The Hiding Place – Episode 1
Imelda closed her eyes hoping that she would reopen them in a more pleasurable reality. She counted one, two, and three underneath her breath, then slowly opened her eyes to realize that nothing had changed. She was still held against her will inside a small room with white walls and ceiling.
At one corner was a small wooden table with two chairs facing each other, her 6ft by 3ft bed stood on the other corner. The air around her was cool but that didn’t stop her from sweating profusely. She had the constant feeling that someone was watching her but she couldn’t see or hear anyone.
She was scared!
Her hair grew unhindered, some covering her eyes. Her lips were dry and her skin was beginning to pale but her baby-like face and small stature made her look at least a decade younger than her true age of thirty-five.
She sat on the side of the bed and pulled out a notebook from under her pillow. She flipped the cover and began to read the content.
“My name is Imelda Lawson James, I am the first of three children of Engr. Okechukwu and Arch. (Mrs) Ifeanyi Lawson. I was born into affluence. My father worked with an oil and gas firm and my mother was a big time real estate agent. We lived very happy lives. I was always top in my class from primary school, through secondary and into the university. I excelled in sports too. My siblings always looked up to me for guidance and I was very careful to ensure I remained the role model they wanted to see in me.
I went into the university at a time when most of my peers were struggling to pass the university matriculation examination. I was admitted to study petroleum engineering and after my graduation, I went on to do a master’s degree in petroleum engineering. Leveraging on my parent’s connection and my good grades, I got into overland oil and gas limited immediately after graduation.
I got married to one of my classmates from my secondary school – Eric James. I met Eric after over a decade but fell in love almost immediately. He came to broker a deal with my company to lift petroleum products to various parts of the country. He got the deal and also got a wife. Sometimes, he jokes that I was the main prize in that business deal.
Eric was such a calm and humorous individual. He was a loving husband, father and an exceptional business mogul. I always admired that notwithstanding his busy schedule, he always made out time to be with his family.
We have four lovely children, two girls, and two boys. They are adorable and doing very well in school. Our eldest child, Cynthia, just gained admission into the university to study medicine.
Last Christmas while on a family retreat on our yacht. Eric and I announced to the kids that we had made enough deposits and arrangement to handle their tertiary education.”
Suddenly, she closed the notebook and smiled, momentarily forgetting her imprisonment. It took her exactly 10 seconds to return to the state of fear and uncertainty that she had become accustomed to.
She had no memories of how she got into the white room. The last thing she remembered was the family retreat, a courtroom and the men in black.
Someone was coming along the corridor. The footsteps became louder, it sounded like two pairs of footsteps and Imelda’s heartbeat began to race until eventually, everything around her stopped. The person was right in front of her door.
She listened, she looked and was able to make out a shadow from the small space between the
door and the floor. She began to hear voices but it seemed like the voices were coming from inside her head.
“They have come to finish you!”
“We are going to deal with you!”
“We have got you cornered”
“It’s time to pay for all your sins!”
She placed her hands quickly on her head, gently running them through her hair and slowly rubbing her scalp. Then she put a finger from each hand into her ears as though trying to protest against the many thoughts that struggled to dominate her mind.
She listened as a key entered the keyhole and, as it turned she could hear the sound of the metal bar unlocking the door. Fear became her companion.
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