Cigarette burns on my skin, purple bruises on my face, broken ribs but that is not how the story begins. On my 10th birthday, Maami and I went to my favourite resturant. Mr biggs was known for its legendary meatpie and back then, that was all I ever wanted. Ten minutes in and these armed men walked in with masks on.
‘On the ground now, if you try to mess with me, I’ll blow your head off’. The man who seemed to be the leader shouted at us. He seemed to be talking to only Maami and I so I knew this was no armed robbery. My imaginative mind had started wandering, could they be ritualists or kidnappers or did Otunba send them to us for defaulting on our last payment?
One of the men pulled me to my feet and Maami started crying. ‘please take me instead, leave my daughter, I beg you. She cried so loudly that even after these men took me away, it was all I could hear. They blindfolded me, tied my hands and put me in the boot. The car travelled for miles and I was starting to feel suffocated. I prayed to God, if this was my punishment for stealing meat from the pot yesterday then I was sorry.
7 years later in a bunker and I began to understand that this punishment was too grave for stealing a piece of meat. It was just humans deciding to be vile. When I first got there, I kicked, cried,I even refused to eat just like I used to do back at home. But three days without food felt like a week and very soon I realized this wasn’t Maami’s house. These men would not hesitate to leave me here to die so I decided to cooperate.
One night, I heard the door to the bunker open. This was strange, they never came at night. The next couple of minutes went by so slowly and all I could feel was foul breath on my face. This man was going to rape me. I heard footsteps running towards us and suddenly the man was off me. It was their leader Nasir.
‘What do you think you are doing TJ?, you know the rules, we don’t touch infidels’. Even in his quiet tone, I could tell that Nasir was furious. He ordered TJ to kneel and shot him at the back of his head. Blood spattered on my face, the wall, the ceiling and even though I was grateful, I was still scared. I decided to gain his trust and very soon, it paid off.
He began to let me come upstairs for a while, occasionally I would be allowed to cook dinner. I was so tempted to poison them most times but if I did, how would I get out? We were in the middle of nowhere . And then one day, the police burst in. it was so surreal.
Apparently, they had gotten a tip from an anonymous source that a dangerous gang was residing in the area and they raided the place.
Despite everything I went through, I survived. I never got a reason on why Nasir kidnapped me because he was shot on sight. Some days I wonder, on other days I’m just thankful that I made it out alive. Now I’m on a journey to start over and find Maami.
The above story is fictional but let’s not forget the hundreds of citizens who are displaced from their homes daily. Each time, we ask the question why?? A timeless question that even the cosmos cannot answer