The strange figure turned off the flashlight and then powered the fluorescent bulb.
‘Who are you?’ I trembled before a tall lanky dark-complexioned young man.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ he sat on a stool beside my bed, ‘I’m Ken, Nana’s nephew. I flew into the country a couple of days ago.’
Fortunately for me, the bell Nana told me about was closer to me; and as I stretched forth my hand towards it, the young man speedily withdrew my hand.
‘Not so fast, young lady!’
I sprang fast out of the bed, but he had already locked the door.
‘Do I look scary?’ he moved closer, ‘we are both adults, there is no need playing this hide-and-seek game.’
‘If you don’t leave this room, I would scream!’ I threatened more out of fear.
What if the entire drama was a set-up? My heartbeat drummed wildly like the masquerade beat in my hometown.
Dear Lord, why did I not involve you in all of these?
‘Please, you don’t have to shout,’ he knelt before me, ‘please, I would leave but let me have some few bites and I would be gone; I promise.’
‘At the count of five, please leave!’ I ordered in fury.
He got up immediately and was about leaving but stopped midway, fuming.
‘Do you realize I have the power to influence your employment with my aunt?’
‘Too late, young man; I’ve already been given an employment letter. There is nothing you can do about it.’
‘Okay, we would see to it!’ he stormed out of the room.
I watched in utter confusion as he left my room. Fearing his comeback, I hurriedly locked the door in fright and kept vigil half of the entire night.
‘I hope you had a wonderful night’s rest?’ Nana asked when she saw me in the morning.
‘No ma…no…’ I panted unsure of whether to tell her about it.
‘I…ma…’ my words seemed incoherent.
‘Spare me the details,’ Nana laughed, ‘I saw everything.
‘You saw what?’
‘The drama cum induction which took place in your room the previous night,’ she continued.
‘I orchestrated the entire plan. I wanted to know who you really are…’ she paused watching my reaction, ‘but not to worry, you passed the test!’
I was more than dumbfounded. An induction! Oh, my God!
‘I watched the entire scene via a CCTV camera installed in your room. Dabira, congratulations!’
‘Ma, what about the threats?’ I asked.
‘Ken is just a playboy and has no stake in my business,’ Nana assured me, ‘as I told you earlier, that drama was my brainchild.’
I resigned my appointment the same day my school’s vacation commenced; that way, the school management could quickly get a replacement before resumption
The reaction I got from the Vice-principal when she learned of my exit, was not different from Adaora and even my pastor. At some point, I felt virtually the entire world was against me.
‘My success story would definitely change their opinion,’ I muttered under my breath as I boarded a bus back to my house.
‘The rate at which our young girls are falling victims of human trafficking is alarming!’ an elderly woman who sat in front of me on the bus began.
‘Ma, sometimes it is entirely their fault,’ a younger lady in the bus replied.
‘I don’t believe you,’ the elderly lady refuted, ‘the main problem is that they are so gullible that they trust just anybody that promises them a better job abroad…’
The last statement struck me. I felt as though someone had just fired a catapult on me.
‘But can’t these girls just ask questions before they accept any offer?’ I lent my voice to the discussion.
‘Questions?’ the elderly woman shook her head, ‘my dear, these girls are just too in a hurry to ride the best cars in town and build mansions for their parents; greed is their underlying motive.’
As the conversation progressed, some other passengers made one or two contributions. But the elderly lady spoke the more.
‘In my village for instance, recently we lost a very young and promising lady,’ she continued.
‘Somebody promised this girl an international job, but it turned out to be…’
My attention shifted to the vibration from my bag. I checked, and it was my phone. The call was from Nana.
‘Hello ma,’ I picked the call.
‘Are you just seeing my calls?’ she answered angrily, ‘I’ve been calling you for ages!’
‘I’m sorry ma,’ I replied, ‘the phone was in my bag.’
‘Going forward, Dabira, always ensure your phone is your closest companion if you must work effectively for me. Do I make myself clear?’
‘Yes, ma,’ I answered.
‘I’ve just transferred some money to your account,’ Nana continued, ‘please confirm and call me back.’
‘Thank you, ma.’
The moment she hung up, I checked my phone inbox. The amount she credited to my account ceased my breath for a moment!
My heartbeat increased in tempo to the beat audible to me alone. what was I going to do with such kind of money? Speedily, my mind traveled to my hometown; and then settled on the family land which had laid fallow for over ten years…
And finally, by the time my mind returned from its voyage back to the commercial bus, the driver had already driven past my bus-stop!
TO BE CONTINUED…