LOST - Episode 1

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - journey, car, passengers, mechanic, vehicles, light, lady, fear, afraid, phone, no service coverage, tonight, torchlights, bush.

It was 9:20 pm in the night. Our taxi had broken down and the driver left to find an automobile mechanic to fix the broken car. If he would find one and return in time, no one had a clue. On account of bad road and traffic jam (the worst I had seen), our journey had lasted longer than usual. Normally after four hours we should have reached our destination.  We were three passengers in all and were stuck in the middle of nowhere on a highway. I hadn’t been in that sort of situation before. I was going to do the journey with my car but thought against it. I had not been to that part of the country before, the story I heard about car snatching incidents didn’t encourage me. From what I was told, asking for help in those parts, without good knowledge of the road, while driving a clean car, was akin to asking for trouble. So the sensible thing to do was use a public transport, and that I did.

However, after being stuck in the middle of nowhere for hours, I began to wish I had gone on the journey with my car. The other passengers with me were a man and a lady. I have to add, a pretty lady; a jaw-dropping piece of feminine beauty. She spoke very little and kept to herself. I had heard her say she came to inspect a piece of property some agent bought for her months earlier. The other male passenger was loud mouthed and talked as if he knew about everything and gave no one chance to make contributions to any subject of discussion. The pretty lady, I and the driver sort of had an unspoken agreement to shut him. Clearly, he liked the sound of his own voice. Even though no one spoke to him or replied to his silly comments, he kept talking.

This male passenger, whom I had nicknamed ‘Loudmouth’ got tired of waiting for the taxi driver to returned and decided to hitchhike a ride. He was bold to do that. I didn’t think it was cool to stop vehicles in that kind of place when it was dark. Minutes after Loudmouth left, the pretty lady asked me, “Should we try to get a lift and get away from here? It is lonely and scary here, you know?” The sound of her voice was like music. My chance of finding a woman like her was minimal. I was very single and searching. So, I was glad to attend to her questions. “I think it is our best option now. We can’t keep waiting for the driver. Even if he returns with a mechanic, I doubt the mechanic will be able to do much by this time of the night. It is already late,” I replied, trying to be as reasonable as I could.

Showing just how afraid we were, we looked around the environment we both found ourselves.  It was pitch dark, except for occasional light from vehicles which passed us. The lady was stiff with fear, she drew closer and took my hand. I knew it meant nothing. I was afraid too, but seeing how scared she was, I decided to pretend I wasn’t afraid. I stepped closer to the road and began to flag at every car which came our way, including trucks. After one hour of flagging at vehicles and none stopping for us, I began to show my fear. “You are a lady, maybe you should try and stop a vehicle for us, people will be more lenient to stop for you than for me,” I said. Still holding my hand as though I would bolt any moment, she began to wave at oncoming vehicles with one hand. It was perhaps twenty minutes after she began to wave that a car slowed down near where we stood and a voice from the car shouted, “Get away from here if you don’t want to be butchered tonight!!” and then the car sped off.
The pretty lady put her hands around me and began to cry. She was hysterical. What the voice said had driven her to the very edge of how much fear she could stomach that night. I saw her tremble from head to feet. Don’t forget I was afraid too. I held her in my hands while making sure I did not let her feel how my heart was beating with fear. “Do you have a load in the taxi?” I asked. “No, this is all I have on me,” she replied, raising her purse. “Let us run from here,” I suggested. Like a couple jogging early in the morning, we began to head toward Egberi, our destination. Two hours later, we were still running. Only the sounds of our feet pounding on the road and vehicles which occasionally drove by were heard. “I know it must be hard for you running this long. As soon as we spot any building we will stop and rest okay,” I said to encourage her. “I am fine. Let’s keep going,” she said, her voice riddle with suffocating fear. My heart melted at the sound of it. I stopped. “Let us rest. You want to run till you get to Egberi because you are scared. If you get hurt, things are going to get worse for us.” “I jog for two hours every morning. I am willing to run till we reach Egberi,” she said breathing hard. Then I figured out how she maintained her super figure. “Okay,” I said, and we bolted off, this time running like something was after us.

“I am thirsty,” she said after we had run for about twenty minutes. I took it for a cue that she was tired, and so stopped. To my surprise she had a can of water in her purse. She opened it, swallowed a few gulps and offered the can to me. We were in the middle of the tared road. For the past fifteen minutes no vehicle had passed us. I drank from the can of water quickly and gave it back to her. I removed my phone to check for time. To my dismay, there was no GSM service coverage and the time was eighteen minutes after twelve midnight. “Check if you have service on your phone,” I said. She removed her phone and there was no service coverage. She checked her other phone and there was still no service coverage.

Drawing very close to me, the lady said in a very low voice, “You know at some point on our way, I felt the driver was taking us to somewhere else. I said nothing because you and the other passenger seemed to know where we were going. I have been to Egberi two times. I have lots of undeveloped lands there. There is no part of it which does not have GSM coverage. Where are we sir?” I had felt the same way in the taxi but said nothing because she and the other passenger did not complain. “I wish I knew where we are. You are right, this place does not lead to Egberi. Perhaps we are lost.” The way she reacted made me regret saying that. She dropped her purse and put both hands on her head. “Oh Lord please don’t let us die tonight!” She prayed out loud.

I could hear her soul stirring-sob. She tried to keep it low, but the sound of it was not good for my soft heart. I picked her purse and moved her away from the middle of the road. “This is not the night we will die! We will find a place to sleep tonight and in the morning we will find our way back to the city!” My voice was stern and courageous. She nodded and wiped her tears. Trust a woman’s instinct, they are God-given. For no obvious reason she said, “Get into the bush.” “Why?” I asked. “Just do it! I feel we should do it.” I moved into the nearby bush, dragging her gently with me. I wasn’t comfortable with how far we were into the bush and so I moved further into it and we squatted. Then we saw flashlights. They were not those of cars. They came from torchlight. The stronger the lights, the more we heard footsteps, and then deep masculine voices. My eyes were strained on them. They were on the tarred road looking in every direction. As they flashed their torchlight I saw machetes in their hands. All of them were bare chested and wore a tight shot around the waist. They must have been five or six in number.

The lady with me dug her face into my stomach and let out a silent cry. “God save us,” I mumbled. The sky above rumbled and light showers began to fall. We had seen the sign it would rain a few hours earlier. Soon after, stormy wind began to blow. The men remained on the road, turning their light every way. It was as if they were waiting for something to tell them where we were hiding. After a long wait, they decided to split up and search the surrounding bush. Two headed our way. Thank God for the rain and the wind. I tapped the lady and we began to walk very fast. Trying to run would have led them straight to us. We used the positions of their torchlight to move far away from them. It they stopped to listen, we would stop walking. At some point, we began to crawl on all fours. Thankfully we found a big tree with shrubs around it and we went into it to hide. I believe that those two men after us may have felt they were onto something. To our utter shock, the two of them headed straight to the tree where we were hiding. I felt my heart jolt and I began to gasp for air. The lady next to me was no better, she passed off a hot pee on my leg, trembling all over. Standing right opposite where we were hiding, one of them raised his voice and shouted something in a strange tongue and the rest came running toward our direction.


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Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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LOST - Episode 1
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - journey, car, passengers, mechanic, vehicles, light, lady, fear, afraid, phone, no service coverage, tonight, torchlights, bush.
Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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