Standing at a Distance (2)



Richard sat on the cold floor with his hands tied behind him, looking from left to right like a helpless chicken.

A day ago, he wouldn’t have thought that someone in his right senses would think of kidnapping him.

He struggled to see if he could free himself like they do in movies. But, no way, the rope binding his hand was tighter than he imagined. Even at that, he kept on struggling to loosen it.

His mind drifted to his dad. The old man would be darn worried about him now. They were not the best of friends but at least they got each other back.

His mum? No telling how worried she would be by now.

He thought of his girlfriend. She would be beyond worried by now.

With so many thoughts running through his mind at a time, he continued to struggle effortlessly to set himself free. In the end, he had to give up, as all his efforts were futile.

Just when he was done struggling, one of the guys walked in and laughed.

Richard looked around, trying to find the reason for his laughter. But obviously, nothing amusing was happening beside, nor behind him.

“Guy, next time you watch well before following other people’s women.”

That statement didn’t ring a bell at all. Other people’s women? For God’s sake. He’s never thought of dating another woman except Charity. She was his woman. His everything. They’ve been together for five years. So what was the guy talking about?”

“Somebody’s woman?” he finally asked.

The guy, who happened to be the talkative amongst the three, stopped what he was doing and turned to him. “Yes, somebody’s woman. Did I have water in my mouth when I first said it?”

He tried to recall if he ever dated any woman asides Charity. He had always stayed far away from women. He preferred his PS4 and phones to the company of women. He’s never even had one night stand with any, though he had considered it on several occasions. But, it didn’t happen.

He then decided to use what he had to get what he wanted. “Guy, please just let me go. I promise to give you any amount you want.”

“Nice try,” the guy smirked, “but, not when my boss’s woman is involved.”

Boss? Woman? For real? Was this a bad dream or what. How did he end up like this? What would he be doing with a kidnapper’s woman when he had Charity all to himself.

“Which woman are we talking about here?” he asked, unable to keep the thought to himself anymore.

“My boss’s girlfriend. Her name is Charity in case you’re that daft not to know the woman you’ve been frolicking with.”

Charity? Charity? Charity?

He barely heard the last part of that statement. At the mention of Charity, his brain blocked out other words.

“Charity is my girlfriend!” he finally screamed, “she’s mine and mine alone.”

“Charity is not your girlfriend,” the guy countered, sternly.

“Wait. I don’t think we are talking about the same Charity. She’s tall, slim, she has gap teeth. She’s really fair in complexion,” he started to explain without being asked. “She’s currently in Liverpool.”

The guy started to laugh, making Richard feel like a babbling fool. “Charity is here in Abuja and she’s not your girlfriend.”

“But,” Richard started to speak.

The guy came over and placed a finger over his mouth. “No, buts, man. I’m going to be sincere with you,” he looked around to see if anyone was coming. “The other way you will get out of here alive is if you apologize for being used as a side guy and state plainly that you didn’t know she was dating the boss.”

What? God, I better wake up from this bad dream soon.

Everything seemed like a scene out of a Nollywood drama. How could he deny a girl he’s known for over five years? Not just known, but a girl he’s been dating. A girl he loved with all his might.

“She’s my girlfriend,” he insisted. “and I love her.”

“Just accept that she’s been playing you all these while,” the guy said, patting his shoulder.

Before he could make any further statement, the other two guys walked in.

“Fine boy no pimples,” the guy he assumed to be the leader, which actually turned out to be true, kicked him hard on his stomach.

He crouched in pain and screamed. Tasting his own blood as he coughed.

Before he could fully recover from that kick, another one landed by the left side of his stomach.

“Ouuuu!” he cried out in pain. This was becoming unbearable for him.

He tried to raise his face to meet that of the kidnapper’s, but instead, a hot slap landed across his cheeks. It was at that point, he knew he was close to blanking out.

From a distance, he started to hear the sounds of a siren. But that was the last thing on his mind, as a kick on his head made him totally blank out.

When he regained consciousness and opened his eyes, he was surrounded by white curtains and medical equipment.

He tried to raise his legs, but it felt like it no longer belonged to him. He felt very weak.

“Richie,” a familiar voice called his name.

He tried to turn to his mum. But it was mission impossible.

“M…mum,” he called back, “I’m okay.”

In a twinkle of an eye, his mum was by his side. “Richie, what happened? What business did you have with those guys that caused them to do this to you?”

“Enough woman,” he heard his dad say, “give him some time to rest before bombarding him with such questions.”

He watched his mum wipe the tears that gathered in her eyes. He wished he didn’t have to be the cause of such tears.

His dad came to his bedside and stood, watching him in that silence that always killed him from the inside out.

A nurse walked in and came to stand the other side of the bed.

She lifted his hand, “how do you feel?”

“Weak,” came the abrupt reply.


“Tired,” he answered.

“You will feel better the next time you wake up,” she assured him and then injected a clear liquid into the drip at the edge of the bed.

Within a few minutes, he started to feel dizzy. He heard the nurse tell his dad that no damage was done to major organs in his body. That was the last thing he heard before he finally let sleep win him over.

The next time he woke up, it was already dark. Even the room was dimly lit but he could make out the slim figure of his secretary, sitting calmly on the chair with her head bowed.

He couldn’t help but remember when they bumped into each other and the feel of her chest against his.

He raised his leg without so much effort. He didn’t need a soothsayer to tell him that whatever the doctor injected into his drip worked like magic. He felt better and stronger.

He turned his head to face Sandra. She was dressed in corporate wear and that showed she came straight to the hospital from the office.

He couldn’t understand why though, but he felt pity for her.

“Sandra,” he called gently, “thanks for coming.”

Thanks for coming? Now, where the hell did that come from?

“I was really worried about you,” she said.

He could tell. She didn’t need to say it. “the staffs are worried about you.”

Just then, his parents walked in. He thought they had gone home. “Mum, Dad.”

“Thank God you’re okay,” his mum said as she moved to kiss his forehead before calming him with a sincere smile.

“Young man, you have a whole lot of explanations to do,” his dad said, taking his seat at the far end of the room.

“Thank Sandra for rescuing you,” his mum added, holding his hand.

He gave his mum a puzzled look. “What?”

“Yes,” his mum smiled appreciatively at Sandra. “She was actually the one who helped the police find you.”

“Oh!” he muttered.

If not for her, they would have probably killed him before the police even began their search. He thought.

“Thank you,” he murmured appreciatively to Sandra.

“You’re welcome.”

“You owe her more than that young man,” his dad chimed in, “and you owe me and an explanation.”

He momentarily looked at his dad and then turned back to face Sandra.

“How did you do it?” he asked, calmly.

“Well, I was there when you were taken. I was on my way home actually. I tried to reach a friend of mine that happens to be a police officer, but it wasn’t going through. So, I had no choice but to follow you guys.”

His dad dropped the newspaper he buried his face in since he came in. He walked towards them. “A woman risking her life in that manner for you is not something you see everyday in this 21st century.”

Richard couldn’t hide his admiration for Sandra. He placed a hand over her hand. “Thank you so much for this. I know I can’t thank you enough for this.”

“You don’t need to thank me,” she replied. “If it was you, you would do the same for me.”

In another state, in another condition, he would have laughed at that statement. If she knew him really well and how much he liked to mind his business. She wouldn’t have even harboured the thought that he would do the same for her.

“Yeah,” he nodded. “I will.”

To be continued…

This is a Pelleura story.

Idea and write-up by Judith Uguwoke. Read the other chapters here

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About Judith Uguwoke

Judith Ugwuoke is a student of the University of Nigeria Nsukka. She is passionate about writing and reading. She is currently a Pelleura Team Member. When she's not doing any of the above, she's listening to music.

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