Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 5
She trashed and screamed. There was no one
to save her.
She needed to get air.
Air! Where was she? Her eyelids felt like a huge weight
lay on them. Struggling, she opened her eyes
even as the suffocating feel further engulfed
Quickly, she looked around. She wasn’t under
water and she realized that the air felt
surprisingly calm. She sat up slowly, taking in
air as she did. It had been a panic attack.
After some minutes, Zara got up and walked
to her bathroom where she splashed water on
her face. Without asking herself, she knew
what brought on the panic attacks she’d had,
two nights in a row. It was the phone call that
triggered something she hadn’t struggled to
It just hadn’t come to mind since it
happened almost nineteen years ago especially
since her family moved out of that neighborhood and state.
He had been the headmaster of their school
and over time became a good family friend.
Being an only child, she was used to being
treated specially. So much so that, it hadn’t
seemed odd when the headmaster began to
seek her out. He would buy her snacks during
recess, pick her to perform special tasks when
important visitors were coming to the school…
She was also part of the after school class that
he organized for only the best students. It
constituted bragging rights to be named
The lessons usually held in the school
premises with them majoring on debates,
mathematics competitions and essay writing
with other teachers in attendance. Eventually,
she was chosen for a debate competition, an
aspect the headmaster oversaw personally.
Since her parents were aware of the classes,
they saw nothing wrong with it. Also, the
awareness of pedophiles wasn’t high back
then in the early 90’s.
Much as she tried, even now as she looked
into the bathroom mirror, she couldn’t
remember the exact details of what happened.
The psychologist said it was probably a good
Her parents told her that when her mum got
to school to pick her as usual, she hadn’t
been there. Her mum was informed that the
headmaster drove out with her.
She had thought then that she would find
Zara at home but that wasn’t the case. There
were no cell phones back then. It was much
harder to reach people. That same night, her
parents had driven to the address he had
given them sometime earlier but there was no
one there. In fact they had been informed
that it was his house, he hadn’t been there in
over three months.
The gateman there had no
Zara shuddered to think of what would have
been her fate had her dad’s brother not been
the commissioner of police at the time. It was
because of this that her case was given an
Three days after her disappearance, at around
1am, one of the policemen stationed in the
building opposite spotted light coming from
inside the building. Calls were made and
within minutes the house was raided.
She had been in a drugged state at the time
or so she had been told. All she remembered
of that time was the laughter. When she told
her mum, she was assured that she needn’t
worry because the guy was locked up. Her
requests to be told what actually happened to
her met a brick wall. Her father had made the
topic off limits and her mother always slipped
into teary moods. So after a while, Zara had
She looked at the time. It was past 4am.
Knowing that sleep wouldn’t return, she
turned on her laptop and went to work. She
would place a call to her uncle. Perhaps, she
could find out if she was in danger again.
A sad mood descended over him as he
wheeled his luggage out of the apartment he
had stayed in for the last six months. He was
happy to return to Nigeria but was also sad to
A car’s honk distracted him
from his thinking. It was time to go.
He got to the airport in enough time to go
through the checking-in process with
additional time to spare. As he sat down to
wait for his flight to be called, he decided to
place one final call to Zara.
“Hello, Zara K.” A smile spread slowly across
her face, making her feel lighter. “Hi, Iyke.”
She responded, hoping that the despair she
felt wouldn’t show.
Iyke detected the silent sad sigh. “Are you
okay?” Zara thought for a moment on what to
tell him. She wasn’t okay.
Her uncle informed
her and her parents much to her chagrin that
the guy responsible for her kidnap in the
early years of her life had been released on
good behavior due to an amnesty pardon
initiative by a newly elected governor.
So far, no one knew where he was.
The growing technological landscape could not yet
boast of technologies needed to track him
Her parents were already clamoring for her
return home which would undermine the
reason why she had moved in with Ima- for
privacy and proximity to her business analysis
job in Victoria Island.
“I’ve been better.” She surmised was the
safest answer. There was no way she would
begin to explain all that was happening over
the phone. It could only be said in person.
“Really? What’s the problem, my dear?” Iyke
asked, his growing concern showing on his
face and sitting posture.
Zara smiled at the endearment. It warmed her
somewhat. “Nothing that can’t wait till you
get back. When I see you, we’ll talk.” Her
assured tone made him feel better. “Alright
then. You’ll be there? When my flight touches
the ground in Lagos?”
She thought about the warnings to stay
indoors because of the kidnapper at large who
might be seeking revenge but decided against
it. She couldn’t stay cooped up indoors all day
for the rest of her life.
“I’ll be there waiting as promised.” She
responded. “Yayyyy… it’s nine hour flight,
give or take some minutes. So I should be
landing at approximately, 7:30am tomorrow
morning.” His obvious excitement at her
decision to come receive him stamped an
approval on her decision.
After the call ended, she placed the phone on
the table and thought back to the recent
happenings. Her friend was still nowhere to
be found and there was something bothering
her. If she didn’t know better, she would be
able to swear that when she went to work,
someone usually entered the house.
Zara stood up from her bed and walked to
Ima’s room where the tell-tale signs existed.
They weren’t glaring but couldn’t be missed
by her. Her friend Ima was the immaculate
one between them. She kept her things
painfully tidy and couldn’t stand for things to
be placed wrongly.
As a result and due to
countless corrections on the topic she knew
where Ima kept certain things and also knew
that short of a lobotomy, nothing would have
made Ima do otherwise.
Maybe she didn’t know better. After all, their
locks were not one of a kind. Any determined
person could gain access.
Sighing, she picked up a pair of slippers to
take to her room. She would wear it to the
airport tomorrow morning. Sweeping a glance
over the room, she turned off the light and
closed the door behind her.
Setting her alarm to 6:45am, she laid on her
bed, her tradition of turning off the lights
discarded in the light of the latest news.
Her eyes closed after a quickly mumbled prayer
and succumbed to the sweet darkness that
It was a partnership that seemed to be
working especially since he was seeing the
chance to fulfill his side of the bargain.
A tingling sensation swept over him at the
thought of what awaited him some days from
All he had to do was deliver her to Peter
and he would get his due reward.
His eyes hardened at the remembrance of lost
years. Slowly, he relaxed his posture. It would
be okay. His line of work gave him access to
gadgets most Nigerians would only see in
So far, he knew through a planted receiver in
her house that her stupid boyfriend would be
returning tomorrow. Now was the time to act
before they began to spend all their waking
She would be leaving very
early for the airport. The fact that it was a
Saturday made it all the more easy for him.
Using the lever, he lowered his car seat to rest
for the next day’s planned adventure. Come
tomorrow morning, he would be rested and