Weeks slowly rolled into months and the man who Steven was swiftly eroded into a man who had neither hope nor another life. He was simply a tiny fish caught in the cold biting hook called life and slowly reeled in for slaughter by crooked hands. Physically, he was still as charming as always, but deep down psychologically, he was a crushed ugly soul. He moved like a zombie on automatic gears, with a dead wooden face. And nearly every night with the nocturnal birds and insects tweeting, in spite of his slightly still existing revulsion, Snake-eyes had his fill of him.
“Don’t know why it’s taking this long”, Snake-eyes grumbled every now and then. “It doesn’t take this long to find a rich family who needs a cheap subservient servant now.”
He would look teasingly at Steven after all his murmuring and with a patronising smile say, “hey sweet buddy, but we got each yeah?”
Steven just had this glazed look asides the nights he cried as Snake-eyes greedily molested his body.
In Lagos, after waiting for several weeks and Steven wasn’t sighted, his house-mate and worried friend put away their fear of the Nigerian police and went to report at the police station. After an unmotivated investigation with a cold trail, the police lost interest and that was that.
The fish reeled in, trashing a lost battle in the confines of the boat, only for the seas to get worked up and capsize the boat, whither the fish eventually survives or is eaten by a bigger fish or just tossed up and down and crushed, who knows. Without any sign, that same night, the trees howled, the roof and doors creaked and the heavens poured down a vehement torrent and in the midst of this turbulence, Steven’s face pooled a stream of its own, a deep part of his soul pleading for rescue from the web he was unwittingly caught in. He slept peacefully for the first time in weeks.
Just like a new freshly ground and made coffee, the new day rolled in with a cheeriness that invaded the little abode that served as prison for Steven. He expected the sudden appearance of Snake-eyes and his morning commands, but this morning a lazy silence hovered in the building.
“Maybe the storm is making him feel snuggly with his bed”, thought Steven.
But the day rolled along, and yet his captor did not show, his stomach was grumbling but there was nothing to be done. His door was iron-made and properly locked. Towards the evening Steven started to hit the Iron door to his surprise, he had some modicum of control over his limbs.
“What’s happening”, he wondered.
All through the day Snake-eyes didn’t show up and through the grumbling stomach he wondered if he had unconsciously offended his captor. He listened for sounds but heard none. He slept with a hungry stomach.
He awakened from a nightmare the following day feeling groggy like a battered drunk. But somehow, he could control his limbs and voice. In no time he bounded up and started hitting the iron-door hard, screaming “Oju-ejo! Oju-ejo! Oju-ejo!” (trans. Snake-eyes). But his efforts were in vain.
“Have they left me here to die?”, he asked himself repeatedly.
“I don’t want to die”, he sobbed.
He did not know how long he had been seated on the floor, at times sobbing, hitting the door feebly or just curled up and drifting in and out of troubled hungry-filled sleeps.
Then probably three or four days after, he heard steps in the corridor, it was like a dream and in his tired state he just laid on the cold floor huddled. He heard other noises he couldn’t comprehend, the lack of food and water had really done him in. He laid there at the mercy of whatever was coming for him, after what seemed like ages, his door slowly creaked open.
Well, it turned out to be a skinny princess-in-distress who was rescuing a knight in non-existent armour. She gave him some water gently and cooked some meal for the two of them and fed Steven after which she ravenously ate like a greedy bear. After Steven felt some strength seep into him, he focused on his rescuer and discovered a pathetic sight. She was in a tattered t-shirt and skirt and her skin were equally and impressively bruised and torn all over. Her hair was dishevelled and her eyes had a slightly crazed look in them. He wondered briefly at this while noting she was still an absolute beauty.
They sat for some minutes looking warily at each other.
“Thank you”, he said with heart-felt gratitude, close to tears.
She just looked at him like a lioness observing her prey.
“What happened to Snake-eyes?”, he asked.
“That the name of your captor?”, she replied in a soft coarse voice.
And she burst out laughing, a sad yet melodious sound.
He was puzzled.
She stood up, took him by hand, and led him to Snake-eyes room. He saw a gaping hole in the wall, saw blood and pieces of a dead snake on the floor, and then his eyes roved over to where a slightly bloated Snake-eyes laid in a comfy bed rigid as a cement statue with his face contorted in frozen pain.
“You understand why I was laughing?” asked the young lady.
He shook his head.
“Well”, she continued, “obviously your Snake-eyes had been bitten by a puff adder which was looking for warmth and shelter from the storm, and that’s ironic yeah?” she chuckled. “I came in through that wall using a digger I saw lying around, killed the snake and took the keys”, she concluded.
“Let’s get out of here”, he said.
So they left the room, but not before she gathered some shirts and jeans.
“We have to leave, we might have some company soon”, he urged.
He had heard Snake-eyes call someone that they were low on provisions some days back. He didn’t want to tempt fate plus the fact he loathed the building to the marrow of his bones.
So they packed the little provision that was available, changed into fresh clothes, took two cutlasses and took off into the intimidating forest. It was well they did, because that evening Snake-eyes’ accomplices arrived at the house only to find their friend dead and their prey missing.
It turned out the girl, Elizabeth, had been kidnapped by a so-called friend whom she had been out of touch with for a couple of years but connected with again through Facebook. She had traveled to Calabar to meet him, and that was it. She was drugged. The guy and his friends had taken her deep into the forest and repeatedly and mercilessly raped her for weeks. Like a fattened sheep to be slaughter, they at fed her well at first, but as they started getting tired of her, they began to starve her. Obviously, this wasn’t the first time they were doing this. She had gotten hold of a crude knife through devious means and killed the so-called friend before escaping. It’s not a story for today.
Whether they escaped the forest or not, who knows. They escaped their captors and that suffices.