Lara caressed her bulging stomach absent-mindedly, she could percieve the aroma of the food her mother-in-law was cooking. Amara had taken over the kitchen ever since she moved in weeks ago, Tony had invited his mother over since she-Lara was close to delivery.
She wondered what she could have done without her mother-in-law, she was all alone in the family. No relations, no mother, no friends-it’s just her and her husbands people.
“here, make sure you eat it up!” Amara placed a small bowl of steaming peppersoup beside Lara.
“Wow! Only me?” Lara asked.
“how many people are pregnant in this house?
Oya eat o!” Amara replied.
“I’m not hungry yet!” Lara pouted, she wanted some pettings.
“Please now, Lara, my one and only daughter, the mother of my unborn grandchild, the…”
“Hey! Enough mum! ” Lara laughed scooping some of the delicacy into her mouth.
“Tastes great” she rolled her eyes.
“mm, I’ve heard.” Amara sat beside her.
“The back pain? How’s it now?”
“not better at all” Lara made a face.
“Sorry” Amara rubbed her back gently.
“I think I need to take a walk.” Lara said quitely.
“Okay, let me get ready now, I’ll accompany you.”
Amara rose to her feet.
“Follow? No! I prefer to walk alone” Lara protested
“Don’t worry mum, I’ll be fine, just a few metres and I’d be back” Lara assured her.
Lara dragged her feet lazily as she walked, her hand holding her waist and the other hand caressing her stomach.
She got to the end of the street, traffic was heavy. She listened to the hooting sounds and watched some aggressive drivers for a while before deciding to go back.
She took a shortcut route, instead of the previous route she followed.
She walked slowly down a deserted alley, she was used to the alley, though Tony’d warn her several times to quit taking the route.
She was halfway into the alley when she saw a car waiting at the end, she looked behind her; a car was at the other end too.
Somehow she felt nervous. She said some silent prayers and walked on.
Few yards to the end of the alley she felt a hand grab her from behind, she shrieked in fear.
She saw two men trying to take her to the car she saw earlier.
Were they going to kidnap her?
She screamed with all her might.
“Let me go!” she struggled but she was overpowered.
She felt something wet cover her face and…everything blacked out.
Lara gazed wearily in space, she wished a million times she would wake up from such a night mare.
She gazed at her tied hands and legs, she would never escape. She felt her baby flutter about in her tummy; that means she need to eat. Food was the last thing on her mind.
Who would want to kidnap a pregnant woman?
Maybe they want to use her for rituals.
But the people who kidnapped her looked like renowned assassins, not ritualists..
Her eyes moved around the dirty room, littered with beer bottled and cigrattes, she suddenly felt the desire to throw up.
She tried her best not to vomit, she feared her baby might come out through her mouth.
“Uhhhhn…uhhhhhn, gbooo.” she vomited.
“Wetin dey happen there?” a male voice said from outside.
“So you vomit?” he asked walking in.
“You do well! Na so you go siddon inside the vomit till the people wey go kill you go come!” he told her angrily.
“Kill?” Lara’s eyes widened.
“Siddon there dey ask me!”
“Please don’t kill me…” she pleaded
“If you need money, my…my..my….husband would pay any amount you need.” she was crying profusely.
“you dey form pesin wey get rich husband, we no need una money. That pikin wey dey your belle go give us money wey we no fit count!” he sneered at her before leaving the room
Lara wailed, she wondered why she had to go through all these.
She looked around her, no means of escape.
Her baby moved again.
She used her teeth to loosen the ropes around her hands after 30 minutes of trying. She caressed her stomach with her bruised hands.
“Baby…are you there? Can you hear me?” she wept.
The baby continued to move.
“I’d advice you stay still for now!” she tapped her tummy.
The baby moved faster.
She felt its love surge through her once more, she remembered how Tony become excited each time the baby moves. She wondered what was going on at her home; maybe they were looking for her.
They might never find her- she was deep in an unknown forest.
Baby…I’m home….” Tony called out walking into the sitting room.
“Welcome Tony” Amara greeted.
“Good day mum..” he hugged her.
“Where’s Lara?” He asked looking about the room.
“She left some time ago, that she was taking a walk, she isn’t back yet” Amara explained.
“Why? What’s keeping her? Its late already, this is 8pm, gosh!” he said dailling Lara number.
“I tried dailling her earlier, but she left her phone in her room.” Amara said again.
“Excuse me.” Tony walked out of the house.
He searched aimlessly round the streets for an hour before going back home in despair, he decided to go and check Funke’s place, perhaps Lara should be there.
He got into his car without a word to his mother.
“ah! Tony! Its you, by this time of the night.”
Funke said as she let Tony in.
“is Lara here?” he asked.
“Lara? Its been months since I saw her o!”
Tony searched her eyes for a while, she possibly couldn’t be hiding Lara.
He exhaled sharply
“What wrong?” Funke queried.
“She left home few hours ago and..and…she isn’t back, she didn’t go with her phone..she…”
Tony explained in a tired voice.
“Ehn! Did I hear you say my daughter is missing?” Funke squealed.
“Haaaa! Mo kpe o! Mo ti ku!”
Tony turned to leave, he isn’t in the mood to watch her drama
“Where do you think you are going?” Funke asked barring the door.
Tony blinked rapidly
“You are not going anywhere o! I want my daughter o! So you and your family want to use her for money rituals ehn! You must produce Omolara for me o” she ranted.
Tony’s heart missed a beat at the mention of rituals, was it that Lara was kidnapped?
“Please madam, get off my way, I don’t have time for your drama.” he said wearily.
“Drama! You’ll see drama! Shey you want to see drama!” Funke screamed at him.
She locked the door with keys, threw the keys into her bra, before proceeding to make a call.
“Hello? Inspector wale? E mi ni, its Funke o, please send me some police men o! There’s one ritualist in my house o!” she squealed into the phone.
Tony stood rooted by the door, he watched her with keen interest, this woman is definitely impossible.
“I swear Officer, that’s all I know.” Amara said wiping a tear.
Tony squeezed her palms, he wanted her to stop crying.
“please inspector grant them bail.” Ifiora said.
Tony brightened up, he wasn’t sure he would survive another night in the cell, the previous night was hell.
“write your statements.” Inspector Wale pushed a book towards him.
Tony’s hand shook as he wrote, he wasn’t even sure he wrote something good. His mind was miles away, he wondered where Lara was, he just hoped she is fine.
Lara scratched her legs furiously, mosquitoes had feasted on her the previous night.
She had stopped crying cos her tears stopped flowing, even her baby was silent, no more movements, she wondered if the baby was alright, it must be weak, cos she hadn’t eaten since the previous evening.
She gazed at the only window in her ‘cell’, it was big enough to escape through. But the question is how? The place was surrounded by armed men.
A laughing female voice drawed her attention, she edged towards the door…
“Don’t worry! When the money comes; I go do you well!” the voice said amidst fits of laughter.
The voice sounded familiar.
Just then the door was pushed open; Lara almost lost her balance.
A fetish looking old man; clad in red satin walked into the room, he was holding some calabashes.
He squatted beside examining her bulging stomach. Lara didn’t push his hands away; she knew it’d be useless.
He shook his head disappointedly
“Madam come in” he said in a loud voice.
“so when will you take the baby out?” the woman said gingerly.
Lara’s heart was beating faster, she knew that voice so well, she looked up sharply..her jaws dropped.
Deji smirked at her, chewing a gum noisily.
Lara felt sweat coming out through every pore on her skin
“Deji?” her lips quivered.
Deji rolled her eyes, a smile playing on her lips.
“We shall take it by night.” The fetish man croaked.
“Good then! I can’t wait to be a multi-billionaire”
“Deji you?” Lara shrieked as they turned to leave.
“Yea! Me! Do you think I came into this world to watch others progressing? I need to make money, and I’m not sorry- I have to use you and your baby.” Deji chucked wickedly.
“Deji me Lara? Do I deserve this?” Lara sobbed “I don’t know that one o! Better prepare to meet your late father tonight.” Deji clapped, before banging the door behind her.
Lara sat, shocked to the marrow. Her body became numb. That night her unborn child would be used by Deji for rituals! Deji of all people.