered that he had
promised not to hurt her and had done the
exact opposite.

The voices. There were two voices. Ima slowly
opened her eyes to the sound of the argument.

What were they arguing about?
“You are such an idiot.

Didn’t you read the
text I sent? I explained in detail what you
should do and you did the exact opposite.


Why are you here?” This voice she knew. It
was the voice she heard every night just
before Zara’s voice came on through her
voicemail.


She couldn’t hear what the second voice was
saying but she could swear it was a voice she
had heard before.

The second guy, that she
could tell, was being apologetic. His squeaky
voice went lower with each word.


Opening her eyes wouldn’t do much.

They
had been covered with a cloth since she woke
up in the room where she had been placed.


Contrary to her expectation, the room didn’t
smell awful, it smelled nice.
“No. You won’t. You will go back and return
when I ask you to. Only then will you claim
your prize.”

The voice she knew turned
placative. “I’m getting her ready for you.


Don’t you worry. Just make sure my package
is ready.”


The door opened and closed. From the
squeaks that ensued, she could tell that it was
a metal door.

Her ears went on the alert,
expecting her captor to come into the room.


He didn’t.


Not long after, her eyes closed, opening the
door to nightmares and a sleepless night.

Previous Episode

Zara - S01 E02 (Story Episode)

Next Episode

Zara - S01 E04 (Story Episode)

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