While the gunmen moved towards the mansion, I grabbed Mrs Hope by the hand and together we ducked behind some flowers in the garden and watched them. From the position we stood a while ago, I knew the masked men were yet to see us.
“What do we do now?” Mrs Hope asked, scared. I could see that she was already trembling.
“We have to leave this place” I answered.
“We cannot just leave” She argued. “We should do something to help first.”
“Something like what?” I asked. “I’m not a police or army officer you know”
I had already decided that the best thing to do was to quickly get out of the compound with Mrs Hope as quickly, safely and as quietly as possible but there was just one problem. At the gate, there were two armed men standing guard. Surprisingly, they wore no mask and I could see how very serious their facial expressions were.
“Ma” I called Mrs Hope. “Do you think you will be able to run when the time comes?” I asked.
“I don’t know” She replied. “You know I’m not getting any younger.”
“But this looks like a matter of life and death. Seriously, think about your children. Don’t you want to see them again?”
“Yes, I do want to see them” She replied.
“Okay. So when its time, just run off, don’t even look back.”
“But what about you?” She asked.
“Don’t worry about me, just run when I ask you too. Is that okay?”
She nodded her head in agreement and then we turned our attention back to the gate. I was still trying to come up with an escape plan for both of us when we suddenly heard screaming in front of the mansion. I looked and saw the other girl, the one who came for the interview with the two young men. She was being pulled away by one of the masked men to the side of the mansion’s main entrance. I wondered how she got caught. Since the commotion started I didn’t even for once think about the men and their sister, or should I say relative.
I thought they would be able to take care of themselves especially since they were vibrant young people. I looked around the premises but couldn’t find the boys anywhere. By the time I looked back at the screaming girl, I saw that she had been pushed to the ground and a stupid man was trying to get her jeans off. Now if there is one thing I hate so much, its a man trying to force himself on a woman. For crying out loud, it’s dehumanizing to force yourself on a person. If he has so much energy and he wants to spend some of it, then he should feel free to talk to a sex worker.
I was really angry at what I was seeing, so much so that without thinking straight, I stood up and started towards them but Mrs Hope quickly grabbed my hand and pulled me back behind the flowers.
“What do you think you are doing?” She queried.
“I’m going to get that man off her” I answered. “Can’t you see he is about to rape her?”
“So what are you going to do? Fight a strong and heavily armed man?”
“I don’t mind if he beats me to a pulp, as long as he doesn’t have his way” I argued.
“At this rate, you will only end up getting yourself raped too. At least come up with a plan first”
“But what can I come up with before that man succeeds?” I grumbled. “I have limited time”
I looked back at the duo and not for the last time, I wondered where her relations were. Since they were men, I reasoned that they were strong enough to fight for her but I couldn’t see them anywhere and the masked man was already almost getting the poor girl’s jeans off. Since I couldn’t come up with another plan, I quickly stood up again and this time I didn’t allow Mrs Hope to hold me back.
The other masked men were already inside the house and so it was easy for me to move without being noticed by any of them. I knew I had to stop the poor girl from being rapped and I was ready to do anything to make sure the tweed didn’t succeed. As I went along, I picked up a big sick which was lying on the ground but when I got to where they were, something weird happened.
As I came up behind the man and raised the stick up to strike, the girl suddenly screamed a loud ‘No!!!’
Well, the ‘no’ wouldn’t have bothered me if she wasn’t saying it to me and also alerting the man who was about to rape her. But I was quick enough. I brought down the stick on his head before he realized what was going on. The man fell flat and passed out immediately. The girl, who was now left with just her underwear, quickly pulled up her jeans. She didn’t completely zip it up before she ran to the man’s side and began to shake his body and beg him to wake up. I was even more surprised to see tears flowing out of her eyes.
Again, I wondered what was really going on. How can someone care so much about the person that almost raped her? I tried to pull her off him and run away with her but she slapped me on the face and pushed me away before turning to face the man on the ground again. The slap was hard, the type only a soldier would give to you.
I was still trying to understand the situation when the other armed men suddenly came out from the mansion with William, Chief Avero’s son, as their captive. I was confused about what to do to help, I didn’t even know if I should help but as soon as the men saw the other girl by the side of the man I had hit, two of them went over to help and I noticed that the rest were confused. Even William Avero looked shaken by the issue but he tried to hide his emotions. I was surprised about that too because he was supposed to be a captive. Why then was he feeling sad for the man?.
The two masked men carried the passed out man into the mansion and the girl followed them in. To me, that was another shocker.
“Is she okay? Or is she crazy?” I thought.
As soon as they were out of sight, the remaining men asked William and me to go on our knees. We obeyed and not long after another masked man showed up from the garden with Mrs Hope. She screamed and kicked as he pulled her by the hair to where we were. I wondered how she was caught and instantly felt guilty. At that moment, I knew that it would have been better to find an escape route for both of us than to help out a girl who was about to be raped but didn’t appreciate my help. I knew I wouldn’t forgive myself if anything happened to her. The poor woman only wanted to raise money for her children’s education. That was why she came for the interview in the first place. Now it looked like she was not going to see her children ever again.
Mrs Hope was brought to kneel down beside us and then guns were pointed at our heads. I closed my eyes and not for the last time, I thought of my brother. How was he doing at Abuja? How would he cope with the news of my death? These and more ran through my mind but not for long. I was seriously shocked and snapped out of my thoughts by a loud gunshot.
My eyes instantly flew open and the first thing it rested on was Mrs Hope lying lifeless on the ground. Blood flowed endlessly from her stomach. At that moment my emotions broke loose. I began to cry and scream at the masked men.
“You people are mad!” I shouted at them. “What did the poor woman ever do to you? How could you do this? How would her children take the news? She was a harmless woman, why?” I continued ranting for a while but then, one of the men stepped forward and gave me the slap of my life.
He then turned to William. “Your turn to reach hell, Mr. William,” He said before pointing his gun at William’s forehead. “Any last wishes?”
“Not really” William replied. “But I do have one last thing to say.”
“Hurry up then.”
“You and your entire team are the biggest cowards I have ever seen. If you must kill a man, fight him head-on and throw down those weapons of yours”
“Really?” The man laughed. ” The almighty William wants to fight? Let us grant his wish then”
The men, four of them in number surrounded William and started to give him the beating of his life. It was a very bad situation but at the same time, the distraction was what I needed. I quickly left my position, picked up one of the short guns the men threw down and pointed it at the man that stood as their leader.
“Leave him alone or I will shoot you” I threatened them.
The men stopped what they were doing and turned to face me. “Do you know how to shoot a gun?” The leader asked.
“None of your business. You have already killed my friend, I won’t allow you to kill another person.”
“Why would anyone want to help William Avero?” their leader asked, “Do you even know who he is? Or what an idiot he is?”
“That’s none of your business. Just leave him alone. I don’t care if he is a jerk, he doesn’t have to die.”
“But we do?” The leader asked.
“No. For everything you’ve done, you deserve more than death. So believe me when I say death is the best option you have.”
They looked at me seriously for a while and then suddenly burst into laughter. They then urged me to shoot since I was with a gun and was determined to kill them. I was surprised at this because they were not scared that anything bad could happen to them.
Anyway, to cut long story short, I didn’t get to shoot the gun. I have never even handled a gun in my life before but that was not the issue. Before I could attempt pulling the trigger, someone came up from behind me and covered my face with something that had a very strong odour. I didn’t last after that, I simply passed out.
By the time I woke up, I found myself lying on a big bed in a very large but tastefully furnished room. The place was a little dark because the curtains were down but still, I knew it was a large room. While on the bed, I got scared because in most films I have watched, when a woman is suddenly abducted and finds herself on a bed, its either her abductors have already raped her, wanted to rape her or wanted to collect a ransom. Unfortunately for them, I have no money so it could only mean that whoever brought me here wanted to get in-between my legs. I jumped up from the bed and was already heading to the door.
“Escape!” That was all that rang in my head even though I didn’t know where to start.
When I got to the door and was about to take the knob, I paused because I saw it turn and then the door suddenly flew open. Within seconds, William Avero stepped into the room. His bare chest was well built and his tall features hovered above me. His body was wet. Either he had just taken a shower or he went swimming.
“Hello Charity” He greeted with a smile.
To me, that was weird. I never was a celebrity and I never told him my name. We didn’t even talk to each other. So one question that bugged me was how he knew my name.
I took two steps back and looked at him thoroughly before speaking. “How do you know my name? And what are you doing here?” I asked
“First, this is my house” He replied. “So I have every right to be here. Second, I looked through your CV. After all, you came for the interview, right?”
That was true. I forgot I came along with my CV and photocopies of my certificates. When I first saw the vacancy advert, I wondered why one should be asked for CVs and credentials even when the position was only for a housekeeper. Anyway, that was the least of my worries, I had other questions bugging me so I concentrated on them.
“Okay. So tell me exactly what happened? How did you manage to get rid of those men?”
“I didn’t get rid of them. They are my workers but I prefer to call them my family.”
“I don’t understand. They are your workers? That means they revolted against you, right?”
“No. The important thing you should know is that you passed the interview, but the real question is, are you ready and willing to be part of us?”
I stared at him for a while as if I was looking at a clown. I consider clowns as confused people so I was very sure William Avero was being a clown.
“What are you even talking about? I and a whole lot of people came to your house since around 8:00 AM for an interview that was never conducted. Those of us who refused to give up got attacked by the men who came to beat you. I was unconscious and now you are here telling me what? If you had just conducted the interview in time and let us go home, that poor woman, Mrs Hope, she would have still been alive and I will not be here.”
William smiled at my outburst but he said nothing immediately. It was like he was thinking of what to say as he moved closer to the window and pulled the curtains aside. It was getting dark outside but I refused to let it bother me, it couldn’t even bother me because I was carried away by the gorgeous body in front of me. William was dark-complexioned, tall, had the body of a model and warrior put together. His hair was short and his beards were well-shaped and trimmed. While he moved about, I couldn’t help but notice his biceps. They looked strong and very masculine, just the way I like them. I felt really attracted to his open body but I kept myself from feeling dazed. It wasn’t easy to do but I knew I had to try to ignore his dominating presence. After pulling the curtains aside, he turned back to me and spoke.
“I think its time to let you in on what really happened.”