Click here to read the previous Episode; Lethal Games PT-1, Lethal Games PT-2, Lethal Games PT-3, Lethal Games PT-4, Lethal Games PT-5, Lethal Games PT-6, Lethal Games PT-7, Lethal Games PT-8 and Lethal Games PT-9
EPISODE 10 FINALE
*Recap: Daniel was involved in an accident after he and Dami fought but was later released. Natasha’s involvement with Inspector James was discovered by Andre and she was severely punished for it. After being locked away for many days without food or water, Rashida was able to get to her and they came up with a plan to help Natasha and contact Inspector James.*
9:35am, 7th April 2016,
It was my first day back on campus after being kidnapped. I avoided classes for that day and kept a very low profile on campus. No one was around when I got in and I noticed that Chioma’s side of the room was suspiciously empty. I shrugged it off and set my bag down, glad for some time to myself. I noticed there was a white envelope on my desk and went to open it. Inside, I found a letter.
By the time you get this, I’m not likely to be around. I’ve asked the management to grant me permission to transfer to another room. I’m sorry but being around you will simply remind me of how I almost lost my bother and all that we went through to get him back. I hope you understand. Chioma.
I let the letter fall back unto the table. I couldn’t believe that she would do something like that. It was like she didn’t consider the fact that I suffered too. I decided to get out of the room and take a stroll to clear my mind. It was filled with thoughts of all that had transpired during the past few weeks and I was barely aware of my surrounding. All of a sudden, I tripped over a stone and fell against someone’s back. The person turned around and I felt my heart leap in my chest when the face registered.
“Nonso…” I said in surprise. “You’re alright! I was worried so about you, especially after how things turned out.”
I felt relieved at seeing him looking healthy again and waited expectantly for a reply. But my smile dropped when I saw the expression on his face. His face hardened and the look he gave me sent my blood running cold.
“Wh-what’s wrong?” I stammered.
“Are you really asking me that? It’s because of you Dami, that I almost got killed. Do you know what that crazy man told me when he tied me to a chair and beat the living daylights out of me? He said that I was used as bait for you despite the fact that I had nothing to do with what was going on. I should have listened to my sister when she told me to stay away from you. But that’s what I get for ignoring her.”
I was too shocked to speak. I had to take a few moments to gather my words.
“What are you talking about Nonso? Immediately I heard, I went to the Police and came after you. Do you think I knew things were going to turn out this way? Or that I planned to be stalked and sold off into-”
“Into what?” He asked curiously.
“Never mind, you don’t care anyway.”
I turned to leave but he grabbed my arm.
“Dami, what are you saying?”
I broke out of his hold and looked him in the eye.
“I’m saying that you’re not the only one who suffered as a result of what happened.”
His eyes softened a bit and he took a step back.
“Listen, I’m sorry okay but I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore.”
As painful as it was to hear those words, I decided to keep my face straight and let him walk away. I realised that not everyone you hold unto plans to stay and sometimes, the people you push away are the ones who were always meant to be by your side.
7:42pm, 7th April 2016,
Natasha felt like she couldn’t take anymore. She was nearly close to cracking under the pressure of Andre’s torture and the rate at which her body was weakening became alarming. She raised her head slowly as the door opened and Andre’s heavy footfalls could be heard.
“Natasha, why do you punish yourself in this manner?” He asked in a taunting voice. “I’ve already given you the option to tell me all you know about this man and then I’ll let you go. Or do you not think your life is important?”
She gave him a blank stare that seemed to enrage him further. He kicked a chair out of the way and let it crash into the wall, creating a startling noise that made her wince.
“Oh, look at that. You’re not as fearless as you act.” He smiled. “I wonder if you will react this way if I help relieve you off maybe… a few fingers.”
Natasha gulped nervously in fear but refused to change her expression. Andre snapped once and one of his men came forward holding a small knife. He took it and stooped down to where she sat in the corner of the room.
“You still have the chance now, Natasha. I hate to do this to you but you brought it upon yourself.” He whispered.
She looked him in the eye and parted her lips slightly. Her words came out as mere breaths of air.
“Do your worst.”
Andre erupted in a rage as he grabbed her by the neck and shoved her against the wall. Her head bounced off the hard surface, creating an audible crack and her vision went dim. Natasha could feel energy draining out of her with the overwhelming pain she felt. It seemed to consume her and wipe out all other emotions. She could barely gather the strength to even shed a tear when the knife sliced through the first layer of skin. In defeat, she gave a little inaudible sigh and let her eyes drift shut, blocking out the rest of the world.
“She lost a lot of blood. Right now, her body needs all the rest it can get. She has endured a lot of pain but she is recovering. All we can do now is pray.” A solemn voice said.
“It’s my fault. I should have known that Andre has no patience.” The second voice was Rashida’s.
She sat slumped in the seat next to the bed while Inspector James stood in the corner of the room with his head bowed. He hadn’t said a word for all the time he had been there, except to speak to the Doctor. Long after the Doctor left, Rashida was still bemoaning the fact that Natasha could have been long dead by then. When her cries became too much to handle, he quietly walked up behind her and placed his hand gently on her neck. In seconds, he applied pressure on a specific point and Rashida was fast asleep, finally granting the room some quiet.
“Did you really have to do that?”
James froze and turned to look at the bed where Natasha now sat up, watching him.
“You’re awake…” He said quietly, taking a step closer to the bed.
She smiled gently, although it was filled with exhaustion. James shook his head and looked away.
“I don’t understand how you can act this way.”
“In what way?” Natasha’s eyebrows wrinkled in confusion.
“Like you didn’t almost lose your life in the process of helping me, I asked you to do this and I didn’t pause to think about the consequences or the danger I was putting you in.” His voice was low and solemn.
“I had to do it. Not just so I could clear my name or because you told me. I realised that if no one did anything about it, more girls would end up in my situation and more lives would be destroyed while those animals would just sit back and watch the money roll in.” Tears sprang up in her eyes and it felt like all the emotions that had been locked up during the torture she went through in Andre’s hands had resurfaced.
Before James could comprehend his actions, he began to wipe them away slowly with the palm of his hand. Natasha looked up out of shock and her eyes met his with a slight look of confusion. He glanced down at his hand as if it had a mind of its own and took a step back, clearing his throat.
“I’m sorry, I…”
“No, it’s okay…”
They stopped at the same time and waited for the other to continue. When it seemed like no one was going to say a word, Natasha spoke up.
“So has there been any progress with closing the case?”
“Yes actually,” He looked relieved that she spoke up first. “As we speak, my men are rounding up everyone that was on that recording you gave me. Some are being evasive but we would catch up to them soon. In the meantime, you have nothing to fear, no information about you was given out. You’re completely anonymous and safe from the public eye.”
“Thank you.” She smiled.
“In fact, a similar report was made about this same group of men in another part of the state. It seems you are not the only one who wished to put a stop to their business.”
His gaze saddened suddenly as he noticed her bruises and scars once again.
“I’m really sorry about this Natasha.”
“I’ll heal… eventually. It was worth it.”
“You’re very brave.”
She lowered her eyes, not sure how to take the compliment. She certainly didn’t feel brave when Andre’s knife had pierced through layers of skin and drawn blood. Frankly, she’d just wanted to get through the pain and at a point, it became so unbearable that she couldn’t feel again.
Inspector James’s phone rang just then and he looked down at the caller ID before picking up.
“Yes officer, what do you have for me?” His voice deepened with authority that came from being high up in the ranks.
“That’s good news.” He nodded briefly. “Is that so? Yes, I’ll be there.”
He ended the call and looked at Natasha with the hint of a smile visible in his eyes.
“They’ve found two more men on the mainland and Andre has been arrested along with the brain behind the operations; Mr Phillips who was found hiding out on the Island. The girls have also been released and sent back to their homes.”
With those words, Natasha felt like a heavy weight had been lifted off her chest. She shut her eyes in relief and leaned back against the headboard. Her eyes opened again when she heard movement from where he stood.
“You’re leaving?” She sat up again.
“Yes, I have to get back to the headquarters.”
“Oh…” She wasn’t sure what else to say.
“Have a smooth recovery Natasha.” He said as he walked closer to the door. “I’ll be in touch.”
That was the last she heard of him in a long time.
10th April 2016,
I switched on the TV and sat down, waiting expectantly for the headlines to come up. Nothing caught my attention until I saw it. I finally let myself breath in relief. He had been caught and the Police had also taken Kayla in for questioning after Daniel who had been discharged and I had given our statement on all that happened. In another part of the state, other suspects who had something to do with the case of human trafficking and prostitution had been rounded up and Mr Phillip’s company which he had used as a cover for his underground business had been shut down.
I switched the TV off and smiled to myself.
With a sudden bout of courage, I picked up my phone and made a call. At first I was scared he would ignore my calls like he did ever since we left the Police station but he picked up on the second ring.
“Daniel, it’s me.”
So, that wasn’t encouraging. I sighed and rubbed my forehead tiredly. I was just trying to get my best friend back.
“Look, I don’t want to start a fight. I just want to see you.”
I waited with bated breath for his reply.
“I’m on the way.”
I sighed in relief and ended the call. I mentally prepared myself for the next phase of my plan and hoped to God that it would mend our friendship. It wasn’t elaborate but I hoped it meant something to him.
Daniel knocked several times on Dami’s door and waited for a response but none came. He then tried the door handle to find that it was unlocked. He frowned and stepped in cautiously, unsure of what he would find. As he shut the door behind him, he noticed the yellow post-it note stuck to the door handle.
Before you go further, I just wanted to let you know…
The note ended there and Daniel looked around curiously for the next one, he knew there had to be more. Truly, he found a second note stuck to the wall beside the door.
I’m sorry. I know I always seem to be apologizing but it seems I’m always doing something wrong…
Daniel went round the room looking for the next one which he found stuck to the mirror.
I didn’t mean to throw your words back in your face. You just took me by surprise…
The fourth and final note said:
Can we start again as friends… what do you say?
Daniel heard movement behind him and he turned in the direction of the sound.
“I’ll give you 5 out of 10 for creativity.” He chuckled.
“This is what I get for even trying.” Dami shook her head in mock annoyance.
“Creativity aside, I really admire your effort.” He laughed.
She rolled her eyes and waited for him to calm down.
“So, what does this mean?” She asked.
Daniel was silent for a while, watching her wait eagerly for his reply as he took his time.
“You’re just loving this aren’t you?”
“Every single bit of it. It’s not every day I get a grand gesture from you. I have to savour it while it lasts.” He teased.
“In that case, I’ll be out taking a walk. Call me when you’re done.” She turned to leave.
He laughed and grabbed her by the sleeve of her jacket, bringing her to a halt.
“I’ve missed you Dami, of course we’re friends again.”
Dami smiled at him, glad to have her best friend back.
10:00am 18th April 2016,
If you’d asked me a few weeks ago if I thought I’d be here to witness my sister’s wedding, I would have said I wasn’t going to hope for something that was impossible. I’d given my family a loose narration of what happened, trying not to worry them too much. After being kidnapped and sold off, I had lost much hope. But the joy radiating off Toyin’s face was enough to light up the whole room. I’d never seen her so happy before and the best thing was that her husband seemed every bit as elated as she was. I knew they were going to be happy together.
“All bridesmaids should please gather round, it’s time for the bride to throw the bouquet and you all know what that means.” The MC’s voice resonated through the room.
“Be sure to catch it, you need all the luck you can get in that aspect.”
I gave Daniel a scathing look at his poorly masked insult. Our friendship was stronger than ever but he didn’t relent in his efforts to annoy me. I made my way to the front of the room with the other bridesmaids who seemed ready to go to war for the bouquet.
“1…2…3…” On the third count, it went sailing through the air and I reached out towards it out of instinct. I was still in shock seconds later when it landed in my hands. I caught Toyin’s eye and she winked at me mischievously. I just laughed and made my way back to my seat, ignoring the stink eye I received from disappointed bridesmaids.
“Lucky you.” Daniel said when I sat down.
“I don’t need luck.” I smirked in confidence.
“No, you don’t.” He smiled and offered me a drink.
I took a sip before I suddenly realised something.
“Wait. Did you just give me a… compliment?”
“Who says I did?” He answered in a cryptic tone before disappearing into the crowd.
I stared after him in slight confusion but for some reason, I felt pleased. The ceremony went smoothly and before I knew it, I was hugging Toyin goodbye as she left with her husband to go to their new home. In that moment, I wished I could freeze time so things could remain perfect but we all know that life just doesn’t work that way.
WRITTEN BY BOLU AKINMARIN.