Mrs Banks stood up from her bed the next morning and yawned lazily. She checked the small bedside clock – 4am. She had to see her daughter. She had left her alone last night to let her anger go down, and frankly, she had also been too angry at her husband to think of pacifying Lara. The heated argument she had with her husband last night still echoed back at her, but as always, the damned man always shunned everything she said. She hoped that she would be able to sooth Lara’s pain, now that the poor girl has slept over the incident.
She eased out of the bed and stretched as she walked into the bathroom to empty her bladder. She rinsed her face and re-entered the bedroom. Her eyes landed on her husband, who was sprawled on the other side of the king size mattress. Many times, she wished she could stab him with a dagger and be rid of him once and for all, but then, she hadn’t been raised as a killer. She gritted her teeth in anger as she grabbed her robe and exited the bedroom.
She wrapped the belt of her night robe around her frail form as she headed for her daughter’s bedroom. For the umpteenth time, she wished the house was smaller. The building was just too big for her. Even with the servants and bodyguards that her husband had littering the building with, all in the name of being a governor, the house was still too big. She finally arrived at her daughter’s bedroom door and shoved it open. The mattress was empty. She stifled a yawn as she entered and closed the door. “Lara” she called, knowing her daughter had to be in the bathroom. No response came. She strolled across the room. “Are you in the bathroom honey?” She asked loudly. Still no response came. She frowned and knocked on the bathroom door, no one answered. Cautiously, she eased open the bathroom door and looked in. No one! Alarm rang in her head as she jumped fully into the bathroom and looked thoroughly.
“Lara” she yelled, throwing caution to the wind as she flew out of the bathroom, scanning the bedroom. Fear gripped her as she raced out of the bedroom. “Lara” she yelled at the passage and her voice echoed round the large abode, still, no one responded. She checked the sitting room and the library, yet Lara was nowhere to be found. She rushed back to the masters’ bedroom and on seeing her husband fast asleep, she angrily yanked away the duvet, rousing Mr Banks in the process.
“You are sleeping?” She yelled in anger. “What sort of a father are you?”
The governor blinked away sleep as his angry eyes focused on his wife. “Woman! Don’t make me descend on you. What devil has entered you this early morning?” He boomed.
“You are the devil” she returned heatedly. “Can you tell me where my daughter is?” She yelled.
“Doesn’t she have her own bedroom again?” Tunji Banks dragged his angry self out of the bed, there was no use sleeping again. With his wife spitting fire, surely, no one would have peace today!
“If she were in her bedroom, would I be asking of her?” She hissed in annoyance. “I have checked every possible place in this house, she is nowhere in sight. Produce my daughter this instant Tunji or all hell would be let lose”
What can be more annoying than a screaming woman? Tunji mused as he shoved his wife aside and marched out of the bedroom. Typical Sewa Banks, she followed at his heels calling out Lara’s name on top of her lungs repeatedly. “Would you shut up woman?” He barked at her, stopping to glare at her. Thankfully, she fell silent and for once, Tunji’s brain could work. No one alerted him that Lara went out late last night, so logically, she should be in her bedroom, but if what his raving wife says is true, she isn’t there.
He stormed into Lara’s bedroom and just as his wife had said, the room was empty, along with the bathroom. Lara’s bed was very tidy, making it evident that Lara hadn’t slept on it He frowned in confusion. He knew certainly that Lara didn’t leave the house last night because he had been up till almost midnight, so where on earth could Lara be? His wife was pacing the room, dialing Lara number. Suddenly, the ringing of a phone penetrated the room and the governor swore under his breath.
“Her phone is here! Tunji, she doesn’t go anywhere without her phone” Sewa squealed as she grabbed Lara’s phone. “What is going on Tunji? Where is my daughter?” Her shrill voice penetrated the night as she glared at her husband.
“Does it look like I kidnapped my own daughter?” He boomed at his wife.
“If you paid off her boyfriend, kidnapping your daughter is not an impossibility” she returned.
Footsteps at the entrance of the bedroom caught their attention and they both turned, hoping to see Lara, but their hopes became shattered. Two muscled bodyguards stood at the entrance of the bedroom, looking at them questioningly.
“Hope all is well your excellency” one of them asked.
The governor turned blazing eyes at the bodyguard. “Where is my daughter?” He growled.
The two men looked at each other and back at the governor. “She should be here sir, she didn’t leave the house last night”
“Well, then why isn’t she here?” the governor boomed, glaring at the men. “Find her! Search the whole house and bring her to me; if you love yourselves, don’t come back here giving me stupid excuses.” The men sprang to action immediately.
“This is all your fault” Mrs Banks yelled at her husband as they marched out of the room. “You have succeeded in driving our only daughter out of the house. If anything happens to my daughter Tunji, I would make your life a living hell, I swear it”
The governor turned to his wife, his face showing his absolute irritation. “Make yourself useful woman, call her friends and find out if she is with them”
Sewa closed her mouth and started dialing.
The first thing that registered in Lara’s mind as she forced her eyes open was the terrible banging of her head. Her head was aching beyond control. As her eyes opened, her environment spun crazily. Why was everything spinning? She felt like she had run in circles for hours as her eyes rotated over and over. She closed her eyes and opened them but everything was still spinning crazily. What is wrong with me? She mused. She couldn’t remember anything. Surely, she wasn’t suffering from a hangover because she hadn’t consumed any alcohol… Well, none that she could remember! She forced her eyes open again, trying to see clearly when suddenly, a bucket of water was hurled in her face.
She screamed on top of her lungs as she struggled, she couldn’t move her arms or legs, they seemed to be tied to the chair she sat on. She continued to scream as the water soaked her entire body. She opened her eyes, blinking as the water entered her eyes, causing it to sting. Her eyes watered but then, her environment wasn’t swimming anymore. The room was dark, really dark and it took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. Fear ate her up as she turned her head from side to side, trying to see who was with her in the room.
She saw no one. Cans and bottled of beer littered the ground and the room reeked of cigarette and alcohol. She had the distinctive urge to throw up, but she knew someone was with her in the room. She always knew when someone was watching her and not seeing the person made her spine stand at attention. “Who is there?” She yelled as much as her chapped voice could carry her. What on earth was she doing here? She should be at home, sleeping in her bed. She shouldn’t be in this dark stinking room, tied up to a chair like a Christmas cow. Then she remembered! She had entered her bedroom and been abducted from behind. The person had placed a white handkerchief on her nose! What had been used to drug her? Chloroform? Alarm bells rang out in her head. Her heart began to beat out of control as she turned her head over and over again. “Who is there?” She yelled more forcefully. “Why are you scared of coming out?” Actually, she was the one scared of coming face to face with her abductor.
The person lurking behind her chuckled throatily and the sound of walking feet made it obvious that the man was coming closer. Lara almost had a panic attack as her heart spiralled out of control, but she schooled her face to remain cool. “By the time you leave this place, that sharp tongue of yours would be tamed” the voice said.
Then the man appeared. Never had Lara feared a human being, but the person in front of her made her toes crawl beneath her feet in fear. The mere sight of the man was more than enough to induce fear. He had a deep scar which ran from the middle of his brows, down his nose and cutting deeply into his upper lip. Lara had never seen anyone so dreadful. His lower lip curled into a rueful smile, making his face look more dreadful than it already was. Lara wanted to run as far away as possible, but how could she when she was tied to the chair?
“You still think I am scared of coming out?” The man’s eyes ran over her wet dripping body and the fear in Lara went overboard.
She started struggling in her sit and the chair started making squeaking sounds. “Let me go! Let me go this instant!”
“Where do you think you are?” He growled at her. “This is not your father’s mansion where you give orders; now, sit still and shut your mouth.” The man looked like a beast, waiting for only the slightest provocation to pounce on its prey.
“Do you know who I am?” She returned. “I am the governor’s daughter, let me go or you’ll regret it”
“You won’t live to regret anything if you don’t keep quiet” the man boomed and produced a gun from his dirty excuse of a trouser. Lara went still, not daring to move a muscle. “Good girl” the man murmured as he tapped the gun with a devilish half smile, half scowl.
The governor paced the sitting room along with his wife. For the first time, he agreed with his wife that the house was indeed too big. It was taking the bodyguard several minutes to check the entire house, and since it wasn’t yet daybreak, he didn’t want to raise false alarm. Sewa had called Lara’s friends and none of them mentioned that she was with them, of course, he knew that it might be false. If Lara wanted to stay undiscovered, she could have her friends lie for her. He turned to face his bodyguards as they approached with a grim face.
“Miss Banks is not in the building sir, but we saw this on her bedside table” He produced a piece of paper which contained a phone number. The governor went pale and Mrs Banks moved closer.
“Oh my God!” She cried. “What is happening to my only child?”
Tunji looked at the bodyguards knowing what this meant. His only child had been kidnapped! He was filled with anger and rage. Who on earth would dare to come into the governor’s house to kidnap his only child? And what did he have security men for if they couldn’t keep the house safe? He closed his eyes and breathed. First things first! “Call the number” he murmured at last.
The guard took out his phone and called the number, putting it in speaker. The phone rang for a few seconds but it was finally answered on the other end. The guard refused to speak, waiting for the person on the other end.
“Take the phone out of speaker mode and give it to the governor now” a bassy voice boomed over the phone. The governor looked around, wondering if the person on the phone could see them.
“Collect it Tunji” Sewa whispered, shivering.
The governor hurriedly took the phone from the bodyguard and placed it against his ear. “Hello” he said forcefully.
“Well, hello governor. You are not sounding as confident as you do on the press” the voice chuckled.
“Who are you? Where is my daughter? What did you do to her?” He yelled.
“Shhhhhhh… A man of your hierarchy shouldn’t be shouting like this. Keep quiet and listen to me. If you interrupt me, it is to your own detriment.” The voice said softly and the governor instantly fell silent. “Good! Here’s the deal Mr Governor, if you want to see your beloved daughter again, the ransom is 200 million Naira-”
“Two hundred what?” The governor gasped out.
“Awwww…. Tsk tsk… I told you not to interrupt me my dear governor. For your little disobedience, I am increasing the money to two hundred and fifty million Naira, no more no less, if you want to see your precious daughter alive.”
The governor was stunned speechless. Where would he get that kind of money from? “Wh…”
“The location of the drop would be given to you soon. You have 48hours. Make the mistake of calling the police and your baby girl here would be mailed to you in tiny bits and pieces. I entered your security tight mansion without being noticed; don’t play with me. 48hours” With that, the phone went dead.
Jack’s phone rang and he answered it immediately.
“I already asked for the ransom” the voice said.
Jack smiled. “Good. Destroy the sim card and vacate that area”
“You know where to find me” Jack said and hung up. He smiled contentedly to himself. Now, it begins.
Lara stated at the man before her as fear replaced anger. First, her boyfriend had traded her for 10 million Naira, now, this man, whom she didn’t even know, was asking for 250 million for her release? What was wrong with the world? Was she so valueless that money could easily be traded for her?
Her anger went overboard. “Untie me this instant” she yelled at the man.
He turned angry eyes at her. “I told you to keep your dirty mouth shut, didn’t I? If you are not careful, I would gag you.”
She hissed and started shouting on top of her lungs. “Heeeelllppp!!! Somebody help meeee!!!” Her voice rang out, piercing the darkness as she started moving restlessly in her chair. As she opened her mouth to scream again, her captor reached her in a flash and gave her two resounding slaps. She had considered the idea of seeing stars very impossible, but as her brain froze from the pain, she literarily saw stars floating around her head. Her teeth cut her gum and blood filled her mouth. The man brought his frightening face closer as he gripped her hair tightly, forcing her eyes to look into his. “You do that again and you are dead” he threatened viciously.
She stiffened her spine, angry beyond words that the man even had the audacity to hit her, then, she did the first thing that came to her mind. She spat in his face.