(From Part 1)
“Lie low in a 227 formation”
“Brother which one is 227 formation again?” Ikenna asked dumbfounded
“That’s the term we use in boys scout, from now on you are sergeant Ikenna; Sergeant!” I called softly but there was no reply. I turned to him but the human being was confusingly looking at me “When I say sergeant, you reply, in order sir” I ordered Ikenna. “Sergeant!”
“In order Sir” Ikenna replied with a shaky voice, he was almost losing his voice to fear, I was scared too but I did not want to show it. Something was pushing me to continue, I didn’t know what that was, but whatever it was, I was enjoying the feeling.
We tip toed to the back of the house but no one was there, I was forcing myself to be brave.
“Follow me”… (READ THE FULL PART 1 HERE)
I woke up in a small room, half lit, empty and dirty; wondering how I got there, and then my mind went straight to Ikenna. “Is he safe?” I thought to myself.
A man dressed in a red singlet and a pair of army green shorts walked in; he had tattoos all over his right arm.
“O boy you don wake?”
“Please where is my brother?”
The man gave me a fierce look; he was silent for a while. “Calm down, you go soon see the general”
“General?” I was confused. “What General?”
The man looked at me again, I tried to attack but I noticed my hands were tied to my legs.
“Take me out of here or I will……”
“Wetin you go do?”
I tried to scream but I immediately regretted it as the cruel looking man gave me a hard blow and darkness enveloped the atmosphere, I could hear the man say some words but I could not make any meaning out of them, slowly everything went faint and I became unconscious.
I opened my eyes and saw four men staring at me; they stared so close as if they never wanted to miss a moment.
“Obele”, one of the men shouted referring to me “How you dey feel?” He came towards me. I looked at the four men, fear written all over me, the right hand tattooed guy was not with them. “Obele, the warrior” the man said mockingly as the other three laughed boisterously to support the joke. “You go drink?” he asked, bringing out an old whiskey bottle, and glass cups from a cupboard which I did not notice had been there. They filled their glasses and drank merrily.
“We forgot to make a toast, Oga Yaro”, said one of the guys; he seemed to be the youngest among them, he talked softly, he spoke like he was educated, there was a huge difference from the way he talked and the way the other men talked. He was very slim and dark in complexion. I wondered what a handsome learned young man would be doing in the company of these men.
“Na true talk fine boy talk o, e don tey when I chop toasted bread”, another man said. He had a stout figure; his voice was loud like a mega phone.
“No be toast bread, na that thing wey them dey do for wedding”, the fourth guy countered, he had a deep voice, but a lanky figure. I was scared he will break into two when he talked “you no dey go wedding?” he asked the stout guy with the mega phone voice.
“I no want noise” said Yaro softly, and immediately there was silence. He commanded so much authority, and with his black coat and hat, I knew immediately that he was the general the right hand tattooed guy talked of. So I finally met with the general, only God knows what my fate will be. He looked mean and his calm way of talking frightened me the more.
“Where is Odogwu?” he asked
“The general sent for him” replied fine boy.
I am sure by now you will be sharing in my confusion; the general? So general is yet to come? At that moment, I felt broken, all shades of hope vanished. When will I ever meet this general? What does he want from me? What is he like?
“Wetin be your name?” Oga Yaro asked as he puffed out smoke from his cigar
I looked at him silently; fear did not let me utter a word.
“No be you em dey ask?” the stout man shouted at me, but Oga Yaro was calm
“Small boy, do I look like I am joking here? What is your name?”Oga yaro asked again, this time his looks were scary enough to make me wet my pants.
“Tobe..ch..Tobechukwu” Finally I found my voice.
“Tobechukwu is the name of an animal, personal place of things”, the fourth guy said amidst laughter alone; but the laughter didn’t last as no one joined him. I didn’t see the joke in what he said too.
“Na who gives you the name?” asked Yaro
“It’s ‘who gave you the name?’ sir” I corrected, and immediately wondered which mouth the correction came from. What on earth was I thinking? The devil must be gambling with my destiny. I didn’t need to be told that I had begun to dig my grave. I knew I was in trouble.
“English teacher, I see you do not want to leave here alive” fine boy said looking directly into my eyes. Suddenly there was this awkward silence as we stared at each other eye ball to eye ball.
“You wan kiss am?” the fourth guy broke the silence as he laughed noisily with the stout man while Fine boy just smiled.
“Na wetin? You think say we come here come play?” Oga Yaro scolded the fourth guy. And then he turned to me “Englishian, you still get mouth to speak English, you wan show me say you go school, we no go school na, fine boy, you go school?”
“No sir, I studied chemical engineering in my back yard”, replied Fine boy sarcastically.
That confirmed the impression I had about Fine boy from the first time he spoke, I knew there was something different about him, he was not just the regular tout in the street, and his nickname, Fine boy, was just an understatement. What could a chemical engineer be doing with touts?
“When time go come, we go know who sabi English pass” Oga Yaro said “Fine boy, keep an eye on him, Pilolo, Johnbosco, follow me”.
“Make you no do love leave am make em escape o, I no trust that eye wey una dey look each other” blutted Pilolo, the fourth guy who makes dry jokes.
“The small boy go well o, na this type of fresh boys fine boy dey like” Johnbosco added jokingly I think, and they both laughed.
“But jokes apart, I don dey suspect fine boy since” Pilolo cut in, suddenly his tone became aggressive as he directed his attention towards fine boy “But if my suspicion becomes true, na me go use my hand cut off your manhood, give am to you make you chop”
With the look on Fine boys face, I could tell the joke was no longer funny to him; he only tried to force a smile.
“Fools, I said follow me” Yaro shouted, his vibrating tone got me trembling “Obele, I hope say you ready to speak English when the time go come?”
The three men left and the awkward silence resumed, we stared at each other but no one said a word for some minutes; it seemed like we were observing a minute silence or more for the men who just left. I was getting uncomfortable, I changed my positions repeatedly and made faces to show my discomfort, but I don’t think he noticed my moves. Finally he broke the silence with his soft enlightened voice
“How old are you”
“Eighteen years old sir”, I discovered I was free with him, the shaky voice disappeared. “Why are you part of them? What am I here for?” I asked. Fine boy moved closer to me, held my tied hands, and rubbed them gently. His perfume smelt nice. Just then, I wondered if what the two guys said about him was true.
“Please sir, I am not like that”, I pleaded, almost crying.
“Like what” Fine boy asked confused.
I didn’t know how to say the word; I felt it would be rude, so I decided to keep quiet. He went out and came back with two cups of tea, and a loaf of bread, he dropped them in front of me, locked the door, then untied me.
“Don’t worry, I will be gentle on you, but if you misbehave, I will have no other option than to use force” he said “Lets eat, you will be meeting general by day break”
We ate and he made me laugh from time to time. He seemed to be nice that I almost forgot I was held hostage. After the meal, he pushed the cups to a corner of the room; spread the mat that was rolled close to the wall behind him.
“Lie down here” he said to me softly as he loosened his belts. All of a sudden I became nervous again and I could here a voice in my spirit say “it is time”.
Fine boy pulled down his trouser and dropped it at a corner, he also pulled out his shirt, did same, and brought out a blanket from a bag. “You must be cold”, he said to me as he lay beside me “place your head on my chest”, I did and he wrapped his arm around me…