Tobi was going through the company’s latest acquisitions in his study when his phone rang. It was Amaka. Surprised and happy, he answered the call. “Hey, babe. How are you?”
“Tobi, where are you?” Amaka sounded frantic.
Tobi sat up in concern. “I’m at home. Are you okay?”
“Lara and Nonso have been kidnapped!”
Tobi froze in disbelief. Amaka gave him her contact address and he dropped everything and rushed to his car straight to her house.
The place was teeming with neighbours as they tried to hold her back from tearing Anita from limb to limb. Amaka was hysterical with anger and desperation. Anita was a wreck. No one had seen the children being taken. And the worst part? Amaka was accusing Anita of masterminding the kidnap. Anita tried to deny it until she was hoarse with crying and pleading. But Amaka didn’t care. She was bent on making Anita produce her kids or face her wrath.
The police were called. Anita was arrested and interrogated at the station. She maintained she didn’t kidnap the children.
“You’re lying.” Amaka snarled. “You know where they are. I know you do. You’re evil. And I’m not going to rest until you pay for what you did to my family.”
“I didn’t do it.” Anita cried. Then she turned pleading eyes to Tobi as she cried. “Tobi, you know me. You know how much I love your kids. I would never do anything to hurt them. Please believe me. I didn’t take Lara and Nonso. I swear.”
“Don’t listen to her, Tobi.” Amaka said. “Remember what she did us. She’s capable of anything.”
Tobi was torn. Part of him wanted to believe Anita. That she had forgiven him and would never kidnap the kids to get back at him. The other part believed his wife. After all, it wasn’t quite long that Anita made their lives a living hell.
“Where are my kids, Anita.” He asked, choosing his wife’s side.
Anita broke down. “I didn’t kidnap them. I didn’t. I love them like my own.”
“Aha!” Amaka exclaimed triumphantly. “You love them, that’s why you kidnapped them. You pretend that you know nothing and shed these stupid tears so we will pity you and let you go. And when everything dies down, you take my children and disappear to God knows where. That’s your plan, right? We know you can’t have children. That’s why you want to take mine.”
Those words stung Anita. But she couldn’t blame Amaka. The woman was off her head with hysteria. Besides, she had no reason to make them believe her. And they have every reason to suspect her. It was her fault for taking the kids to see their mother.
The news spread like wild fire. CHILDREN OF BILLIONAIRE BUSINESS MAN KIDNAPPED were all over the media. The press took up strategic places at the police station and Tobi’s house. It was a nightmare.
Meanwhile, Anita was still in police custody and they continued to question her. “Madam, do you know anyone who might want to take the kids for some reason?” The police detective asked.
Anita’s eyes widened as she suddenly remembered. “Yes, yes. It’s James and Jack, Tobi’s cousins.” Then she showed them the threat messages she received from the twins and their mother to prove it.
The police immediately mobilized to arrest them. The twins were found at the airport. They were immediately locked up and interrogated. After a few slaps and punches, they began to sing like a bird. They confessed to contracting the kidnappers to take the children. These same men had kidnapped and threatened Amaka to leave Tobi. They followed Anita as she drove the kids to see their mother and waited until she entered Amaka’s flat. Then, they took the kids. It was easy. Amaka lived in a neighborhood where everyone minded their business. So, no one noticed when the kids were taken.
But things went out of hand when the media carried the news and the police got involved. Apparently, the twins didn’t think their plans through. Unable to handle the frightening turn of events, they had bought their tickets and attempted to escape out of the country when they were apprehended.
The police mobilized again to the address the twins gave to locate the kidnappers. It was too late. There was no trace of either the kidnappers or the children. Apparently, the kidnappers had known they would be exposed and moved to another location that no one knew. It was back to square one.
Melinda didn’t know about the kidnap. The twins planned it without her knowledge. So, she was spared. She tried to bail them out but her connections didn’t want to be involved. They were high ranking people and they didn’t want to be associated with the scandal. She was on her own.
Anita was released from custody, with Tobi’s influence, when it became clear she had nothing to do with the kidnap. He still believed in her. The police let her go on the condition that she would stay in Tobi’s house. She wasn’t to step out of the compound until investigation ended. Amaka had since returned to the house.
Staying in Tobi’s was one of the most unpleasant experiences for Anita. Ironic really, considering that not too long ago, she was the dictator and the family was the subject. Now, she was a caged animal in a big house. She stayed in her room most of the time preferring to avoid Tobi and Amaka. She couldn’t sneeze without them staring at her like she had a viral disease.
Days passed, there were no sign of the kids. The kidnappers hadn’t called for a ransom. The police kept looking even though it was looking like it was a dead end. Anita couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted to do something, anything. It was all her fault. She was only trying to get mother and children together. To make the family complete once again. And she ended up scattering them further. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to play out when she planned the surprise reunion.
Then her phone rang. She froze. The police had seized all her phones. But there was one that nobody knew about. It was registered under a false identity in case she wanted to do a transaction she didn’t want anyone to trace. She had deliberately not given it to the police. If they laid their hands on it and read the contents, kasala don burst for her. The phone rang again.
“Hello?” She said in a hushed voice.
“Aunty Anita, please come and help us.” Lara’s quiet and desperate voice rang in her ears on the other end.
Anita gasped. “Lara?”
“No!” Anita flinched at Lara’s screaming voice. There was a brief rustling sound of people fighting.
“Lara!” Anita said, heart pounding.
“Nope, not Lara.” The man’s amused tone answered her.
“Skippo?” Anita said. Skippo was the leader of the kidnappers. He had also been the one who threatened Amaka some months back.
“Hello, my love. Long time no hear.” The man said.
“Skippo, what are you doing?”
“Please let the children go. They’ve done nothing to you.”
“What do you want?”
“Ehen, na now you come. I want you to meet us at our location.”
The man laughed. “You know na. How could you forget? Bring that your sweet ass. I can’t wait to see you again. And bring hundred million naira.”
Anita gasped. “Hundred million naira!”
“Yes, come alone. Make sure no one follows you or the kids are dead.”
“Skippo, I don’t have hundred million naira.”
“Find it.” He hung up.
Anita sat on the bed, completely shaken. She was grateful for one thing. Following Lara’s bully at school, Anita had made her memorize this line and the other lines in case she needed her. she didn’t know why she did it because she normally didn’t give out this line to anyone except for an important… okay, shady business. But now, where would she get a hundred million naira? Finding the location wasn’t the problem. She knew the place because she had slept with Skippo there once. As a matter of fact, she had introduced Skippo to James and Jack.
Anita didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t ask Tobi to give her the money. He would get suspicious and ask her questions she couldn’t answer. She knew Skippo. She considered calling the police. Then she quickly dismissed the idea. She didn’t trust the police. Besides, calling them would put her into further trouble. She had only herself to rely on. She would rescue the children alone even if it cost her life.
Anita tore out a piece of paper and wrote a note to Tobi. He was downstairs with Amaka. She left her room to the master bedroom to drop the note. Her eyes caught the slightly open bedside drawer. She went to close it and stopped. Tobi’s gun was inside the drawer. Surprised, she stared at it, then picked it and left.
She managed to sneak out the backdoor and out of the compound with no one’s knowledge. As soon as she left the compound, she ran like hell. She stopped when she was as far away from the compound as possible, panting. She was on a deserted road. Which posed another problem. No transport.
Her prayer was answered when a car approached. Anita stepped to the middle of the road and pointed the gun to the oncoming car, yelling. “Get out of the car!”
The car stopped immediately and a young woman came out, trembling. “Please don’t shoot me.”
“Give me the keys!”
“Please don’t take my car. My husband bought it for me as a wedding gift.”
“Congratulations. Give me the keys.”
“Please now, pity me. I’m your fellow woman o.”
“Give me the keys or I will shoot your brains out!”
The woman quickly gave her the keys. Anita entered the car and came out immediately, holding the note. She had forgotten to drop them in the room when she saw the gun.
“Come. Go to this address.” She scribbled the address and gave the note to the woman. “Give this to Mr. Tobi Williams. He’ll know what to do. Oya, run!”
The woman ran. Anita entered the car and drove off. Getting to the location felt like forever for her. She finally got there and parked at a discreet distance. She came out and paused. The location was a lone abandoned building, surrounded by very thick bushes. This one was an old but complete house, a vast improvement than the uncompleted building the kidnappers used to occupy.
Anita thought of what to do. She couldn’t enter there and demand the children be released just like that. She was smart to know she couldn’t get there without a plan. But she had to do something. Hopefully, Tobi would read her note and come and rescue the children. As for her, well, she didn’t matter.
Anita walked slowly towards the building using the long bushes to mask her movement. One of the kidnappers came out. He went to a corner of the bush, unzipped and began to urinate. Anita crouched and watched, waiting. Another prayer answered. A plan was already forming in her head. She picked a thick stick and crept stealthily towards the man.
Skippo was beginning to get worried. Tiger was supposed to be back a while ago. Who takes more than thirty minutes to urinate? The third guy was cooking with a gas cylinder. Skippo was about to send him to find Tiger when the door opened. Tiger entered. Skippo raked him an angry stare. “Which kin’ urine wey you dey urinate since?”
“Na the kin’ urine wey go kill am.” Anita said behind Tiger. Everybody froze. Blood was gushing from the back of Tiger’s neck. And Anita was pointing the gun behind his head.
Skippo stared at her. “Anita, what are you doing?”
“You asked me to come. Here I am.”
“Where’s the money?”
“I don’t have it.”
“Na im be say you don sign your death warrant be that.”
Meanwhile, the young woman waited impatiently as Tobi read Anita’s note. The police had already arrived.
“You said Anita gave you this?”
“I don’t know her name but that woman gave me the note to give you.”
Tobi gave the note to the detective who read it and said. “We have to follow her.”
Tobi nodded. “I’m coming with you.”
“Wait, what about my car?” The woman asked hopefully.
“We’ll get it back.” The detective said, already on his way out.
“Are you sure?”
“If they don’t, I’ll buy you a new one.” Tobi said, following the Detective.
Back to Anita and the kidnappers, she was still holding Tiger at gun point in a face-off with Skippo and the third guy.
Skippo laughed. “You think that I care if you kill this guy. Go ahead. Shoot him. I don’t care.”
Anita smiled. “Oh, on the contrary I know that you do. Do you think I’m stupid? I know what Tiger means to you. He’s your younger brother, your only family in the entire world.”
Skippo’s face turned to stone. “How do you know that?”
“I investigate people I do business with. And I know you don’t want your brother dead.”
“Let him go.” Skippo growled.
“Release the children first.”
“Okay, say bye bye to your brother.” She pressed the gun on Tiger’s head.
“Wait!” Skippo turned to the third guy. “Bring those children.”
The third guy nodded and left. A few seconds later, he entered with Lara and Nonso.
“Auntie Anita!” The children screamed excitedly. She smiled at them without taking her attention off Tiger.
“Hey, babies. I’m glad you’re alright. Now, I want you to get out of this place and run as fast away from here as possible. Your dad is coming to pick you.”
“You say?” Skippo asked, surprised. Anita ignored him. “Lara, Nonso, get out of this place now. Run!”
The children ran out of the building. Skippo looked at Anita. “Release my brother.”
“Not yet.” She waited. She knew she was running out of time but she didn’t care at this point. The children’s freedom was what mattered. And when she felt like they had run far enough, she released Tiger. Skippo gave her a chilly smile. “Say your last prayers.”
Anita returned the smile. “You too. Tobi is coming with the police. So, say your last prayers boys.”
He barked at the third guy. “Danger, go and get those children back!”
Anita blocked the door and pointed the gun threateningly at them. “Nobody is going anywhere.”
Skippo glared at her. Then, he gave her another chilly smile. “Okay, I’m going to find those children. Then I will kill them in front of you. Take my time sampling that your beautiful ass with my guys. Then I will kill you.”
Anita smiled. “Bring it on, soldier.”
Danger came towards her. She shot him. There was total silence as he held his shoulder in pain while Skippo and Tiger stared at Anita in shock. Anita was rattled. She had never shot anybody before. Skippo took advantage of her shock and snatched the gun from her. He gave her a dirty slap and she fell on the impact. Then he grabbed her. But Anita wouldn’t give up. She kicked him on his balls. He drew back, cupping his balls and collided with Tiger from behind. Tiger collided with Danger who stumbled and fell on the gas cylinder. The cylinder fell over, torching the nearest cloth and everywhere began to burn.
Acting on pure instinct, everybody abandoned their fight and began to scramble for the exit. They were barely out when the whole place exploded sending them flying. The next thing they knew; the police was all over the scene.
Anita and the kidnappers were taken to the hospital. They guys were placed under arrest. Anita wasn’t arrested but allowed to be treated like a free citizen. Again, it was Tobi’s influence.
Weeks later, the kidnappers were charged to court and sentenced to life imprisonment. James and Jack were sentenced to ten years each. Anita recovered from her injuries and packed her things out of Tobi’s house. Tobi, Amaka who was grateful to her for rescuing the children, Lara and Nonso went to see her off to her car. The children weren’t happy that their Auntie was leaving.
“Auntie please don’t go.” They pleaded tearfully. Anita blinked back her own tears. She had become attached to those children. They never failed to visit her with their parents when she was in the hospital.
She knelt before them. “I love you so much. But I have to go. Don’t worry. I will keep in touch. If you need me, just call my number and I will be there, okay?”
They sniffed and nodded. She stood up and faced Tobi and Amaka. Tobi approached her ad gave her a cheque. “That’s a hundred million naira. For you, Anita.”
Anita gasped. “Tobi, this is too much.”
“No, Anita. It’s not. No amount is too much to make up for what you suffered because of me. And you risked your life to save my children. Please take the money as a token of my gratitude.”
This time, Anita couldn’t hold back the tears. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”
Amaka hugged her. “No, thank you. You’re a good woman, Anita. And I’m sorry for the terrible things I said to you. My family and I will be forever grateful to you for all you’ve done for us.”
“But I caused all the trouble when I intruded in your lives.”
“Let’s not dwell in the past. An intruder can be a blessing. You’re a blessing to us. And I pray to God Almighty, that he will grant you your greatest heart desires. Take care of yourself, dear. We will always love you.”
Anita cried and hugged them all. She entered her car and drove off as the family waved her goodbye. Anita smiled. Her soul had replaced the huge burden that weighed her down all these years. She couldn’t wait to start a new life. For the first time in a long time, she was free.