Story: THE BASH [one night of horror]


    by Johnysky

    Episode 1

    Evelyn exhaled deeply as she dropped the hooks of her bra and her b----t jiggled freely on her chest giving her an unparalleled soothing sensation.
    ‘’I have no idea where tochi gets all these push up bra that wants to strangle someone’s lungs and back’’ she muttered to herself with a hiss.
    Next was her shoes, high heeled pointy black shoes that hurt like hell but she had been wearing it for hours now through out the night, she had borrowed this one from mimi, that girl is a high heel freak.
    As the shoes slipped out of her feet she let out a long whispering ‘’aaaaah’’, massaging the sole and toes of her feet.
    ‘’I wonder how these girls survive in these’’ she said to herself again making towards the fridge to get a glass of water and the door banged open immediately as Tochi washed into the room, shouting and howling at the top of her voice.
    Evelyn on seeing her turned back towards the mini fridge in the room reaching for her water, tochi’s howl seemed to be getting louder and wilder.
    ‘’eheeeee’’ I have noticed you eve snapped turning to face Tochi who was dancing and twerking to an imaginary music in her head.
    She dropped a crisp wad of 1000 naira notes in 3 huge bundles on the floor while still dancing and shouting.
    Eve’s eyes widened on seeing the money and her curiosity was pricked.
    ‘’where did you get all this money from?’’ she queried in a lean tone.
    ‘’virgin Mary, this is the result of staying for the party to finish’’ Tochi snapped dumping her whole weight on the bed in one free fall at the same time flinging off her shoes which had even taller heels than the one eve wore.
    Eve’s mind went back to the party, she just got back few minutes ago even though she left the 2hours early, but getting a taxi in the wee hours of the morning proved herculean as she had to wait more than an hour and half to get one.
    It was just yesterday, Friday evenin. Shewa came to their lodge after an almost five second call to Tochi, few minutes after the call the door opened and Shewa stepped in, gestured Tochi to follow her – few minutes later she left and Tochi came back and announced to Eve that there had a little party gig that’d yield much.
    ‘’you know I am not into things like this party things’’ eve had replied still trying to make sense out of the mesh of words the lecturer for general science call a text book.
    ‘’biko spare me that your holy mary crap, you always act as if this guy is not bleeping you like everytime you visit him’’ Tochi cut in sharply.
    ‘’Tochi but he’s my boy friend’’
    ‘’eheee and so? Now stop acting like a virgin and listen – shewa just told me about a small party organized by all these yahoo yahoo boys at HillTrap hotels at new avenue, they just need hot girls for the waiting jobs and any other job that comes inbetween’’ she giggled.
    Before Eve could open her mouth again, Tochi had pressured her into accepting the offer, how many times do you get a chance to make 30k for just serving drinks for a night.
    ‘’I am just going there to serve the drinks, any other so called ‘in between’ count me out oo’’ she said holding her ears to project a sense of seriousness and unshakable resolve.
    ‘’ok holy mary’’ Tochi teased jumping down on her body playfully.
    Moments later there were already surfing through Tochi’s wardrobe for a suitable wear for the job, after minutes of surfing through a seeming assembly of skimpy dresses, they settled for a skimpy black pencil skirt aimed at bringing out as much contours as possible to be matched with a tiny shirt that stops just before the belly button.
    In a little time the party was already happening, Eve could not account for how many times she was hit in the bums by the men she served drinks, having thinking that this probably was one of Tochi’s anything in between, she ignored it and went about her job.
    The party was one of the wildest and extravagant parties she ever being to, she served long gold bottled Champaign she was sure was more expensive than her yearly house rent and almost twenty bottle of such drinks has been washed down or poured on a stripper’s body by these boys that seemed very young to have this type of money to her.
    Number of naked girls dancing in poles or swimming in the pool was overwhelming, shadowy figures lurking in the dark one could be sure were couple’s making out in the open.
    At a time one guy had grabbed her by the bums and gave it a tight squeeze, she jerked and turned immediately.
    He was young, too young to her barely as old as Ivo, her younger sibling who just newly was admitted into the university of benin In their state.
    He had a bottle of moet that he drank right from the bottle, a girl cling to his side rubbing his chest clad only in a tiny bikini.
    ‘’hey babe, get me another bottle of Champaign’’ he said with every air of authority to eve who could smell alcohol and tobacco from his breathe at the same pissed at the alacrity of a boy younger than her junior ones giving him such command in a very rude and disrespectful manner, she imagined herself getting the drink but smashing the bottle on his head rather.
    She managed to utter an almost inaudible ‘’ok’’ and strode off to the bar to get the drink.
    Before 3 the party was already losing momentum as most people were already either too drunk, worn out or inside having sex.
    Their group was called into the lounge and each given an envelope which she peeked into right there in front of the man paying them.
    Several girls from their group left with some boys, some stayed back and danced on the now almost empty floor with drunk people crawling on the floor, eve grabbed her purse, slipped the envelop inside and made her way out of the party a little before 4am.

    Episode 2

    ‘’how did you get this money?’’ eve asked still looking at the wads of naira notes on the floor.
    ‘’babe you no go believe am, na another job connection be that oo’’ tochi laid out excitedly ‘’after you left and we were like dancing on the floor, another guy like that showed up, never saw him in the party before then’’ she paused, grabbed her phone looked intensely at it, smiled and fiddled with the keypads a bit.
    Eve felt like slapping the phone out of her hands immediately as she was dying to hear the full gist, tochi drooped her phone then looked up towards eve.
    ‘’ehee as I was saying jaree, this one was older than all those small small boys that full that party. He called us together, selected about 10 of us and told us about a bash he’s holding and he would pay each person 300k each’’
    Eve’s eyes popped ‘’ for one night waiting service?’’ she asked in disbelief..
    ‘’ I am sure more than waiting service is involved but girl I no send, all I need is that cash’’
    Tochi brought out a black card buttered into gold and red designs, a woman’s face with half of it covered in gold mask was on it and on it were written bold letters of words she couldn’t make out yet.
    ‘’wow’’ eve exclaimed ‘’you are lucky that he chose you oo..’’ she added still looking at both the money on the floor and the card in Tochi’s hand.
    ‘’so what is this money for?’’ she asked again
    ‘’just a token to nudge motivate us to be at our best’’ tochi replied.
    Eve cast a dreamy stare towards the wall opposite but she could barely see the wall, sonme how she was beginning to wish she was tochi who got so luck and was almost blaming herself for leaving so early.
    ‘’you are also invited’’ she heard tochi say
    ‘’how, thought it was strictly by I.V?’’
    ‘’well he said he has being watching you all night so he wants you to be there too’’ tochi reached into her hand bag and fetched a wrapped handkerchief, threw it at eve.
    ‘’here, that’s your own motivation tip’’
    Eve hastily unwrapped the parcel and it was exactly same amount as tochi had, she could feel her hands trembling as she held the money. Such easy money has always made her feel uneasy and this was just too good to be true.
    Tochi dipped her hand into her bag again and got an invitation card an exact copy of hers and extended it towards eve.
    Eve’s mind went blank and excited at the same time, she could picture herself sending at least 100k to her mom who was complaining of hardship the last time she called to tell her she sent 10,000 to her for school upkeep.
    Eve was born into a wealthy family as a kid, brought up in a very happy Christian family and instructed from a tender age in the right Christian values.
    Her dad was both wealthy and humble, a virtue that rarely goes hand In hand. He was a church warden who always served at children’s mass. #
    Seeing him instructing the ever excited little children at mass, chasing the stubborn ones, comforting the crying ones and gently punishing the unrepentant ones – you could never imagine he was the owner of IDOKO AND SONS MOTORS.
    Eve’s mother dealt in clothe trade and had a flourishing boutique at benin city.
    She was the first out of 4 kids, 3 boys and a girl.. herself, ivo who was currently a fresher at uniben, idemudia a senior in the secondary and efe who was in jss3.
    Eve had just gotten admission to study linguistics at the university of lagos when the stroke of her fortune was completely shattered.
    She had just ran home from the cyber café yelling at the top of her voice gleefully, she had just seen her name on the merit list of UNILAG’s admission list and couldn’t wait to relay it to her mum, her daddy had gone to Abuja to meet with his younger brother who was also his business partner.
    Eve ran into the sitting room after zooming past the gate before mensa could open it, she rushed towards her parents room but couldn’t find mummy, she rushed towards the kitchen and there she was preparing dinner with ivo pounding the melons on a traditional wooden mortar and pestle.
    Mr Idoko had always insisted his children learn simple traditional house labours. ‘’mummy I got the admission’’ eve yelled on entering the kitchen.
    Mrs idoko clapped out joyously raising her hands and opening them wide for her daughter to come for a hug, the atmosphere was incredibly in a celebration mode and daddy was on his way home, eve was itching to break the news once his car passes the gate not minding whether he hears it or not.
    The phone rang and eve’s heart skipped a bit. An untold uneasy feeling swayed past her as she looked suspiciously at the small phone ringing on the kitchen cabinet. Mrs ivoko rinsed her hands and wiped them off on her apron.
    In a little while Mrs Ivoko dropped the phone with a heart stopping shriek, her husband has just being involved in a ghastly motor accident on his way home from Abuja and didn’t make it.
    Eve’s life never remained the same after that day, his father’s younger brother seized almost all his properties except for the house and boutique.
    Everything changed so bad that they were only managing to feed even though they lived in a big mansion, they were poor people living in a mansion.
    So eve entered into the university as a naïve timid young pampered girl who just lost everything.
    ‘’biko collect this from me’’ tochi yelled at the dreamy eve..
    That uneasy feeling she felt when the phone that announced her father’s death was here again, she reached for the card and it read.
    ‘’VIP SPOT/WORK GIRL PERMIT
    [one night, all night, all play]

    Episode 3

    That uneasy feeling had lingered on for days now as the party date drew near. Eve always tried to take that off her mind, she had contemplated not going to the party but that money was too good to be missed.
    Using just the motivation tip she had cleared her school fees, sorted out the lecturer on ‘’use of english’’ who had insisted she paid 10k before she would be considered worth having a B in his course.
    Ivo just called and told her how he needed money for school but mum has been telling him she had none yet.
    ‘’Tochi are you sure we should go for this bash?’’ eve asked Tochi on Wednesday night as they read a little before midnight, eve was more so just chatting with Emeka – her boy friend while the books she was supposedly reading lay motionlessly on the reading table.
    Tochi looked up, hissed and continued her reading.
    ‘’Tochi I asked a question na’’ eve said again throwing an exercise book at tochi..
    ‘’ silence is the best answer for a fool’’ tochi blurted out, hissed and tilted her face downwards again.
    ‘’so who is the fool here?’’ eve asked with open mouth.
    ‘’the one who is asking whether we should go collect 300k’’
    Eve gave up the attempt seeing that she also was not in full collaboration with the urge not to go to the party.
    The party date reached like the whiff of the wind, eve and tochi had gun to the lagos mall earlier to purchase some bikini from the LULU shop, some white crop tops and a white jean bum shorts as specified in the invitation card dress code guide.
    Arriving the party venue was a spectacle as they were picked up from school on a black range rover with tinted glass, shimmering chassis of pints of smearing lights buttered into the darkness of the hostel front yard, the PHCN people had taken the light just as they prepared and wore their make up.
    Rains of insults rented the air as the light went off, followed momentarily by groans of starting generators .
    Eve had to finish her make up with the help of tochi pointing the flash light into her face as she looked into the mirror,tochi’s phone buzzed and a text flashed on her screen.
    ‘’YOUR RIDE WAITING DOWN STAIRS’’
    They hurried over the last minute preparation check up, ran down stairs with eve hoping to God that her make up was ok but ‘what ever its just a night function people would probably spend more time looking at your bikini clad bum than your face, she shrugged at the thought and relaxed into the back seat of the car trying hard not to make her almost shivering body noticeable to the driver and the fierce huge looking Man seating with him in front wearing a dark glass.
    She wondered who wears dark glasses in a tinted vehicle by this time of the evening.
    The car taxied out of the hostel as eve looked out of the window observing the unlimited pairs of eyes beaming down on the car from corridors, windows and she saw Shewa standing just before the hostel’s front door few meters away with her hands on her waist not looking too good.
    ‘’shewa is not looking too happy’’ she observed and whispered to Tochi who chuckled and smacked her lips as if to respreads her red lip stick.
    Shewa has not been happy eve since the party night, the man picked tochi and even eve who already gone home but left her and she was more so for the fact she got the job that led to that.
    ‘’do you know shewa has been going around hostel telling people she gave us a job and we secretly connived to get a better one behind her back’’ tochi whispered back..
    ‘’but she was there when the man selected na’’ eve retorted.
    No mind am joor’’ tochi chuckled mischievously bringing out her small pocket mirror to check herself once again.
    Eve’s mouth dropped as the car slowly drove into a huge black gate to reveal a massive compound with a smattering touch of natural landscape design, few trees opposite each other to make a miniature avenue leading all the way towards the house, the compound was almost bigger than the ikeja stadium all bordered in high fences with white light floating beneath
    .
    Lawn patches here and there, twisted flower gardens smeared around marble tables littered the compound. The car drove more in wards towards the house and eve’s mouth dropped even further, from the distance of the gate the house had seemed almost like the average mansion abound but now it was way bigger than she imagined, she wondered how someone could live in such a big house and not get lost in it one day.
    The car came to a stop, the huge man in dark glasses jumped off and opened the door for them with something one could take for a smile but was more so a smirk. He led them through the side of the house, eve kept peeking through the window the rooms she managed to see all glittered in the rich bright gold lights and a shimmer than oozed of millions spent on their designs.
    As they approached the back of the house the music became increasingly audible and the view clearer, a huge pool was in the back which was covered in dim lights of distinct colours here and there and the party was already picking up.
    Girls on the swimming pool looking more threatening than friendly as they made their way through the small crowd of strange men mostly smoking huge Colombian cigas.
    Three more huge men who also wore dark glasses on oversized mafian suits stood there with hands clasped round their chest making their already mean face meaner.
    Eve took in the wealth that was clearly exhibited in almost every corner of the compound, smokes slowly rented the air from dark shadowy corners around the party vicinity and the music was not even loud which explains why they could hear it on their in.
    Another extra group of girl was right behind them already bikini clad and a perpetual smile glued on their face as they walked through the maze of chairs which had fewer people than eve expected.
    ‘’welcome my lords and thank you for gracing this year’s events’’ a voice rose from a corner with a microphone, he was tall and fair and looked very young.
    ‘’this event as usual will keep us moving and ensure that our cup keeps over flowing’’ there was a slight chuckle from the men around, a faint clang of glass and a mild whistle.
    Eve could tell the purpose of the party was being said but none of it made sense and it bothered her a lot..
    ‘’welcome my beautiful ladies, tonight you become part of the most blessed caucus in the country your life will never remain the same’’ the fair young boy continued.
    There was a loud hoot and shouts from the girls around who raised their hands in excitement at the apparent golden opportunity.
    ‘’welcome ladies to one in a life time ‘bash’

    Episode 4

    ‘’let’s go get a drink’’ eve heard a very coerce baritone voice from behind, she turned immediately to see a stout short man, a but fair.
    Eve peered more into the little man who was trying to force a smile on his face at the same time adjusting his clothes a bit.
    He wore a blue jean, timberland shoes and a straight white shirt which eve thought was a very hilarious fashion. Eve thought he would be up to 50 considering his looks which made his choice of fashion even funnier but he was still more handsome than most men around, she observed.
    Her heart raced, that weird uncomfortable feeling had not phased away as she hoped.
    It was back now a bit more than before and she could feel her legs shaking beneath, her hands could barely hold her purse and her raced in a rather irregular manner but she just have to hold it together.
    Her own breathe was amplified to her hearing and she hoped people around cannot hear her breathing so loudly.
    His hands were extended for a handshake and he was already looking impatient, she slowly slid her hands into his and tried to force out a smile in face that rather seemed to pout.
    “your hands are cold” he remarked looking into her face “ are you sure you are good?”
    “yes I am very fine thank you but rather not go for a drink , I don’t feel like it yet maybe later” she sounded odd even to herself, here she was rejecting an offer to get a drink when it was obvious she was paid to follow these men get drinks.
    She noticed him peer strangely into her face with an inquisitive look, he had questions she could tell but just shrugged and left her trying to focus her face on the pool and mask her shaking limbs.
    “common girl, them dey call us” a voice came from behind, definitely Tochi who was already enjoying herself more so from the prospect of getting 300k in the morning.
    “who is calling us?” eve asked looking lost
    “the people wey employ you na this girl na so you mumu?” tochi retorted in heavy pidgin throwing some subtle Igbo words eve understand well having heard them every day of her school life.
    Eve wasn’t sure if that was meant as an explanation or question, tochi was already walking off towards a small house just beside the bar, it had dim red lights just like the bar beside but unlike the bar it was a closed building.
    She followed her immediately nearly breaking her ankle as the high heel she wore tripped a bit, she caught hold of herself and pretended like it never happened.
    A strong stench of a strange smoke filled her nostrils as she stepped through the door of the small house, there was no smoke but it seemed as if the room was filled with smoke as the air smelled smokey.
    Eve could barely breathe, she could see men standing at the edge of the doors, huge as as dark as night now beaming a reddy darkness under the shimmer of the dim red light.
    A man walked out of the inner room, took a head count and nodded, whispered to one of the huge men on the door who nodded and made towards another room at the right side of the room, the man who came out cast a very long cold look at the girls who all wore a smile with poses they’d regard sexy, he nodded again and went back towards the room he came.
    The door that led into the house groaned as it slid open again, eve turned to see a very tall young man on an extra-tight suit, long shoes and a smiley look walk in, he blinked faster than normal and his hands were twitching.
    “stay together please” he said on getting into the lounge. The ladies quickly reshuffled themselves as instructed, eve could feel bodies pressing on hers as many clamoured to get exposed towards his line of sight even though he seemed very unconcerned about looking directly into the pack of girls in front.
    He reached towards the table, brought out a plastic box placed it on top of a small glass table that sat in front of the ladies.
    “please ladies may I have your attention” he said clapping his hands out.
    “please I am going to need you all to drop your phones and purse here, you don’t need them anymore for this show” he said in a very cold way still not looking the girls in the face rather fidgeting with his hands.
    “why?” a voice came from behind. A fair girl with more b----t than Eve ever saw on any other girl at the party, she was chewing gum, working her teeth fast with occasional loud smack of gum pops which always drew a little attention towards her.
    The tall man a long cold look at her, smiled to himself and then looked squarely towards the girls who beamed back questioning looks.
    “look here girls none of you were brought here to ask questions, you were all paid handsomely to everything we tell you to and we owe you no explanation”
    Tochi pinched eve mildly, her face was that of a scared girl on a Christmas eve. Eve forced out a smile, something in that man’s voice was terrifying even though he kept smiling while giving such mean cold answer.
    “that still is not an answer sir” the busty girl came again letting a wild pop of gum and rolled her eyes bordered in long dark lashes.
    ‘’young woman you do what ever we say because we said it, we didn’t pay you to ask questions” he said and the dark huge man behind him grunted.
    Eve felt uneasy down to her stomach and tochi was no better. The man nodded and the huge man slowly walked through the maze of girls putting up a meaner look. He walked up to Nina – the busty girl, extended his hands and all her courage melted into her stomach, she handed her phone and purse to him, slowly he walked back and dropped the items into the box.
    The tall man smirked and looked at the girls ‘’you all play by the rules, this doesn’t need to be a longer night than it should

    Episode 5

    the entire lounge went dead silent as the tall l man walked back into backroom. His face was handsome and innocent but the girls had to admit there was something about his cold voice that pieced your soul, his meek but very mean way of addressing people that was overly terrifying.
    Eve could barely breathe and her heart beat made a whole lot of noise to her, she could see her vision blur a bit and the movement around her seemed inconsistent.
    “babe i no understand this party again oo” Tochi whispered to eve.
    Eve forced out a smile, her mind was woozing but still focused on the prospect of leaving the party many times richer and the rich connections that would come with it.
    “please drop your phone ma” a very calm voice sipped into her ears, she was recalled back to full consciousness.
    “eeeuh?” she coughed out looking at the well dressed young boy in front of her welding a box.
    “please drop your phone and purse ma” he came again.
    Eve peered into his face and she could make out he was no more older than her brother and almost looked like him and there was something else, she could see an odd pity in his eyes and he always tried to wear a smile.
    “whats your name?” Eve asked him as she peered into her purse to confirm the contents of her purse before handing it over.
    Her phone, few make up tools and 10,000 in cash was inside the purse.
    “ i am Joseph ma” he replied still flashing that smile that makes him look more handsome than he should be.
    “ok Joseph please take care of my purse for me ok”
    “i will ma” he replied, smiled one last time and walked away but eve could swear he cast a very fading pitying look at her before leaving.
    All the girls dropped their phones one after the other and no other could put up any more protest.
    After Joseph had walked away with the box, the tall man walked back into the lounge and clapped his hands to gain the girl’s attention with every air of authority.
    “attention please!” he clapped out a very straight face.
    All the girls rallied around him letting out a slight murmur.
    “now all of you proceed to the main lounge in the main house, Joseph will escort you to be assigned to your rooms.” He said.
    “rooms?” the girls retorted in surprise.
    “yes rooms, the main party starts in 2hours time so you will get rooms and refreshment while your rest and wait for it” he replied.
    “follow me please” Joseph said opening the door that led back into the compound .
    “not you please, follow me” the tall man pointed at the busty girl that protested handing over phones.
    She turned and walked towards him, he opened the back door and ushered her in before going in after her, eve was watching as she reluctantly walked through the door into as room she could notice had green lights.
    The breeze of the night touched Eve’s body providing a delicate soothing sensation after what was a stale reception inside the small house, she could see that the little party they met on arrival was no longer there and the pool side was as good as deserted.
    They walked through the now empty back yard with joseph still leading the group, the pool was now still and shimmered dimly in the wake of a starry night.
    Joseph kept looking back towards eve as they walked towards the big house that waited in the dark with escaping light here and there.
    He knocked on the door three times and it opened even before the third knock landed on it, the girls calmly walked in smiling faces that seemed to have forgotten the cold events they witnessed at the small house but had a glowing face filled with untold expectations.
    The girls trooped into the big lounge and their mouths dropped at it’s sheer size and beauty.
    The size alone dwarfed any eve had ever seen before with a very large margin. Two sitting space arrangements all having a range of expensive sofas and cushions.
    The tables were of glass and gold which threw off subtle sparkles under the bold lights bordered with silvery balls.
    A bright milk coloured paint over white marble that stopped half way through the wall, there was a huge almost 40 inches television on the east side that seemed to covered half of the wall space and the images on it seemed a little bigger than the average human.
    Keys with numbers were neatly arranged on the table with golden legs, joseph gestured the girls to rally around the table while he addressed them with his usual smile.
    Eve noticed as he kept looking towards her as he addressed the girls, those eyes were piercing and dreamy, subtle hints of concern and pity lay within.
    “please take your keys and locate the room with the right numbers on this left passage” he pointed at a left passage that was broad and long passing through the slightly elevated dinning room.” Two girls per room please, refreshments will soon be brought over to you”
    There was a slight incoherent chatter as the girls picked up keys trying to choose between a wild choice of possible partners.
    Eve picked up one key with the number 7 broadly written on the tag with gothic style, gestured tochi as they made their way towards the passage to find the room number seven.
    Eve could feel his eyes behind her back and it made her even more uneasy and conscious of her looks, the shortness of her skirt registered into her mind and she hoped to god her pantie lines were not showing.
    “is that boy looking at me?” she whispered to Tochi who turned and checked then whispered back.
    “i bet that boy already stripped you naked with his eyes” a wild chuckle “such a cute small boy, i think he’s already crushing on you”
    Eve knew his looks were a little more bold for a crusher unless he was a really bold one.
    The room number seven was also large, green and pink walls, a king sized bed and a mirror wardrobe, a door to the right led to the bathroom.
    Tochi rushed straight to the bed and jumped on it laughing out wildly while at it.
    “jeez babe this house na confirm heaven on earth” she yelled at eve who was still locking the door behind her.
    Eve sat next tochi, she was wowed by the royal treatment they were now getting but somehow that old scare was back again, that lingering malice that rocked her mind.
    “someone is knocking” tochi let out
    Eve listened and there it was a again, it was fainty and quick almost like it was on another door a little farther away.
    Eve got up and slowly walked behind the door stretching her ear towards it and the knock came again.
    “who is it?” she queried.
    “please open up” came a voice from behind, it was that familiar voice and she quickly unlocked the bolt.
    Joseph was standing right there behind the door holding something covered with a white sheet.
    He handed the parcel to eve and then whispered to her.
    “You should never have come here, and what ever you do – don’t eat anything they bring to you”.

    Episode 6

    “but……………”
    Joseph had walked away before eve could finish her sentence, she watched him make his way down the hall way without looking back, every footstep barely touching the ground before the next followed.
    Eve slowly closed the door, lost in her thought and his voice was resounding into her head, she could see his terrified face, his quick strides as he walked off.
    “babe whats up, you look like you have seen a ghost” Tochi asked peering into Eve’s face which looked more like she has really seen a ghost.
    Eve looked back at the door mopping at it like she have not seen it before, sighed and turned towards tochi who was looking at her questioningly expecting her answer any moment.
    There was something weird to eve now, she had the uneasy feeling all week and ever since they were brought here but now she has been told of a possible evil, a lurking evil – that untold fear, the lingering scare had vaporized like steam into the thin air.
    “babe what na, you no wan talk again, ogini?” Tochi blared out impatiently rising a bit from the bed to look squarely at Eve.
    “it’s nothing Tochi, it’s just Joe”
    “who is joe again kwa?” Tochi asked again becoming even more curious.
    “the boy that was looking at me” eve replied looking at the parcel in her hands.
    “ooh mr crusher came here to see you, hiaan that boy do dey fall oo and even you aproko don sabi his name sef” Tochi clapped out playfully “hiian this is serious oo, love in cairo and he even brought you something, the small boy no gree oo” she laughed hard and threw herself on the bed.
    Eve unwrapped the parcel in her hand and it was some chicken, apples and banana hastily wrapped in a black nylon before being covered with the white handkerchief.
    A white paper fell out of the parcel and she hastily picked up [“PLEASE EAT THIS FOR TONIGHT AND NOTHING ELSE”]
    She crumbled the paper and held it in her hands tight while she took the food to Tochi.
    Tochi dove into the food immediately Eve dropped it going straight for the chicken.
    Eve maintained a straight face holding herself together while they laughed and joked over Joe’s supposedly humongous crush on Eve.
    There was another knock on the door and this time a bit louder, Eve made for the door immediately trying to peek through the key whole to see who it was.
    “who is it?” she asked after her futile peeking attempt clutching behind the door like a well trained detective, Jack Bauer would be proud.
    “Your meal for tonight” came a clear baritone voice from behind the door, she slowly opened the door to meet a tall man like 6’1 tall, clean shaven wearing a long smile clad in white clothes and white chef dress, in front of him was a food trolley, golden with silvery wares on it well covered oozing out an almost irresistible aroma.
    “ooh thank you so much, wow” Eve said beaming a smile to the chef who made to take the food into the room “ooh don’t worry, i will take it from here – thank you very much” she offered gently grabbing the trolley by the handle and pulled it into the room while still smiling and saying “thank you”.
    Immediately Eve jammed the door behind her, Tochi jumped out of bed making for the food trolley.
    “Tochi wait, don’t touch that food please” Eve blurted out shielding the food with her hands.
    Tochi paused and looked at Eve surprisingly, she made to go for the food again but eve shielded the food still pushing her away gently.
    “babe trust me, leave this food”
    “why?” Tochi asked totally lost at her actions.
    Eve pointed at the clock on the wall, it was already 12:12am. “it’s too late to eat Tochi”
    “Biko which kind talk be that, you don forget say we dey even chow for 2am after night class” Tochi dismissed her excuse and dove for the food again and Eve pushed her back once more.
    “Tochi just don’t eat this food please, trust me on this one” Eve pleaded with all seriousness.
    Tochi cast a long questioning stare at her then turned back towards the bed to lie back down. Eve pushed the trolley carelessly towards the ward rope, it hit the wall and let out a clanging sound.
    “Evelyn you are really behaving weird tonight” Tochi remarked still looking at the food which had more glamour and richness than any she ever saw, just the golden trolley and silver plates were a first to begin with.
    Tochi was still hungry, the apples and chicken were not enough and she couldn’t understand why Eve had insisted they don’t touch the wonderful meal that has been brought to them.
    There was a piercing feminine shriek somewhere in the hall way, the shriek came again and then a loud shout.
    Eve jolted out of bed immediately they were already starting to fall asleep after many minutes of arguing over the food.
    “what was that?” Eve asked on jolting out of bed.
    “what was what?” Tochi asked rubbing her eyes.
    “someone shouted and cried” Eve said with a pinch of uncertainty.
    “who?”
    The cry came again, then shouts followed. “Joy, Joy!!” Eve rushed out of bed and tochi followed with an impressive speed, they hurriedly opened the lock and fearfully but curiously went out of the room peeking into the hallway first.
    Rushing down towards the direction of the shout, they arrived at room 13, few rooms after theirs and the door was already open with some girls already inside running around randomly shouting “Joy”.
    They rushed into the room to see Joy sprawled on the floor in a pool of her own blood.
    Joy was a very tall slim girl, they had seen her at the other party and information had carried she was from UNIPORT but was always in lag. She had being in school for a year more than she should and still have no view of graduation in sight, her beauty had being her major card all that while.
    “what happened, jesus what happened here na?” Tochi asked to nobody in particular as they ran into the room.
    “i don’t know o” joy’s room mate said with tears already all over her face “ we were watching t.v when she complained of stomach ache, shrieked almost immediately and slumped vomiting thick blood.
    More girls trooped into the room al met with the same sour sight, there was confusion as nobody exactly what to do and too many unsure opinions were being thrown at the same time.
    “give her water”
    “No that would make it worse” another countered.
    “pour out the blood from her nose with alcohol” came yet another.
    “No, do you want her to die?”
    “somebody call someone please, call any of the men in this God forsaken place” Hilda barked.
    Three girls rushed off immediately to call someone, there was total panic inside the room and the three girls were taking longer than expected. They rushed back into the room even more scared than the girls in the room.
    “there is nobody in this house!” they blurted out.
    “what?” many shouted turning to cast a fearfully surprised look at them.
    “yes we searched the whole house and saw nobody not even the cook and even all door leading outside were locked”
    “Jesus Christ, what’s happening here?” Eve yelled in dismay.
    Joy groaned and then a shriek and more blood, this very shriek seems to dig right into Eve’s very soul.

    Episode 7

    More girls followed the three girls out to search more around the house for anybody that might possibly be there. Eve was with them and every step was heavy and hard, every breath was brief.
    Through the passage more doors were opened and girls came out confused and sleepy still rubbing their eyes or have the slightest inclination of what’s going on.
    “what’s going on?” the girl in room 2 asked yawning as the band of girls passed her room, her roommate was still fast asleep from what eve could see as she peered into the room.
    “rush into room 13 and find out” Hilda replied hissing as she went past the room.
    Bimbo still confused even more so by Hilda’s cold and unclear reply went back into her room to grab her room mate and go check out what was happening in room 13.
    Another shout from room2 and the girls rushed back to investigate with Hilda always leading the way.
    Turns out bimbo had gone back into the room, changed into something longer than the transparent pyjamas she wore and tried waking her roommate ‘Chioma’ up but she was not responding.
    She was at the side that faced the wall and she was sleeping on her left side facing the wall, after Bimbo had yanked her for some seconds she forcefully pulled her roughly and she turned drenched in blood, from her mouth, ears and nose and was not moving.
    Bimbo’s terrified shout made the girls abandon their mission and rush to room 2 and was met with a vision of bimbo clutched at the wall with her hands over her ears and head shaking while Chioma was lying lifelessly on the bed.
    The girls rushed towards the bed while some rallied around Bimbo who was visibly shaking and gazing into nothing in particular.
    “she’s dead” Hilda let out after carefully listening for sign of heartbeat on chioma’s chest.
    “what?” Tochi blurted out “how can that be, how do you know that, she might be breathing. Check well please” she cried out as tears ran down her cheek in an increasingly terrified tone.
    Eve’s sight was fixed on the lifeless body of the known stranger lying on the bed, she had not known most of the girls here for long enough except the ones from her school.
    Chioma was from nnamdi Azikiwe university, she had known Bimbo for a long time since they went to primary and secondary school together in Awka before Bimbo’s parents moved back to Lagos after their secondary education.
    She was on a visit to lagos and Bimbo went with her to the previous party where she was easily one of the most pretty girl amongst all the girls. She was almost 5’11 tall, fair complexion and her oval face was complimented with bulgy eyes that made her look like a Disney princess cartoon character.
    Her figure was to die for, long legs that strode with so much grace and pride which she always made sure she kept revealed in very short skirts and gowns she wore.
    Eve kept looking at the lifeless figure of what used to be one of the most beautiful in the group, she was slightly blotted, her face hardened and teeth revealed with stains of blood covering from her mouth down to her bossom region, from her ears ran down her hair even her eyes had stains of blood running down like tears.
    Eve could see an image of herself lying right there on the bed, the blood tickling down her ears, she could see Tochi next to her trying to wake her up.
    More girls trooped into the room and eve was jolted out of her brief trance-like dream.
    As the girls entered the room many of them ran back in horror, many broke down in fear and the curious ones sourced for information on what happened. They had managed to clean Joy up, lay her on the bed but she was barely awake and still coughed out blood with every painful cough and then they had Bimbo’s shout, many left joy’s room to go find out what else happened.
    The rest of the girls that were still fast asleep in their room ran out now, the confusion was still fresh and the strangeness of the whole setting was almost impossible to comprehend.
    Many girls were crying and some were trying to get Bimbo back to her wits, Hilda covered chioma with the huge white bed spread that was already covered in her blood on her own side, they grabbed hold of Bimbo and helped her out of the room towards the lounge and all the girls fearfully rushed out of the room trailing behind Hilda who seemed to be the only one with her full senses at that moment, others were frozen with fright and horror.
    All the girls assembled inside the lounge, random chatters here and there, subtle murmurs with shivering hushing tones.
    “what is going on here?” Eno yelled, her hairs were scattered due to her frenzy use of her hands on it.
    She was the biggest in the group in terms of size but one of the shortest, she eats more too but her chubby self didn’t make her any less beautiful, what she lacked in height she made up in a good bum size – comfortably had the biggest bum size out of all 30 girls in the house.
    “i have no idea” came a faint voice from behind the couch. Esther had her hands on her head, her face looked tired and her eyes bulged with obvious eye bags and the looks in her eyes betrayed a lot of fear.
    “this house is cursed” Angela chipped in.
    Eve twitched where she stood hands akimbo, it has been like she lost her sense of speech since she saw Chioma lying lifeless in a pool of her own blood.
    “what are we going to do?” Tochi asked trying to wipe off the remaining trails of tears from her eyes.
    “we need to get out of this house and this compound” came a throaty voice in the background.
    “do we even know where in the world we are?” Hilda retorted. She was seated and had her hands over her face. Many of the girls had huddled around her.
    “God please help us, what have i gotten my self into now?” Zainab prayed and lamented in our breath.
    “sssssssssssshhhhhhhh” Yvonne chipped in, rising from the ground where she sat observing everything.
    “what is it?” Hilda whispered to her casting a glancing look around particularly the kitchen side where yvonne’s gaze was fixed as she positioned her self to listen to an apparently elusive sound.
    “i thought i heard something like a thud that way?” she said pointing towards the kitchen door. Every girl standing towards the kitchen ran back towards Yvonne peeking from behind her.
    Angela already had her hands in her mouth with clanging teeth and wobbly legs barely managing to stand.
    There was a loud thud from the kitchen side, the girls that were already seating down jolted up immediately. “what was that?” Hilda asked.
    The thudding sound came again even louder this time, everyone was frozen with freight not even one could lift a leg to run.

    Episode 8

    The girls remained fixed at their position, saying nothing, doing nothing with their gazed fixed on the door that lead to the kitchen.
    There was an eerie silence for more than 10 minutes, nobody had the courage to move or say anything not even a whisper was heard.
    Eve could hear a mesh of breathes blowing indistinctively on the back of her neck, she could notice subtle whimpers and feverish limbs shaking vigorously.
    Amina coughed and everyone turned to look at her, even to tilt your head towards another direction seemed to make a whole lot of noise.
    Hilda untangled herself from the mesh of bodies tangled into hers, she was visibly shaking, her eyes were misty and her face unstable.
    She feverishly and slowly walked towards the kitchen, eve trailed behind her trying to peer her sight a little more ahead, tochi was holding her by her top as they all slowly tip toed to the kitchen with Hilda slowly leading the way.
    Hilda stopped immediately and three other girls that have been trailing behind Tochi and eve ran back immediately, Tochi followed after several seconds of trying to yank eve to follow her.
    Hilda turned round and held eve’s hands tightly, eve could feel her shaking, her hands were cold and even the tight grip seemed a bit weak.
    Hilda peeked into the kitchen slightly from the door, letting only a little of her head out at a time just enough to allow one eye peek out.
    She quickly withdrew her head and look at Eve trying to say something with signs but eve could not understand her.
    “what is it Hilda?” eve whispered to her making ton take a peep herself.
    “there Is someone lying down in there, a girl I can see her legs” Hilda whispered back using her thumb to whisper toward that part of the kitchen.
    Eve peeked through the door post and also quickly withdrew her head “she is not moving” she remarked.
    They both slowly walked through the door, with eve crawling on all fours trying to make as less sound as possible. She held her breath and could feel her palms sweating which made the tiles slippery under her.
    The image of the figure in the kitchen became more vivid as the girls approached, she had blood stains on her legs that seemed to be clad on nothing. They went closer and closer and the image became clearer with each fearful step.
    The figure had no top on as Eve saw the top part, she was busty and fair complexioned.
    As the full figure became vivid both girls jumped up almost jumping out their skin, eve could feel lump of air on her throat, she was shouting but words were coming out, the image in sent tingles of horror down her spine, her hands were numb and her throat still blocked, she was forcing her herself to breath and scream but no words could come out and no air could go past her throat into her lungs – she was suffocating.
    “Jesus!!!” Hilda yelled as she stepped back a few steps from the figure lying down on the kitchen floor.
    Eve’s air path was freed and a gush of air followed, the lump of air blocking her throat was let loose as she subconsciously let out a wild long shriek, her hands were on her ears and her eyes tightly shut as she kept reeling out piercing shrieks.
    Many more girls found the courage to run from the sitting room to the kitchen, others however ran back into the rooms farther away from the kitchen as they can get.
    The figure on the floor was a headless body, the head was roughly severed from the rest of the body and her head was a foot away from the rest of the body.
    Those very dark lashes covered in excessive mascara, her red lips now perpetually open with her teeth hanging out, blood tickling from the severed neck into the kitchen floor flowing down the back door, her huge bosoms hung loosely unclad with wipes of thick blood on it.
    The more girls, they were faced with the horrifying sight – many of them met the sight with a shriek, others ran back and others just broke down and cried.
    “Holy God, that is Prisca” Yvonne yelled rushing towards the headless body on the floor, many girls rushed and held her back dragging her away from the body Prisca was the busty girl that protested dropping of purses and purses.
    The look on the severed head was that of scare and horror, she must have decapitated and dumped here in the kitchen – the girls thought.
    Eve was quaking where she stood, amina had vomited on meeting the sour view and tochi was one of the girls that ran back towards the rooms.
    The terrified girls looked at the headless body for minutes, eyes misty and terrified glancing through every space and doors in very tightful vigilance, what was going on? The girls could not tell, who was next? They could not afford to imagine that.
    “please someone go and get a blanket, let us try and cover up this horrible sight” Hilda said with a tearful face looking at every girl there with a pitiful look.
    Amidst tears the girls covered the body and the head, locked the door to the kitchen and went back to the lounge with slumped shoulders and blank eyes flowing with untold tears.
    There were met with the impatient questions from the rest of the girls outside who had run back on hearing eve shout, their curiosity was met with the strangest but coldest tale of Prisca’s mutilated body lying lifeless in a river of blood inside the kitchen.
    “what is going on here” Tochi cried, her heart was racing and she could barely hold her limbs together out of freight.
    “god please help” came a hopeful prayer from Amina who was still wiping away few traces of blood on her face while she tried to gain a little more confidence from the little prayer.

    Episode 9

    ‘I think we have put ourselves In the hands of ritualists” Yvonne cried holding her head, her tiny flimsy shorts had stains of blood on it and her top were soaked in what was likely her tears.’
    “na wetin money dey cause” angela said hissing, she has been headstrong all through, having being in the street all her life.
    She was born deep in the slums of ajegunle where she struggled and she crawled for it until she was employed by madam G who owned a restaurant right there in ajegunle.
    Her restaurant paid host to top gang members and notorious criminals who were always up for extra-restaurant services she provided.
    Just behind her restaurant was a zinc brothel, she had girls put into the rooms and arrange them for the categories of s-x monging customers that patronize her shop.
    She had picked up Angela as a destitute in the street after her mother left her to marry a rich man from the east, angela was barely 16 when she started working for madam G and she saw her self through school with the money she made from madam G’s brothel business.
    Now she is her finals in the university and had improved her game in school which explains how she came to be among the pack of 30 girls chosen for the Bash, her beauty like every other there was her meal ticket.
    “we cannot just remain here and see ourselves being taken one after the other, we have to do something” She said again biting her nails like she was indifferent about the whole saga.
    “let us break down this door and get out of this cursed house!” Hilda barked jolting up from where she sat and made for the door, she grabbed the door knob roughly and yanked on the door with all her might but something was not right.
    Hilda was shaking, the door was buzzing and her mouth was filled with white and green foams, her eyes were disappearing under her skull.
    She let out a dry yell, then bounced off the door and hit the ground with a thud, her hands were severely damaged with the wounds letting out smoke and a greenish dark deep wound, her face was twitching as every muscle in her body was thrown into a spasm, her colour became paler and her eye balls were unsteady.
    “ oh my god, that door just electrocuted Hilda” eve yelled pointing towards Hilda.
    The girls rushed towards Hilda who had tears running down her face but couldn’t muster the strength to cry out loudly, most part of her body was smoking and green marks of electrical whips showed all over her.
    Eve grabbed Hilda and pulled her further away from the door muttering an unheard prayer within her to conceal her fear, she was terribly shaken inside but did her best to keep going, this was not the time to break down,
    The lights inside the house went off immediately and the girls jolted up from an intense fear and terror, they could hear buzzing sound and also cracking sounds of electric sparks from outside.
    The girls huddled together at the center of sitting room with Hilda quaking on Eve’s body due to the excruciating pain and muscle twitches, her breathing had slowed down and it bothered eve who could feel her weak breathe fall on her arms at very long intervals.
    The light came back on, Metcu – a short fair girl with bumz bigger than her entire body combined was seen curling under the table with her hands covering her head, she was shaking and tears were running down her face.
    Nobody had the mind to console the other anymore as all were as equally horrified and terrified as everyone else, little prayers here and there, tiny whimpers and occasional tearful coughs.
    They was another cry from inside the passage that led to the rooms, the girls were not in a hurry to check as their hearts stopped from the piercing pitch of the cry.
    One by one they moved towards the passage, the cry was coming from room 13 and they feared the worse about Joy.
    Joy’s roommate was on the bed using the pillow to cover her face, joy’s teeth was exposed and her hands were stiff as rock, nobody needed any further explanation as the obvious stared all in the face – Joy was dead.
    Amina and Yvonne grabbed hold of fumi, joy’s roommate and they headed out to the sitting room, the rest of the girls covered Joy’s cold body with the bed spread.
    it’s almost like she was now a hue darker and bigger than her usual self. The girls walked back to join the others in the sitting room, their hearts frozen by the very chilly cold of death sting.
    “I am really tired of waiting around here to get killed” Fumi barked jolting up from her seat and rushing towards the stairs.
    Shouts of pleas rented the air as the girls tried to talk her out of rushing off like that away from the others.
    “Fumi come back”
    “you are not thinking straight”
    “don’t go anywhere please”
    “fumi please listen to us” Eve said stepping towards her a bit towards her.
    “there is no way I am going to seat here and do nothing waiting to be picked off” she yelled taking a couple of steps up the stairs.
    “fumi you better stay with others, we are better off staying together now” Tochi chipped in going close to eve with an extended hand gesturing Fumi to come to her.
    Before anybody could say another word fumi was already racing up the stairs, nobody dared follow her for fear of the unknown, eve made to follow her but Tochi held her back.
    Eve had been hearing slight noises from upstairs since they came but for up to 1hour 30 minutes now nobody else seem to be anywhere in the house except the girls reduced to 27 now.
    Just then a loud door thud was heard from upstairs followed by tearful pleas from what sounded like Fumi no doubt.
    The girls all huddled together listening to the Fumi’s voice reeling out tearfully to God knows what.
    Just then there was a sharp cry from upstairs which made Eve’s heart jump a bit, Tochi was frozen with fright as her face was dug deep into eve’s bossoms her legs curled and teeth clenched hard.
    Something dropped from the upper corridor that was just above the sitting room and it was a human, a badly mutilated face from something like sharp machete cuts.
    It was fumi.
    Episode 10
    There was a momentarily pause after the mutilated body of Fumi fell from the corridors of the first floor, the wild thud she fell with was shattering and deafening as she fell on the glass table which left glass scattered all over the floor. There was a shout as everyone was thrown into a frenzy struggle to escape, everyone sort refuge where ever they could access or their wits took them, Hilda was left behind as she could not muster the energy needed to make a move, her muscles hurt and the spasms riddled into electric caused open wounds induced excruciating pains and agony. She wriggled and crawled making towards the passage behind the other girls but within a span of few moments no other person was in sight except for Chinyere who was motionless beside the marble stool that was at the side of the big couch, her head was bleeding. Hilda tried her best to hold on and crawl behind the girls who now were not in sight, she screamed but her voice could not escape past her own tongue, reddish green blood dropped from her wounds. “eve!!!” she forced her self to say, her breath was failing her and her strength was waning by the seconds. Eve could hear faint calls from Hilda, her heart skipped a bit at every haunting sound of Hilda’s groans and she could feel the pain in her voice, the desperation in her moans. “eve no please don’t go” Tochi begged as eve made to run out into the lounge to get Hilda, she was shedding tears grabbing the edge of her clothes. “Tochi please let me go, I will be ok´Eve begged forcing Tochi’s gripping hands out of her clothes.
    They had ran into an empty room at the end of the hall, Yvonne and Agatha was there too and amina had entered the wardrobe of the room in a desperate attempt to hide herself from the seeming monitoring eyes lurking at every corner. The room had no other door that leads to anywhere else just windows with bugler proof, there was no other way to run out of the room and it bothered eve. She peeped through the passage way that leads into the lounge it was deserted except for some flip flops scattered randomly across, at the end of the passage she could see a hand sticking out of the base of a step and she could guess that was Hilda. She tip toed out of the room with every step seeming to lead her directly into the waiting arms of some evil around, her mind was biting her turn back, her wits were unstable and the fear that gripped her was enough to make anybody break down. Every step was heavy but she took it none the less, every breath was castigating but she had to keep breathing, every wiff of wind Made her heart jump and even the faintest sounds made her look behind her shoulders. As she passed room 7 she could hear faint whispers from within, she walked past and made for the lounge breathing hastily as she went, her eyes were misty and seemed there could drop any moment. “Hilda” she exclaimed as she saw a glimpse of Hilda who lay motionless at the base of the step with her hand reaching for the top, eve feared the worse – she gently lifted up looking into her face which seemed to be twisted from pain. “Hilda, please talk to me” Eve whispered in a pleading tone, she was desperately looking for the faintest sign of life in Hilda’s face.
    Hilda breathed in hard and then breathed out again twitching her face in pain, the lightest body movement gave her excruciating pain all over and she could not help it, more tears streamed down. Eve laughed in lonely joy, she grabbed Hilda’s waist and tried dragging her towards the passage but Hilda was pointing towards sofas in the middle of the lounge. “what is it?” Eve questioned her with a whisper. “someone is there, one of us” Hilda forced herself to say still pointing at the point where Chinyere lay. Eve could see a little bit of her blue top and she made towards her to check, her heart pounding faster as she was moving into an open area, Hilda was seated just beside a wall that led into the passage looking at eve with held breath. Eve got to the shattered table, fumi still lay there on the floor and she was getting a bit darker now the open cut on her head still spurting out almost clogged black blood, just a few feet away Chinyere was lying the blood on her head a bit fresher. Eve tip toed close to her, she was lying on her face so eve turned her whole frame around in one hard but fluid push and the sight she beheld was a horrifying one – half of chinyere’s face was badly cut out and going from the rough cut and blood at the edge of the marble stool eve new she must have hit her face on the marble stool as she made to run away with the others. Eve felt sick to her stomach, she was trying to hold back throwing up right there looking at Chinyere who used to look like an angel that escaped from heaven from with a half cut face, stiff like a log – she was dead. She rushed back to Hilda who was anticipating information on the situation of chinyere, the curious look on her face masked the pain that surged underneath, she was wounded and in severe pain but her sense of leadership and concern was still intact.
    “What’s the matter with her?” she asked as Eve walked towards her with a lowered shoulder and a gloomy face. “she’s dead” eve whispered back chocking back sobs, she held Hilda under the shoulders and made to drag her towards the passage but then a scream came from room 6 just a few feet away from the beginning of the passage. They froze and listened then eve tip toed to the door and tried eavesdrop through the keyhole and could hear sobs from inside. Voices that sounded like three girls begging someone, a masculine grunt was audible then a loud thud the girl’s cries was raised and the pleas intensified but this time it seemed live the voices was that of just two girls the other girl’s voice which was more high pitched than others could not be heard anymore. Eve held back fearful chokes then slowly tip toed towards Hilda who was already dreamy with fearful expectations. “what’s wrong?” she asked even before Eve got to her. “we need to leave this place fast, someone is inside room 6 and the girls are In trouble” eve reeled out in absolute terror dragging Hilda up as they walked towards the stairs, slid under the stair case and listened at the humming silence that now lingered through the air.
    Episode 11
    The lounge was cold all of a sudden, eve could hear the shrieks from the girls in room 6, Hilda whimpered as the shrieks came, eve could not tell if it was her pains or the piercing cries of the girls that made her whimper. The cries stopped and then the thumping close of a door followed, the whole house went cold and quiet again, a stale scare hung in the air and you could almost smell death in every whiff of the air. Eve heard a door close just right above them, she was certain it was coming from upstairs then footsteps hitting the floor hard and slow, the footstep was heavy and it was seeming to have a rather inconsistent pattern. Hilda yanked eve by her top pointing upstairs, the step was coming down the stairs and they were right under the stairs, eve could feel her heart jump with every step, every thumping sound of the heavy footstep made her breath cease. They tightened the grip on each other looking out into the base of the steps hoping to catch a view of the owner of the steps, just a few steps to the ground there could no longer hear the sound. A clang of metal followed and then died down again, a heavy breath that sounded rather like an animalistic grunt, tears were streaming down Eve’s face and she could not look, who ever that is was just right over head, all he need do is bend over the stairs and that could mean the end of both her and Hilda.
    After about 1minute which seemed like an eternity of terrifying wait, a final sudden thud of the feet and a huge male boot was visible at the base of the stairs, dark boots with large soles that could send anybody right to hell with just one kick. The legs that were in a pair of jeans stained in some places with blood dirty and ripped – the girls could not see the upper body of the man, his breath was very loud. He walked towards the side of the stairs, just a few feet away from where Eve sat under the stairs, the only concealing factor between them was that under the stairs were a bit dark so he could only make out the figures underneath the stairs if he looked closely under the stairs. Blood dripped from his palms which seemed to be stained with black dirt; he stood there for few seconds then moved up towards the way that led to the kitchen still walking very slowly and hard. The girls let out relieved sighs, they were both sweating even though the room was cold, their tops were soaked in sweat and tears and the heat that they felt came from within. “I have to go check if Tochi Is ok” Eve whispered to Hilda who shook her head in disagreement. “You can’t. we are sandwiched between them have you forgotten?” she whispered back. “Don’t worry, I will be careful” Eve replied, an odd sudden surge of confidence swayed within, she was worried about tochi and she had to know her fate. After peeping out into the lounge, eve crept out from underneath the stairs taking a broader glance around the lounge, fumi’s body was still there looking a bit swollen and her wound grossly darken from clogged blood, her eyes were open and still making it still look like she was mopping at Eve which made her scared for a second. Eve felt more of pity and sadness looking at the body of Fumi lying lifeless on the floor with her blood all over the ground and chinyere also lying dead a few steps away from her.
    She listened for footsteps from the kitchen but none was audible, she crawled on all fours towards the broad passage that led to the numbered rooms, head first she saw the passage was empty and quiet, the door to room 6 was partly open and she could not detect any activity from there. She tip toed this time further into the passage, she knew she was like a fish dancing around a fisher man’s look, she had to stay out of sight if she stood a chance but here she was bringing herself in the open increasing her chance of being caught which made her shiver on thinking what could come after that. She slightly opened room 6 and saw the three girls lying lifeless on the floor, she used her mouth to block her mouth to avoid anybody hearing the whimpering cry that she let out. Walking further, her legs threatened to give in and she had a weird fierce stomach ache that made her feel like vomiting right there but she could not, her head was light and she barely could think clearly, the horror had gotten the better of her. Eve paused, she could hear that slow step and it sounded like it was coming right in front of her. She listened, it cannot be that her mind was playing tricks – she could not hear the steps again, she walked a bit further clutching her hands on her chest, she could feel how cold her own hands were on her chest. There was the steps again, eve could hear it even louder now, it was closer than she thought just a few rooms away, at the end of the passage there was a left turn that she had never bothered going into not even while they were running away when Fumi fell.
    She paused again then started taking steps backwards, the step sounded like it was right in front of her. She increased her pace backwards, she saw the tip of the black heavy boot coming out of the corner and it dawned on her she was already in the path of danger. Turning she broke into a run hurriedly entering room 6 and shutting the door behind her, to her utmost horror the keys were not in the keyhole and the door had no bolt. She ran to the side of the bed clutching her hands above her head, she was certain that he was coming.
    Episode 12
    Eve just slowly closed the boltless door, the three girls were on the floor cold dead. she whimpered covering her mouth with her hands, the floor was covered in their blood and little gushes of blood tickled down one of girl’s throat, the misty look in her open eyes made it clear that she was fighting for breath before she gave up- the sharp cut in her throat still fresh and bloody. There was a deep dent on the other girl’s head, her hairs were all soaked in fresh blood and she had her face on the ground, the other of the girls had a rather mean look, eve could not find any open wound on her but the blood hand marks on her neck gave away the impression that she was strangled to death. The blood from their wounds were running like a flowing stream through the shimmering tiled floors. Eve trembled inside, her legs tried to go around the streams of blood on the floor but they stuck to the sole of her flip flop none the less, their haunting dead face etching into the very depth of her soul. She rushed the other side of the room, opened the wardrobe and crawled inside slowly shutting the door, she could feel her heart thumping under her breath, she covered her head with her hands like someone about to be hit in the head.
    Peeking out through the crack of the wardrobe door she could see some part of the room, the dead girls on the floor and the door. Eve was panting deep inside, her whole body trembled. She sat in the dark peeking out through the silvery sandwich of light sipping into the dark wardrobe. Alone and with other company other than her thought, she shift and tremble inside the dark box, just her and her wits. She ponder and plan, none seem to fit, her mind was as broken as a shattered glass and no thought could be pieced together. She tried fantasizing to distract herself from the unmerciful grip of fear that ripped her apart, the smell of blood that came with every whiff of breath and the look of death all around. Trying to fantasize about her future family, she tried to escape with her mind, that it all never happened, she finished school and got married to Wilson, or maybe some rich oil block owner that would love her, she was desperate to be distracted from the ringing silence, silence that surrounds her. There was a creek, such sounds could freeze the heart on a night like this – in the eerie silence and darkness that surrounds her such sounds and even thudding sounds was audible every now and then but she still recoiled as the sound hits her ears – this sounded too close to ignore. The sheer scare in the sound awakens paranoia in her mind, the thoughts that once illuminated her mind were darkened, what once an escape from the terror that surrounds her was turned into demons and killers.
    The silence that her mind was distracting her from has now become the focus, she lay there, silent, listening for any obscure sound, praying that the silence never leaves. Every little sound adds to the paranoia and the silence lingers as she waited for the next unexpected occurrence that swayed like dark clouds of doom, her misty eyes was dropping beads of tears freely showing the weakness in her mind, the terror turned into water and salt. She was too afraid to make a move from the wardrobe, she sat there in the dark, alone in fear. He was coming!!! The sound came again, it was from the door and it was groaning freely opening in a slow manner, there was no fantasy strong enough to distract her, no thought good enough to make her escape. She peeked through the crack, the door was trembling as it shook open slightly letting out unforgiving groans, she held her breath, his boot was visible – dark as night and fearful. “Maybe he didn’t see me” she said to herself. She was praying, the heavens must have been crowded by her supplications – tears rolling down freely, never before has the end being this certain. His boot was in the room, his black dirty trouser was now visible as every part of him washed into the room like a child of the darkness, he had no clothes on his chest and his seeming oiled body shimmered under the light, a sharp bloody cutlass on his hand.
    The cracks were not up to his face so she could not make out what he looked like, he walked past the dead girls not minding the bloody floor. Every step of his feet saw blood dripping down from the sole of his boot, his breath was like an animalistic grunt, like a boar separated from it’s kids. He was walking straight towards the wardrobe, every step of his feet inducing an untold horror, even could hardly complete a breath in, it stuck just at the base of her trachea, tears ran freely. She saw herself back in her childhood days when she imagined monsters under her bed in a dark room, her mind would make her see images and she would hide under the covers of her bed. He was coming, every step thudding like a battling ram in a bloody battle, his dirty hand gripping the dark cutlass tight. She held her breath and held her head tight, she could see him walking near the wardrobe, he stopped and turned around. Walked out of the sight the crack gave Eve as he walked towards the bathroom, she could hear the bathroom door. The door thud again and she whimpered a slightly shutting her eyes, the footsteps stopped and the silence returned like it never left. The silence was so loud that you could hear your own soul talk, eve held on like she was fixed on the spot not finding the limbs to stand. The footsteps became audible again, fast and near – eve could hear it like it was just near her.
    The wardrobe quaked and she opened her eyes a bit, peeked though the crack and his shadow was just in front, she recoiled back into the darkness imploring the saints to come to her rescue. The door to the wardrobe was trembling harder, he was right there in front, she could smell his odor and hear him breath, he was just right here in front yanking on the door. She shut her eyes and covered her head, her head was rolling and she could not stop crying. There was a flood of light into the wardrobe, the silence was killed and Eve could feel a figure in the light. “here you are” he groaned.
    Episode 13
    The light that flooded the dark wardrobe flowed into Eve’s eyes making her temporarily blind for a moment, the darkness was killed, the heart jumps vanished but the terror that ripped her was enough to make her break. The figure darkened by his opaqueness from the light that hit behind was difficult for eve to make out but, she has been caught by her darkest dreams, her innermost fear are taking shape right here before her very eyes. Her mouth dropped open but speaking was impossible, her hands were still over her head but her eyes were fixed at the terrifying dark masculine figure that looked down on her groveling in the darkness, her eyes swollen and blood red from the incessant flow of tears that still even ran freely on her cheek. The end was here and she could see the inevitable, her thoughts was filled with random thoughts induced by the paranoia – the girls on the floor were calling her to join them, she could see their bloody faces, eyes as black as night gesturing her to come.
    She has always brushed off the thoughts of death all her life, she always waved the thought with the idea that she was still young and still have a lot to live for, she could not possibly die now. But as it stands now the thought was relevant and it appealed to her deepest emotions, questions flooding her mind in a simultaneous manner, a sudden coldness overwhelmed her. “what is death like?” She always heard it was like a journey through a dark corner hoping to get to the light. “will there be a light at the end of the tunnel?” “will there be a God waiting for me at the other side?” “will God pardon the way I have lived?” She felt a sharp pain as a gigantic palm gripped her hair, his fat hard fingers digging into her and touching her skull. She was yelling for help but her shout seem not to escape pass the horizon of her ears. He dragged her into the light, pin pricking pain overwhelmed her and his brutality was shown by his amused grunts. The light of the electric bulbs shone on them from every angle, Eve could feel his slippery oiled chest brushing all over the side of her hands smearing oil and sweat on her – the smell was that of weird starchy smoke riddled in odoriferous sweat.
    She was trying her best to hold still her neck to make the pain from his unforgiving grip on her hair a bit less but that seem not to be working too well for her. She looked up into his face, it was filled with both sweat and blood, a large beard that was dyed white at the middle, shimmering clean shaven hair that complimented the light, his eyes were blood shot and cold – she could not see any sparkle in them. The hate they beamed down on her made them seem as dark and endless as the abyss, but oddly he was still handsome she thought. A heavy slap landed squarely on her face hitting from the top of her fore head through her mid nose and cheek, his palm were very broad, heavy and hard – she nearly blanked out from the slap. “Please, please” she was yelling but he seemed to barely hear her, her senses were knocked off the bar, her vision was fuzzy from the slap and even her could hardly hear her own voice. He dragged her to the middle of the room just a few feet away from the other girls, dropped her carelessly on the floor and she fell with a thud, every inch of her body was under an excruciating pain and she could hardly breathe, her vision impaired and her bones could not even carry her anymore. The horror was overwhelming and she had resigned to her fate, the end was visible and that bleakness left a feeling of pity etched within her. he gripped the huge machete hard looking down on her as she sprawled on the floor gasping for breath, his face showed no sign of emotion and his eyes were becoming darker.
    A loud sound hit her ears and then another, the man groaned and then another loud smack, blood tickled down on Eve but she could not place where it came from. Another loud smack, the machete dropped carelessly on the floor almost on eve’s stomach, another hitting sound then a female grunt became audible. “Eve pick the machete!!!” she could here someone calling to her, it cannot be unless Tochi was dead with her – she tried opening her eyes wider, the images were still unclear but she could see the heavy dark man on his knees in front of her with a face drenched in blood, a petit female figure behind grasping what seemed like a rod dripping with blood. Eve’s hands were weak and her grip on the machete was like that of a little girl but the pain and hate turned into rage, she gripped the machete and sprang up hitting the man carelessly with the sharp end of the cutlass, he grunted, Tochi came again with a hit on the head – his head and face were entirely covered in blood. He only groaned but there was no yell, his grunts seemed like it came from the back of his throat making it more coarse and deep.
    The girls were terrified, Tochi was visibly shaken but she landed the blows none the less, eve still had tears running freely, parts of her face feeling a stinging pain that almost certainly were unbearable. He was now on the floor, a deep cut on his chest and mutilated blood drenched head, Eve could see him twitching. She stepped a couple of steps backwards and slumped on the floor crying, Tochi made for her grasping her in her arms, she had blood stain all over even her hands seem to be dipped in blood, his blood. Eve was trembling, she could not believe she was not dead and what worse she could not believe she just killed someone, he was lying right there in front facing the ground and no longer twitched. “we killed him” she cried looking at Tochi who looked at her with an angry eyes, Tochi’s fears were turning into anger – she was giving up at any thought of making it out of here but her anger fueled her resolve to keep going. “ehee if we didn’t you would have been dead like them” she said pointing at the lifeless girls on the floor all darkened. Eve shuddered at the thought but this night was turning out more worse than she imagined. “let us get out of this room” Tochi said helping Eve up.
    Episode 14
    The girls ran out of the room with Tochi leading the way and Eve trailing behind, eve felt weird and dizzy, her head hurt, her face hurt and she could hardly breathe without feeling a stinging pain inside her nose. Eve was certain that he broke her nose with the heavy face slap he landed on her, she remembers finding herself in a deep gully after the blow, her wits were literally knocked over the bar. “Eve your nose is bleeding” Tochi commented on turning back towards the unstable Eve who was leaning on the wall for support. Eve gave a slight nod then wiped her nose with her hand feeling the cold thickness of the blood smear on her hands, It was more than what just hands can clean. Tochi grabbed her and led her towards the room where Amina and Yvonne where, there was nobody in the room when they entered just the buzzing air conditioner provided the only sound heard. Eve sat down on the bed trying to use the bedspread to stop the bleeding from flowing, the eerie silence was so shouty and it worried her like the stillness before the bloodiest battle.
    Tochi was walking around the room looking around the floor peering into every corner, she walked to the bathroom, eve could hear the water run for some minutes then stopped, Tochi emerged with wet hands wiping her hands on her top. She walked towards the wardrobe, the floor was blood stained and she saw what looked like a bloody tooth on the floor, the door to the wardrobe had blood fingerprints on it like the person was desperately trying to grab the knob. She froze from fright, ran back towards Eve and grabbed the machete again – they had taken the machete along with them. Walking cautiously with popped eyes towards the wardrobe, Eve looked on with a held breath. Tochi slowly opened the wardrobe wide open and the light flooded into the initially dark space, the floor of the wardrobe was covered in blood and mutilated flesh, she let out a muffled shout. Eve fearfully staggered towards her still dragging the thick bedspread with her held just beneath her nose; she knew Tochi must have seen something horrifying to be as shaken as she just appear right now. Tochi knelt where she was trembling; her eyes had a misty look of self pity and disbelief. Eve grabbed the wardrobe door and peered into it, pieces of human flesh was bundled like random sticks on the floor, a severely mutilated body cut into many parts and the head was missing.
    Eve could not bear the sight, she ran back towards the bed and broke down, that was Amina. Though the head was missing, the tattoo of a sparrow on one of the cut hands made it obvious that was Amina, she had being cut into so many pieces and her head taken to God knows where. “is this how we are going to go one after the other?” Tochi moaned hitting the ground in grief – this was one of the case when you could barely grief because of the person you lost but because of the inevitable scare that with each passing minute, each passing tick of the clock your own time was drawing nearer. That fear alone was enough to make you grief not for anything or anyone but yourself. “do you even know how many are left?” Tochi queried more like she was talking to herself in the darkness of her mind. There was a subtle thought invading Eve’s mind, there was an untold worry that pricked her and a nameless scare that gripped her. In moments passing by her as her whiffing breath complimented the buzz of the air conditioner, her mind was illuminated – that fear was becoming well announced and the worry clearly spelt. “Jesus Hilda!!!” she blurted out jolting up from where she was knelt on the floor, she had totally forgotten everything about Hilda who she left behind to find Tochi in the heat of the horrifying events that followed. She remembers leaving her behind underneath the stairs. “what would be her fate now?” “is she still here or have they gotten to her yet” Tochi looked at her due to the sudden outburst, the questioning look In her eyes made her mind obvious. “what are you talking about?”
    “Hilda, I left her under the stairs” Eve retorted making towards the door. Tochi rushed after her grabbing her by the hand. “you cannot keep doing this eve, trying to save everyone around here. You will get yourself killed doing that” she said looking squarely into her friends worried face. Eve knew she was saying the truth, just moments ago she was just on the shores of death wading through the ocean because she had rushed off to save Tochi who turned out to be safer than she got her into. But this was different, she thought. Hilda was injured and that made her feel more concern towards her and this room still was not safe for both of them. “Tochi, Hilda is very injured and cant survive this on her own” she said in her defense. The look in Tochi’s face was anger smeared in a platter of worry “are you alright?” she retorted pointing her fore finger directly into the side of her skull In a typical “are you crazy fashion” Eve mopped at her with dropped mouth, Tochi’s question was not a direct question but Eve still questioned the validity of the answer. She was not alright, not even one bit and with the toll this horror, terror and fear had taken on her, she was not even sure if she could claim 100% alright mentally. “You don’t even know if you are going to survive this and you are worried over whether someone else will? Tochi continued.
    She could not understand how Eve was acting as if everyone else was her responsibility, she was not strong enough to carry herself how can she add others to her burden – The possibility of them making it out of here alive was unsure, there was little light at the end of this dark tunnel and Tochi could not even tell if there was any light at all.’ Just as there were arguing over their next move whether to go for Hilda or not, there was a loud shout that sounded a bit faint placing the distance further away. They stopped abruptly, not even a whisper was heard – they eyes were peeled and ears sharply configured to pick up any sound that may follow. That fear was back, that chocking horror and an unsure fate trailing them throughout this night – they listened and waited. Eve could feel an inevitable danger approaching, where they to run or stay she could not tell but they had to do something. Just then another shout, feminine and all shrieky – it bore a lot of pain that permeated into the very depth of your soul, Eve’s heart jumped seeming to stop at that moment, Tochi was no better. A smashing sound followed, like a ringing bell in a cold morning smattering sound of a breaking glass filled the air – it sounded close but they could not pin point from whence it came. The same voice shrieked again making eve whimper in fright clutching her heart – some poor girl out there is drawing her last breath in such terror, she thought.
    Just then a thudding sound came along and the whole building went dark – the lights were killed, darkness took over.
    Episode 15
    The darkness took over; the humming sounds lingered plus a ringing slow paced bell coming in every 2minutes interval. The darkness was overwhelming and deep, the air was cold and the house had a foul stench in the air, none could breathe without perceiving that stale stench that made your heart freeze. Blood and sweat, tears and pain could be drawn from the whole setting, and now the darkness buttered the horror. Eve held on to Tochi tight, they could barely make out the passage from the height of the darkness, tiny subtle lights sipped into the passage from strange points Eve noticed and the floor shimmered at little points here and there. They walked on into the passage leaving behind heavy breath and a footprint mark in the cold tile left by trembling bloody feet. Eve could feel Tochi’s trembling cold body on hers as they walked, her hands felt like they were put into ice and they could barely grasp hers well. They had lost track of time, the outside was quiet and Eve thought she heard the crow of a rooster. The morning was here but dawn was still far from coming, the freezing breeze escaped into the house from the barred windows. “Did you hear that?” She whispered to Tochi who stopped and listened, she could hear anything but the buzzing sounds of the air conditioner. There was a faint whimper and Eve thought she heard someone cough but she wasn’t sure, it sounded like it came from the room directly beside her. Tochi shook her head, Eve could barely make out what she was doing but she understood she was affirming to the negative on her question. Eve grabbed the door knob, gently opened it and peeked inside.
    Everything was dark and the room seemed still – the feel of her heart against her chest was loud and the whole house was becoming one with the darkness that haunted her deepest fear. She hoped for light at least it made you see your fate, she wished for the darkness to linger maybe it was there to help shield her from the stinging pain of the horror. She walked into the room with Tochi trailing behind her still holding on to the helm of her top, she was protesting Eve’s curious peek into the dark room but it still did not matter, every other part of the house was equally as dangerous and uncertain as a lonely dark room in a remote corner. Eve was leaning against the wall as she made her way deeper into the room, she could feel the cold wall biting her skin, her hairs all standing from the freezy sting becoming one with the Cimmerian shade. There was a strange sound, an electrifying buzzing noise that made her stop, the buzz was becoming louder, the lights flickered on and off, on again and off. She stood there transfixed with the wall as a solace, tochi still crawled behind barely past the door.
    As the light came on and off eve was sure she saw a figure in the room, maybe one of the girls as the shadowy character was too petit to be a man. There was a loud shriek like the cries of an owl, it was soul gripping and sounded like it was just in front of Eve. “what is that?” tochi busted fearfully blindly making towards eve inside the darkroom using her hands on the cold wall as a guide. “I don’t know” eve replied breathing heavily, the shriek of that ominous owl had sounded right inside of her like the sound came within. “who is there?” she queried into the darkness hoping her eyes were not mistaken and someone was indeed sitting on the bed. “who is there?” she asked again, the silence buttered into the eerie darkness was beginning to bother her and the owly sound still resounded in her mind.
    There was a weird feel of drunken elation, eve felt like she was here but she also was not, like there was being watched by more than one but a crowd, even the darkness of the room was insufficient to mask her and she was naked like an open book without cover. The light came again this time a few moments longer then it went off again, she had taken a quick glance at the shadow on the bed, clad in long black flayed garb with a touch of red, a mean face that seemed as dark as night. Eve was getting more uncomfortable by the moment and that fouly stench that came from nowhere was unlike any she ever perceived, It permeated the very depth of her spirit. “Tochi let’s get out of here” she spoke into the darkness making to move backwards bit by bit praying the light doesn’t turn back on. There was a loud thud, the door had shut with a bang making tochi spring up from where she clutched near the door. “what just happened, Tochi what did you do?” Eve whispered grasping the frightened Tochi by the top.
    “I did nothing Eve, the door just shut by itself” tochi said making to hide behind Eve away from the door – everything was getting even more creepier, the cold and staleness of the night gripped them hard and you could even perceive the smell of your own breath. There it was again the sound of the owl right behind them, the girls jolted and yelled involuntarily, eve could feel her voice waning, her pitch draining each second. The light came up and the room shone in the bright radiance of the flickering orb, every corner of the room complimenting the glow. Eve’s attention was drawn back to the figure seating on the bed, she looked harder and it definitely wasn’t Agatha or any of the girls that she hoped were still alive. Small and silent, deep and dark – the face had no cover but you could barely make out the features of it, chest that rose and fell faster than a beating heart, it’s eyes were blood shot and glowed, hands dripping of darkened blood.
    It cannot be, the figure had no mouth but what seemed like big owly beak instead, the flowing black dress letting off what eve saw was a hairy birdy legs huge enough to carry a person. It was not human, it cannot be – Eve saw herself freeze, Tochi ran back behind her gazing at the figure that sat in total silence and a horrifying aura around it but had a feminine glow. “Jesus Christ, what is this?” Eve yelled, legs almost numb from fright. There she was seated on the bed, her blood shot eyes blinking faster than normal, owly beak smeared in bloody dip – sitting in odd stillness, she looked on feasting on their fear.

    Episode 16

    “Jesus Christ, what is that?!” Tochi shrieked almost loosing her soul into outer space, she felt intense goose bumps all over her and her eyes misty and terrified quaked in an irregular pattern succumbing to the intense staleness that saturated the very air she breath.
    Eve could barely feel her body, Tochi’s hands were tightly around her but she felt nothing, her senses seemed to take in less except for her nose that felt like the very stench of death was smeared on it.
    The figure did not move, no sounds were heard and the deep darkness that emanated from it like smokes that disappeared after few seconds.
    Strange winds moving the flayed helms of the black cloth it wore, eyes as dark as night, owly circle and had a continuous stare that seemed to look past the skin and pierced deep down into the very depth of your being.
    The owl beaks twitched from time to time like some random timer controlled its twitches, rough and brownish black like a rugged patch of land. The creature had no nose which made it look more like a giant owl without the feathers, legs like jiggered rubber that had gone bad.
    Talons that curved into the ground with sharp ends that could tear the flesh in a whim.
    This was a point of no return, Eve’s heart raced and her eyes blurred from the woozy intake of her surrounding, the darkness was calling to her like a nameless doom seducing her with a terrifying grip, like a whisper of an imminent malice sipping into her ears.
    “You cannot escape this, give up!”
    it made more sense to her, what is the need for all this trying?
    Why all these struggles?
    Everyone here is doomed, this seemed etched in the very fabrics of reality – there was no escaping it, there was no light at the end of the tunnel, everything was all for nothing.
    Eve could feel herself slipping down the drain, surrendering to the suffocating grip of the terror.
    The creature lingered on the edge of the bed like a shadow lurking in a moonless night, audible ominous sounds like the strung of a ghostly guitar tingled in the air, the smell of death and fear ever so shouty and the girls could hardly keep themselves up as their legs wobbled under them gripped shut by fear and terror.
    It’s eyes were piercing and bloodshot, cold and straight like there was this amusing thing about blood and death, eve could feel her self taking slow backward strides with legs as heavy as stone and cold as an untamed ice in a tundra plain.
    She reached for the door knob, the creature kept staring unmoving and quiet, the door knob which was made of brass felt very cold that it hurt the palms, eve could not hold it for long.
    Tochi hurriedly grabbed the door knob as she saw Eve recoil from grabbing it, in a desperate attempt to escape, the dire need to survive.
    “the door is shut” Tochi yelled at Eve who felt like Tochi’s voice sounded from a far canyon, echoing in the open stretch of the rift.
    It was faintly and slim, Tochi on her part could feel herself slipping. The piercing cold of the doorknob stung her palms like tiny daggers at every point, her breath was failing and she could feel the cold encompassing every inch of her heart.
    She could feel the cold crawling up towards her face, she could hardly breathe, her heart rose and fell inconsistently.
    A lump of air was stuck on her throat, chilled and painful, Eve looked on as Tochi was waning right in front of her, she could see her becoming paler and weaker.
    In a quick reflex she doubt she still had in her Eve nudged Tochi away from the door knob, she fell to the ground with a thud breathing hard, the strange coldness giving way slowly.
    Tochi quickly crawled away from the door, sprawling on the floor in a fearful attempt, the door drained the life out of her, she felt her bones weak to the marrow and she shuddered at the thought of what could have happened if Eve did not push her out of the door when she did.
    The girls were stuck between the devil and the sea, none of the options they had were good; the creature that has been on the bed like a source that bred untold darkness and the door that s----d the life right out of you just by touching it.
    Just a look at the figure lurking in the room was enough to cut the strongest of hearts, the birdy legs that peeped out from under the black cloak, the owly face that worked into a human like frame, bloodshot eyes that could look right through you.
    There was a desperate bang on the door like someone was pushing from outside, the girls were startled once again taking a couple of steps away from the door but with a constant eye on the dark creature.
    They didn’t know what was coming through that door but they knew they’d rather embrace what ever it is than get any closer to the creature that has been looking at them for a long time now.
    The door slammed open and slammed shut immediately as a petit creature ran in whimpering carelessly and sweaty all over.
    She ran towards eve and Tochi grabbing them trying to hide just behind them, she was one of the girls.
    Eve didn’t know her by name but has seen her severally for hours now before the whole hell show began, blood and sweat dripped down her head, there was a bloody bruise on her forehead.
    She was terribly shaken trying to squeeze herself in between tochi and eve both of whom appeared gigantic when contrasted to her small size that made her appear like a girl that is just hitting puberty.
    Eve had momentarily forgotten about the creature on the bed just as the petit girl ran into the room oblivious of the darkness that encompassed every inch of the brightly lit room, eve hastily dragged her gaze towards the bed but the creature was not there.
    She glanced around the room in quick successions scanning every side of it, every wall or piece of wood earning a suspicious eye as the creature could have crawled into any of them.
    Tochi also was surprised the creature was no longer there as she joined in casting a searching glance all over making the short girl nervous as she kept peering on their faces questioningly ignorant of what they possibly might be searching for.
    The creature was no longer there but the darkness and cold somehow lingered on a bit longer, the very stench of the room was something out of the world, death glancing off your nose every time you took a dragging breath.
    “let us get out of this cursed room” Eve addressed the others turning towards the door.
    “cursed room? This whole house is cursed” the petit girl retorted. She was Vivian.
    “we need to find a way to get the hell out of this house” Tochi said, she was crying which made her voice crack “I cannot die like this, I am too young for that”
    Eve was looking at the door with distrust but she knew it now or never; grabbing the door knob she yanked it open in one swift arm movement that surprised even her.

    Episode 17

    The whole house seemed to be at a stand still as the girls ran out into the passage, gripped by fear and uncertain suspicion Vivian walked briskly behind eve and tochi. She was unsure of what they were trying to escape from but she knew what ever it was can never be good so it was better to make a run for it when you can.
    Eve slowly entered the huge lounge that was as quiet as a graveyard, not even the humming sounds of the air conditioner could be heard, she walked slowly into the space making towards the stairs.
    The corpses were still there, the blood turned dark and clogged and their faces unrecognizable, Vivian held her nose with her fingers trying to shut out the bloody stench of the corpses, the fact that these were once vibrant beautiful girls who came into the house with them froze her mind with fright.
    They walked past the bloated corpses covering their nose with their palms in an attempt to block the stench of death, escape the haunting thoughts that pricked each troubled mind, a terrifying prospect that you may have been the one lying on this floor, dark and bloated heading towards an unforgiving rottenness.
    There was no escaping, the fear that haunted them was like the smell of feces on a rainy day, there’s no escaping it.
    The girls headed towards the stairs in fearful simple strides, minding theirs steps one after the other, every shaking step like a rushing approach of an inevitable doom, the house chilly and quiet.
    Eve could swear that she’d heard some owly shrieks coming from up the stairs, a picture of the dark owe-like human figure flashed back into her memory, the darkness encompassing her very thought.
    There was a first crow of c--k, the day was breaking slowly but dawn was still couple of hours away. Eve knew that they wouldn’t make it until dawn, if they have to make a move of escape it had to be now or never.
    Her heart jumped at each crow of the distant roosters that seem to reply each other’s crow in a simultaneous manner, like there was some unknown gossip they shared with the morning.
    She smiled at the thought of the morning rooster sharing a piece of gossip; ‘about what exactly?’ she asked herself.
    Maybe about the hens, which one was pregnant with eggs, which one they wanted the most or which part of the vicinity was best to search for food.
    A tiny momentarily distraction that made her chuckle a bit at the silliness of her imagination, in a night of despair and terror such smile was a priceless jewel.
    A thought occurred to Eve, if roosters crow near this vicinity where ever that might be that means that they must be humans living near too, they might be a chance if there was a way to escape the confines of this terrifying dark mansion.
    “did you hear that?” she asked to neither Tochi nor the petit one following them like a tag along pet.
    “hear what?” tochi blurted out shifting her stare towards every corner of the room scanning every inch of it, Vivian was already behind tochi , her petit nature made Tochi quite an effective shield since you could barely make out someone stood behind Tochi, even if you saw her you would be wondering who let their teenage kid out in the wee hours.
    “did you guys hear the rooster crow?” Eve came again trying to smile to convince them that it was a good thing.
    “so?” Vivian chipped in from behind Tochi, she could not understand what was laughy about the rooster crows, they all were still on a death row last time she checked, they were still in the biggest nightmare she could ever imagine praying to be pricked and jolted off from sleep.
    “if the roosters crow near here, it means there must be humans around, perhaps this is a village” Eve said looking around the huge lounge.
    “I am yet to understand what you mean?’ Vivian said again looking as lost as she ws afraid.
    ‘it means that if we can find a way out of this house, we have a chance at survival’ Tochi said impatiently not hiding her contempt for the unending streak of questions Vivian threw at them without thinking.
    There was a slight whimper from under the stairs, Eve recognized the tone, she could barely believe her ears, an excitement brew within her as she made towards the stairs.
    Hilda was still sitting under the stairs, moist and shiny from sweat beads that formed around her face, her facial expression was indifferent and she showed no sign of emotion.
    The green wounds from the electrocution was turning greenish black with like-wise colored fluid dripping down on to the floor or ran into a piece of her cloth I which ever direction it went.
    Eve could tell she had gone through a severe amount of pain, intensified by the uncertainty of her survival, the haunting shrieks of dying girls through out the night and the darkened corpses that lay just a few feet away from her in the openness of the lounge.
    Hilda crawled out from underneath the stairs, her face tight and mean, trying so hard to conceal the pain within, Eve was shocked at the guts this girl possessed, there was nothing that could dampen her spirit too much.
    The house lay still like a graveyard, no sound were heard and the lights at interval flickered off and on again, the four of them trying to make as less noise as possible tip toed towards the kitchen, every corner sending chills down their already terrified hearts as they was a dangerous uncertainty lurking in every corner.
    Eve was the first to tip-toe into the kitchen, the headless corpse still lay there and the blood had clogged on the tiles turning the whiteness of the rich tiles a bit darkened and ruined. She made it past the headless body gesturing others to follow, it was now or never.
    Hilda was next, you could notice her limping, her facial muscles were twitching betraying the fact that she was trying so hard to hold in lots of pain from the numerous wounds on her body, Tochi followed her with Vivian trailing behind jumping in front and back again at interval.
    Making towards the doorknob with every caution eve was expecting the worse, the door might be rigged with electricity but she was willing to give it a try, after all they are as good as dead inside this house.
    She had remember as a secondary school student her introductory technology teacher told them holding your breath would minimize the severity of an electric shock, she was willing to try anything at this point.
    With her breath held out of fear or caution she could not fathom she reached for the knob, the scary image of Hilda getting severely electrocuted right before her eyes flashing before her, she gulped a lump of air down her throat, clenched her eyes tight and reached even further.
    Tochi had her hands over her ears, her eyes shut tight like she would rather not look at anything that would bound to inevitably happen, Vivian now standing near Hilda still putting on an unsure expression looked on with intense curiosity.
    Eve could feel the coldness of the brass doorknob tingle her palm, maybe that was the first sign of electrocution, she reached even further feeling the smooth rounded knob fit right into the middle of her palm, the coldness giving way to a slow pacing warmness that took over.
    The flung open with a groan, she had not even pushed it which looked like more than just sheer luck to Eve as she gazed at the open door with lots of distrust.
    The little she saw of outside was dark and calm, the others still looked on with even greater surprise and wariness as Eve had, the door gave way far too easy to be true, they didn’t know what waited outside, it might be rather rigged with more danger than they already are in.
    Hilda was the first to walk towards the now open door “what else could be worse than what we already are in?” she mumbled to everyone’s hearing seeming to answer the bothering question they all nursed.
    There was another owly cry and a black little owl flew into the kitchen through the door that led into the dinning. Shinny black feathers that looked like polished marble, a short beak that moved up and down and those huge round eyes bloody red.
    They needed no more clue as the four girls struggled to leave the kitchen and escape into the dark morning.
    Episode 18
    The darkness was welcoming but the cold misty morning was a slapping taste, the shadows of tall trees casting intimidating darkness over the long huge fence around intensified the darkness, the cold dry air of the compound was like such that happens in the heart of a deep rain forest. The pool lay still adjacent from the door that led into the kitchen, the whole compound plunged into a wee stillness that could freeze your heart. Little steals of light sipped out from inside of the building, a tiny slice of light cutting through the still blue pool. Every light that surrounded the compound was dead, a bizarre coldness that seem to appreciate the darkness, the trees swayed and danced to a whistling breeze, it was one of those mornings that people would refer as ‘night of the talking wind’ Eve could hear footsteps rushing behind her but she was uncaring of who or what it was, her mind was set on getting as far away from the building as she could manage. Heavy striding steps that sounded like it was right behind almost as close as hugging her behind, she could notice an intimidating shadow accompanying the steps.
    Neither Tochi nor Hilda could be this big and Vivian was out of the question, Eve could not tell if her mind was making up these things since the fear that have battered her through out the night definitely was enough to mess up a sane mind. “tochi!” She blared under heavy breaths not for one moment stopping the check or look behind, every ticking moment was as precious as every step. Eve had to swallow the silence she got in return but the heavy steps behind were still very audible to her, she could imagine one of those huge masculine figures right behind her lifting his machete this very moment to deliver a life ending blow. ** ** ** Tochi and Hilda were together; they had run towards the west side of the building just as they rushed out of the kitchen with Tochi leading the rush race. They slid into s crack of space between the east side of the mansion and the fence that bordered the entire compound, they darkness provided by this sandwich of walls was welcoming and assuring.
    “Where is Eve?” Tochi asked in a panting tone trying as much as she could to reduce her voice into a whisper. “I don’t know” Hilda whispered back also breathing heavy and fast. “What about the other girl, the small one?” Hilda added “I saw her run towards the small house at the other end of the swimming pool” Vivian had flown out of the kitchen door in the heat of the owl panic; her small size made it easier for her to maneuver herself and gave her a cutting advantage of crisp speed. Her wits pounded, her heart racing faster than healthy, she was not really thinking all she had in mind was the almost involuntary steps she took as she ran towards the pool. It lay quiet and still almost masking the liquidity of the water, she ran beside the pool making towards the small house just at the other side of the Olympic sized pool, it was dark not even a drop of light could be seen but the white paint caressing the escaping beams of lights from the main mansion made it a little visible in the dark at least enough to let you know there was a house there.
    The intricate features were masked from sight by the heavy gloom of the morning. She ran just through the edge of the pool with her mind set on the prize, hairs dancing to the turbulence of the cold morning, her legs were wobbly and her balance were off the hook. She could feel herself slipping, with a sharp squeal she felt her body hit the tiled floor that surrounds the pool hitting her hand on the end of the pool which made the bone snap out of it’s joint. Bouncing off a few inches from the ground she rebounded and slipped into the pool. The water was quite warm but she could not tell how deep it was, tried touching the floor with her feet but it was elusive, she could not swim and her broken arm made her situation even worse as she could barely use her arms effectively. She tried to struggle but she could feel the water drawing her in, she was going deeper down and her feet were yet to touch the floor of the pool, her hands feeling the weight of the water resting on it, she could not move her broken right arm an inch in the water without inducing an excruciating pain, she all the while tried to maintain silence because she thought the only thing worse than her situation right now was having the killers know where she was.
    The water was unforgiving and cruel, her feet danced under the treacherous liquid struggling to keep her afloat but she was going down inch by inch, she let out a loud shout and gulped down a mouthful of water she left her gasping for breath and struggling to stay afloat. her face was going right under the water, every attempt she made to struggle left her with a huge inflow of water in her guts and lungs, she was waning by the second, the breath has left her and everything was looking brighter and blurry. In a bit she could feel the air on her hair, the her face, then her shoulders were also exposed to the cold air, she could feel a yanking force on her broken arm but she could not scream, she was partly unresponsive from her minutes of being under water without oxygen, she was licking of water and only had fuzzy images of her surroundings. Everything was cold, the chilly hair was biting and piercing, she could feel her fingers freezing, the skins squeezing under the pressure of an intense cold amplified by her fall into the water. She could make out a huge masculine figure in the darkness pulling her by the broke arm out of the water, her limbs were numb now and the pains were slow in registering in her brain, she could not breath, her lungs were filled with water. If she tried to scream she would cough instead, her strength greatly faded but she kept fighting not to give in, she felt like she was slipping, passing out into unconsciousness but she struggled to hang on.
    She was carelessly dropped on the floor beside the pool by the huge person masked by the darkness of the whole surrounding and the vagueness of her vision, her eyes were closing, she tried to keep them open but it was like an invisible force was bringing them inevitably together making it almost impossible to resist. At last she gave in to the impulse of her waning soul, everything went still and dark. Eve could feel her strength evaporating like a highly capricious liquid, she was sweating in the cold which made the cold breeze feel like a shower raining down her face, she has been running for a long time not knowing where she is running to, an impending danger seemingly seating at every corner. Her speed slowly shrunk, she could feel wet grasses caressing her feet tickling the sides of her ankles, biting and cold.
    There was nothing in sight but pitch darkness, the light that escaped unclosed windows from the mansion seemed out of place from the heavy darkness that ruled the morning. It was a moonless morning, the stars had gone off to sleep earlier than you would expect and the very warmth had left the earth, the only hope was in the dawn even that too seem to have decided not to come. A heavy hand grabbed her from behind, stinking and big covering from the base of her nose down the base of her chin. Her eyes widened in fear, she tried to scream but the hand was clasped too tightly around her mouth and nose, she could barely breath, every drag of breath took in the smell of blood and clay, she hustled to break free but her limbs could not match the strength that restricted her. The dawn was buried.

    Episode 19

    Eve struggled to breath, the mucky smell from the firm gripping dirty hands chocked her, and not a whiff of air could escape her esophagus. She was fighting to break free, her strength was waning and she longed for air more than anything else.
    She felt the strong arms grab her by the back laying her gently on the ground still covering her mouth with the other, she was on a close contact with death, at that point she realized that nothing else really mattered but this one moment in a thousand.
    She had always thought about what would be when she was dead, she had imagined every intricate details of heaven and the other side, how death would be but at this point, with his hands covering her mouth and nose, with the life being choked out of her she could not even bring herself to think, no thoughts could form, not even the urge to think remained.
    The grip loosened a bit and but still covered the greater part of her lower face.
    “shhhhhhhhhh” came a long hushing sound in the darkness “Don’t make a noise”
    “Please don’t kill me” Eve whimpered amidst sobs, she could breath now and tears ran freely across her face, her thoughts were irregular and followed not any pattern. She found herself at her most vulnerable and her weakness had gotten the better part of her escaping inevitably through the salty crystal beads of tears that ran down her face.
    “I am not going to kill you just shut up for God sake” came a very dry baritone voice sounding like it was in a hurry, his breaths were heavy and smelt badly, it was the wee hours of the morning and Eve knew for sure hers didn’t smell any better.
    “please let me go, I beg you” Eve reeled out again in desperation unable to contain the tears that still ran down freely on her face.
    He replaced his hands on her lower face again, eve was lying back first on the ground with her face positioned upwards, she could feel the wet grasses poking at her skin on every level, she could also smell the wet fresh grasses almost like she noticed their joy in the misty humidity of the morning dew.
    it was getting really itchy and uncomfortable but that seemed almost irrelevant due to her present dire situation of life and death.
    She was uncertain of her fate and that sent goose bumps washing down her body in frequent successions.
    Thumping footsteps approaching sounding like an irregular march of a dozen men rushing through the darkness, the figure in the shadow bent lower a bit, his hands still covering her mouth.
    The steps were getting nearer and nearer, Eve’s ear were close to the ground she could feel the vibration on the ground almost like they were no more than a few steps away.
    The steps faded with time, every vibration and hard step leaving a mark on Eve’s mind.
    “If you want to live then listen to me, those guys are looking for you girls” the man in the shadow said still in hushing tones.
    Eve’s eyes widened, she noticed a slight familiarity in the voice. There was an intrinsic pitch that struck a well-known cord in her memory.
    “Joseph is that you?” She breathed out biting her question with a butter of doubt herself.
    “yes Eve now shut up and don’t give away our position. They have been sent to wrap this up, none of you girls are leaving this mansion alive” He retorted.
    “what exactly Is this place about?” Eve asked trying to get up from lying flat on the ground, a certain degree of confidence was sipping back into her but still doesn’t eradicate the terror.
    “This is a sacrifice game” he said helping her get up to stand on all fours.
    “what does that mean?” Eve’s curiosity was at the highest point now, she has been trying to figure out what exactly they got themselves into allowing her imaginations run wild, bothering questions that didn’t add up or didn’t have sufficient answers, at least she didn’t.
    she had thought of it as a form of ritual for money, power or fame or maybe these people kill humans for parts.
    “If that’s true then couldn’t they have simply lined them up and killed them off without having to go through the troubles of a bizarre hide and seek, life hunting game”
    This left her even more confused, now she was just a step from knowing the answer and her impatience grew.
    “Joseph, answer me” She washed out betraying the impatience that brewed within.
    “this is not the time Eve, maybe later we need to figure out a way to escape this compound because you remaining girls are in far more danger than you ever have been all night long” he said, the fear and anxiety in his tone was noticeable, his baritone voice sounded deep but it also broke and a little irregularity in the frequency could tell a good observer that he was nervous.
    Eve could sense his fear and anxiety, she knew this was her only chance at escape without which death was sure. She saw a body lying on the ground few steps away, she could not make out vivid features of the body, she noticed he light yellow top more that seem to defile the darkness and made her a bit visible. She was barely moving, this made Eve jerk in a fearful reaction that she almost jumped out of her skin.
    “who is that, is she dead?” she asked looking towards Jospeh.
    “No she’s alive but had I been 5 minutes late, she would have been” joseph replied making towards the girl that lay on the ground to lift her up on her feet. Eve looked on as he knelt down beside the girl and whispered, “it’s time to get out of here”
    she responded in a tired reluctant gesture, he helped her up still showering her with assuring words.
    “Don’t worry you will make it out of this alive” he said forcing out a smile, his teeth gleaming in the darkness like pearls in the river.
    The indifferent twitch of her face betrayed her distrust for that remark.
    Eve admired the kindness in his words, his compassion that seemed to contradict the looks he bore.
    It was Vivian; Joseph had saved her from the calling shouts of death on the pool few minutes ago and had carried her all through the time he chased after Eve.
    Eve was happy and a bit relieved on seeing Vivian but her mind couldn’t help but wonder about Tochi and Hilda’s fate.
    “common Eve, let’s go out through the back gate. I have the spare keys” Joseph said grabbing her by the shoulders gently; his sweaty body still shimmered in the cold dryness of the morning air.
    “No” Eve heard herself say, she wanted to run, she wanted to follow him to the back gate and get as far away ash she could but somehow her mind contradicted the will forced on her by the fear and need to survive.
    “what do you mean No” Vivian said. This was her first time talking since eve noticed her presence and her voice still showed she was cold and scared, croaky like she has been crying and she definitely sounded tired.
    “I’m not leaving here without Tochi and Hilda” Eve said again in a straight tone, she knew she couldn’t forgive herself if she failed to at least try to take Tochi along.
    “This your Jesus mindset will get us all killed” Vivian retorted raising her voice a little, she was getting angry at Eve’s stubbornness and the idea that it was her responsibility to save everyone else.
    “I cannot leave tochi behind” Eve added one more time and walked off back towards the kitchen they had just escaped from in search of Tochi or Hilda.

    Episode 20

    Tochi and Hilda were squatted down in between the fence, they heard loud noises of the men who ran by not more than 5 minutes ago and this sent tensed blood gushing through their heart, Tochi more so.
    But the prospect of dawn was even more terrifying for them as that would mean it will be more difficult to hide, the darkness was a complementing reality, a helpful hand in their dire situation.
    Blending it with dusk made it harder to be spotted but made the whole scene of the night more terrifying for the girls, a comforting promise came with light of the sun but this comfort works hand in hand like an advent of doom.
    Tochi’s breathing was fast and short, she was tensed and quaked subtly where she was crutched below the base of the fence, the cold air rubbing through her skin, goose bumps washing down on her like multiple waves on a cold beach, she could tell the hairs on her back were all standing out of anxiety or fear or maybe the chilly dryness of the morning cold – she could hardly decide.
    “Calm down Tochi” Hilda threw towards her peering her eyes further into the darkness to make out any images her eyes could afford.
    “I am calm” Tochi replied. Her shaking voice betraying her above the obvious, she was near tears. Tochi was tired of running, she was tired of the fears and shouts but the tears were knocking right behind the shimmer of her eyes.
    “Your breathing is too fast and loud, just relax let us figure a way out of this mess” Hilda added taking a couple of steps further to look out through the edge and see the open dark backyard.
    “I am tired of all this Hilda” tochi confessed letting the tears go now, they streamed down dragging a watery nasal fluid along.
    Hilda was quite, even her too was tired if not more so, her whole body hurts from the open electrocution wounds, she could hardly move with a pin pricking pain accompanying a subtle spasm on her muscles. But in the midst’s of the hopelessness of their situation she has forced herself to at least place her hope on the fact that she would fight on to the very last minute.
    She had resolved in her mind to put everything into surviving this, if she meets her end in the long run then she’d go knowing fully well she gave it her all.
    “You really do not need to lose hope Tochi, we may yet make it out of this” She tried sounding comforting to the weary Tochi who has changed her position from squatting on her feet to sitting entirely on the floor which was moist and cold from the dews.
    “Hope, I doubt if there is such thing as hope in this matter. Girl in case you never notice, we are too far from civilization”
    Tochi had surrendered to despair, she was considering walking off into the open making it obvious to everyone that cared or was close enough to listen that she was tired of all this drama and nonsense.
    That very thought made her doubt her own sanity but still she was inclined that it would be easier for her if that becomes the case and the urge was intense that she doubted if she could resist the urge to entirely give-up in such an extreme manner.
    She looked up and made out Hilda’s hands waving in the dark towards her, Half of Hilda’s face was cutting out through the edge of the wall to have a one eyed view of the broad dark and still backyward.
    “what is it?” Tochi asked making to stand up
    “ssshhh, shut up. I can hear movements nearby and I heard faint sounds too” Hilda replied.
    “Chim ooo!!!” Tochi yelled within her urge to live rushed back with a flash of the information, she jolted up and tip toed close to Hilda trying to peek out too into the yard and see exactly what Hilda was telling her.
    The flowers just beside the kitchen door they ran out from moved, light footsteps followed. The darkness not only worked to conceal you, it also conceals your enemy from you.
    “Haaay God, what are we going to do?” Tochi whispered with loud anxiety, the fears that had evaporated poured down again like a planned drop from an incredible height.
    There was no other road out of the corner they hid, it had one entrance and running off from that entrance would lead you directly into the waiting arms of the people you are so desperately trying to get away from.
    The footsteps were getting closer and closer, Hilda had to drag Tochi to the back of the space seeking even deeper darkness, they were panting even though they had not done any rigorous exercise.
    At moments like this you evaluate the value of this world, tochi found herself thinking about things that matter most to her; her siblings, struggling mother and father.
    She had grown up deep in the heartland of the eastern part of the country like every other child of her parents had a met a life without much milk and honey to go with it but within her family circle she found much love. Being the 3rd out of the four Children born to her parents.
    She could picture their faces in her mind trying to channel her thoughts sorely on that, this was in a bid to focus less on the fear and terror of an impending death. A c--k crow sipped in from not so a distance, Tochi jumped a bit in a sudden p---k of fear, even something as harmless as a c--k crow instilled untold fear in your mind at times like this.
    A deep silence took over once more, shadows lurking in the dark entrance was slightly visible to the two shaking girls crutching at the other end, they could breath as it made you feel like that was loud enough to give you away.
    “where could they be?” Eve said
    Tochi could swear that the voice she just heard coming from the dusky entrance belonged to Eve unless they were using some kind of dark magic to mimic her voice. She has heard that voice almost every morning since she entered the tertiary institution she could tell when ever and where ever she heard it now.
    They was an urge to call out to Eve but the uncertainty in her dangerous speculation held her back. She could hear other whispering voices still and this affirmed her fears, she better stayed put.
    “Let’s go Eve, they are not here” Joseph’s voice filtered into her ears with the name “eve” resounding into her mind.
    She could not hold back anymore, she was willing to take the chance; nothing more can happen that’d be worse than this, she didn’t know what her fate would be if this truly turned out to be Eve and she let them go because of unknown fears.
    “I am here Eve” Tochi called out a little louder than was safe, hilda’s jaws dropped. “what are you doing, you are going to get us killed” She retorted yanking on the already standing Tochi to crouch back down.
    “Eve is there” Tochi threw back at her excitedly still not tuning down the volume of her voice “Eve we are here, it’s Tochi”
    “Tochi?” came a questioning Eve who feared for the worse already as they had looked a bit.
    “Yes” tochi replied with a teary eyes and a shaky crying voice, finding eve again was like an inclusion of untold hope back to her, she could not contain her relieve as it clearly was betrayed in her excited run towards the entrance.

    Episode 21

    Tears flowed down seamlessly on both their cheeks as Eve and Tochi hugged each other feverishly, a momentarily succor being found in their reunion. The still night just turned welcoming, the sudden shriek of strange insects piercing through the air interrupting the silence every now and then.
    “Tochi where have you been all this while, I thought I lost you” Eve said clasping her more in a tight hug, Hilda had already walked past them and was standing just beside Joseph whispering some inaudible words to him.
    She had no time for tearful reunions, she didn’t think cozy hugs and tears were necessary now since they were all still far from escape, the hope of their rescue was bleak but she was determined to try.
    “I have a plan on how we can make it out of here” Joe had replied to her question which she whispered into his ears as Eve and Tochi indulged in what Hilda saw as unnecessary sulking.
    “do you have a plan of what we could do?” she had whispered in his ears.
    She was sure she had seen Joe before, she wondered what he was doing with Eve and the other petit girl but she reasoned it was useless at this point, as long as he was with Eve and she seemed ok about it, then there was no reason to ask any question that won’t get them closer to escape.
    “do you have any idea where we are?” she asked again
    Joe looked into her face, he had a some what surprised face betraying the color of his mind. He admired her resolve to survive and it somehow raised his morale a bit more than he had.
    “I don’t, the day we were brought here as employees, the cars glass was tinted and It was in the night. All I know is that we traveled for more than hour before getting here, I haven’t left this compound ever since “ he replied looking around the compound for precautious surveillance.
    “Yes, I knew, you were the guy that led us into the mansion from that small house behind the pool there” Hilda came again pointing at the small house behind the pool seating in the darkness.
    Joe nodded not finding words to agree to that question, he bore a heavy heart ever since having known the fate that awaited the girls inside the mansion, he had a nudge to turn and tell them all to run for their lives but that certainly that would mean an immediate extermination of all 30 girls’ life and his.
    He felt an immediate spooky familiarity when he saw Eve, her eyes were sparkling, full of life and care but he could not explain that weird attraction, he could not fathom the strange concern he felt for her, within minutes of the girls being inside the mansion he saw himself dishing out subtle warnings to her and going out of his line to save her life.
    “why are you helping us ?” Hilda asked again with a heavy heart full of suspicion, Vivian stood a few steps away from them paying keen attention to the interrogations Hilda conducted on joseph, she could not deny that even she had thought of these questions but having not the courage to ask them decided to just watch on to what ever comes out of it.
    Joseph looked at Hilda reciprocating her suspicious glare, he looked back at Vivian who felt like stepping back a couple of steps but voted against that, it was the wrong time to get scared of Joseph whom she knew was directly the reason why she was still alive, her broken hand still heavy and full of pain like an involuntary crushing of two bones. Joseph used a piece of cloth he tore from her top to hold the hand up, the cloth ran from under her broken arm up to the back of her neck giving it support and noticeably minimizing the pain she felt.
    He sighed, looked at Eve who was still clasped in a tight hug with Tochi. Sobs and tearful sniffs resounding mildly in the dark.
    “Because I am sure they wouldn’t let me leave this place alive” He finally answered looking directly at Hilda who still had a pinch of doubt written on her.
    “how do you think these things end” he continued “when all of your girls are dead from our blades, you think they will let us off with a smile?” the fear in his face reflected in his voice which became dimmer.
    “they’d never do that, that’s how these things work. We were deceived into coming here, coerced into carrying out this dirty job and I am sure we will not be let off again with out heads still attached to our body, so I am willing to take my chance, make a run for it and save as many of you girls I can afford” he finished, walked straight to Eve and gently pulled her by the arm.
    “Come on Eve, that’s enough. We need to go right now”
    Eve followed without resistance, Tochi trailed closely behind eve holding the helm of her top, Vivian followed them walking at the other side of Joseph who seemed like he didn’t notice any other person around him other than Eve he held. Hilda was 2 steps behind the others but even she knew she didn’t have any better choice than to trust Joseph, even if he is not genuine they were all going to still die anyway.
    Joseph led the girls through the waning dusk with a jumping heart, they crossed the pool and walked on trying hard to be as quiet as they can afford, the success of their escape depended on the secrecy of their mission and that was sorely tied on their quietness.
    Joseph didn’t know where the gate he was making for leads, he has never crossed the main gate talk more of using the small ones that are positioned in some strategic spots around the fence since he got to the mansion, but he was sure that it led outside the fence and that was enough for him. He was confident that they could figure out a way into civilization, they only had to get out of the mansion first.
    As they approached the small house behind the pool they slowed down, the house lay still and quiet buttered into an internal darkness that made it look even frozen in time, they knew someone might be inside and they feared the result that would follow if such a person discovers them.
    “Please we will have to pass this house one after the other and please try and be as quiet as you can, do stand, you have to crawl on all fours” Joseph addressed the group in whispers.
    He went first, crawling like he was in some sort of military training where barbed wires are placed at an incredibly low point and you are expected to crawl under it, the tiles that ran from the base of the small house towards the pool was cold and wet, in a little more than a minute he was successfully across, gesturing others to follow him not mind the darkness whether they could see him or not.
    Eve followed next trying to use the same style Joseph used, elbows flatly placed on the floor to the support the upper body, the whole body lying in a horizontal state slightly raised in the crotch and chest region, the feet used to support the lower part of the body.
    She found out that she could not maintain such position after few paces into it, she reworked herself into an ‘All fours’ position with her palms and knees on the floor, her back raised well enough, this was hurting her knees but it was much easier to afford than the former.
    Hilda followed, then Vivian who rather walked through without having to crawl or walk on all fours, she just bent a little from the waist down, she knew she was petit and used it well to her advantage.
    Tochi was the last, starting on all fours. Steadily she made it across only to freeze at the middle, she heard something.
    She listened hard but nothing, maybe it was her mind playing tricks on her –she thought shrugging of the scare.
    There is was again this time louder than before, someone was coughing in the window directly over head in her crawling position, the others heard it and resigned more into the darkness behind.
    The window began to creak and groan, Tochi knew it was being opened and that sent chills down her spine. She backed up against the wall, the window directly over her head, every crank of the coated metal frame sounding like the very piercing sound of doom.
    The window flew open, she closed her eyes and froze. The others were saying silent prayers as they watched on from their dusky spot hoping for a miracle. A glass cup was thrown out of the window that smashed on the tiled floors with a smattering sound. Tochi’s soul almost shattered with the sound of the glass.
    The window closed and clanged shut immediately afterwards and she dove forward without hesitation, increasing her pace to escape as soon as she could. It was a close call and she was thankful for the miracle.

    Episode 22

    On getting to the other members of the group tochi let her self sink on the floor, she was too afraid to not show it, her whole body shivered in an unkind grip of fear. Eve held her closely trying to provide some sense of security but even her could not deny the fear that plagued her.
    Her heart was pounding like a fast rhyme of a bass drum in a hip hop music beat, but everyone was happy Tochi made it past and the worse did not happen.
    Through the humid scene a little farther away into the back of the small house, the tiles had ran into a patch of grass still wet and cold. Joseph looked back like he was making sure no one was missing from the pack, he extended his scanning eyes beyond his scampering companions who are huddled so closely together like it gave them more chance at survival.
    “The gate is right over there” he remarked at his delighted companions who let out happy gestures masked in whimpering sounds. He pressed further counting every step, the hesitations in his strides made it seem like he dropped every step after a lot of careful deliberation within himself.
    Others followed suit, only dropping their feet where his has been, every inch of the ground seeming like a lurking danger in the darkness.
    Their very faith shakily rooted in the stealth of their mission. Few yards towards the fence behind the small house, the company was faced with an old clanky gate seating there like a retired comrade buttered between newly painted white fences that bordered every inch of the compound.
    Joseph looked around one more time, dipping his hand into his left pocket he retrieved some keys, the dangling sound of the little metals threatening to give them away.
    With shaking hands and wits even more so, Joseph tried the keys in the bunch he held, every trial hording a promise that turns into a disappointment. There was about 10keys in total of the bunch, their breath were held in high anticipation and an unnamed fear of a possible disappointment.
    Joseph would fidget with a key more than was normal, hoping that the lock would budge any moment but with every key he tried came a new disappointment, his companions getting desperate, Hilda even more so.
    “are you sure you have the right key?” Hilda asked moving past Eve to stand directly behind Joseph, she was stretching her neck a bit further to see exactly what he was doing.
    Joseph was not in the mood for questions; his frustration was building up with every passing moment.
    An underlying fear lay at the roots of his anxiety, beads of sweat were starting to form on his forehead even though the air was humid and cold and the morning breeze passing at intervals.
    “Yes, this cannot be the wrong keys” He replied not turning to see who was asking him questions, he already knew who it must be and fought hard within not to channel his frustration at the impatient Hilda who was adding to his woes with questions he felt did little or nothing to help the situation at hand.
    “where did you get the keys and how sure are you that the right key to this small gate is among the lot?” Hilda came again touching him slightly behind, at that instance it seemed Hilda knew Joseph’s attention was not fully towards her neither was his interest anywhere near the questions she asked.
    “there are small gates around this compound and every key to each of them is in this bunch” he retorted turning to shake the keys right in Hildas face hoping to stress his point that her questions were unneeded which let out an uncharted dangling sound.
    “Shhhhhhhhh, quiet please” Eve added trying to bring Joseph, remind him that their success depended on the success of the concealment into the darkness of the hour. “Joseph take it easy with those keys, someone might hear” she stretched further.
    Joseph was jolted back to reality, for a moment there his frustration had gotten the better part of him and he was just about to blow up on Hilda’s face.
    He turned and resumed his trials and error of keys on the old rusty padlock holding on to a hope that have now turned old.
    “Hilda please come back here, leave Joe alone to do what he is doing” She whispered extending her hands towards Hilda who reluctantly took them still looking back at Joseph fiddling with the lock and keys. Somehow she was finding it hard to trust him, every movement he made was met with some form of skepticism and suspicion from her.
    Anyone who had seen what she has seen tonight, endured what she had would even be suspicious of their own shadow.
    “Yes!” Joseph let out
    “Is it open?” came Hilda again
    “Yes I’ve got it” he announced, letting the now unlocked padlock off the iron bolt of the rusty gate, there was a relief in his voice and somewhat a well-earned pride etched within.
    There was a breath of fresh hope for the group, there were starting to lose trace of the thread as the key and lock scene waned their hope, Joseph gently pulled the gate open meeting a bit of resistance as the gate had rusted against it’s iron holder, he managed to pull it open with a not so loud groan of friction from the iron weld.
    All the girls dashed through the gate without wasting any second, running straight into wet cobwebs sewn on a thick dew ridden bush, there was no path – at least none that can be seen within the dusk, from the looks of the surrounding and the sound of the breezes appreciated by the tall dancing grasses, everywhere seemed conquered by average bush vegetation of random weed and trees here and there.
    The girls could go no further as there were not path they could follow, Joseph took the lead, trampling down grasses and making a path for others to follow. There was no idea of where the path leads, none knew where they were but all their aim was laced on the need to get farther away from the mansion as they possibly can.
    Thickness of this forest seemed to have laid undisturbed for years, beads of water dropped from the leaves of the trees around, remnants of the dews that feel within the night, there was an intensified hue of the dusk. The grass and bushes with the tall trees blocked the little shade of a dawning twilight that aided their sight. There were in a blind chase.
    Eve wondered how people in their right mind would come to such remote outland and build a mansion, the reasons can never be good as the night have taught her.
    Though with a shadowy vision of the surrounding forest they plunged on, getting deeper and deeper. The trampled bushes making a path that Joseph worried would give away the direction they took supposing someone found out they escaped through the back gate.
    The dawn was coming with a promise and a threat. The brightness of the dawn would aid their movement through the forest but that would also reveal their remnants of their escape and would see them being sort after.
    He was trying to gain as much distance as the dusky dawn could offer, relishing every step, delving deeper into the heart of the unknown – what lay ahead none could tell.

    Episode 23

    The forest became increasingly active as they wondered deeper; the birds were beginning to chirp and dance on tiny branches, the insects were wrapping up an eventful night they had, hisses of snakes could be heard occasionally lurking in the bushes and slithering away at the slightest rattle of the nearby bushes by the careless feet of the lost intruders.
    There was danger in every corner, the wet bushes smearing on every naked arm inducing an irritating itch that seemed to touch the bones like an extra-ordinary mosquito. The dusk was wearing off, slowly fading like a black cloth dipped in bleach, the colors were waning by the moment.
    “Joe where are we going?” Eve asked making the forward going Joseph to halt a bit to answer her question.
    “Eve, I have no idea where we are going, I just need to get very far away from that cursed mansion” he replied.
    “I’m tired” Vivian blurted out from behind the group, her voice sounding almost faint. She was in pains from her broken arm but have being trying to keep up with the rest. Her strength was failing her and a strange hunger compounded her situation.
    “Yes I am tired too” Tochi chorused “we have been walking to no where for sometime now”
    “Do you girls want to rest?” Joseph asked, he was almost at the end of his wits with the constant nags and complaints. He almost felt like walking off into the forest by himself to save his life but somehow he felt responsible for the girls especially Eve.
    “I am hungry” Eve added to the list of complaints.
    “Let us rest for a while then continue” Hilda said with an air of authority that surprised even Eve herself. She felt that If anyone was to make such decisions concerning the group it should be Joseph, their fate were intertwined with endurance of his strength and courage.
    “Ok everybody can rest here for a while, let me go have a look around” Joseph said walking further into the dark woods as the girls sort for comfortable positions to rest their weary bones.
    Joseph had walked back towards the path their came, his aim was to spy whether they were being followed and to cover as much tracks and he could manage.
    “Eve where did you know this guy from, he seem to be very attached to you in a strange way” Hilda addressed Eve while still inspecting the wounds she had all over her body some of which leaked of green fluid.
    “I don’t know him from anywhere except here” Eve replied, the weirdness of Joseph’s attachment towards her had surprised her all night, she had thought he had a crush on her but along the line his actions has proven to be more than just a crush, she felt like there was an underlying motive that he was yet to reveal.
    Joseph came back moments later, the dawn was painting the sky in a grey twilight, the chirping of the birds was becoming increasingly loud, the beat of the forest swaying like an orchestra of leaves and wind in a platter of bird songs.
    Eve watched as he sat on a twisted tree branch few feet from where she sat, the tree was tall and big, probably an Iroko she thought within, he was sweating, quiet and lost within himself.
    “Joe why are you helping me?’ She asked surprising even the other girls who never expected her to bring up such question out of thin air. Joseph twitched, he did not see that coming, Hilda froze in a likewise situation but was rather anticipating the answer which she had mulled over and over again.
    He looked at Eve who was also staring, then to Vivian who sat very close to Eve, Tochi and Hilda sat at the left side from the position he sat and every eyes were fixed on him, breaths were held in a frenzy anticipating of an answer to a question that was an undying bother to them.
    He tilted his face to the ground trying to avoid their stare, sighed and tried relaxing his weight on the trunk running behind his sweaty back.
    “You helped me once, I am returning the favor” the words flew out like he was trying to swallow them back, it was like whispering to a baby.
    Eve and Tochi looked at each other. Eve’s eyes had a baffled spark, she wondered within her where and how she helped him, a subtle question she hoped Tochi might help answer.
    But Tochi’s face wore a rather questioning glow, she had the same questions that Eve mulled over her mind but they were subtly hidden in her face meant only for Eve to understand the raging waves that sort within.
    “I knew you would not remember when I saw you come to the mansion tonight but that was also when I knew that I was not going to let you die” he chipped in like he sensed the silent questions thriving in their minds betrayed by the looks on their faces.
    “I still cannot remember how I helped you Joe. I mean, I don’t even know you except from this night of horror” Eve looked at Tochi who nodded at her in approval “All I know is that you have just being an angel in a night filled with countless demons”
    Joseph chuckled; he looked at the faces fixed on him. Eve and Tochi’s more shouty, Hilda somewhat indifferent but also with a touch of untold curiosity, Vivian focused on the pain that her broken arm gave her, tiny whimpers could be heard from her as she was trying to keep the hand more comfortable. It was now swollen and the pain was like sharp long needle touching the bones.
    “I’m your brother’s friend and course mate” he revealed looking at the roots running below in between his legs following them with his gaze as they twisted and disappeared into the ground.
    “You know Ivo?” Eve couldn’t help but ask in a typical Nigerian manner of reciprocating a question with another that you already know the answer to, it’s more of an expression of surprise than a question – it hardly demands any answer.
    “Yes”
    “Do you remember on his matriculation day?” Joseph continued now looking directly at Eve, he was about to pull a memory exercise on her.
    “Yes I remember that well enough” Eve replied wondering the connection between that and the matter at hand,
    “There was a guy that you gave one of the food coolers you came with and almost half of drinks” Joseph washed out more.
    “Yes! I remember” Eve blurted out having being dragged in vivid details to the event surrounding the matriculation.
    She remembers having to wake up as early as 4am to prepare the jollof rice and chicken they would take to Ivo’s matriculation celebration right there in school. She had spent the better part of the day before basked in the hurtful sun of the afternoon going about the market to buy the food stuffs, sweaty and grudgingly.
    But she promised him she will see to it that his matriculation was a bang so she suppressed the urge of abandoning the market since most traders shouted annoyingly at the slightest provocation which was intensified by the heat of the sun making the whole market scenario entirely frustrating.
    The drinks and food was ready before they set off for the campus on the morning of the matriculation, it was a long and monotonous. Just as they settled in finally to eat and refresh in celebration after the long hours of being bathed by an uncaring sun in the campus listening to speeches she deemed useless, Ivo approached Eve with a rather depressed look which was consonant with her wish for him on his big day.
    “What’s the matter?” she asked going closer to him “why is your face like this, aren’t you happy?”
    “I am but one of my friend has been disappointed by the person who is supposed to bring the food and drink for his celebration” ivo replied feigning and even sadder face.
    “Oh my, that’s terrible”
    Eve had to check the percentage of the refreshment available that would be enough for the guest on Ivo’s stand, gave the rest to the soulful Joseph who had resigned to his fate that his matriculation was the worse of it’s kind, the friends he invited would have roasted him alive if he had failed to provide refreshment as an unwritten matric tradition demands.
    “Wow, so you are that guy that I gave remnants of Ivo’s matric food?” Eve let out a sudden outburst upon being successfully taken aback to pieces together.
    Joe just smiled and nodded.
    “Wow, you look totally different” she continued “Tochi, you should remember that day na, we were all there together”
    Tochi nodded but she did not remember Joe, she was there at the matric but maybe missed the part when Eve became so charitable.
    ‘Jesus Christ, it’s such a small wor…………” Eve’s resounding voice was interrupted by a sharp sound of gunshot piercing through the air, approaching barks of dogs from the direction of the gunshot.
    “Jeeez they have discovered that we escaped” joe blurted out jumping to his feet, the girls followed suits with frightened shouts as they dashed forward into the waiting forest, with shaking wits and even more so legs from the sudden spear-dug effect of fear the gunshot induced, the prospect of being caught.
    At that moment when all thought their troubles may yet have stopped.

    Episode 24

    The barks from the dogs were getting nearer and nearer, inconsistent hard breathing patterns whiffing out from the fear-gripped group. Tochi was leading the way; she was the first to jolt up and dash forward as the sound of the gunshot and uneasy dogs pierced through the cold air of the morning.
    Vivian was lagging behind others, her hand was heavy and the pain was excruciating. She was whimpering and wincing as she managed to put one step after the other.
    A rattling thud was heard, Eve halted as she heard the sound, Vivian let out a heart wrecking shriek, she landed on the bad hand which intensified the excruciating pain she was already feeling.
    The fear that hugged her was made worse by the fact that she could not make it up by herself, she could barely feel the totality of her hand, there was a lingering bother that it was no longer there.
    “Joseph. Vivian just fell” Eve yelled at Joe who was running directly in front.
    Joe halted on hearing his name, there was some sort invisible string holding onto him from Eve, he considers her every admonition and felt a strange form of indebtedness that stretched far beyond that which he recalled.
    Maybe the prospect of death that lingered around them created a bond that transcends what he could fathom.
    He zoomed past Eve to assist Vivian who was sprawled on the grassy dirt ground run over by blind tree roots, she was in dire pain, struggling to pick herself up and keep on running but it seemed like a heavy load was holding her back down on the floor.
    The hustling inconsistent rattles of the nearby bushes probably from little bush rats or snakes trying to find their way back to their holes before the morning sun reveals all its glory, the barks of dogs that sounded like it was just behind her made Vivian struggle all the more.
    Joe yanked her up in one fluid movement, her small size once again proving to be an advantageous feature, she whimpered and hissed, tears rolled down. The will to continue waned by the moment, she felt as though she was an iron fixed around the ankles of others drawing them into the sea that they all struggled to escape.
    “Please let me go, I am tired of this whole thing” She cried, warm tears smeared on her face.
    “Shut up Vivian, we are not leaving anyone here behind” Eve scolded drawing behind to help Joe.
    “This is too much for me to bear anymore” Vivian continued, she felt giving up was becoming a better option than the struggles that got bleaker with each passing moment.
    “Stop talking like this Vivian, we are all in this together and we escape or perish together” Eve blurted out sounding more scolding than comforting.
    There was a sudden surge of courage swaying within her; courage in this term was almost contradictory in definition because even though it took on the guise of readiness to die, it was the strongest desire to live.
    They yanked Vivian along as they made their way through the forest trailing Hilda and Tochi, the barks of the dogs were as consistent as an unpleasant song giving the mind a wild scare that the worst was imminent.
    The sky was lighting up, grayish folds of cloud taking over from the deep blue hue of the night sky. The morning twilight slowly dispersing the dusk. The terrain was getting increasingly steep, the path narrow.
    As they ran up what seemed like a subtle hill, the girls could make out hallows bordering every side of the path, a lurking danger that had the smear of green trees, The grassy ground buttered over the morning dew drops was slippery and treacherous becoming more cliff-like as the sloped elevation became increasingly high.
    “Hilda wait, let’s wait for the rest” Tochi called out to Hilda who was scaling the sloppy top like it was a plain ground, her strength was being added to every minute, she couldn’t feel the pains from her wounds anymore which was rather strange but she could still perceive the odor the wound let out and from time to time wiped off the greenish dark fluid that dripped from it.
    Eve and Joseph were struggling with Vivian, the sloppy path made it more difficult for their position of trio support – Joseph and Eve were each at Vivian’s side supporting her from each but the path had become more narrow and ever too difficult for more than two persons to walk side by side on it.
    Tall trees poking out from the base of the sloppy valley growing and reaching for the sun in slim elegance, the base of the valley had an arrangement of tall trees like there were deliberately planted there. At their position on the elevated m---d of ground they were almost even with the very top of these exceptionally tall trees which were no less than 40 feet off the ground.
    Joseph carried Vivian on his back as they walked through the path towards Tochi and Hilda with eve leading, Eve feared height as much as she feared guns and she was becoming ever more worried about the height of the elevation and the narrow corridor available to them to walk on.
    Tochi called out to them in bothering enquiring as she was growing more restless, she could make out their figures making it out of the corner.
    “Tochi continue going we are here” Eve replied trying to keep up with the haste and desperation of their journey.
    “Keep going” Tochi directed at Hilda who had grown well over her head with impatience, she didn’t understand why they had to keep slowing down for one person or the other, something she feared slowed them down and increased their chances of being caught, but she knew how stubborn Eve was and her resolve to carry everyone along like a responsibility.
    As far as she was concerned everything rested on survival of the fittest and she had no choice but to be among the fittest and nothing could mar that.
    “Hilda look out” Tochi yelled at Hilda who made a swift turn without noticing a small twist of root below her feet, she stumbled on it and fell off the side of the slope letting out a wild yell.
    Eve shrieked her name running forward as though she could catch her and prevent her from tumbling down the slope like a typical Hollywood action movie, Hilda had gone way beyond where someone’s arms can reach, hurtling down the slope with an outrageous speed, slamming on smaller trees that grew at the side of the sloppy valley, all the way down to the bottom.
    “Hilda!”
    they kept calling out to her hoping for an answer but none of the calls were rewarded with an answer, Eve peered into the vague valley, she could not make out exactly the roots of the tall trees right from the 40feet elevation, the ground of the valley had razor grasses and other wild weeds that hid the ground from the view from above.
    “For God sake Eve we have no time, these people are right behind us please keep moving” Joseph yelled on getting to where Tochi and Eve stood calling out to Hilda.
    “But Hilda just fell down the slope” she protested with a teary eyes.
    “And she will be far better than all of us will be if we stay here, lets keep going” Joseph argued shifting the weight from his waste up in a bid to make Vivian whom he had on his back to slide a bit up his back as she constantly lost grip of his chest.
    Eve knew Joseph was right, it was dangerous to attempt running down the slope as you would end up tumbling down without control instead, she reluctantly urged Tochi to move on, both in tears with their eyes glued to the base of the slope hoping for a miracle.

    Episode 25

    “keep going” Joseph yelled at his grief stricken companions, he was struggling to maintain balance on the edgy m---d, the wet grasses threatening to slip under his feet.
    Eve and Tochi was shrieking as they ran on the narrow path extending their hands on each side to maintain balance. The gunshots were becoming increasingly frequent and louder, the barking dogs more restless.
    Hot tears and fear establishing an unruly dominance over the girls, at every corner of their path lurks an impending danger and their destination is unknown.
    The girls were breathing hard and their legs was becoming numb from being on the run all night, the nerves getting weaker every passing moment and the lingering haunting thoughts of Hilda, her fate was vague and the possibilities made their hearts bleed.
    The morning was almost in full swing, the grey sky was increasingly becoming brighter like God was slowly drawing the dusky curtain away to allow peeps of excited sunlight, the forest was becoming more vivid to the companions and this threatened to give them away.
    Tall trees at each side of the hallow spreading readily to receive the sunlight, droplets of dews dripped from the green leaves at some point finding their way on the exhausted runners.
    Eve felt her mouth getting dryer, her tongue rarely felt any trace of moist and this dryness ran all the way to the back of her throat intensifying her discomfort. She could hear the dripping sounds of water dropping on the leaves, drying lazily in the sun. Her mind was allowed to run wild, making out cups of water from thin air as she imagined gulping down cup after cup of cold water.
    The sun was not too hot but the rays caused a subtle discomfort that found it’s way into the skin, little sweaty droplets formed on her face – around the fore-head, her armpit and on the crack of her back.
    The narrow corridor was beginning to descend, her legs were wobbly and she could barely hold herself from falling, she could recalled vividly their hiking excursion as a a girls guide in the church back when she was a growing girl, it was one of the hardest thing she ever recall doing but this was on an entire level completely. This was a dance of life and death, a tango at the edge of danger, you cannot afford to slow down, and stopping was entirely out of the option because with every breath the danger was nearer.
    They walked down the now slopping path with shaky limbs, the ground was even more slippery than before, Eve and Tochi used growing twigs and roots as a wedge to avoid slipping down the haggard slope. Joe cold barely manage the slope with Vivian hung on his back, he trailed the girls some yards away doing his best to hold his own against the stinging ache from carrying someone on his back for so long and also manage his steps to avoid tumbling down the slope along with his cargo.
    Vivian was waning by the seconds, she could barely hold on to Joe since her arm was swollen and was surely broken by the fall beside the pool, she could feel nothing but the excruciating sting on the arm and her inability to hold on to Joe made his task even harder.
    The base of the slope was now visible to the girls sparking a little light of hope as their limbs was ready to give in any moment, every step down the valley made you quake like some jelly on a swing, tochi was crawling on all fours with her hind legs going first towards the valley.
    The sun rays were yet to hit the base of the thick valleyed forest, you could only make out little packets of lights escaping from in between the rich layer of tree leaves all around, the ground was soft and humid as Eve’s legs touched the base of the slope with every bit of delight and relief. Tochi soon followed with trembling arms and legs trying to grab anything her hand could touch.
    Joe was taking his time, the girls were looking up as he walked down without haste, he was still composed for someone who must have been exhausted from all the lifting and running’s he has been doing all night, he managed it one non-hasty step at a time, one arm behind his back holding Vivian up from the buttocks up and the other arm used to grab anything that could hold them from slipping.
    “Angels come in different shapes and colors” Eve whispered to Tochi who was trying to massage her feeble aching legs, she could care less for any other thing happening around, her legs ached badly and was becoming a bit swollen.
    They had now lost track of what exactly the time is but the sun had traveled a reasonable distance from the sky almost halfway through it’s journey, Eve could make a rough guess of “just before noon”
    Joe was almost there, he was sweaty and tired, his skin getting even more swarthy than usual but his face was strangely calm and focused, Eve’s eyes were fixed on him as he made his way down, caught her eyes in the break of a moment and rewarded her with a faint smile that barely showed.
    As Joe reached the base he didn’t take a second to rest but charged the girls to move on; “common we have to keep moving” he said looking at Eve, extending his free arm towards tochi was who sprawled on the ground massaging her legs. Eve could not believe the strength he showed even for a man, he dragged Tochi up from the ground while still holding up Vivian on his back with the other.
    Eve went ahead taking the path that backed tracked towards the direction they came only now that there were below the slope so it was hardly same, she managed to trample on as much tall grass as she could making a visible path for the rest while at the same time looking out for snakes that might be lurking beneath the misty grass hoping to catch a beam of sunlight to warm their slithering coldness.
    Joe held on a limping Tochi who had tears running freely on her face as she managed to walk, Vivian could barely open her eyes now, she was terribly waned and dehydrated which showed on her lips, she had dried up lips even though the weather was not dry as was always the case every harmattan season.
    Joe stopped a bit, slowly laid Vivian on the ground amidst winces of pain from her severely fractured arm, he looked around for a while, gently cut some leaves from a nearby bush giving it to Vivian, repeated the same thing to Tochi asking them to lap any droplet of water they could on the wet leaves, Eve followed suit slurping intensely on the leaves, every drop of water that touched her tongue was like a little slice of heaven.
    “let me get you more wet leaves” Joe said to Vivian who nodded in pain as Joe walked a couple of more steps behind to find more wet leaves that were yet to dry up.
    He came running back towards the girls in not a long time after leaving, Eve and tochi understood that it was a cue to run as Joe had that look of haste on his face, he raced towards Vivian who could not stand and join the other girls as they ran forward, there was a tearing sound of gunshot which rattled nearby bushes as the bullet raced by very closely or maybe even close enough, Joe let out a yelled, picked up Vivian and ran after Eve and Tochi. His breathing changed but he kept putting one leg after the other, there was a looming certainty of a fallen tragedy and time would bring all to the dismay of Eve and her companions.

    Episode 26

    The run was a wild and blind one through the broad forest, Eve was panting hard but had to keep going, Tochi was closely behind, somehow her aching legs could carry her all too well now.
    The gunshot that followed moments after Joe came running back affirmed their fears, her mind skipped a bit when she suddenly saw Joe rushing back towards them after walking off to find more moist leaves for Tochi and Vivian. She had feared the worse and had no moment to waste.
    This was not one of those times you stood and looked at what was happening before deciding when and where to run to, this was different, she felt the rush of fear and adrenaline gripping her, she could not help it but scamper towards the other direction, Tochi followed immediately and then the gunshot hit a nail on their guess.
    Joe’s yell made her stop a bit and look back, there he was still hold up Vivian at his side now hurrying towards them, his face was twisted like he was in pain and his walks though hasty where inconsistent and were not uniformed.
    He caught her eyes in the pale moment “Keep going!!!” the sounds of his shivering frightened voice sunk into her as she turned around again and broke into another run, an admirable attempt to survive.
    Joe held on to Vivian, she was barely hanging on, he too could barely hold her, a stinging pain pricked the side of his belly, maybe he was growing as tired as the rest of his companions.
    Eve let out a sudden loud yelp stopping abruptly, she looked like she was gazing at a ghost and her eyes were suddenly moist with impending tears.
    “What is it?” Tochi asked impatiently running towards the frozen Eve.
    “Jesus Christ!” came a seconding outburst from Tochi on seeing the sour sight. At that moment the grief somehow was more intense than the fear, they had men resolved to kill them chasing right behind but didn’t seem to care.
    Joe limped towards them wondering what could be making the girls stop when the people chasing after them were not close to stopping any moment soon, then even he too saw it.
    You couldn’t ignore it and that very sight sent shivers down your soul; there, lying on the drying humid ground was a bloodied body of Hilda, it was stiff and turning into a dusky hue. There was an open cut wound at the side of her head like something was lodged forcefully into her head.
    “She must have hit her head on a stump while tumbling down” Joe said trying to say that with every calmness he could muster, what he didn’t want was two grief gripped girls adding more to his woes.
    Her eyes were still open and her face showed an expression of shock and terror, Eve hoped she would catch her blink and it seemed she did, that is probably an optical illusion, her mind was showing her what she so badly wanted to see.
    “she’s dead Eve and you will be too if you don’t continue running” Joe caution whimpering as he walked past Eve with Vivian still resting on him, this was no time to mourn and they all understood that. They have lost so much tonight that mourning one at this very moment seemed to not be the smartest thing they could do.
    Eve walked on, moving past Joe and Vivian as they struggled to keep up, her eyes was constantly dragged towards the lifeless Hilda, they had grown close within the few hours of terror spent inside the mansion and it seemed to Eve that she had known her for a very long while now.
    The haste in the air was pale, they could not keep up with the speed, the images of Hilda’s blackened face in the muddy grassy ground was intense, Eve could hardly wipe her self off that images as she dragged herself along the path.
    Joe groaned and Eve turned, he was fading and she could tell. His wincing face, quaking voice, shivering muscles and the radiance that he had lost, that over flowing confidence that has kept her strong all this while.
    She caught his eyes, there were bloodshot and dim, a misty sadness lurking beyond, she could tell all was not right, he favored the right part of his body and he struggled even harder to keep up with carrying Vivian.
    “what is the problem Joe?” she asked with a certain voice, she peered into the eyes hoping to catch the truth from them, there were not as bright as she knew them to be.
    He looked at her, the sadness in his eyes betrayed the state of his heart, it was almost like a regret and she knew everything was certainly not as right as they seem to be.
    He looked down on his feet, lifted Vivian a bit higher with a swift gush of mustered strength – he was struggling to find the strength to talk and more so to tell what the matter was. It would break them to know that the hero they have known all night is almost spent, he wondered the fate that would befall them if he showed them he could hardly go on.
    “I am fine Eve, keep going” he replied trying to increase the pace of his strides.
    “No Joe you are not fine” She retorted, tochi nodded in the background and Eve moved a little bit closer to get a clearer view.
    She let out a sudden cry “Joe you are bleeding at the side of your belly”
    He looked at his side to the dripping fresh blood that dropped on the green grass on a dark moist soil pretending to be surprised to see them, he looked back at Eve trying to find every confidence he could give her.
    “Oh this is just a scratch, please keep moving they are right behind” he tried to say that in a casual tone to be as convincing as possible.
    Eve moved even closer towards him, peered into the bleeding side, his upper body was unclad and just a move of his arm revealed the fresh little but deep wound, he was shot and it was bad.
    She looked at him, the strength to yell was not there only the fear of what fate awaited them, what Joe would do next- the uncertainty was appalling,
    “Joe you have been shot” she whispered, her eyes turning moist.
    He nodded and urged her on, there was no time to waste not even time to tend to anyone’s wounds.
    she shook her head in disapproval, scooped his hand onto her shoulder to provide as much support as she could spare. Joe smiled weakly, tightened his grip on Vivian and then moved on, Tochi was no leading the way, her fears were confirmed but she had to keep going as the only free member of the unfortunate pack.

    Episode 27

    He smelt mucky, the sweats on him made him shimmer under the sun, his breathe made subtle whiffing sounds that seemed to betray the pains he felt with every drag of breath.
    The blood dripping was fresh, you couldn’t stop to dress the wound, the growls of the hounds reminded you of the danger that kept in toe. Tochi was moving hard, her face was swollen and she could barely keep her pace but managed to put one foot after the other.
    There was malice in the air, Vivian hung motionless on Joseph’s back, he tried to listen to her breath, it grew fainter and fainter every minute, he would try to whisper words of comfort to her.
    He leaned his head a bit back to her dangling head that could barely hold his head up, her swollen hand rigid and stiff.
    “Just a little further, we will soon make it to a Village or somewhere” he said
    She didn’t reply, she never did but he’d hope she heard him and somehow that helped.
    Eve was struggling to keep up the side of Joe she supported, his weight was coming down on her subtly without warning, his dragging breathes sometime landing on her bare neck warm and stale.
    “God please help us” She prayed within looking around as if to find the miracle of Abrahams sacrificial lamb.
    It was at point like this that she begins to feel the need to embrace God more than she did, at this point it seemed God was more far away than usual, maybe he wasn’t listening, maybe she isn’t praying hard enough or her sins had caught up with her and she was suffering for her transgression.
    Her thoughts raged, she could barely feel anymore. The pains that smeared all over her body made her with it like a cloak, she embraced the excruciation companion it had become for her and it provided an uncomfortable relief in her dire need.
    The road was becoming more bushy now, the grasses giving way to thick vines that intertwined from their roots embracing the trees, snaking all the way up, it was become increasingly difficult to continue. Your whole body disagreed with the attempt, your feet hurt with massive blisters on them, every step on the ground was like a match on top of a charcoal road.
    Tochi was struggling with the vines, they were torny and she screamed at every bit of torn that pricked into her flesh, her hands bled as she grabbed and pulled the vines.
    The wind felt behind, the trees ahead didn’t sway and not a single animal could be heard even the birds no longer sang, the strange quietness threw in a sense of ominousity to the already bizarre situation.
    Eve thought she had her name, she looked back the grasses were still, even the dogs no longer growled, every where had fallen into deafening silence and this scared her even more than the growls of the ever impatient hounds used to hunt them, or the crackling bang of gun shots that trailed their run.
    There it was again, like a whisper, someone was calling her, Tochi couldn’t have she was yelling at the vines, sulking over her bloodied hands, Joe couldn’t have, she had looked at him.
    The whisper came again, it was dry and deep, like a floating echo carried far by the wind, Eve looked back at the dangling hands behind Joe then at the still figure he bore on his back, her eyes were open for the first time in a long while now, they seem all pale with black rings around the flesh.
    She could barely hold a gaze, Vivian was awake, Eve had worried she was dead on Joe’s back, she had been checking and thinking if she saw her breathing or she was still as a corps.
    “Vivian is awake” She said nudging Joe a bit, he smiled and placed one foot ahead.
    Eve went a bit closer to Vivian, her eyes showed she wanted to say something but lacked the strength, she took her ears deeper to her face and she struggled to whisper.
    “I………I am thirsty” She said, struggling to hold her breath like she got not enough oxygen with each drag.
    “Just hold on a bit Vivian, we will soon get out of this forest” She said in a bid to comfort her, her minds screamed the opposite of her words, she could not see the hope of any of them leaving the forest alive but it was better to give your self hope in such a time, she wanted to appear strong to others at least provide the strength they needed to hold on, she herself was slipping and she fought hard not to accept it.
    Vivian closed her eyes again, her hand was still swollen but she didn’t show the pain in her face, Joe on the other hand now struggled to put one foot ahead of the other, Eve knew that the worse was yet to come for what remained of their group, she silently prayed within her, beseeching every saint she knew to come to their aid, the silence lingered on, it was more haunting than anything else.
    Tochi let out a yelp and fell through the vines, sliding all the way down a masked depression yelling at the top of her voice, Eve left Joe’s side and rushed towards the screaming Tochi stopping at the edge of the slope. She could see her tumbling down, sliding like an unplanned amusement pack was made for her in the forest.
    The slushing sound of Tochi sliding down the slope stopped, her yelling seized and the whole scene became quiet again.
    Eve yelled into the slope, trying to find any trace of movement.
    “Tochi talk to me, are you all right?” She asked in agonizing desperation.
    There was no answer, She yelled towards Tochi again yet no response. Then there was a groan, another groan.
    “Eve I am ok”
    Tochi’s voice sipped out from below with a new found excitement. “There is a little stream flowing through here” she further announced.
    Eve got an idea, they all would slide down that same slope, Tochi did and seemed to be fine, she looked back and Joe was down on one knee grabbing on to a tiny growing tree beside him to keep up his weight.
    “Joe, Joe please hold on, Joe please I need you to hold on” Eve pleaded with the waning masculine figure holding up one knee like a man about to be knighted, Vivians body still resting on his back making him lean a little bit to the front.
    “Joe look at me” Eve tried to hold him in her gaze, her face was full of tears and her voice revealed a mixture of fear and tears. “Tochi found a way just down that way, there is water down there” She announced trying to get him to look at her.
    His eyes was closing, he was like a man fighting off sleep, she hit him on the chest “Joe Joe please look at me” her tears ran so freely that it blurred her vision. He tried to look at her, his eyes were shutting themselves and he was giving in to the weight behind. He leaned forward more placing his hands on the ground, his other knee slowly reaching for the ground.
    “Joe please get up” Eve cried trying to yank him up but he was much to heavy for her.
    He had grown pale, his swarthy skin looking more like a powdered paint, much blood has been lost from his wound, his eyes grow weaker every second.
    A bead of tear escaped his eyes, he looked up at Eve, she could see the dryness even with the humidity of the forest, the paleness of his skin and bleak gleam of his eyes.
    He coughed, drawing his breath in whiffing sounds ; the sound of his cough showed he had difficulty breathing, he spat out and lumps of blood followed.
    “Please Eve take Vivian and go” He whispered to her, raising his hand on her shoulder.
    “No Joe, not without you” eve cried, her tears were streaming even harder now, her heart was skipping beats as it broke into several pieces with each moment that passes.
    “Eve, the more you stay here the more you are in danger, I will only slow you down and put you all in danger, please leave me here and go, I cannot continue” he gave her a gentle nudge on the shoulder “ Please eve save yourself”
    There was some faint rustling sound from behind, the barks of the hounds could be heard again, still no birds chirped at that strange point, there were faint shouts of men in the background, gunshot that sounded a dozen of yards away.
    “There is no time Eve, please go” Joe coughed again, more lumps of blood dropped his mouth.
    Joe’s hands caved in under him, he dropped chest first on to the ground with a thud, Eve screamed his name, Vivian still rested on his back even she herself was faded.
    Eve grabbed Vivian by the her better arm and dragged her off Joe, mustering all her strength to pull her towards the slope.
    Vivian was much lighter and smaller so Eve could manage dragging her with much effort.
    “Tochi” Eve called out to Tochi in a shouty whisper
    “Yes Eve what are you still doing there?” Tochi said, she had pacing around waiting for Eve and Joe to join her.
    “I am sending Vivian to you now” Eve replied, placing Vivian on the slope and let her go, she watched as she slid down the slope more gently than Tochi did.
    Eve ran back to Joe on the ground, lifted his face one last time, his tears were all over his face now, a smear of humid soil on the left part of his face that was on the ground, blood trailing the corner of his mouth.
    The rustling sounds and barking hounds were becoming clearer, Joe took a look into Eve’s eyes one last time, forced out a smile, Eve mustered a smile too amidst her tears.
    “Please go now Eve I will be all right” he said, both of them knew that was a lie.
    Eve took her lips towards him, kisses his fore head, slowly got up and walked towards the edge of the slope, tears shimmering on her face like streams on a delta.
    “Thank you Joe” She said and jumped off the slope.

    Episode 28 (Final)

    “Come on lets get going” Eve yelled at Tochi as she slide down to the base of the slope. There was a stinging sensation just below her elbow, she took a quick glance and saw some skins sticking out. Sliding through the ground had taken it’s own pound of flesh, in a little more than a second the little scratch turned red and the pain became all the more noticeable.
    She rushed towards Vivian who still lay down on her back, her eyes were open but she did nothing more than stare and blink. She hustled to drag her up, Tochi came to help too as they tried and groaned to her weight. Vivian put in some effort too, her hands were too heavy and the pains were unbearable.
    She shrieked to the pain, almost surrendering to it but Eve and Tochi dragged harder. She was on her feet with their support on each side, the little stream rushing gracefully just a few yards away. It was more than just water for them, it was hope, a little sign of life that has blessed them since the night before.
    The trio walked towards the water – more like dangled towards the water like drunk men having the earth sway around.
    They must have tripped a couple of times on the intruding vines but never fell flat to the ground.
    The water was inviting, clean in a basic sense washing over brown-red rocks beneath, Eve dropped Vivian just an inch before the water, they were all thirsty, Vivian more so. Eve looked into the water, the shimmering liquid rushing uncaringly in the mist, tiny tadpoles swimming carefree in the water, they must have hundreds of them; she thought.
    Eve took a full scoop of water, gulped down the cold liquid as fast as she could, Vivian was lapping it up directly from the stream and Tochi was already pouring some on her face, she must have taken enough.
    The water was cold and somewhat soothing, she felt the coldness caress the back of her throat as it slid down, she breathed free again, she took another scoop and yet another.
    Looked around, it was quiet and a bit misty, the water had given the environment a bit of a foggy twist.
    There was a sense of familiarity with the water, the scene looked like something she had seen in a picture before or maybe movie or probably she has dreamt about it before, the familiarity was odd and she could not place from whence it came.
    It reminded her of her childhood, she’d go with her peers to the far Eyim stream in her home town. With tiny buckets or gallons they would race all the way to the stream no less than 5km far.
    It was a morning rush, up to twenty kids from the surrounding families coming together for the trip, they always had to go together, tales of spirits always on the path of Eyim stream formed part of the night lores, nobody dared go to stream alone.
    The stories tell that the spirits stayed farther away if you were in a pack and made lots of noise but any lone pilgrim would be met by mischievous spirits looking for the loner to attack.
    She could recall having to cry her way to be allowed to go for her first trip to the stream. Mama had refused, insisting she was too young to make the trip. they were on a Christmas home coming as usual. She cried till Mama succumbed to her wish and let her go with others who were mostly her peers and formed part of her argument on why mama should let her go.
    Now something about this place awfully stroke the side of her memory that remembered the trips to Eyim.
    She thought she heard shout, she froze; his voice was faint from the little distance and grassy elevation between them.
    Joe groaned again, it was deep and agonizing.
    “Tochi, shhhhhh “ she instructed at Tochi was explaining some irrelevant matters to Vivian who seem to only nod in reply. Tochi also froze, the fright that had bathed them for many hours now was suddenly returned, they listened.
    Eve silently prayed that her head was deceiving her that Joe was not groaning and he somehow managed to escape.
    Some voices were coming from the top of the little hill where she left Joe lying on the ground.
    “where are others?” the first voice said, it was like the growls of a scared dog but deep in the baritone shade.
    “you mean the girls?” Another replied “I don’t see them, maybe they left him here to die when he couldn’t continue”
    “well none of them must escape, waste this b-----d and rush after those girls” the first voice spat the command.
    Eve almost jumped out of her skin, Vivian and Tochi heard the faint conversation too and it was a cue to start running again. Eve helped Vivian up, Tochi was already leading the way down to the right flank of the stream way.
    “No no Tochi, jump into the stream and follow the stream” Eve called after her in an audible whisper; she immediately jumped into the stream, wading through the water as they walked with the direction of the flowing water.
    She remembered one of those folklores they were told as children, hounds cannot track anything in the water and she needed nobody to tell her that you cannot leave footprints on water. They had more chances of finding a human settlement near the water.
    They were knee deep into the shallow stream, wading through with the current. Vivian was spent, she could hardly keep up, she rested mostly on the support Eve provided.
    “The stream flowed into a dense bush tunneled by intertwining vines, it was deep and dark and the water flowed silently through, Eve nudged Tochi to follow the water through as she trailed behind with Vivian, the darkness thickened as they delved more into the vine canopy.
    “Eve I can hear some people chattering over there” Tochi retorted turning sharply to face the blank Eve who widened her eyes in a questioning gesture.
    “I can hear some people laughing” Tochi came again.
    Eve looked at her in disbelief, at the point she cannot expect to see anyone in the thickness of this forest; all hope was faded from her heart.
    Tochi’s enthusiasm to continue was heightened, she pushed through intruding vines, must have stepped on a croaky frog or two in the dusky vine tunnel but that didn’t matter, she hardly noticed where she stepped.
    The laughter and giggling became even more apparent, Eve could hear people laughing and chatting with peaceful abandon, she let herself hope a bit.
    Tochi pushed through, at last the end of tunnel revealed an intrusion of light, there was a light scampering at the other end as Tochi emerged from the thick vine cluster.
    “Wait Ome, it’s a human” a voice said. It was feminine and seemed to bear marks of uncertainty and curiosity addressing another that seemed to be farther away.
    ‘Are you sure, or a river spirit?” the other said in thick local dialect, tochi could not make out what they talked about, Eve could not too but that odd familiarity lingered on.
    Tochi could see the first girl, fair and raw, plaited long hairs that reached up, tiny black scars at each side of her face, a wrapper tied just above her chest that seemed perky and tight.
    Eve emerged too from the vine tunnel; Tochi was waving at the first girl trying to throw in a smile of assurance.
    The second girl slowly came closer to her friend still very unsure and afraid, Vivian collapsed from Eve’s arms and Eve was dragged down with her. The two girls ran up to them helping Eve up and giving her a hand with Vivian.
    “What happened?” The second girl, dark like coal with unnaturally white teeth asked in English. Eve could swear that you can only see her eyes and teeth if you met her at night without light – she was the one the first girl addressed as Ome.
    “We were kidnapped, they are still after us” Eve announced with every bit of urgency pointing behind.
    Girls became a bit feisty, the first girl threw some quick and urgent instructions at the other who left them immediately running with the direction of the flowing stream. She spoke heavy local language, Eve could swear she have heard those words before.
    Her mind was fuzzy, everything was unclear as if she took more time to process information than normal.
    “I am Oseye, my mother and other women are down the other part of the stream fermenting cassava” she said looking directly at Eve who she must have presumed led the group as she spoke often and seem to direct the moves of others.
    The name once again rang a hard bell to Eve, she had so many questions the odd familiarity was becoming increasingly disturbing.
    “Where are we?” Eve asked
    “My Village” came the reply.
    This wasn’t exactly the answer Eve sort but there was little or no time to explain and probe further.
    “We all need to move, we are in grave danger” Eve said reminding herself, her companions and her new acquaintance of their present predicament.
    Helping Vivian up, Eve and Oseye held her at each side and they walked towards the direction she pointed to the women processing the cassava from their farms.
    Just through a tiny pathway that hardly lost sight of the stream, they trailed a bit through the footpath, singing women and slapping sounds of cassava bags on hard stones could be heard. ‘yoooom’ sounds from the watery sieve of the fermented cassava seeming to throw in a bit of uncharted chorus to their song.
    The picture became clearer as Eve and her companions emerged to this part of the stream, the stream was dyed white by cassava particles, thick dark women with a sandwich of lean and fair ones labored through bags of fermenting cassava in the stream.
    Washing and sieving, bagging and drying, they sang to a tune as they worked together which apparently eased the weight of their task, many of them wore a smile in the heat of the task and song, it seems the songs made the work more enjoyable to them.
    The whole place had that fermenting odor of bagged cassava tubers, it was strong, she watched the stream flowing below their feet washed in white decors.
    “Oseye who are those?” A very dark thick woman from amidst the lot threw at Eve’s direction. Eve thought she could be Oseye’s mother but wondered how such dark woman could produce something so fair, she rather would pass for Ome’s mother.
    Oseye ran towards the women, hastily regaled them some details unknown to her weary acquaintances, she spoke to them in whispers and raw cut local dialect without the usual tiny cuts of “so, and, them” in the usual Nigerian use of local language.
    The women ran towards Eve, Tochi and Vivian, fear and pity in their eyes, abandoning their work they hurried to attend to the girls.
    One of them freed one of her wrappers; tied Vivian’s broken swollen arm with it, oseye had left the scene running off in the thickness of the surrounding forest.
    The women helped Eve and Tochi, holding them by the neck, more than four attended to Vivian as they made to follow the same Bushy path oseye had just taken.
    There was some sort of urgency in their mission and they signaled each other with the corners of their eyes.
    The girls were bathed with pitying and concerned eyes; Eve could see lots of questions therein within those sparkly eyes that are also filled with wonder and unsung awe.
    Few minutes into the journey, Oseye and Ome ran back towards the group of women aiding the girls towards the village it may seem, just behind them came about ten men with guns – dane guns, double barrels, pump actions, she thought she saw.
    Dirty haggard looking men mostly with jumpy baggy trousers, old brown teeth and thick swarthy skins, a few of them were young and masculine and huge too but no less haggard looking.
    There were the hunters from the Village, hunting for a group of deer spotted just not too far from the main part of the stream people used, wild animals often came to have drinks of water from the stream and this was always a great opportunity for the hunters to ambush and hunt them down, so they always hunted in groups at this time.
    Ome had hurried to call them immediately Oseye gave the instruction, her father was also among the hunters, Oseye’s father too was before he was mauled to death by a nursing tiger in one of his solo night hunting trips some years ago.
    Four of the men helped the women with the weary girls, lifting Vivian in their arms, others followed the direction Eve pointed as the direction of the Kidnappers were.
    A little boy that hunted with them had gone to call more hunting groups, there were kidnappers in the village and none would rest until they were sure this threat was no longer there.
    As the four men led Eve and the women back towards the Village, they passed more and more hunting groups racing their way pass them to answer the call, for the first time in what seemed like forever Eve could breathe freely again.
    For once they seem to be hard hope that they had survived, Tochi was already shedding tears. She could hardly believe her fortune, she never thought it was possible that they would survive but here they are among humans and dozens of men at their protection.
    The path to the village became increasingly familiar, it was hardly possible to Eve but she had been here before.
    “where are we?” she brought the question again at oseye who walked just beside her with a sweaty smelling hunter behind both.
    “My village” came the reply again.
    “I know but where is your village, what is the name of your village?” Eve clapped back impatiently.
    “Edo state, Omerede town” She replied wearing an unsure look most certainly wondering why Eve was so keen on knowing.
    Eve broke down crying, she was home all this while, this was her village. How they were transported from Lagos to Benin without ever knowing they had left Lagos baffled her but she could recalled they were given some drinks and cakes during the car ride, they must have been drugged.
    Here she was, in her hometown, that odd familiarity was explained. This was the old path she used to wonder as a child during the Christmas holidays, this was the same stream they fetched and played from.
    “Wat apun to you in bush ezatli” The smelly hunter behind bolted out, he had been holding back this question for long.
    Eve looked back at him, his face was straight and showed no sign of emotion, her gaze fell on Osaye, then Vivian clasped like a baby in the arms of a tall masculine but sweaty hunter.
    Then she looked at Tochi, she was crying, Tochi’s tears ran freely.
    “We shouldn’t have gone to THE BASH” she said.
    The End

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