On her way home from work, Labake was deep in thoughts. She had been having premonitions and weird dreams. This worried her deeply. She confided in her mother and they began midnight prayers.
“Don’t look for someone to pray you out of your problems. We all have equal access to God. We will cry to him at midnight for three days and a clear-cut vision will be revealed.”
“Are you sure Ma? I wake covered in sweat while the air conditioner is on. I see people chasing me to kill me. Why would anyone want to kill me?”
“You can find out through prayers. On Friday, we will go to the mountain to pray. Jesus separated himself to pray; we will do same. Any weapon fashioned against you will never prosper.”
“Trust me my daughter; we will arrest the situation on our knees. I don’t know any other way. I only know how to fight on my knees.”
She was rushing home that Friday so they could leave for the mountain. She was deep in thoughts that she was not observant. This was not the first time this taxi driver was taking her home. Before she got herself, the cab had taken another route.
“Oga, why did you pass here? This is not the way to Ilupeju.”
“I should have ascended the bridge when we got to Oworoshoki but I missed it. I will turn back at Ogudu.”
She went back to her thoughts until she was jolted back when he drove into an unfamiliar route. She looked around her; there were only uncompleted buildings. She became scared. She knew there was something wrong. She sat quietly in the car, sent her mother a message saying,
“Please pray for me. I think I have been kidnapped or something. I don’t know where I am. I just know the cab drove into the street that leads to the bridge that goes to Ogudu. That’s all I remember.
We are surrounded by uncompleted buildings. I can see an Aladura church close to water. Don’t send me any message. Please pray for me Mami, pray I survive this. Pray. Just pray for me. And be careful. Be very careful” She deleted the message after sending it and switched off her phone.
The driver turned to her and blew a powder at her face. She became unconscious.
Iya Labake was agitated. What kind of message did Labake send? When she called the number, the phone was switched off.
“Ah, aye mi ti baje! Omo mi. Where can she be? What can be happening? This must be Dayo’s handwork. I suspected him but I thought he would go spiritual but he has gone physical. What do I do now?”
She called some people she knew who had influence in the Police. She was asked to see the head of SARS. She met with him, wrote her petition and before it was processed; they were already at the place described by Labake in her text message. Another set went to Dayo’s house but he was not home so they went to his parents’ house to lie in wait for him.
Labake opened her eyes and was shocked to see Dayo staring at her. He flashed torchlight to her face. The place was dimly lit. When she was fully awake, he laughed at her and said,
“I thought you were very smart. I thought you had it all figured out. It was so easy to trap you. Now both you and the baby will no longer be a threat to me. I warned you but you won’t listen. I am making money from you while enjoying the pleasure of your death. Goodbye. We will never meet again.”
Labake looked around her. She saw she was not alone. It was a big building like a warehouse. The windows were high up. The room was secured with two big metal doors. It looked like there was no escaping.
The others around her looked unkempt. She couldn’t see them clearly as the place was dim. She tried to talk to the person beside her but she got no response. She was terrified but surprisingly she was also calm. She spent what was left of the night praying. She started silently and was muttering. When the place was dead silent, she became scared. She prayed louder. She prayed in English and later converted to Yoruba. She prayed for her safety and that of her child. She prayed for her mother.
She prayed for the others there with her and their families. As she prayed, she heard someone say Amen. Then there were other choruses of Amen. Before long more people joined in the prayer. It was like a revival was taking place in there. People prayed in anguish, some screamed, some rolled on the floor others muttered with the little strength they had left. Religion was not a barrier. Everyone prayed how they knew how. Gradually, voices reduced and even Labake stopped praying as tiredness enveloped her. She fell asleep.
In the morning, she opened her eyes and adjusted to the light. She saw the people she couldn’t see clearly the day before. There were people who looked terrible. They looked emaciated. She saw people of different tribes, religion even ages. It was a shocking sight. She wanted to ease herself and asked the person beside her. She pointed to a door. As she opened the door, the stench of stale urine hit her hard that the urge disappeared immediately.
“God, whether I survive this or not, let Dayo die a slow and painful death.” She prayed from the bottom of her heart.
As she walked back, one of the doors swung open. The inmates began to cry. She hurried to her position. She was surprised when they came to her first; they pulled her up roughly and pushed her along with some other selected few. They were led into a truck. She cried as she climbed into it.
“Is this the end for me Lord? Dayo raped me and now wants me dead. I didn’t ask for all this. God, show yourself oh. How can evil win over good?”
The back of the truck was like a container with very high windows. They couldn’t see outside. They didn’t know where they were going. There were about twenty of them in the truck. They were driven out but she couldn’t see anything. She continued crying and praying.
After about fifteen minutes, the truck stopped. They waited to be brought out of the truck but nothing was happening. When they couldn’t hear anything, Labake began to bang on the body of the truck and shouting. Others joined her when they saw how persistent she was. Finally, they heard voices.
Visit our GIST REPORTERS STORIES CATEGORY and read up the Episodes you might have missed out
Watch out for THE DEED Episode 8