It was a chilly evening, just as children were being dismissed from school. Children from Mawindo Primary school were scattered in all directions, as they went to their various homes. Among those children was Gladys, the daughter of John. She walked eastwards alone in the direction of her home. Just as she was turning round the first corner towards the shopping centre, on her way home, a car sped past her, then stopped, a short distance from her. The car was a beautiful Subaru Legacy and it distracted her a little. She had always day dreamed of how she would like to buy such a beautiful car when she completes her studies. She swore to herself that if such a time came, she would take her beloved parents for a trip, to wherever they liked.
As these fantasies were racing through her mind, three men tiptoed behind her. They grabbed her from the behind and dragged her towards the car, which had stopped a distance away from her, the same car she had admired. They forcefully pushed her into the car as she protested wildly. She tried to scream, but they gagged her mouth using a soft cotton wool, then she was blind folded as the car sped off. Gladys was filled with fright and her whole body shook violently.
Later on in the evening, John was sitting on the couch, in his house, whistling cheerfully. The day had been good. He had received a letter at the work place. The letter had informed him of his promotion. The better part was that the promotion was to come with a salary increment and extra privileges. This jovial mood was short lived though, because at that moment he received a call from a strange number, which although it looked harmless, it left him with chilling fear. The voice from the other end was hoarse, thunderous and uninviting. In fact the caller had no courtesy to salute him or introduce himself.
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The strange caller claimed that he was holding his daughter hostage and a ransom of five hundred thousand shillings was required. He also warned him not to try anything stupid like alerting the police, if he wanted to see his daughter alive.
On receiving the news, John let out a deafening scream, which attracted the attention of his wife, who was at the time cooking a delicious meal in the kitchen, while singing along to ‘Kuna dawa’ song, which was playing from her mobile phone. She rushed quickly into the living room to find out what had happened. “Why are you screaming at night like a small child?” she asked sarcastically.
John explained what was happening to his wife and she was shocked. She almost collapsed. It was now her turn to scream, like a toddler. “Please my dear, don’t panic, we need time to think about what to do.” John consoled his wife, who remained as mute as a doorpost.
John thought of many things. He thought of informing his neighbours, friends and relatives about what had happened, but he dismissed the idea. The kidnapper had warned him not to try anything stupid. He also contemplated involving the police in the matter, but then, the kidnapper must have studied some bit of psychology. This was because just as he was ruminating over the idea of calling the police, he received a message from the kidnapper, which read, ‘I know your stupid head is contemplating informing the police about this matter, but I assure you that if anything happens, we shall kill your daughter and we shall also help you dislodge your head from your neck. Get it? Cheers!” This message really scared him to the core. He now knew that the kidnappers meant business.
Another call came through, which was from a different caller and a different number. This particular caller further warned him of dire consequences, if he attempted anything stupid, then he instructed him on where to drop off the money in exchange for his daughter. John sat on the couch with his wife. His hands were on his chin. He thought of how he had struggled to save the little money at the bank and now the kidnappers wanted the whole of it. The sobs from his wife kept on interrupting his train of thoughts to a point of irritation. Despite the fact that they tried hard to rest, sleep evaded them that night.
Morning finally came, a day when John was to meet his adversaries face to face. He woke up early. His wife prepared him breakfast, but he could not take it. He was nervous. He was thinking about the duty ahead of him. He was not sure of how his encounter with the kidnappers would be. He left the house hurriedly and headed for the bank. He got there before the bank was opened. He could hardly wait. He kept on pacing anxiously outside the bank.
The bank was finally opened at nine o’clock and he went in. The teller served him, while wondering why this man was withdrawing a lot of money that day. Once he was through, he headed for the place where he was to drop the money. The kidnappers had instructed him that they should meet by the side of an isolated road, away from the shopping centre.
Meanwhile, the kidnappers received a call from John, informing them that he had done as instructed and that he had the money with him. The kidnappers got up from a two roomed shack where they had been keeping the girl. They walked with the girl towards the place where they were to meet her father. One of them was armed with a pistol, which was well tucked in his trouser, beneath his untucked shirt. The other two were armed with sharp knives. They were very careful not to attract any unnecessary attention. They even forced Gladys to smile, in order to fool any curious persons.
As the kidnappers approached, John saw his daughter with the kidnappers. The kidnappers had not seen him yet, but his daughter saw him and pointed in his direction. This distracted the kidnappers and since Gladys was not tied up, she ran quickly across the road. The kidnappers tried to pursue her across the road, but a car with criminals inside, who were being pursued by the police, swept them off their feet, killing two of them instantly and critically injuring the other. John and his daughter walked away as if nothing had happened, while trying hard to hide their excitement.