SQUASH – Episode 1: The Governors’ Daughter and The Bandits

Kweku, kwuka, kweku, kwuka…the noise from the ceiling fan was so loud but I could still hear the men talking loudly and carelessly about their sexual exploits in the surrounding rooms of the torture chamber.

The gross things I heard made me come up with different thoughts in my mind on how I must find a way to kill myself before I allow any of these men to lay their filthy hands on me.

Memories started coming into my head in seeps that were so brief that at this rate, it could take the whole day to make out how I got here.

I remember hearing rapid gunfire and the painful screams of my gateman, as they tortured him outside the saferoom…for him to scream that loud, they must be pulling out his fingernails…I knew this because I remember a movie where it was done and the captured Soldier screamed like that through the gag in his mouth.

My hands and feet were already numb from the way they were tied with my legs and in this position, I hung between passing out and staying awake…it was a state that I had gotten to once in my life which was on my 22nd birthday…I still wonder to this day what my friends put in the drink they passed to me in my happy moments…the only difference was that I was in bondage and the pain I felt was like passing through my feet to my head.

There was a small ball-like substance in my mouth, extended with a rope in the middle, which was tied so firmly to the back of my head that It felt like it was touching the bones of my skull…I could breathe but only in small gasps…the room was so hot that each breath I took felt like my last.

The darkness in the room made it impossible for me to see my surroundings so I rather not move…the first time I shifted my body backward, I felt something rusty pierce deep into my buttocks…If I made it out alive from here, maybe I would die of Titanus or Meningitis eventually.

The noise from the fan became slower and stretchy…I think the power source was turned off…I passed out again.

When I woke up, there was no gag in my mouth. The lines the gag left around my cheeks burned hot and I heard the reassuring voice of a man telling me “I was sent to rescue you” He put something in my mouth and I felt cold water pouring into my lungs because I was swallowing too fast.

Can you walk? Even though he had cut the ropes with his Swiss knife, I could not feel my feet yet…they were cold. I felt his warm hands rubbing and massaging them back to life…he touched my thighs and I felt heaven for a few moments…how can a man have such soft magical hands?

I came back to my senses. This man is a professional and for him to get to me, he must have killed a lot of people.

Victoria, stay with me! My name is Squash. I will come back for you.

Then I could no longer feel his presence.

As I paced from one edge of the room to the other, a fire was building up in my head.

The governor thinks he can do whatever he wants at any time. He has forgotten so soon that I put him in power, I mumbled to myself.

I have killed a lot of people. I have loyal bandits working for me across West Africa. If I want to start a war, it is a matter of sending a secret message through my spies to all my loyal generals…they will brief their boys on what must be done. In one hour, we can topple over any government within West Africa.

There are sleeper cells at every corner of West Africa, some are under the guise of herdsmen, and others are bikemen. The ones in taxi driver disguise are all over the state capital. More than twenty percent of vendors are my informants. I pay them from the millions of naira the corrupt government is giving to me every week.

This week, he refused to pay, so I will remind him of how powerful I am.

I pressed the button on my desk and a man armed to the teeth with six military-grade grenades hanging from his bulletproof vest stormed into the room.

Kidnap the governor’s daughter for me.

Ali was a man after my heart…I took him in when he was just a boy 22 years ago. The first time I saw him, he had a plate tied to his neck on the streets of Kano. He was begging for food.

He reminded me of the same life I once lived; no father or mother, but left on the streets to survive.

As I wind down the glass of my car, he comes running to me, stretching his thin feeble neck to see who is inside the car and what he has to offer.

Me sunna n ka? (What is your name?)
Ali! He replied instantly!

I stretched out my hands and patted his cheeks, then proceeded to give him five 200 naira notes in mint condition.

I watched his face lit up with happiness.

For six months, I kept coming back to where I first found him and gradually befriended him.

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