Ibitoru missed her home. Being here was not funny at all. On Saturday, he had made her scrub the house with him.
He made her scrub to his satisfaction and she perspired like she had never done in her twenty-four years while he scrubbed like it was the most natural thing to do, barely breaking a sweat. By the time she was done, she felt like some ess£ntial bones in her body had broken, while he did his usual press-up.
In the eight days she had been in his home, she had learnt that he loved working out: jogging, sit-ups and press-ups. No wonder he looked so fit. No she couldn’t even think about his superb physique. He was the enemy and she could concern herself with ways of escaping.
She looked down at the plaster on the top of her left foref!ng£r, and recalled how it came to be there.
‘Wake up!’ Her annoying alarm clock thundered and Ibitoru sat up with a start, her eyes red and heavy. “Isn’t it too early?” she asked the man who stood before her.
‘No it’s not,’ he countered. ‘I’m going out in an hour’s time and I need you in the kitchen with me.’
‘You are getting out of that bed right now.’
‘You can’t make me.’
She cried out as he dragged her out of the bed and forced her to dress the bed before pulling her with him as he went through the door and headed for the kitchen.
‘No wonder you don’t have a girlfriend,’ she jabbed. ‘You don’t know how to treat a lady.’
He stopped when he was inside the kitchen.
‘I can’t be cooking when there is a female in this house,’ he said.
‘That is so se-xist. You can’t get me to cook. Not unless you want your simple home razed to the ground.’
‘And you think it’s an achievement not knowing how to cook?’
‘Why cook when there are people paid to do it for you?’
‘And your parents call that home training?’
‘Leave my parents out of this.’
‘I already feel sorry for your Steve.’
‘How do you know Steve? And for your information, Steve has paid help in his home.’
‘But of course. That’s why you are warming to him. Lazy brat.’
‘Stop using that derogatory term on me.’
‘I will until you quit being lazy. It’s very unbecoming of a female.’
‘And I bet you have sisters who are good in the kitchen.’
‘I do. Make no mistake about that. And they know how to keep their homes with or without paid help. You are twenty-four and you can’t do a simple house work. I’m not saying a woman’s place is in the kitchen, but you need to know how to prepare a basic meal, for crying out loud.’
She stuck out her tongue at him.
‘You are just upset because I’m rich and you are not. That’s why you planned this abduction to begin with,’ she taunted.
‘I don’t owe you this,’ he told her, ‘but so help me, by the time you are released to the public, you will be of use to the society and the unfortunate man you end up marrying.’
‘I won’t pay you,’ she said rudely.
‘I’ll consider it my contribution to the society.’
She glared at him and he glared back.
‘What’s your problem anyway?’
She placed both hands on her hips. ‘You are the one who abducted me and prevented me from escaping three times. I never asked to be abducted. You should release me if I annoy you so much, and maybe I’ll be nice enough to forget all this insult.’
‘Shut up, woman.’
‘Woman! You won’t speak to me in that dreadful tone on a normal day. But do I blame you? No, it’s just the cir¢vmstance we’ve found ourselves in. You-’
‘Shut up before-’
‘Before you what? Hit me?’
‘I’m sure you’d like that. Anything to get my hands on you.’
Her jaw dropped. ‘Why, you -. I won’t even crave for your touch if you were the last man of earth.’
‘And as much as you’d like me to put that to the test, I don’t have the time or the desire to do it.’
‘I have never been insulted in my – oof.’
He’d stuck one end of a cu¢vmber into her mouth and that shut her up. She took it out and glared at him.
‘Make yourself useful.’
He was cooking two pots of soup and asked her to cut the vegetable. He showed her how to do it but he shouldn’t have trusted her with a knife because she cut her f!ng£r within three seconds of cutting big chunks.
Her scream rent the air as though she had been stabbed. She held her hand out and wailed. The sight was amusing but he didn’t laugh. He got a bowl, filled it with water and taking her injured hand in his, rinsed the cut with the water until the blood stopped flowing.
He led her to the sitting room like a child and asked her to sit. He went to the first aid box in the room and took out a roll of plaster and an ointment.
This is going to sting, he told her, holding unto her wrist as she tried to withdraw her hand. He applied the ointment to it and it stung. Her eyes watered once more. He wrapped the cut with the plaster.
‘It’s okay,’ he told her as she stared at the plastered f!ng£r like it was not part of her hand.
‘I never get injured.’
‘It’s part of life,’ he @ssured her. ‘Now we have to go back to the kitchen.’
Her eyes widened in horror. ‘You are not going to make me cut that vegetable again, are you?’
‘No,’ he @ssured her, ‘but you will keep me company.’
‘And if I don’t?’
‘That wasn’t a request, Ibitoru. And before you say anything, as soon as your cut heals, I’m going to teach you to cook and you are going to start contributing your quota here.’
Her glare didn’t work on him.
Four days in his house and it felt like four years!
Pres£ntly, she sat in his living room thinking of a way of escape. She hated being told what to do. Especially by a man she could have imprisoned with just one call. A nobody compared to her standing in life.
He left for work each morning but wouldn’t tell her what he did for a living. Did his colleagues know he kidnapped women as a hubby? Or was he one of those men no one believed could do any wrong? He might be one of those [email protected], trust worthy workers that always got the employer of the month award which made it impossible for anyone to suspect he had an alternative life.
She had tried screaming out of the window but no one had come to her rescue. Although she hadn’t seen any house around the vicinity the first time she had escaped, she had been hoping that there were farms within the area. Eight out of twenty-one days gone! Just like that! A trip to the Scandinavians had ended up being a trip to the middle of nowhere with a sadist!
He had shown her a copy of the guardians newspaper a few days earlier in which her father was offering ten million naira to whoever found his daughter. And yet he didn’t feel in the least bit concerned. If anything, his resolve to keep her in his home was strengthened. He was yet to give her his real name and his reason for abducting her. In fact he acted like having her in his little home was the most natural thing on earth.
He’d leave for work early and get back in the evening hours and expect her to have a meal ready for him like she was his wife or mistress. He’d taught her to cook. In fact he had compelled her to do so. She was still learning. A little or too much of salt, little spice, big chunks of vegetable once with a part of an artificial nail she’d fixed, too much water in the soup, rice too soft. Spaghetti sticking together and what not. Sometimes he had to cook himself, saying that he didn’t want the lining of his stomach destroyed by bad cooking. Not once did he compliment her cooking.
He cooked the soup himself and had her re-heat it. The first time she used the stove, she almost burnt down the kitchen. Parts of the kitchen wall had been stained with soot, but she had improved.
She told herself that soon she’d be back home and to the life she was used to and all this would be forgotten. She wouldn’t have to step into the kitchen unless she was supervising the cooking. And she’d never break her nails in the process of washing plates or scrubbing floors like a common housemaid.
She’d concede that she couldn’t understand this arrangement. She was supposed to be his prisoner but she was able to move around the house, unfettered. All she couldn’t do was leave the house, not for want of trying, because she had, short of breaking her arm by trying to force the door open.
He still hadn’t made that call his father and she found herself wondering if he’d actually abducted her to make money from her father. She recalled him saying that he wanted her father to keep on wondering what he was doing to her and she could imagine the thought going through her father’s mind, especially with some victims of abduction complaining of being raped.
She didn’t even want to think about her mother and what she must be going through. Her mother loved attending occasions where she could show off her designer wears, her very expensive lace and gele, matching bags, shoes and jewelleries. And her mother had a lot of occasions scheduled for that month but she wouldn’t go anywhere because of her missing daughter.
By abducting her, [email protected] had not only disrupted her life but that of other persons. By the time her father got hold of him, he would wish he’d never met her. He hadn’t hurt her yet, at least not physically, but that didn’t meant that mean that he couldn’t or wouldn’t.
She just had to find a way out.
Chief Davids waited for news of his missing daughter. None came. No call had come demanding ransom money in exchange for her release. Her body was not in any of the mortuaries in the state so she had to be alive.
What was her abductor doing to her? He prayed that she wouldn’t be abused by him. The commissioner of police had @ssured him that they were doing everything in their power to find her. And inspite of the ten million naira offered, there was no information, as though she’d just disappeared from the face of the earth.
Where are you IB?
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